ABOUT – Animal Training Academy
Hi, I’m Ryan, the founder of Animal Training Academy. For the past 11 years, I’ve been working as a professional animal trainer around the world, including in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US. I’ve trained teams, developed animal training programs, been published in leading industry magazines, spoken at international conferences and delivered presentations in a University on animal behavior
And through the Animal Training Academy, I connect hundreds of animal behavior & training enthusiasts with a large (and growing) library of lessons and tutorials delivered by renowned animal experts.
What did you want to be when you grew up … ?
I remember doing one of those computer tests in high school where you answer a bunch of questions and it’s meant to tell you what occupation you should do. I actually got told to be a builder, which didn’t sound very exciting. The friend sitting next to me came out with ‘zoo-keeper’ – now that sounded much more fun. That’s when I decided I was going to work with animals.
After school, I attended University and acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and then I started volunteering wherever I could and meeting as many people as possible to try and get started in a career in zoology.
It was a wedge tail eagle in Cairns that gave me my first taste of training success and changed my life forever. Training Bob the wedge tail eagle gave me the opportunity to learn and practically apply positive reinforcement animal training.
Since this time, I’ve worked in many different zoos, across numerous countries in lots of different teams and with many different species. Working across different organizations I was consistently presented with opportunities to develop new animal training programs based on my experience.
After doing this for a decade I saw an opportunity to take what I was already doing and reach a much bigger audience, helping more trainers and animals. Animal Training Academy was born mid-2015.
Unleash your inner animal behavior geek …
Inside Animal Training Academy you will find content for all levels of your animal training journey from beginner through to advanced, presented by myself and from some of the most renowned animal behavior and training geeks on the planet. You can also join the vast global network of 200+ Members and past podcast guests that are active in the membership community areas (FaceBook group, Forums, and WhatsApp groups). All of this helps you achieve your animal training & behavior goals based on the application of the best practice, ethical positive reinforcement animal training & behavior management.
Calling all behavior nerds … geek out hard by binging on the podcast. Choose from over 60 episodes with some of the world’s most renowned behavior professionals:
If you are thinking about joining the ATA but are not sure listen to the podcasts and you’ll get a real feeling for the culture and ethos of the group. Not only do the podcasts consistently blow my mind but it’s the vision of the guests for the future of positive reinforcement training for people and animals that convinced me that the ATA tribe was where I needed to be.
Carol Milner (ATA member UK).
Work within Zoos and other organizations.
- Rockhampton Zoo, Australia – Animal Care team.
- Project Kial (Bridled Nail Tail Wallaby breeding project)/AACE (Australian animals care & education), Australia – Animal Care, Volunteer coordinator & mobile demonstrations.
- Cairns Tropical Zoo, Australia – Free flight bird show animal trainer/presenter.
- African Lion Safari, Canada – Birds of Prey Conservation center keeper, trainer and show presenter.
- Billabong Sanctuary, Townsville, Australia – Set up a free flight bird show.
- Wellington Zoo, New Zealand – Animal Care Team & ran a zoo-wide project to build upon animal training programs
- NEI, Natural Encounters, USA – 6 Week intensive internship working at the birds of the world show in Dallas Texas.
- Kiwi Birdlife Park, Queenstown, New Zealand – Animal Care team & building upon animal training programs and wildlife show.
Consultancy work for zoos.
- Natureland Zoo, Nelson, New Zealand – On-site consultation, delivering workshops and working with the Animal Care team to build animal training skills/programs
- Brooklands Zoo, New Plymouth, New Zealand – Multiple on-site consultations delivering workshops and working with the Animal Care team to build animal training skills/programs. Ongoing Online help via their ATA membership.
- Moonlit Sanctuary, Melbourne, Australia – Ongoing On-site consultations, delivering workshops and working with the Animal Care team to build animal training skills/programs. Ongoing Online help via their ATA membership.
- Halls Gap Zoo, Melbourne Australia – Online help via their ATA membership.
- Oakvale Zoo, Sunny Coast, Australia – Online help via their ATA membership.
- Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology – Victoria University, Wellington New Zealand.
- Certificate of Business – Massey University, New Zealand.
- Certificate three in captive animal management – Tafe, Queensland, Australia.
- Living & Learning with animals with Dr. Susan Friedman.
- Fear Free animal trainer certification program – Fear free certified professional
- Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping (AZSK) – 2013 – Present
- ASZK Animal Training Sub-Committee – 2016 – Present
Conferences/universities/workshops where Ryan has presented
- ASZK Auckland, New Zealand 2013
- ASZK Tasmania, Australia 2015
- ASZK Adelaide, Australia 2016
- ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) awareness week – Auckland University, New Zealand – 2016
- ASZK Animal Training Sub-Committee two day Animal Training basics workshops – Wellington Zoo 2018
- 2018 Australasian Animal Training bi-annual conference – Melbourne Zoo
As seen in …
- Australia Birdkeeper magazine – 2012 (An article Ryan wrote about working with Birds of Prey in Canada)
- Thylacinus; ASZK industry magazine – numerous articles published by Ryan. 2012 – Present
- The Veterinarian Magazine – 2017 (Interview with Ryan). You can see the article HERE.
- The ZooSpensefull Guest blog
- Drinking from the toilet podcast episode with Hannah Branigan
- Interview on YouTube Channel – Happy Tails
- The Daily BA (Behavoir Analyst) – What Drives you? Video (roughly 5:40 in)
- Hair of the Dog podcast episode with Sarah Dixon & Rebbeca Hoffman
- Dog Talk with Nick Benger podcast episode.
- The Pet Professional Guild – Webinar (Building a bridge – The importance of timing)
Professional Memberships & Certifications
If you’re interested in interviewing or hiring Ryan you can contact him here email@example.com