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Did you know that ALL animals can be trained? In this section, you’ll find stories and articles about training birds, goldfish, cats, dolphins, zoo animals, and more. We can learn a lot by training other species and by studying trainers who work with animals that we are not very familiar with.

Barkin’ at the Shedd

I recently watched an awesome hour-long lecture by animal trainer Ken Ramirez that is available to view for free on YouTube. If you’re not familiar with Ken Ramirez, he’s the head trainer at the Shedd aquarium in Chicago. He’s been a professional trainer for several decades and has trained hundreds of animals and dozens of […]

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ORCA 2014 conference flyer

ORCA’s 2014 conference: Registration now open!

The Art and Science of Animal Training Conference, held yearly at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, is one of my all-time favorite conferences. This conference is organized and run by ORCA (the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals) a group of graduate students in UNT’s behavior analysis department that researches animal behavior […]

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Amusement parks and cold war spies

There's a great article in the most recent Smithsonian Magazine about Bob Bailey and Animal Behavior Enterprises (ABE). Many animal trainers are familiar with Bob Bailey because of the operant conditioning workshops that he teaches with chickens. However, Bob Bailey first became interested in animal behavior and training in the 1950s and spent decades training […]

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chicken training go out

To change the behavior of the trainer,
try training a chicken!

This summer, my friend Laurie Higgins attended two weeks of operant conditioning workshops with Bob Bailey and Parvene Farhoody. The workshops teach participants about operant conditioning and the science of animal training using chickens. Bob Bailey, along with Marian Bailey, began giving operant conditioning workshops to the general public in the mid-1990s. The workshops were […]

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Willy Wonka Learns to Target (video)

Willy Wonka Learns to Target (video)

Here’s Willy Wonka, the pot-bellied pig that I wrote about in yesterday’s post. He was such a smarty and caught on to clicker training so fast. He had clicker training and targeting mastered in about five minutes flat! I started with a short session introducing him to the sound of the clicker and then clicking […]

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Willy Wonka the pig

Some smart sanctuary pigs

My friend Bonnie volunteers at a nearby sanctuary for farm animals. Last weekend, I got a chance to go with her and visit the animals! We also did a bit of training while we were there. The sanctuary has an assortment of critters, including pigs, horses, donkeys, sheep, chickens, and a few dogs and cats. […]

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