Training Wheels® Urban Solutions Adolescent Alternatives Program

Training Wheels® Urban Solutions Adolescent Alternatives Program


The Adolescent Alternatives program was created by Jane Kopelman in November of 2001 to involve at-risk teens in the Training Wheels® program as an adjunct to alternative to incarceration programs. The goal is to give these teens the opportunity to learn animal handling, dog training skills, and basic, humane care, allowing them to go back into their neighborhoods helping both people and pets work towards a more humane community.

Participants in the program are given the opportunity to learn reward-based training methods by pairing them with shelter dogs. They learn how to achieve desired results without the use of force or intimidation. The kids can learn how to develop empathy with people by building patient and compassionate relationships with dogs. By learning to work with dogs using positive reinforcement, they also learn to communicate with people in positive, non-judgmental ways.

The program offers short term residential stays upstate in which participants will spend time living in the dormitory/guest area of the Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption shelter. Each day, under supervision, they feed, bathe, exercise and train shelter dogs. They get immersed in the daily life of the animal shelter, experience it first hand, and join in on special programs and various dog-sport workshops.

Regular Training Wheels® trips into the community are made and participants get hands-on experience working with people and pets helping the community. These kids take the skills they have learned training dogs and can share them with pet owners in need of help.

The program also sends participants to workshops on all aspects of dog training, including tricks, musical freestyle, Frisbee, agility, and shelter dog training.

It is the goal of these programs to instill compassion, commitment and confidence in the youths who participate, offer them skills and knowledge they can use forever and inspire other kids in their neighborhood.


For more information contact:


Jane Kopelman
Training Wheels® Director
4628 Route 209
Accord, NY 12404
(845) 687-7619