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Prison Pet Partnership provides a forty-eight-month Service Dog Trainer certification program to incarcerated individuals at Washington Corrections Center for Women. Program participants (incarcerated individuals) must successfully complete three months of prerequisite classes before they are provided opportunity to meet learning objectives through ADI (Assistance Dogs International) through in-class and hands-on education. Classes are led by an experienced service dog training instructor. Students are Pet First Aid and CPR certified in quarter 1 prerequisite classes. Upon successful completion of the program, program participants are equipped with the knowledge and skills to access employment upon release at a service dog training facility, basic dog training facility, or to start their own business or to pursue other careers related to the pet care industry.

It takes approximately two years to train an assistance dog. Dogs who are not certified as assistance dogs are placed in the community as companion and family Paroled Pets.


The forty-eight-month program includes:

Dog Handler I
(AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator Certification)

  • Focus on rescue and purpose-bred dogs

  • Broader dog breeds and behavior

  • Assessing dog temperaments, triggers, and personality

  • Basic commands

  • Positive reinforcement

  • Redirection


Dog Handler II
(S.T.A.R. Puppy Evaluator Certification)

  • Business-related operations and etiquette to include records-keeping, data tracking, and customer service skills

  • Advanced obedience skills

  • Creating a training plan for common behavioral issues


Dog Handler III – Service Dog Handler
(CPDT-KA Certification)

  • Types of disabilities and how service dogs can assist

  • Advanced training techniques for service dogs


Dog Handler IV - Service Dog Trainer
(ADI Training Certification)

  • Minimum eighteen months in-class and hands-on education

Prison Pet Partnership graduate, Connie, kneels next to a sitting dog.
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