Prison programs such as Hardee Hero Hounds and DAWGS -- Developing Adoptable Dogs with Good Sociability -- combine prison inmates with dogs in need of rescue to provide a better life for both. Working with the dogs gives inmates a chance to do some good while developing skills they can use to earn an income once they’re released from prison. Dogs who go through inmate programs are placed for adoption once the program is complete.
Many of the dog training programs give inmates a chance to earn a certificate of completion for the program as proof of the inmate’s new skills. While similar in many ways, programs vary in focus, length and intensity. In addition to teaching basic obedience, inmates may learn to groom dogs, teach them canine sports such as agility and rally, and even train some well enough to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.
The dogs paired with the inmates are typically rescued from shelters and often are close to being euthanized. Unwanted racing greyhounds scheduled to be destroyed also end up in some of these programs and get a chance to lead happier, more normal lives. Specialized inmate programs train some of the animals as service or therapy dogs, while still others work only with dogs suffering from heartworm disease or other problems.