“Animal Training Past and Present: Evolving with Science and Practice”

11th & 12th of March 2017 in the Netherlands

Other speakers are Simon Prins, Bart Weetjens and Sabrina Brando

Animal training has a long history, with dogs and birds of prey hunting alongside humans for thousands of years. Animals have been kept and trained for entertainment in circuses or in horse-riding schools, to feature in advertising, to help in search & recuse, and for education, conservation and research purposes. Dog and monkeys help as service and companion animals, sea lions carry cameras to film underwater wildlife, cephalopods, seals and dolphins take part in cognition and psychophysical tasks, birds are trained to fly with ultra-light aircrafts for nature documentaries, and dogs, rats and other animals are trained to aid in humanitarian, police and military operations.

Different animal learning principles such as classical and operant conditioning have been applied to achieve a wide variety of animal training goals. Recent research into the effects of animal training methods on animal welfare, including tools such as halters and leashes, have shaped and progressed the animal training field. Heightening awareness on the impact of punishment have shifted methods to focus on predominantly positive reinforcement, as well as trainers paying more attention to for example the use of their voice, body language, and effects of environment. Technologies such as dataloggers and cameras, allow for new animal training opportunities in search & rescue, in training for research and conservation, and monitoring animal welfare of companion animals at home.

Whether you train for basic daily husbandry behaviours, or advanced tasks as finding people and other animals in earthquake strikken areas, problems and challenges are bound to be encountered. Solving problems, facing challenges and communicational hurdles, evaluating of training data, careful planning, and sharing of information are core activities of professional animal trainers today.

This seminar will review animal training past and present, set in context of the latest science and be illustrated by practical examples. It will cover advanced and detailed topics and concepts, teaching animal trainers (including running an animal training business), animal training and problem solving workshops.

This seminar is for professional animal trainers, animal behaviour consultants, instructors, specialists and experts in the field of animal training and behaviour (including students with experience).

Download Flyer Animal Training with Bob Bailey

Download Program Animal Training with Bob Bailey

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Dr. Robert E. (Bob) Bailey describes himself as a behavioural-systems analyst and engineer, small-businessman, field biologist, animal trainer, and teacher, not necessarily in that order. His entry into the study of animal behaviour, and animal training, was not typical. In the 1950s, at UCLA, he studied animal behaviour and collected animals in the USA and Mexico, and, as a SCUBA diver, studied fish for California Fish and Game. Bob trained crows, coyotes, and kangaroo rats, but, these were wild animals, not captive. In the laboratory, he trained cephalopods, amphibians, fishes, and reptiles. Bob was largely self-taught in training, but read the works of B. F. Skinner and Keller and Marian Breland, among others. From1960-62, Bob was a biochemist at the UCLA School of Medicine. In 1962 Bob became the US Navy Marine Mammal Program’s first Director of Training. They studied marine mammal biology, including sensory systems, communication, physiology, and issues related to husbandry. Bob conducted the Navy’s first open-ocean dolphin program (1963-65). Bob had the privilege of working with Marian and Keller Breland, the founders of Animal Behavior Enterprises (ABE), a company based in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Brelands were former students of B. F. Skinner, and they began ABE as a commercial enterprise in 1943. Bob joined ABE in 1965. Keller Breland died that year, and, in 1968, Marian Breland named Bob ABE’s Chief Operating Officer (however, he continued to train animals and design and build equipment). ABE’s business was worldwide in scope and Bob directed the activities of about 50 full-time and 50 part-time employees. They produced commercial animal shows for many American theme parks, zoos, and aquariums. ABE personnel trained over 140 species and more than 15,000 individual animals. The open environment government sponsored behavioural systems I designed employed several species (cats, dogs, dolphins, ravens, vultures, etc.), and used many signal technologies as cues. Marian and Bob closed ABE in 1990 but continued to teach. Marian, 25 years his wife, died in 2001. Bob has continued to teach and consult for companies and government agencies around the world. Perhaps the teaching most well-known to the public are his operant conditioning workshops, commonly called “chicken-training” workshops. In 2013, the University of Central Arkansas awarded Bob a Doctor of Science Degree (Sc.D. with full academic rank, equivalent to Ph.D.) for his work in chemistry, biology, and engineering.
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Simon Prins is good at motivating people and bringing people together as well as animal training. He is an innovator, interested in robotics, and has a positive attitude and with always the focus on operations. Simon uses operant conditioning with the focus on positive reinforcement to achieve the necessary (operational) goals. For more information and a more extensive bio please click here.
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Bart Weetjens is a Zen Buddhist priest, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Tanzania. Bart holds a Masters in Product Design, cum laude grande from Antwerp University. With a focus on appropriate technologies for Africa, Bart initiated the use of trained giant African pouched rats as an alternative and sustainable landmine detector in response to the global landmine challenge. With support from his mentors at Antwerp University, Bart created the social profit organization APOPO in 1998, and with a team of researchers he developed detection rats technology (HeroRATS). Since 2000 APOPO’s headquarters are situated at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania. In 2003 HeroRATS were firstly tested in the real minefields in Mozambique, and in 2004 they were accredited according to International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). In 2006, the heads of State of 11 African Great Lakes Region Countries (ICGLR) have endorsed HeroRATS for replication in the region. Bart also initiated HeroRATS for the early detection of pulmonary Tuberculosis in vulnerable populations in the African context. This application is currently in R&D phase. HeroRATS received multiple international recognitions, a.o. the Initiative Africa Award and the Golden W3 Award. HeroRATS won the 2003 World Bank’s Development Marketplace global competition. Bart has been elected an ASHOKA fellow and a SCHWAB fellow to the World Economic Forum. He won a Skoll Award for social Entrepreneurship in 2009.
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Sabrina Brando is a psychologist with a MSc in Animal Studies, interested in the human-animal relationship. She has in interest in animal welfare, particularly from the 24/7 across lifespan approach, how various systems and working methods affect animals short-and long-term. Sabrina has trained many different species of animals to voluntarily participate in husbandry and other management behaviours, as well as behaviours to facilitate education, conservation and research. One of her favourite areas of training is for research, Sabrina has trained many animals for research projects involving physiology, anatomy, behaviour, and cognition, and continues to train people on how to train animals for research today. She is the owner of AnimalConcepts and works world wide in the field of animal welfare and animal advocacy, a short bio can be found by clicking here.


This seminar will be held in English.


Registration includes lectures, coffee breaks, lunch, seminar materials, and certificate of attendance.

Regular registration Euro 225 + VAT


This is a seminar without dogs.


Hotel Restaurant Oud London
Woudenbergseweg 52
3707 HX Zeist

Travel directions to the hotel can be found here

Closest airport is Amsterdam Schiphol.

Participants will receive a confirmation upon reception of the registration form. You are then officially registered. Cancellations received at least 3 month prior to the first day of the conference or workshop will be honoured and fees if already paid refunded even if invoice is not yet send and if payment is still outstanding less a processing fee. Cancellations made after this date up to 2 months before the start will be refunded at 50%, and cancellations made less then 1 month before the seminar are not refunded (even if invoice is not yet send and if payment is still outstanding). In fairness to all attendees confirmed participants who do not attend their scheduled workshop or conference are liable for the entire fee unless other arrangements have been made with AnimalConcepts prior to the start of the event. AnimalConcepts is a registered company under Dutch law and by accepting the cancellation policy at registration you agree and are bound to these laws regardless of your geographically area. All payments have to be received prior to the start of the seminar if this is not possible then only a cash payment on the day will allow access to the event.