Project POOCH, Inc.
Project POOCH matches incarcerated youth with unwanted shelter dogs. The youths train the dog to pass a basic obedience test and then help find the dogs loving, adoptive home. The youths work with their dogs daily, and practice the principles of positive reinforcement and behavior modification. As the trainers manage their dogs, they learn how to manage their own behavior. They develop good work habits and acquire valuable occupational skills.
The relationships, emotional support and mutual trust established between the trainers and dogs are pivotal to the success of the program. For some students and dogs, this relationship is a first experience of unconditional love, and it helps them develop the self-confidence and hope they need to build future relationships.