Spencer's Story


Spencer was rescued as a terrified stray before his first birthday. Because of his fearful behaviors, Spencer was adopted and returned twice. 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 adoptable again.


Luckily, with his foster's time and commitment to continue training him using humane methods, Spencer learned to trust again. His next and final adoptive home committed to giving Spencer a safe home, no matter how difficult his issues were. He has spent the last ten years living a rich, full life with a loving family who describes him as perfect.

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.

 Give the gift of training

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

Our Mission


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

Through our Spencer Scholarship, we serve as a resource for rescues with anxious, fearful or reactive dogs to receive positive reinforcement training rather than resorting to aversive methods for otherwise manageable behavior. Our independent, certified trainers devise training plans that will be manageable for busy foster homes and provide transitional support when dogs move into their permanent homes. Spencer Group works transparently and in partnership to help rescue groups manage resources to handle these cases with support so that, instead of focusing on behavioral challenges and returns, rescues can focus on saving more dogs.

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Because every dog deserves humane training--




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Meet Our Team

Our board is made up of talented individuals with a range of skills and animal-related experiences. If you'd like to join us, we're always on the lookout for new members to participate on subcommittees and the executive board.

Certified trainers working through the Spencer Scholarship program make a commitment to working with positive, science-based methods. They will not use any tool or technique that is designed to be aversive and/or cause the dog intimidation, distrust, stress, anxiety, fear, or pain. They are experienced trainers who are knowledgeable about current training techniques and have a demonstrated commitment to working with rescues. If you would like to be considered for our training team, please email us today.


978 Front Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55103

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© 2018 by Spencer Group