Animal Training Applications in Zoo and Aquarium Settings

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AAK Otter

Positively reinforcing!

September 25-30, 2016
Denver Zoo in Denver, CO 

To pay by check or purchase order:
Download the ATA COURSE REGISTRATION FORM and return by mail with check or purchase order

To pay by credit card:
You can now register and pay online with a credit card! Just log in to our new website. Non-members can log in too after creating an account. After logging in, choose "Upcoming Events" from the menu on the left. Next, click on the title of the event for which you would like to register. Finally, choose "Event Registration" from the options at the top and complete the registration process. When registering online, there is no need to submit the registration form.

Course Description

Animal Training Applications provides zoo and aquarium staff with a background in training theory and an understanding of the skills necessary to train animals. It includes a historical perspective of animal training as well as terminology and an overview of training techniques. Selected training concepts and skills will be taught via animal demonstrations, group activities and individual skill development opportunities.

Tuition & Expenses

Early Bird Rates:
$950 for AZA Individual Members
$1,050 for Non-members

Regular Rates: 
$1050 for AZA Individual Members
$1150 for Non-members

Early bird registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date
Final Registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date

The AZA registration fee above covers tuition for this course as well as lunches each day of the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and other meals.

Target Audience

This course is designed for animal keepers, aquarists, and other animal care staff. Education staff who handle animals or discuss animal training may benefit, as well.


None.  Priority will be given to AZA members, but volunteers and private animal trainers are welcome to attend.  International applicants and those not affiliated with an AZA accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis;  please submit a letter describing your intended benefit from taking this course.

Course Registration

Checks sent for course payment will be cashed immediately upon receipt as per standard business practices.  Cashing your check does not indicate that you have been accepted into a course. You will receive an acceptance email or waitlist email once acceptance decisions are made.

Travel & Accommodations

Denver International Airport (DEN) is the closest airport, approximately 40 minutes from the Denver Zoo. 

Course participants stay nearby the Denver Zoo and are transported to the classroom on Zoo property in vans each day.

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive a confirmation letter containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted.

Topics & Instructors

• Introduction to Animal Training and Animal Welfare
• Understanding an Animal's Natural and Individual Histories
• Learning Theory and Concepts
• How to Create a Training Plan
• Understanding Motivation and Relationships with Animals
• Communication and Partnerships
• Working with Social Groups and Maintaining Behavior
• Husbandry Training and Roadblocks
• Safety
• Reinforcement Strategies
• Record Keeping
• Problem Solving
• Common Challenges and Hurdles
• Animal Demonstrations/Group Activities

Emily Insalaco, Curator of Behavioral Husbandry & Animal Ambassadors  - Denver Zoo
Steve Martin, President - Natural Encounters, Inc.
Michelle Skurski, Zoological Manager of Behavioral Husbandry -Disney's Animal Kingdom
Tim Sullivan, Curator of Behavioral Husbandry - Chicago Zoological Society - Brookfield Zoo 
Ken Ramirez, VP & Cheif Training Officer - Karen Pryor Clicker Training

Course Schedule

4:00 PM - Hotel check-in begins
7:00-9:00 PM - Icebreaker and opening session

Monday through Friday
Classes meet all day


For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department or call (301) 562-0777 ext 251.