M.S. in Animals and Public Policy Externship Experience (MAPP)
Austin Pets Alive!: Applying Individualized Behavior Modification for Shelter Dogs Click link for Externship Presentation
I spent my summer externship with the Austin Pets Alive! Behavior team. I assisted with creating and implementing individualized behavior modification plans, as well as general handling and obedience training. Though not planned for, when Hurricane Harvey hit, I also helped out with the emergency efforts.
One of the skills I learned was how to handle dogs who display more extreme levels of behavioral challenges. The externship also taught me the importance of consistency in handling.
Learning about clicker training, as well as the complicated relationship between people’s understanding of their pets’ behaviors helped me with the externship.
I learned that in a novel and stressful environment such as the shelter, it often requires unique approaches in order to not only see an animal’s personality, but also modify their behavior. This will be important in increasing adoptions and reducing relinquishment, ultimately improving the live outcome rates for shelters.