Rescue dogs help rehabilitate young offenders

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programme for young offenders training rescue dogs

After a pause due to the pandemic, Paws for Progress has announced the re-launch of the its Rescue Dog Training Programme for Young Offenders at HMP & YOI Polmont, in Scotland – rehabilitating young offenders by teaching them to train dogs from local rescue organisations.

“As part of this innovative service, young men are selected and taught how to train and prepare rescue dogs for rehoming,” a Paws for Progress statement reads. “While learning new skills together the students often discover parallels between their own lives and that of the dogs that they are working with.

“Each dog is assigned a dedicated handler/trainer who works with them throughout the course. The programme aims to support those taking part to improve their own behaviour, develop team building skills, increase empathy and employability skills as well as assisting their personal development. They also engage with education and achieve qualifications thanks to a collaboration with Fife College.”

The eight-week training course is beneficial to both the young people taking part and the dogs, who are able to learn new skills and develop confidence that will help them settle in their forever homes once adopted.

“The dogs currently taking part in the programme are Mabel and Jack,” Paws for Progress says. “Mabel is a gorgeous young English Bull Terrier cross who is very friendly and fun. She is only five months old, so she’s really benefiting from learning her basic training skills and self-control at the prison.

“Meanwhile Jack is a lovely young Weimaraner-Rottweiler cross. He can be shy initially, but comes out of his shell and is affectionate and playful once he knows you! Jack is currently working on building his confidence meeting new people and exploring new places.”

Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, CEO at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said, “Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home are incredibly excited to be entering into a partnership with Paws for Progress, showcasing our passion for enhancing animal welfare through influencing others to give animals a second chance.

“For both the young men and the dogs who are part of the programme this offers an opportunity to be valued for their hard work, new skills and dedication to a goal. So ultimately, they are more prepared to face the future.”

Images by Paws for Progress

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