New Animal School Remains A Secret

Today in Animal Career Secrets readers read an informal post. All content copyrighted 2007 by Diana L Guerrero. Some rights reserved.

I hate when there is a scheduling error in my day. I was looking forward to the first official announcement and interview about a new academy for animal trainers but the wrong time was written in my calendar–Eastern instead of the correct time for the Pacific Coast. Rats!

The event was canceled once and rescheduled–invites went out to a bunch of different people. So, having missed it I asked for an interview for this series. I had inquired before and was told it probably could be arranged so imagine my surprise when I was informed that I would have to wait until the fall.


If you are launching a new program wouldn’t you want to have as much coverage as you could get—especially if the audience was made up of people seeking a career with animals?

So, how do I feel about that? Honestly, it killed my interest. However, maybe the readers at Animal Career Secrets feel differently. If you do, I will consider revisiting that request but it won’t be my top priority.

It is interesting to me that there is a trend of professionals starting new schools or programs to train novices for some sort of animal career or skill related to careers with animals.

I’ve been around long enough to have seen many schools, organizations, and facilities come and go. Personally, I think the resurgence of such programs and organizations is probably a good thing since many animal professionals are now getting older and so it may be time to pass the torch to another generation of animal professionals.

Also, one of the big challenges in the animal world is that there has been a notorious lack of standardization within many fields and even across them.

Case in point, I remember attending a primatology conference where different terms were used to describe the same thing. In the marine mammal field, Sea World tends to come up with new terms and acronyms every few years (or it at least seems like it)…even though perfectly good ones already exist.

There are some trainers that still use archaic techniques even though better ones are available. When the dog training community suddenly got the “ah ha!” over operant conditioning techniques using a clicker, most of my other colleagues shook their heads with me and said, “It is about time.” Why? Because those techniques were not new to us and actually some go back to a zoo in Germany way before (try the 1800s).

It was amusing when one of my dolphin training pals actually moved over to training dogs and went into using choke chains and other standard (and what I consider archaic) techniques for working with canines. He thought it was all something new and excitedly told me what he was doing.

Anyway, in the past few years groups have banded together to certify people so that at least some sort of credentials and sanctions exist—but all of these efforts are fairly new. We all hope it will set some standards and keep the industry moving forward instead of stagnating. It is hard to explain the difference between someone who knows what they are doing and someone who doesn’t when people shop price or think the same title means everyone is the same.

Today I was disappointed to not be granted the interview because what I want to do in the Animal Career Secrets series is give you an inside look into some of these new programs. One of my intentions was to get you the inside track from the people starting them—so far the two that were on the top of my list are not happening—yet.

Diana L Guerrero is an animal career specialist and has extensive experience in many areas of the animal world. A well known animal expert, she has worked professionally with animals for over thirty years. Guerrero is the author of several books and the host of the syndicated, Ark Animal Answers.

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