Animal Training Applications in Zoo and Aquarium Settings

Hosted by Denver Zoo
Denver, CO

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
  • 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

Course Schedule

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

- Class meets all day at the Zoo

Last Day
- Class meets all day at the Zoo
- 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, Curator of Behavioral Husbandry & Animal Ambassadors - 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

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 via charter bus each day.  


General Hotel Pricing:
$134+ Single Occupancy*
$144+ Double Occupancy* 
$149+ Triple Occupancy*
$154+ Quadruple Occupancy*
*All rooms have two queen beds 

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.

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