Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Canine Companions for Independence (CCT) pioneered and has been in the forefront of placing dogs with disabled individuals to facilitate their independence through increased physical and social capabilities. With the number of applications increasing daily, CCI launched an expansion effort to include the development of six regional training centers located strategically across the United States to increase the program placement capabilities to more than 300 Canine Companions each year. The increasing complexity of program management, training and monitoring resulting from this development had defined the need for a written curriculum to be used by staff involved in teaching the disabled individuals the proper dog handling techniques. A curriculum identifying the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed by the student to successfully handle a Canine Companion would facilitate the organization's ability to decrease the tine while increasing the efficiency and consistency involved in teaching the necessary skills to disabled students. Initial steps in the process of evolving the curriculum Included a determination of the curriculum model to be used or adapted; a written compilation of the rationales, methodologies and techniques developed over the program's operating history; research into educational approaches making significant affective changes; and finally an initial draft of a curriculum. Secondary steps in this process included revisions proposed by the instructional review committee; utilization at the next training session; daily evaluations of each module; and an overall evaluation prepared by the instructional review committee at the conclusion of the training session. The final draft of the curriculum, including those modifications recommended by the instructional review committee, evolved into a document which defined three major arenas of student educational focus: the cognitive domain focusing on the acquisition of intellectual knowledge: the affective domain involving the student's attitude and emotional response to the dog; and the psycho-motor area defining the application of physical skills and abilities not needing a conscious prompt from the cognitive arena. Detailed chapters corresponding to each day of study identified skills, knowledge, and attitudes required for student success. Methods for facilitating the acquisition of these abilities were presented in a step-by-step developmental approach. The curriculum included a set of daily "dogmas," short rhyming verses or familiar sayings, that instructors were to introduce and repeat throughout each day to help promote concept retention. Additional refinements included detailed approaches differentiating the specific preparation of a hearing impaired student, a physically disabled student or a developmentally delayed student. Pre and post-assessment materials, both those currently in use and new ones, were included in the curriculum. once completed, this curriculum was published and disseminated to instructional staff at the training center facilities. Since the curriculum was primarily a compilation of information and methodologies currently in effect, instructor responses revolved around the increased ease of approach and reduction of tension experienced with a written curriculum guide to follow. The prevailing concern surrounding the difficulties in "remembering" what needed to be done in student coursework was eliminated. With the increase to four regional training centers, the role of the curriculum changed, as was anticipated. No longer simply a reference material, the curriculum became a training tool. In April of 1988, in order to support CCI's expansion efforts, eight new instructors were added to CCI's instructional team. A six-week training course was held with the curriculum as the course foundation. Prior to the advent of this course, it took an instructor a minimum of one year to become knowledgeable enough to participate in the coursework. Within three months, the new instructors were not only participating in the instructional process, but in some cases, managing it. In September,1988, all CCI instructors attended a meeting at which the curriculum, and CCI's training program in general, were to be evaluated and revised. The consensus of the group was that while other components of the training program needed evaluation and revision, the curriculum, both as a reference and as a training tool, was current and useful.

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