Houey helps provide hands-on experience in Small Animal Management


Provided by Brittney Avant

Small animal management class has a new member, Houey. The puppy was invited to help students better get a hands-on experience on managing dogs.

Charlotte Cleckler, Guest Contributor

Walking around class, Houey, a miniature Goldendoodle, isn’t just a pet on this day, she’s part of the learning in Brittney Avant’s Small Animal Management class.

“We kind of walk through the full pet ownership process for a good chunk of the semester,” Avant said. “We’ll take a look at different animal breeds, primarily we will look at dogs and cats.”

In a group of four, students spend the last thirty minutes of class with their peers, working on training Houey on skills each group has individually chosen.

“It can help us gain experience for the future if we want to pursue veterinary sciences in the future,” sophomore Lila Elizondo said via email. “Along with allowing us to use our knowledge learned in class and physically apply it.”

The project has been a learning experience for it’s students as they get hands-on time Houey and what it takes to train a dog.

 “If our group could start over I think we would change how we decided to train,” junior Roham Haghjoo stated via email. “We just kind of went off of what we already know without doing much research on how to properly train.”

The benefits of bringing Houey into class has benefits beyond Avant’s Small Animal Management class.  

“I think it made those A-day classes very excited to be here even though he wasn’t a tool for their course,” Avant said. “Days that we did presentations and things like that, when kids were nervous he would come sit up there and scratch his head while they were presenting, kind of like an emotional support animal.”

Students using Houey as a tool in the class have also been benefitting from the project at home.

 “I think that the project has been very beneficial because it teaches us how to train a dog as well as how to be able to handle a small animal.” Haghjoo stated via email. “The strongest aspect is the participation of our group members and the ability to work together to train a dog.”