BTE Bootcamp

Behavior, Training, Enrichment (BTE) Bootcamp for Shelters

This course was created with a grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation

UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program – Maddie’s® Million Pet Challenge Director of Online Learning Cindi Delany, DVM, KPA-CPT, developed this brand new Bootcamp.  This Bootcamp’s goal is to help your shelter team review current best practices and innovations in the Behavior, Training and Enrichment (BTE) space, then assess your own operations and programs and begin implementing changes to level up what you are doing and how you are doing it.

This immersive and coach-guided course will do more than help you identify new ways to improve animal welfare and wellness. It will also get you started making those improvements in less than 2 months (and your coaches will continue to support you on an ongoing basis once Bootcamp is over).

Learn, Assess, Plan, and Implement:

A shelter transformation journey in less than six action-packed weeks.

The time is now. Like, right now. Our evidence-based recommendations come paired with the resources you need to take immediate, actionable steps. Dr. Delany will guide you through the changemaking process with the support of your peers every step of the way. We’re doing it live, we’re doing it together, and we’re doing it now.

And thanks to a generous grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation to develop this program, you can participate free of charge! Seats are limited for each cohort, so let us know you are interested.

Week 1 – Orientation/Pre-Flight Check

This week we’ll get everyone from your shelter planning to participate on board, troubleshoot any tech issues and talk about what we are going to accomplish (and how) during BTE Bootcamp. You’ll meet your coach, co-coach and learning coordinator and get to know your fellow Bootcampers.

We’ll make sure you can get into your course materials, discussions and meetings and know your way around, so you can hit the ground running in Week 1.

Week 2 -Fear Free, Humane Handling, and Team Training

Our goal is to reduce fear, anxiety and stress to improve welfare for animals in shelters. This week will focus on reviewing concepts from the Fear Free Shelters Program and assessing where your shelter stands. We’ll also review Humane Handling techniques and review your current staff/volunteer/foster parent training programs.

Week 3 – Housing, Enrichment and Playgroups

This week we’ll talk about housing that supports animal welfare. We’ll also discuss enrichment programs and shelter playgroups. As in every week of BTE Bootcamp, we’ll be assessing how your shelter is doing and determining what next steps you can take to make improvements.

Week 4 – Pathways, Assessing Animals, Decision-Making

We’ll dive deep into pathway planning and minimizing how long animals have to stay in the shelter. Daily rounds, assessing animals and decision-making will all come into sharp focus as we assess how your shelter is doing. Then we’ll brainstorm what improvements could be made and get that process started.

Delany daily rounds

Week 5 – Training, Behavior Modification and Improving Outcomes

Let’s talk about what training we can do to improve welfare and increase adoptability. We’ll also discuss what behavior modification is (and isn’t) realistic in your shelter. We’ll find ways to improve outcomes and provide needed support after animals leave.

Week 6 – Capstone Week and Beyond – What’s Next and Getting What You Need to Make it Happen

After Week 5 wraps up you’ll work with your coach and co-coach to determine what your next steps are and what you need to make them happen. We’ll help you figure out if your shelter needs to pursue funding, additional expertise, equipment or supplies to get to the next level of animal shelter BTE.

Meet Your Coach – Cindi Delany, DVM, KPA-CTP

Dr. Cindi Delany has been working in animal shelters for more than 20 years.

Her primary focus is on shelter programs that improve animal outcomes, provide environmental enrichment for shelter animals, explore shelter animal behavior and training, improve shelter data collection and analysis, and maximize operational efficiencies in a limited resource environment.

She is now taking her passion and expertise for sharing information and maximizing animal shelter success to the next level as the Director of the KSMP Online Learning Program.

When not focusing on her animal shelter work, Dr. Delany has a special interest in animal behavior and positive reinforcement training. She is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Animal Trainer and is also Fear Free Certified. She regularly speaks about behavior, training and enrichment at animal shelter and training conferences and practices clicker training with all of her animals – including her four dogs, one cat, two Bactrian camels, three miniature donkeys, and Percheron draft horse. Dr. Delany is a self-professed computer nerd who loves working with high tech toys, software, apps and other computer-related devices. You can email her at

At left, Dr. Delany stands with one of her clicker-trained camels.

Learn, Reinforce, Get Ready

Cover current best practices and innovations in our industry and prepare to assess how things are going for you and changes you might want to make.

  • Fear, anxiety and stress (FAS) in sheltering.
  • How humane handling, positive reinforcement training, appropriate housing, enrichment, playgroups, training and behavior modification can minimize the impact of FAS on animals in shelters.
  • The importance of appropriate staff and volunteer training in BTE.
  • What Capacity for Care (C4C) is all about and the importance of minimizing shelter length of stay (LOS).
  • Assessing animals, pathway planning, daily rounds and decision-making.
  • Post-adoption support and post-outcome follow-up.
  • The importance of well-developed and evolving policies, protocols, work orders and work aids in implementing and maintaining your program.


  • Evaluate your own shelter and identify gaps in programming, policy or practice.
  • Develop a priority list and action plan.
  • Work with your coaches during and after Bootcamp to implement your action plans.
  • Begin making changes based on your goals and supported by your coaches and fellow Bootcampers.
  • Identify and start securing additional resources needed to begin improvements.

I'M INTERESTED - tell me more!

Spots are limited to 8-10 shelter teams per Bootcamp; let us know you are interested today. 

Once we get your form, we’ll send an application link to get more information about your shelter. If your shelter already completed the application survey for the March or April session, you don’t need to complete a second survey, but please email to let us know if you are still interested in being considered for an upcoming session.

To get the most out of this Bootcamp, it’s great to get a set of folks representing your team involved.  We recommend a team of 4-8 team members from each shelter attending the live meetings.  Additional team members can sign-up to access the online course content and discussions (and/or be a back-up for online meeting attendance if any primary team members can’t attend).

A possible team from a shelter might include:

  • Director of Operations, Executive Director or Kennel Manager
  • Behavior/Training Lead
  • Kennel Lead
  • Plus one or more folks from these areas:
    • Behavior/Training or Kennel non-lead
    • Medical team member(s) – DVM, RVT, vet assistant
    • Field services

You can determine who from your team would be most interested, impactful in implementing change and available to commit to the Bootcamp. Expect to spend about 5 hours a week on Bootcamp over a total of 6 weeks. You’ll spend that time reviewing content, attending Zoom meetings with your classmates and coaches, working on assessing your shelter and beginning implementing programs.

Our April BTE Bootcamp filled up fast. If the next session fills up, we’ll add you to the waiting list for the following BTE Bootcamp and/or let you know what other options are available.