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Fear Free Shelter Program

Shelter, rescue, and animal welfare employees and volunteers get complimentary access to the Fear Free Shelter Program. Register and start the program for FREE.

What You’ll Learn

In this program, you’ll learn how to improve the emotional experiences of animals by applying key strategies and techniques designed to reduce the negative emotional states that are commonly experienced by shelter and rescue animals, including fear, anxiety, stress (FAS), and frustration. The Fear Free Shelter Program aims to provide training that is suitable for all individuals involved in the care and oversight of shelter and rescue animals—from medical and behavioral staff to intake, reception, kennel, and cattery staff to animal control officers, adoption counselors, foster caregivers, and shelter volunteers.

The Fear Free Shelter Program is intended for all types of sheltering organizations with the goal of achieving a Fear Free culture through the united actions and attitudes of shelter team members. For many sheltering organizations, improving available animal housing facilities will also be an important consideration, but even so, embracing a Fear Free culture will improve welfare until such changes in the physical layout can be made.

Core Module Overview

After a brief introduction to Fear Free, you will work through four mandatory modules, which will need to be taken in consecutive order. Each module will end with an exam, which needs to be successfully completed prior to moving on to the next module. Progress on work can be saved at any time, giving you the flexibility to self-pace throughout the program. The core modules take approximately 5 hours to complete. When all four modules have been completed, you will be awarded with a Fear Free Shelter Program Certificate of Completion.

Module 1:
Emotional Health

  • Emotional needs of dogs & cats
  • Stress response and its effects
  • Animal stressors within the shelter

Module 2:
Recognizing How Animals are Feeling in the Shelter

  • Understanding body language of dogs & cats
  • Effects of fear, anxiety, stress & frustration on behavior
  • Reducing fear, anxiety, stress & frustration

Module 3:
How Animals Learn

  • How learning affects animal behavior in the shelter
  • Common triggers of fear, anxiety, stress & frustration
  • Techniques to improve emotional health

Module 4:
Fear Free Communication and Animal Handling Basics

  • Effective communication within the shelter team
  • Safely handling animals with reduced stress
  • Removing shy or stressed animals from cages

Ready to try it out?

The Fear Free Shelter Program is entirely free, but we understand the pain of filling out another form. If you’re interested but not ready to commit just yet, take a peek at the first module — absolutely no signup required.

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