Sue Sternberg

Sue is the founder and director of Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption, an open admission, private shelter dedicated to pet owner outreach, safe animal adoptions, and quality of life. Assess-A-Pet, Training Wheels, and Train to Adopt are programs Sue created that are implemented nationally and internationally at animal shelters around the world.  She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has over 28 years of canine behavior experience, including as an animal control officer, a behavior consultant at the ASPCA, a kennel and animal shelter owner, a successful competitor in a variety of dog sports, and a teacher of dog trainers. In January of 2003, Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption was featured in the film festival award winning documentary, SHELTER DOGS. SHELTER DOGS can be viewed at private screenings, film festivals and on HBO.

She is an expert in dog aggression and an innovator in the field of shelter dog welfare, and she develops programs to prevent pet relinquishment and overpopulation, to match families with safe pets, and to help shelters attend to the mental health of the animals in their care. Training Wheels, a mobile community outreach program, and Assess-a-Pet, a method to evaluate animal temperament, are two popular CASA programs developed by Sue. Lug-Nuts, a weight pulling competition to showcase canine prowess, without violence, is another innovative program for urban dogs and owners. Lug-Nuts was featured on fall 2007.

She is an internationally known author, educator and lecturer.  She has taught temperament testing to breed rescue groups and shelters and acts as a consultant for animal shelters around the country on temperament testing and quality of life issues. She shares her knowledge of dog behavior on radio and television shows, as a popular speaker at national humane and dog training conferences, and through books and videos. 

Her most recent book is Successful Dog Adoption (Wiley Publishers) and also Great Dog Adoptions: A Guide for Shelters (Latham Foundation Press, 2002). Other publications include Defensive Dog Handling, 1999 (awarded APDT honor, Top Ten Dog Training Videos of 2001); Temperament Testing for Dogs in Shelters (1996, 1998, 1999 republished and distributed to over 3,000 shelters by Milkbone Nabisco and ASPCA), as well as contributed articles to The HSUS Animal Sheltering Magazine.

Sue has four dogs (all adopted).  She is an accomplished fiddle player, a mineral and fossil collector, and a major Stargate SG-1 fan.

Sue has been on staff with the Instructor Training Courses since the inception in 1999. Her contribution to bringing dog trainers and shelters together through ITC’s curriculum has been invaluable to our graduates. Her unique style, sense of humor, and frank, open approach create a fun, motivating, learning environment.


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