Behavior Support

Create safety net programs for dogs and cats with real or perceived behavior challenges in the community so that they can stay in their homes or live in new foster or adoptive homes. 


Sheila Segurson, DVM, DACVB

Aaron Caldwell
Alexandra Dilley
Ali Waszmer
Amanda Kowalski
Amber Freiwald
Amy Schindler
Anthony Augello
Carley Faughn
Chris Van Wyk
Christine Blank
Cindi Delany, DVM, KPA-CTP
Elizabeth Stringham
Erin Wyse
Justin Sparks
Kaitlyn Ford
Karen Baragona
Katherine McGuire
Katie Vecchi
Kelly Duer
Kristen Hassen
Lauren Revier
Maggie Evans
Morgan Rivera
Sara Bennett
Shannon Wells
Sheila Segurson
Shonyae Johnson
Tabitha Urban
Tatiana Yastremski
Thomas Kalinowski
Tristan Rehner-Fleurant


The Behavior Support working group (BSWG) presented survey results from pilot organizations to the Research working group and Director’s call. We’re providing ongoing behavior support to tier 1 organizations. In our monthly meeting, we talked about transferring dogs for behavior. We created two toolkits: behavior foster and community-based behavior support. Our working group continues to collect standard operating procedures and resources from pilot shelters- they’re stored in the HASS BSWG folder in google drive. We’re also working on a guide for staff and volunteers who provide behavior support to the community.

The Tier 1 Support group hosted another successful collaborative monthly meeting, with 35 attendees. The topic for the group discussion was the important role foster programs play and how they are integrated to support the behavior needs of shelter pets. Each Tier 1 organization now has an assigned behavior liaison, that will serve as a primary contact to assist with answering questions and connecting the pilot organizations to behavior support resources. The Research Group finalized guidelines for all tier 1 shelter liaisons to interview their Tier 1 shelter. This included written instructions and a video. The Community Based Behavior Support subgroup began creating a manual to help shelters provide behavior support for the most common dog and cat behavior concerns. The education subgroup began work on a module to help shelters implement a foster program for dogs with behavioral concerns.

The HASS Behavior Support working group worked on solutions and strategies for providing behavior support. The group completed their survey of behavior personnel at Tier 1 shelters, and analyzed this data, creating a report on aggregated stats and trends. The group will use the survey to guide our work and determine each shelter’s individual needs. The Tier 1 behavior support subgroup held their first meeting with all the behavior contacts for the Tier 1 organizations, and it was wonderful to have the working group and the pilot organizations in once space together! These behavior calls will help provide a peer to peer resource network and will provide a space to discuss current shelter programs, innovative solutions, and HASS programming to better support pets and people.

During the month of October, the HASS Behavior Support working group worked on a problem statement, mission, guiding principles, obstacles and solutions. We defined three different parts of our group: a core group (19 members), a support group (15 members) and advisors (7 members). Our subgroups worked on the following:

  • Research Subgroup: launched Survey 1 for behavior personnel at Tier 1 shelters, to get more information about their behavior programs.
  • Community-Based Behavioral Support Subgroup: met to discuss potential ways of assisting the community and are investigating a model based upon suicide prevention hotlines. We’re investigating websites and apps that can help provide behavioral support systems with good information, utilize data tracking and incorporate local training options when phone or online help isn’t enough.
  • Tier 1 Shelter Support Subgroup: working on completing the structure and meeting logistics for leading Tier 1 collaborative behavior support.
  • Education Subgroup: gathered new members and are working on finalizing the questions we want to ask the Tier 1 shelters, as well as determining the best way to collect all their educational material.

The Behavior Support Working Group is working on launching a survey to behavior staff at Tier 1 shelters to learn more about who they are and how they function. The group is also focused on defining essential HASS behavior support components, and developing a problem statement for the group.

The Behavior Support Working Group has formed six subgroups (research, Tier 1 interviews, community behavior support, Tier 1 shelter support, education and measurement) who are each working on developing a plan for their subgroup. We’re working on defining what constitutes a strong Tier 1 shelter behavior program and creating a survey for behavior leads at Tier 1 shelters to learn about their strengths and weaknesses.

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