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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Want to know more about our inmate Dog Training Programs?

The dogs featured on this web site were trained for eight weeks at prisons in Florida by state inmates, who were themselves trained by a professional dog trainer, in the hopes that they may find gainful employment in animal services when released from prison. The dogs were taught how to sit, stay, come and walk to the left and slightly behind their owner. They are housebroken and crate trained, and have all their shots. They've been spayed or neutered and many are microchipped. Costs for the dogs range from $45 to $155 depending on program type, length of training and whether they were already spayed or neutered.


CARE (Canine Assisted Re-Entry) CARE dogs spend nine weeks at Baker Correctional Institution's Work Camp being trained by inmate trainers, handlers and caretakers so they can sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash. At the end of the nine weeks the dogs are tested to make sure they have learned all their skills before graduation from the program.  The inmates have been trained by professional dog trainers in the hope that they will be able to find employment in animal services upon release.  The dogs are crate trained and housebroken.  They have all their shots, have been spayed or neutered and micro-chipped.  They are available for adoption immediately and will able to go to their forever homes with you after graduation.  The cost for adoption is $50.00. To adopt a CARE graduate, contact First Coast No More Homeless Pets in Duval County, at (904) 520-7911 or visit their website at http://www.fcnmhp.org/.  You may also contact Sergeant T. Young at Baker Correctional Institution Work Camp, (386) 719-6123 for further adoption information.


DAWGS stands for Developing Adoptable Dogs with Good Sociability. Dogs for the program come from the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society in Port St. Joe and the program is a joint effort with Gulf Work Camp. All of the dogs selected for this program go through an intense eight-week training session and live with their trainers, handlers and caretakers in a dormitory-style work camp. The dogs have had extensive temperament tests and get along well with other dogs and people. They are available for adoption immediately and will able to go to their forever homes with you after graduation. The dogs are all crate trained, house trained, and basic obedience trained. They can be expected to sit, stay, recall, down, heel, and respond to “no” and “leave it”. The dogs are also well trained on a leash. They begin Good Citizen Training the last two weeks of the program. They are up-to-date on all vaccines as well as spayed/neutered and heartworm negative. Dogs requiring heartworm treatment receive treatment before or during their program and have completed treatment prior to graduation. DAWGS has been awarded two grants from the Jesse Ball duPont Foundation, in 2010 and 2011, for the outstanding results achieved with inmates and dogs both. The dogs participating in DAWGS are trained for eight weeks by state inmates at Gulf Forestry Camp under the direction of Gulf Correctional Institution in Wewahitchka, Florida. These inmates were themselves trained by a professional dog trainer, in the hopes that they may find gainful employment in animal services when released from prison. The St. Joseph Bay Humane Society provides frequent training classes, advice and volunteer trainers to support the DAWGS program. Outings are also arranged for select dogs to socialize in the Gulf County community. For more information about the DAWGS in Prison program, please go to the website: www.dawgsinprison.com


FEATS (Force-free Education And Training Solutions) FEATS is located at the Northwest Florida Reception Center (NFRC). The program teaches inmates to train and care for dogs as a way to provide them with valuable technical and interpersonal skills while increasing the adoptability of shelter dogs that may otherwise have been euthanized. Each dog is assigned to a team of three inmates, a trainer, an assistant trainer and a care giver. The inmates, with their assigned dogs, attend weekly training sessions with a DogSmith instructor and are responsible for continuing the dog's training throughout the week. For 8 weeks the dogs live full time with the inmates and become crate trained, housetrained, receive necessary socialization with people and other dogs and learn basic obedience including 'sit,' 'stay,' 'come,' and to walk loosely on a leash. For more information about the FEATS program and available dogs for adoption, visit the program website http://dogsmith.com/FEATS.php and find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DogSmithFEATS.


This first-of-its-kind dog training program at Wakulla CI is called Heartworm Assistance Rehabilitation Training (HART), and its purpose is to provide a place for heartworm positive dogs to complete their recovery following the heartworm shot regiment, which is administered offsite. The dogs are taken through bonding and stationary obedience exercises during the recovery period, which is a few weeks after they get to Wakulla CI. After the recovery period, the dogs transition to moderate obedience training, and then to full active obedience classes and socialization exercises. At the conclusion, the dogs are heartworm free, healthy, well-trained and available for adoption through the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center. The heartworm treatment is administered by a volunteer veterinarian and the medication is paid for by the Animal Service Foundation and Merial Limited. Visit the program website at: http://www.talgov.com/animals/animals-hart.aspx


Hardee Hero Hounds at Hardee Correctional Institution. This program is designed to take race track greyhounds and put them through an 8-10 week course that will acclimate them to people and situations, and give them obedience training, allowing each of these dogs the greatest opportunity to be adopted. The program is facilitated by the Greyhound Advancement Center.  Hardee Hero Hounds goal is to help the Center in the fight against euthanizing retired greyhounds. The dogs who take training at a faster pace will be selected for further training to become a veteran’s assistant or receive training to be a therapy assistant. These dogs will be taken to hospitals or retirement homes to give companion and affection therapy, or be placed in homes where a veteran has lost a limb while protecting our great country. Either way, these dogs will provide great assistance and are greatly needed. Community participation and support are needed to help Hardee Hero Hounds and the program change lives. Working with a greyhound can and will change a person’s disposition. They touch the lives of the inmates who train them as well as the lives of the veterans and patients they come in contact with.  Greyhounds range in weight from 60 to 90 pounds and “eat like dogs.” For this reason, the program needs financial support and donations of dog food, doggie treats, dog toys, dog collars and leashes. Consideration also is needed in the form of adoption and/or foster care. If you would like to help the Hardee Hero Hound program succeed through adoption, financial contributions or supplies, please contact Officer Shaver at (863) 767-4500. For adoption, call the Center at (813) 44-Grey1 (813-444-7391) or visit their website at www.greyhoundadvancementcenter.org.


Paws on Parole is a partnership program between the Florida Department of Corrections' Gainesville Correctional Institution Work Camp and Alachua County Animal Services. The program is designed to increase adoptability of selected dogs at the Alachua County Animal Shelter. During the eight-week training period, professional dog trainers volunteer their time to teach inmates how to train dogs in socialization techniques and basic obedience. The inmates learn to train the dogs to the standards of the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizens Program. At the end of their training, the dogs take a test consisting of 10 skills needed by well-mannered dogs such as: accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, walking through a crowd, etc. Paws on Parole also includes an Aftercare Network, which is a group that will work with adopting families and their dogs to help integrate the training the dogs received. Each dog has received all of their shots, is receiving heartworm prevention, is microchipped, crate trained and has been spayed or neutered. Adoption costs range from $15 to $30. For information about the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and a copy of the brochure, click www.akc.org/pdfs/cgc/GK9GC1.pdf. For more information about Paws on Parole adoption and the Aftercare Network contact Hilary Hynes, Public Education Program Coordinator, Alachua County Animal Services at (352) 264-6881 or click the Paws on Parole link at www.pawsonparole.com.


Pups N Pals was initiated by the West Volusia Kennel Club at Tomoka Correctional Institution and joined by Halifax Humane Society and the Orlando VA with our “Paws of Freedom” offshoot program, where we give companion dogs to veterans who suffer with PTSD, depression or anxiety. Twelve dogs spend seven weeks training with the inmates to learn basic obedience, ‘heel’, ‘sit’, ‘down’, and ‘come’ commands. They also do basic Rally and Agility training. The goal is to place healthy, spayed/neutered dogs in forever homes, as well as to give inmates skills that they list on their resumes.  All dogs are given the AKC Good Citizen Test, and upon passing, the trainers are presented with an AKC certificate noting that they have passed. The new owner who adopts a dog is offered a free seven-week training course by the West Volusia Kennel Club or Halifax Humane Society, in order to become familiar with what the dog has been taught. For further information about the program or adopting a dog, contact: Allyn Weigel, (386)734-7923, or Halifax Humane Society, (386)274-4703, or Tomoka Correctional Institution Work Camp, (386)254-2676. You can also connect with our Facebook page via www.prisonpups.org.


Prison Pup Programs - Sago Palm Work Camp and South Florida Reception Center, in conjunction with New Horizons Service Dogs Inc., each have an inmate program to train service dogs to assist persons with disabilities. Currently eight dogs are in training at the prison. Training lasts for 18 months and when complete, dogs are able to assist owners in standing, turning on light switches, opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped items and more. The Prison Pup Program is an inmate vocational program where inmates can earn vocational certificates in dog grooming and training while simultaneously preparing dogs to assist persons with disabilities. The program is part of the Department’s Re-Entry initiative, which is focused on preparing inmates for successful re-entry into society upon release from prison.


ROCK (Rehabilitation Of Castaway K-9’s) Hounds - is a partnership with the Florida Department of Corrections (Union Correctional Institution) and First Coast No More Homeless Pets. Inmates train basic obedience to castaway canines from an area kill shelter. This program started in August of 2013 and has had a great success rate. The inmates training the dogs are 55 and older, and the majority of them are Veterans who served in Vietnam and suffer from PTSD and other mental conditions related to the war. This program has been beneficial to all who come in contact with the dogs, especially those Veteran inmates. All the dogs are trained in basic obedience training like sit, stay, down, waiting at doorways, crate training, and walking on a leash without pulling. The dogs live with their assigned inmates full time and have increased the morale and decreased harshness of the institutional life for staff and inmates. The cost to adopt is $50.00 - that includes the spaying/neutering, all shots, training, microchip, and all the love you ever wanted.


Second Chance Pals is a partnership between The Florida Department of Corrections / Ft. Myers Work Camp and the Gulf Coast Humane Society. The partnership is intended to increase the adoptability of shelter dogs and provide inmates with job skills. During the eight to twelve week training period, professional dog trainers volunteer their time to teach a select group of inmates how to train dogs in socialization techniques and basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash.  All dogs are crate trained and housebroken, have all their shots, are micro-chipped, and have been spayed or neutered.  The inmates, with their assigned dogs, attend twice per week training sessions with a volunteer instructor and are responsible for continuing the dog's training throughout the week. The dogs live full time with the inmates and have increased the morale of both the inmate population as well as the staff who take a personal interest in the dog's training and welfare. Available and adoptable dogs can be viewed online or by stopping by the Gulf Coast Humane Society at 2010 Arcadia St, Ft. Myers, Florida 33916.


T.A.I.L.S. (Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills) is a partnership between The Florida Department of Corrections / Lawtey Correctional Institutions and First Coast No More Homeless Pets located in Jacksonville, Florida.  This is a nine week program where each dog is trained by a team of three inmates in basic obedience commands such as sit, down, stay, come and to walk with you without pulling. The dogs live with the inmates and are crate trained and housebroken.  These dogs are also taught additional social skills, as they socialize with other inmates and officers at the facility. They have all their shots, are spayed or neutered and are micro chipped.  The cost of adoption is $50.00.  For questions and to adopt please contact Ms. Cameron Moore at (cmoore@fcnmhp.org) or First Coast No More Homeless Pets at (http://www.fcnmhp.org).


Alaqua's Unconditional Love Project (ULP) rescues unwanted dogs from neglect and abuse, uses prisoners at Calhoun Correctional Work Camp to train them to be therapy dogs, and will offer them free of charge to agencies so that they can be used to benefit the wellbeing of a child. Dogs who to do not graduate with top honors will be used for a variety of situations and can fill many roles: everything from a wonderfully trained basic family pet, to a nursing home dog, or for companion animals for the elderly or special needs individual. Find out more at http://www.alaquaanimalrefuge.org/UnconditionalLove.


UTOPIA stands for Undergoing Training & Obedience in Prison to Increase Adoptability. UTOPIA dogs spend eight weeks at Taylor Correctional Institution being trained by an inmate and can sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash. They are crate trained and housebroken. They have all their shots, are microchipped, and have been spayed or neutered. Adoption only costs $150 – a bargain since you won’t have to pay for dog training! To adopt a UTOPIA graduate, contact the Leon Community Animal Service Center’s Lisa Glunt at (850) 891-2950 or go here to find out more http://www.talgov.com/animals/utopia.cfm.


WOOF stands for Women Offering Obedience and Friendship.  WOOF dogs spend eight weeks at Lowell Correctional Institution Work Camp being trained by an inmate and can sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash. They are crate trained and housebroken. They have all their shots, are microchipped and have been spayed or neutered.  Adoption only costs $75 – a bargain since you won’t have to pay for dog training.  All WOOF dogs are tested for Canine Good Citizen.  The inmates receive certificates in dog CPR, training and grooming.  Beginning November 21, 2011 the WOOF program will welcome 2 young dogs to be trained as service dogs to assist persons with disabilities along with the 6 new dogs for obedience training.  The service dogs will be trained to assist their owners in standing, turning on light switches, opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped items and more.  To adopt a WOOF graduate, contact the Marion County Humane Society at  http://humanesocietyofmarioncounty.com/