Building Volunteer Teams for Enrichment and Training


Patrice Robert MCP, Owner, TAGteach en Francais

An enrichment and training program is an essential tool to reduce animals’ stress and enhance their well-being during their stay at a shelter. However, lack of resources often makes its application difficult by staff. That is why the Montreal SPCA has implemented volunteer teams to manage this program with a minimum involvement from staff. During this presentation, you will discover the different stages that led to the creation of these teams, including all the benefits and downfalls.


  1. The importance of an animal enrichment and training program.
  2. Setting up an appropriate enrichment and training program.
  3. Building successful teams.

It was while Patrice Robert was a veterinary assistant that he developed an interest in animal behaviour. In 1989, he began taking dog training courses and, in 1992, he started his own business offering training classes, boarding and grooming. During the summer of 2001, he took an intensive training course on the behavior of wolves and dogs. Two years later, he directed a study on the socialization of two Arctic wolves in collaboration with Garry Priest (San Diego Zoo) and Ray Coppinger (Hampshire College). Then he worked as trainer at the African Safari Park of Hemmingford (Quebec). He also participated in the rehabilitation of a monkey, as well as the training of parrots, pigs, cats and falcons besides having a potbellied pig for many years. He is now president of the Regroupement québécois des intervenants en éducation canine (RQIEC).