Fostering and Socializing Unsocial Kittens

January 2017

The good news is that many unsocialized kittens can learn to not only tolerate interaction with humans but even enjoy it. Learn More


Feline Communication: How to Speak Cat

Dr. Susan Krebsbach and Dr. Laurie PeekJanuary 2017

Knowing how to read a cat's body language can tell us volumes about what he or she is trying to say to us. This can aid in providing better care and deepening the bond of friendship with our feline companions. Learn More


Through a cat’s nose: How understanding smell can keep cats in homes and reduce stress in shelters

January 10, 2017

Most of us know dogs put a lot of store in how things smell, their noses are legendary for their sniffing ability. It’s not as widely known that the smells in a cat’s environment are a critical part of what makes a cat feel safe and free of stress, whether the cat is living in… Learn More


Study: The effect of declawing on litter box use in multi-cat households

January 3, 2017

Problems related to urinating and defecating outside the litter box and living with more than one cat are among the top reasons people surrender cats to a shelter. Is that worse for cats who have been declawed? The average number of cats per cat-owning household is 2, indicating that multi-cat households are very common in… Learn More


The way shelters handle and care for cats can improve their adoption chances

December 13, 2016

Can something as simple as more frequent cleaning of food bowls and changing of water in a shelter cat’s housing get them adopted more quickly? A study soon to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science suggests that it is. The study was conducted in Austria, where it’s illegal for shelters to… Learn More


Helping Shelter Pets find Health, Happiness and Homes with Fear Free

Dr. Marty BeckerNovember 2016

Learn why fear is the worst thing a social species can experience, and how it causes permanent damage to the brain.


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Taking the fear, anxiety, and stress out of animal shelters: Is it possible?

November 22, 2016

In 2009, veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker attended a presentation where veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Overall said something that changed his life: “Fear is the worst thing a social species can experience, and it causes permanent damage to the brain.” “I’d always thought of myself as a particularly compassionate veterinarian,” he said. “I had been exposed… Learn More


Study: How much space do shelter cats need to be happier, more playful, and less stressed?

November 15, 2016

Shelter cats are happier, more playful, friendlier with each other, and less stressed when they have more room — 4 square meters, or 43 square feet, per cat, to be precise. In a study published in the June 2016 issue of Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Swedish researchers tested the play, mutual grooming, and inter-cat aggressiveness… Learn More


Are we really supposed to stop assessing behavior in shelter dogs?

November 3, 2016

Did a recent study really suggest animal shelters stop evaluating dogs for temperament and adoption? Not exactly. The study, authored by Dr. Gary J. Patronek of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts and Janis Bradley of the National Canine Research Council, was published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior in August. Its central… Learn More


Study: How important are gradual introductions between newly-adopted and existing cats?

August 2, 2016

Does your shelter or rescue group counsel adopters on how to carefully and gradually introduce a new cat into the family? If so, many of your adopters may well be ignoring your advice — and things work out anyway. A couple of weeks ago, Million Cat Challenge co-founder Dr. Kate Hurley of the UC Davis… Learn More


Stress Reduction: Happy and Healthy Shelter Dogs

Dr. Sara L. BennettJune 2016

Everyone wants to make sheltered life better for dogs while they wait to get adopted. Learn what works and what doesn't in this webcast.
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Stress Reduction: Happy and Healthy Shelter Cats on a Fast Track to Adoption

Dr. Brenda GriffinMay 2016

Stress can trigger physical, emotional and behavioral problems for cats in animal shelters. What can be done to help overcome stress and its negative outcomes?
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The magic ingredient for success in adopting a puppy mill survivor

March 24, 2016

It’s the most important step you can take to help a newly adopted puppy mill dog adjust, say experts: If you don’t already have one, get another dog. While patience is the quality most needed by puppy mill rescue adopters, research conducted by Dr. Frank McMillan and presented at the University of Florida Maddie’s® Shelter… Learn More


Toys and TLC in animal shelters: Looking beyond adoption rates

March 15, 2016

What if playing and interacting with shelter pets didn’t help them get adopted more easily? Would that be a reason to stop? Absolutely not, and here’s why. A number of studies in recent years have looked at the impact of toys, play, grooming and human interaction on pets in shelters. Some have shown those interventions… Learn More


A stranger told her his dog had gone missing. What she told him made all the difference!

February 18, 2016

A stranger stops you in the street and tells you his dog is missing. Would you know what to tell him? Thanks to her time volunteering for Lost Dogs Minnesota, Linda Conrad did. Conrad was packing up her van for a trip one morning when a car stopped in her driveway. He’d noticed the dog… Learn More


How Stress is Sabotaging Your Cat Adoption Efforts

Dr. Sheila D'ArpinoFebruary 2016

It's well known that cat health is quickly and negatively impacted by stress. But is it also making it harder for them to get adopted? Learn strategies to identify those effects not only in individual cats, but in the entire population of cats in a facility. Learn More


Australian study reveals challenges, pitfalls of evaluating dog behavior in shelters

February 2, 2016

Even the best canine behavior evaluation systems are not reliable when assessing shelter dogs, suggests a recent Australian study. Psychologist Dr. Zazie Todd’s influential blog Companion Animal Psychology took on the challenges of canine behavior evaluations in animal shelters last month. Todd examined at recent study by Monash University’s Kate Mornement, evaluating the Behavioural Assessment… Learn More


Playing with dogs is the best medicine

January 14, 2016

Looking for an easy way to enhance the well being of your dog and yourself this New Year? Simply resolve to play! Just as with children, play for dogs isn't only about having fun. In fact, play is as essential for dogs' health and well being as it is enjoyable. Now is the perfect time… Learn More


How Stress is Sabotaging Your Dog Adoption Efforts

Dr. Sheila D'ArpinoJanuary 2016

Are dogs in shelters developing health and behavior problems because of stress? And does that make adoption more difficult and less likely for those pets? Learn to recognize the harmful effects of stress on sheltered dogs, and strategies to alleviate that stress in this free webcast. Learn More


Is stress undermining your pet adoption efforts?

January 12, 2016

Are dogs and cats in shelters developing health and behavior problems because of stress? And does that make adoption more difficult and less likely for those pets? Yes, says board certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Sheila D’Arpino. On January 14 and February 4, 2016, she’ll be presenting free webcasts on how stress is sabotaging your pet… Learn More


How foster homes set shelter pets up for behavioral success

January 5, 2016

Foster homes can provide a valuable safe harbor for stressed, fearful, or anxious shelter pets, as well as a place where they can learn behaviors that will maximize their chances for successful adoption into a permanent home. For that to happen, however, the foster family must also provide appropriate support for the easing of fears… Learn More


How to tell if a shelter cat is stressed, fearful or feral

December 1, 2015

The best way to help any cat entering an animal shelter will depend on the cat. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for many shelter workers to tell the difference between a cat who is a social animal, used to humans, but severely stressed out or afraid, and a truly feral cat. Sara L. Bennett, DVM,… Learn More


Celebrate Peanut Butter Lovers Month with these dog-approved recipes!

November 19, 2015

Want to share the peanut butter love with your favorite dog during Peanut Butter Lovers Month? The dog lovers at Maddie’s Fund® have you covered! The first two come from Kim, our Maddie’s® Adoption Program Manager. “Kongs stuffed with peanut butter and plain Cheerios are a delicious treat for dogs,” she said. “If they get… Learn More


TLC from humans staves off respiratory infections in shelter cats

September 23, 2015

Cats who receive positive attention from human caretakers while in animal shelters exhibit fewer signs of stress and a lower incidence of upper respiratory disease than cats who don’t. These results, reported in the October 2015 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine, are consistent with the authors’ earlier study on petting shelter cats,… Learn More


Avoiding Dog Fights in the Shelter

Ehren Melius October 2015

Dog-to-dog aggression can be challenging, but there are myriad ways to keep your canines happy and safe. Learn More


Enrichment for Shelter Cats

Rebecca Lohnes, MS October 2015

Hear about enrichment options to increase quality of life for the cats in your facility, including low cost enrichment options, and positive training techniques. Learn More


Enrichment for Shelter Dogs

Rebecca Lohnes, MSOctober 2015

Positive reinforcement training and enrichment exercises are some of the best ways to reduce kennel stress and increase adoptability for shelter dogs. Learn More


Capacity for Care: When Less Adds Up to a Whole Lot More for Shelter Cats

Ollie Davidson and Kathleen OlsonApril 2015

How can your shelter save more cats? Take in fewer of them at a time, give each cat more room and care for them better. Learn More


Getting Big Dogs Out of the Shelter via Canine Good Citizen Training

Marian Cannell and Amy LewisFebruary 2015

Through a partnership with Best Friends Animal Society, Austin Pets Alive! embarked on a six-month pilot program to test the effectiveness of Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Training on adoption rates.  The results have been very good and show a clear adoption rate difference between dogs who undergo training and those who don’t.  Learn More


Saving All the Little Dogs: Small Dog Behavior Issues

Faith Wright and Deaven WilsonFebruary 2015

Do you know how many small breed dogs are euthanized in your community shelter?  In Austin, Texas in 2008, it was many more than would have been expected (roughly 500).   Do you know that nearly ALL of them can be saved and although many are marked "aggressive”, they rarely are? Learn More


High Volume Dog Adoptions 2.0: Multiple Avenues with a Shelter as a Home Base

Lexy Bonge & Deaven WilsonFebruary 2015

As an organization grows, the complexity of operations grows too.  Adoptions are the #1 objective in a no-kill city and Austin Pets Alive! (APA) still saves the dogs most at risk for euthanasia. As more and more dogs are saved by the city shelter and the community, the pool of dogs still in need gets more and more narrow and eventually is mostly comprised of adult (or teenager) large breed dogs with generally poor manners and a lot of energy. Learn More


Taking Troubled Tabbies from Naughty to Nice

Sara Cookson and Kristin Hill February 2015

Every rescue encounters troubled cats with issues that go beyond tortitude. The Austin Pet’s Alive! Cat Behavior Team will teach you how to prevent behavior problems before they start. Learn More


Saving Lives Through Integrated Medical and Behavioral Progams, Part 1

Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD and Aimee SadlerMay 2014

The medical department's protocols to prevent transmissible disease and injuries may come into direct conflict with the behavior department's protocols to socialize, exercise and train dogs. How do you choose the best approaches to balance medical and behavioral needs? See case studies for merging critical medical and behavioral programs in shelters to increase their life-saving capacity. Learn More


Saving Lives Through Integrated Medical and Behavioral Programs, Part 2

Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD and Aimee SadlerMay 2014

The medical department's protocols to prevent transmissible disease and injuries may come into direct conflict with the behavior department's protocols to socialize, exercise and train dogs. How do you choose the best approaches to balance medical and behavioral needs? See case studies for merging critical medical and behavioral programs in shelters to increase their life-saving capacity. Learn More


How to Reduce Stress in Long-Stay Shelter Cats

Kathy Mills, DVMDecember 2014

Learn more about enrichment and stress reduction for shelter cats, and share training information with your volunteers or staff. Check out the webcasts, videos and articles. Learn More


Behavior Modification for Cats in Shelters and Foster Homes

Sara L. Bennett, DVM, MS, DACVBOctober 2014

Getting a leopard to change his spots sometimes seems easier than getting a domestic cat to change her behavior. Fortunately, the science of feline behavior modification has come a long way in recent years, leaving animal shelters, rescue groups, fosters and adopters with plenty of new tools to help cats become happier and well-adjusted companions. Learn More


The Best Medicine: Playing With Shelter Dogs

Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIMOctober 2014

Dogs and games go together - never more than when they're shelter dogs! Play, particularly play with humans, can reduce stress and improve behavioral and physical wellness for dogs in animal shelters.  Learn More


Vet to Vet: Efficacy of Synthetic Feline Interdigital Semiochemical (FIS)

Katherine Polak, DVM, MPH, MS, DACVPMMay 2014

Discussion of research on the efficacy of synthetic FIS, or feline interdigital semiochemicals, which may be useful as a preventative measure for inappropriate scratching behavior. Learn More


Physical and Behavioral Development of Kittens for the First Six Weeks of Life

Susan Krebsbach, DVMDecember 2013

Early behavioral development of kittens is governed by the extent to which other body systems and senses have developed. An understanding of both is vital if we are to comprehend the antics of the kittens in our charge. Learn More


Helping Cats Who Hiss and Hide: Assessments, Behavior Modification and Re-Homing Strategies for Shy and Fearful Cats

Sheila Segurson D'Arpino, DVM, DACVBNovember 2013

Can cats who are shy and fearful in the shelter still get adopted? Yes, says board certified veterinary behavior specialist Dr. Sheila D'Arpino. Feline behavior while in a shelter is not always a good representation of that same cat's behavior in less stressful surroundings. Proper housing, handling, and, if needed, behavior modification can turn that hissing and hiding cat into a beloved family pet.

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Helping Cats Who Hiss and Hide: Pre-Webcast Survey Results

November 2013

On November 14, 2013, Maddie's Institute® presented the webcast Helping Cats Who Hiss and Hide: Assessment, Behavior Modification and Re-Homing Strategies for Shy and Fearful Cats, with Dr. Sheila D'Arpino, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. Those who registered for the live webcast filled out a short questionnaire regarding their own experiences with shy and fearful cats. Learn More


From Helpless Newborn to Skilled Acrobat: Feline Development and the Orphaned Kitten

Susan Krebsbach, DVMApril 2013

Kittens may start out tiny and helpless, but they rapidly develop into some of nature's most agile and active creatures. Making sure they grow up with their social and behavioral needs met is as important as making sure their physical needs are fulfilled, says Susan Krebsbach, DVM. Learn More


Shelter Dog Mod Squad: Identifying and Modifying Canine Behavior Problems in Shelters

Shelia (Segurson) D'Arpino, DVM, DACVBDecember 2012

How can you get jumpy, mouthy or fearful shelter dogs adopted? By joining the "Shelter Dog Mod Squad" and learning how to identify and modify those behavior problems! Learn More


Fixing the Feline Housing Crisis: How Shelter Housing Can Make Cats Sick - And What You Can Do About It

Sandra Newbury, DVMOctober 2012

Cats are extremely sensitive to noise, crowding, and stress - three things that are in abundant supply in many animal shelters. These adverse conditions often lead to illness in sheltered cats, particularly the most common of all feline shelter diseases, upper respiratory infection (URI). Learn More


Canine Body Language in the Shelter

Dr. Sara Bennett, DVM, DACVBSeptember 2012

Have you ever wondered how dogs communicate? Are we even close to understanding them? Dr. Sara Bennett, graduate of the Purdue Shelter Veterinary Behavior Residency Program, goes through an overview of canine body language and interpretation. She discusses welfare implications of different behavior states, as well as how this can affect and be affected by length of stay in a shelter and the animal shelter environment. Learn More


Temperament Testing for Dogs in a Shelter Setting

Sara Bennett, DVM, DACVBSeptember 2012

When assessing dogs in a shelter, not only do we need to consider their body language, but our own as well! Dr. Sara Bennett discusses how human body language can affect test performance, and steps to take to avoid this and maintain safe handling. Dr. Bennett also gives an overview of a few commonly used behavior assessments. Learn More


Physical and Psychological Health Issues in Puppy Mill and Hoarding Rescues

Franklin D. McMillan, DVM, DACVIMAugust 2012

Animals entering shelters after being rescued from life in a puppy mill or hoarding environment may be afflicted with numerous physical and psychological health problems at varying levels of severity. Learn More


Therapeutic Insights for Treating Animals Rescued from Puppy Mills and Hoarding Situations

Franklin D. McMillan, DVM, DACVIMAugust 2012

Shelters and adopters of animals rescued from puppy mills and hoarding situations were surveyed to inquire about the methods used to help rehabilitate the animals. Specific attention was paid to what was most effective, what was least effective and what caused a setback in the animal's progress toward recovery. Learn More


Behavior Modification in the Shelter: When and How

Kelley Bollen, MS, CABCJuly 2012

This talk assists shelters with the identification of animals and situations where behavior modification has the opportunity to produce positive results. Learn More


Enrichment and Training for Dogs and Cats

Kelley Bollen, MS, CABCJuly 2012

Ms. Bollen talks about the benefits of enrichment and training for both dogs and cats, as well as the value of these programs in enhancing opportunities for adoption. Learn More


Stress Reduction for Shelter Cats

Kelley Bollen, MS, CABCJuly 2012

Various strategies for reducing the stress experienced by cats in a shelter environment. Learn More


Stress Reduction for Shelter Dogs

Kelley Bollen, MS, CABCJuly 2012

Various strategies for reducing the stress experienced by dogs in a shelter environment. Learn More


Your Secret Feline Decoder Ring: Feline Behavior Assessments

Susan B. Krebsbach, DVMMay 2012

What if every cat who entered your shelter had a little decoder ring that would let you know what her personality is like, what stresses her out the most, what doesn't bother her, and what type of future living situation will be just right for her? Learn More


Saving Lives with Behavior Modification: It's Easier and Cheaper than you Think!

Sheila Segurson D'Arpino, DVM, DACVBMay 2012

Think you can't afford to treat the behavior problems of dogs in your shelter? Think it's too difficult and time-consuming? Think you don't have the staff or the space to work with these kinds of issues? Sheila Segurson d'Arpino, DVM, DACVB, Senior Applied Animal Behaviorist for the Center for Shelter Dogs in Boston, walks you through easy, cost-effective methods that have saved thousands of animal lives. Learn More


Seeing Dogs as Individuals Key to Matching

November 2011

An innovative program to evaluate and rehabilitate shelter dogs as individuals leads the way in helping dogs with all kinds of behavior challenges find lasting, loving homes. Learn More


Curing the Litter Box Blues - Feline Elimination Disorders

Susan Krebsbach, DVMOctober 2011

Dr. Susan Krebsbach, veterinary behavior specialist, presents "Curing the Litter Box Blues: Feline Elimination Disorders" at the Purdue/Maddie's Shelter Medicine Symposium 2011. Learn More


Providing Behavioral Care for Treatable Dogs and Cats - Easier and Cheaper Than You Think

Sheila Segurson D'Arpino, DVM, DACVBMay 2011

Think you can't afford to treat the behavior problems of dogs and cats in your shelter? Think it's too difficult and time-consuming? Dr. D'Arpino walks through easy, cost-effective methods that have saved thousands of animal lives. Learn More


'Treating' Shelter Dogs: Healthy, Shelter-Friendly Treats for Our Canine Residents, Part 1

January 2011

The do’s and dont’s of giving treats to shelter dogs. Learn More


The Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters

December 2010

The Association of Shelter Veterinarians produced this comprehensive document to address the lack of guidelines for standards of care currently in existence for animals in shelters. The Guidelines are divided into twelve sections: Management and Record Keeping; Facility Design and Environment; Population Management; Sanitation; Medical Health and Physical Well-being; Behavioral Health and Mental Well-being; Group Housing; Animal Handling; Euthanasia; Spaying and Neutering; Animal Transport; and Public Health. Learn More


Temperament Tests - What We Do and Do Not Know

Sara Bennett, DVM, DACVBOctober 2010

One of the biggest hot-button issues in animal welfare is temperament testing. Temperament Tests – What We Do and Do Not Know, presented by Dr. Sarah Bennett at Purdue University's Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Conference in October 2010, discusses the importance of temperaments tests and looks at what they can and can't do. She also examines the most commonly used temperament tests as well as the most popular adoption screening and matching programs. Learn More


Life Enrichment for Shelter Animals

Mike FryMay 2010

Enrichment for shelter animals reduces stress (and disease), increases adoptions and radically improves the well-being and quality of life for canine and feline residents. Learn More


Shelter Enrichment - The Cat's Meow

Mike FryFebruary 2010

Shelter enrichment saves pet lives by eliminating stress-related disease, enhances the environment for workers and the public, and doesn’t have to cost a lot! Learn More


Taking a Bite Out of Food Bowl Aggression


A new food aggression protocol for shelter dogs developed by certified applied animal behaviorist Dr. Emily Weiss has the potential to save thousands of shelter dog lives. Learn More


Behavior Assessment Editorial

Rich Avanzino2007

A pet's temperament isn't immediately obvious, it's something we learn by watching reactions over a broad range of environments and experiences. Learn More


Behavioral Assessment in Animal Shelters

Sheila Segurson D'Arpino, DVM, DACVB2007

One of the nation's premiere shelter behavior experts, Sheila Segurson D'Arpino, DVM, DACVB talks about the limits of temperament testing, methods to increase the usefulness of the test you are using, and the importance (and guidelines for) developing a shelter behavioral program. Learn More


Open Paw: Saving Pets, Benefiting Shelters, Educating the Community


The brainchild of Certified Pet Dog Trainer Kelly Gorman, and world renowned animal behaviorist, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Open Paw teaches dogs their ABC's and helps speed them into new homes. Learn More


Handling Shelter Cats and Assessing Their Behavior: A Conversation with Joan Miller

Joan Miller2003

Cat Fanciers' Association board member, Winn Feline Foundation past President, and all-breed judge Joan Miller offers helpful hints on how to treat, handle and comfort shelter cats. Joan received great acclaim for this presentation at the 2009 No-Kill Conference in Washington DC. Learn More


Behavior Problems And Long-Term Housing of Shelter Dogs

Jean Donaldson2000

Jean Donaldson, renowned author, trainer and animal behavior expert, talks about how to deal with barrier-related barking and aggression, housetraining regression, separation anxiety and other behaviors common in shelter dogs. Learn More