For thousands of years, mankind has trained dogs for all sorts of useful service from herding livestock to guarding security zones. More recently, dogs have been trained to help those with disabilities or health issues, enhancing independence with their reliable assistance. Laura Kennedy has more on this edition of Animal House about a central Illinois group that is training dogs for a better future.
*Steven Wright and Marie Koch are president and vice president of Indy-Pendence Service Dog Organization at Illinois State University.
*Service dogs assist handicapped individuals with completing daily tasks, like opening doors, bringing items from other rooms, pulling off socks and more.
*Marie Koch is one of the founding members of the organization and said she thought it would be a good addition to ISU as a registered student organization.
*Working with a group in Peoria, the students obtain rescue dogs and live and work with them, training the canines for their service work.
*The students teach the dogs through games, that way the dogs love to learn and to perform their service.
*Dogs can learn dozens and dozens of commands.
*Any type of breed can make a good service dog. You've got to match the size of the dog with the tasks they will be given.
*The students are always looking for new ways to train the dogs. Clicker training is very popular.
*Both Marie and Steven admit that working in the organization has made them more confident.
*The students say that the bottom line with all the hours and hours of training is simply to help people.