“The Value of Human Animal Interactions” Event

Sept event

The Value of Human Animal Interactions

Paws for Progress are delighted to invite you to join us at our exciting two day event coming up in September, where we and our guests will explore the incredible relationship that people have with animals and the mutual value of positive Human Animal Interactions to both parties involved.

On Friday 18th and Saturday 19th of September, Paws for Progress are hosting an event focusing on “The Value of Human Animal Interactions” at the Stirling Court Hotel.  This exciting two day event gives us the chance to bring together multiple organisations and individuals with similar interests from around the country. It will be a brilliant opportunity to share details on the development and evaluation of our positive Human Animal Interaction programmes at Paws for Progress, and to hear about the development of other organisations and projects within the Human Animal Interaction and Animal Assisted Intervention fields.

Unleash potential

The event will provide valuable networking opportunities, engaging workshops and talks from an excellent range of guest speakers who will discuss the value of Human Animal Interactions within a variety of settings including healthcare, education and the community.Featuring talks from Rebecca Leonardi (Paws for Progress / University of Stirling), Elizabeth Ormerod (SCAS), Jo Williams (University of Edinburgh), Belinda Johnston (Our Special Friends) and Lesley Winton (Fostering Compassion).

Interactive workshops will be facilitated by representatives from a range of organisations including Turn about Pegasus, Dogs for the Disabled, Dementia Dog, Star Wards, SPPOT, People and Animals and many more.  We are truly delighted to have so many fantastic organisations involved!

teach quote

For more information about the event then please click here and to book tickets click here. Early Bird tickets are currently available, so please don’t hesitate; book now while this fantastic offer lasts!

There will also be the opportunity for organisations attending the event to set up stalls, free of charge, at the event. If you are interested in doing so then please email us at info@pawsforprogress.co.uk for more information.

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We look forward to welcoming you soon for an excellent two days of learning and sharing experiences.

With best wishes,

The Paws for Progress Team.

Human-Animal Interaction

The University of Stirling is offering a new Masters programme in Human-Animal Interaction (HAI), commencing September 2015. The University’s taught MSc/postgraduate diploma courses provide excellent training for a research career or for professional development.University of Stirling

This course introduces a broad range of topics and considers human-animal interactions across contexts, from pet owning to animal assisted interventions, zoos, farms and conservation. It will cover interdisciplinary approaches and a diverse range of methods used to research our relationships with other species.

For more information please see http://www.stir.ac.uk/postgraduate/programme-information/prospectus/psychology/humananimalinteraction/

Psychology at Stirling was ranked 3rd in Scotland (and 18th in the UK) in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and was one of only four UK institutions ranked as outstanding for research impact. The division has a vibrant research culture and offers exciting opportunities for taught postgraduate students to integrate with the research community.

Ellie H5Paws for Progress was developed in partnership with the University of Stirling, and we continue to be grateful for their excellent support. We are really excited to be involved in the development of the Stirling Human-Animal Interaction Research (SHAIR) Centre and will continue to work in partnership to evaluate our initiatives.

Human-Animal Interaction is a vital field of research. Humans share this planet with other animals, and our interactions are at the core of our everyday lives. For many of us, animals are considered members of HAIour family, both living with us and sharing in our lives. We farm and eat animals, we keep them as working companions (e.g. guide dogs), as models for humans in laboratory research (e.g. disease and toxicology), use them in therapeutic contexts, and in education, entertainment and ecotourism. Depending upon our perceptions and attitudes towards animals, and in relation to the impact they have on us and the environment, we may actively attempt to understand them, conserve them, domesticate them or eradicate them. Despite the ubiquitous nature of human-animal interactions, and research that falls under this umbrella term, interdisciplinary links are rarely made, providing an incomplete understanding of the interactions, and the mechanisms underlying their costs and benefits.

As such SHAIR’s Mission is “to re-write our understanding of ways in which humans and animals interact, the mechanisms underlying the costs and benefits of interactions, and to develop methodology for evaluating interactions and promoting positive outcomes”.

Please share details of these exciting developments with others who are interested in Human-Animal Interactions and help build and strengthen this vitally important field of research.

Merry Christmas! What wonderful things await in 2015…

We’ve had a very exciting year here at Paws for Progress

Welcome to the ???????????????????????????????Paws for Progress Christmas blog post, where we will sum up another great year and give you a teaser of what we have planned for 2015! Thanks to the support of The Robertson Trust and the University of Stirling, we began the year by progressing from being a pilot project to gaining the status of Community Interest Company (CIC) in February which has opened the door to many more opportunities. We would like to thank our funders this year for their generous support; the Voluntary Action Fund, The Robertson Trust, the Big Lottery Scotland: Young Start Fund, The Cross Trust, The Nancie Massey Charitable Trust and The Tabhair Charitable Trust.

Summary of 2014

 In August, we celebrated the third anniversary since the Dog Training Course began operating at HM YOI Polmont. In this time, we have completed 12 cycles and 70 young men completed the course at HM YOI Polmont. 100% of the participants felt the course had been useful to them and responded positively about their experiences. The full evaluation will be completed early 2015, and we are looking forward to sharing the ensuing reports detailing the positive effects participating has for the young people and dogs involved.

Fundraising Successes

We have also had a very successful year of fundraising. In July, Tynewater Dog Training hosted an excellent seminar with Al Bunyan, with proceeds donated to Paws for Progress. Meanwhile this autumn Gary and Tracey, two of our wonderful Directors at Paws, ran more than 26 miles between them to raise money for Paws. Gary completed the great North run in September, while Tracey completed the Great Scottish Run Half Marawp28b51b52_06thon in October- a great effort from both.

Alongside some smaller fundraising initiatives and the Amazon Wish List this brings the total raised this year for Paws for Progress up to over £4,000 – amazing work and a huge thank you from all at Paws, your commitment and hard work is truly appreciated by everyone involved!

Christmas Fundraising

Christmas is approaching fast, and it would be fantastic if ???????????????????????????????you could help us raise money for Paws for Progress when you’re shopping online. If you sign up to support us on easyfundraising.org then you can shop with any of over 2,700 retailers and a percentage of what you spend is donated to Paws for Progress at no additional cost to you. Retailers include Amazon, John Lewis, eBay, Tesco and many more. In just a few short weeks our supporters have already raised over £60 which is a fantastic achievement in such a short period, so please do sign up and get involved and let’s see if we can hit our target of £100 by Christmas!

You can also mojo2help us raise money when you’re browsing the internet by supporting us on easysearch.org and use it instead of your usual search engine. There is now the opportunity for you to buy branded Paws for Progress merchandise, either for yourself or as a Christmas gift! For every item purchased from our web-shop we receive a  commission, so not only will you look great promoting Paws for Progress with your branded purchases but you’ll be giving money to a good cause too. Visit our webshop to browse a variety of products including mugs, hoodies, t-shirts and dog tags. Check out our mascot Mojo modelling his hoodie!

Many thanks for your support

Also a huge thank you to all the individuals who support us, your interest and kind support really makes all the difference! Our hardworking students would like to thank you, and from the letter below you can really see what a difference your support makes and how much it is appreciated:

“To all those who help Paws for Progress,

All of the students at Polmont HM YOI would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your support over the last few years.

If we didn’t have your support then this course would be nowhere near as good as it is. Thanks to you we are able to buy in lots of training tools like clickers, leads, treat bags, treats, toys etc. which means the dogs that we work with would not have such a good experience without it. Thanks from all the boys.”

Paws for Progress students, 2014

If you would like to make a donation of any of the items mentioned in the message above then please visit our Amazon Wish List!

Plans for 2015

Our final course of the year has now drawn to a close, and we are now preparing our workshop at Polmont for refurbishment. This is a really exciting development which will provide us with new, purpose built facilities for our indoor training sessions, and we are really looking forward to using the facilities. This is part of a significant investment in the learning environment at HM YOI Polmont. The refurbishment is due to be completed by March, when the course will resume better than ever. We truly appreciate the excellent support which has been provided to the project by our partners the Scottish Prison Service. We are really excited to be involved in the creation of the learning environment at Polmont and contributing to the Young People’s Strategy: Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Responsible Citizens, Effective Contributors.

In the New Year we will be fast approaching our one year anniversary as a Community Interest Company. Now that we have a secure core of dedicated directors and a growing team of staff we are looking to expand our services further, enabling us to help more people and animals. This will include raising funds by running events which you can get involved with, and we will also be hosting conferences, training days and workshops. More details on the topics which will be covered, dates and how to get involved will be included in our next newsletter and regular updates here on our blog o watch this space.

If you are interested in attending one of our events and would like to be on our mailing list to receive information please contact us at info@pawsforprogress.co.uk with your details and we’ll get in touch with news about our upcoming events.

In 2014 we had the pleasure of visiting Meadowbank Library in Falkirk to give a talk on the work that Paws for Progress carries out, which was a great opportunity to connect with the local community. If you are interested in having us provide a talk about Paws for Progress then please get in touch. We are also thrilled to be working in partnership with the University of Stirling in developing the new Stirling Human-Animal Interaction Research (SHAIR) Centre.  This means that the new initiatives and services we provide will also be carefully evaluated to guide their development and ensure the needs of our clients are met. There will also be a new MSc course in Human-Animal Interactions at the University of Stirling from 2015. More details coming soon…

All in all there are plenty of promising opportunities waiting for us in 2015, and we can’t wait to carry on growing and continuing the success of 2014.

A Merry Christmas to you all from everyone at Paws for Progress, we look forward to updating you on our new ventures in 2015!

                                    ???????????????????????????????

Exciting times…

We have been busy as ever over the summer months and have even more great news to share from Paws for Progress!

Firstly, we are very pleased to announce our successful grant awarded from the Big Lottery Scotland: Young Start Fund. This grant is vital to ensuring our project at HM YOI Polmont continues to operate successfully, by funding the post of our Course Instructor. When announcing the grants awarded, Chair of Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Maureen McGinn, said: “Young Start helps ensuyoungstartre that Scotland’s next generation has the best possible start in life”; we share this ambition and look forward to reporting more success in achieving this as the project continues.

 

Thanks to the Volunteering Support Grant provided by the Voluntary Action Fund, we have also now recruited for the post of Support Officer for the Paws for Progress team. Our Support Officer will provide additional support to young men volunteering in the community, ensuring their skills are VAF LOGO put to good use and assisting the students to use the skills, learning and qualifications they gain from volunteering post release to effectively demonstrate their “work readiness”.

 

Two of our Directors at Paws for Progress CIC are also helping raise funds for Paws For Progress by running in sponsored events. Please help support their great efforts by following the links below to their sponsorship pages:

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Gary Waddell – Great North Run – 7th Sept

 

Tracey McLennan – Great Scottish Run Half Marathon – 5th Oct

 

 

We are very grateful to all our partners, funders and supporters for the help they provide, ensuring we can continue to deliver our services and improve the outcomes of the young people and dogs involved. Please see our ‘About’ section for further details.

We are also thrilled to be working alongside the University of Stirling to develop the new and exciting Stirling Human-Animal Interaction Research (SHAIR) Centre. Our partnership with SHAIR will ensure rigorous evaluations are built into all new developments, whilst also expanding our knowledge and understanding in the field of Human-Animal Interactions (HAI). In addition, a new postgraduate course will be developed in Psychology at the University of Stirling, complimenting the range of taught MSc / postgraduate diploma courses which provide training for a research career or for professional development. This exciting new development means that from 2015, the MSc in Human Animal Interactions will be available at the University of Stirling. Please contact the Psychology Office at the University of Stirling for more information.

Thank you for your interest and support; we look forward to sharing more news soon.

Paws for Progress CIC

Enhancing the well-being of people and animals

Promoting and supporting positive human-animal interactions

2014 – a great year for Paws for Progress!

The first prison based dog training programme in the UK, Paws for Progress was introduced to HM YOI Polmont in August 2011, and continues to operate successfully as we approach our third anniversary. We have been working hard to ensure the project is sustainable in the long term and are very pleased to announce that Paws for Progress was registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in February 2014 (see ‘About us: Paws for Progress CIC’).  We are very grateful to our project partnersfunders and supporters who continue to provide excellent support throughout the course delivery and project development (see ‘Our partners, funders and supporters’ for more information) which enables us to continue to improve the outcomes of the young people and dogs who are involved.

Latest reviews of our progress

We have now completed eleven cycles of the course at HM YOI Polmont, and the response is hugely positive. Overall, there have now been 66 young men who have taken part in Paws for Progress; over 80% of these continued to support us post-graduation as peer mentors and volunteer assistants, demonstrating their high commitment. Rebecca Leonardi (who instigated the project) is researching the efficacy of Paws for Progress in delivering the intended outcomes (as the focus of her PhD) and it will therefore be subject to a comprehensive review, due to be completed by the end of the year.

More good news!

In the meantime, we are delighted to report some of the headline results and initial findings e.g. in the last year (as of May 2014):

– 30 young men completed the 8-week dog training course

– Almost 300 SQA qualifications gained in core skills such as reading, writing, calculation and measuring

 – 100% of participants felt the course had helped them, and that it had a positive effect on their understanding of dogs too  

 – 21 dogs gained APDT Good Companion Awards

 – 55 dogs successfully re-homed

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Fife College

Feedback from the young men involved in the pilot project has been extremely positive, with participants feeling more confident about their communication skills, problem solving abilities, patience and management of emotions as they progress through the course. The young men feel a real sense of accomplishment, gained from the achievement of targets and goals, and from seeing the improvements in the dogs they work with (see examples below).Over 75% of our graduates have also continued to engage with us following their release, allowing us to continue to provide support and facilitate volunteering opportunities.

Student feedback

Student feedbackLearning together

 

Happily rehomed

 The dogs participating in Paws for Progress have continued to respond very positively to the training they receive. Overall, 111 dogs have now been successfully rehomed, and 48 APDT Good Companion Awards gained. The students work very hard under the guidance of  Paws for Progress staff to ensure the dogs’ continuously progress.

Whilst the full evaluation of the dog outcomes is ongoing, the initial findings are very positive, demonstrating improvements to behaviour across training tasks. The dogs’ improved behaviour and sociability also increases their appeal to adopters, and the extra promotion the students’ work provides can help these great dogs find the loving homes they so deserve.

Happily rehomed

Events

Following on from the successful Paws for Progress Event at HM YOI Polmont last year, we will be taking part in a number of conferences and events during 2014 to showcase our work and share information with supporters and stakeholders. This includes attending the IAHIAO Symposium 2014, where we will engage in important discussions to share perspectives, practices and knowledge in Human Animal Interactions (HAI).

Paws for Progress CIC is based within the University of Stirling, who are supporting the development alongside the new and exciting Stirling Human Animal Interactions Research (SHAIR) Centre. We will host a HAI Workshop at the University of Stirling later this year, and will provide you with more details soon.

Paws for Progress continues to receive widespread interest and support and we are thrilled that this momentum continues to grow.

Agility

Thank you to everyone who is helping us achieve our ambition to deliver positive change in the lives of both people and animals.

We look forward to sharing more news with you soon.

 

 

Link

“How dogs are teaching young offenders new tricks”

In case anyone missed the recent coverage of Paws for Progress in The Guardian, the link above will take you to the article, published online on Tuesday 17 September 2013. Our thanks to The Guardian and

There are lots of exciting developments happening at present, and we look forward to sharing more news with you soon. Thank you to everyone for their support of this great project.

Welcoming Paws for Progress into 2013…

As we begin training another new group of enthusiastic students on the Paws for Progress course, we thought it was time we provide you with another update on the project’s developments and achievements so far.

Reviews

We have now completed six cycles of the course at HM YOI Polmont, and the response so far has been hugely positive. Rebecca Leonardi (who instigated the project) is researching the efficacy of Paws for Progress in delivering the intended outcomes (as the focus of her PhD) and it will therefore be subject to a comprehensive review. In the meantime, we are pleased to say that the Visiting Committee and HM Inspectorate of Prisons have been very impressed by our work, as seen in their recent reports (see quote below):

HMCIP Report

The results of our first year review (described in a previous post) were so impressive that the Scottish Prison Service have continued to increase the resources dedicated to support Paws for Progress. We were provided with dedicated work area for the project  at HM YOI Polmont, now known as ‘The Dog Training Workshop. We were thrilled to welcome a dedicated SPS Officer to the team, who now works with us on a full time basis. Combined with the excellent assistance from our training team throughout our practical training sessions, and the Learning Support provided by Carnegie College, this increased staff support has meant we were able to increase the number of training sessions per week, and increase the opportunities available to participants.

Educational achievements

Our students complete an SQA in Personal Development, in which they design a personal project based on their work in the course, and review their progress in relation to individual targets. Paws for Progress developed a partnership with Carnegie College in early 2012, and began contextualising SQA qualifications in Communications, IT and Numeracy within the coursework. These core skills are very important for future employment (as highlighted in the Curriculum for Excellence), and made relevant and enjoyable to the students by being integrated into our work with the dogs.Working with the dogs Since then, our students have gained a very impressive number of qualifications; from units in reading, writing, speaking and listening, to units in calculation, graphical information and measuring. Our students now make digital displays to promote the dogs to potential adopters, whilst also gaining an IT qualification as a result of their hard work. Students who continue as peer mentors and assistants can achieve higher levels of qualification. In total, there are now 10 educational qualifications which our students can gain through the dog training course. The students also work towards Course Certification and each successful rehoming of a dog is a recognised achievement for the trainer.

Quito - example slide

In addition to more practical training time, our students now have more opportunity to develop the dogs’ promotional material, further improving their chances of finding new homes.

Thanks from new owners

Training Sessions

Each student is paired with a dog, and their work is focussed towards helping the dog be rehomed. We use Agility trainingkind, fair and effective dog training methods; positive reinforcement techniques are employed to teach the dogs new skills, and our students design individual training plans using reward based methods to achieve their training goals. And thanks to the kind donations received through Tynewater DoAgility Trainingg Training’s fundraising event, we were able to purchase additional equipment, including the agility equipment shown, meaning the dogs benefit from even more positive stimulation and activity during their visits. Our Agility Trainingthanks also go to Broadleys Veterinary Hospital for their kind donations of equipment for our Training Room.

The dogs show great enthusiasm for their training and make excellent progress, and the affection between dogs and handlers is moving to observe. Handlers work towards APDT Good Companion Awards with their dogs, to help provide practical skills that will benefit both the dog and new owners when they are successfully rehomed.

During the theory training sessions (without the rescue dogs present), participants learn the theory behind dog training and animal care, complete coursework and are visited by guest speakers, to discuss their work with animals and encourage our students to put their skills to use in employment in the future.

We are so grateful to the increasing number of organisations that support us, providing external speakers for course sessions and work experience opportunities for Paws for Progress graduates. These organisations include Blair Drummond Safari Park, Edinburgh Zoo, Broadleys Veterinary Hospital, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the Guide Dog Association, the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA), Willows Animal Sanctuary, Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service, Safe Paws and Tynewater Dog Training.


Our students thoughts...

We hope you agree that the project is progressing well for everybody as we begin 2013! So a big thank you from all of us at Paws for Progress for the fantastic support shown to us, and we look forward to sharing more news with you all soon.