Animal Training Applications in Zoo and Aquarium Settings

Hosted by Natural Encounters
Winter Haven, FL
Fall 2023, Date TBD

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.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, participants will be better able to:

  • Articulate and properly use terminology and framework involved in the training process

  • Select and test for effective reinforcers

  • Demonstrate specific hands-on skills involved in animal training

  • Articulate the importance of and skills necessary for working as a team

  • Use a systematic problem-solving process and develop effective action plans

  • Articulate and apply concepts around animal welfare in relation to training, and understand how behavior and training can enhance and support our welfare programs

Course Schedule

First Day
 - Student registration
 - Opening evening reception
 - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

- Class meets all day at Natural Encounters

Last Day
- Class meets all day at Natural Encounters
- Students transported back to hotel

Attendance for course participants is required for the duration of the course until late afternoon on the last day (typically by 4PM but schedules are subject to change - students will recieve scheduled times once admitted to the course).


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

Is This Course Right For You?

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. 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 to for consideration.

Travel & Accommodations

Air Travel

More information to come 


More information to come

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

For information regarding our code of conduct, registration, and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.

Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department.

I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.