Think you can’t afford dog training? Try the jail

I sent my dog to jail. And not doggie jail either, he went to the big house for four weeks, bunked with an inmate, and come home a changed dog. Though it sounds like a canine version of Scared Straight, it’s not. This is an awesome program that helps dog owners, dogs, inmates, and the prison system. Let me explain.

Two years ago, my dog was crazy and we were at our wit’s end. We heard about a program offered by Colorado Correctional Industries that sends dogs to prisons all over the state of Colorado. The K-9 Prison Trained Companion Program costs $450 for four weeks of boarding and training—or around $15 per day. A price that I consider crazy low since it would cost more than that to board your dog for that long at a kennel. In addition, the dogs are trained literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In jail, Buddy learned his basic manners and even a cute trick (which he has subsequently forgotten). The inmates, in turn, get a chance to learn new skills, improve self-esteem, and earn a salary that is based on his or her work performance. Participating inmates are also able to earn vocational certification in Canine Behavior Modification. Their Web site doesn’t mention this part, but I also think the inmates really benefit from the unconditional love the dogs provide.

One of the other benefits of the K-9 Prison Trained Companion Program is that, as a gradate of the training program, Buddy is welcome back anytime (with appointment) for boarding and refresher training for a mere $200 for two weeks. We schedule refersher training during a time that we would have to board Buddy anyway, so the $14 per day saves us quite a bit of money (it is well below the average per day boarding costs of $25 to $50) PLUS he gets retrained.

But the very best part is Beckett.

In addition to training family pets and assistance dogs, the program also adopts dogs from shelters and animal rescues all over Colorado and surrounding states. Adopted dogs are trained to be desirable companions. We adopted Beckett, our pre-trained dog, for $450.

For more information about prison dog training, visit

To see if there is a prison based training program near you, visit

For more information about Buddy's story, check out this story my local news station ran about Buddy’s time in prison.


Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.