Behavior and Training Specialist

Department: Behavior and Training

Reports To: Behavior and Training Manager

Classification: Hourly Non-Exempt, Full Time

Supervises: None

Organizational Summary

It’s an exciting time to join the Cincinnati Animal CARE team! Cincinnati Animal CARE is the new county Humane Society in Hamilton County and with this change in operational leadership comes the opportunity to be part of a new beginning in Greater Cincinnati animal services.

We are a progressive, lifesaving community resource. We believe that every animal deserves a holistic approach and individualized care and consideration. We trust the people in our community and value collaboration. Lifesaving is a community ethic.

Job Description

The B&T Specialist will work on a team responsible for the behavioral health and wellness of all dogs at Cincinnati Animal CARE. This person will provide the highest level of care, training, assessments, enrichment, and behavioral development to our animals. This person must be aligned with departmental goals and the shelter’s mission, as well as, adhere to progressive, best practice shelter training and behavior modification policies and protocols.

We are seeking a B&T Specialist who embraces change and growth, loves to learn and brings a positive and open-minded attitude to every challenge. This person must be a strong leader who values giving and receiving feedback. A commitment to a positive, non-judgemental, and collaborative work environment is a must. We believe that every day at Cincinnati Animal CARE is a day to do something great for the people and animals in our community. Cincinnati Animal CARE has been selected as one of 16 Tier 1 pilot cities for the new American Pets Alive! HASS (Human Animal Support Services) program and HSUS Pets for Life Program. The B&T Specialist will report directly to the Dog Operations Manager.

A successful candidate must demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • Positive communication
  • A commitment to holistic assessments, training and programming
  • Outside-the-box thinking and problem solving
  • Show a strong attention to detail
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Be able to work with minimal supervision
  • Cooperative attitude and commitment to working with a team
  • A commitment to and alignment with Cincinnati Animal CARE’s lifesaving mission

Expectations of Employee

  • Believes in the mission of Cincinnati Animal CARE and understands the lifesaving relationship between our organization and the community we serve.
  • Treats animals humanely, with love and concern both on and off the job and transmit these values to others.
  • Adheres to all CAC organizational policies and procedures.
  • Adheres to all CAC safety policies and reports injuries to the Director within 24 hours of injury.
  • Makes a good appearance, positive attitude, and can deal tactfully and effectively with the public.
  • Communicates regularly with the Director about departmental issues.
  • Demonstrates flexible and efficient time management and ability to prioritize workload.
  • Participates in meetings with other CAC personnel, including and shares ideas and suggestions designed to improve working conditions and the organization’s ability to meet its lifesaving objectives.
  • Can lift up to 50 lbs. long periods of standing, bending, and intermittent exposure to high noise levels.
  • Recognizes the value volunteers bring to the organization. Encourages and develops volunteers to support the program’s objectives.
  • A willingness and enthusiasm for a continued state of learning regarding Animal Welfare.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Primary focus is the development of CAC’s daily playgroup program using the Dogs Playing For Life philosophies.
  • Secondary Focus is the development of CAC’s daily enrichment program for the population of dogs at the shelter.
  • Work with the Dog Operations Manager to further develop playgroup reporting and tracking to quantify the success of the program.
  • Implement a training program for CAC’s playgroup volunteers.
  • Assist in maintaining a program for individuals needing training hours in pursuit of a dog training certification (ABCDT, CPDT-KA, etc.).
  • Implement behavior protocols for individual animals and the general shelter population
  • Find ways to improve upon CAC’s holistic, daily enrichment program.
  • Identify, observe and immediately address any animals showing signs of FAS (fear, anxiety, stress), kennel deterioration or a decline in health or behavior.
  • Assist with all staff and volunteer behavior assessment requests.
  • Perform basic but holistic assessments on all new arrival dogs to create a behavior baselines and outcome paths and recommendations.
  • Commit to exhausting all options for a live outcome before recommending euthanasia.
  • Identify dogs that would benefit from behavioral foster homes and assist with preparing those homes for success.
  • Assist with the development of public-facing behavior and training programs for the HASS (Human Animal Support Services) program for the purpose of pet retention and community support.
  • Assist with behavior and training support consultations for community pet owners who are considering shelter surrender due to behavioral issues, as needed.
  • Perform any other shelter duties as directed by the Shelter Director, Medical Director or Dog Operations Manager.

Major Essential Duties

  • Follow and promote stringent safety protocols and guidelines
  • Think outside the box and utilize the ideas of other shelter behavior professionals when faced with a difficult animals
  • Stay current on shelter behavior and training best practice
  • Must be able and willing to work with unpredictable, difficult, and sometimes dangerous animals
  • Must take a collaborative approach and know when to ask for help
  • Must approach each animal as an individual and set aside bias, conscious or unconscious
  • Be present and timely for the duration of each work day
  • Be empathetic and compassionate when interacting with the animals, staff and public
  • Foster a work environment that motivates our team and inspires exceptional work
  • Make a commitment to working cooperatively with volunteers and develop positive relationships to grow the behavior program
  • Work collaboratively with shelter staff, including Animal Care staff, Adoption Counselors, the Medical Team, and Foster and Volunteer Coordinators
  • Adhere to the Cincinnati Animal CARE Culture Agreement which includes behaving in a manner that promotes a fun, positive work environment
  • Demonstrate a commitment to transparency


  • High school or equivalent (Preferred)
  • Dog handling: 2 years (Preferred)
  • Professional Certification or actively working towards (Required)
  • DPFL playgroups: 1 year (Strongly Preferred)

Education and/or Experience

  • High School Diploma or equivalent, college-level courses preferred
  • ABCDT, CPDT, KPDT, CBCC, or IAABC CSB-D strongly preferred. A professional certification is required for this position. Those actively pursuing such a certification will also be considered.
  • Minimum 2 years experience training and working with animals in a shelter environment
  • Minimum if 1 year experience running dog play groups using the philosophies of DPFL
  • Knowledge and preference of positive reinforcement animal training, behavior and enrichment
  • Experience developing, or assisting with the development, of a shelter behavior program preferred
  • Comfort with public speaking and experience teaching adults in seminar-type and training class-type settings preferred
  • Experience teaching and using positive reinforcement training techniques, animal behavior and body language observations and evaluation
  • Desire to participate in regular professional development through Maddie’s Fund, American Pets Alive!, Dogs Playing for Life, and Best Friends Animal Society opportunities
  • Proficiency in Google Drive, Sheets, Docs and gmail
  • Knowledge of animal disease symptoms

Language Skills

  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with the public, staff, and volunteers
  • Ability to read, interpret and execute policies, procedures, and professional publications
  • Possess strong oral and listening skills
  • Demonstrate critical evaluation and observational skills

Other Knowledge and/or Skills

  • Ability to handle sensitive issues in a professional and discrete manner
  • Demonstrate critical thinking
  • Ability to work under general supervision
  • Ability to maintain accurate behavioral records
  • Ability to exercise judgment, tact and diplomacy
  • Knowledge of the occupational hazards and corresponding safety precautions necessary for the safe performance of assigned duties


  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Must be able to lift up to 50lbs
  • Adherence to the applicable provisions of the Organization’s Policies & Procedures, the HR Policy Manual, and any other procedures, rules, regulations, and policies set forth by appropriate authorities
  • Must have personal integrity and remain free of felony convictions
  • Must maintain confidentiality

Work Environment

  • The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
  • Exposure to unvetted animals is frequent; basic knowledge of animal behavior and common sense is needed.

Cincinnati Animal CARE provides equal employment and advancement opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment, without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, pregnancy, gender, disability, national origin, ethnic background, citizenship, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: From $16.00 per hour


  • 401(k)
  • 401(k) matching
  • Dental insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Vision insurance


  • 8 hour shifts
  • Day shift
  • Holidays
  • Weekend availability

This job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, skills, efforts or working conditions or qualifications associated with the job. While this is intended to be an accurate reflection of the current job, management reserves the right to revise or to require that other or different tasks be performed when circumstances change, for example, emergencies, changes in personnel, workload, or technological breakdowns in departments.

Job Category: Administrative
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: 3949 Colerain Ave

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