9am – 3pm, includes breaks

Doors open at 8:30am

Cocktails & Canvas begins at 4pm



Doors open Saturday & Sunday at 8am. Welcome speech by Lara Joseph at 8:30. Speakers begin at 9am – 5:30pm.



Coffee & Doughnut Social at 9:30am at Indian Creek Zoo. Presentation by Jason Crean at 10am with tour to follow immediately after talk.

Indian Creek Zoo, 2740 Consear Road – Lambertville, MI 48144 Phone: 734-224-0390



Lara Joseph

Saturday: Contra-freeloading; Will Work For Food!

Lara will dive deep into the fascinating topic of contra-freeloading, the behavior of animals choosing to work for food, versus taking identical free-food at less effort. “I work with numerous species of animals a week and have seen this behavior over and over again and it is one of the most fascinating behaviors I have seen. I love it for the animal because it is so mentally stimulating and you can see this stimulation. The behavior of contra-freeloading shows the empowerment given to the animal via choices and we can incorporate these choices into their enclosures. This interaction has a profound, positive effect on behavior issues and concerns.” Lara will show videos of animals she works with contra-freeloading, the studies behind it, and how to create this with the animals in our care.

Joel Vidovic & Lara Joseph

Saturday: Attention; It’s Use & Common Misuse As A Reinforcer

Attention is a very strong reinforcer among animals, including human animals. Joel and Lara will present several different scenarios, cases, and behavior modification plans on how they identified attention as reinforcers for both desired and undesired behaviors and used it in their behavior modification plans.

Sunday: Building Relationships Through The Cage Bars

“Many animals I work with show fear from lack of understanding, socialization, or it just isn’t natural for them to be interacting with humans. A lot of my training begins with training the animal without touching or seeing it. I train a lot of animals that I am afraid to touch. If I’m afraid to touch the animal, imagine what the animal feels like with less opportunity to escape during my approach. These are very important aspect to keep in mind when trying to build a trusting, confident relationship with the animals in our care.” Lara focuses on taking the stress out of animal environments and empowering the animal with choices through training and enrichment. Contact or close-approximation can be very stressful for several animals. In this presentation she will show video and discuss her approach in working with animals in which she cannot touch. She finds that most off-contact training eventually turns into protective-contact and much of that protective-contact turns into full-contact.

Ken McCort

Sunday: Cognitive Awareness and the Neurobiological Effects of Stress

There are physiological changes that occur when an animal is stressed and can have a profound effect on an animal’s wellbeing and learning ability. We will examine the hormonal and neurotramitter changes that occur within the animal’s brain and body that affects their behavior and health.

Joel Vidovic

Saturday: WTF?! (What’s the function)

This presentation will provide a review of a case study involving high rates of self-injurious behavior. Participants will learn about Functional Analysis methodology and how this assessment is used to empirically identify environmental variables maintaining a particular behavior. Furthemore, participants will learn how the results of a Functional Analysis are used to develop treatment plans. The presentation will include several video clips of the participant, the assessment procedures, and the intervention.

Sunday: Developing A Positive History of Reinforcement with Caretakers and Caretaker Settings

“History of reinforcement” or in some cases…”history of punishment” and how we can use shaping procedures to develop a positive training experience. Behavior serves a purpose. This topic will go into details on developing and implementing a shaping procedure in reinforcing instances of desired behaviors with an undesired history of behavioral approaches.

Bonnie Zimmerman

Saturday: Deforestation, Poaching and the Wildlife Trade in Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest island country in the world with over 17,508 islands of which only 6,000 are inhabited. The rainforests of Indonesia once covered 84% of the massive archipelago and provided a safe haven for thousands of different species. At the start of the 20th century, 421 million acres of dense primary rainforest covered the archipelago but in present day, there are less than 242 million acres remaining. Indonesia is home to 1,531 species of bird, 515 species of mammal, 270 species of amphibian, 35 species of primate and 38,000 species of plant. The sheer scale of diversity makes Indonesia’s rainforests one of the most important ecosystems in our world today. As a result of logging and palm oil plantations, thousands of different species are threatened. When rainforests are cleared, it becomes increasingly easier for poachers to track and kill tigers, which are considered prized trophies for any hunters. As part of the presentation, we will share video of trapping and smuggling, and the protocol for rehabilitating birds confiscated from the illegal and trade and returning them to the wild.

Sunday: The Dilemma of Rediscovered “Extinct” Species: The Abbotti Cockatoo

In 2007, the Indonesian Parrot Project (IPP) rediscovered a parrot that was feared to have gone extinct, the Abbotti cockatoo (C. sulphurea abbotti). Discovered in 1907 by D.L. Abbott, there were healthy populations of the cockatoos in the Masalembu Archipelago. The non-stop decline in their population reached a low of 5 individuals in 1997, and they were on the road to extinction. When Dudi Nandika and Dwi Agustina of Konservasi Kakatua Indonesia (KKI) visited the island of Masakambing in 2007, there were only 10 birds left and they had gone extinct on the other islands. A plan was put into effect to reach out to the community at the local level. This included an active Conservation-Awareness-Pride program which starts by educating young school children learning about their “special” bird and conservation and then moves upward to high school and college students, and meeting with local leaders, military and police. As part of the presentation we will share video footage of these birds in the wild, plus the story of a very unusual orphaned chick named Anak Berani.

Jason Crean

Saturday: Zoo-trition: Updates in Raw Food Feeding

It is no secret that the consumption of raw foods can lead to better health and longevity in any animal. Raw foods are packed with nutrients the way nature intended, enabling animals to absorb nutrients the way in which their species has adapted to do so. This talk will showcase the diverse needs of the animals we keep and discuss why raw food feeding is critical to healthy, longer lived animals.

Sunday: Animal Communication: Senses & Perception

Animal species have developed a myriad of ways to communicate with members of their own species as well as with other species. Animals have evolved complex systems of communication, using their senses in ways that enable them to increase their survival. In this talk, the ingenious and diverse ways animals communicate will be discussed as well as how animals perceive the world around them.

Monday: Zoo Ethics: The Truth about Zoos

Zoos often incite a diverse set of emotions in us: some of us positive, some negative. However, many are simply unaware of what goes on behind the scenes at zoos across the country and around the world. The media can portray many different sides and present a skewed perception and this talk will address some of the main misconceptions that still exist.

Dr. Todd Driggers

Saturday: Medicating & Behavior: When Is It Time To Medicate For A Behavior Issue?

Sunday: Medical and Behavioral Aspects of Nutrition for the Avian Steward


5-hour animal behavior & training workshop with Lara Joseph

Limited Seating

Free of charge to level 2 members – contact us to reserve your seat


Expert speakers in their field from 9am – 5pm

Limited seating

Great networking opportunity

Vendors – contact us for reservations



Limited spots available

Members have first option to reserve

Open for public reservation after May 20th



Reserve Your Days

Refunds for cancelations will no longer be available two weeks prior to October 7, 2016.

Cocktails & Canvas


Cocktails & Canvas doors open at 3:30pm event begins at 4.  ABC is doing this as a fundraiser for $45/person and bring their own cocktails. You will paint a canvas following the steps of the instructor. We are going to be painting Milo, the pig.

Deaf Dogs Rock

ddrwebSharing our passion for the love and care of deaf dogs.  100% of the proceeds go to this non-profit.

Indonesian Parrot Project

ippweb Founded in 2001, IPP is dedicated to the conservation of the cockatoos and parrots of Indonesia and their habitats. 100% of Proceeds go to this non-profit!


For travel and lodging information, click HERE


The Animal Behavior Center
"Visiting The Animal Behavior Center was like a breath of fresh air. Her passion and dedication for providing outstanding care to her animals was reflected in literally every inch of her center. Without a doubt, she has gone above and beyond to ensure that her animals are never without both mental and physical enrichment. The level of care that she provides for her animals should be the standard. While I was at the center, I had the privilege of watching Lara train her animals and mine and it is clear that she is an exceptionally talented trainer. Every interaction she has with her animals, formal training session or not, is flexible and focused on creating an environment in which they are comfortable and empowered.
As a future veterinary behaviorist, I aspire to reach Lara's level of finesse, expertise, and thoughtfulness in every aspect of animal training and husbandry. She is truly in it for the animals."