July 19, 2018

SPCA of Texas Becomes First Participant in ASPCA Learning Lab Program

SPCA of Texas worker with a dog

This year, we celebrated the opening of the new campus of the ASPCA’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Center (BRC) nearby Asheville, North Carolina. As part of the BRC’s commitment to the rehabilitation and study of extremely fearful, homeless dogs—most of whom are victims of cruelty or neglect—we also offer a new, innovative Learning Lab program for select shelters to implement specialized, scientifically-based rehabilitation techniques and targeted sheltering protocols to help homeless dogs overcome fearful behavior that prevents adoption. 

This week, the SPCA of Texas announced its partnership with the ASPCA and their participation in this exciting new program! The SPCA of Texas is the first animal welfare agency to participate in the Learning Lab, and they will be applying key learnings from ASPCA experts at facilities in both Dallas and McKinney to integrate best practices and protocols in behavioral modification that best prepare fearful dogs for adoption.

SPCA of Texas

“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, ASPCA President and CEO. “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.” 

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.

SPCA of Texas being trained

“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.”

SPCA of Texas being taught graduation guidelines

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, we plan 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 BRC program is showcased in an award-winning ASPCA documentary, “Second Chance Dogs,” which is available at secondchancedogsfilm.com.