Taking a hands on approach, Small Animal Management trains a dog


provided by Sarayu Bongale

Small Animal Management has taken on a new approach to learning as they train Houey, a chocolate labradoodle. The training provides a hands on experience and new challenge for students in the class.

Sarayu Bongale, Staff Reporter

In order to demonstrate their understanding of the dog unit, Small Animal Management is training a chocolate labradoodle, Houey, as a fall semester project.

“All CTE classes are hands-on, and for Small Animal Management, students do have to practice hands-on skills with small animals,” teacher Brittney Avant said. “Dogs are small animals and one we have easy access to.”

Students are using the various methods they have learned about to teach the dog tricks.

“Food is a great incentivizer to get the dog to do what we want,” sophomore Max Dowd said. “We have treats, and by using trial and error, positive reinforcement, and repetition, we get the dog to learn two tricks of our choosing.”

Working with any animal can present challenges, so students are using their problem solving skills to overcome them.

“Houey can be very stubborn and slow minded so they have to have a lot of patience when dealing with him and there are a lot of practical skills and research involved as well,” Avant said. “They’re learning how to use their problem solving skills when dealing with a difficult subject.”

This new hands-on experience with an animal is a real-life experience something sophomore Zachary Homer enjoys.

“I really like this because for one, the dog is cute and it makes me feel a lot better about school,” Homer said. “He’s a little slow though, so it’s a little hard and he has a very short attention span but it’s really fun.”

Avant believes that there are many positive outcomes that will come out of this project.

“Anyone who has a dog will learn the practicable skill they can use on their own dog at home,” Avant said. “Some of our students have even gone on to do animal training as a side business after that or just train their dogs at home.