Behavior and Enrichment Associate


Job Title: Behavior & Enrichment Associate

Department: Shelter

Classification: Full time, hourly, non-exempt

Job Relationship: Reports to Behavior and Enrichment Supervisor.  Works closely with the Volunteer Manager.  Supports volunteers in various roles in the Animal Wellness and Care Departments.

Position Summary: Ensure enrichment and evaluations for animals in shelter are completed, and that a Fear Free, and enriched environment is provided for animals in our care. Serves as the primary contact, trainer, and supervisor for Volunteers.

Essential Job Functions

Ensures appropriate handling and daily assessment of all animals sheltered at the APL

 Assists with animal behavioral assessments, or coordinate completion of animal behavioral assessments daily

  • Helps maintain documentation (on kennels, around the building and within electronic records) for the entire animal population.
  • Ensures fear free housing by relocating animals to minimize FAS
  • Ensures animals are treated with a Fear Free approach in the shelter, at offsite events, and as they transition into their new homes.
  • Works with supervisor and animal care team to ensure individual enrichment and/or behavior modification plans are completed on a daily basis.
  • Maintains check-point system to assess behavioral well-being of the animal population, and actionable plans to address length of stay.
  • Conducts dog-dog interactions to assess sociability
  • Completes litter box monitoring for feline residents in shelter that require it, follow-up with supervisor about animals of concern
  • Serves as the primary contact for dog, cat and small mammal enrichment, and helps coordinate completion of  this task daily with supervisor and animal care team
  • Works with supervisor and animal care team to ensure individual enrichment and/or behavior modification plans are completed on a daily basis.
  • Assists with training staff in safe animal handling and assessment, fear free, and disease control
  • Ensures enrichment areas are properly cleaned and maintained.
  • Ensures Dog Play Groups as scheduled by supervisor are being performed daily and all necessary support staff is available for assistance.  Required safety equipment and supplies are inventoried and ordered to ensure the safety of all animal and human participants.
  • Provides counseling to potential adopters for animals with special adoption recommendations and/or offer support to adoption team with counseling on animal behavior modification.
  • Supports organization in the development and implementation of any new protocols or programs designed to enhance the quality of life for the entire animal population.
  • Assists with transport, intake, and evaluation of animals received from other agencies
  • Performs routine animal medical care including vaccinations, worming, flea treatments, and blood tests
  • Supports the APL’s desire to celebrate a diverse and inclusive culture that fuels the compassion that connects us to one another.

Provides professional volunteer supervision and care

  • Serves as the secondary contact for the dog, cat and small mammal enrichment volunteers; communicates any updates and/or changes to volunteers via email, Volgistics, and communication stations.
  • Assists supervisor by providing feedback and addressing concerns with volunteer support.
  • Oversees animal-based group volunteer programs and community service.

Performs other duties as assigned including but not limited to:

  • Represents the APL in a professional and courteous manner at all times. Provides quality service to customers, volunteers, and staff recognizing their individual contributions to the success of our organization.
  • Follows all safety guidelines to ensure a safe work environment for staff and living environment for animals. Takes immediate action to address any safety concern or noncompliance of safety rules that could put an employee, volunteer, client, animal, or the organization at risk.
  • Keeps up to date on organizational communications by attending All Staff Meetings and/or reading the News Hound.
  • Informs supervisor of special needs cases for potential public relations or direct mail pieces
  • Promotes communication and cooperation between APL departments.
  • Performs other duties and special projects as assigned
  • Euthanasia certified; performs euthanasia as assigned
  • Maintains cleaning equipment, tools and appliances
  • Opens and closes the building as assigned


  • High school diploma or equivalent preferred
  • Prior demonstrable experience in animal behavior, health, handling, and care
  • Supervisory/leadership experience in a professional or volunteer setting preferred

Knowledge and Skills

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with a variety of people
  • Knowledge of APL volunteer positions
  • Knowledge of animal breeds, behavior, and handling
  • Knowledge of animal health, able to identify illness preferred
  • Ability to safely handle animals, including those with health and behavioral challenges
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to follow instructions
  • Excellent interpersonal communication, public speaking and customer service skills.
  • Ability to use a PC and widely used software packages, e.g., spreadsheets (Excel), word processing (MS Word), Pet Point shelter software; ability to learn new software as necessary.
  • Ability to meet deadlines; ability to set and accomplish work in order of priority; professionally maintain composure and effectiveness under pressure and changing conditions.
  • Able to work a flexible schedule with regular weekend and evening activities.
  • Detail oriented and able to prioritize and perform duties efficiently and effectively
  • Committed to maintaining the Cleveland Animal Protective League’s high standard of animal care and mission to foster compassion and end animal suffering.
  • Fear Free Certified or must become certified within six months of hire

EEOC: The Cleveland APL is an equal opportunity employer and is looking for diversity in qualified candidates for employment.