As some of you may know, a friend and I started a group called Pit Bull Zen (www.pitbullzen.com
) that provides inexpensive training classes, group walks, seminars and just all-around support to pit bull owners in our area. It's pretty popular and we're looking into getting our LLC status (or something) shortly. We keep getting bounced back and forth between attorneys and accountants. Our last group walk had 17 dogs present (not all pits).
Well, the shelter that I was the Training Coordinator for implemented a prison dog program at my prison several months ago. They have really had PBZ get involved with it, which is so neat. Several months ago we did a presentation on canine body language to the inmate handlers and it went over beautifully. The inmates all learned a lot and the case manager who works in that unit would send me emails saying she kept hearing inmates point out body language to other inmates. Big success.
Well last night we did our first basic training seminar there. We had 17 inmates, 2 8-week old puppies and 5 adult dogs. It was essentially a crash course in clicker training. We covered sit, down, heel, stay, leave it, hand target, shake, recall, etc. It went SO WELL! The inmates were really into it and had remarkably good timing with the clickers. They asked some good questions and were very receptive, even the guys who had come from other institutions' dog programs that utilized "check and praise" (AKA yank & crank) methods.
The shelter has asked us to go out there quarterly and do seminars, alternating body language and basic obedience. We're really excited about it - I feel like we actually have the potential to become well-known and respected in our area.
On a side note, watching how well the pups responded to clicker training really makes me sad that I didn't know this stuff when I first got Inara. It was pretty amazing to watch how quickly they picked stuff up.