Approximately 37-47% of all household in the United States have a dog, however more than 3.9 million dogs enter shelters annually.  Many reasons contribute to why these animals end up in a shelter. Common myths are that the dog has something wrong or is aggressive or ill.  In fact, people surrender their dog for many reasons - not able to afford to care for the animal, not having enough space, or not being able to have a pet when they move.

In order to give a second chance to sheltered dogs and strengthen the possibility that some of them get adopted, a program was developed to train and socialize them using incarcerated individuals as trainers.

The program teaches incarcerated individuals valuable marketable job skills, saves canine lives, and gives eligible incarcerated individuals an opportunity to obtain a feeling of satisfaction and self-worth by providing foster care and basic obedience training to sheltered dogs while enhancing the incarcerated individual’s social and employability skills. Additionally, it gives the incarcerated individuals an opportunity to return something positive to the community – a healthy and well socialized dog.

Partnering shelters provide dogs and certified dog trainers to instruct the incarcerated individual on how to properly care for and train the dogs. For the duration of the training, the dogs are socialized through interaction with people and other animals. Each dog is taught obedience skills such as how to heel, sit and stay.

The shelter dogs are placed within the prison for approximately 8 weeks of 24/7 obedience training and socialization provided by the trained incarcerated individual.