Reading Education Assistance Dogs

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Reading plays an important part in everyone’s lives, especially children. It is an essential part of development, and when children struggle with reading, it affects the rest of their learning abilities as well. In 1999, a program was developed to utilize animals to help encourage children to read. This program is call Reading Education Assistance Dogs or R.E.A.D. What I will discuss in this paper is what Reading Education Assistance is, how the program works and what the benefits are to those who participate. Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) The Reading Education Assistance Dogs program was developed to help improve reading skills of children by utilizing a trained therapy dog that the children read to. These dogs come in all different shapes and sizes and can be a purebred or a mixed breed. What is required of this program is that the dog is first a certified/registered therapy dog, and is accompanied by his or her owner/handler while the dog is working. Becoming a registered therapy dog takes a lot of training and dedication from the owner to ensure that the dog has what it takes to become a R.E.A.D. dog. It is a three step process to become a R.E.A.D. dog. First, it is required for the dog to pass a Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) test, which consists of 10 different areas that the dog must be tested in. These areas include: accepting a friendly stranger; sitting politely for petting; appearance and grooming; walking on a loose lead; walking through a crowd; sit and down on command; coming when called; reaction to another dog; reaction to distraction; and finally, supervised separation from their handler. These tests can be performed at various canine training facilities that most times offer a class for training to complete the CGC test. The test is conducted at the facility by a qualified evaluator. Once the

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