ABOUT THE PROGRAMME AT HMP DOVEGATE

Restart Dogs are currently working on The Serco Dovegate estate with prisoners raising four Labrador puppies destined for life as an assistance dog.

The Puppies at HMP Dovegate are blossoming in their skills acquisition, along with their handlers. they have all now passed the Kennel Club Puppy life skills exam. They are learning polite door manners, walking to heel on a loose lead, staying where they are asked, settling next to their handler while they work and study. But most importantly, they are learning to feel confident and safe, trusting their handler to navigate them through their new adventures and their enviroments.

 

WATCH OUR EXPLAINER VIDEO HERE

A typical day at HMP Dovegate looks like this:
 

8am :  puppies arrive in the classroom, they go to their areas for a chew, rest/sleep.

9am : the prisoners arrive. The trainer checks how they are feeling and feeds back any information regarding puppies that the fosters have mentioned.

9.15am : the puppies are taken outside for the first training/ play session.

9:45am : the puppies return for settling on the bed, prisoners record the observations on training sessions, then begin their theory work while the puppies’ snooze.

10:45am : the puppies are given stuffed Kongs and chews

11.00am : short play session with the puppies before they go down for sleep time.

 

Undisturbed sleep time - this is very important

 

1.30am : the prisoners come back from lunch. They discuss their training plans for the afternoon session, adjusting any criteria based on the morning sessions. Emphasis is put on errorless learning and managing the environment for the success of behaviours.

1.45pm : a short fun training session

2.30pm : recording data from training sessions

2.45pm : the puppies rest and have bonding cuddle time, men reading to them and massaging puppies using Tellington touch techniques.

4.00pm : the puppies are collected by their foster families and returned home.

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ABOUT THE PROGRAMME AT HMYOI WERRINGTON

Young offenders at Werrington have spent the last ten months raising and training four Sheprador puppies for Austism Dogs CIC who are destined to be autistic support dogs (find out more about Autism Dogs CIC here). The programme aims to teach the young people who currently reside at HMYOI Werrington the skills to train the dogs who will go on to be assistance dogs for Autism Dogs CIC. The boys set the dogs up for success by shaping their behaviour in a proactive and positive manner, training the dogs alternative behaviours and reinforcing the desired behaviours that the dogs perform.  

WATCH OUR EXPLAINER VIDEO HERE

They will be guided by the young people for 6 hours of training, care and enrichment every day, going back to basics and learning things like frustration tolerance, impulse control, loose lead walking, settling on a bed, recall, manners around food and calm greetings. 

 

The programme aims to teach the young people who currently reside at HMYOI Werrington the skills to train the dogs who will go on to be assistance dogs for Autism Dogs CIC. The boys set the dogs up for success by shaping their behaviour in a proactive and positive manner, training the dogs alternative behaviours and reinforcing the desired behaviours that the dogs perform. They will be guided by the young people for 6 hours of training and enrichment every day, going back to basics and learning things like frustration tolerance, impulse control, loose lead walking, settling on a bed, recall, manners around food and calm greetings. 

 

Through the bonds that they have developed, the dogs will now have the skills to become welcome members of a new family and the young people will be able to pass on the dog’s learnt behaviours, setting them up for success in their adoptive homes. In the past, the programme has worked successfully with rescue dogs (who have now all gone on to their forever homes) and day care dogs for members of staff at HMYOI Werrington, this helped the young people gain experience in the business side to the profession. 

As well as training the dogs for future success and happiness, we also saw an an increase in empathy levels and self esteem as the young people saw how their teaching via positive methods has lead to the dogs having a second chance at a happy future.

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