Skip to main content

Table 2 Training content of the four phases

From: The effectiveness of Dutch Cell Dogs in correctional facilities in the Netherlands: a study protocol of a quasi-experimental trial

Training phase Training content
One: The intake
Three days prior to first training session
The DCD trainer explains principles underlying the training. Detainees are introduced to behavioral expectations during training; detainee chooses whether he/she wants to participate. If yes, the detainee is matched with an asylum dog (who has already undergone a behavioral test). The DCD trainer matches a shelter dog to a detainee based on observations during the intake, taking into consideration the safety of the dog and detainee at all times. The DCD trainer is not aware of the diagnoses and the offenses of the detainees. The dog-detainee matched is solely based on observations during the intake.
Two: The dog training: in theory and in practice
Week 1–7
Training content is taught prior to each session. Detainees take notes in training diaries. Examples of training topics: teaching the dog desired behavior and how to respond to basic commands, taking care of the dog, and relaxation by playing. Detainees learn to recognize, interpret, and anticipate body language, emotions and behaviors of the dog. Extra attention is paid to learning how to understand and handle dog aggression.
Three: Graduation day.
Week 8
The training ends with a celebratory ‘graduation’ day: detainees and their dogs demonstrate what they have learned to those interested (e.g., the group leaders of the detention center, family members, staff of the asylum centers). Detainees receive a certificate from the director of the correctional facility, in presence of their guests. They also receive a framed picture of ‘their’ dog and a t-shirt.
Four: Evaluation
One month after training termination.
Detainees meet with DCD trainer to evaluate training experience. They are invited to provide feedback and various topics are discussed (i.e., anecdotes of training experience, the experience of saying goodbye to the dog). Detainees are also updated on the current living situation of the dog they trained (i.e., has the dog found a new home).