1/14/21 Placing Behaviorally Challenged Dogs

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Should you or shouldn’t you? When it comes to placing behaviorally challenged dogs, that is the question.

The unintended consequence of reduced shelter populations has been an increase in placements of challenging dogs. We see success stories on social media and television shows, but is there more to the story? What is their quality of life - and that of their owners? Learn more about what effect these dogs are having on the families that love them and the communities they live in.

This panel will bring together research from Seana Dowling-Guyer about what happens to dogs after adoption, with post-adoption case studies from professional dog trainer Melissa McCue-McGrath, and shelter trends and perspectives from Mike Keiley from MSPCA.

This 90-minute panel and Q&A is part of a 3-part series from The New England Federation of Humane Societies (NEFHS) hosted by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.

This session has been pre-approved for 1.5 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits.

Mike Keily

Director of Adoption Centers


Mike Keiley is the Director of Adoption Centers for MSPCA-Angell and has been with the organization since 1994 and prior to this appointment he acted as the director of the Noble Family Adoption Center in Methuen.  In his current role he oversees the three main campuses in Boston, Cape Cod and Methuen.  Each of these locations operates an adoption center and low cost public spay/neuter clinic.  Additionally the Methuen campus has one of Massachusetts only equine and adoption center as well as the Hillside Acre Pet Cemetery and Pet Loss Services.  Additionally Mike oversees a number of programs for the MSPCA including humane education, dog behavior and training, equine safety and ambulance training, and community outreach programs.

In addition to his work at the MSPCA, Mike has served as a board member of the New England Federation of Humane Societies since 2006, board member of Shelter Animals Count since 2019, trustee of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation since 2017, board member of Shelter Animals Count since 2019, and as a regional representative of The Association of Animal Welfare Advancement since 2019.

Melissa McCue-McGrath, CPDT-KA

Co-Training Director

New England Dog Training Club

Melissa McCue-McGrath, CPDT-KA is the host of the new podcast, "BewilderBeasts" - a show about the intersection of animals and humanity. She is also the author of "Considerations for the City Dog," the urban dog owner's handbook. Her new book directed to those who want to work with animals will be available in the near future.

After growing up in an accidental dog sledding family in rural Maine, she became a certified professional dog trainer in Greater Boston and now sits as the co-Training Director of New England Dog Training Club, the oldest AKC obedience club in the country. Melissa is a senior instructor at MSPCA. Melissa teaches a variety of classes, including disc dogs, scent work, and reactive dogs, in addition to privately evaluating dogs who are having an increasingly difficult time living in urban areas.

Melissa has found her niche presenting on where "Save Them All" intersects with click-and-ship culture in both rescue and purebred dogs. She presents this topic to rescues, veterinarians, owners and dog trainers on why the environment a pet will ultimately live is as important for the success of an individual dog with a family as age, energy level and breed type. More about Melissa can be found at MelissaMcCueMcGrath.com. 

Seana Dowling-Guyer

Assistant Director

Center for Shelter Dogs

As Associate Director of the Center for Shelter Dogs, Seana helps set the Center’s strategic direction and priorities, including research conducted by the Center on behalf of dogs in shelters. Seana’s research focuses on improving the welfare of dogs in shelters, gaining a better understanding of the behavior of dogs, and supporting dogs in the home and community. In addition, she is interested in how people’s knowledge and perception of dog behavior influence their relationships with their dogs. Seana also teaches in the Masters in Animals and Public Policy program, part of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Her courses include Research Methods and Animal Behavior. She oversees student research related to dogs and animal behavior.

Previously, Seana worked for 14 years at hi-tech market research firm IDC where she designed, managed, and analyzed data from surveys around the world. Seana is a past President of the Board of the New England Federation of Humane Societies and is a past President of PoundHounds Inc., a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization helping the dogs in municipal animal care and control facilities. Seana holds an MS in Clinical Psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a BA in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross and served in the United States Army.


Placing Behaviorally Challenged Dogs
01/14/2021 at 1:00 PM (EST)   |  90 minutes
01/14/2021 at 1:00 PM (EST)   |  90 minutes