Zoo Consulting



Ohio Animal Training LLC has been consulting with zoos on animal behavior since 1998. We specialize in behavioral consulting with animal facilities using positive reinforcement. Animal behavior programs include:

• setting training goals

• written training plans

• training progress reports

• coaching at individual training sessions

• coaching for keeper talks

• enrichment program development 

• staff development and training workshops

Ohio Animal Training has had the pleasure of working with six AZA accredited zoos, a wildlife center and many horse owners.

To discuss an animal behavior program specialized for your facility and pricing please contact us at:

Ohio Animal Training LLC           


Zoo Testimonials

Tara Gifford of Ohio Animal Training LLC has been working with the Animal Management team at the Wilds for several years.  She has worked with our staff to help develop training and enrichment plans for our collection, as well as working independently with individual animals. Her assistance has made a great difference in what we have been able to accomplish with your training programs. Tara works well with all of our staff and provides detailed reports to help us track our progress."

Dan Beetem, Director of Animal Management at the Wilds

"The Akron Zoo began contracting with Tara Gifford more than a decade ago when our staff was extremely small, and we needed to add the operant conditioning and behavior modification skills to our regular routines to better manage our animal collection. We received recommendations of her work from other Ohio Zoos who had successfully worked with her, and hired her on a consulting basis...

I have found her to be the consummate professional while working with staff, and very open to discussion when looking at behavior program changes.

I would strongly recommend her work.

Doug Piekarz, VP Planning & Conservation Programs

Akron Zoo

"Tara has been our training consultant for many years.  She has an incredible ability to work with a keeper and come up with a plan to complete a complicated training task by breaking it down to very simple steps.  She sends wonderful reports to us keeping us informed of our training goals.  Her knowledge is diverse which is great for our large, diverse collection."

Dusty Lombardi, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

“Tara has helped so many keepers reach their training goals at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. With Tara’s assistance, our animal care program has sprung to an extremely high level of husbandry.  Tara is a valued member of our training team.”

Kelly Vineyard, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
 Curator, African Forest/Australasia

"With Tara's gentle but direct guidance, she can point out different ways of getting animals to do behaviors you have never imagined!"

Alisa S. 

"Rinzen, who is very new and rather young, is a pretty skiddish red panda. We have started training him to stand on his hind legs, stand on a scale and touch his nose to a yellow target stick. Blueberries are his absolute favorite, so we reward him with that, and we use a dog whistle as a bridge. The training has really helped him to become friendlier, and he almost climbs in our lap just to get some blueberries! We will keep working with him so that he will do the same with more than one person."
Christy N.