Triumph students have the opportunity to train Registered Retrievers. The youth care for and train puppies, juvenile retrievers, and adult retrievers on a daily basis. This covers socialization, obedience, and basic training through advanced training. Once the boys become competent in their training skills, they also have the opportunity to work at and compete in many nationally AKC licensed retriever tests and field trials.
This is a highly therapeutic process in which youth must be approved by Triumph Youth Services Clinicians and administration to participate. Teaching these dogs takes an extreme amount of patience and compassion. The students learn various life skills from this program including, positive recreation, patience, communication, responsibility, handling frustration, the importance of repeating positive actions/behavior, fair and positive competition, establishing appropriate relationships and boundaries, accepting NO, dealing with failure and stick-to-itiveness. This is a huge trust building exercise, as well as learning true accountability and responsibility.
Studies have shown that spending time with a friendly dog, even for a short time, increases the amount of endorphins that are released into the body, and decreases the levels of the hormone Cortisol, which controls stress and arousal. Because many troubled teens are in a near constant state of emotional anxiety and/or stress, spending quality time with animals can help them feel calmer and provide motivation to apply to their own lives.