Arizona Humane Society
  • Phoenix, AZ, USA
  • Full Time

Every pet deserves a good life. We save the most vulnerable animals and enrich the lives of pets and people. Our mission is made possible with the hard work of our valued employees. Named "Best Nonprofit" and "Best Place to Volunteer" by our community, we offer a friendly, professional work environment with a culture that promotes innovation, compassion and excellence. (Video)

Animal Behavior Specialist

Position Overview

Provide exceptional internal and external customer service as a member of a professional team that performs behavior evaluations, behavior modification and kennel enrichment. Speak directly with owners, adopters, staff, and volunteers in regards to the pet's behavior and suitability for adoption through AHS. Perform behavior evaluations, provide objective descriptions and make disposition decisions. Assist medical staff with providing treatment as needed. Direct the flow of animals through the behavior department and maintain a healthy capacity of behavior animals. Perform behavior modification protocols. Coordinate and perform enrichment programs, measure effectiveness, monitor supplies and budget, make recommendations for animals showing kennel stress, and work with volunteers and staff. Train new employees and volunteers on animal handling, learning theory, and basic behavior principles. Maintain positive public and employee relations.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Essential Functions

Upon successful completion of a 90-day training program, specialist must be able to perform the following:

  • Perform behavior evaluations and provide detailed, objective descriptions of the behavior observed.
  • Maintain equipment used in assessments.
  • With the goal of keeping behavior animals at a healthy capacity, control the flow of animals through the behavior department.
  • Speak directly and professionally with owners, adopters, staff, and volunteers in regards to the pet's behavior and suitability for adoption through AHS.
  • Assist medical staff with providing treatment for animals as needed.
  • Perform behavior modification protocols, gauge effectiveness of a particular protocol with a specific animal and be able to change protocols/treatment, if necessary.
  • Develop and recommend behavioral treatment plans.
  • Execute approved enrichment programs and measure effectiveness.
  • Maintain enrichment supplies and a clean and tidy work/prep area.
  • Maintain and update all notes in Chameleon regarding behavior, behavior modification and kennel enrichment.
  • Educate staff, volunteers and the public regarding available Behavior Programs, animal behavior, and body language.
  • Train staff and volunteers on appropriate handling and bite prevention.
  • Monitor Sunnyslope and South Mountain donations for toys, treats and other kennel enrichment supplies.
  • Work closely with our Pet Placement Department to identify appropriate outcomes for all animals not suitable for adoption.
  • Interact with and assist other department personnel as needed in a prompt, efficient manner.
  • Foster positive attitudes and a cooperative, team-oriented environment.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Behavior Programs Manager/Behavior Supervisor in an accurate, efficient and timely manner.
  • Answer and return calls in a timely and professional manner.
  • Track and maintain a log of animals worked with and their outcomes.
  • Demonstrate excellent time management skills and the ability to maintain minimum efficiencies as set forth for the position/duty.
  • Keep knowledge current on behavior, enrichment and basic training for any species housed by AHS.
  • Must be able to read, write and speak English and complete paperwork accurately and legibly.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Other Duties

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


Education / Certifications / Licenses:

  • High school diploma/GED


  1. Excellent external and internal customer service skills in high-stress situations.
  2. Willingness to learn, receptive to coaching and adaptable to change.
  3. Use and promote a positive reinforcement, force-free training style.
  4. Must be able to remain focused, calm and productive in a fast-paced environment.


  1. At least 6 months or more experience working in a shelter setting
  2. Understand all elements of Operant/Classical Conditioning and be able to apply those concepts appropriately. Understand and be able to interpret canine and feline body language.

Knowledge / Skills / Abilities:

Language Able to speak, read and write English; Spanish language helpful.

Mathematical Basic

Technical Proficiency with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and Explorer; able to learn other software programs as necessary. Proficiency with or able to learn/use Chameleon software (for use with animals in a shelter environment).


Regular attendance, punctuality and access to reliable transportation required.

Work Environment / Physical Demands:

This position requires continuous standing, walking and kneeling, reaching, stooping and bending with little opportunity to sit down. This person must be able to lift and carry up to 70 pounds. The Behavior Technician works with and around others nearly all the time; seldom works alone and must deal with constant interruptions. The position requires repetitive motion of the hand, wrist and elbow as well as good vision and hearing. Must be able to hear above the sound of the animals and be able to speak clearly and communicate well with employees and the public. This individual handles a high volume of animals, has a great deal of contact with the all departments and works closely with co-workers; is exposed to poor ventilation, heat, cold, sudden temperature changes and wet quarters as well as noise, toxic conditions, animal odors and dander as well as potentially dangerous, fast-moving animals.

This is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, skills, duties, requirements, efforts, or working conditions associated with the job. While this is intended to be an accurate reflection of the current job, management reserves the right to revise the job or to require that other or different tasks be performed when circumstances change. For example: emergencies, changes in personnel, workload, rush jobs, or technological breakdowns and developments.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, walk, sit, use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls, reach with hands and arms, climb stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl, talk or hear, taste or smell. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus. The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The work environment characteristics and physical demands described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of the job. There may be occasional wet floors, animal noises, odors, and dander. Most time will be spent in a typical air conditioned and heated office environment.

Additional Information

The Arizona Humane Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer and a participant in the E-Verify program. Pre-employment background check and required.

Arizona Humane Society
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