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Care & Keeping

The happiness and welfare of our Canine Finders is always front and center at Conservation Dogs Collective. Building trust facilitates a loving relationship between our conservation dogs and their Keepers. Our teams are committed to utilizing positive reinforcement (reward-based) training, which creates joyful, optimal learning experiences.

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Our dog "handlers/trainers" (a.k.a. Canine Keepers) are serious animal behavior nerds. They've studied for years to hone their skills and develop a solid understanding of what makes dogs tick. Hint, it's not rocket science. It's as simple as learning our ABCs:

  • Antecedent

  • Behavior

  • Consequences


Our Keepers apply the ABCs to their expertise and become the best teachers for their Canine Finders. 


Through thousands of hours of learning and continuous education, our Keepers are fully prepared to work alongside their Canine Finders  to conquer whatever task is at hand to help save the planet—before they head home to rest. Yes, superheroes need rest too!


All creatures benefit by learning in a safe and fun environment. Identifying what our Canine Finders take delight in is the key to their continued learning. Whether that's a delicious piece of cheese, a quick toss of their favorite ball, a game of tug, or a jump for joy... our dogs are in the driver seat when it comes to their payment. By focusing on rewarding desirable behaviors (and reinforcing them), our Canine Keepers build rock-solid relationships with their four-legged co-woofers. 


On a regular basis, we ask our dogs, "What do you want today?" and we whole-heartedly listen to the answer. ​p.s. We treat our two-legged staffers the same :)

- CDCI Executive Director, Laura Holder

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We believe all animals (including humans) live their best lives when they are healthy in both mind and body. Our Finder-Keeper teams, staff, and board members regularly participate in proactive care to facilitate overall health and wellness.

For our Finders, that means regular check-ins with our medical care team, including:


  • Veterinarians

  • Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapists 

  • Acupuncturists

  • Chiropractors

  • Behavior Consultants

Our two-legged team members are encouraged to take time off to explore personal interests, as well as being supported 100%  to lead projects and initiatives, and work with mentors whenever possible.

You can put this into practice!

For the latest in science-based, reward-centric learning, we highly recommend the following resources:


Photos courtesy of Sarah Loach, Lindsay Hayward

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