Dog Behavior Volunteer Opportunities

Austin Pets Alive!’s Dog Behavior Program provides many levels of training classes and opportunities for all interested volunteers. Volunteers must first fill out a volunteer application and attend a general APA! orientation session (with dog walking class) prior to getting involved with the dog behavior program.


B.O.O. (Basic Orange Orientation) Training

B.O.O is a 1 hour training session to learn how to handle “orange collared dogs”, which are shy and fearful dogs (hence BOO!). After completing this course, volunteers are given an orange wristband that must be worn to in order to handle “orange collared dogs” at APA!

Level 1 Class

Level 1 is a 5 week course, with a 1 one-hour class per week, that introduces volunteers to our core dog training principles. Volunteers learn how to teach our shelter dogs to walk nicely on a leash and various obedience skills. Graduates gain permission to walk “Green” and “Pink” dogs off-campus and are invited to the 1 hour “Blues JAM” Training.


Blues JAM (Jumpy and Mouthy) Training

The Blues JAM is 1 hour training for Level 1 graduates to learn how to handle/train our “Blue” collar dogs, which are energetic and likely to demonstrate a high level of enthusiasm. Upon completing this course, volunteers receive a blue wristband that must be worn to APA! to take out “blue collared dogs”.

Level 2 Class

Level 2 is a 5 week course, with 1 one-hour class per week, that polishes the training foundations learned in Level 1 and prepares volunteers for handling our dogs most in need of training. Graduates of Level 2 can handle “silver collared dogs” and are invited to join the Volunteer Behavior Team. Completion of this course gets volunteers a silver wristband and eligibility to join the “Canine Good Citizen-Preparation” Team, if desired.

Volunteer Behavior Team

Volunteers who have successfully completed Level 1 and Level 2 courses and who are able to commit 10 hours per month are invited to join the Volunteer Behavior Team. Alongside Behavior Department staff, members of the Volunteer Behavior Team may be given approval to train specific “red collared dogs”. The Behavior Team meets weekly for group obedience classes.

Behavior Team 2

*The Dog Behavior Staff also uses trained volunteers to take dogs back and forth from dog playgroups twice a day. Volunteers can inquire about this opportunity at orientation or any dog walking/training class.*