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Director of Animal Training and Enrichment
Jobs & Postdocs
Posted Feb 26

Job Details

Job Location:  Joybound - Walnut Creek, CA

Position Type:  Full Time

Education Level:  Graduate Degree

Salary Range:  $150,000.00 - $200,000.00 /year


Position Summary:


The Director of Animal Training and Enrichment works collaboratively with staff to ensure shelter guest experience and socialization that advance the organization’s strategic goals. This Director is responsible for identifying, preventing, handling, managing and/or remediating behavior issues in shelter guests. This professional creates and oversees animal training and enrichment educational curriculum training for staff, volunteers, and public clients, ensuring that internal education and community-directed training are held to high professional standards. The Director co-creates, complies with, and models organizational training and enrichment philosophies and protocols, focusing on enhancing the human/animal bond to keep pet families together. Reporting to the Chief Program Officer, the Director leads Animal Training and Enrichment staff to optimize their performance.


I. Leadership

  • Lead by action and example to advance a culture of positivity, professionalism, trust, transparency, empathy, and excellence at Joybound.
  • Serve as a positive contributing member of Joybound’s Leadership Team to guide the organization’s strategic direction and tactical implementation.
  • Coach and guide behavior and training staff, providing ongoing direction, example, mentorship, resources, feedback, and accountability to elevate individual and team performance.
  • Promote teamwork, communication, and cooperation within the Behavior Department and with all other departments.
  • Advance Joybound’s behavior and training program through effective management and vibrant cross-departmental collaboration.

II. Management

  • Reporting to and in collaboration with the Chief Programs Officer, manage all aspects of the organization’s animal training, enrichment, and behavior programs, and their associated staff and volunteers.
  • In collaboration with appropriate departments, lead the successful design and delivery of the organization’s training, enrichment, and behavior protocols and education.
  • Designs, conducts, and reports findings on studies relative to Animal Training and Enrichment.
  • Represents the organization as a speaker on Animal Training and Enrichment at relevant events and conferences, with the media as requested, and in writing via blogs, articles, etc.
  • Guide external behavior and enrichment educational efforts, such as public workshops, external speaking engagements, and organizational animal welfare educational offerings.
  • Develop and work with a culturally diverse staff, volunteers, and community.
  • Monitor and ensure success of behavior team in prevention, identification, assessment, and remediation of behavior issues, to increase adoptions and decrease adoption returns.
  • Oversee and assist with team behavioral evaluations of current shelter guests; review and evaluate individual animals’ behavior and welfare on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Lead behavior and population rounds for the shelter guests in our care.
  • Ensure that the organization meets the behavioral and welfare needs of all shelter guests in our care.
  • Oversee enrichment and play group programs to improve the welfare of all shelter guests, as well as socialization of puppies and kittens in the adoption program.
  • Collaborate with shelter medicine, foster, and other departments to reach departmental goals and objectives, such as decreasing lengths of stay and increasing live release rate.
  • Provide behavior pathway planning for animals falling below organizational adoption criteria. Lead the euthanasia review process, completing and distributing documentation and notices to organizational standards.
  • Monitor and assess evolving best practices in animal behavior to optimize the organization’s effectiveness. Serve as on-site subject matter expert and share relevant information with team and leadership.
  • Ensure all protocols, policies and procedures are properly documented and implemented; review regularly to ensure that any updates are made in a timely manner and communicated to all stakeholders.
  • Prepare Training and Enrichment Department budget and manage all administrative functions of the department.
  • Manage the Animal Training and Enrichment team to support the organization’s programs, including assisting adoption counselors with pet matches, delivering post-adoption counseling for adopters, creating protocols for improving behavior and adoptability of shelter animals, and providing behavior modification plans for adopters as needed.
  • Provide prompt responsive service to adopters, other members of the public, volunteers, and other staff.
  • Establish a fee-for-service behavior consultation program and training program to address the needs of adopters and the public to help dogs and cats to remain in their current homes.
  • Treat people and animals with respect, always contributing to effective, collaborative teamwork, staff cooperation, and public relations beneficial to the organization.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of all organizational information.
  • Comply with and ensure supervised staff and volunteers adhere to all Federal, State, and local safety regulations and laws, as well as organizational policies and guidelines.
  • Follow established procedures governing safe work practices; and perform duties in a manner that assures the safety of oneself and others.
  • Lead by example in training and behavior best practices.


III. Advancement

  • Fulfill commitments to corporate and individual sponsors under guidance of the organization’s Advancement team. Support events, fundraising, television requests, and other media engagements as needed.
  • Support the development of relevant proposals and reports; ensure proper application and stewardship of grants, gifts, program revenue, and other resources.


IV. Other Duties as Assigned




Advanced degree in animal behavior, veterinary medicine, or animal welfare, such as:
  • Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorist
  • American College of Animal Welfare
  • Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) (PhD level)
  • Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB) (Master’s level).
Animal behavior experience in a leadership role, managing staff and volunteers is required; shelter experience is highly desirable.


The following trainer certifications are highly desirable:


  • Passion for Joybound’s mission, vision, and values.
  • Knowledge and strong commitment to positive reinforcement, evidence-based training techniques, and Fear Free methods to modify behavior, with the ability to adapt style and tactics to meet the needs of individual animals.
  • Knowledge of common health and behavior problems in companion animals.
  • Broad understanding of animal related operations, programs, and policies.
  • Established ability to increase programmatic growth, transition, and evolution.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to complete and maintain timely accurate records.
  • Experience creating and managing departmental budgets.
  • A self-starter, facilitator, and organizer.
  • Ability to balance organizational and financial priorities.
  • Physical and emotional capacity for sustained work in an animal shelter environment.
  • Strong analytical skills with the ability to identify and assess issues and opportunities as they arise.
  • Ability to communicate with the public, volunteers, and co-workers in a consistently pleasant, courteous and tactful manner, an excellent listener.
  • Demonstrated maturity, sound judgment, and professional manner and personal appearance.
  • Must have a valid California Driver’s License and must not have more than two at-fault incidents in a three-year period and no major at-fault violations in the last ten years, and must be insured.
  • Computer literacy, with proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Comfortable with and skilled in working with a diverse staff, volunteers, and community.
  • Must be willing to submit to a background check.



  • Willingness to accommodate animals in the workplace and work in an environment that includes constant exposure to animals and animal allergens.
  • Ability to lift and move items and, on occasion, animals weighing up to 40 pounds for short distances, and push/pull moderately heavy objects up to 25 pounds. Fitness to kneel, bend, stoop, squat, reach above and below shoulder level, grasp and turn objects, stand and/or move frequently, flex the neck upward and downward, twist the neck and the waist.
  • Sit for long periods while using a computer.
  • Tetanus and rabies inoculations are required or must be waived.
  • Attend events as needed, which may require driving an automobile.



  • Full-time exempt position requiring a minimum of 40 hours per week.
  • Occasional evening and/or weekend work required.