Shaping for success

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Rite of Passage Sycamore Canyon Academy has partnered with professional dog trainer Jay Smith of Community Dog Training to provide the Shaping for Success program. Sycamore Canyon Academy provides a therapeutic program for teenage boys that are struggling at home, in their school and need a change in direction for their lives.

Shaping for Success uses rescue dogs in a training program where teenage boys and the dogs learn from each other. The dogs are provided by Foundation for Animals in Risk (FAIR).

The students provide obedience training for the dogs. Dogs that are trained are much easier to adopt. The boys learn life skills while living and working with the dogs.

There are two trainers per dog and an alternate trainer.

The students selected for the program must have been at the academy for at least one month. They must show positive change in behavior, carry a 3.0 grade average, and demonstrated that they have done enough work to get into the program.

Being chosen for the program is an accomplishment for the students and earns them an improved level of trust. The dogs live with the trainers in a dormitory setting.

The student trainers are responsible for the dog assigned to them. They clean their cages, feed, bathe, and exercise them. The students work with Jay Smith and Julie Hall learning to train their assigned dog.

Cindy Dechamp is from the academy staff has also been involved with the program. The program lasts five weeks. The trained dog is then placed into a foster home until they are adopted out.

The Shaping for Success program invites community involvement. Volunteers are welcome to help them walk and train the dogs during the day while the students are in school.

Donations are also accepted by Rite of Passage Sycamore Canyon Academy to help support the program.

If you would like to volunteer, contact Jay Smith at (520)792-6411 or visit his website at ComDogTrain.com.

Donations can be sent to Lois Carpenter P.O. Box 33 Oracle, AZ 85623. Specify that donations are for Shaping for Success. For more information on donating, contact Lois at 520-896-9399 or lcarpenter@rop.com.

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