Summer Institute

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Applications have CLOSED, the Summer Institute is FULL

The Center for Shelter Dogs' Summer Institute will be held Monday, June 13th through Friday, June 17th, 2016 at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, located in North Grafton, MA. The Summer Institute is a unique, week-long training opportunity for shelter staff and volunteers involved in welfare and behavior assessments, enrichment and stress reduction, behavior training and modification, and/or adoption of shelter dogs. This year, the Summer Institute is geared toward intermediate or advanced staff and volunteers who have some experience working with dogs in shelters and rescues.



The goal of the Summer Institute is to provide each attendee with an intensive learning experience, combining lectures, hands-on training, and extensive discussion. Attendees should be comfortable participating in small group discussions and working hands-on with dogs. This year's agenda will focus on the following areas:  

  • Intakes
    • Attendees will share how their organization collects intake information and compare against other methods used in the field; research into optimal methods for collecting accurate information at intake will be discussed and applied; the influence of the interviewer and intake form will be reviewed; attendees will have a chance to practice with different methods and tools and through group conversation, best practices will be identified.
  • Assessing Canine Behavior
    • Attendees will discuss assessing canine behavior in shelters while sharing their organization's process; research into the development of assessment and evaluation tools, standardization, reliability, and validity will be reviewed through group conversation as well as through practice utilizing common methods for evaluation.
  • Enrichment, Training, and Behavior Modification
    • Through the presentation and discussion of current research, attendees will examine accepted and new ideas for enrichment, training, and behavior modification; attendees will compare these ideas with those currently employed by their organizations; attendees will have a chance to address the advantages and limitations of these programs through practice and group conversations.    
  • Adoptions
    • Best practices will be identified through the exploration of current research and novel programs currently in use; attendees will share and compare their organizations' process with new strategies for canine adoption and approaches to counseling; innovative programming for adoption follow-ups will be reviewed through group discussion.
  • Shelter Visits
    • Attendees will take a behind the scenes tour of two New England shelters to learn more about the many programs and services these organizations offer; through group discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to compare against programs and services their organization provides as well as other programs and services offered in the field.

Application Process and Fees

Program space is limited to 20 attendees to ensure the opportunity to provide a personal experience. Attendees will be chosen through an online application process to allow us to maintain a diverse group of attendees from across the country and from different types of organizations. Applicants must be 18 years or older. Submitting a completed application constitutes a commitment to attend but does not guarantee acceptance and/or attendance.

Applications will be accepted until April 4th, 2016 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. Chosen applicants will be notified via email by April 4th and provided a link to complete their registration and process payment. Confirmation of acceptance and payment must be completed by April 18th, 2016, after which time, if registration and payment have not been completed, the applicant's name will be removed from the acceptance list and the next applicant will be notified.

The cost to attend is $250.

Click this link to begin the application process:  2016 CSD Summer Institute Online Application


Housing, Meals, and Transportation

All Summer Institute attendees are responsible for their own travel, dinners, snacks, and housing costs.  Breakfast and lunch will be included in the program fees.

This program is the perfect opportunity for shelter professionals to improve their skills, keep up with the latest strategies for improved behavior and welfare, and learn from one another.  We hope to see you in June!