Conferences & Workshops

2021 Hands-On Workshops (assuming CDC and local guidelines allow)

  • October 25 & 26 – Charlevoix Area
  • October 26 & 27 – Grand Rapids Area
  • October 27 & 28 – Lansing Area
  • October 28 & 29 – Detroit Area

Workshop Agenda

Day 1

  • Dog behavior assessments
  • Adoptions and how to reduce return rates
  • Best practices in foster care programming, recruitment and support

Day 2

The Cat in the Corner – Elevating care for sheltered cats

This 1-day workshop focuses on providing quality physical health and behavioral wellbeing for the often under-supported cats in shelter and foster homes. Start cats out on the right paw with care and behavior plans that begin at intake to improve feline comfort and reduce length of stay – so your team can spend more time on those who need you the most.

Topics include:

  • Cat language
  • Strategies to help shy, fearful and cage-aggressive cats become more adoptable
  • Monitoring cat health and behavior
  • Strategies to help struggling cats


Lisa Gunter, PhD, MA, CBCC-KA, a Maddie’s Fund Research Fellow at Arizona State University in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Gunter conducts her research in the Canine Science Collaboratory.

Lisa Gunter, PhD, MA, CBCC-KA is the Maddie’s Fund Research Fellow at Arizona State University in the Department of Psychology and conducts her research in the Canine Science Collaboratory. She currently coordinates the ASU/VT Maddie’s Nationwide Fostering Study. The goal of Lisa’s research is to better the lives of companion animals and their owners. To this aim, she has investigated the breed labeling of shelter dogs, their breed heritage, shelter housing and social interactions, temporary fostering, short-term outings, behavioral indicators of welfare, post-adoption interventions focused on owner retention – and more recently, fostering during the pandemic and safety net programs to help keep people and their pets together. She has published her research in scientific journals, presented her findings at numerous conferences, and received national and international media attention for her work.

 Before her research career, she worked for nearly a decade with pets in animal shelters and with dogs and their owners. Her interest in canine behavior began in 2002 as an animal shelter volunteer, training dogs in basic skills and facilitating shelter dog playgroups. That interest grew into a career where she managed the behavior programs of several shelters throughout the West, and then as a behavior consultant and trainer in San Francisco where she taught group classes and consulted with owners experiencing issues of fear, anxiety, and aggression with their dogs. These experiences led Lisa to co-found Wagfield Academy, an online dog training and behavior resource for owners (which was acquired by the Humane Society of the United States Pets for Life program), and the Institute for Shelter Dogs with Dr. Erica Feuerbacher, where they combine the latest in shelter research with the current best practices in workshops for staff and volunteers.

Stephanie Stryker, Director Pima Animal Care Center, Cat Behavior Programs

Stephanie Stryker has spent the past decade working with felines. Since 2017, she has held the position of Cat Programs Coordinator at Pima Animal Care Center, a municipal shelter which takes in about 6,000 cats and kittens each year. Here she oversees the adoptions, behavior, care, and community cat programs. She got her full-time start in animal welfare with HALO, one of Arizona’s largest rescue shelters. This experience led her to working for Best Friends Animal Society caring for FeLV cats at the Utah sanctuary, and later leading the Tucson Community Cat Project. She presented on cat behavior modification at the 2019 Best Friends Conference, and is a current member of the Human Animal Support Services (HASS) “Focus on Felines” working group.

Registration opens August 16, 2021