Over the course of four weeks, a group of Learners from Pause Newcastle with Barnardo’s, a specialist women’s service working with women who have experienced repeat removal of children have been taking part in our Taking the Lead programme.
Throughout the course, they’ve enjoyed a range of fun activities including making dog toys, dog treats and snuffle mats.
The Learners explored what it means to be a good dog owner and how to keep their own dogs healthy and happy, as well as the consequences of not being able to meet a dog’s needs and understanding the law surrounding responsible dog ownership.
One of the most interesting topics for the group was learning how to ‘be dog smart’ by knowing exactly what they can do to help keep themselves and others safe around dogs. The mathematicians in the group were also able to calculate the average cost of looking after a dog for a year and were amazed to learn how much it can be, just for the essential items!
One particular activity that was great fun was definitely making dog biscuits! The group studied nutrition and a healthy balanced diet and were surprised to learn that some foods can be dangerous for dogs to eat, such as chocolate, onions, grapes, raisons and garlic. They made some tasty dog treats using peanut butter, which can be used as rewards when training the dogs.
But the highlight of the four weeks has to be a special visit from Mollie! Mollie is my education dog and unfortunately she has been out of action for seven months due to a leg injury. But she returned to work to help with the final session, which was dog training. Of course, Mollie loved taking part especially because she received positive rewards every time she learnt something new. The Learners became experts with the clicker and were able to teach Mollie a variety of basic commands. ‘Who ever said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?!’
And just in case Mollie was thinking about being bored, she was able to occupy herself by putting the handmade snuffle mats to the test by expertly hunting out the treats.
A successful four weeks for everyone. Well done Mollie for having a great first day back to work and well done to the Learners who achieved our Taking the Lead programme!
High fives all round!