AK DOC Dogs in Training

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

Wildwood dogs in need of forever homes

Midnight and Meka need new homes; the time has come for them to leave Wildwood behind.

Midnight, a 2-year-old black lab mix, and Meka, an 18-month-old Jack Russel mix have been in the care of handlers at Wildwood Correctional Center’s Special Pet Obedience and Training program, or SPOT. There, these sweet girls learned the basics; they’re potty and kennel trained, and know sit, stay, down, and are spayed.

Most often the SPOT program rescues dogs from the Kenai animal shelter, but the dogs in the program can come from a variety of places.

According to Wildwood Superintendent Shannon McCloud, Midnight was turned over by a “very teary family” moving out of Alaska. She had one sister, but she was adopted. She’s a loving girl, whose ideal family consists of kids to give lots of kisses to.

Meka was rescued from a farm in Nikiski. At the time of her rescue she was in bad shape, with skin infections and worms. But, thanks to her handler, she has been nursed back to health. She can be a bit timid when you’re first getting to know her, but she will warm up to you fast if you have a toy or treat to offer her.

SPOT was started at Wildwood in 2013, modeled after a program at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center. About 35 dogs have been rescued since the program was launched at the Kenai facility.

Anyone interested in adopting Midnight or Meka should contact Sgt. Zeek at 907-260-7212. There is a $150 adoption fee for each, but that is to cover the costs of getting them both spayed.

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Name the New DOC K9

Help us here at Alaska Department of Corrections name our new K9 who will be doing drug detection after going to the K9 Academy!

He is a 16 month old male whose detection K9 work will be used to further Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s initiative to combat drugs in our State.

Please go to https://www.facebook.com/AlaskaDOC/ to give us your suggestions.

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Goose Creek, Mat-Su Borough Shelter Launch Cell Dog Program

Goose Creek Correctional Center has inaugurated a Cell Dog program. The first class includes six dogs working with 15 inmate volunteers. Each dog is assigned 2-3 handlers who take turns being the primary handler. As handlers, inmates learn a variety of training techniques all based on the use of positive reinforcement. Many of the dogs at GCCC have been at the shelter for a while and you can see the joy come back to them as they are socialized and able to get out and exercise at the facility. Each dog will stay here for 8-10 weeks were they will learn a variety of things to make it more suitable for adoption such as how to walk on leash, sit, stay, and come to its handler. The dogs are also kennel trained and spend the nights in their kennels which are located in their primary handler’s room. The goal of the program is to find as many dogs homes as possible and to also give the inmates something to do which is positive while serving their time. If anyone is interested in adopting any of the dogs they can contact the Matsu Bureau Animal Shelter at (907) 746-5500.

About the dogs:

  • Faith is a brindle and white colored pit bull. She can sit, stay, fetch and heel. She also has been trained to go into her kennel on command. Faith is one year and four months old. She is very friendly and affectionate. Faith needs a loving home and will be a great addition to any household.
  • Carley is very playful and smart dog. She is half black lab and half golden retriever. Carley likes to play and would be a good dog with kids and active people. She is very young and lovable. She needs lots of attention. She is a quick learner and has a lot of potential.
  • Mac is a one year old black lab. He is very personable and eager to please. He knows how to sit, lay down, and wait. He loves to play fetch and run and play. Mac would be a great family dog.
  • Sadie is a 9 month old German Shepard and lab mix. She loves to play and is full of energy. She is very affectionate and loves to get attention. She can follow basic commands.
  • Tank is a ten month old male malamute/pit bull mix. He is kennel trained and has been learning basic commands. He has a lot of energy and enjoys retrieving tennis balls. Tank would be a good dog for an active person.
  • Annabelle is a 3 year old golden lab with lots of energy. She is very friendly and very obedient. She can sit, laydown, heal, stay and more all with one command. Annabelle also knows hand signals. Annabelle is very smart and is a fast learner.

Sage Gleaned from Mat-Su Shelter for Service Dog Training

Sage, a golden-chocolate lab mix, is making solid progress as her service dog training at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center. Sage’s trainer is prisoner Tamara Riley. Sage came to the program from the Mat-Su Borough Animal Care facility. Since January Sage has learned take socks off and hand them to her handler, and she is working on all the basic commands, in particular “stay.”

Cooper Just About Ready For Service Dog Duties

Cooper has been in training for just about 2 1/2 years, and he is ready for his final placement, said prisoner trainer Cindy Galvan. “I’m going to miss him, but he is just about ready for adoption.” Cooper knows hand signals. He can brace, and he can help you go up and down stairs. He takes the garbage out and he can open and close doors,” Galvan said. “He can be just a little clumsy, for example he just can’t turn light switches on and off. But he’s going to make someone a good companion.”

Service Dog Trainee Donated to HMCC Program by Alaska Breeder

Ten, who gets his name from his litter-birth-order, was donated to the Hiland Mountain service dog training program by a local breeder of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Ten has been with the program for six months; his prisoner trainer is Cassandra Russell. Russell said Ten is “hard-headed but very smart and very loving.” He’s mastered a number of the basic commands, but is still working on “stay.” Russell explained “he just likes to be with people.”

Deploying Soldier Sends Zigmond to Prison

With his deployment days away, soldier Marcos Rico was searching for a home for his yellow Labrador Zigmond, or Ziggy. Learning of the Service Dog training program at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, Rico contacted the department with the goal of donating Ziggy to the program. His hope was that Ziggy could be trained and then turned over to be of assistance to a wounded veteran or disabled child. After a few conversations, Ziggy was deemed a good fit for training and early this month he transferred to Hiland Mountain where his care and training has begun. Ziggy is AKC registered, weighs just about 70 lbs.

Wildwood Cell Dog Program A Boost for Milo and Honey

FCC CAP Graduates

Left to right — Jerremy Merrow with Milo and Rey Soto with Honey

In June, the Wildwood Correctional Center Minimum Camp began a Cell Dog program, modeled after the very successful SPOT program at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center. The first dog to come into the program was “Milo” an Australian Shepard; he’s remained the camp dog and there are no plans for him to be adopted. Woody ,another Australian Shepard was trained for about 90 days and was quickly adopted.

Layla, a Rottweiler-Husky mix was a mess when she came to the program. After four months, she calmed down and turned into a fantastic dog. As of last week, she has been given a new home, and her new owners have become quite attached to her. The newest challenge is “Honey” a golden lab mix. She has some medical issues but the inmates at the minimum camp have agreed to conduct a fundraiser to pay the cost to fix those problems.

“Overall the program is making good strides and the training is always ongoing,” said Assistant Superintendent Shannon McCloud. “An outside trainer comes once per week for individual instruction and the handlers are expected to train with their dogs every day. So far they have taught Milo (and Layla) to open doors and to turn out the lights.
Our mission at this time is basic obedience, but the future for this program in unlimited.”