Writtle University College has revealed an exciting new addition to its Kings Lodge Campus. The recently constructed, grassed paddocks will be used by students and staff as they work with dogs undergoing behavioural therapy.
When face-to-face practical work resumes, the securely fenced area will support projects carried out by final year Animal Management or Science students studying the Pet Behaviour and Welfare pathway but may also be used by the Canine Therapy and Veterinary Physiotherapy courses.
Debbie Emmerson, Lecturer in Canine Therapy and Animal Science, says: "The new paddocks will offer fantastic opportunities for students to gain practical experience. When the situation allows, they will also be central to the development of WUC's on-site behaviour clinic.
"The clinic will offer dog training classes from WUC's facilities and the paddocks will accommodate outdoor summer sessions. When not in use for teaching or the behaviour clinic, the fields will be available to hire by members of the public."
Each of the paddocks are surrounded by fencing and accessed by a gate, making them suitable for dogs who are nervous, reactive or aggressive.
Debbie explains: "These paddocks provide the perfect safe space to rehabilitate reactive dogs, practice recall with dogs who don't reliably return when called, and exercise the dogs we use in sessions - staff dogs Ava, Bea and Pirate (pictured) have had many a race round the paddocks and give them their seal of approval!"
The paddocks are part of the ongoing development of WUC's canine facilities, which include an indoor training area and an enclosed outdoor training space.
WUC will continue to expand its resources by investing in a behaviour consultation room with observation laboratory. The planned areas will allow students to watch and participate in clinical animal behaviour counselling.
These recent developments tie in with the status achieved by WUC's courses. The Animal Behaviour and Training Council's (ABTC) recognition of four of WUC's programmes lets students who complete these qualifications prove they hold the knowledge required to meet ABTC standards for animal trainers or behaviourists.