): Angels of Assisi Trainer Bobbie Wiggins works with a shelter dog and inmate in the “In Custody K9 Training Program” located at the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection. This new program is funded by a grant from Petsmart Charities.
Trainer Ann-Marie Transue works with Ava, an American Pitbull Terrier puppy, and her inmate trainer to teach skills that will help dogs become more “adoptable” to their potential forever families and provide skills to the inmate as well.

RCACP identifies available dogs that need assistance with learning acceptable behavior skills and matches them with an inmate trusty through the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office to learn those skills in the shelter environment.

The inmates, with the help of trainers provided by Angels of Assisi, work with the dogs four days a week at the shelter to learn and master the new skills.

Certified Trainer Bobbie Wiggins said the training method is based on the “Train to Adopt” program created by Sue Sternberg. Techniques are reward-based, focusing on positive reinforcement.

“The ‘Train to Adopt’ program was created by Sternburg to help maintain a good quality of life for…

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