Selected students spend the first four weeks of the program in a school classroom for two hours a day after school. There, they engage in positive-reinforcement lessons and exercises that help teach them empathy and compassion for living creatures.
During the final four weeks of the program, students are divided into pairs and teamed with a shelter dog, who they actually get to train.
“Creating that student-dog bond is absolutely vital,” says Kurup. “Many of the dogs have backgrounds that are similar to those of the students — some have been abused, others neglected or abandoned.”