“The main thing I wanted to do was create more of a unit for all these guys, not each individual trainer and each individual dog, but to help everyone work together,” said David Benson, referring to the Camp Canine program he’s been spearheading for three years at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex — a medium-security men’s prison in LaGrange, Kentucky.
The training program is designed to take homeless dogs of all ages and breeds and prepare them for foster families. Selected inmates are assigned a dog for which they are responsible 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Inmate handlers put the dogs through 8-10 weeks of AKC Good Citizen lessons. The inmates have a great deal of pride and ownership in training the dogs. In the end, the dogs become perfect family members because they’ve been through all types of training scenarios.
Benson has had tremendous success with Camp Canine because the inmates listen and love taking on dog-training responsibilities. “They really do care for the animals,” said Benson.