Dutch Cell Dogs

Prisoners who train dogs that have ended up in an animal shelter and are struggling to find a new home – this refreshing concept was the start of Dutch Cell Dogs in 2009. Its success in practice became clear almost immediately: a prisoner trained a difficult dog to be a good pet, but at the same time he also trained himself. The prisoners who took part became resocialized.

Dutch Cell Dogs is the first program in the Netherlands in which people and animals help each other to rediscover a place in society. In this project prisoners and people detained under a hospital order train dogs in an animal shelter, which are also imprisoned and often exhibit problematic behavior, and educate them to become social family dogs.

By practicing positive rewards the prisoners in fact train themselves. The results achieved by Dutch Cell Dogs are unmistakable. The dogs manage to reach even the most difficult and/or isolated personalities: the prisoners become more open, acquire greater confidence and take their first steps towards regaining a place in society.

In the coming years Dutch Cell Dogs has the aim of gaining scientific recognition of their methodology.  The University of Amsterdam’s research into the effectiveness of Dutch Cell Dogs started in April 2017 and should provide scientific legitimization for this. The research will be concluded in 2019, following which the intervention will be submitted to the Netherlands Youth Institute (database of effective interventions) as an Effective Intervention.

Adessium supports this project in the area of professionalization of the organization and effect measurement.

About this partner

Dutch Cell Dogs brings two worlds together in a special way – the world of prisoners, who are temporarily excluded from society due to their detention, and that of dogs in an animal shelter, which are also imprisoned. Two vulnerable groups who are on the side lines and find it difficult to rediscover their way into society without assistance from others. To be able to reintegrate successfully, they need a renewed positive self-image and to build up confidence in those around them. Dutch Cell Dogs provides support for both processes.

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