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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Participation in a prison-based training programme is beneficial for rescue dogs
Author(s): Leonardi, Rebecca J
Vick, Sarah-Jane
Buchanan-Smith, Hannah M
Keywords: Dogs
Positive Reinforcement Training
Animal Assisted Intervention
Issue Date: 2024
Date Deposited: 17-May-2024
Abstract: Dogs are often relinquished because of behavioural issues which may be exacerbated in rehoming centres. Prison-based dog training programmes (DTPs) may enhance outcomes for rescue dogs by providing socialisation and training opportunities to improve behaviour, welfare and likelihood of rehoming. We assessed whether dogs benefitted from participation, 1-3 times per week, in a prison-based DTP in which male young offenders learn how to train and care for dogs waiting to be rehomed. Within DTP sessions, there was significant improvement on a range of training tasks (n=42 dogs). Analyses of videos (n=17 dogs) in the kennels and a training barn pre- and post-DTP participation showed improvement in some positive behaviours, but no significant change in other behaviours. Subjective ratings by staff of the dogs’ behaviour were made (n=20 dogs). Desirable behaviours (e.g. playful/friendly) increased, and most undesirable behaviours (e.g. frustrated and noisy) decreased. Participation in the DTP did not mitigate all negative behaviours. However, improvements are consistent with enhanced welfare and likelihood of successful rehoming. Prison-based DTPs can be effective in supporting the work of animal rescue organisations to improve outcomes for dogs, while offering people in custody an opportunity to engage in purposeful activity and provide a community service.
DOI Link: 10.3390/ani14111530
Rights: © 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
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