Go Dog Go: College course explores human/canine communication - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Go Dog Go: College course explores human/canine communication

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by Danielle Wagner

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Dogs don't speak English, but we still find ways to communicate. A new course at an eastern Iowa college is exploring the ways humans and canines communicate.

The class is called Go Dog Go: the human/canine communication connection.

Associate Professor of Communication Arts Dr. Maggie Sullivan put her love of dogs into the January term course.

"I thought a wonderful source would be the interaction with dogs as pets, certainly, as service dogs, as police assistance, as military assistance and therapy dogs," said Sullivan.

The class meets Monday through Friday for three weeks.

It features guest speakers like Cindy Ludwig with Canine Connection.

She specializes in dog training. Ludwig spoke about understanding what your dog is saying and the importance of proper communication.

"I think it's interesting how dogs respond with being very strict with language versus a loving and soft voice," said student Darra Wiencek.

Besides class time, students must also volunteer at least 20 hours at the Dubuque Regional Humane Society.

"I have a dog at home, she's a brittany spaniel and I love her. I heard we do service hours at the Humane Society and thought it would be fun and one of my friends wanted to do it so signed up together for the class," said student Molly Devine.

But not all the 20 students are dog lovers.

Joe Hughes hasn't had good experiences with dogs, but he said this class is helping him become more open-minded about our four-legged friends.

"Seeing all these wonderful dogs coming in, it's opened me up to the possibility of getting a dog when I'm older," said Joe Hughes.

Associate Professor Dr. Maggie Sullivan said while the subject of dogs isn't a common college course, it's definitely a "happy" class to teach.

"We hear amazing things dogs have done and we're smiling everyday in class and that can only help," said Sullivan.

Besides smiles, she hopes the students leave this class with a new appreciation for the importance of communication, whether it's human to human or human to dog.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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