New! Level Up Animal Training Workshop
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New! Level Up Animal Training Workshop


Level Up: Zoo Animal Behavior workshop

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

Perfect for Animal Care professionals from zoos, aquariums, 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 stereotypes, 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!



Thad Lacinak


Thad brings more than 40 years of executive management and pioneering accomplishments to the field of behavior modification. He specializes in positive reinforcement application for animal facilities, school systems, parents and corporations worldwide.
A staunch proponent of excellence in zoological facilities, Thad is frequently sought by the media for his expert opinion on a variety of animal-related issues. He has debated several outspoken animal extremists on shows such as Larry King Live, PBS radio, The Kelly File, and many others. In 2016, he produced and hosted
the documentary, Elephant Trainer in the Room, exploring the two polarized approaches to teaching elephants in human care.
In 2008, Thad retired from a 35 year career at Busch Entertainment Corporation as Vice President and Corporate Curator of Animal Training for all U.S. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks. He was instrumental in developing their industry-leading techniques, husbandry procedures, the original concept for Discovery Cove and the spectacular killer whale shows, one of which received the prestigious THEA Award.
Lacinak is a member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association where he served as Vice President and he was a founder and President of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance where he has once again returned to the board.
Thad’s 2001 New York Times' bestseller, Whale Done! sold over a million copies in eighteen languages. Whale Done Parenting was released in the Fall of 2009 and The Whale Done School was released in the Spring of 2012.

Angi Millwood Lacinak


Angi has more than 20 years of experience in zoos and aquariums. She frequently assists clients with every aspect of running successful animal management programs and teaches both basic and advanced animal training workshops to professionals and aspiring trainers.
A passionate advocate of positive reinforcement training and animal welfare, Angi wrote and produced the documentary, Elephant Trainer in the Room, completed in 2016. Current behavioral clients include The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, Zoo Miami, The Atlantis Resort, ZooMarine Portugal and many others.
Previous to Precision Behavior, Angi was a Manager of Marine Mammals at the Atlantis Resort in Dubai and a member of Disney's Animal Kingdom's opening team. She was the Animal Training Coordinator at the Fort  Worth Zoo, responsible for the Zoo's animal training programs for more than 350 animal species and was the Director of Behavior Programs at Natural Encounters.
Angi has served as a Course Instructor for the AZA professional courses: Animal Training Applications in Zoo and Aquarium Settings and Meeting Your Institutional Goals Through Program Animals. She has presented numerous papers and workshops at professional conferences worldwide and in 2005 received the prestigious Animal Welfare Advancement Award from the ABMA. She holds a BA from Jacksonville State University, a MA in Anthrozoology from the University of Exeter and is currently pursuing a PhD in Anthrozoology.

Otto Fad


Otto brings more than three decades of cetacean, pinniped and elephant experience to Precision Behavior (in addition to a whole host of other mammals and birds!) A staunch advocate for animal welfare, Otto’s talents as a writer and behaviorist make him a valuable member of the PB team. Previous to PB, Otto was the Elephant Manager at Busch Gardens Tampa (BGT), when the park transitioned to a PC/PRT program in 2004. Prior
to that, he was Senior Trainer and Research Coordinator at SeaWorld Orlando, where he worked with marine mammals beginning in 1987.
In addition to working with a terrific team of talented trainers, Otto is heavily involved in research and elephant welfare. He has written, spoken, and presented on topics including desensitization, husbandry training, anthropomorphism, natural history, facility design, cognition and comparative psychology, safety, staff development, thermoregulation, elephant personality, and positive reinforcement in numerous venues
including seven different college campuses.
Otto has consulted on animal behavior issues both in the US and across the pond in the UK. He is an Advisor to the AZA Animal Welfare Committee and also served as BGT’s IR for Elephants and Animal Welfare. He is a member of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis (FABA), The Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA), for which he formerly served as a board member and chair of the Government Affairs Committee, and the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA). He is also a past member of EMA, as well as the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).


Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • The science of behavior modification
  • Ethics in teaching animals
  • Advanced bridging concepts
  • Reinforcement schedules
  • Aggression in animals: causes and reduction
  • Keeping animals motivated
  • Building optimal relationships with animals
  • Handling unexpected or unwanted behavior
  • Implementing enrichment to promote desirable behavior
  • Addressing stereotypic behaviors
  • Perceptions of animal welfare and emotions
  • Resume and interview skills
  • Recent research
  • Hot topics

What’s included:

  • Written or electronic workshop materials
  • Coffee/snack breaks
  • Light breakfasts
  • Lunches
  • Celebration dinner (Friday)
  • Group photo
  • Welcome bag
  • Access to a closed Facebook Group for one year

Cost: $1,295.00


Please email


Please register below. Once your registration is reviewed and approved, you will receive a link for payment of the workshop fees. Payment is required in full to hold your seat in the program. 

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