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Dogs Connect - Connection, Regulation and Empathy

Course Status:


Dogs Connect - Connection, Regulation and Empathy

CE's Available:


Cost: $





Grant Shannon

Amanda Leonard

Stephen W. Porges, PhD

Course Overview

This is a short course that will explain some of the key links between theory and practice related to connection with a well-being dog in an education setting. The Dogs Connect Program has been implemented in every type of school setting and supports a shift in educational practice through teaching people how to connect with dogs in a healthy, balanced, meaningful, and sustainable way so that the dogs and humans all benefit from the opportunities that come from this connectedness. The results from this program include significant positive impacts on teaching and learning outcomes, increased school attendance, reduced school refusal, enhanced relationship development, and students reporting that they feel safer in the classroom. This course will help students to explore how this connection and these impacts can be felt in a school community, as well as building understanding around how the Polyvagal Theory underpins how this connection is built and sustained. This course is delivered as modules made up of self-paced video lessons which will introduce, explain, and demonstrate exactly how the connection with an animal can help to reach the learning brain and become a valuable addition to existing intervention and prevention strategies in an education setting. Optional one hour live broader student community discussions: • Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 2 pm Eastern Time with Deb Dana, LCSW • Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 11 am Eastern Time with Stephen Porges, PhD Students will have access to the course for 180 days from the date of purchase.


10 prerecorded videos 6 handouts Live broader student community discussions with Stephen Porges, PhD or Deb Dana, LCSW



Recommended Audience

dog trainers, dog owners, educators, parents, clinicians

CE's and/or Certificate of Completion Available

Certificate of Completion upon course completion.


Grant Shannon

Grant Shannon is the Founder of Dogs Connect, B.Ed, M.Ed (App. Learning), M.Ed (Student Wellbeing). During his ten-year teaching career, Grant recognized that his students needed more from traditional education. He decided to create a program to help students feel more connected and engaged in their school environment. The Dogs Connect Program is now in over 100 schools as well as in justice and healthcare settings. Grant’s great passion for education has driven him to research the benefits of training wellbeing dogs for the classroom. He willingly shares his knowledge and scientific evidence, teaching students and staff how to build emotional intelligence and resilience. Many schools are now witnessing first-hand the impact the program is having on academic outcomes.

Grant Shannon

Amanda Leonard

Amanda Leonard

Amanda Leonard is the content developer with Dogs Connect BA (Psych. Soc), MSW. Amanda has more than 25 years of experience working as a counsellor in both community and education contexts. She is passionate about all things wellbeing and values strengths-based, trauma-informed practices. Her positive psychology work helps us establish partnerships, develop resources and deliver our programs. Amanda shares a strong interest in staff wellbeing and holistic approaches in building capacity, connection and resilience. Seeing the profound impact of this program in improving wellbeing gives her absolute joy. Visit the Dogs website for more info:

Stephen W. Porges, PhD

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He is the originator of the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral, mental, and health problems related to traumatic experiences. He is the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol ™ , which currently is used by approximately 3,000 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, and to improve language processing, state regulation, and spontaneous social engagement. Dr. Porges is a founder of the Polyvagal Institute.

Stephen W. Porges, PhD


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