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Shelter Dog Behavior Mentorship with Trish McMillan

Mentorship Course

Date Register
Course begins: January 2, 2020
Weekly online meetings begin: January 9th at 7pm Eastern
Course Full
Full Students access all benefits and personalized mentoring. 
Auditors may observe students' cases and questions, but may not inquire about their own cases or attend online meetings. Meetings are not recorded.  (Read more about Auditor benefits.)
Trish McMillan, MS, CDBC, ACCBC, CPDT-KA
Trish McMillan, MS, CDBC, ACCBC, CPDT-KA

About this Mentorship

Shelter dogs face special challenges and skills both in the shelter and once placed into homes. Trish McMillan, MS, CDBC, ACCBC, CPDT-KA, offers a mentorship for people working with those dogs, even in the most challenging cases, both in the shelter and in the home. Trish's extensive experience working for the ASPCA in hoarding and fight busts and as an international consultant to shelters, along with her work in training and behavior as a private consultant will allow you access to one of the most qualified experts in the field to help you with your own work.

Week 1

  • Good welfare for shelter dogs – what does it look like?
  • Dog body language
  • Basic body language
  • Signs of stress
  • Signs leading to aggression
  • Handling and leash work
  • Concept of low-stress handling
  • Leashes and walking equipment
  • Getting dogs in and out of kennels
  • Teaching leash manners in shelters

Week 2

  • Intake
  • Stray intake
  • Owner surrenders
  • Cruelty cases
  • Behavioral assessments
  • The good, the bad and the ugly
  • Food guarding
  • Fast tracking
  • Alternatives to battery style assessments

Week 3

  • Enrichment
  • In-kennel enrichment (food and otherwise)
  • Out of kennel enrichment
  • Training walks
  • Sniffy walks
  • Group walks
  • Working with volunteers
  • Volunteer training
  • Involving volunteers in b-mod
  • Talent show

Week 4

  • Playgroups
  • Advantages of playgroups with shelter dogs
  • Who should play?
  • Introducing dogs
  • Working with play problems in playgroups
  • Working with other issues in playgroups
  • Breaking up dog fights
  • Fight kit materials and how to use
  • Avoiding fights
  • Slash n dash type fights
  • Gripping type fights

Week 5

  • Behavior modification
  • Overaroused dogs
  • Jumpy/mouthy dogs
  • Reactive dogs
  • Defensive handling
  • Dog on leash trying to bite
  • Dog off leash trying to bite
  • Safety equipment for kennels

Week 6

  • Behavior modification
  • Shy/fearful dogs
  • Separation anxiety
  • Food guarding
  • Foster programs
  • Fostering for assessment
  • Fostering for b-mod
  • Adoption Ambassador programs

Week 7

  • Adoptability criteria-setting
  • Defining "adoptable" in your community
  • Defining "adoptable" in your shelter
  • Setting a timeline for b-mod
  • Other alternatives
  • Euthanasia decision

Week 8

  • Adoptions
  • Working with adopters
  • Making great matches
  • Adding dogs to homes with other pets
  • Returns
  • Final wrap-up

About Trish McMillan, MS, CDBC, ACCBC, CPDT-KA

Trish McMillan holds a Master of Science degree in Animal Behavior from the University of Exeter in England. Her business, Loehr Animal Behavior, specializes in personalized training and behavior modification plans for dogs, cats, and horses. She also does consulting work for shelters worldwide, specializing in streamlining behavior programming in order to improve placements and quality of life.

Trish worked for the ASPCA in a variety of roles for more than 7 years, doing shelter work, writing and research. She also performed evaluations and did behavior work with animals from dog fighting and hoarding cases. Before working for the ASPCA, Trish trained and showed horses in a variety of disciplines, managed dog daycares, worked with shelter animals, taught obedience classes, and took in board-and-train dogs. She currently does some contract work with Dogs Playing for Life.

Trish shares her life on a tiny farm called Pibble Hill with three very cool dogs, two bossy cats, two clicker trained horses, two naughty goats and two smart chickens.

Enrollment Prices:

Full Mentees: $449 for IAABC members; $549 non-members
Auditors: $159 for IAABC members; $199 non-members


IAABC and KPA – Full Students: 24 CEUs
CCPDT – Full Students: 16 CEUs
CCPDT, IAABC, and KPA – Auditors: 8 CEUs

More Courses

About IAABC Mentorships

Each 8-week mentorship provides mentees with ongoing online chat, video exchanges, documentation, links, and scheduled weekly live chats via video meeting.

Mentees can discuss their own cases or any others, ask questions about application and theory, ask for tips and advice on overcoming specific challenges, and be guided toward even higher levels of professionalism and effectiveness. The mentors are there for the mentees, and offer all help and discussion that each mentee finds useful.

Auditing is also available Auditors may observe and learn about topics under discussion between the mentor and full mentees. Auditors do not attend the weekly live chats, may not introduce their own cases or ask for specific input on their own work. Auditors may participate in ongoing topics and discussions, and their questions will be answered if time allows. Auditing is simply an opportunity to observe and learn from the mentees' and mentors' experiences.