Dog Training Program


Turney Center Industrial Complex

Since 2012, the Retrieving Independence Serving With Canines program has partnered with Turney Center Industrial Complex to train offenders to raise and train service dogs for people with mobility disabilities, seizure disorders and diabetes.

Puppies enter the prison when they are 4 months old to live with offenders/trainers until they are ready to go to their new homes.  This process takes around 18 months.  Once they arrive at the prison, they begin intensive training to become service does.  They are taught standard obedience skills as well as specialized assistance skills.  By the end of the program, the service dogs know at least 110 cues and have received more than 600 hours of training.  Between 12 and 16 months, the dogs are matched with a recipient.  Once a match has been made, the offenders begin the process of working with the service dog on specific skills needed by the recipient.

Once the service dog has completed the training, Retrieving Independence conducts a 10-day team training camp for the matched recipient, family members and the service dog.  This camp centers around building a relationship and learning the skills and cues which have been taught to the service dog.  They are certified for public access before leaving the program.

The program provides success, accomplishments and skills to offenders that may be useful after their release.  Through this program, the offender/trainers are able to give back to society and the recipients of the dogs are able to enjoy an increased independence.


Photo:  dog with handler


Women's Therapeutic Residential Center

The Women’s Therapeutic Residential Center (WTRC) has partnered with the Covington Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) to train dogs in need of good homes. The intensive, 6-to-8 week training program, prepares dogs for adoption by teaching commands related to obedience and socialization.

All of the dogs are spayed, neutered, vaccinated and healthy. They are house-crate-leash trained and ready to be adopted through CARE.

Program benefits:

  • Allows offenders to contribute to society,
  • Helps offenders learn a new skill,
  • Teaches basic life skills such as patience, responsibility, social interaction, and acceptance,
  • Gives offender an incentive to stay out of trouble,
  • The dogs seem to have a calming effect on the offender population.