Behavioral Rehabilitation Center

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In March 2013, the ASPCA launched the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, a pilot program located at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey. It was the first and only facility dedicated to providing behavioral rehabilitation for severely fearful, unadoptable dogs, such as those confiscated from puppy mills and hoarding situations.

Due to the success of the pilot program, which had 237 graduates over four years, the ASPCA has expanded its program and built a permanent facility in Weaverville, North Carolina. The state-of-the-art facility can house up to 65 dogs at a time. It includes a dormitory and several teaching spaces where shelter professionals can learn our behavior modification techniques, to further help behaviorally challenged dogs across the country become suitable for adoption.

Homeless dogs of all ages and backgrounds are eligible for the program, as long as they are physically healthy and meet our behavioral inclusion criteria. Only dogs whose fear is so severe that it compromises their quality of life and makes adoption challenging or impossible are accepted.

The Weaverville facility has individual kennels, along with “real-life rooms,” designed to help dogs get used to life in home environments, outdoor play areas, and a large indoor training area where our behaviorists and trainers work with dogs in the program. On average, rehabilitation requires 13 weeks of treatment. However, that timing depends heavily on the severity of each dog’s behavior problems and how responsive he or she is to treatment. Once the dogs have completed the program, the transformed graduates are placed within our network of partner shelters and rescue groups to be made available for adoption.

One of our goals is to help partner organizations save more lives. Our new Learning Lab program will enable us to share the lessons we’ve learned about improving behaviorally challenged dogs’ quality of life and preparing them for adoption. This program for shelter professionals includes online resources to help organizations integrate best practices into their own operations, as well as an on-site, experiential training program at the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center for select shelter partners to see and learn from our work in action. By sharing what we have learned and collaborating with other shelters across the country, we aim to maximize the impact of our work for some of the nation’s most vulnerable dogs.

The Behavioral Rehabilitation pilot program is featured in an award-winning ASPCA documentary, “Second Chance Dogs,” which is currently available for free at secondchancedogsfilm.com. Watch the trailer below.

If you are located in the Weaverville, North Carolina, area and have a passion for animal welfare, learn more about volunteer opportunities at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center today.

If you are interested in adopting an animal from the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, please see our North Carolina adoptable dogs who are looking for loving homes.

Want to help the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center? You can donate much-needed items directly to the BRC through our AmazonSmile Charity Lists!