CIDBT 4115 The Rescue Dog Mind, Behaviour and Care Management
In recent years no one with an interest in dogs can fail to have noticed, and been moved by, national publicity highlighting cases of neglect, abandonment and cruelty. Despite our reputation as animal lovers, borne out by the millions of families that offer safe, secure homes for their pets, rescue organisations are now facing an unprecedented demand on their services.
Why has the situation become so bad and what can be done to help rescue, rehabilitate and re-home the canine casualties of our throwaway society? ‘The Rescue Dog Mind, Behaviour and Care Management’ course covers all aspects of the rescue and re-homing process. Course provider Sara Muncke has over thirty five years of experience of working with dogs in rescue and through a series of six modules invites the student to move beyond a love of dogs towards a practically-rooted understanding of what it takes to assess, support and re-home unwanted and abandoned dogs successfully.
‘The Rescue Dog’ content begins with an investigation of the need for rescue and re-homing including: the impact of owner choices on their dogs, family dynamics, socio-economic factors, breed related characteristics, common canine behaviours and intake management. The student progresses to the study of the psychology of the rescue dog, the care of the dogs in kennels including their general welfare and diet, common medical conditions and veterinary intervention, infection control, stress management and kennel enhancement, assessment, socialisation and training. The course also covers record keeping, re-homing procedures and post homing support, assisting the public, risk management and the legal requirements associated with re-homing.
The Rescue Dog’ course will not only support the day-to-day work of activities of staff and volunteers already working in rescue organisations but also extend the experience and expertise of students looking to develop their interest in helping dogs in a more professional manner. The required reading list is deliberately small as practical experience of dogs in some capacity and a willingness to learn are the main course requirements.
Phase 1 (Home Study)
In Phase 1, the student is asked a visit to a rescue organisation of their choice to find out more about the intake and re-homing of dogs in need. This is opportunity to observe some of the dogs and, where possible, find out more about their individual stories, temperaments and re-homing challenges they may pose and the role of the canine carers and volunteers The student is also encouraged to develop their knowledge of rescue provision for dogs through further web research.
Phase 2 (Home Study)
In Phase 2 students will investigate some of factors that contribute to dogs being given up for re-homing: breed characteristics, owner expectations, family dynamics, socio-economic issues and common canine problems. Even now, many dogs are simply abandoned so the student will also undertake some research into provision for stray dogs.
Phase 3 (Home Study)
In Phase 3 the focus shifts to the psychology of the rescue dog and the care it requires in kennels. The student will explore strategies for maintaining good physical and psychological health, including infection control and stress management. Further research will be undertaken to familiarise the student with the most common canine infections and medical conditions they are likely to encounter and well as develop an awareness of zoonoses to which rescue staff may be exposed.
Phase 4 (Home Study)
Phase 4 encourages the student to develop their understanding of the value and limitations of assessment procedures for rescue dogs and the role of behaviour modification prior to re-homing. Web research on canine legislation and the legal responsibilities associated with dog ownership is included to underpin the importance of making appropriate re-homing decisions within a safe and legal framework
Phase 5 (Home Study)
Phase 5 moves to the central issue of successful re-homing for rescue dogs. It includes research into key similarities and differences in the re-homing policies of different organisations and the importance of positive visitor care at all stages of the process. The main assignment is based on a case study and invites the student to investigate and respond to a variety of post adoption concerns with which they may encounter .
Phase 6 (Home Study)
Phase 6 concludes the course with an examination of other elements which contribute to a successful re-homing organisation: a clear ethos, a sound structure with effective leadership and a well informed team, active fund raising and positive publicity across a range of media.
While this is a longer and more intensive course than some, the aim is to provide students with the knowledge and tools to contribute to the day to day life of a rescue organisation and to support dogs when their needs are greatest.