Becker College Program
Becker College, located in Leicester, MA offers students working on their undergratuate degree in animal care a hands on experience with retired greyhounds. The dogs are accepted into the program and brought to the school before each semiester starts, at the end of each sememster the greyhounds are sent to the adoption groups that part of the program to find new loving homes.
While at Becker, the greyhounds are promoted as “classmates” that afford the students valuable hands-on experience. They participate in the following classes throughout the semester:
Dog Obedience – This is a required class for sophomore Animal Care students, and consists of a weekly lecture and lab. Each enrolled student is paired with one dog that they are responsible for working with at least four times per week outside of class time. The course utilizes clicker training and agility to teach the students how learning happens, and to build each dog’s confidence and individual capabilities. The college recently approved the use of an on-campus apartment (including a kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom) as “real-life rooms” for dog-training purposes, which can help dogs who have never lived in a home environment, as well as allowing previously-owned dogs to “brush up” on household skills. Behaviors that develop through the semester are incorporated into the lesson plan and training methods are customized, gentle and relationship-driven. The goal of our training is to help each dog truly enjoy and be successful in their lifelong interactions with people, and the students in this course are encouraged to be as involved in their assigned dog’s care as they can be. They become very engaged in their assigned dogs’ daily lives, working diligently to bring out the best in them. The students also become great advocates for their dogs, and often put quite a lot of heart and energy into promoting the teaching animals for adoption at the end of the semester.
Grooming – The teaching animals all receive at least one full grooming each semester and more frequently if needed.
Exam Room – Animals requiring vaccinations, blood testing or physical exams throughout the semester participate in the students’ exam room rotations. This basic preventive care is provided at no cost to the shelter.