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The Behavior Team

The Behavior Team is designed to insure that all of SAPA’s dogs are ready for adoption! Saving so many dogs means we are often pulling dogs that have had a very rough beginning and have some behavioral issues that need some work. We work with a range of behavioral issues from extreme fear to resource guarding. The behavior team is broken up into two organizations, Charlie’s Team and the Onsite Behavior Team.

Charlie’s Team

Charlie’s Team is our foster behavior team. It offers training resources to ALL of SAPA’s fosters and specialized training to approved Charlie’s Team Fosters.

Charlie’s Story
Charlie was our first serious behavioral case. He was only one year old and was extremely stressed out in the kennel environment. He showed signs of extreme dog aggression and was pacing so much in is kennel that the pads of his feet were raw and bleeding. He was only allowed to be walked by approved staff members and we weren’t sure he was going to be adoptable. On the day Charlie’s fate was going to be voted on, a foster volunteered to pull Charlie into their home to work on his behavioral issues to better determine his adoptability.

The photo to the right is Charlie with his foster brother a month after going to a foster home. Three months after being moved to foster Charlie was ready for a home of his own. He still wasn’t fond of strange dogs, but he found a great home where he is now an only dog with several acres of land to run on and two high school kids that walk him every day.

Charlie (left) with his foster brother Dodge

CT2Charlie’s Team Fosters
Charlie’s Team Fosters are here to ensure even our most extreme behavioral cases get the behavioral help and training they need outside the stress of the kennels. As a Charlie’s Team Foster you get the opportunity to work one-on-one with our trainer and learn all about dog behavior and training.  It is a great learning opportunity for those with and without experience handling dog behavior issues.  You will get basic training on how dog’s learn, and specialized training on how to handle and counter conditional dog aggression.

If you are interested in joining Charlie’s team, you will first need to become an approved San Antonio Pets Alive! foster. You can fill out your application here. On your application please indicate that you would be interested in fostering animals with behavioral issues. Once you have been approved, please email immediately and we will let you know when our next training session is.

We do our best to match our fosters’ experience level and household environment with the behavioral dogs that we match them up with. For example, if you are interested in taking a behavioral case but have children in your house, we will make sure your foster is good with kids before letting you pull them. Please remember Charlie’s Team Dogs take longer to reach the point where they are ready for adoption. Often these dogs are in foster homes for several months. This does not mean you can’t go on family vacations (we will find a dog sitter for you), only that you will have this foster for a longer period of time.

Charlie’s Team Foster Requirements:
–  Foster only 1 dog at a time
–  Must crate your foster (this is not optional with our behavior cases)
–  Must provide daily exercise (structured walk, run, or games like fetch/tug of war)
–  All household members must provide structure and be consistent with rules/training
–  Must attend a Charlie’s Team Training Session
–  Must follow SAPA’s Behavioral Plan for your foster
–  Must provide regular detailed updates on your foster’s progress to Charlie’s Team
–  Sign a Charlie’s Team Liability Waiver and Contract

If you have any questions about Charlie’s Team or you need behavioral help with your foster please email

Onsite Behavioral Team

CT1The Onsite Behavioral Team consists of trained volunteers that work with the dogs in the kennels that have behavioral issues. They insure the dogs are getting as much attention and training as possible until we are able to move them into an approved foster home. Onsite behavioral team members get hands-on experience working with dogs with behavioral problems. They also get the opportunity to work with a certified trainer on a regular basis.

To become part of the Onsite Behavioral Team you need to complete the volunteer application and training. On top of the initial training you will need to complete specialized safety training with the Onsite Behavior Team Coordinator to become an approved handler for the Charlie’s Team dogs that are onsite. Please email for more information or if you would like to volunteer.

Can’t volunteer or foster but want to donate? Check out our wishlist!
–  No Pull Harnesses (all sizes)
–  No Pull Head Haltis (all sizes)
–  Leashes
–  Muzzles (all sizes)
–  Interactive Dog Toys (Kongs, tug ropes, tennis balls, treat dispensing toys, etc.)
–  Crates

Dog Training and Behavior Resources

Need help with your personal dog? We highly recommend taking your dog to an obedience class or seeing a trainer. Here are some resources to learn to train your dog and some professional obedience classes that teach positive reinforcement training. When looking for a trainer in your area make sure to interview several before choosing, so you know you have a good fit for you and your dog’s needs.

Online Behavior Resources

The Humane Society of the United States: Dog Training Tips
Trisha McConnell’s  Dog Training Blog
Victoria Stilwell’s Positively Blog
Dr. Sophia Yin: The Art and Science of Animal Behavior

Local San Antonio Dog Trainers (Positive Reinforcement Training)

Lorraine Martinez from LOMA Training and Behavior – Lorraine offers low-cost training seminars on a regular basis. We highly recommend attending so you can learn the basics to train your own dog.

The Palms Pet Resort Academy  – The Palms pet resort offers group classes, with everything from basic obedience to scent work and dog sports!

Petsmart Dog Training Classes – Petsmart offers puppy and adult dog-friendly group classes. Check their website to find the closest available class to you.

Petco Dog Training Classes – Petco also offers group puppy and adult dog obedience classes. Check their website for available classes near you.


P.O. Box 830006 San Antonio, TX 78283 | 210-370-7612 | EIN: 45-4141531 |

© San Antonio Pets Alive!