SPCA of Texas Participates in ASPCA Learning Lab Program to Advance Rehabilitation Programs for Fearful Homeless Dogs

New interactive training program at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center provides critical tools and best practices to help shelter dogs across the country
July 19, 2018

Dallas, Texas—The SPCA of Texas today announces its partnership with the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and participation in their Learning Lab program to implement specialized scientifically-based rehabilitation techniques and targeted sheltering protocols to help homeless dogs overcome fearful behavior that prevents adoption. The Learning Lab is an innovative, research-based training program developed at the ASPCA 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.

The SPCA of Texas is the first animal welfare agency to participate in the ASPCA’s Learning Lab program and will be applying key learnings from ASPCA experts at its facilities in Dallas and McKinney to integrate best practices and protocols in behavioral modification that best prepare fearful dogs for adoption. As part of the program, visiting shelter professionals from select animal welfare organizations observe and participate in treatment sessions and learn scientifically-sound techniques to reduce dogs’ fear of people and acclimate them to everyday situations that can induce trauma and distress in these undersocialized dogs. The SPCA of Texas is currently working with ASPCA behavior experts to launch its own behavioral rehabilitation program at its facilities.

“The SPCA of Texas is thankful for the amazing opportunity to expand our rehabilitation program by gaining these critical rehabilitation techniques from the ASPCA,” said James Bias, President and CEO of the SPCA of Texas. “The SPCA of Texas rescues thousands of animals from cruelty and neglect each year, and we hope to improve the quality of life for fearful animals by implementing the rehabilitation techniques and protocols the ASPCA Learning Lab has so generously shared with us.”

“The Learning Lab program is a critical component of the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center because it enables lifesaving insight and techniques to travel across the country, helping thousands of dogs at risk due to their traumatic experiences,” added Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “We’re pleased to welcome the SPCA of Texas as our partner, and look forward to the accomplishments this collaboration will inspire for vulnerable animals in their community.”

The ASPCA opened its permanent Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in North Carolina following the success of a four-year pilot program in New Jersey, where hundreds of dogs with behavior issues were successfully treated and placed with rescue groups and shelters across the country for adoption. As the Learning Lab program evolves, the ASPCA plans to develop a national network of partner organizations who can share learnings and best practices and serve as specialized behavioral rehabilitation hubs in their communities.

“The ASPCA is thrilled to have SPCA of Texas on board to participate in this newly launched educational program,” said Dr. Katherine Miller, senior director of the ASPCA Learning Lab program. “Our goal is to not only share what we’ve learned at our Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, but also to encourage feedback from participating partners to refine and expand the program to maximize impact and save more animals together.”

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