The flagship series of Dog Squad: Puppy School will start airing on TVNZ1 on Tuesday 28 January at 7.30pm.
The series, which is a spin-off from the popular TV show Dog Squad, follows trainee service dogs Brooke, Blake and Arthur during their 10-month stint at Spring Hill Corrections Facility.
Through our Puppies in Prison programme run in partnership with Mobility Dogs, each of the dogs were paired up with a prisoner living in the self-care unit at the site.
Under Mobility Dog trainer Natalie Ramm’s guidance, the prisoners taught the dogs practical skills to assist people living with long term disabilities including opening doors, fetching clothes from a washing machine and turning off lights.
The dogs had initially been taught basic behavioural commands by women at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility when they were small before being transferred to Spring Hill.
“The TV show is a great opportunity to see the Puppies in Prison programme in action and watch both the dogs and their handlers develop skills and confidence over time,” says Garry Grant, Residential Manager at Spring Hill Corrections Facility.
“Each of the dogs have big personalities so it’s interesting to see how their handlers overcome the challenges presented with that – especially with Arthur who is very cruisy!”
The programme is a unique way for prisoners to gain skills while playing a significant part in improving the lives of people living with a disability.
The TV series also documents working dogs in training at other agencies including Police, Biosecurity NZ and Blind and Low Vision.
“Corrections has been working with Greenstone TV, the team behind Dog Squad, for over ten years and it’s exciting to have an opportunity to showcase the different ways the Department works with dogs,” says Daisy Tanuvasa, Acting Residential Manager at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility.
“We’re really proud of our longstanding partnership with Dog Squad because it gives the public a chance to take a peek behind the wire and witness first-hand how the work we do makes a difference to our local communities and helps keep New Zealanders safe.”
Dog Squad is in its tenth series and Greenstone TV has started work filming our dog handlers from around the country for series 11.
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