Animal Assisted Therapy Training

It takes a lot of care and time to train a calf to be ready for Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) work. This AAT work is very important work. adopt meOf course to the calf is not really work because the calves are just being themselves, it is just that they are trained to have very, very good manners.

The people that work with and train these calves need to be very, very sure that their calves have good manners. Good manners for a calf is a bit like saying please and thank you. It means the calves are never allowed to be pushy and rude. Calves learn very early that they must wait their turn to be brushed and petted.

We Start With Good Manners

When we want to know whether one of our calves will be a good candidate to train for Animal Assisted Therapy the first thing we do is look at her 'parents' (the bull and the cow). The bull is called the sire and the cow is called the dam. All our bulls were chosen because they are very calm and friendly. 

So, if the cow is particularly calm and friendly too, then there is a strong possibility that the calf will be doubly so. We also check back to see if the cow was easy to halter train when she was a calf.

We always look for cows and calves that particularly like to be around people. So, we start by choosing calves that have calm, friendly mothers that will come up to us for attention.

mumma calf

Important to note: Calves not only look like their parents they act like them too.

Calves & Good Manners

Really good manners are extremely important when cows and calves go off to work with kids (and grown ups) who really do need a friend. AAT training begins with making sure the calves have good manners.

Good manners in a calf means that the calf won't kick or use her head to push you around. We don't have to spend too much time with a calf to work out whether she will do either of these things. If the calf does either of these things a decision has to made as to whether or not this behaviour can be changed. 

Cool Cows

The other thing we need to be pretty sure of is how a cow or calf will react under pressure. We have to get the calves used to loud noises and unexpected actions. We need to know a calf will keep her cool if something goes wrong.

AAT Cuddle Cows can help kids and grown ups get through a rough patch - that's a pretty cool cow!

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Two year old TwoDee getting a brush in the paddock. It is a very loving interaction. This heifer weighs around 250 kgs and her neck is very strong, so this is a very trusting interaction for both parties. 

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This little cow Dimity is five years old. She is an AAT co worker for a psychologist in SE Queensland. Both Dimity's heifer calves are now in training also.

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