Friday, February 25, 2011

Veterans for Obedience Training of Shelter Dogs

This note from our interview topic for next week's The New American Veteran.  

v/r  Karl

Dear Fellow Veterans and Friends of GallantFew:

RE:  Veterans for Obedience Training of Shelter Dogs

We are looking for 100 OEF/OIF Veterans to participate in a Research Program aimed to work with and provide obedience training for shelter dogs.  The study will occur in three parts.

Part 1:  The Veterans will be randomized to either a training group or a non-training group.  Dog-training group participants will go to the animal training site (either Columbia or Springfield, MO) for weekly training sessions over a 24 week period. We will orient them to the program on their first visit (including an explanation of safe dog and leash handling).  They will be helped to select a behaviorally pre-screened (by shelter staff) dog to train.  If the dog they are training is adopted they will select another dog to train.  They will work in groups with a dog trainer and dog at the training site for two, one hour sessions per week.  We will ask them to complete a weekly training dairy, recording their work and comments about the training. The Veterans will receive $50.00 compensation for participation in part one.

Part 2:  Veterans will serve as adoption mentors for new adopters of shelter dogs.  They will make telephone calls to the adopters monthly for 6 months, providing helpful information and referral for problems encountered with the dogs.

Part 3:  The Veterans with particular aptitude for training dogs will advance to training shelter dogs to work as PTSD service dogs for other veterans needing the support of such adog. The Veterans will receive $500.00 compensation for participation in part three. 

Data collection will include participant demographics, height, weight, dog ownership history, beliefs about dog ownership, mood, social support, response to stressful situations, family functioning and physical activity.  The data collected will not be shared with any outside group. 

Merging returned veterans with shelter dogs through this study accomplishes major goals for both.  Veterans will have an important role in helping shelter dogs.  This will also provide the veterans with a sense of purpose, some structure, opportunities for relaxation, exercise, and a greater sense of well-being.  Shelter dogs will learn skills crucial to their success outside of the shelter.

For more information or to sign up for the study please contact:

Project Coordinator
Charlotte McKenney, RN, BSN
Assistant Director, Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction

CPL Johnny D. Miller Jr., US Army, Ret.
Mission Continues Fellow

phone 573.882.2266 

Primary Investigator
Rebecca Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN
Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing MU Sinclair School of Nursing
Director, Research Center for Human Animal Interaction MU College of Veterinary Medicine Clydesdale Annex #2 Columbia, MO 65211

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