Dogged Justice: A Courthouse Dogs® Podcast

Images of Colleen Phelan and Jim Ha, collaged with the podcast logo of a dog wearing headphones and speaking into a mic

Dogged Justice is an educational podcast focused on sharing the positive impact that facility dogs make in the criminal justice system. Hosted by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Dr. Jim Ha and Courthouse Facility Dog Handler Colleen Phelan, each episode will share a new aspect of the world-wide work of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation. Weekly 30 – 45 minute episodes will bring you insightful interviews from members of the courthouse facility dog community and deeper dives into cutting-edge canine science. 

To hear the origin of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation, check out Episodes 1 & 2 with Ellen O’Neill-Stephens.

We are grateful for the continued support from Melanie Richards creating and maintaining our website.



  • Episode 21 – Cognitive Research With Puppies

    with Dr Jim Ha and Colleen Phelan with Emily Bray

    Have you ever wondered what it looks like to be an Animal Behavior Researcher? Emily Bray from the Arizona Canine Cognition Center joins Colleen and Jim in this episode. Emily takes our hosts through her process of working with puppies, tells them how the research is functionally applied, and shares some of the activities she takes the working dogs through as well.


    Episode Highlights 

    1:26 – Meet the first guest of Season 2 Emily Bray from the Arizona Canine Cognition Center & Canine Companions 

    2:30 – The work that Canine Companions early development center does. 

    4:35 – Emily’s process and her early work in animal behavior studies.

    6:30 – Surprising behaviors discovered during the maternal studies.

    10:05 – Jim & Emily reflect on how important the maternal work being done benefits all dog owners. Plus, where Jim has recently referenced the work.

    12:30 – Why these long-term studies are so challenging to complete. 

    17:00 – The benefits of these long-term studies and why it’s worth being patient for them to be completed. 

    18:00 – Emily goes deep on the cognitive research she’s been conducting on working dogs. 

    23:00 – How this research get’s functionally applied in the real world. 

    26:00 – Jim points out how specialized puppy raisers’ intuition and years of experience play a part in all of this. 

    31:00 – Jim invites Emily to share her recent publications from the data she’s collected. 

    33:00 – 3 tasks used in recent testing and what the results helped us understand. 

    38:00 – Thinking about Blake, Colleen reflects on the daily tasks her facility dog would and would not be suited for.

    40:45 – Jim and Emily talk through what makes positive and negative outcomes, and how a working dog’s characteristics play a part. 

    43:30 – What happens when a working dog isn’t the right fit for the originally intended working environment. 

    45:15 – Emily share’s what it’s like to work with these cute dogs all day as a professional animal behavior researcher.


    If you’d like to know more about the work Emily does you can follow her website at

  • Episode 20 – Science, Training, and Research Behind Facility Dogs

    with Dr Jim Ha with Colleen Phelan

    Welcome back to Season 2 of Dogged Justice. This season Colleen and Jim will be focusing on the complexities of the science and research behind selecting and training facility dogs. Our hosts also provide personal updates and share the celebration of Molly B’s life as a facility dog.  (more…)

  • Episode 19 – Upcoming Virtual Symposium on Responding to Incidents of Mass Victimization

    with Dr Jim Ha with Colleen Phelan, Kim Gramlich and Tamara Martin

    This episode spotlights the upcoming training opportunity presented by the Courthouse Dogs Foundation on Responding To Incidents of Mass Victimization. Colleen & Jim welcome back Kim Gramlich & Tamara Martin presenters at this symposium to give you a preview on what to expect, and help identify if this is the right symposium for you to attend. 

    Click here to learn more or register for this virtual symposium.  (more…)

  • Episode 18 – Puppy Raising With Kathy Zastrow

    with Colleen Phelan and Kathy Zastrow

    We’ve interviewed puppy breeders, trainers, and handlers now it’s time to get the perspective from a puppy raiser. Kathy Zastrow with Canine Companions For Independence joins us to share her unique perspective on raising a puppy before handing it off to the training process. She shares so many surprises and family lessons learned as well as some of her memorable moments.  (more…)

  • Episode 17 – The Many Aspects Of Breeding with Marina Phillips

    with Dr Jim Ha with Colleen Phelan and Marina Phillips

    While you may have assumptions on how working dogs are bred, there is still plenty to learn. Marina Phillips the Breeding Coop Administrator for Assistance Dogs International North America Regional helps answer many questions on this topic. Jim shares why the terminology is so important when discussing these topics as well. 

    Join us next month for the November Virtual Race & Walk for Gratitude to raise funds to support this program.

    Episode Highlights 

  • Episode 16 – Breeding & Caring For The Puppies That Become Working Dogs

    with Dr Jim Ha with Colleen Phelan and Wendy Clock Johnson

    How many loads of laundry does it take to raise a puppy? Who takes care of the pregnant dogs? How are the dogs paired for breeding? Colleen & Jim are joined by Breeder Caretaker Wendy Clock Johnson from Canine Companions for Independence to answer all our puppy breeding and raising questions. They also discuss why this process is so important for successful working dogs. 


  • Episode 15 – Minimizing Separation Anxiety & What’s Next On The Podcast

    with Dr Jim Ha and Colleen Phelan

    Colleen and Jim reflect on what has happened on the podcast so far and share how it’s already benefiting the community. They also share what you can expect on upcoming episodes. Jim also shares his best tips for minimizing separation anxiety when you leave your dog home.

    Join us next month for the November Virtual Race & Walk for Gratitude to raise funds to support this program.


  • Episode 14 – Advocating & Teaming Up In Alabama (Part 2)

    with Colleen Phelan and The Alabama Crew - Ann Lee, Jana Thomason, Patricia Falcon Tamera Martin and Tonya Willingham (pictured)

    Continuing last week’s episode the Alabama network shares a wide range of experiences with the facility dogs they work with. Colleen also learns more about each of the facility dogs similar personality traits. We wrap up this 2 part series talking about the value of these networks in the community. Colleen provides next steps if you want to see a program like this in your community.

  • Episode 13 – Advocating & Teaming Up In Alabama (Part 1)

    with Colleen Phelan and The Alabama Crew - Ann Lee, Janet Thomason, Patricia Falcon Tamera Martin (pictured) and Tonya Willingham (

    Colleen kicks off this two part episode with 4 members of the Alabama facility dog community. Ann, Jana, Patricia,Tamera and Tonya share how they came together to launch their statewide efforts to benefit the communities they serve. This episode discusses how both the National Children’s Advocacy Center and the H.E.R.O. Program were founded, and who they serve.


  • Episode 12 – Facility Dogs Building Confidence Down Under

    with Dr Jim Ha and Colleen Phelan with Jane Kefford and Julie Morrison

    Colleen and Jim learn the unique ways that their peers in Australia have used facility dogs to build confidence throughout the justice system. Jane Kefford Client Services Manager for Assistance Dogs Of Australia and Julie Morrison Victim Engagement Coordinator for the Victoria Office Of Public Prosecutions and handler of Lucy / Suzy join us this week.

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