A training program through the Colorado Correctional Industry gives inmates and dogs a second chance, providing knowledge and companionship for those who need it most.
The Prison Trained K9 Companion Program has trained more than 12,700 dogs since 2002.
The program rescues pure-bred and mixed breed dogs from shelters in Colorado and surrounding states. The dogs are trained by inmates through the CCI before being placed for adoption.
Dogs live in-cell with inmates during the four- to eight-week course, learning behavioral instruction and socialization skills.
Though many dogs in the program come from shelters, most are from private families who fund the operation through boarding and training fees. The program is not supported by public tax dollars.
Colorado Rep. Leslie Herod’s dog, Clinton, graduated from the program Wednesday.
Clinton, a 6-month-old labradoodle, was housed in the Sterling Correctional Facility for four weeks of training.
“I am so happy to have Clinton back home,” Herod said. “He has learned a lot during his time away and I am hopeful for a successful reentry.”
The inmate trainers complete coursework and undergo extensive hands-on instruction in dog behavior and discipline. Trainers can eventually qualify as master dog handlers.
The program introduces dogs to new environments, people and other dogs daily. They learn house training, basic obedience and a few special tricks.
The shelter dogs who graduate the program are available for adoption at coloradocelldogs.com.