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EVENTS

Precision Behavior conducts a variety of seminars and workshop. Frequently, these events are open to the public and are amazing opportunities to grow professionally and network with like-minded individuals. 
 
Below are some of our upcoming seminars, workshops or other events as well as conferences we plan to attend and/or recommend. We hope to see you soon at an upcoming event!
 
Want to host an event at your facility? Contact us today!
 
Events change frequently. Check back often!

Level Up: Zoo Animal Behavior Workshop

Perfect for Animal Care professionals from zoos, aqariums, nature centers, museums, animal shelters including supervisors, managers, curators and interns, part-time staff and volunteers at all levels of experience!

Reserve your spot now for a unique, immersive five-day workshop taught by Precision Behavior, a global leader in animal behavior and welfare, hosted by the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. The science-based curriculum draws from the fields of psychology, behavior analysis, biology, veterinary medicine, and anthrozoology, among others. This primer for teaching animals using science and compassion allows students to work hands-on, with personalized coaching from Precision Behavior instructors and Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society staff.

 

Attendees will learn real-world solutions to common behavioral challenges in zoological facilities such as teaching reliable recall behaviors, social management and separations, eliminating stereotypies, stationing, targeting, plus husbandry and medical behaviors - all with 100% voluntary participation of the animals. regardless of your experience, this workshop will elevate your skills to the next level. With a focus on positive reinforcement-based operant conditioning, the principles and methods you’ll learn apply to any species, from dogs to elephants to humans. Together, we’ll tackle understanding schedules of reinforcement, the benefits of secondary reinforcers, advanced bridging concepts, shaping new behaviors, maintaining animal motivation for long-term success (here’s a tip: it’s not about food), current research including how guests and others perceive what we do, and so much more. Everyone from interns to zoo management will leave this unique course engaged, energized, and equipped!

June 8-12, 2020

  • Fun and interactive hands-on 5 day workshop

  • Taught by expert animal behavior and welfare specialists: Precision Behavior and Palm Beach Zoo zoology staff

  • Personalized 1:1 coaching

  • Voluntary participation by animals

  • Includes light breakfast, boxed lunch and snacks

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Precision Behavior Applauds AZA Decision to Phase-out Elephant Bullhooks

 

For further information:  

Contact Lisa Lauf/Sage Communications     

250-954-7433 or lisalauf@me.com

 

Homosassa, Fla. (August 21, 2019) – International welfare and behavior consulting firm Precision Behavior expressed enthusiastic support for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) policy decision to phase out the use of bullhooks in its members’ elephant programs, as announced today in the Washington Post.

 

“Eliminating the use of aversives (experiences the animal seeks to avoid) in behavior management has been an organizational goal since our founding,” said Thad Lacinak, the company’s co-founder and partner. “With this decision, the AZA Board of Directors has taken a bold and significant step forward for the behavioral welfare of elephants in North American zoological facilities.” We applaud this action and encourage other zoological, veterinary and animal behavior professionals and organizations to show their support as well.”  

 

Elephant expert and Precision Behavior partner, Otto Fad stated, “This is a great day for elephants. In fact, this may be the single most important policy decision AZA has made with respect to elephant welfare. Eliminating bullhooks makes it possible for programs to fully commit to positive behavior management.”

 

To further support the AZA’s historic decision, Fad explained, “PB is offering our own publication, “Working Safely and Effectively with Elephants in Protected Contact,” to elephant program leaders who request it. Our 16-page document provides an extensive framework for Positive Reinforcement Training (PRT) and relationship-building.” 

 

The elephant bullhook issue stretches beyond AZA-accredited zoos in North America. “This is a global issue,” said Lacinak. “In response, we produced a documentary on elephant training, “Elephant Trainer in the Room,” highlighting elephant training methods around the world. To our great surprise, Amazon Prime is airing it for free. No doubt we are committed to this cause and are so encouraged to see AZA add a huge win for elephant welfare.”

                                                                             ###

Recently celebrating its 10thanniversary, Precision Behaviorassists zoological programs for all taxa worldwide with implementation and enhancement of positive-reinforcement training (PRT) programs through wellness and behavior assessments, staff development and teaching, behavior workshops, leadership training and participation in zoological association meetings. Additionally, Precision Behavior has played a prominent role in the Next Generation Elephant Management (NextGEM) conferences in 2018 and the upcoming follow-up to be hosted by Zoo Tampa in May 2020. 

NextGEM 2020

 

Save the dates:

May 12-15

Zoo Tampa 

More details coming soon!

MDA_DolphinUniversityLogo.png

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!
LIMITED TO 25 SPACES – REGISTER EARLY!

 

Marineland Dolphin Adventure, the world’s ORIGINAL oceanarium, is thrilled to announce an immersive hands-on dolphin behavior workshop led by Precision Behavior, global leaders in animal welfare and behavior.

 

DatesFebruary 24, 2019 – March 1, 2019

InstructorsThad Lacinak, Angi Millwood Lacinak & Otto Fad of Precision Behavior and the talented dolphin behavior team at Marineland

Call 904-471-1111 Ext. 2 to speak to a Marineland representative to secure your place with a deposit or full payment or click the icon at the left to learn more.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT ALLIANCE (ABMA)
PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP

 

Tampa, Florida
17 April 2016

 

 

 

 

This exciting workshop will be held at Busch Gardens on Sunday, 17 April from 8am-4pm.  Cost is $75 and is limited to 100 people.  Transportation to/from the hotel will be provided.  You will be back in time to complete registration and attend the icebreaker!  You must be registered for the ABMA conference (either a daily or weekly registration) in order to register for this workshop!

 

Registration opening soon! Check the ABMA website often here!

Science, Common Sense and Compassion  for Optimal Animal Training & Welfare
Thad Lacinak & Angi Millwood, Precision Behavior
ORLANDO SENTINEL OP-ED ARTICLE BY THAD LACINAK
DECEMBER 5, 2015
 
Whale Riders Inspired Interest in the Ocean

 

Am I destined to be one of the last whale riders? It's a future I can scarcely comprehend. I worked for 35 years at SeaWorld as an animal trainer and retired in 2008 as the vice president and corporate curator of animal training for all of the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks. I have dedicated my life to improving animal welfare through positive interactions with humans.

 

Few people realize that many of the breakthroughs that allowed us to better understand animal behavior, and laid the foundation for the humane way we demand animals be treated today, came about thanks to a select band of marine mammal trainers working with killer whales and dolphins.

 

Even fewer know that many of these breakthroughs happened at SeaWorld. I dare say that many of the animal activists who protest SeaWorld today earned their awe of killer whales during a childhood visit to the park they now demonize.

 

As in every organization, there were growing pains. Mistakes did occur, especially in the early years when we knew little about the whales. But there isn't a zoo or aquarium in the world that doesn't have a history of improvement; we simply cannot know what we don't know until we learn it through experience. Every day, SeaWorld inspires people to appreciate our oceans and the creatures that live there. Every day, SeaWorld trainers work tirelessly to ensure the physical and mental health of the animals in their care, rescue animals in distress and share their love for them with the public.

 

I had an incredible history with my most beloved teacher — a killer whale named Ramu. He was the first orca that we entered the water with. In those days, every day was a lesson, and Ramu was the professor. Though at that time we didn't really understand the principles of operant conditioning the way we do now, we knew one thing: There was no way to dominate a four-ton whale. So we worked tirelessly to become a source of fun for him. We played with him, we swam with him, we gave him affection, and truly, we loved him.

 

Eventually, he became the whale with whom we performed the first human-whale ballet — a choreographed routine of elegant cooperative interactions between species.

 

And trust me, the only thing better than watching a person and whale swim in perfect synchronicity was being the person lucky enough to swim with the whale in perfect synchronicity. It was spectacular. It wasn't because of the acrobatics. It was due to the tangible relationship between man and whale — the close connection between man and an aquatic animal that commanded awe. He was magnificent and inspiring. You couldn't help but feel awestruck in the presence of such a gigantic, beautiful creature, even as he splashed a tidal wave of salt water over the crowds' heads.

 

It is whale riders who made the world fall in love with killer whales. By daring to join them in the water, we made discoveries that not only changed the way animal behaviorists, conservationists and researchers communicate with animals and interpret their behavior, but also transcended the scientific community to influence everything from our current parenting practices to the way ordinary animal lovers interact with their own pets.

 

Imagine what else these magnificent creatures might teach us — about whales, about the animal mind, and even about ourselves — if only we continue to get closer.

 

I am proud of the role I played in helping to inspire millions of people to take an interest in whales and their ocean brethren, and I'm optimistic that most people will eventually recognize that these organizations are in fact our best hope of preserving what little is left of the wild, and the amazing creatures that live there.

 

It is my sincerest hope for future trainers, for the public at large, for my grandchildren and for the whales themselves that a vocal minority of people with extremist views and a handful of politicians pandering for votes aren't successful in their attempts to further dupe a well-meaning, yet ill-informed public.

 

I pray that I am not one of the last of the whale riders.

 

 

The link below will remain live as long as it is posted on the Orlando Sentinel site:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-whale-rider-seaworld-120515-20151204-story.html

 

 
ANIMAL TRAINING WORKSHOPS 
WITH PRECISION BEHAVIOR
Introductory & Advanced Courses 
Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Clearwater, Florida
October 2015

 

We had such an amazing time with the staff and participants of the 2014 Animal Training Workshop at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, that we've decided to do it again! Only this time, we plan to double the fun by offering both an introductory course (like the one offered in 2014) plus an advanced level course. 

 

WHEN:

Oct 23-24: Animal Training

Oct 25-26: Advanced Animal Training

 

Thank you to everyone who attended! We had an amazing four days!!

2015 IMATA CONFERENCE

 

International Marine Animal Trainers Association Conference

Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

27 September - 2 October

 

Precision Behavior is partnering with The Florida Aquarium to present a paper on training a Goliath grouper for basic behaviors utilizing secondary reinforcers! You have to see it to believe it!

 

 
ANIMAL TRAINING IN PROFESSIONAL SETTINGS 
Osaka College of Eco and Animals, Osaka, Japan
29-31 May 2015

 

For three days, Precision Behaivor taught first year and second year students at the Osaka College of Eco and Animals in Osaka Japan who are studying to be animal professionals. The college has a variety of focus areas including marine mammals, zoo keeping, equine care and training and all aspects of pet care and training. Both theory and practical application courses were taught.

 

 
MULTI SPECIES 3.O
ANIMAL TRAINING WORKSHOP
BOCALAN FOUNDATION: ANIMAL AND HUMAN BEHAVIOUR INSTITUTE
Madrid, Spain
14-15 March 2015

 

Precision Behavior is honored to be requested for a two-day component of this multi-month, multi-species course offered by Bocalan Foundation in Spain! This is a private course and registration must be organized through Bocalan. For mor information, please contact their staff at: http://www.bocalan.es/contacto

 

 
ANIMAL TRAINING WORKSHOP 
WITH PRECISION BEHAVIOR
Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Clearwater, Florida
15-16 November 2014

 

This 2-day animal training course includes: key elements of successful animal training, making the most of toys, play and fun, dealing with unwanted behavior, animal biology as it relates to behavior modification, demonstrations of concepts with live dolphins and more! All course information is immediately applicable with all species, from dolphins to zebras to dogs. 

 

ANIMAL TRAINING INTRODUCTORY COURSE
WITH PRECISION BEHAVIOR
Sarkanniemi Adventure Park, Tampere, Finland, 1-2 November 2014

 

Always dreamt of being an animal trainer? Now’s your chance to learn from the top professionals in the industry. Course includes: key elements of successful animal training, making the most of toys, play and fun, dealing with unwanted behavior, animal biology as it relates to behavior modification, demonstrations of concepts with live dolphins and more! All course information is immediately applicable with all species, from dolphins to zebras to dogs.

ANIMAL TRAINING ESSENTIALS WORKSHOP
WITH PRECISION BEHAVIOR
At the 2nd International Animal Training Conference
Twycross Zoo, U.K., 5 October 2014

 

This animal training workshop covers essential skills for every animal training professional. More than just the basics, this workshop also introduces advanced concepts that all animal trainers should understand. Topics include: getting started, the learning elements, clear cuing, advanced bridging, shaping behavior, consequences, reinforcement strategies and addressing aggression.

 

This conference SOLD OUT! 

IMATA / AZA JOINT CONFERENCE
Orlando, Florida, 14-18 September 2014

 

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association (IMATA) are partnering to develop a co-located Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.  This first of its kind event will be the largest, most informative conference in IMATA’s history and is expected to draw more than 2,500 participants.  AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy said it well: “Partnering with similarly focused professional organizations is a vital way to expand the work of both organizations and provides valuable opportunities to advance professional networking and engagement among organizations.”     

 

Thad Lacinak & Angi Millwood co-wrote two papers slated to be presented at this conference.

THAD LACINAK GUEST APPEARANCE ON FOX NEWS' GOOD DAY ORLANDO MORNING SHOW
18 August 2014

 

Thad was invited to the morning show to discuss SeaWorld's new plans to expand their killer whale habitats at all three parks.

 

Watch the clip here as long as the link is live from the Fox website!

 

 

2013 Introductory Animal Training Course in Rimini, Italy