Prison Dogs Projects
Kate has been involved in an innovative programme involving the introduction of therapy dogs to Young Offenders Institutes. The primary aims of the project were to improve the lives of young people by promoting engagement in education, improving communication skills and to enhance general well-being.
Alongside Sherlock the therapy dog, Kate has taught a dog training programme which has included UK Sniffer Dogs scent detection training as well as classroom based theory sessions about dog health, welfare and behaviour. UK Sniffer Dogs programmes are about training dogs to detect scent as a sport and are an enjoyable enrichment activity for dogs and their owners.
The young men who have taken part in these programmes have gained:
The ability to train dogs in an ethical, force-free way using positive reinforcement
UK Sniffer Dogs qualifications and successfully taken part in competitive trials against the public
An understanding of learning theory and behaviourism
An understanding of the science and practical applications of scent training including medical detection and medical alert dogs
A knowledge of olfactory physiology
Knowledge of canine communication and body language
An understanding of the common health problems affecting pedigree dogs and how they impact on welfare
HMPS Sherlock Therapy Dog a Working Cocker Spaniel lives at home with his handler and visits the prison 4 days per week where he is based in the library. Sherlock retired from life as a working Gundog last year but still had a lot of drive to work and affection to give everybody. Sherlock was carefully temperament assessed for his suitability for this role and he has proven to be an extremely gifted and special dog. He really enjoys his job and gets super excited about his scent classes at which he excels. His welfare is of paramount importance and he is very much loved by the staff and young people he works alongside.
Feedback from education department:
"Kate is a really empathetic and emotionally intelligent teacher and can read the young people’s behaviour and body language well. She uses this insight to encourage and motivate them. Their engagement with the courses she's run has been excellent, 2-3 hours to hold their attention well is quite an achievement, let alone the improvements we’ve seen in their engagement across the curriculum during and after this programme."