Strong Bond Shelter/Foster Education Program  -

Relationship-based dog handling, training, and behavior healing methods for long-term stays and dogs in foster-care


Reduction of the number of dogs killed in U.S. shelters by providing the training support and education needed to keep pets and their families together.

As a rescuer, I can tell you, having sessions with Roman not only taught me what to do and how to do it, it really settled the anxiousness in the dogs who have had so many previous trauma experiences. Wish you the best! Thanks for opening your heart and home to a rescue 💙
— Anna Urbin -President Save-A-Soul Rescue Michigan

We provide training and education programs for some of the nation's biggest animal shelters, rescues, and animal care facilities. Adopters, fosters, shelter volunteers, staff, and behavior teams are trained to work with dogs that would normally be considered unadoptable. This ultimately saves dogs lives by reducing the number of returns, surrenders, re-homes, and dogs that are euthanized specifically for behavior issues.

Most shelters and rescues have a thin budget for staff and volunteer training because it's so expensive to take care of the animals. Staff and volunteers are using outdated methods and techniques to handle, train and evaluate dogs. The result is that there are bite incidents that could be avoided, staff doesn't have the resources or education to evaluate whether a dog is safe or adoptable, and even if they do, they don't have training experience to help the dog become a balanced member of a family.

The goal of every shelter and rescue is to get the dog into an appropriate forever home. Quite often dogs who aren't completely balanced or have trauma become long-term shelter residents. The result of this is that there's no room for new dogs coming in, and there are no options other than euthanization. 

Our program gives shelters and rescues the training protocol that's been proven to significantly lower the rate of surrenders, improves the capacity of fosters to help dogs become adoptable, and reduces the potential for injuries to both humans and dogs. 

advanced Behavior workshops For Shelters

 Workshops are designed to give staff and volunteers additional skills and support.  The end result is that they'll be able to better care for and successfully build paths to adoption. In many cases, long-stay dogs may have challenges that need to be addressed.

In addition, the participants learn advanced behavior modification techniques. 


Local Owner-Surrender prevention

In spite of the reduction of unwanted litters through spaying and neutering, Arizona's shelters are still receiving more than 49,000 pets each year.

In Maricopa County Animal Care & Control shelters alone, 18,000 dogs and cats were owner surrenders, and this number increases annually.  

We now offer online and in-home training and behavior modification to families that are supported by the Arizona Pet Project.
Many pet owners love their pets, but are unable to pay for the expense of care, due to situations which in most cases could be resolved for less than $300.

You can help me support more families by becoming a active patron with  just one dollar or more.

The Holistic Difference

My foster dog is gets very excited around other dogs, and this can be a problem in a shelter environment. Roman really helped me understand her triggers and how to reframe her experience to lower her reactivity and anticipate and avoid reactive situations.
— Volunteer- Austin Animal Shelter

Body Mind Spirit approach

A combination of hands-on and online classes are held to to maximize the effectiveness of the workshop. Participants can attend either in-person, online, or both. 
This comprehensive workshop consists of three major themes: training, secure attachment, and healing.

Most behavior programs focus on conditioning and correction of behavior using aversive methods. This causes an already stressed animal more pain and confusion, and never addresses the underlying reason for the behavior, which is fear and insecure attachment.

The Strong Bond workshop shows handlers how to teach dogs to create secure attachments with people and other dogs, which can give the dog a better chance of being adopted. Thousands of dogs, families, fosters, and dog handlers have benefited from the results of this training.

Topics include: 

  • Building a strong bond through building secure attachments, teaching emotionally positive, rewards-based training, and authoritative pet management skills.

  • Recognizing physical and emotional trauma as a source of unwanted behavior.

  • Recognizing and modifying reactivity to other dogs, people, and triggers that can cause it. 

  • How dogs use visual, auditory, and emotional language.

  • Excitement control in certain situations, such as meeting new people or encountering triggers from prior trauma.

  • Incorporating a dog successfully into a new foster or adopter home (especially multi-dog homes).

  • Helping the dog and the adopter successfully make the transition from the foster setting to the new home.

  • Alternative healing as a tool to behavior healing. 

This workshop was a great way for our fosters to build on skills they use every day with their current foster pups, and with future fosters as well. The relationships built over the course of the workshop are invaluable to the ongoing success of all the programs at Friends.
— Jonathan Hogue Board President, Friends of Austin Animal Center

As part of the hands-on classes, participants practice reading a dog’s arousal level, keeping the dog in a calm state of mind, and establishing the crucial trust relationship that enables healing and progress to begin.  Participants learn how a dog’s decision-making is influenced by breed, sex, age, experience, prior trauma, and emotional intelligence.

The workshop explores the emotional impact of fostering and shelter life and its potential effect on the dog.

Measuring Quality and Quantity

When organizing a workshop for professional or experienced volunteers, we always aim to find areas that could improve and modify the workshop so the participants reach their highest potential.   

We identify specific challenges with which fosters feel they need additional support and guidance, and adjust the learning material to each particular shelter/rescue organization's  needs. 

Let the numbers do the talking

The Strong Bond Workshop is the most complete teaching system for your organization.


These charts show the change in comfort levels of participants after the workshop. 


how Prepared do you feel to Support new adopters in establishing a strong bond with their dog?

Results from 2017 Workshop Austin Animal Shelter

How Confident are you Fostering Aggressive Dogs With history of Human and animal aggression (aka bite history)?

Results from 2017 Workshop Austin Animal Shelter

How Prepared Are You To Troubleshoot Dog Behavior?

Results from 2017 Workshop Austin Animal Shelter

This video below, presented by Kristen Auerbach Director at Pima Animal shelter in Tuscon, Arizona was taken in Michigan at the Getting to the Goal Conference and Best Friends Animal Society Midwest Summit, mentioned three of our successful system.

For the past three years at two different shelters, Kristen has been piloting a decision-making process that involves staff, volunteers, rescue groups, and community advocates in finding solutions for dogs who are declining due to the stress of being in a shelter environment.
Today, dozens of other shelters are also using these techniques.

The decision-making protocol involves verifying previous history, calling the previous owner or finding and alerting them, alerting fosters, staff and volunteers, inviting them to find lifesaving solutions, and evaluating dogs in real-life settings like foster homes and play groups.

Imagine the potential of having educated foster homes in this rescue system. This is where Holistic Foster Education comes in.

What participants gain from this Workshop 

This Workshop was very eye opening. I learned a complete different training approach.
It helped me create a relationship were the dogs want to work with me and please me. I learned to be more in-tune with my dogs and be better in communicating with my dogs.
— Gina De Steffany- Board of directors Friends of Austin Shelter
I gained so much! A better of my dog and foster dog, the ‘why’ behind their actions, that patience is everything, how to build a better more positive and working relationship with the dogs, and to always check with myself as well as with my energy and what message I send to my dogs. All so valuable lessons.
— Shelter Volunteer and Dog Foster
A new context of the traditional positive reinforcement training exercises I’ve been taught; a new perspective on a dog’s need for a job; more confidence in my own ability to intuit a dog’s trauma and needs.
— Behavior Specialist, graduate in animal behavior science
— Roman Gottfried Founder of Holistic Dog Training