Youth-Canine Programs

Our Youth-Canine programs pair youth from vulnerable or at-risk communities with shelter dogs for a weeklong training program.

Our dog trainer and volunteer coaches help the youth train the dogs on basic skills and manners using positive reinforcement methods. The young people learn responsibility, job readiness, anger management, parenting skills, leadership and positive life skills. At the same time, the shelter dogs are more likely to be adopted because of the basic skills and manners learned.

Since 2013, our Youth-Canine programs have positively impacted hundreds of teens and saved hundreds of dogs.

See photos of the dogs who have graduated from these programs.

Please visit our Facebook page for more information about each dog. These dogs are available for adoption directly through the partnering shelter.


Youth-Canine Volunteer Roles

Youth-Canine Coach: Youth-Canine Coaches serve as mentors to the youth in our programs. Youth-Canine Coach volunteers work under the supervision of the Dog Trainer/Youth-Canine Program Leader and provide guidance, support, and praise to the youth and ensure proper handling of the dogs. 

Youth-Canine Evening Care: Evening Care volunteers for our Pawsitive Corrections Program help to care for the shelter dogs in the Youth-Canine Program in the evening after the program has ended for the day. Evening Care volunteers are responsible for helping to feed, walk, and toilet the dogs, administering any necessary medications, and providing the dogs with love and affection.

Learn more about becoming a Youth-Canine volunteer.

“From the Director, to the volunteers, to the canine trainers, Paws & Think is a phenomenal contribution to the greater Indianapolis area! Working together to serve youth in our community through canines was one of the best professional experiences I have ever had.”

Fishers Youth Assistance