Canine Commandos to the Rescue

Students train shelter dogs to make them more adoptable

A typical day at Tropical Elementary School in Merritt Island, Florida, is not much different from most schools. Kids are solving math problems, performing science projects, and (ugh!) taking tests.  

For a special group of kids at Tropical, and at eleven other schools in Florida, though, some days are anything but typical. Those are the days the Canine Commandos spring into action.  

Training Toto

Canine Commandos is a group of kids dedicated to making life better for homeless dogs. They regularly visit the South Animal Care Center and Central Brevard Humane Society. At the shelters, the Commandos teach dogs basic obedience commands:  Watch me, sit, stay, and come.

The Commandos’ goal is to get homeless dogs adopted into good homes. The kids hope that by improving the dogs’ behavior, more people will be willing to give them a home. After all, a well-behaved dog makes a much more desirable pet.  

Strutting their stuff

To achieve their goal, the Commandos invite the public to watch while they train the dogs. And it works.

Often, someone in the audience is so impressed that they decide to adopt one of the dogs.  

“Being able to provide these dogs with a loving home is amazing,” says Sterling, a 12-year-old Commando, “and it’s amazing to think that I changed this dog’s outcome by training!” 

Joining forces

Since the program at Tropical Elementary began, eleven more schools have joined the Canine Commando program. With all that help, the future for dogs in Florida shelters is a whole lot brighter.  

Learn more about the Commandos and watch one of their training videos at

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