Students in Boulder Creek Elementary School's C.O.P.E. program (Children Overcoming Problems in Education) in Gilbert are junior trainers to Bella, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and Brodie, a 2-year-old Boston terrier/beagle mix.
The students, in kindergarten through sixth grade, work with the dogs using verbal commands, hand signals, and leash training. The dogs must complete three levels of training and pass a test to become certified, in turn becoming official good citizen canines. Through the program, the students are seeing a boost in their self-esteem and learning better how to express their feelings, school officials say.