Iowa students training puppy as a service dog

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa-- An Iowa kindergarten teacher came up with a unique idea to teach her students a big, life lesson.

The idea is called Victor. And, well, it's more of a dog than an idea.

Marit Beisner brought Victor into her classroom to reverse roles with her students, letting them serve as teachers. Her kindergartners are training Victor to become a service dog.

"He puts his paws up on our lap in case someone's scared," one student explains.

Another adds, "We teach him how to turn on a light switch; we teach him how to sit."

You can hear another in the distance, excitedly shouting, "Victor! SIT! Yes, good boy."

When Victor first started his classroom training, he was just a puppy. Now, he's a year into his training, and after two years he'll go to "Retrieving Freedom," a non-profit in Waverly, Iowa that matches service dogs with military veterans, kids with autism, and people with diabetes.

In the meantime, the kindergartners aren't just teaching Victor. He's also helping them learn.

The kids know all kinds of facts about dogs now.

"He can smell one thousand times farther than a human," one quips.

Another shares some wise wisdom she picked up from being around Victor, "If you fail you can try again." Another student adds, "Yeah, you just keep on trying."

Victor is the third service dog Mrs. Beisner has brought into her classroom. She says this is a way she can educate students and their families about service dogs.

Locally, the Quad Cities Canine Assistance Network is working to train service dogs. If you're interested in training your dog to become a certified Pet Therapy Dog, you can find out more information HERE.

Disability Assistance Dogs also professionally trains each dog and matches him/her to individual clients. To find out more information on their services, click here.