Sue Sternberg - New Book


Contact: Melissa London
Hats Off Communications


Great Dog Adoptions Aims to Help Shelters Increase the Number of Safe, Lasting, Adoptions through Unique Temperament Testing Methodology

ALBANY, NY - AUGUST 12, 2002--The first full-length book by internationally well-known author and lecturer Sue Sternberg is now available through the Latham Foundation for the Promotion of Humane Education. Great Dog Adoptions illustrates practical, step-by-step instructions for animal shelters and rescue groups to provide both behavioral and mental sheltering for the dogs in their care. The book helps shelters prepare facilities, assess dogs' temperaments, train dogs for success in homes, and match dogs with potential adopters using Sternberg's unique Assess-a-Pet temperament testing methodology.

"In the shelter community, we all share a commitment to animals once they end up in our care, a commitment to ensure that they are healthy and happy, as well as emotionally and behaviorally ready for permanent homes and lasting relationships with new owners," said Sue Sternberg, author, lecturer, innovator behind temperament testing of shelter dogs. "All too often, euthanasia decisions are made arbitrarily, based on shelter overcrowding or breed of dog. As animal lovers and shelter workers, this is heartbreaking. I believe that the Assess-a-Pet temperament testing methodology can help alleviate some of this arbitrariness by providing the shelter and new owners with real, substantive information on which to base adoption decisions."

Randall Lockwood, PhD, VP of Research and Educational Outreach at the Humane Society of the United States agrees. "Sue Sternberg's love and understanding of dogs and people shine through in this new book. She confronts the tough questions that many animal shelters avoid, always guided by the ultimate goal of placing behaviorally healthy animals in permanent, loving homes."


Assess-a- Pet is a temperament testing methodology developed by Sue Sternberg. The premise behind the testing is to help shelter staff learn more about an individual dog's temperament, thus enabling the shelter to match the dog to an appropriate prospective owner. This humane, 15 minute evaluation process takes specialized training to implement effectively. The evaluation process includes: interactions with the dog to assess the likelihood of a bite in the adoptive home, observations of how the dog responds to other dogs, cats and visitors, and assessment of what kind of family the dog would suit best. By using Assess A Pet, shelters can meet individual dogs' behavioral needs in a shelter environment, identify aggressive dogs that would not be safe to make available for adoption, and help create compatible and lasting matches between shelter dogs and their new families. Follow-up calls to hundreds of adoptive families have shown a correlation between a dog's behavior during the Assess a Pet evaluation and its subsequent behavior with its new owners.


Sue Sternberg has a broad background in the handling and training of dogs. She began her career over twenty years ago as a dog control officer in rural Massachusetts. At the ASPCA in New York City, Sternberg counseled the public regarding pet behavior problems, taught volunteers and staff how to safely and humanely handle shelter animals, evaluated the temperaments of shelter dogs, and made recommendations for placement and euthanasia. Since 1993, she has operated a not-for-profit animal shelter in rural New York, where she has developed many innovative programs for the welfare of shelter dogs and the people in surrounding communities. She shares her knowledge of dog behavior on radio talk shows, as a popular speaker at national humane and dog training conferences, and through books and videos available at Her programs, including Assess-a-Pet, have been used with positive results at shelters across the country and abroad.