Paws for Progress

Paws for Progress started out as a project being run to gather evidence about the effectiveness of prison-based dog training programmes. Rebecca Leonardi developed the project which was the UK’s first prison-based dog training program. The project began as a partnership with the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), the Dogs Trust and the University of Stirling.

Beginning a project like Paws for Progress takes time and careful planning and in July 2009, that work began. What followed was two years of extensive research, consultation and training until the project finally got underway in HM YOI Polmont in August 2011.

The project began with a pilot phase which lasted from August 2011 to December 2011. This time allowed further development to take place in response to the needs of the participating young people and the dogs as well as feedback from participants, staff and management teams. Responsiveness to need and feedback has continued to be a key factor in how Paws for Progress works and has strongly influenced our development as a service provider.