Pawfection's Therapy Dogs Help Reduce Bullying

Karen Arbutine meets Daryl Payne, owner of Pawfection Dog Training at West Oaks Academy to discuss how therapy dogs in school can help alleviate bullying and teach acceptance. 

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Video Transcript:

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Daryl Payne, owner & founder of Pawfection Dog Training.  Daryl comes with us with 28 years of experience in dog training & handling. Without further ado, lets me Daryl Payne of Pawfection.

So, Daryl, how did you get in the industry of dog training?  It's a long one, for many years in London, I was in charge of a bomb detection unit - K-9 unit, plus I did some control work and I was in charge of some drug dogs as well. So, we had a lot of dogs. We had 300 patrol dogs, and 60 bomb dogs. My whole service, really, was all about dogs. When I come to retire, the natural progression from that really still work with the dogs. I spent my whole life working with them.

So, people call you the dog whisperer, how do you describe yourself? I'm a person trainer. Now you look on the back of my shirt it says we train both ends of the leash, because they both need to be educated. Owners want to know what they could do, what they should do with their dogs, what they shouldn't do with their dogs. Dogs, especially working breeds, need a job to do. They get bored at home, and when they get bored, they get destructive and so, really, if we keep them busy, give them things to do. Give them jobs to do, they are much happier and a lot easier to live with. 

I see you are very very passionate about the industry, tell me about the therapy dogs. Well we had a program, when we first got here, we were a little shocked that the industry is not regulated in any way. And the problem was, we were seeing therapy dogs that were going out there, effectively untrained. Maybe a 20-minute assessment from some company, and then they were let loose on their own recognizance and they weren't even insured, some of these dogs. And at that point we thought we really need to just bring some standards into this. So, over a period of about 2 years, we wrote a program which takes 6 months long. It's that long for a reason because if someone's committed enough to do a 6-month course to a very very high standard, then they are committed enough for the people that we visit, and we service. We have a program where the dogs come along with the kids who a little worried about reading, and they read to the dogs. Because dogs don't judge them. So, they sit and if they get a word wrong, the dog's not going to judge them. 

I saw one dog Hope, the handicap dog, tell me about her. Hope was born with a handicap. Her back legs didn't work, and the breeder was going to drown her. A couple of high school girls rescued her and took her along to a sanctuary and they brought Hope up. I got introduced to Hope because became a teenager and Hope really is a German Shepherd. Just because her back legs didn't work, didn't mean she didn't need a job. So, we put her onto the therapy program and she now works with us as a therapy dog. Now she's got a very important job, because she comes into schools and we give lectures on the importance of acceptance and tolerance of people and things that are different. Things that have challenges, because we looked at one of the problems in the states is school shootings. When we looked at some of the reasons for school shootings, one of them is bullying.  Bullying of children causes that child to become isolated. They get disenfranchised, they go home, and they lock themselves away in their bedroom. So, we decided to tackle it in two ways.  We have the therapy dogs that go in and we lecture the kids about the importance about being nice to each other; being accepting of each other. Not bullying! To stand up to bullies; not violently, but to support the person that is being bullied. Giving them the power to do that. And then the last part, was the search dogs. We have search dogs as well. The dogs weren't perhaps suitable to be therapy dogs because they are very excited creatures. What we do with them, is we train them to find gun oil, and gun metal and guns. So, they come into the schools to train. And the kids know they come in and they come in every now and then to search. We try and work in the community to try and prevent school shootings and make everything safer for our kids. 

well you certainly are making a huge difference in the community and we want to thank you for your support.

Oh, it's a pleasure. 

Thank you so much for joining us!

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