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We are dedicated to producing highly trained service dogs for Brigadoon clients and to help our incarcerated trainers become tomorrow’s leaders.

Six incarcerated trainers wearing orange tops and beige pants posing behind seven service dogs in training.
An incarcerated trainer wearing a green vest and gray jumpsuit training a black lab service dog in training.

About Our Prison Programs

In 2011, Brigadoon began a relationship with the Washington State Department of Corrections that eventually resulted in four long-term cooperative programs in correctional facilities throughout the state. Cooperative prison programs are recognized as an industry best practice and are common amongst ADI-accredited programs. They provide incarcerated trainers with much-needed purpose and vocational skills and assist in keeping total program costs down.

When the Brigadoon puppies reach adolescence, they “go to prison” and will rotate in and out of one of our four cooperative facilities, based on the needs of their training, with periodic breaks in volunteer homes.  They live 24/7 with their incarcerated trainers who provide daily training, enrichment, and care. We visit these facilities and hold classes for our incarcerated trainers to increase their skills and techniques. These incarcerated trainers help facilitate the dogs learning cued behaviors and skills to progress in their training.

The Benefits to the Incarcerated Trainers

Prison programs have a proven track record of reducing recidivism rates, increasing mental health amongst the incarcerated participants, and providing purpose and reward. These programs help incarcerated individuals live more positive and productive lives, while contributing to Brigadoon’s mission of preparing highly trained Assistance Dogs.


Incarcerated trainers learn to be:​

  • Self motivated

  • Proactive instead of reactive

  • Professional

  • Good leaders

  • More disciplined in their daily lives

  • Team oriented

  • Compassionate and empathetic of others

  • Patient and tolerant when handling hardship

Service dog in training with an incarcerated trainer in our prison program
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