Humane Society of Western Montana Partners with ASPCA to Help Behaviorally Challenged Shelter Dogs

Interactive training at ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center provides innovative techniques and best practices to support homeless dogs nationwide
February 19, 2020

MISSOULA, MT—The Humane Society of Western Montana (HSWM) today announces its participation in the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Learning Lab, a program developed at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Weaverville, N.C., to better serve behaviorally challenged homeless dogs. The Learning Lab is an interactive educational program where select shelters participate in an intensive, hands-on workshop and discuss all aspects of advanced behavioral care in animal shelters.

Last week, a team of shelter professionals from HSWM visited the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, where they worked alongside ASPCA behavior experts to discuss effective protocols and best practices. HSWM will be implementing key learnings and strategies to further integrate behavioral and psychological support for homeless dogs in their entire sheltering operation.

"The ASPCA has done the heavy lifting with years of research into how to help fearful dogs, many of whom are from neglect cases," said HSWM Executive Director Marta Pierpoint. "We have learned an abundance of valuable information, which will benefit all the pets in our care and in the community. We are privileged to have had this opportunity."

“The Humane Society of Western Montana is incredibly responsive to the behavioral needs of the animals in their care, and the ASPCA is thrilled to partner with them,” said Dr. Kat Miller, senior director of the ASPCA Learning Lab. “Through the Learning Lab partnership network, we will collaborate to further enhance and share innovative programs that prepare behaviorally challenged animals for adoption into loving homes.”

The ASPCA Learning Lab launched in 2018 at the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, the first-ever permanent facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and study of extremely fearful, unadoptable homeless dogs, most of whom are victims of cruelty or neglect. As the Learning Lab program evolves, the ASPCA aims to develop a national network of partner organizations that share learnings and best practices and serve as specialized behavioral rehabilitation hubs in their communities.

The work of the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center is showcased in an award-winning ASPCA documentary, “Second Chance Dogs”, which is available on For more information on the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, please visit

About Humane Society of Western Montana

HSWM is a locally loved 501c3 nonprofit with the goal of making home possible by helping pets and their people in Western Montana. With an adoption rate of over 98%, HSWM finds homes for over 1,400 pets annually. Learn more at