Course:APBI 496 - BC SPCA Vancouver Shelter Practicum

From UBC Wiki

Shelter Animal Behaviour Practicum Student

Position Title: Practicum Student - Shelter Animal Behaviour

Department: Operations

Position Reports To: Manager - Animal Behaviour & Welfare

This position is suitable for a student with a specific interest in animal behaviour and welfare. There are two options for this position.

On Site

The student will assist the Vancouver Shelter with providing safe and high quality behaviour support for dogs, cats and other species in shelter care. Student will provide hands on work with animals following behaviour modification and enrichment protocols to increase adoptability and improve quality of life. Student will gain knowledge and experience in canine, feline and other species’ behaviour. Though student will be working independently, work must be collaborative with staff and volunteers. Hours will be scheduled to align with shelter COVID-19 safety plan.


The student will work remotely, assisting the Animal Behaviour & Welfare team in the development of a shelter enrichment manual. Student will help review enrichment activities designed to decrease stress and improve welfare of animals in shelter, foster and adoptive homes. The student will help write-up instructions on how to perform enrichment activities and format them for both online and printed manual. This role will allow for a student to gain knowledge in animal behaviour and welfare while learning how to reduce stress and improve quality of life through environmental enrichment. The student has a direct reporting relationship to the Manager - Animal Behaviour & Welfare and to the Branch Manager (on-site).

Duties and Responsibilities

BC SPCA Training

  • Completion of BCSPCA online:
    • COVID-19 Branch safety plan
    • Building a Respectful Workplace
    • Staff training Behaviour & Welfare
    • Introduction to Health and Safety
    • Policies and Procedures
  • Other training courses identified by Manager - Animal Behaviour & Welfare
    • Fear Free Shelter Program
    • Dr. Sophia Yin’s Low Stress Handling

16 hours during first week for train

On-Site Position

  • Participate in daily huddle
  • Perform daily behaviour rounds
  • Conduct scheduled behaviour modification and treatments as requested by staff/manager
  • Provide enrichment when need is recognized or requested by staff and manager
  • Support foster homes as needed

20 hours weekly

Remote Position

  • Review literature on enrichment for companion and sheltered animals
  • Review enrichment material
  • Review research supporting enrichment activities
  • Write-up instructions for activities – format for in shelter, foster and public use
  • Assist in developing manual
  • Coordinate working group

20 hours weekly

Applied Communication

  • Create informational brochures in consultation with Manager - Animal Welfare, for volunteers, public or other shelter professionals on topics relevant to animal management.


  • Provide regular weekly written reports to Branch Manager and Manager, Animal Welfare detailing behaviour rounds and status of behaviour cases during week.
  • Assist specific animal care staff with weekly reports generated for volunteers on current in care animal needs.


  • Minimum 20 hours per week based on student’s availability and in agreement with Branch Manager
    • Week one – two training and orientation
    • Week three – start on-site or remotely
  • Performs other duties as required

Contacts and Communication

  • Direct contact with Branch manager, staff, volunteers and public
  • Works collaboratively with the Branch manager, the Manager - Animal Behaviour & Welfare

Knowledge and Skill Requirements

  • Must have genuine compassion for animals and previous animal care training or equivalent experience
  • Animal behaviour training an asset
  • Excellent communication, organizational and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to support staff and volunteers.
  • Philosophical harmony with BC SPCA policies, programs and protocols
  • Computer Skills – Windows, MS Office; knowledge of Shelter Buddy an asset
  • Must be a registered student in an approved post-secondary institution whose participation in this position will count for course credits.

Organizational Relationships

Organizational relationships for BC SPCA Shelter Animal Behaviour practicum.