Dogs will be taken from high risk situations, such as council pounds where euthanasia is imminent. The dogs will be the responsibility of Moorlands Dog Rescue, a dog rescue charity based in Leek, Staffordshire, who will conduct an initial assessment to ensure that the dogs are of a temperament suitable to the training environment.

After the initial behavioural assessment, health assessments and any necessary treatments such as worming and vaccinations, the dogs will move to HMYOI Werrington – a high security area, where they will temporarily live in purpose built kennels on the site. Kennels will have individual runs, meaning that the dogs have the freedom to go outside when appropriate and they will have access to enrichment activities overnight.

During the day, the dogs will undertake 6 hours of training, play time, grooming time, exercise and interaction time with their trainers (the young people).

Ralf, due to be killed in a council pound before moving to Moorlands Dog Rescue in 2017.

These are all things that the dogs need, but will be performed in a very structured way. Developing a strong bond with their dog will be encouraged, as it will be crucial to the dog’s learning and the young people’s desire to teach. The young people will already have learnt about low stress handling, recognising body language in dogs and positive training techniques prior to meeting them. There will be a mixture of theory and practical lessons and training will be overseen by the training team, comprising of a behaviourist as well as trained staff members from HMYOI Werrington. The safety and welfare of the dogs will be paramount, from the very beginning of the project. (See more on the Safety and Welfare Page).

There will be around 6-8 dogs on the project at any one time. These dogs will vary in breeds and sizes to give a good cross section of training experience, however there may be a larger population of bull breeds on the project, because of the overpopulation of bull breeds in high risk situations. The dogs will have daily training reviews, performed by the young people. They will also complete an end of day log book where they document what training skills they have been working on. They will be asked to reflect on: What has gone well? What did the dogs enjoy? What further support do they need? How can we adjust their training to allow them to learn better? They will track the progress of their dogs by filling in their diaries.

Every Friday, when the training day is complete, the dogs will move to foster carers, who will be looking after them over the weekend. The fosters will also complete information in the dog diaries about the behaviours that they have seen in their homes. This will allow the boys to decide what things the dogs should be working on during the following week, to help them to get ready for adoption.

A home environment simulation will be set up on site at HMYOI Werrington, to allow the young people to get the dogs ready for their adoptive homes. They can also work on some of the skills that the weekend foster homes have highlighted to them in their diaries.

The dogs will be ready for homing when they have completed their training. We anticipate that this will take some dogs longer than others, but the dogs will not be held back from securing their forever home. When the dogs are ready to be re-homed permanently, Moorlands Dog Rescue will use the information provided by the trainers (the young people) to advertise for a new home. The young people can specify the type of home that the dogs would flourish in, as well as their likes and dislikes and this information will be pivotal to the right home being found.

From an adopter’s perspective, not only has their dog received a huge amount of training in basic skills, but Moorlands Dog Rescue will be able to provide them with weeks of assessments, and a very accurate picture of the dog that they will be inviting into their homes.

We will encourage the adopters, to send updates to the young people with progress updates and photographs of them in their happy homes, which will have been all down to their hard work.

A huge "Thank You" to local dog photographer PHODOGRAPHY By Will for supplying the photographs for our website.