BIBLE HILL, N.S.
One of the most valuable things Alicia Trefry learned during the canine program was “how to be a tree.”
Alicia was one of several Redcliff Middle School students who took part in an exploratory focused on dogs. Each week the students visited Little Moe’s K9 Academy, in Bible Hill for the program, which included training in Doggone Safe Bite Prevention.
“Now we know that when we meet a strange dog we should go into the tree position, and not make eye contact,” said Alicia. “I had no clue about the tree position before. When I signed up for this I thought it would just be playing with dogs, but we’ve learned a lot.”
The bite prevention program teaches children to “be a tree”by stopping, folding their branches – hands – and watching their roots grow – looking toward their feet – when meeting a dog they don’t know. It also teaches them about canine body language and facial expressions, how to greet a dog, and what things dogs like and don’t like.
“We learned a lot about puppies and training with clickers one week,” said Alicia. “I don’t have a dog but I wish I did. I would love to work with animals, and maybe be a vet or an eye doctor for animals. I think it’s interesting to learn about the science behind eyes.”
Spencer MacDonald has a nine-year-old dog at home, but never tried using a clicker for training before taking part in the exploratory.
“I worked with an English bulldog pup and it was a lot of fun,” he said. “I want to get a clicker and try to teach my dog some things now. I would probably like to train dogs when I’m older.”
The students visit the canine centre once a week for six weeks. Other topics they learned about were grooming, show handling and identifying breeds.
Yan Mowatt, who runs Little Moe’s K9 Academy, will also visit schools to teach the Doggone Safe Bite Prevention program.