Best Friends Animal Society
  • 551- Los Angeles Adoption Center
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Salary
  • Full Time

Join Best Friends and turn your career into a labor of love. The benefits package is one of the best! Medical, Dental, Vision, Basic and Supplemental Life Insurance, Short and Long Term Disability, Child Care reimbursement, Pet Sitting reimbursement, Flexible Spending Account, Health Savings Account, PTO, Paid Holidays, Employee Assistance Program, 401k and Staff Discounts.

Position Summary

This position will encompass all levels of care for dogs at the Pet Adoption Center.  The Lead Dog Caregiver is responsible for the day to day activity and productivity in the Dog Care and Behavior Department.  They will also be creating and implementing training protocols for staff and volunteers, creating and overseeing enrichment activities on-site and off-site for resident BFAS-LA shelter dogs, and providing adoptions support to ensure that staff have the tools to ensure adopters are successful.  Duties also include performing behavior assessments of current population as well as performing behavior assessments of potential incoming LAAS dogs as needed by the Admissions team.  Specific duties include but are not limited to: working as a member of the dog care team as well as a leader to ensure that the daily feeding, cleaning, medicating, and enrichment of our dog population is done in accordance to timeframes and protocols, as well as facilitating the training and oversight of dog team volunteers.


  • Work closely with the Dog Care Manager on various issues including but not limited to:
    • Conflict resolution.
    • Identify/evaluate and address employee performance and operations issues.
    • Present recommendations to the Dog Care Manager about staff performance (areas for opportunity, strengths, future goals, potential, etc...) quarterly to encourage performance feedback that moves the department and staff forward.
  • Performing and ensuring daily feeding, cleaning, medicating, and enrichment of the dog population is done in accordance to timeframes and protocols.
  • Monitoring the activity in the dog areas regularly and ensure all dog staff and volunteers are trained on all policies and procedures of Best Friends Animal Society.  Ensure that they deliver quality customer service, including assisting clients with finding appropriate pets by facilitating introductions to appropriate animals and disseminating appropriate information.
  • Monitor dog eating habits, behavior, and medical habits/issues and ensure documentation is given to the Medical Care team.
  • Maintain accurate, organized, up-to-date records for all the dogs in the building including up-to-date and correct kennel cards.
  • Assist the public with providing information on the dogs and help potential adopters with  "Meet 'n Greets."
  • Work positively with Adoptions team to promote dogs to potential adopters; as well as counseling and processing adoptions when needed.
  • Maintain inventory of all necessary dog food, medical supplies, and cleaning supplies as well as monthly dog population inventories.  
  • Report all maintenance/repair issues to Dog Care Manager and Operations Specialist.
  • Develop behavior modification programs, animal handling protocols, and enrichment programs for selected animals at both the BFLA and NKLA Pet Adoption Centers.
  • Train and instruct the Dog Caregivers, Adoption Specialists, and Volunteers on animal specific behavior, enrichment, and training programs.
  • Will assist with oversight of the budget for Post Adoption support (551-6540 Professional Fees).
  • Communicate with Adoptions and Medical Care teams any special needs/concerns for selected animals.
  • Coordinate with the Dog Caregivers, Behavior Specialists, and Admissions team to re-evaluate assigned paw colors including performing behavior evaluations for dogs as needed.
  • Conduct and organize on-site seminars and workshops for staff, volunteers, and the general public.
  • Responsible for initial training for staff and volunteers on appropriate playgroup protocols.  Also, providing training on how to do dog-to-dog intros.    
  • Developing and implementing a volunteer supported Behavior Team.
  • Developing and implementing training plans for Brown Star and Blue Paw dogs.
  • Assist with selection process for Sanctuary dog Admissions Cases for BFAS LA dogs.
  • Train and provide enrichment for BFAS LA dogs when necessary.
  • Pre-Adoption Support:
    • Implement on-site group classes for volunteers and staff. The goal is to have six classes per week (two for staff and four for volunteers) in six-week intervals.  4-8 dogs in the current PAC population will be in each class.  With this plan, we will have eight cycles of the class per year.  With 4-8 dogs in each class, the # of dogs getting this training will be between 192 and 384.  Each dog requires a handler so the # of volunteers and staff participating in these classes will be the same as the # of dogs.
    • Develop and implement training plans for staff and volunteers to work with our Brown Star and Blue Paw dogs.
  • Post Adoption Support:
    • PAC Retention Program.
    • Adoptions Support Class Provide backup assistance and support as needed.  This class is one day a week, onsite, and held by a member of the Adoptions team.  It is a Q & A for adopters on basic training and behavior skills for their new BFAS family member. This is for humans only.
  • Other duties as assigned by Dog Care Manager, Senior Manager of Operations, and Executive Director.

Skills and Experience

  • Work with a positive outlook, upbeat, energetic, and taking initiative.
  • Strong desire to work with dogs.  Previous experience working with dogs preferred.
  • Must be able to work with all dogs, including those with health concerns/conditions.
  • Experience interacting with the general public and excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA or CPST-KSA) preferred.
  • 3+ years working as a professional dog trainer preferred.
  • 3+ years experience working with shelter dogs in areas of behavior and adoption.
  • Experience setting up and conducting training and enrichment programs for dogs.
  • Specialized training in behavior assessments specifically for pet, sporting, and working dogs.
  • Must be able to professionally advocate Best Friends' positions on issues.
  • Must be able to work in a fast-paced environment with demonstrated ability to juggle multiple competing tasks and demands.
  • Must demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Must demonstrate excellent organization and time management skills, as well as attention to detail.
  • Must have ability to consistently meet deadlines.
  • Must have proficiency with MS Office applications, especially Word, Excel, and Outlook.
  • Must be comfortable learning and using online information systems.
  • Must be flexible and enjoy handling a variety of tasks.
  • Valid Driver's License with access to transportation to travel on organization business is required.
  • Must be willing to work weekends and holidays.
  • Basic computer skills required.
  • Bi-lingual in English and Spanish a plus.

Physical Requirements

  • Spend extended periods of time outdoors/indoors in all weather conditions including extreme heat and cold.
  • Ability to work around all types of animals with advanced animal handling skills preferred.
  • Must be able to routinely lift 50 pounds.
  • Must be physically able to perform strenuous manual labor.
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time while performing work requiring concentration and manual dexterity.
  • Lifting and handling animals of varying sizes and breeds, bending, stooping, and walking on a daily basis.
  • Daily hours and days of the week may vary according to the needs of the department schedule: includes weekends, nights, holidays, and on-call work.

Thank you for your interest in pursuing a career at Best Friends Animal Society.  Best Friends Animal Society is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, domestic partner status, or medical condition.

We will consider for employment all qualified Applicants, including those with Criminal Histories, in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable state and local laws, including the City of Los Angeles' Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance.

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