Details & Requirements I Shelter

Who Should Take This Course

Shelter Training and Enrichment

This course is ideal for anyone who interacts with shelter animals on a regular basis, or who would like to interact with these animals. Whether you are a shelter staff member, volunteer, manager, or a trainer looking to partner with a shelter, you will find this course invaluable.

Admission Requirements

No previous experience with animal training is needed in order to take this course. This course is designed to teach from the “ground up.”  It is not necessary to be a shelter staff member or volunteer to take this course, but you will need access to shelter animals in order to complete some of the exercises.


Leanne Falkingham
As a non-profit and animal shelter professional, Leanne Falkingham has worked in four shelters in three states over the last 19 years. In 2007, as a shelter manager, she undertook the task of reforming an over-crowded SPCA in New York that was struggling to provide appropriate care to its animals. An important part of the makeover was the introduction of clickers and a reinforcement-based training program.

Motivated by the positive response of staff, dogs, and cats to this small clicker program, Leanne became a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner in 2008. She subsequently served as Behavior and Training Manager for two New York shelters, expanding enrichment, training, behavior modification, and volunteer programs.

Steve Benjamin
Steve Benjamin is a Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) faculty member and the owner of Clicking With Canines in Endicott, NY. Since 2004, Steve has specialized in helping clients teach their dogs to be socially acceptable, happy, and intelligent family pets. He spent a year implementing a shelter training program at a local shelter, which ultimately became the inspiration for the KPA Shelter Training & Enrichment course.

Steve holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and a master's degree in computer science. In January of 2004, he retired from a 24-year career as a Special Agent with the FBI in order to pursue his passion for working with dogs and their owners.

Course Details

Shelter Training & Enrichment features clear and engaging content and includes dozens of high-quality videos and step-by-step training exercises. The course covers: the basics of clicker training and cueing, how to read animals’ emotional signals, how to teach behaviors like “Quiet in the Kennel” quickly and easily, how to implement a training program in a shelter environment, dozens of ideas for enrichment on a shoestring budget, working with adopters, and more.

The course is divided into 9 lessons that feature:

  • 57 high-quality videos
  • 30 training exercises (for both dogs and cats!)
  • 17 informative articles, including articles to share with adopters

Students proceed through the course at their own pace and will receive access to the course for one year upon enrollment.

Check out the Course Guide and Learning Goals.

Student Support

Three types of support are available to students in this course: support from the teacher, support from peers, and in-course support.

  • One-on-one support (one hour’s worth) is included in the cost of course tuition.
  • Support from peers occurs within the discussion forums provided through the course's online classroom. Karen Pryor Academy faculty members monitor and participate in these forum discussions.
  • In-course support includes an online glossary, an FAQ section, and a digital library—all accessible to students throughout their enrollment in the course.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Students of the Shelter Training & Enrichment course can receive 21 CEUs for completion of the course from:

  • The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
  • The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
  • Karen Pryor Academy (KPA)

Enrollment Schedule

Enroll online and begin the course any time after you enroll. Once you've completed the enrollment process, you will be given access to the course and can begin right away!

Required Materials

  • A computer with high-speed Internet access
  • A modern web browser. We test with the latest versions of: Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera
  • Support for Adobe PDF documents (the latest version of Adobe Reader or Mac OS X Preview)
  • Temporary access to a video recorder such as a camcorder, cell phone, digital camera with video option, or webcam (recommended, but not required)
  • Access to at least one dog you can train regularly
  • Access to animals in a shelter
  • Occasional help from a human assistant

Required Training Supplies

NOTE: The KPA Student Pack from KPCT contains everything needed to complete course exercises. Already a great value at $39.95, KPA students can purchase this pack at a discounted rate by entering the promo code located near the beginning of the course.

Get more detailed information on what you'll need for the course (PDF).