Prison Training Program

 

A  Win Win for Humanity and Canines.

Inmates

After months of meetings between WAG, a certified professional dog trainer, and the Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC) to meet security, safety concerns, and a training schedule for the dogs and handlers to follow, the first dogs arrived at the prison in March of 2012.  Unadoptable dogs are matched with inmates at the Clallam Bay prison. A certified dog trainer trained the offenders to train the dogs.  The dogs learn social skills and basic obedience that allow them to join adoptive families.  The dogs sleep in the cells with their handlers, are brushed daily and receive lots of attention, love and exercise.

The handlers and the dogs spend several hours a day outside in large yards training and playing with the dogs; whether it is throwing a ball, playing Frisbee, or just letting the dogs play together.  After seven to eight weeks, the dogs “graduate” from the program and are then adopted to their forever families.  The inmates sometimes get emotional when the dogs leave, but as with WAG’s other foster care providers, there are always more rescued dogs and puppies to fill the men’s arms.

WAG volunteers travel weekly to the prison to work with the prison officials and the handlers with their dogs in order to be intimately involved with the program.  The results have been remarkable. Based on the program successes, the program is looking to expand to include the other units within the prison.

Prisoners seek an escape from the solitude. One inmate, Gilbert, is serving life in prison without parole. He was instrumental in establishing our “Puppy Preschool” program where the puppies are kept together with their litter, learn potty training, leash training and socialization skills until they are old enough to be adopted.  Gilbert was also one of the first group of handlers that went through the “Advanced Dog Training Program” which includes the “Behavior Adjustment Training” at the prison and has recently been transferred to another Correction Facility and is teaching there as well. Our program has several advanced handlers that teach classes to the new handlers that trains our dogs. They are instrumental in the success of the program as well.

The amazing part of the Offender Based Dog Training Program is the way the handlers work with the dogs. The dog handlers received professional training with continuous training each week from Barbara Brabant. While they are teaching obedience, the handlers are evaluating each dog to identify its special characteristics, needs and using positive reinforcement training methods. The program is 7-8 weeks, some dogs need more time to learn and will stay longer to get additional training. One of the differences between our program and other prisons is the dogs graduate when they are ready.

The results of the program’s dog graduates have been very impressive!!! The dogs that have graduated have been successfully placed with their forever families.

Some of the dogs that are considered unadoptable when WAG gets them are evaluated, given a second chance and entered into the Program. With the handler’s patience and positive reinforcement, they make incredible progress.  The handlers understand what it means to have a second chance.

This program provides for a lot of wins for both the offenders and society, but the real winners are the dogs who are some of our most challenging, and now are adopted into loving homes.

This is one of the ways WAG helps the dogs and the community of Clallam County.

Check out this recent article on the front page of the Peninsula Daily News:
Clallam Bay Inmates Reunite with Reformed Dogs

Find our Prison Program wish list here.