ASPCA Rehabilitation Center and Learning Lab commemorate 5-year anniversary


Supports undersocialized homeless animals overcome severe fear while supporting shelter professionals manage behavior needs

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has announced its animal behavior education program has received nearly 30,000 enrollments as it commemorates the 5-year anniversary of the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center (BRC) and Learning Lab.

Mary Swift /

Mary Swift /

According to an organizational release,1 the BRC opened in May 2018 and is committed to the study and rehabilitation of homeless dogs experiencing severe fear and undersocialization, including those rescued from large-scale animal cruelty and neglect circumstances such as hoarding and puppy mills. The ASPCA Learning Lab debuted in tandem with the BRC and is a interactive, educational program that shares learnings with animal welfare professionals nationwide. The program has reached more than 1,200 organizations since its launch.

"In 5 years, the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center has directly saved the lives of hundreds of traumatized dogs and helped thousands more across the country through the wide sharing of rehabilitation techniques and resources that help animals overcome severe fears often caused by neglect and abuse," stated Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO, in the release.1 "Through the expansion of this insight and deep collaboration with our shelter partners, countless dogs across the country will be redirected from hopeless fates to new paths toward safe and loving homes they need and deserve."

At the 25,000-square-foot facility, experts incorporate specialized behavior modification protocols to enhance the dogs' quality of life and increase the chance of adoption. Treatment plans center on helping dogs become comfortable with unfamiliar people, household objects and sounds, handling, walking on-leash and other real-life scenarios they would experience in a. home setting.1 The nearly 90% of dogs who graduate from the program are transferred to shelters and rescue groups throughout the US for adoption or placed directly into new homes.

In a September 2022 ASPCA survey of shelters and rescues from all 50 states,1 more than two-thirds of shelter professionals reported their inability to manage the frequency and severity of animal behavior needs is a primary barrier to placing animals into adoptive homes. The BRC shares best practices for working with fearful dogs to help address this need and improve the animal welfare field.

What’s more, the ASPCA shares research and knowledge obtained through the BRC and other ASPCA teams' work through various channels, including the Learning Lab which focuses on integrating science-based behavioral care into all facets of animal sheltering. The Learning Lab provides on-site, experiential workshops at the BRC for select shelter partners, along with virtual learning opportunities for shelter professionals.


Nearly 30,000 animal welfare professionals enroll in behavior training as ASPCA Rehabilitation Center and Learning Lab celebrate five-year anniversary. News release. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. May 3, 2023. Accessed May 3, 2023.

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