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Dr. Jenifer A. Zeligs

"Dr. Zeligs, I feel blessed and honored to have met you; your vulnerability and passion for what you do is inspiring! Thank you for making me feel like a kid again, looking forward to applying what i've learned into action and becoming a good steward for the protection of our oceans and of course our marine mammal friends!"

-Jackie O

Dr. Zoolittle

With a wealth of experience in many species, both domestic and exotic, Dr. Zeligs will guide you to greater successes by helping you develop a better relationship with your animal through mindful training. Jenifer Zeligs, Ph.D. is at the forefront of the animal training industry and a world-renown animal behaviorist with over 40 years of experience, award winning presentations on animal behavior modification, and numerous publications to her credit. In 2014 she published what has been called the new industry “bible” Animal Training 101: The complete and practical guide to the art and science of behavior modification.  Dr. Zeligs is the owner of Animal Training and Research International affiliated with the California State University system where she currently teaches. Her second book: Mindful Partners: The Zen art and science of working with animals was published in 2021.

Her journey into the world of animal training began in grade school when she started learning to ride horses and worked for 7 years at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Since that time, she has worked with dozens of species both terrestrial and aquatic. She has continued to love horses and works to bring new and positive methods, mixed with science, to the broad horse community.

Dr. Zeligs has vast experience in the animal care industry including collaborating with and consulting for countless private and public facilities and organizations, as well as training animals for companionship, competition, liberty work, veterinary procedures, research, feature films and documentaries, and public display. Dr. Zeligs has been featured in numerous documentaries and television shows including National Geographic Explorer, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Dateline, NBC.

Of all her pursuits, Jenifer is most proud of her students, and finds the greatest joy in teaching and working with those passionate about their interests in conservation, animal care and training.  The center of her work is to foster the most compassionate care of animals suited to the needs of the individual trainer, animal and training objective. Dr. Zeligs teaches a nuanced understanding of behavior modification through a pros/cons model without engaging in shaming or judging different approaches harshly. This model provides a thorough foundation of the science of behavior through behaviorist, cognitive, and ethological psychologies balanced with a practical understanding of the art of training.   Dr. Zeligs hopes to engage students to further inquire and develop the art and science of behavior.  Her students now work with and mange a wide range of animal programs throughout the world, and she regularly teaches in partnership with several other colleges of behavior modification world-wide mentoring students in cutting-edge animal behavior and husbandry.

Train with your heart and with your head