Our Community Dog service works with Kingwood, an organisation which supports adults with autism to lead more independent lives. An improvement in road safety is one of the goals they work towards with our specially trained dogs.
Community Dog Handler Sarah explains how she worked with Millie to learn basic road safety.
“Before our sessions Millie would walk in the road, not stop at the kerbs, and run across the road without a care. She had no road safety awareness which made walking anywhere stressful for the support staff as well as dangerous for Millie.
I started working with Millie and our specially trained community dogs to improve her road safety. Once Millie had built a relationship with the dog we started going out for walks.
During the walks we went through the routine of ‘teaching’ the dogs road safety and encouraged Millie to do this i.e. stop at the kerb, ask dog to sit, reward dog, look for traffic and cross road if clear, giving dog command ‘go’.
Millie now stops at the kerbs by herself, and will say and sign ‘stop’. She will then wait until told by her support staff it is safe to cross when she will say and sign ‘go’. Learning to walk beside the dogs has also encouraged Millie to walk with the support staff. These benefits continue after the sessions have finished, even when the dog and handler aren’t present.
As well as benefiting Millie, the support staff are less stressed when out in the community with Millie as they know she will not run out into the road.”