Snooki, a pit bull mix, at 4000 North Silverbell Road. Monday December 16, 2013.

Mamta Popat/ Arizona Daily Star

Dogs who have behavioral problems or social challenges that could prevent them from getting adopted will get some extra attention starting in January.

The Pima County Animal Care Center is planning to start a dog-training program to help cut euthanasia rates and have fewer dogs disrupted from new adoptions.

“The team at PACC has known for a long time that not having a training center is our biggest deficit,” said Karen Hollish, the animal center’s development director.

“This is really a life-saving measure. We are so grateful for the donations that were made to make this possible.”

The county will use about a quarter of the $1.3 million donation to pay for a trainer and an assistant trainer for three years.

“These were two generous angels who remembered our pets,” she said.

One out of 10 dogs that comes in needs extra help in order to be successfully placed in a home, she said.

If they can accomplish helping the majority of the animals, the center will be considered “no kill” for both dogs and cats. The requirement is that at least 90 percent of all animals be saved in order to get that distinction.

“We’ve hit that for cats, and this program is what we need to get there overall,” she said.