Animal Assisted Crisis Response (AACR) is “the utilization of certified canine-and-handler teams assisting in crisis interventions to support the psychological and physiological needs of individuals affected by, and responding to, crises and disasters in complex, unpredictable environments.”(Tedeschi & Jenkins, 2019) Those with proper advanced skills, training, and certifications can implement AACR work safely and effectively (Bau, 2013).

Crisis Canines of the Midlands has designed a training protocol to guide new teams from ground zero through the entire certification process. Through a partnership with Anna Childs of Adelhorst Kennels, we are able to provide the resources to help new teams achieve their goals.

  • Beginner Obedience group weekly classes (8 weeks) – basic commands and temperament assessment
    • Heel, automatic sit, down, sit stay, down stay, recall, stand, greet strangers, move through crowd
  • Advanced Obedience group weekly classes (8 weeks) – fine tuning basic commands, obstacles, agility introduction, temperament testing with dog and human interaction, loud noises, distractions etc.
  • Therapy Dog private lessons or group classes for commands specific to therapy dog work:
    • Place command (targeted down stay in multiple situations)
    • Door entry training
    • Controlled release to greet strangers
    • Distraction training – basic commands in different environments, wheelchairs, people yelling, displaying intense emotion
    • Agility obstacle training to build trust
    • Place command in new surroundings, public place, with camera while handler out of sight etc.
    • Canine first aid, health and wellness
  • CGC, CGCA, CGCU certification day
  • Handler training: Therapy Dog protocols per Alliance of Therapy Dogs standards
  • Academy training: 3-5 days (see separate document for specifics) culminating in graduation and Crisis Canine Endorsement Certification
  • ATD official Therapy Dog certification at academy or once the dog is over 12 mo. of age.

Master K9 trainers Deputy Darrah Metz and Officer Mike Paulins, have developed a nationwide program to certify First Responder K9 teams in Crisis Response. Through their training program, TEAMK9 Academy, Deputy Metz and Officer Paulins provide gold standard in instruction and certification for Iowa teams. Academy training provides a specialized training experience for the first responder world – preparing teams to be ready to respond with little to no notice, providing a calm, comforting presence in the face of intense emotion, grief, and even chaos.

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