Project PITS ("Partners In Teaching Skills") is a program developed by Terry Hrasok, Lisa Constable and myself. It was our desire to create a program that would benefit both society and the homeless animals we come in contact with on a daily basis. Project PITS pairs together rescue pit bulls with youth offenders who obedience train and help prepare the dogs for adoption as family pets. It is our hope that the boys and the dogs build a loving bond that benefits them emotionally, as well.
Project PITS was created specifically with my rescue pit bulls in mind as we felt the target of the program (adolescents in juvenile detention facilities) would best identify with them. However, working under the name Operation Turn Around, we hope to create additional programs for Terry's shelter animals and a program for horses, as well. We feel like the possibilities are endless!!
One of the biggest thrills for me as a pit bull owner and advocate is that Project PITS is the only program of its kind that exclusively uses pit bulls in this type of setting. Pit bulls are incredibly social and people oriented dogs, and I feel they were meant to do "therapy" type work. I am very hopeful this program will start a trend for similar type programs and also help people overcome their stereotypes and realize what truly amazing dogs pit bulls really are.
You can also read the article about Project PITS by Best Friends.
The main objectives of Project PITS is to encourage a positive sense of accomplishment, self worth and pride to the handlers by teaching them:
To be responsible for their actions and how those actions effect others;
To be open to and respect new ideas, experiences and people;
Positive outlets to control and manage their anger and/or emotions;
Leadership, communication and social skills; and
To know they CAN make a difference and that they are needed.
The program is also a great way to increase the adoptability of dogs through bonding and communication training.
All the dogs participating in Project PITS are rescues of Bless the Bullys Pit Bull and AmStaff Haven. All of these wonderful dogs were unwanted and "thrown away" by their former owners.
With Lisa’s instruction, the handlers work with the dogs using the Informational Positive Reinforcement training method through communication and bonding with their dog. Adopters of these dogs will receive the handler's class notes and evaluations so they know what training methods and words work best with their particular dog.
**The Project PITS program is no longer in effect due to circumstances in the lives of all involved – I had to go back to work full-time, Lisa moved out of the area, and Terry's employment situation changed drastically. Project PITS was a great experience, and I leave the page up to inspire others to start the same kind of program in their area.**