Job Description

Canine Behavior Specialist



Summary of Canine Behavior Specialist



The Canine Behavior Specialist provides both mental and physical enrichment to the dogs in Animal Care Centers of New York City’s (ACC) care, including assisting with playgroups and behavioral assessments, providing exercise, behavioral and environmental enrichment, socialization, and basic training and behavior modification.

ACC’s Behavior Program provides environmental enrichment and socialization for all dogs and cats in our care as well as thorough behavior assessments in order to make successful adoption matches. We strive to provide the highest possible quality of life during their stay. The canine enrichment behavior program involves daily playgroup to allow the dogs in our care opportunities to interact, play, and learn valuable social skills from their canine peers; one-on-one socialization time with dogs showing timid or fearful behavior; exercise sessions for exuberant and energetic dogs; in-kennel enrichment (food items, toys), auditory, and scent enrichment.

Our ideal candidate is comfortable interacting with dogs demonstrating a range of behaviors. They stay calm in stressful situations, instinctively look at situations from the dog’s perspective, and recognize that being present in the moment is an essential component of keeping colleagues and the animals they are responsible for safe. They have previous handling experience with dogs, have behavior knowledge and understand basic training, experience with playgroup and/or with behavior assessments is a big plus but not a requirement. They thrive as part of a team but are also self-motivated and can work effectively independently. They are passionate about animal welfare and improving the quality of life for sheltered animals, and they are excited to be part of a progressive shelter enrichment program.



Responsibilities of Canine Behavior Specialist

Hands On (90%)

Work with the Behavior and Enrichment Supervisor to maintain and support programs that provide behavioral and environmental enrichment, exercise, socialization, behavior modification and care, with a focus on the population of dogs with more challenging behaviors.
Work collaboratively with Behavior team leads on creating and implementing training plans.
Participate in playgroups daily: run dogs to the yard and learn safe management techniques for monitoring play sessions.
Work with the behavior staff, animal care staff, and volunteers to identify particular animals that are shy, have been with ACC for a long time and/or need special attention.
Work closely with Animal Care Representatives in implementing enrichment plans and training.
Collaborate with and offer support to other departments to ensure animals’ success
Assist in behavioral consultations for potential fosters, adopters, and ACC clientele.
Cover assessments and play groups when needed.
Carefully monitor and communicate behavior and body language during assessments to ensure the safety of the Assessor.
Clean up after animals as needed. This includes picking up after dogs during walks, spot cleaning kennels as needed, and cleaning of the play yard and all enrichment supplies.
Other tasks/duties as needed (general housekeeping, etc.)
Remain proactive and enthusiastic on continuing education on animal behavior (after six months, the position is eligible for additional training opportunities).


Administrative (10%)

Regularly document animals’ progression throughout the stay by keeping accurate written records to identify what was done each day for each animal and to monitor the plan.
Record training session in Shelter Buddy
Update records and wellness boards as new information becomes available.
Record enrichment sessions for DOH hold and priority dogs.
Participate in regular team meetings to discuss animals’ behavioral status and overall prognosis in shelter and out.


Qualifications for Canine Behavior Specialist



Ability to make sound judgments and work independently in a fast-paced environment with demonstrated ability to juggle competing tasks and demands. Ability to foster a cooperative, encouraging and positive work environment with staff as well as volunteers. Flexibility with daily tasks as well as hours depending on operational needs. Must be able to handle all types and breeds of dogs with varying behaviors and energy levels, including those showing fearful and aggressive behaviors. Strong communication skills, both verbal and written. The ability to remain pleasant, calm and objective in all situations. Must be able to lift and move up to 50 pounds. Basic knowledge of learning theory and positive reinforcement/reward-based training. Strong understanding of canine body language and behavior. Basic knowledge on how to utilize appropriate training tools to assist in behavior modification.





Education and Work Experience for Canine Behavior Specialist



High School Diploma or GED required. Previous experience interacting with and caring for dogs in a private or shelter setting. Familiarity with canine playgroups preferred.



Work Environment for Canine Behavior Specialist



At Animal Care Centers it's all hands-on deck. We work together as a team, which means you may be asked to help with tasks that involve working outside in all sorts of weather. As a busy animal shelter in one of the biggest cities in the world it can get noisy inside. Employees should have the ability to remain calm yet professional in stressful situations involving animals and/or members of the public. Animal Care Centers houses hundreds of animals in its facilities at any given time and with that comes fur, odors and other airborne particles in abundance.



Animal Care Centers offers many low-cost services to pets and people in need. This includes compassionate end-of-life services for people who cannot afford to go to a private veterinary office but still want to provide a professional and peaceful transition for their beloved pet.



Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required. New Hires must be fully vaccinated by the first day of employment. Reasonable accommodations will be considered.

Reports To: Behavior and Enrichment Supervisor



Overtime: This position is not exempt from overtime.

This is a full time job

Contact Information

Job Contact Details

Closing Date: Friday, September 30, 2022

Posting Date:

Closing Date:

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