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Taking The Lead

A dog themed education programme for offenders and those at risk of offending

As an extension to our education work, in 2013 Dogs Trust decided to offer a tailored education programme to particularly 'at-risk' target groups, such as young offenders, in the community and in secure units.

These young people are a key target group for Dogs Trust; many of them will be part of communities where 'status dog' issues and antisocial behaviour with dogs can be a big problem. As a result they have a high risk of being engaged in offending conduct involving dogs, and of becoming irresponsible owners themselves.

Many young people are faced with little opportunity upon completing their sentence and often have limited work experience. Taking the Lead offers the chance to gain a range of valuable life skills through a different approach to learning, using practical scenarios and team work.


What is it?

  • 'Taking the Lead' is an education programme for offenders and people at risk of offending.
  • The programme offers valuable ‘dog themed’ education and aims to influence attitudes toward dogs in the future - whilst improving the youth’s overall behaviour, assisting in their personal development and enhancing their educational engagement and employability skills.
  • We use responsible dog ownership messages to focus on personal responsibility, consequences, respect of all living beings, empathy and anger management.

How does it work?

  • Our workshops are delivered by our dedicated team of teacher trained Youth Trainers.
  • Young people take part in a broad range of activities - including discussions, role play, group work and interactive games.Activities are all 'dog themed' and theory based and cover Dog Law, Dog Care & Welfare, Canine Communication & Body Language, Safety with Dogs, Dog Grooming & Health Checks, Reward-based Training, and Responsible Ownership.
  • We offer group work or sessions on  a 1-2-1 basis for those who work better alone.
  • We work in secure establishments such as YOIs, STCs, Secure Children’s Homes and HMPs but also work with young people in the community through alternative learning provisions, PRUs, YOTs and probation services.

How to Book

If you would like further information or are interested in booking one of our Trainers, please contact your local Youth Trainer or email takingthelead@dogstrust.org.uk