How We Help

Spencer Group partners with rescue groups and certified trainers to deliver humane, science-based dog training and behavior education on a scholarship basis. We are committed to increasing rescue dogs’ adoptability into safe, loving homes, preventing the return of adopted dogs, and improving dogs’ emotional and physical well-being.


The Spencer Scholarship provides a free resource to local rescues with foster dogs exhibiting anxious, fearful or reactive behavior. Our trainers provide positive reinforcement rather than resorting to aversive methods for otherwise manageable behavior.


Independent, certified trainers devise training plans that are manageable for busy foster families and provide transitional support to adopters. Spencer Group works transparently and in partnership to help rescue groups manage their limited resources so they can focus on saving more dogs.

 Give the gift of training

Spencer Group is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit.

Spencer's Story

Spencer was rescued as a terrified stray before his first birthday. Spencer was adopted and returned twice due to his fearful behavior. Tragically, in an attempt to stop his barking, his second adoptive family used a shock collar.


This traumatic experience caused a major setback in Spencer’s progress. He no longer trusted his foster, with whom he had developed a strong bond. Spencer was so fearful as a result of the aversive training that it was uncertain whether he would be adopted again.


Luckily, Spencer learned to trust again through the use of humane training methods. His final adoptive home committed to offering Spencer a safe home, no matter how difficult his issues. He spent the last ten years living a rich, full life with a loving family and passed away at the age of 13. His last few days were filled with love, affection, and scrambled eggs.

While Spencer’s story has a happy ending, many rescue dogs are not so fortunate. Spencer Group was founded to use education and humane training to prevent stories like Spencer’s from happening again.

Click images for information about our scholars!

Because every dog deserves humane training

Local Rescues!

Apply for a scholarship

for a foster dog!



  • Woof, Woof, Woofstock
    Sat, Sep 08
    Linden Hills
    Sep 08, 2018, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
    Linden Hills, Linden Hills, Minneapolis, MN, USA
    Stop by the Spencer Group booth at Woof, Woof, Woofstock, a great family and dog friendly event with tons of activities and a wide range of dog-focused booths, including ours. We'd love to see you there!

Meet Our Team

Spencer Group is a team of talented individuals with a wide range of skills and animal-related experiences. Founded by Cheryl Gfrerer after her former foster dog, Spencer had been burned to the skin by a shock collar, Spencer Group was created to ensure that every rescue dog receives compassionate training and a lifelong safe, loving home. We are committed to increasing rescue dogs’ adoptability and strive to prevent the return of adopted dogs and improve rescue dogs’ emotional and physical well-being. We partner with rescue groups and certified trainers to deliver science-based dog training and behavior education on a scholarship basis. Our team includes professional trainers, animal-welfare advocates, committed rescue workers, a veterinarian, an accountant, a lawyer, and animal lovers.


The Board of Directors meets monthly to discuss and strategize on our goals and mission. Our work is supported by three committees: Training, Events and Fundraising, and Marketing and Public Relations.


The Training Committee evaluates applications, streamlines the processes, and builds relationships with local trainers who share our vision. The Events and Fundraising committee attends hosted by rescue groups and organizes fundraisers. Right now, their focus is on making snuffle mats, a great enrichment toy. The  Marketing and Public Relations Committee spreads our message and builds relationships with partners.

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© 2018 by Spencer Group


Xena was once declared a dangerous dog after her family let her run loose, but one of our trainers was contacted to assess her and petition to have the designation removed by the animal control office that assigned that designation to her. The designation was removed, and Xena thrived in her foster home. Our trainer reported that she had become "a sweet, gentle, and happy dog." Xena has been adopted by a family who loves her!

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