Tara Gifford has always had an assortment of animals in her life. She grew up riding and her love of horses helped to lead her into career in animal behavior. After graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in Animal Science she worked at a vet clinic.
Tara began her zoo career in 1985 by joining the staff at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium hand raising zoo orphans and caring for many species of mammals and birds. Then after 9 years of training marine mammals in Chicago, performing shows and mentoring new trainers she began applying the same proven training methods of positive reinforcement while working with other terrestrial exotics. She has successfully taught these powerful training principles to zoo keepers, pet and horse owners. Tara began her consulting career 20+ years ago and has enjoyed working with accredited facilities and wildlife centers on animal behavior programs and staff development.
Tara is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed as of April 2019. CPDT-KA measures a broad range of knowledge and skills in ethology, learning theory, dog training technique, and instruction.
Tara is a member of AAZK (American Association of Zoo Keepers), ABMA (Animal Behavior Management Alliance), Ohio Horseman's Council, IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), volunteered as Fundraiser for Saddle Up for St. Jude and at a raptor rehabilitation center.
Tara has a degree in Animal Science from The Ohio State University. She took the first AZA course: Managing Animal Enrichment and Training Programs. Tara has completed course work at National K-9, Karen Pryor Academy's Puppy Start Right for Instructors and TAGteach Primary Level. She keeps up with the latest in training and enrichment methods by attending (and presenting at) conferences, workshops and course work with leading professionals such as Ken Ramirez, Dr. Susan Friedman, Dr. Robin Foster and Val Hare.
Tara Gifford was interviewed for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Journal by Patience Fisher. Read the article here.
An engaging presentation on equine enrichment which includes information about the benefits of providing a stimulating environment for your horse. Learn ways to increase forage time and strategies to encourage natural behaviors for all horses, including those on medical rest. Learn about the 5 categories of enrichment and view numerous examples of each. Learn how to provide enrichment for specific behavioral goals and monitor for safety.