AK DOC Dogs in Training

Dedicated to the Alaska Department of Corrections Cell Dog and Service Dog Training Goals and Accomplishments



Governor Sarah Palin speaks with members of Sgt. Ondell’s family at the formal transfer event of the first service dog trained by inmates at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center.

Wyatt became the department’s first inmate-trained service dog. Wyatt, a 90-pound yellow lab mix was trained at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center for 17 months and was presented to his new owner, a wounded soldier, in March of 2009. Although he was a large dog, he displayed a calm personality, intelligence and a keen ability to learn new tasks.

Wyatt got along well with other dogs and displayed no aggression towards cats. He loved to play ball and chase, and while he could get overly enthusiastic when player he could calm down when told to “knock it off” or “leave it.”

Wyatt was trained in all areas of basic obedience such as ‘sit,’ ‘down,’ ‘stay,’ ‘come,’ ‘leave it,’ ‘heel,’ ‘let’s go’, and ‘swing and come around.’ Wyatt could retrieve items that were pointed at. He learned certain items by name such as: ‘remote,’ ‘keys’ and ‘leash.’ If he didn’t know know the name of the item, he can be taught by repeating the name of the item and pointing.

Wyatt learned to turn the light on in a room by flipping the light switch with his nose. The command used is “light on”. Wyatt also learned the phrase “light off” and performed the function well. Wyatt learned to heel when being walked by an individual who is in a wheelchair or using a walker for assistance.


Wyatt is presented to his new owner in March of 2009