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Individual Applications for Spring 2024
[review all information below prior to submitting an application]
The application period
for Winter 2024
will be open from July 1 through July 15, 2024 at 5PM, PST.

Program overview:  The CORE on-line program consists of educational modules which will prepare participants to manage playgroups using the LIMA ethical standard and use conspecific interactions for behavior modification. This program is for individuals and does not include an in-person component.

Watch this video to learn more about the program prior to submitting an application:

The Shelter Playgroup Alliance no-cost CORE on-line program is restricted to 75 seats per cohort for individuals who are employed by or volunteer at a shelter or rescue and meet the following criteria:

  1. Provide direct care to animals.

  2. Dedicate two hours per week to complete the program in the allotted time frame; staff may need permission and support from supervisors to meet this criterion.

  3. Have access to more than one species.

  4. Regular access to dogs in a shelter or rescue (not only one’s own dog).

  5. Have access to high-speed internet.

  6. Have access to a video camera or a phone with video capabilities.

  7. Able to listen, read, and write in English at a 6th grade level.

  8. Acknowledge the level of difficulty of the program and have a plan for completion within the allotted 16-week time frame.

  9. Demonstrate a learning mindset and are able and willing to receive constructive and kind feedback.

  10. Able to incorporate feedback from the SPA grading team, adjust based on that feedback, and re-submit assignments.

  11. Commitment to the use of positive reinforcement and LIMA-based practices in the shelter environment.


Applicants for the no-cost CORE on-line program must respond to a survey detailing how they meet the above program criteria. Applications will not be accepted in any other form.

Shelter and rescue organizations will be limited to 10 people per cohort. Priority will be given to individuals from the same organization who will be taking the program together, as that practice can increase completion. If multiple people from the same organization apply, each much submit their own application.


Individuals who do not complete the program in the time allotted will be considered for 15 spaces in a second cohort. Those individuals who wish to be considered to roll-over to a second cohort must submit a short essay with a realistic plan for completion.

CPDT: 30 CEUs | IAABC: 36 CEUs

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