Animal Training Applications in Zoo and Aquarium Settings

Hosted by Denver Zoo
Denver, CO
Fall 2022

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 Topics  

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

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.

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).

Course Travel & Tuition

Travel and 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 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.

Tuition & Expenses* 

The AZA registration fee below covers tuition and lunches for each day of the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and other meals. Registration prices are subject to change. 
Scholarship funding for courses is available through a competitive process. AZA scholarship applications are due by mid-July and are awarded by early September. 

AZA Accredited / Certified Institutions*
Early Bird Rate:
 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1150 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1350 without Qualifying Individual Membership

Regular Rate: 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1350 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1550 without Qualifying Individual Membership

Individual Membership must be Professional Affiliate or Professional Fellow to qualify. 

Individuals Not Employed at an AZA-accredited or Certified Insitution*
Early Bird Rate:
 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1350 with Professional Associate Membership

Regular Rate: 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1550 with Professional Associate Membership

Individual Membership Requirement
Staff from non-AZA accredited institutions must have an individual AZA membership to apply and register for an AZA course. 

*Prices are subject to change 

Accepted forms of payment for registration are by: credit card, check or purchase order. 

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

To register with a credit card
You may now register and pay online with a credit card! Non-members can log in too, after creating a free account. After logging in, choose "Professional Development" 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. You will receive an acceptance email or wait list email once acceptance decisions are made. 

To register with a check or purchase order
Please email your request to register, specifying the course and the name of whom you would like to register, to the Professional Development Coordinator ( 
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 a wait list email once acceptance decisions are made. If you are not admitted into the course from the waitlist, a full refund will be promptly issued.  

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