PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Giving dogs and people a second chance is the goal of Monty's Home Pawsitive Partners Prison Program.
The program started in 2008 and has been taking dogs out of crowded shelters and pairing them with a screened and trained inmate who teaches the dog basic obedience skills.
"Those are the kinds I like, the ones with no manners," explained Barb Rabb, the founder of Monty's Home. "If they have a nice temperament, if they are social with people, they don't have guarding issues, they can get along with dogs and cats then we can train them."
Picking the dogs for this program is not an easy process. Rabb said there are 18 temperament based steps the dogs have to pass in order to be in the program.
If the dog fails even one of the steps at any point, it is taken out of the testing and cannot be in the program. Monty's Home wants to make sure the dog's they train can be adopted into any household.
Rabb explained the beginning phase of the temperament test is to see if the dog wants to be sociable by ignoring it. If the dog acknowledges the person in the room, they are sociable and ready to move to the next step, which is petting.
The volunteers then test to see how aggressive the dogs are around their food, a problem that is big with a lot of dogs.
"We have an artificial hand in there and she (the volunteer) is using the artificial hand to take the raw hide away," Rabb explained. "If a dog is going to have guarding issues, or snap to protect his stuff, we want him snapping at that hand and not hers."
The volunteers then test how the dog responds to an unexpected visitor coming in, and how they react to a baby doll to see if they are aggressive or not towards children. They also tug on the dogs ears and tail, like many toddlers do, to see if they have any aggressive tendencies.
If all that checks out, and they pass the dog and cat sociable test, they get a blood test to make sure they are heart worm free.
If the dog is heart worm free they are in the program, and for the next 8 weeks will be in the Pender County Correctional Facility learning their basic commands to help make them better pets.