About Our Behavior Center
San Diego Humane Society's Behavior Center provides specialized behavior intervention for animals who display fear, anxiety and stress while in the shelter environment. It opened in 2013 and is a key component of our Behavior & Training Program, which plays a central role in our commitment to Stay at Zero euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals in San Diego County. These animals are often out of options by the time they arrive at our doors but have behavioral concerns that may be treatable.
Located at the San Diego Campus, the Behavior Center has a uniquely designed space that removes the noise, unpredictability and other barriers to rehabilitation found in a traditional shelter, and replaces them with an environment that supports the intensive work these animals require. Our behavior team works intensively to address complex challenges such as anxiety, fear, resource guarding, overstimulation and other behavior issues.
Whether for a few days or a few months, animals in the Behavior Center benefit from individual rehabilitation plans to help them become adoptable and ready to share their lives with their new families. Without our intervention, these animals would have nowhere else to turn to receive the support they need to become ready for adoption.
There is no other comprehensive animal behavior rehabilitation center like this in San Diego, making us the only hope for hundreds of our community’s most at-risk animals who would otherwise be unadoptable. What’s more, our center is one of just a few in the country, and we share our lifesaving practices with organizations nationwide.
The Behavior Center is one of our most important tools in achieving our mission of saving lives, preparing animals for successful transitions into loving homes and keeping them with their families once they are adopted.
In addition to caring for animals at SDHS shelters, the Behavior & Training Program provides community resources and support through public training classes and workshops, online training resources and access to our professional trainers through our free Behavior Helpline. By giving people the tools and support necessary to resolve behavior challenges in the home, animals don’t need to face relinquishment to a shelter.
The Behavior Center Features
44 dog habitats, specifically designed with:
- Privacy and sound-proofing to reduce stimulation.
- Access directly into shaded outdoor play yards, allowing trainers to work with dogs in a safe environment when they are too shy or fearful to be leashed without extreme anxiety.
Cat housing for more than 30 cats in an isolated wing that provides separation from dogs to reduce stress and facilitate their individualized training plans. This cat housing provides unique features, including:
- Hiding places for shy and fearful cats.
- Use of primarily horizontal bars on habitats – research shows that cats naturally scan their surroundings horizontally, and that vertical bars interrupt this process and cause unnecessary stress.
- A community cat room with access to the outdoors for enrichment.
Nearly 4,000 animals have received a second chance thanks to our Behavior & Training Program that started in 2013.