New program helps detainees by letting them teach dogs new tricks

By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email
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Groups of juvenile detainees at the Juvenile Justice Center in South Bend are healing themselves and their four-legged companions.

These young inmates are learning how to train misbehaving dogs or less-adoptable dogs in the facility’s new Project Heal Program.

It joins at-risk youth with at-risk dogs so that the animal can find a future safe and loving home.

The kids met with trained dogs earlier this afternoon to practice teaching them basic obedience and focusing exercises.

Overall, the goal is to train the animals which allows the youth in turn to acquire qualities such as leadership, discipline and patience.

“If they can learn how to teach the dog how to react in any given situation, that is a life lesson for them because they are going to remember how the dog learned, how the dog reacted and they can apply that to themselves,” said Connie Cook, an animal behavioral specialist. “Take step back, be calm, to kind of retrain their thinking on some things."

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