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Posted on October 6, 2016

“Dogs for Good makes life-changing differences for people with disabilities”

Dogs for Good explores ways that dogs can help people overcome specific challenges, and enrich and improve lives and communities. The charity’s assistance dogs support adults and children with a range of disabilities. More recently they have been training specialist handlers to introduce therapy dogs into schools and communities. They also give specialist advice and support to help families with a child with autism get the most out of the relationship with their pet dog.

Where Smartbox come in

Dogs for Good is working with a number of people that are physically limited. Within that, some of the people they help are also non-verbal (and some already using eye gaze). At the moment, the dogs are being trained using a selection of switch recording devices, each with different commands.

This is where Grid 3 comes in. Being able to have an all-round device and reduce the number of switches would create a much more effective training process.

The devices used for our training dayExploring Grid 3

It’s all about building that relationship between a person and their dog – and being able to communicate with them.

We invited Dogs for Good to come and spend the day with us, and explore the options the Grid 3 could provide.

There was talk of building personalised grid sets for each user, and the possibilities Grid 3 could generate when it comes to preparing families for the arrival of their assistance dog.

(Think Look to Learn: if you’re already familiar with the Grid 3 software you’ll know exactly what happens when you feed Dilbert the Dog too many sausages!)

“Ultimately, the dogs are not a mobility tool – they’re one of the family. It’s all about building that relationship between the person and their dog – and with the help of Grid 3, enabling them to communicate with their dogs in the most efficient way possible.”

building a grid set with dogs for good

Why this is so important to Dogs for Good

At the moment it’s the parent or carer directing the dog on behalf of the person that needs help. Instead of the parent and dog working to the child however, Dogs for Good want to build the relationship between the child and dog directly and enable the child to communicate directly with their dog.

The ultimate goal is to develop a person’s independence within their own home.

“If they are able to command their dog to pick something up that has fallen off their lap for instance, without having to call upon a parent or carer that is in another room – for us, that is the start of independence.”

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