The newest inmate rehabilitation program in New Jersey is teaching inmates how to raise and train Labrador Retriever puppies to be future explosive detection canines and veteran companions. What began as a guide dog program, Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) has adapted over the years to serve wounded combat veterans who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as join law enforcement in helping to detect the presence of explosive devices.
The program was inspired to serve the local community after 9-11 and the war in Iraq. PBB has also now just begun breeding and raising their own puppies to participate in the program. With the help of 140 inmates, the program has raised over 100 service dogs to date.
Puppy Boot Camp
Through Puppies Behind Bars, puppies begin at the age of 8 weeks and go through a rigorous 2-year training program. During this time they are raised and trained by their assigned inmates, who teach them over 90 commands by the time the program is complete.
Inmates train these dogs through hard work and discipline, and also get to see the power of love and healing these canine companions provide to their future owners. The program is a great way for inmates to understand the importance of contributing to society and giving back to their local community.
Get Paired With a PBB Pup
Each year veterans and dogs are paired together at a veteran-dog pairing and training event at the Edith Macy Conference Center in New York. This will be the 6th year that the conference center will host the event and the first year that PBB-bred puppies will be paired with their veteran companions. For more information or to learn how to help support the PBB program, visit www.puppiesbehindbars.com.