ACC’s Behavior and Training Program (B&T) is an essential component to the shelter’s success in placing animals in new homes. Besides evaluating the behavior of our animals to assess their placement potential and ideal household, the B&T team trains our dog volunteers to provide training support and environmental enrichment for our shelter residents while they are in our care.

Providing services to both the adoptable and custody dogs, B&T conducts play groups to ensure our shelter dogs receive social contact with other residents, manages the Fetch Program for long-term custody dogs, and assists in adoption counseling and support for our public visitors during matchmaking to ensure both the adopter and animal are successfully set up for their budding relationship.

Every animal’s behavioral needs are different and shelter pets are no exception. Our trainers teach volunteers how to appropriately socialize and train the animals to give each one the best possible life while under our roof, using the latest science-based, positive reinforcement techniques. Under the direction of our trainers, the tireless work of our committed volunteers has led thousands of dogs and cats to becoming exceptional pets in loving homes.

You can reach the Behavior & Training staff through email:  For more information on the techniques and philosophy of our B&T Program, see the following resources:

The Fetch Program

Fetch is an enrichment program for our long-term shelter dog residents. As an open-admission shelter, San Francisco Animal Care & Control provides safe harbor to animals in many different situations: dogs escaping abuse and neglect; pending “vicious and dangerous dog” hearings in court; dogs who are affected when their owner is hospitalized, incarcerated, or passes away; dogs who are abandoned in vacant buildings or deserted in cars; and dogs who need safe harbor while family members escape domestic violence.

The Fetch team also works with dogs that are in medically necessary isolation, such as stray dogs with Demodex (mange), canine cough, or healing from injuries, as well as dogs that did not pass behavior evaluation for adoption to the public.

Without the Fetch program, many of these dogs would receive only very basic care. However, thanks to our dedicated core of caregiving volunteers, they instead receive walks, the chance to stretch their legs in the yard, environmental enrichment, basic training, a significant reduction in stress, and of course, endless compassion and love. The Fetch Program is supervised by our Behavior and Training team.

To become a volunteer Fetch team member, you must first gain experience as a general dog volunteer.

B&T Resource Library

Download these learning resources, which are part of the adoption packet for every dog and cat adopted from ACC.




Related Links:
Friends of SFACC
SF SPCA Behavior & Training Classes (External Link)