We’re here to help you and your pet with care, behavior, training and more!

Featured training video

Set your cat up for litter box success!

Frequently asked dog training questions

Using punishment techniques can teach fear in your dog and often result in aggression. Dogs don’t understand why their person is suddenly doing these undesirable and scary things. This will lead them to see their owners as unpredictable, and they will fear someone randomly doing “bad” things to them. Instead, by providing direction and positive reinforcement, we can teach our dogs what to do. Rather than “rubbing their nose in it,” when a dog has an accident inside, we can provide a consistent routine where they understand there will be opportunities to go outside, and then we can heavily reinforce them for eliminating appropriately with rewards. Spanking or hitting a dog teaches fear and does not tell a dog what they need to do to avoid punishment. If done often enough, dogs learn helplessness because they don’t know how to avoid being punished.

Way to go! You look fantastic today! You are succeeding in all areas of your life! Have a cookie! Positive reinforcement. Works on people AND pets! From learning commands to practicing all-four-on-the-floor to correcting negative behaviors like barking, every pet can benefit from positive reinforcement training. HSPPR uses this same training to work with some of the cats, dogs, and even reptiles in our care to get them ready for adoption. Ready to learn a new trick? Watch how to start your pet’s clicker training at home!

This idea of an alpha is a myth and debunked in the show “Adam Ruins Everything.” The term came from a scientist who studied wolves, and he has since recanted, saying that wolves don’t have alphas. Instead, they have family structures similar to humans, where parents and other adults lead, and young ones are taught to carry their weight and respect their elders. Not only is the term “alpha” inaccurate when speaking of wolves, but it is important to remember that dogs are not wolves and do not behave like wolves.

Often, when we describe a dog as needing an alpha, what we’re really describing is a dog that has low/no self-control and does not understand what is expected in the relationship. Instead, our dogs need leaders. By providing direction, consistency, and positive reinforcement training, we can teach dogs self-control and understand what is expected of them. When they understand our expectations clearly, we have a better relationship with our dogs.

Some dogs just aren’t safe to be left home without damaging your house. What to do? Crate training, of course! We use positive reinforcement to work with dogs who would benefit from crate training to build that positive association with the crate and make it a safe, comfortable place. This can help will all sorts of behavior problems, from anxiety to destructive behavior, while you are away from the house. Find out how to crate train your dog today!

Food is a bribe if you treat it like a bribe, meaning you provide the food before the desired behavior is completed. A reward is given during or upon the completion of a behavior. Just like most of us are unlikely to show up to our jobs if not paid, dogs require some form of reward to “work” for you. The harder (more complex) the job or the behavior, the greater the payout should be.

However, once a dog understands (generalizes) a behavior, it is actually hurtful to give treats every time the behavior is performed. If a dog does not know when she is going to get a treat for a specific behavior, she will work harder at the behavior in case this is THE ONE that will earn the reward. It’s similar to why people play slot machines they know at some point there will be a payout, just not when. So, they keep trying.

Waldo Canyon Fire Causes Evacuations in Colorado Springs

Ready for disaster

It’s not a matter of if, but when. Living in the Pikes Peak Region, we know this all too well. Make a plan now for evacuating and taking care of ALL family members in the event of a disaster – pets need emergency supplies, too!


Resources for students

Students, check out our resource center just for you. Get help with projects, see shelter data, and find other resources!