Puppies in prison: Duluth prisoners help train service dogs


A litter of seven Labrador pups and their mother Yoga were dropped off in prison on Thursday afternoon. Everything is arranged Can make dogs, an organization in the Twin Cities area that provides service dogs free of charge to people who need assistance with mobility, hearing loss, seizures, diabetes alarms, and autism.

“These dogs are little life changers,” said Kaity McGinn.

McGinn directs the Can Do Canines prison program. Duluth serves as a “weaning prison” which means they take in a litter of puppies when they are 5 weeks old and keep them for five weeks. Inmates help them wean her from her mother and get her to eat kibble and start crate and potty training.

“As soon as the pups are 8 weeks old, they are ready to go out and explore,” said McGinn. “So you can use the entire prison camp. You can walk around and meet other people and see the canteen and … just walk around.”

She said the prison program was sorely missed during the pandemic.

“The training that goes into them in those five weeks in prison has really shown because when these pups go to a volunteer after 10 weeks, that volunteer can already see, wow, they already know some commands, they basically are taken on potty training. ” , they no longer scream through the night in their kennels, “she said.

McGinn says it’s a win-win for Can Do Canines and the inmates.

“They just get this unconditional love, they are so proud of these dogs. I mean when we come in with the pups they say, ‘Let me show you what they learned today. Let me show you the show. ‘ You’re so excited, “she said.” And it’s just a cool thing to be a part of. You can give a little back to the community while they spend their time. ”

She said some inmates said they were inspired to keep giving back after their sentence.

Can Do Canines offers volunteer opportunities ranging from training service dogs to simply chauffeuring a litter to a prison.

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