Strong Bond Shelter/Foster Education Program  -

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


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

I 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 dog's lives by reducing the number of returns, surrenders, re-homes, and dogs that are euthanized specifically due to 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 Staff and volunteers are using outdated methods and techniques to handle, train and evaluate dogs.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 out of the rescue and into an appropriate forever home. Quite often dog's 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. 

Implement the program that 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, longer-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 two major themes: training and healing. The workshop is conducted by Roman Gottfried, a certified Pet Trainer, Holistic behavior consultant and Reiki Master, and Barbara Buck, an Energy Medicine Practitioner and Intuitive Development Coach. 

Roman Gottfried has been a dog foster dad and trainer for many years for the biggest national rescue organizations,  and has developed close relationship with several animal centers in the country. He took on several of their most challenging dogs, worked with them, and subsequently successfully placed them in homes. The training program he developed had a huge success rate, with long-stay dogs moving out of the foster system in a month or less.  

Participants in the workshop learn the methods he uses to rehabilitate dogs and produce these outcomes.

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 its potential effect on the foster dog.

The spiritual aspect of working with animals, and the effect holistic training philosophy has on adoption success. 

Measuring Quality and Quantity

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

We ask the management to conduct a survey to identify what we need to work on.  A pre-survey completed by participants identifies specific challenges with which fosters feel they needed additional support and guidance, helps us adjust the learning material to particular shelter/rescue organisation'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 presented by Kristen Auerbach Director at Pima Animal shelter in Tuscon Arizona presented this Video in Michigan at the Getting to the Goal conference and Best Friends Animal Society Midwest Summit.  
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 the shelter environment.
And today, dozens of other shelters are using this too.

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

Imagine the potential of having educated foster homes in this rescue system. This is were 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

getting the big picture

According to latest 2014 , the world-owned dog population is between 233 to 800 million.  In Europe over 81 million dogs live in homes, with Russia being the leader with almost 16 million dogs, followed by UK with 8.5 million, and France with 7.2 million.

In the USA nearly 70 million homes own at least 1 pet. In 2016 5,000,000 pets entered the shelter system. 60% of dogs and 70% of cats did not make it out alive.



Understanding the Shelter problem

Where Do Puppies and Kittens Come From?

According to, American families keep approximately 165 million dogs and cats as pets, and seventeen million Americans acquire a new pet each year. The majority of these animals come from outside of formal channels.  Forty-two percent of pets are acquired from an acquaintance, and an additional 14% are strays - mostly cats (there are 70 million plus stray cats and dogs in America).


Understanding the Surender problem


"In a recent study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) and published in the July issue of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (JAAWS), researchers went into 12 selected animal shelters in the United States for one year to find out why.

The results of the study show that the top seven reasons for relinquishment for both dogs and cats are the same. 'These commonalities suggest that there may be similar ways to address relinquishment in dogs and cats,' says Pam Burney, NCPPSP president. 'For people who work in a shelter all day, there isn’t always time to look at these issues. We have impressions of what’s happening, but now we have objective data that will help us develop specific programs to address the issues that have been identified.'"

Top 10 Reasons for Relinquishment*


  1. Moving (7%)

  2. Landlord not allowing pet (6%)

  3. Too many animals in household (4%)

  4. Cost of pet maintenance (5%)

  5. Owner having personal problems (4%)

  6. Inadequate facilities (4%)

  7. No homes available for litter mates (3%)

  8. Having no time for pet (4%)

  9. Pet illness(es) (4%)

  10. Biting (3%)

The Solution

The Strong Bond Project is the best way to solve 10% or more of the worldwide animal surrender crisis 

  1. I offer high quality parenting education in addition to classic dog training. Implementing free basic animal care knowledge to children and adults in digital and printed form.

  2. Special Online Education Programs for foster home, staff, and volunteer education is key for successful NO-return, no-surrender adoption. Their individual knowledge of the adoptable dogs will help adopters get the dog that fits their lifestyle

  3. Pre-adoption workshops for working dogs will help people understand dogs with special needs and identifying dogs with emotional needs during the decompression time.

  4. Public awareness of Holistic Animal Husbandry and behavior management.

You can actively help me save more dogs from being SURRENDERED by helping me create high quality educational content and media for shelter, rescues and fosters.



* NOTE: The percentages following the dog and cat information in this section were not a part of the original press release and have been added. The figures come from an article by Dr. M. D. Salman, Dr. John G. New, Jr., et al., in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1(3), 207- 226. The name of the article is, “Human and Animal Factors Related to the Relinquishment of Dogs and Cats in 12 Selected Animal Shelters in the United States.” The percentages do not add up to 100% because they represent only the top ten reasons given by owners for relinquishment of animals to shelters.