Job Title: Animal Behavior Specialist
Department: Animal Behavior Department
Reports To: Animal Welfare Manager/Director of Animal Services
FLSA Status: Non-Exempt
Schedule: Full-time, will include evenings and weekends
Pay Range: $22.53-$26.50
The Sacramento SPCA is a vibrant, well-established and respected non-profit animal welfare organization. Through our nationally-ranked high-volume spay and neuter clinic (we are ranked as one of the top 10 clinics in the country!), successful adoption program, behavior and training programs and more, the Sacramento SPCA is giving more than shelter and saving animals one life at a time.
The Animal Behavior Specialist is an advanced journey-level position in applied animal behavior. This position requires expertise in scientifically supported and progressive dog behavior training and behavior modification methods. This role works both independently and as part of a team to provide leadership and support for all aspects of the Animal Behavior Department. Key components of this position are developing and providing behavior education and training to members of the staff, volunteers, and the public as well as supervision of behavior/training personnel. This position will be responsible for creating, monitoring, and teaching group and/or individual behavior training classes as well as private behavior consultations. The Animal Behavior Specialist will be responsible for providing shelter-wide behavior support for various species, counseling potential adopters on the behavior needs of specific animals, offering post-adoption support, developing in-house behavior modification plans for specific animals, and oversight of the campus-wide enrichment program.
Essential Job Duties:
- Create and teach a progressive dog behavior curriculum and other educational opportunities.
- Assist in the marketing of Animal Behavior events including dog behavior modification focused classes, seminars, off-site educational opportunities, etc.
- Conduct one-on-one behavior consultations and provide written reports and training plans for external clients or adopters.
- Respond to questions from the public by delivering high-level customized behavior modification plans.
- Create, implement and deliver behavior modification/enrichment protocols to staff and volunteers for internal animals.
- Create and implement individualized behavior support plans (modification, enrichment, etc.) based on specific animal needs.
- Work closely with shelter medicine team to ensure behavior and medical support are offered and maintained throughout an animal’s stay.
- Offer training and support for the foster behavior program.
- Counsel potential adopters on behavioral considerations for specific animals and follow-up with post-adoption support.
- Assist in the ordering of animal training supplies and other behavior associated materials.
- Assist with the development of programs and training in animal behavior, training, and handling techniques for shelter-wide staff and volunteers.
- Oversee volunteers that are assigned to behavior programs.
- Represent the SSPCA Animal Behavior department at outreach events, proactively offering behavioral support for the community.
- Mentor and supervise potential behavior program interns and apprentices.
- Participate in the process of secondary animal evaluations for adoption and euthanasia.
- Actively seek out and implement new strategies, techniques and programs to maintain a contemporary animal behavior health department.
- Maintain documentation and record keeping in designated computer software for all internal and external cases.
- Work with the Animal Welfare Manager, to manage the budget related to the Animal Behavior Department.
- Maintain membership and involvement in national animal welfare and training groups.
- Keep all training certifications up to date including all continuing education requirements.
- Clean and sanitize all areas in accordance with shelter-wide disease prevention protocols, including but not limited to behavior/training spaces.
Additional Duties and Responsibilities:
- Promote and exemplify SSPCA core values on a daily basis.
- Provide accurate information and friendly professional service to the public and coworkers in a responsive, positive, courteous and truthful manner.
- Must be committed to a high standard of safety and be willing and able to comply with all safety laws and all of the employer’s safety policies and rules and must be willing to report safety violations and potential safety violations to appropriate supervisory or management personnel.
- Must be able to work independently and be self-motivated.
- Must be punctual and maintain regular, predictable attendance.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
- Demonstrated expertise in dog behavior and enrichment programs.
- Ability to get along and work effectively with the public, management, fellow employees, volunteers, and other agencies and groups.
- Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedural manuals.
- Knowledge of wild/exotic animals and domestic animals, including breeds, behavior, appropriate care and housing, common health problems, disease symptoms and handling techniques.
- Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, employees, and the general public.
- Strong computer skills using standard office programs such as Word, Excel and/or similar programs.
- Must have a valid California Driver's license and clean driving record for one year prior to employment in order to operate SSPCA vehicles.
Education and Experience:
- Bachelor’s Degree preferred. May substitute experience for education.
- Documented animal training and behavior knowledge including the theory of positive reinforcement, animal training techniques, and temperament testing is required.
- Experience in an animal shelter or animal care facility with emphasis on the care, behavior, handling and kenneling of domestic animals is required.
- Certification in Behavior and/or Training is required. Other certifications or degrees may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Continued recertification will be required.
- Two or more years of experience teaching group training classes and one-on-one behavior modification coaching.
- Allergic conditions that would be aggravated from exposure or through contact with animals or chemicals used to sanitize facilities, vehicles, or equipment may be a disqualification.
- Must stand, walk, bend and stoop frequently to perform duties. Have the ability to perform prolonged strenuous physical activity, including lifting and carrying objects weighing up to 50 pounds alone or up to 100 pounds with the help of fellow employees for short distances.
- May be exposed to hostile or abusive members of the public. Must be able to deal with an oftentimes emotion-charged public and carry a fast-paced and changing workload which at times can be stressful.
- By nature of the industry, there may be occasional exposure to dead, injured, sick, unruly, vicious, and/or dangerous animals in addition to exposure to parasites and to infectious diseases.
- Must be available and willing to work weekends, holidays, overtime, and attend mandatory training and meetings as the employer determines are necessary or desirable to meet its business needs.
Note: The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by employees, but are not a complete list of responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. Nothing in this job description restricts management's right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. Either employer or employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time with or without notice and with or without cause.