Dog Care Volunteer Training

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. 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. 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

Information about the dog care training process

  • 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 our from 8-11 am and 6-9 pm.

Additional Information:

  • The minimum age to volunteer for dog care is 13 years old. Volunteers between 10-12 years old are not permitted to work in the kennel area itself, so they are encouraged to consider volunteering as a Dog Adoption Helper where they can help with our Sunday 12-2pm showings. 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.
  • If you are only seeking to complete 20 volunteer hours to adopt a dog because you an undergraduate student, please specify that when emailing to be directed on how to complete those hours in a different manner.
  • 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 request registration by emailing Kim (Attn: Dog Care Volunteer Training) to sign up for a training date. Please confirm in the email that you can commit to approximately one 3 hour shift per week. Please also state the following:
    • What experience you have with dogs 45 pound and larger dogs
    • What breed mixes you have had experience with
    • Any prior shelter experience 
    • Have you walked harder to handle dogs that pull
    • Are you an undergraduate student seeking 20 hours of volunteer work to adopt an animal - please specify.

Our typical Level 1 dog is 45 pounds and Level 2 is 55 pounds.  We do not always have small dogs at the shelter.  You must be able to handle dogs of this size to volunteer.

  • 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.
  • Prior to the class, it would be helpful to watch this video to see a demonstration of how to fit and use our Gentle Leader head collars. We will go over this in class as well. All dogs that use a special collar have one that is pre-fitted in the white basket on their cage.

Upcoming Training Dates

February 2018

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