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Image by Lui Peng
Sara Richter, CDBC

 As an avid equestrian of over 25 years, I began my career with horses, and have since gained over 15 years of experience working with numerous species. My lifelong experience with various animals drew me to those presenting behaviors that others considered a problem, and I dove headfirst into the world of behavioral science. To date I have handled and trained thousands of animals and I have dedicated my career to education, developing creative and effective solutions that are backed by sound science and do not rely on force, intimidation, pain, or fear to alter behavior. 

 In recent years, my focus has been to translate the long-standing learner-centered behavior intervention strategies that are the standard of care in the human industries of behavioral health,  to animal training. This involved developing creative strategies based on scientific principles to expand two-way communication systems to increase the choice options beyond the binary of yes and no. To provide animals the tools and skills to construct their own experiences and convey preferential information which enables me to negotiate more efficient, effective, and enjoyable learning experiences. This approach has helped me to learn more about the animals I work with as individuals and to engage them not just as cooperative, but as collaborative partners in training and behavior modification.

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Image by Jamie Street
What is Learner-Centered Animal Training?


The term learner-centered comes from the human education field, in which these strategies have been implemented for many years. 

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