ACE Essentials for Shelter and Rescue Care Course


This ACE Essentials Course focuses on ways to provide shelter and rescue animals with compassionate care of body, mind, and spirit. If you are looking for education that will help you improve the quality of the lives of the animals in your care, then this course is for you. We lead you through an extensive array of behavior, obedience and health topics for dogs and cats.

The Essentials of Shelter and Rescue Care was our inaugural course at ACE. This course arose because of our passions. We wanted to help the animals and there was no better way than providing information to the people on the front lines at shelters and rescue organizations.


We put together a curriculum and then launched the program by teaching it to the SPCA shelter in Port Alberni.


This course consists of seven webinars with over 95 minutes of instruction. In these, you will get obedience lessons geared to the shelter dog – the one who needs training from the ground up. Of course, all the techniques are non-corrective. Only positive methods are used. None of that dominant stuff.


As well, there are written notes for each of the eight lessons. What do we cover? Lots. You can see a complete syllabus below, but let’s highlight a few things.


Behavior. In dogs, we look at fighting, barking, separation anxiety, fear and anxiety, as well as prey drive. In cats, housesoiling and aggression are the topics. For both, we have a behavioral assessment that can help you figure out what your challenges are.


For dogs, Mike has put together a comprehensive set of exercises that you can use to launch your teaching and train from the ground up.


Dr. Jeff looks at the medical needs of cats and dogs. What diseases are an issue in rescued/sheltered dogs? How can you prevent them? What vaccines are needed? How can you recognize pain in the animals you are looking after?


Finally, we have included a section on compassion fatigue. We know you are dedicated and we want you to be able to work in the field for many more years. Recognizing what pressure can do to you can help you avoid this debilitating problem.


There are many more topics and the detail is astounding! When you pass the examination at the end (you need 80% to do that), you obtain a certificate for 24 hours of education. It shows your commitment to the animals. If you need any additional attempts at the examination, retakes are available.

From Trish C: This is an excellent course!  Not just for shelter and rescue workers, but for anyone who has a dog or cat, or is thinking of bringing one into their life.  Everything from essential medical information to socialization and training techniques is covered by the well organized and interesting course material.  The webinars add a visual and illustrative dimension that really brings it all together.  As an owner of a dog in training, understanding what a dog's body language is saying, has proven invaluable and led to new training successes!



Lesson One

             1.1 Introduction and Course Overview

             1.2 How to Prevent Pet Relinquishments

             1.3 Feline Behavior: Kitten Socialization and Management

             1.4 Canine Behavior: Canine Body Language

             1.5 Obedience: Training Philosophy and Equipment


Lesson Two

             2.1 Health: Preventing Disease Transfer

             2.2 Feline Behavior: Feline Behavior Assessment

             2.3 Canine Behavior

                         2.3a Puppy Housetraining

                         2.3b Puppy Chewing

                         2.3c Puppy Socialization

                         2.3d Constructive Mauling

             2.4 Obedience

                         2.4a Sit

                         2.4b Down


Lesson Three

             3.1 Health: Medical Assessment (cats and dogs)

             3.2 Feline Behavior

                         3.2a Feline Body Language

                         3.2b Progressive Behavioral Assessment for Cats

             3.3 Canine Behavior: Canine Separation Anxiety

             3.4 Obedience

                         3.4a Introduction to Sit Stay

                         3.4b Introduction to Down Stay


Lesson Four

             4.1 Health

                         4.1a Recognizing Pain

                         4.2b Senior Dogs and Cats in Shelters

             4.2 Feline Behavior: Feline Litter Box Management

             4.3 Canine Behavior: Working with Hyperactive Dogs

             4.4 Obedience

                         4.4a Introduction to Sit Stay (step backwards)

                         4.4b Introduction to Down Stay (step backwards)


Lesson Five

             5.1 Health: Vaccine Use in Shelters

             5.2 Feline Behavior: Feline Housesoiling - Elimination                              Problems

             5.3 Canine Behavior

                         5.3a Managing Excessive Barking

                         5.3b Dog Fight Solutions

             5.4 Obedience: Introduction to Recall


Lesson Six

             6.1 Health: Diseases of Concern in Shelters

             6.2 Feline Behavior: Aggression in Cats part 1

             6.3 Canine Behavior

                         6.3a ACE Canine Admission Assessment

                         6.3b First Interactions after Assessment

             6.4 Obedience: Leash Walk


Lesson Seven

             7.1 Health: Medical and Holistic Options for Behavior                               Modification

             7.2 Feline Behavior: Aggression in Cats part 2

             7.3 Canine Behavior Prey Drive Solutions

             7.4 Obedience: Meet and Greet


Lesson Eight

             8.1 ACE Adoption Improvement Strategy

             8.2 The True Cost of Caring: Managing Compassion                                Fatigue

             8.3 Canine Behavior: Obstacles to Fear and Anxiety                                Resolution

             8.4 Obedience: Obedience Review

             8.5 Closing Comments and Final Examination Directions



I am so glad that I took the ACE Academy for Canine Educators Shelter and Rescue Course. The information provided in the course has helped expand my knowledge and skills for working with the dogs at my local shelter. I was able to gain knowledge on how to best assess the behavior of dogs who have had compromised beginnings. I learned a lot about what should be expected as dogs enter the shelter. I have been able to apply this information to my volunteering opportunities. I have also taken the information from the course and have been able to teach clients (owners of shelter and rescue dogs) how to best help their dogs integrate into their new home setting.”

Kathy E


Thank you - I learned so much from the course and from the videos and have, and will continue, to pass on the course information to other people. I'm looking forward to receiving your future programs.”



I enjoyed this course. It covered a lot of topics. I work with a lot of rescues to either get them into foster homes or forever homes. Taking this course has made me want to take as many other courses as I can. I hope to be able to train dogs as this is something that is needed in my town. Thank you for this course and I look forward to participating in more.”

Jessie H



"I completed the ACE Essentials for Shelter and Rescue Care Course and I am so glad I did. I could work at my own pace since my work schedule is sometimes very hectic and the things I learned are invaluable. I strongly recommend the shelter certification final exam at the end of your study.   Thanks ACE Academy for this wonderful course!"

Marcia T