Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all new dog and front desk volunteer training classes have been suspended indefinitely. We look forward to accepting new volunteers once we are able. Cat training classes will be held in very limited numbers, for local residents only. See our cat training website for more information as classes are scheduled.
Dogs living at PAWS need our help 365 days per year and how many dogs PAWS can help is directly related to how many regular Dog Care Volunteers we have. Dog Care Training goes over the basics of the entire dog side of PAWS including dog handling, volunteer and dog safety, feeding and basic cleaning.
This training allows you to work our AM/PM shifts as well as participate in special events. The AM shifts run from about 8-11 am. The PM shifts run from 5:30-9 pm with the core shift running from 6-8 pm.
Dog Care Volunteer Responsibilities
These volunteers walk the dogs, handle feedings, do laundry, have doggie play time, and complete general dog side tasks as needed to provide our dogs the best environment possible. You should have some dog experience and generally be comfortable around dogs, including medium to larger dogs. If you are more interested in helping with the dog adoption side of things, please read our Dog Adoption Helper Volunteer information page.
*April through July classes are reserved for those who will be in Centre County over the summer
Dog Care Training Process
- Pre-registration is required -- you MUST receive an email from Kim to confirm your registration. You are not registered until you receive a confirmation.
- Training takes place in 2 parts:
- Part 1: you’ll participate in one of our dog care training classes and go over the basics of working with our dogs. All training classes are on the calendar below and meet from 4:30 – 6 pm. Please wear rugged closed-toe shoes and a coat, if needed, since we are outside for part of the training, rain or shine!
- Part 2, mentoring shift: The second part of the training includes working with a mentor to make sure that you’re comfortable coming to PAWS to volunteer after the training. You will shadow a more experienced Dog Care Volunteer in order to gain more "hands on" experience. You can sign up for additional mentor shifts, or begin volunteering on your own once your mentor shift is complete. You will sign up for this mentoring shift at the training class so please know your availability when you come to the class. The mentoring shifts are from 8-11 am and 6-9 pm.
- The minimum age to volunteer for dog care is 13 years old. All youth under the age of 18 must volunteer with a trained adult at all times. Both the youth and adult need to attend the training class. All youth volunteers must come with a trained adult until they are 18 years old and work side by side with this person.
- Weekly (regular) volunteers get the most out of their volunteering and tend to form close relationships with the animals in our care and the other volunteers. We prioritize scheduling volunteers who can commit to at least weekly volunteer shifts.
- If you are interested in volunteering for community service and are completing less than 30 volunteer hours, please visit our Community Service Volunteers page. We cannot accommodate requests for short term volunteering with the Dog Care option.
- If you have special needs considerations, please visit our Special Needs Volunteers page.
Steps to Request Registration for Dog Care Volunteer Training
- First, please fill out the Volunteer Application online here.
- Next, please consult the calendar below for training dates, and click on an available training date to begin registration for a class using the form provided on the calendar date. You will then receive a reply from Kim asking any follow-up questions and she will confirm if you are registered.
- You are not registered for a class until you receive the confirmation email from Kim.
All volunteers must preregister for a training date. We are currently not taking any walk-ins during our training sessions. Dog Care classes fill up quickly September through March so please register early. Your registration is not confirmed until you receive an email from the Dog Training instructor confirming your registration. If you have any questions about registering, please email our Dog Volunteer Training team.