Pawsitive Training Program

June 7, 2024

At the Humane Society, we believe in the transformative power of compassion. That is why we recently collaborated with Allegiance Canine and the Shelby County Division of Corrections to create a six-week training program to enhance the lives of incarcerated individuals and shelter dogs awaiting adoption. 

The Pawsitive Training Program pairs three dogs with three teams of two women selected through a rigorous interview and assessment process. The dogs, provided by our shelter, undergo positive reinforcement training facilitated by Allegiance Canine. Women in SCDC care for shelter dogs awaiting adoption and earn a dog-training certification in the process.

“Most of us are mothers in here. So, it tends to our nurturing side and honestly, it’s like we have something to love and something to do and something to care for and I think that’s very important,” explained inmate trainer, Skyler Davis via Action News 5.

The partnership was designed following a 2021 University of Washington study’s findings on the positive impact of dog training programs on adoption rates and the well-being of prison-based participants. The study revealed that even a moderate amount of basic dog training can significantly increase a dog’s chances of being adopted permanently.

“Seeing them come from the shelter makes you realize that they don’t get all that much attention. So seeing them get all this with us, it’s great to do this. We get to help them,” said inmate trainer Harley Berry via WREG.

This program enriches the lives of shelter dogs and offers incarcerated women in our county an opportunity to build meaningful social-emotional connections. Together, we are creating second chances for everyone involved! 

Congratulations to these hard-working individuals and pups. Apply to adopt one of our Pawsitive Training Program graduates today!


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