Animal Trainer Course and Class Descriptions

Animal training courses are available through both associate's and bachelor's degree programs and can prepare students to work with exotic animals, pets, and/or horses.

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Essential Information

Students enrolled in undergraduate programs in animal management or animal science will learn about caring for and training animals, and they will be introduced to theories about how animals learn. Practical experience working with animals is also included in animal trainer programs. Courses in this program will cover skills such as:

  • Animal safety
  • Normal canine behavior and differences among breeds
  • Caring for zoo animals
  • Training exotic animals
  • Effective horse care and training

List of Common Animal Trainer Courses

Canine Behavior and Characteristics

Designed for anyone interested in canine behavior, this course focuses on the difference between normal and abnormal canine behavior and the variation in characteristics among different dog breeds. Developmental periods, basic health care, disease prevention and communication among dogs are covered. Curriculum provides a basis for understanding canine behavior so that the individual may progress to dog training.

Animal Learning Theory

Behavioral methods such as operant and classical conditioning are the focus of this course on working with various types of animals. Students in undergraduate animal behavior programs learn the basic principles of behavioral theory and how they are applied to animals. Clicker training, a new movement involving positive communication, is also taught.

Animal Care and Training for Zoo Animals

This course introduces animal behavior students to the fundamental techniques of training various types of zoo animals. Students learn the basics of operant conditioning and how to control behavior, as well as the history of animal training, factors determining success and shaping new behaviors. A lab segment provides hands-on observation and experience working with zoo animals.

Performance Horse Training

This animal training course covers anatomy and physiology, breeding and alternative training methods for horses. Students learn about basic equine care techniques and behaviors, as well as how to train horses for a specific purpose, such as therapeutic riding.

Animal Behavior Management

An animal behavior management class prepares students to train animals for entertainment purposes, zoos, education facilities or other captive options. Students also learn to care for, feed and nurse sick animals.

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