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Author: admin, 05.03.2015Incarcerated veterans at one Maryland prison are now helping their comrades who return home from wars with disabilities by training service dogs for them from behind bars.
The number of programs nationwide using inmates to train service dogs is on the rise, but the program at Western Correctional Institute might be the first to use incarcerated veterans to train dogs for other vets.‘I just love to see him be a puppy,’ said Wilson, 53, serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.
Corey Hudson, president of the North American chapter of Assistance Dogs International, a group that establishes and promotes training standards, said prison-raised dogs graduate at a slightly higher level than those reared in traditional settings. Read what our certificants say about training, owning a business, and the most important lessons they’ve learned.
The CCPDT is the leader in the development of rigorous exams to demonstrate mastery of humane, science-based dog training practices.
One of the inmate trainers is Hazard Wilson, who has been sharing his cell with a hairy bundle of energy named Yardely, a five-month-old golden retriever whose playful zeal can't be contained by steel doors. Otherwise, the inmates – model prisoners housed in a tier of cells reserved for the most trusted inmates – work with the dogs constantly. Other Maryland inmates raise companion dogs, which don't provide physical assistance, and tend retired thoroughbreds.‘Everybody thinks it's about the dogs,’ Maynard said.
Thousands of dog training professionals worldwide maintain the CCPDT’s certifications as a mark of high professional distinction.
As the dogs moved with their inmate trainers through a chow line one November morning, ‘there was a sense of calmness,’ Bishop said.‘In this type of environment, that's incredible,’ he said.
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