The set-up of the team coaching programme is that the student HIMSELF, coached by a professional instructor, is going to train the dog to be an assistance dog. In this way, the assistance that is required for more independence is created.

Training an assistance dog in accordance with our programme requires a substantial investment. Initially, from the student himself, but also from the environment. During the programme much time is spent on training the dog. The day-to-day life becomes a succession of moments of learning and of objectives to let the student and the dog become a perfectly cooperating team.

The team coaching programme of BultersMekke can start at various moments. This depends on the moment of placement of the dog in the student’s home and of the student’s wishes and possibilities.

If a start is made during the dog’s first year of life with a student, the main issue will be to work on a good basis and preparation to the tasks the dog will carry out later. In the first year of his life, a dog is not yet really “up” to carry out real assistance dogs’ tasks, but it is possible for us to give a first start to the major skills.

The team coaching programme aimed at the tasks that the dog is going to carry out as an assistance dog for the student, will start approximately at the time when the dog is about one year old. It takes about six months on an average.

In this period, there is an average of one home training a week, in which time and again new skills and actions are taught to the dog. The student himself teaches these skills to the dog and in this he is being coached by BultersMekke very intensively.

The progress with which this is done, depends of the development of the team involved (student/dog) and of what is necessary and appropriate in the student’s situation.

During the course, the student will further expand more and more skills and the dog will get command of more and more tasks. In this way, the team will more and more get geared to each other.

Every day, the student will keep practising to ....
  • ... pick up all kinds of things from the floor
  • ... pass these objects correctly
  • ... open and close doors
  • ... operate all the buttons in and around the house
  • ... learn to operate the emergency button to call in help
  • ... block the student with crossing the road
  • ... keep lying down with the student after an epileptic attack
  • ... teach the assistance dog to react to various sounds
  • ... and any other possibilities that are important.
Between the training sessions, there is an intensive contact with the instructor. This according to the necessity of and need for this during the team coaching period.

The transfer to an official assistance dog takes place at the end of the training programme. In cooperation with an independent instructor, the team (student/dog) is assessed.

After this, fixed moments of contact will take place annually, as long as the dog is active as an assistance dog, during which it will be assessed whether the team still functions adequately and satisfactorily. Besides, students/graduates can always call in the instructors of BultersMekke in case of any questions or for being taught new actions.