Assistance Dog Education Program and Training (ADEPT)
ADEPT is an innovative PawPADs internship program at the University of Wisconsin River Falls. It unites PawPADs’ positive training methods and philosophy with the UWRF mission to “help prepare students to be productive, creative, ethical, engaged citizens and leaders with an informed global perspective.”
How Does The Program Work?
- The ADEPT internship program, unique within the UW system and nationwide, is distinct from traditional assistance dog puppy-raising experiences and training.
- PawPADs provides its ADEPT interns with service dogs in-training, professional training instruction and opportunities for application, as well as opportunities for broader collaboration within the industry and the community. In exchange, the internship requires a serious and dedicated commitment of time, patience and teamwork on the part of the student.
- Designed for students with a serious interest in assistance dog training and placement, the ADEPT internship program is a multi-semester 2 credit opportunity offered by PawPADs through the other internship programs in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science (CAFES).
- We provide the ADEPT students with small group and individual professional training, guidance and learning opportunities that translate directly into employable training skill sets upon graduation. Interns are responsible for the training, socialization and welfare of the ADEPT assistance dogs in-training.
- Activities and responsibilities include: high level socialization/public access training, obedience skills and task training; providing physical assistance and performing tasks useful to a person with a physical mobility challenge, such as retrieves, turning on lights, alerting to blood sugar changes and opening doors. Each student is responsible for the daily care, supervision, training, and sanitation of dogs involved in the program.
What They Say About ADEPT
“As I reflect on my time at UW-River Falls, I can’t imagine not being in the ADEPT program, the impact it had on me is hard to put into words. I not only had the amazing opportunity to train four assistance dogs and see two of the dogs that I trained through to placements with clients, but I also made lifelong friendships with my fellow ADEPT interns. Being an ADEPT intern was challenging but so incredibly rewarding, each dog teaching me something new and bringing a new set of challenges and opportunities. To this day I am so proud to be able to share with others the amazing work PawPADs and the ADEPT program is doing and my experiences from the past two years. From the beginning I said that these dogs are life changers and I know that is true because they have forever changed mine.”
– Grace M
“ADEPT creates the opportunity for coming-of-age students and service dogs in-training to learn from each other, resulting in life-changing client placements. Student interns live their lives with their dogs, which means going to class, work, appointments, events, you name it. It also means going through the highs and the lows with each other, learning their personalities, celebrating small victories, educating the community, and advocating for individuals with disabilities. Living this life leads to endless teaching moments, both human and canine. The process of raising a service dog requires intense love, hard work, and determination.”
– Nate D.
The ADEPT internship has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Helping service dogs develop from puppies with no manners to fully-fledged diabetic alert dogs or physical assistance dogs is eye-opening. I have been able to see the dogs I have worked with find their perfect match and take on the world with their partner, and this has shown me that the ADEPT internship has not only changed my life for the better, but has also helped me change the lives of others in monumental ways.”
– Alana S
The hands-on experience interns gain from ADEPT is incredibly valuable. From training sessions at home, to public access outings, to advocacy, we have the opportunity to be surrounded by new learning opportunities every day while working with the dogs. ADEPT has also enhanced my college experience in so many ways. I interact with the public, professors, and other students so much more as a result of the internship and, because of this, I feel like I am a bigger part of the campus community. I’ve also gained lifelong friendships as a result of being an ADEPT intern. I have no doubt that my experience in ADEPT will shape the rest of my college career as well as my professional career.”
– Lauren S.
Interested in bringing ADEPT to your institution?
- An established curriculum and extensive experience training both dogs and people.
- A mission statement specifically focused on the educational aspect of training dogs.
- Complete package of skills and knowledge developed by pioneers in the field.
- Broad, up-to-date, and relevant Continuing Education experience.
- In-depth experience within the University of Wisconsin and Federal Bureau of Prisons systems.