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At the end of this rigorous multi-phase, two year-long educational program, participants will be prepared to perform the key tasks of a shelter behavior professional. Through approximately 200 hours of hybrid learning, participants will learn about the key aspects of:

  • Training and behavior modification for multiple species

  • Creating behavior-related programs, including for multi-species enrichment

  • Incorporating behavior and training into all aspects of sheltering

  • Leading teams and influencing without authority

The total cost of the program over the two years is $4.100.

Program Details

Phase one

 

BEAR Necessities (on-line): In this initial phase of the program, we will be exploring the necessary and foundational concepts for your journey to becoming a shelter behavior professional.... the BEAR Necessities! This set of on-line courses will cover key concepts that include how animals learn and communicate, positive reinforcement-based training and behavior modification, ethics related to sheltering and animal training, and enrichment in the shelter environment, including the implementation of inter-dog interactions. ($300/person)

 

Spring 2024 Cohort Dates: February 1, 2024 - June 30, 2024

Winter 2024 Cohort Dates: August 1, 2024 - December 31, 2024

 

BEAR Necessities Workshop (in-person): The prerequisite for the first workshop is successful completion of the BEAR Necessities modules. This hands-on workshop will build on the content in the BEAR Necessities modules and consists of five consecutive days during which participants will demonstrate safe handling, defensive handling, behavior modification for cats and dogs, low stress handling for cats and dogs, and manage safe inter-dog interactions. ($800/person)

 

Spring 2024 Cohort Dates: August 6 - 9, 2024 in Arlington, VA

Winter 2024 Cohort Dates: January 14-17, 2025 in Dublin, CA

 

Phase one course list:

  • LIMA: Deep dive

  • Ethics in animal welfare (five freedoms & five domains)

  • Operant conditioning

  • Classical conditioning

  • Marker and lure-reward training essentials

  • Troubleshooting training

  • Breed and behavior

  • Documenting behavioral observations

  • Canine enrichment in shelters

  • Feline enrichment in shelters

  • Canine communication basics: Part 1

  • Feline communication basics: Part 1

  • Canine communication basics: Part 2

  • Canine communication: Focus on fear and anxiety

  • Canine communication: Focus on aggression

  • Canine play behaviors: Part 1

  • Canine play behaviors: Part 2

  • Basics of LIMA-based play

  • Handling skills

  • Dog introductions

  • Playgroups for behavior modification: Part 1

  • Playgroups for behavior modification: Part 2

 

Phase two

 

BEAR Fundamentals (on-line): The second phase of the BEAR program explores the differences between evaluations and assessments, types of evaluations, risk assessment, gathering and documenting objective behavioral information, identifying manageable behavioral concerns, prioritizing interventions to focus on behaviors that may limit opportunities for placement, and engaging with community members in a variety of situations. Enrollment in BEAR Fundamentals is contingent upon successful completion of BEAR Necessities, or equivalent*. ($300/person)

 

Spring 2024 Cohort Dates: August 1, 2024 - December 31, 2024

Winter 2024 Cohort Dates: February 1, 2025 -June 30, 2025

 

BEAR Fundamentals Workshop (in-person): The prerequisite for this workshop is successful completion of the BEAR Fundamentals modules and Phase One on-line and in-person content. This hands-on workshop will build on all of the previous content and consists of five consecutive days during which participants will engage in conducting evaluations, identifying and problem-solving behavior concerns, conducting canine risk assessments, creating behavior modification plans for multiple species, and working with the public. ($800/person)

 

Spring 2024 Cohort Dates: January 14-17, 2025 in Dublin, CA

Winter 2024 Cohort Dates: August 2025 (dates TBD)

 

Phase two course list:

  • Overview of shelter models

  • Overview of socially conscious sheltering

  • Capacity for care

  • Intake and pathway planning

  • Shelter evaluations

  • Data: Your best friend

  • Euthanasia decisions

  • Volunteer programs

  • Developing behavior plans

  • Canine assessment of risk (CARS) overview

  • Canine assessment of risk (CARS) human interactions scale

  • Canine assessment of risk (CARS) conspecific interactions scale

  • Canine assessment of risk (CARS) domestic animal interactions

  • Canine assessment of risk (CARS) bite index

  • Canine assessment of risk (CARS) separation related problem behaviors

  • Canine assessment of risk (CARS) quality of life

  • Canine assessment of risk (CARS) summary sheet

  • Canine assessment of risk (CARS) in-shelter behavior modification overview

 

Phase three

 

Advanced BEAR Concepts (on-line): The third phase of the BEAR program explores how shelter behavior professionals work across the organization and the community to improve animal welfare. This phase of the BEAR program also includes in-depth feline behavior content. ($300/person)

 

Spring 2024 Cohort Dates: February 1, 2025 - June 30, 2025

Winter 2024 Cohort Dates: August 1, 2025 - December 31, 2025

 

Advanced BEAR Workshop (in-person): The prerequisite for this workshop is successful completion of the first two phases (both on-line and in-person workshops). This hands-on workshop will build on all of the previous content and consists of five consecutive days during which participants will engage in activities and discussions that support implementation of behavior-related concepts across the organization as well as feline behavior modification. ($800/person)

 

Spring 2024 Cohort Dates: August 2025 (dates TBD)

Winter 2024 Cohort Dates: January 2026 (dates TBD)

 

Phase three course list:

  • Integrating behavior into vet med

  • Integrating behavior into animal care 

  • Integrating behavior into admissions

  • Integrating behavior into HLE/ACO

  • Integrating behavior into foster

  • Integrating behavior into adoption counseling

  • Integrating behavior into guest relations

  • Supporting teams through behavior euthanasia

  • Developing community programs

  • Working with bilingual and multilingual communities

  • Behavior considerations in marketing and communications

  • Post-adoptions support

  • Welcome committee program for behavior professionals

  • Feline behavior: Kitten development

  • Feline behavior: Fear and anxiety

  • Feline behavior: Aggression

  • Feline behavior: Play

  • Collaborating with other shelters and rescues

  • Navigating the shelter legal environment

 

Phase four

 

Leading with BEAR (on-line): The final phase of the BEAR program will explore the influence and leadership skills required of a shelter behavior professional to improve animal welfare through activating others for positive change. This phase will include theories of leadership, coaching, mentoring, leading without authority, and organizational savvy. ($800/person)

 

Spring 2024 Cohort Dates: August 1, 2025 - December 31, 2025

Winter 2024 Cohort Dates: February 1, 2026 - June 30, 2026

 

Phase four course list:

  • Leadership frameworks

  • Coaching frameworks

  • Teaching as leading

  • Decision making frameworks

  • Organizational savvy

  • Accountability

  • Peer coaching

  • Leading without authority

 

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