Behavior and Training
At the Humane Society of Pinellas, we understand that one of the many reasons pets are surrendered to shelters is because of undesirable behaviors. In our efforts to end pet homelessness, HSP offers a free Behavior Helpline and low-cost behavior consultations to help your pet be successful!
We encourage you to contact the Behavior Department at (727) 692-8435 or via email at BehaviorHelp@HumanePinellas.org. Our Behavior Technicians can assist you with preliminary evaluations, over the phone (and free!) advice, behaviorist referrals and in some cases, behavior consultations. Staff is trained to discuss and modify a range of behavior problems for both dogs and cats, including housesoiling, litter box avoidance, unruly behavior, destructive behavior, separation anxiety, leash reactivity and aggression. While the staff is highly trained and professional, we reserve the right to refuse service if we believe your pet would benefit from another program or if your pet may put the staff at serious risk.
Behavior consultations are scheduled on-site at the shelter or in your home! Our Behavior Technicians will evaluate your pet’s behavior and needs using our behavioral questionnaire. This questionnaire will help guide us in determining how we can best help you and your pet. Consultations are typically 1-2 hours and fees are $50/hour for an on-site training session. While we do accommodate in-home consultations for special cases, these are at the discretion of the Behavior team and vary in price depending on distance and travel time. Please inquire for details.
Behavior Consultation Package
Schedule four one-hour on-site consultation sessions with our behavior team for only $175! Get the benefit of one-on-one training. This package is perfect for shy or reactive dogs that may be overwhelmed by group classes, but would benefit from basic or advanced obedience training! Makes a great holiday gift for that naughty dog (or owner!) you know!
Training Classes and Obedience
The Humane Society of Pinellas is excited to offer affordable canine obedience training classes! Basic obedience, as well as agility courses and Canine Good Citizen courses are offered on a rotating schedule. Classes range from four to six weeks and each class is one hour. All classes require pre-registration. Please call (727) 692-8435 or email BehaviorHelp@HumanePinellas.org with any questions. Can't commit to 6 weeks? Check out our one-hour obedience seminars!
All dogs 6 months and over must be spayed or neutered to attend class. Pre-registration, as well as vaccination records, are required. All dogs must have a rabies vaccine (if old enough), distemper and bordatella vaccines.
training classes calendar
Click on the class for more information and registration options!
CANINE GOOD CITIZEN TESTING
Looking to fine tune your dog's obedience commands? Ready for your pup to be recognized for his or her skills? Then join us at The Humane Society of Pinellas and have your pet certified as a Canine Good Citizen through the widely recognized American Kennel Club (AKC). The Canine Good Citizen test, or CGC, is intended to promote responsible pet ownership and requires dogs to complete a series of ten tests without treats.
CGC Prep Seminar - These one-hour long seminars allow for you and your dog to prepare for the CGC Evaluation. Contact BehaviorHelp@HumanePinellas.org for seminar dates and information!
$50/test. Contact the Behavior Department to schedule your CGC Test. It is recommended you bring your own 20-foot lead and brush/comb. See the AKC website for testing requirements.
seminars for animal welfare organizations
The Humane Society of Pinellas believes all animal welfare employees should be equipped with the most up-to-date knowledge when it comes to animal behavior. Therefore, HSP's Behavior Department offers seminars for businesses and organizations looking to learn about science-based, positive reinforcement training methods, animal behavior, enrichment and more!
4-hour seminar for 1-10 people (1 speaker) = $325
4-hour seminar for 11-20 (2 speakers) = $550
Non-profit discount 25%
Seminar includes lecture, audio-visual presentation and hands-on training on the following topics:
- Shelter-specific behavior problems (stress induced behaviors, stereotypies and common behavior issues)
- Positive reinforcement and low-stress handling
- Enrichment for shelter dogs
- Canine body language and behavior
- Proper equipment for shelter dogs
Meet our Behavior Department!
Heather Gibbs, CPDT-KA, Lead Behavior Technician
Heather Gibbs received her training certification through the Animal Behavior College. She worked in behavior modification and animal care for several organizations including Southeastern Guide Dogs and the Animal Rescue Foundation of Texas before joining the Humane Society of Pinellas team.
Heather practices positive reinforcement training through bonding exercises, enrichment, and reward-based behavior modification. She currently owns four rescue animals; three dogs and her horse, Mike. One of her dogs has achieved service dog status through Southeastern Guide Dogs and has earned his Canine Good Citizen certification. Heather is a certified CGC Assessor, as well as a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (Knowledge Assessed) from the esteemed Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).
Danielle Nieuwkerk, Assistant Behavior Technician
Danielle Nieuwkerk received her dog training certification through Animal Behavior College and holds membership with the Pet Professional Guild. When away from the shelter, Danielle enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and slobbery Cane Corsos Kane and Titan on beach outings.
Danielle has a burning passion for shelter animals! She exercises positive-reinforcement methods in canine obedience and agility training. Danielle also offers her talent as a Canine Life and Social Skills (C.L.A.S.S.) Evaluator. With her bright smile and good humor, Danielle brings fun dynamic to the class room as the primary obedience class instructor at HSP.