Nearly 30,000 Animal Welfare Professionals Enroll in Behavior Training as ASPCA Rehabilitation Center and Learning Lab Celebrate Five-Year Anniversary

First-of-its-kind facility helps hundreds of undersocialized homeless animals overcome severe fear while supporting shelter professionals who say an inability to manage behavior needs is a top barrier to placing animals in adoptive homes
May 3, 2023

Weaverville, N.C.– The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is today announcing that its animal behavior education program has attracted nearly 30,000 enrollments as it celebrates the five-year anniversary of the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center (BRC) and Learning Lab. The BRC, a first-of-its-kind facility, opened in May 2018 and is dedicated to the study and rehabilitation of homeless dogs suffering from severe fear and undersocialization, including those rescued from large-scale animal cruelty and neglect situations such as hoarding and puppy mills. The ASPCA Learning Lab, an interactive, educational program, launched alongside the BRC to share learnings with animal welfare professionals across the country. Since its inception, the program has reached more than 1,200 organizations nationwide.

“In five years, the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center has directly saved the lives of hundreds of traumatized dogs and helped thousands more across the country through the wide sharing of rehabilitation techniques and resources that help animals overcome severe fears often caused by neglect and abuse,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. “Through the expansion of this insight and deep collaboration with our shelter partners, countless dogs across the country will be redirected from hopeless fates to new paths toward safe and loving homes they need and deserve.”

At the 25,000-square-foot facility, experts implement specialized behavior modification protocols to improve the dogs’ quality of life and increase the likelihood of adoption. Treatment plans focus on helping dogs become comfortable with unfamiliar people, household objects and sounds, handling, walking on-leash and other real-life situations they are likely to experience in a home environment. The nearly 90 percent of dogs who graduate from the program are transferred to shelters and rescue groups across the country for adoption or placed directly into new loving homes.

In a September 2022 ASPCA survey of shelters and rescues from all 50 states, more than two-thirds of shelter professionals said their inability to manage the frequency and severity of animal behavior needs is a top barrier to placing animals into adoptive homes. To maximize the impact of their direct work, the BRC shares best practices for working with fearful dogs to help address this need and advance the animal welfare field.

The ASPCA also shares research and knowledge gained through the BRC and other ASPCA teams’ work through multiple channels, including the Learning Lab which focuses on integrating science-based behavioral care into all aspects of animal sheltering. The Learning Lab offers on-site, experiential workshops at the BRC for select shelter partners, in addition to virtual learning opportunities for shelter professionals nationwide. Since its inception, the Learning Lab has attracted over 28,000 enrollments of animal welfare professionals in its in-person and virtual animal behavior workshops and eLearning courses, representing over 1,200 organizations across the country. More than 95 percent of surveyed learners said they are now better able to support the behavioral wellbeing of the animals in their care.

To learn more about adopting a BRC graduate, please visit  For more information on the ASPCA’s work to help vulnerable and victimized animals across the country, please visit