Animal Behavior Internship

We are seeking motivated and compassionate people with a passion for animal behavior.

Animal Behavior Internship

This opportunity will expose participants to the role of animal behavior in shelter operations. Participation in this program will allow students to develop transferable, real-world skills in the areas of canine body language, canine handling, canine welfare, behavior modification, behavior observation, canine enrichment and teamwork.

 Click here to apply 

Reports To

Lead Behavior Modification Specialist
Animal Program Coordinator
Director of Animal Behavior

Hours and Schedule

Each internship is an unpaid position working a minimum of 10 hours per week to be scheduled during normal business hours for three months. The exact schedule can be determined between the intern and the department managers. Individual experiences may be custom arranged based upon program requirements.

Learning Goals and Objectives

  1. Develop the ability to identify and report medical and behavioral concerns.
  2. Understand how to read canine body language and utilize appropriate fear-free animal handling and Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive (LIMA) techniques.
  3. Become well versed in learning theory concepts, such as desensitization and counterconditioning.
  4. Learn to create and provide various types of enrichment opportunities to dogs.
  5. Develop interpersonal skills while working with a variety of staff and volunteers.

Job Duties

Interns are expected to work a regularly scheduled shift. After attending an orientation and training course on canine body language and handling, animal behavior interns may follow one of the two following tracks:

Applied Track

  • Creating, preparing, and distributing canine enrichment.
  • Participating in canine intraspecies socialization programs.
  • Providing socialization and adoption exposure opportunities for long-term dogs.
  • Implementing behavior modification plans with fearful or unsocialized dogs.
  • Communicating behavioral concerns and developing basic interventions for common behavioral concerns.

Research Track

  • Developing a research question relating to shelter animal behavior and welfare, with applications to the needs of the agency.
  • Alongside the Director of Animal Behavior, creating a research plan and developing data collection materials to carry out the project.
  • Collecting and analyzing data, and then summarizing the findings in write-up or presentation form.
  • May be completed in conjunction with thesis credits through college or university.

Abilities and Requirements

  • At least 19 years of age.
  • Basic animal handling skills and experience working with or training animals.
  • Coursework in animal behavior and/or learning processes preferred.
  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.
  • Ability to work effectively and independently without supervision.
  • Team-oriented mentality and ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with others.
  • Ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing.
  • Flexibility and willingness to learn and to try new things.
  • Ability to handle situations that can be emotionally and physically demanding.
  • Ability to be comfortable around unpleasant situations that can include dealing with blood and animal waste.
  • Ability to engage in frequent walking, bending, standing, and other physical activity which may include lifting objects up to 50 lbs without assistance.

What we need from you

  • A cover letter explaining credentials and career goals
  • At least two references
  • Your school's requirement for independent study (if applicable)
  • Completed application

 Click here to apply 

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