Assess-A-Hand and Train To Adopt

by Sharon Kutsop

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Sue Sternberg is a well-known trainer who travels the country teaching enrichment, assessment and evaluation of dogs. Sue is also a long-time friend of Petfinder. In her over 30 years of dog behavior experience, Sue has acquired a lot of knowledge on the inner workings of dogs. Sue has 4 heeler mixes adopted from various organizations, all kept in line by one hard-working cat.

Molson the adoptable dog from PA518 The Sebastian Foundation for Animal Rescue Lancaster, PA

Herding breeds like Molson, available from PA518 The Sebastian Foundation for Animal Rescue in Lancaster, PA, often need a knowledgeable handler. They are very intelligent and their instinct to herd and work can inhibit their placement into ordinary homes. Applying some of Sue’s enrichment and learning techniques may help to curve these behaviors into fun tricks and games.

One of Sue’s major contributions to animal welfare is the Assess-A-Hand. This simple yet brilliant tool allows behaviorists to assess a dog’s temperament humanely and safely. Many organizations also utilize the tool for feral cat assessment and socialization. You can read up on one user’s experiences and thoughts with the tool by reading this article.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Train to Adopt Program? Sue created this program to increase the quality of life for dogs in shelters. The program is heavily focused on providing enrichment while increasing adoptability. All techniques are reward-based and focus strictly on positive reinforcement. For video tips on everything from introducing dogs to each other, shelter training tips, evaluations and more, you can visit YouTube to see all of the short, informative videos she has to offer by typing Sue Sternberg into the search bar.

As well as being the author of Successful Dog Adoption (available on among other books, Sue also speaks and demonstrates with live shelter dogs at many of our Adoption Options seminars, which are one day training seminars we bring all around the USA and Canada. Visit our Adoption Options page to see if there is an event near you in 2014.