Positive reinforcement in our training and interactions with dogs, student trainers and clients is the foundation of ADW’s whole-systems philosophy. From our founding, ADW was among the first service dog agencies to utilize a positive-reinforcement training approach. Clicker training with food rewards is our primary positive-reinforcement training tool. While clicker training has become more popular nationwide, we remain singular in our refusal to resort to punishment-based dog training.
The result of this positive-reinforcement approach is that ADW dogs love to learn and love to work. They are confident and emotionally balanced. Through these qualities ADW dogs when placed with clients foster enhanced client independence and a greater sense of self-reliance for client families. They offer unconditional love and companionship. They demonstrate how finding creative solutions to a wide range of human challenges enormously improves peoples’ experiences and their quality of life.
At work frequently in public with their handlers, ADW dogs also facilitate a means of comfortably beginning conversations that educate the public in understanding the many human populations that our program serves.