The results speak for themselves, said Janette Thomas, director of Pathways to Hope, a nonprofit teaching inmates life skills for the past 10 years.
The dogs learn obedience, which gives them a better chance at being adopted. Meanwhile the inmates learn empathy, responsibility and plenty of patience, she said.
Musick Jail Inmate Tom helped train a miniature poodle named Peanut during the eight-week program. Peanut learned to lay down, roll over, sit and shake.
"The main goal here is to prevent dogs from being euthanized," Tom said. He said his dog stayed with him at his bunk while he and another inmate trained her.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department is considering expanding the program by adding 50 percent more dogs and incorporating female inmate-trainers.