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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Want to know more about our inmate Dog Training Programs?

The Dog Obedience Programs below are partnerships program between the Florida Department of Corrections' and various community rescue groups and animal service agencies.  These partnerships are intended to increase the adoptability of shelter dogs and provide inmates with job skills beneficial upon release. During the eight to ten week training period, dogs receive socialization and are taught basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come and to walk by your side without pulling on the leash. All dogs are housebroken and crate-trained, and have all their shots. They've been spayed or neutered and many are microchipped.

Some programs train the dogs to become therapy or service dogs and are trained for up to 18 months. Costs for the dogs range from $30 to $450 depending on program type (service dogs, etc.) and length of training. To locate the program closest to you see the county listing below and contact the service provider for information about dogs available for adoption.

Paws on Parole -
Gainesville Correctional Institution Work Camp and Alachua County Animal Services. The program is designed to increase adoptability of selected dogs at the Alachua County Animal Shelter. During the eight-week training period, professional dog trainers volunteer their time to teach inmates how to train dogs in socialization techniques and basic obedience. The inmates learn to train the dogs to the standards of the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizens Program. At the end of their training, the dogs take a test consisting of 10 skills needed by well-mannered dogs such as: accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, walking through a crowd, etc. Paws on Parole also includes an Aftercare Network, which is a group that will work with adopting families and their dogs to help integrate the training the dogs received. The adoption fee is $30. For information about the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and a copy of the brochure, click For more information about Paws on Parole adoption and the Aftercare Network contact Hilary Hynes, Public Education Program Coordinator, Alachua County Animal Services at (352) 264-6881 or click the Paws on Parole link at

T.A.I.L.S. (Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills)
is a partnership between The Florida Department of Corrections / Baker Correctional Institutions and Pit Sisters.  This is a nine week program where each dog is trained by a team of three inmates in basic obedience commands such as sit, down, stay, come and to walk with you without pulling. The cost of adoption is $40.00.  For questions and to adopt please  or

T.A.I.L.S. (Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills)
is a partnership between The Florida Department of Corrections / Lawtey Correctional Institutions and Pit Sisters.  This is a nine week program where each dog is trained by a team of three inmates in basic obedience commands such as sit, down, stay, come and to walk with you without pulling. The cost of adoption is $40.00.  For questions and to adopt please  or

Prison Pup Programs
- Sago Palm Work Camp, South Florida Reception Center, Moore Haven Correctional Facility and Homestead Correctional Institution. In conjunction with New Horizons Service Dogs Inc., each have an inmate program to train service dogs to assist persons with disabilities, veterans and children with autism. Training lasts anywhere from six months to 18 months depending on the skills required and when complete, dogs are able to assist owners in standing and balance, getting in and out of bed, turning on light switches, opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped items, calling emergency phone numbers and more. Dogs are also trained to assist returning veterans with both battlefield injuries and PTSD. Some of our dogs are trained by inmates to ultimately assist children with autism. The Prison Pup Program is an inmate vocational program where inmates can earn vocational certificates in dog grooming and training while simultaneously preparing dogs to assist persons with disabilities. For more information visit New Horizons Service Dogs at

DAWGS stands for Developing Adoptable Dogs with Good Sociability
. Dogs for the program come from the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society in Port St. Joe and the program is a joint effort with Gulf Work Camp. The dogs are available for adoption immediately and will able to go to their forever homes with you after graduation. They begin Good Citizen Training the last two weeks of the program. DAWGS has been awarded two grants from the Jesse Ball DuPont Foundation, for the outstanding results achieved with inmates and dogs both. The St. Joseph Bay Humane Society provides frequent training classes, advice and volunteer trainers to support the DAWGS program. Outings are also arranged for select dogs to socialize in the Gulf County community. For more information about the DAWGS in Prison program, please go to the website:

Hardee Hero Hounds at Hardee Correctional Institution
offers an 8 to 10 week basic obedience program for greyhounds in conjunction with the Greyhound Advancement Center. The greyhounds are selected from greyhound tracks as they are retired from racing. Greyhounds retire anywhere from around 18 months through 5 years old and weigh between 50 and 95 lbs. The greyhound breed is the perfect institutional dog with their gentle disposition and quiet and calm temperament. A boot camp is also offered to greyhounds who are already adopted.

Many of our graduates become companion dogs, therapy dogs and service dogs. This program allows greyhounds the greatest opportunity to be adopted. Most of our graduating greyhounds have the ability to pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test upon graduation. The CGC is the training equivalent to that used in therapy dog certification.  Our inmate trainers have also trained greyhounds who have become service dogs (PTSD, Hearing, Aspergers, etc) and Emotional Support Animals (ESA).

The inmate trainers learn about responsibility for someone other than themselves along with dog training skills. The lessons taught to the greyhounds are good lessons to help prepare the inmate trainers with re-entry. The Greyhound Advancement Center certifies the inmate trainers as dog trainers upon completion of the necessary training requirements.

Together with the help of our volunteers, we are able to make a difference in the lives of the greyhounds, the inmate trainers and the families adopting greyhounds. Dogs are available for adoption, $50 application fee and $400 adoption fee. Our program needs financial support and donations of dog food, training treats, dog toothpaste and grooming supplies. If you would like to support the Hardee Hero Hound program succeed through adoption, financial contributions or supplies, please contact Officer Cox at (863) 767- 3140. For adoption, call the Greyhound Advancement Center it (813) 44-GREY1 (813-444-7391) or visit their website at:

Heal to Heel
is a partnership between The Florida Department of Corrections/Hernando Correctional Institution and Hernando Animal Services. This is an eight week program where each dog is trained by a team of two inmate handlers and a volunteer certified dog trainer. The dogs are trained in the basic commands such as sit, stay, down and heal. The dogs are also trained socialization skills. The cost of adoption is $50.00. For questions about adoption please contact the Hernando County Animal Services at (352)796-5062 or visit their website at

Second Chance Pals
is a partnership between The Florida Department of Corrections / Ft. Myers Work Camp and the Gulf Coast Humane Society. The partnership is intended to increase the adoptability of shelter dogs and provide inmates with job skills. Available and adoptable dogs can be viewed online or by stopping by the Gulf Coast Humane Society at 2010 Arcadia St, Ft. Myers, Florida 33916.

WOOF stands for Women Offering Obedience and Friendship
. WOOF dogs spend eight weeks at Lowell Correctional Institution Work Camp. Adoption only costs $75. All WOOF dogs are tested for Canine Good Citizen. The inmates receive certificates in dog CPR, training and grooming. Beginning November 21, 2011 the WOOF program added Patriot Service Dogs to the program and young dogs are trained as service dogs to assist persons with disabilities. The service dogs are trained to assist their owners in standing, turning on light switches, opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped items and more. To adopt a WOOF graduate, contact the Marion County Humane Society at

The F.I.D.O. Project (Florida Inmates & Dog Obedience)is a partnership between Marion CI Work Camp and Marion County Animal Services. And will achieve the AKC CGC certificate upon graduation. For more information on the program or how to adopt one of our dogs please visit The adoption fee is $50.

BARK (Beacon among Rescued K-9’s)
BARK is a Department of Corrections program designed for inmates to train rescue dogs from local shelters for placement with disabled veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who are in need of emotional support. Some of the dogs will be selected to continue training to become Service dogs for Disabled Veterans. Depending on the needs of the disabled veteran receiving the dog, the dog will be trained to assist owners in standing, turning on light switches, dialing 911, opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped items and more. For more information contact our partners Dogs 4 Disabled Veterans, or the Humane Society of Saint Lucie County

BARK (Beacon Among Rescued K-9’s) is sponsored by Dogs 4 Disabled Veterans (D4DV).  D4DV’s , mission is to aid disabled veterans, as defined in the American Disability Act, to reintegrate into the community through the utilization of rehabilitated rescue dogs. D4DV dogs are rescued from animal shelters throughout South Florida. Working closely with these organizations, D4DV volunteers select dogs (of any breed) that demonstrate the temperament to become service or emotional support dogs. Working in partnership with the Florida Department of Corrections at Martin Correctional Work Camp, the dog is then enrolled in the “Train the Trainer” program. The inmates are required to complete a 12-week course on dog behavior, anatomy, first aid, aggression & resource guarding, critical social and fear periods. Service Dog training takes anywhere from eighteen (18) months to two (2) years of training depending on what behavior modification is also needed. This program is a win-win-win situation. It is a win for the dog that is being rescued from a kill shelter and given a second chance at a good life, a win to the inmate who learns a trade that will help keep him out of the prison system; and for our Disabled Veterans who valiantly gave of themselves in service to our Country, now having difficulties maintaining life on daily basis, a gift of a trained Service Dog free of charge. For more information please go to:

Pawsitive Direction Program -Loxahatchee Animal Rescue Community - Okeechobee Correctional Institution
Shelter dogs are given a second chance through this program. The goals are to teach students to train dogs in basic obedience, socialization and more helping make the dogs more adoptable while teaching skills that lead to successful re-entry for inmates upon release. Special thanks to Star Dog Obedience for their training expertise. For information about the program or to adopt contact or visit their website at

Paws for Vets – Central Florida Reception Center
Paws for Veterans is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. We provide our nations combat injured Heroes that suffer with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and affiliated physical disabilities with task trained medical service dogs as well as supplies, therapeutic group sessions, and natural treatment alternatives. Our program delivers an all-around lifelong support system focusing on a more natural alternative to healing our Veterans bodies and minds while at the same time saving the lives of shelter dogs that would otherwise be facing euthanasia.
Inmates at C.F.R.C begin the dogs training in basic obedience allowing the Paws for Vets Program to customize training after graduation in specific tasks that help their owner with their disability. Examples of such tasks are: waking from nightmares, reminding to take medications, physically interrupting panic attack to stop it from escalating and then physically slowing the owner’s heart rate to bring anxiety level down, and relieving muscle pain caused by elevated stress and anxiety. Dogs are available free of charge to Veterans in need. For more information please visit

U.T.O.P.I.A stands for Undergoing Training & Obedience in Prison to Increase Adoptability
. UTOPIA dogs spend eight weeks at Taylor Correctional Institution being trained. Adoption only costs $150 – a bargain since you won’t have to pay for dog training! To adopt a U.T.O.P.I.A graduate, contact the Leon Community Animal Service Center at (850) 891-2950 or go here to find out more

ROCK (Rehabilitation Of Castaway K-9’s) Hounds
- is a partnership with the Florida Department of Corrections (Union Correctional Institution) Lake City Humane Society. Inmates train basic obedience to castaway canines from an area kill shelter. This program started in August of 2013 and has had a great success rate. The inmates training the dogs are 55 and older, and the majority of them are Veterans who served in Vietnam and suffer from PTSD and other mental conditions related to the war. This program has been beneficial to all who come in contact with the dogs, especially those Veteran inmates. The dogs live with their assigned inmates full time and have increased the morale and decreased harshness of the institutional life for staff and inmates. The cost to adopt is $50.00 - that includes the spaying/neutering, all shots, training, microchip, and all the love you ever wanted. For more information please visit their facebook page UCI Rock Hounds or contact the Humane Society, 386-752-3191

- Paws Camp through a partnership with Lake City Humane Society RMC Paws Camp dog training program began in March 2015. Dogs are available for adoption every 8-10 weeks. For more information please Visit their facebook page for or contact the Humane Society, 386-752-3191.

Pups N Pals
was initiated by the West Volusia Kennel Club at Tomoka Correctional Institution and joined by Halifax Humane Society and the Orlando VA with our “Paws of Freedom” offshoot program, where we give companion dogs to veterans who suffer with PTSD, depression or anxiety. Twelve dogs spend seven weeks training with the inmates to learn basic obedience, ‘heel’, ‘sit’, ‘down’, and ‘come’ commands. They also do basic Rally and Agility training. The goal is to place healthy, spayed/neutered dogs in forever homes, as well as to give inmates skills that they list on their resumes. All dogs are given the AKC Good Citizen Test, and upon passing, the trainers are presented with an AKC certificate noting that they have passed. The new owner who adopts a dog is offered a free seven-week training course by the West Volusia Kennel Club or Halifax Humane Society, in order to become familiar with what the dog has been taught. For further information about the program or adopting a dog, contact: Allyn Weigel, (386)734-7923, or Halifax Humane Society, (386)274-4703, or Tomoka Correctional Institution Work Camp, (386)254-2676. You can also connect with our Facebook page via

H.A.R.T. Program
This first-of-its-kind dog training program at Wakulla CI is called Heartworm Assistance Rehabilitation Training (H.A.R.T), and its purpose is to provide a place for heartworm positive dogs to complete their recovery following the heartworm shot regiment, which is administered offsite. The dogs are taken through bonding and stationary obedience exercises during the recovery period, which is a few weeks after they get to Wakulla CI. After the recovery period, the dogs transition to moderate obedience training, and then to full active obedience classes and socialization exercises. At the conclusion, the dogs are heartworm free, healthy, well-trained and available for adoption through the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center. The heartworm treatment is administered by a volunteer veterinarian and the medication is paid for by the Animal Service Foundation and Merial Limited. Visit the program website at:

Unconditional Love Program, Walton Correctional Institution and Alaqua Animal Refuge
Program located at Walton Correctional Institution Alaqua’s Unconditional Love Program pairs adoptable canines with inmates for the purposes of training. The inmates learn empathy, patience and respect while teaching the dogs basic skills, thereby increasing the dogs’ chances of finding forever homes. After graduating from the program, canines are either adopted as family pets or move on for acceptance into a recognized therapy program.
Ten canines participate in the program at each facility with new dogs rotating every 10-12 weeks as dogs complete the program and graduate. See more at:

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