Project Homebound Dog Training Program

Dog Training Programs are an evidence-based initiatives designed to help low risk inmates — Returning Citizens —  and at-risk dogs in communities across the country. These programs have been proven to improve the mental health of Returning Citizens and decrease the likelihood that they will reoffend. They also allow the dogs to get out of the crowded shelter and learn skills that make them more likely to be adopted!

The Project Homebound Dog Training Program is a partnership between Athens-Clarke County Animal Services, Athens-Clarke County Department of Corrections, and Athenspets. Dogs from ACCAS are brought to live in a specialized enclosure on Corrections property. There, they are trained and socialized by pairs of Returning Citizens under the supervision of Tricia Hall, of Bone-A-Fide Dog Training. Once the dogs are ready, usually after three to four months of training, they become eligible for adoption.

By adopting a dog from Project Homebound, not only do you get a happy, healthy pet, but you get to help animals and people in your community!

About the Dogs

Project Homebound dogs are evaluated for participation in the program by Tricia Hall (Bone-A-Fide Dog Training). This evaluation focuses on the prospective safety of the men and other dogs in the program, but is not a guarantee that the dogs will get along with any particular dog or person. You should bring any dogs and people the Project Homebound dog needs to get along with after adoption to the meet-and-greet appointment.

Like any shelter dog, the Project Homebound dogs will need a decompression period after moving to your home. During the initial 3-day period, you should make things as non-stressful for your new pup as possible, limiting the new people, dogs, and experiences he needs to accept–give him a safe space, food & water, and a regular schedule of bathroom breaks while his stress hormones return to normal. After that, for an additional 2-3 week period, walks, short & structured interactions with other household pets, and the start of simple positive reinforcement training is fine. It is only after your new pup is in your home for at least 2-3 months that his true personality will emerge.

Some resources on decompression include:

Bringing a New Dog Home (Lifeline Animal Project)

The Importance of Decompression When Bringing Home a New Dog (AKC)

Decompression Time (Behavior Vets NYC)

About the Training

Homebound pups have received positive reinforcement obedience training while in the program. At your meet-and-greet, ask your pup’s handler to demonstrate what he knows! Because the dogs live in a kennel environment while in the program, they are not house or crate trained.

Training teaches a person and her pet to communicate with one another–it is not a passive process for either the dog or the handler. As a result, the training received by the Homebound dogs (or any trained dog) will only transition to a new owner with some initial work. We highly recommend a few transition training sessions upon adoption so that you can receive the full benefits of your pup’s training!

Contact Tricia Hall (Bone-a-Fide Dog Training) to ask about your 2 training sessions at no cost to you to help your Project Homebound dog transition to your home! She also offers discounted advanced training for all program graduates.

Adoption Process

All adoptions of Project Homebound dogs are through Athens-Clarke County Animal Services. Once the dogs are available, they will show on the ACCAS website, marked as “Project HB”. At that time, you can submit an application by following the dog’s link; scroll up if the page looks blank after clicking on the dog’s photo.

Since the Project Homebound dogs are not housed on-site at the shelter, the easiest way to meet them is by submitting an application on the ACCAS website. The shelter staff will contact you about scheduling a time to meet the dog in question.

The adoption fee for all Project Homebound dogs is $150 and includes 2 free dog training sessions so you can learn all about your new furry family member!

Provided Veterinary Care

All Project Homebound dogs receive DHPP, rabies, and bordetella vaccination, basic deworming, and microchipping. They are also spayed or neutered, as appropriate, before entering the program and either have tested negative for heartworms or are treated for them during the time they are in Project Homebound.