Preparing Pets for New Homes

Diverse woman holding her newly adopted dog.

Training Programs

As part of our commitment to a no-kill community and compassionate care for all animals in our care, our volunteers dedicate themselves to a number of training and behavior modification programs that help reduce the stress of shelter care and provide a foundation of good behaviors to take with them to their new homes!

TOP (Total Obedience Program) Dogs

In addition to the basic skill foundation all dogs receive, selected dogs may be placed in our TOP Dog program! During this program, dogs will focus on more advanced leash walking skills, polite behavior around strangers and other dogs, basic obedience skills, & more! Adopters adopting a dog who is currently progressing through this program are invited to join us for the remainder of the dogs' weekly classes to continue his progress!

Dogs Playing for Life

Dogs Playing for Life™, founded by Aimee Sadler, is an acclaimed training program for shelter dogs featuring canine play groups. Through this program, trained volunteers lead our dogs through regular playgroups with other dogs in the shelter. This helps dogs learn skills for interacting with others and helps us assess a dog’s social ability with other dogs!

Cat Pawsitive

Developed by Jackson Galaxy and a team of animal behavior experts, The Jackson Galaxy Project’s Cat Pawsitive is a training initiative that enriches day-to-day life for cats in shelters, builds new skills for cats, promotes the human-cat bond, and helps improve adoptability by reducing the stresses that might keep a cat from connecting with an adopter. Cats gain confidence and get mental and physical stimulation through their clicker training sessions that they will take with them to their new homes!

Dog being trained in TOP Dog program by trainers.
Dogs playing together during dogs playing for life training program.
Volunteer training cat and giving a snack.

Basic Skills and Manners

All dogs in our care receive a basic foundational training for good manners to develop skills that will benefit them in their new homes!

Animal care staff member training dog with new skills.

Canine Scent Work

Scent Work allows dogs the opportunity to use their strongest natural sense in a way that’s fun, engaging, and that builds and strengthens a foundation of trust between the handler and dog. Dogs that participate in scent-work programs develop confidence and problem-solving skills that they will take with them to their new homes!