Testimonials

Written Reviews

Basic Workshop

  • I have learned so much it is hard to put it all in words. You are a gifted teacher and trainer and I am so lucky to have been able to learn so much from you. Thank you for this amazing experience, and I am so glad I was able to be part of ABC Academy 2008.
    Denise L.
  • This has been a life changing experience for [my daughter]. She is studying psychology with a focus on animal behaviors and has always wanted to work with marine mammals. Your academy helped her achieve that goal. She did an internship and loved it, but it didn't have the impact on her that your training week has had. She worked very hard to borrow the money to do this training, and now I'm glad that she did. I know that her future working with animals will become a reality. Thank you again. I am happy and excited that she learned so much!
    Elaine U.
  • Words fall short of the gratitude that I have for you and everything you did for the workshop. It exceeded any expectations that I had going into it. I am just beside myself at the opportunity I had this past week.
    Cherie S.
  • [ABC Academy] inspired so much confidence in me, and I now know this TRULY is what I want to do with my life. We are so incredibly appreciative towards the time, effort, information that the entire Dolphin Discovery crew gave us. I hope you know that I was incredibly humbled and encouraged by your words of wisdom, and truly appreciate the opportunities you presented to me.
    Nick G.
  • In the one week I learned and experienced so much more than I could ever learn in a textbook. Thank you for making it possible for me and many others to finally have first hand experience as dolphin trainers. The trainers welcomed us as students with open arms and made it easy for us to ask questions and hear about how their dreams progressed.
    Laura D.
  • I wanted to thank you for all the time and efforts that you put into this course for us from the beginning to the end. The email about how to get to the resort from the airport and all the other instruction were highly useful and helped to save a lot of money and enjoy commuting independently and safely around in a country that had never been before. Through out the course, I greatly appreciated the variety of programs we experienced along with our true hands-on experience on birds and dolphins as two different species. I also appreciated your effort in the interview and resume sections along with introducing to us different aspects of this career such as animal nutrition, medical and of course animal behavior and training the most.  It was again a great pleasure for me to meet you and attend your ABC Animal Training program I strongly look forward to continue with the advance program.
    Ashkan F.
  • Absolutely fantastic!!! I cant begin to explain the experience of truly feeling like a marine mammal trainer. The theory behind positive reinforcement training and the spectacular practical sessions in the water with the animals…Puerto Aventuras is an amazing place, the people even more amazing and the ABC workshops more amazing still. I wish i could be there everyday for the rest of my life!!!
    Gemma C.
  • I want to start by saying thank you for everything! I have had the best time of my life! I feel as though I have learnt and accomplished more than I could ever imagine. I did what I loved and met some of the most amazing people and made some of the best friends I could ever ask for!
    Verity H.
  • Invaluable week of memories! I learned more than I ever expected and have already started using these new skills and knowledge back with the zoo animals I work with!  You get to live the dream of getting hands on with marine mammals everyday. Incredible!
    Sophie Bannister
  • ABC Animal Training's beginner and advanced courses are exceptional! They are structured to bring the lecture information to life with many hours of hands on work with the dolphins, sea lions and a myriad of other animals at the facility. The support from Shelley, Roque and crew of trainers was positive, fun and confidence building!  As  a dog trainer, these courses were instrumental in improving my training skills and understanding of how to work with any animal. I am ready to do it again, it was an experience of a life time!
    Jan Gould
  • My experience with ABC Animal Training was nothing short of amazing. Not only was the whole experience fun but, extremely educational. As an existing professional dog trainer with experience in training animals professionally , I learned SO much more that I was able to take home and apply to my dog training and clients. The caliber of my training has risen greatly since my time at ABC Animal Training, and I and my clients are all better pet owners because of it! I would do it several times over.
    Megan Kaczmarczyk
  • I have been an animal trainer and trainer mentor for almost 15 years. I strive to build the animal/human bond through meaningful learning utilizing humane, science-based strategies rooted in the learning theory and animal cognition, teaching basic and advanced skills to help pet guardians implement effective behavior training and management methods, with a strong emphasis on building trust and confidence, as well as specializing in rehabilitating shy/withdrawn dogs and combating fear-based aggression. I am also a humane educator and animal welfare advocate, working with diverse populations in communities building partnerships to promote the humane treatment of companion animals and prevent animal cruelty.  

    I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been part of the 2020 ABC Animal Training workshops.  Shelley Wood is a very skilled and dynamic trainer and teacher.  I can’t say enough good things about the experience.  Besides being absolutely thrilling interacting with some of the most amazing animals I have met to date, the workshops offer plenty of in-depth and personalized small group learning. The best part of working is small groups is the amount of actual hands-on application and practice using operant conditioning to teach, elicit and manage animal behavior.  While not new to these techniques, it was an incredibly valuable experience to practice with new species. Additionally, and perhaps the most important aspect for me, was learning how to be more effective working as part a team to develop and implement a shared training plan with precision and accuracy. Being a trainer working primarily with companion animals in the community, I often work alone to problem solve and plan– except for consulting pet owners in how to most effectively carry-out training as prescribed. Working as a cohesive team is an incredibly important part of caring for wild animals living in captivity and for me was the most rewarding aspect of the experience. It left me wishing for a more collaborative environment in the companion animal training and behavior management field.  Image the good work that could be done – particularly within and across animal rescues, if we could work openly and collaboratively to employ the most effective and humane behavior management and training strategies to help the most vulnerable animals in need.
    Natalie L. Keegan, BA, CPDT-KA, Founding Director/Humane Educator, Kids-4-K9s, Incorporated
  • I had a wonderful 2 weeks during the ABC animal training workshop this past summer.  I’ve taken several training workshops before at a few different facilities, but learning from Shelley offered so many new perspectives and applications on concepts I thought I was already pretty familiar with. The knowledge and experience she brings is invaluable, and the amount of hands on, learning by doing really took the training to the next level. It was also incredible to be part of a diverse group that ranged in age from 15 to 60, and all career paths including professional dog trainers!  I created lifelong friendships with some amazing people that share the same passion and love for animals. I look forward to taking her workshops in the future!
    Kate Walker
  • ABC Animal Training was a dream come true for me and my career. I spent two weeks learning everything there was to know about training animals using positive reinforcement. Shelley was amazing and taught me so much. Since her training I was able to push further and land a job with an aquarium! Thank you Shelley for everything!
    Dallas Marie Downing
  • ABC animal training is an experience I will never forget and will be one of the best two weeks of my entire life, the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained from doing both the basic and advanced course is out of this world and I cannot wait to hopefully put it in action myself. When doing the course I didn’t just learn how to train the animals but learned how to create a bond with them and how much care and devotion the animal care team give to the Dolphins, Sea Lions and Manatees. Some of my favourite things I did during the course was training Regina (Dolphin) and Kiko (Sea Lion) how to do a fast swim, and another was being one of the first none staff to enter the water with 2x 1 year old baby Dolphins as part of their training and seeing them be a little nervous at first and by the time the session was over they never wanted us to leave the water was an experience that will always stick with me. I just want to give a massive thank you and shout out to Shelley Wood whose knowledge, commitment and passion to educate people on these amazing animals under human care is priceless, as well as the staff at Dolphin Discovery for taking the time to help create amazing memories.
    Stephen Collins
  • Participating in ABC Animal Training was an experience like no other. I was fortunate to participate in both the beginner and advance course. Shelly Wood and Roque had so much knowledge about training animals it was a pleasure to learn from them and along side them. I was able to learn from and work with bottlenose dolphins, rough toothed dolphins, seals and sea lions, and stingrays. I was able to observe tortoises learning a new behavior as well as birds. The amount of hands-on experience ABC Animal Training gives you is priceless. It was beneficial to be able to learn about behaviors and training in class and then get the opportunity to practice them with animals and later reflect on our training sessions with the animals. The staff at GulfWorld in Panama City were welcoming and the trainers had lots of knowledge and answered any questions we asked them. I cannot thank Shelly Wood, Roque and the staff at gulfworld for an incredible and unforgettable experience.
    Abigail Denzer
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Advanced Workshop

  • After your incredible training academy and 2 internships, I finally got my first marine mammal training job. I will be starting as seasonal sea lion keeper. The ABC Dolphin Training Academy is what gave me that extra edge of confidence I needed as well as a valuable learning experience. I still have all the notes that I took at the academy, which I still refer back to from time to time. It is because of your wonderful dedication to aspiring trainers that I am about to live my dream.
    Diana V.
  • I just wanted to give you an update on what has happened in my life after the ABC course. I got a full time Zoo Keeper position at the (…)Zoo. I am working with the Sea Lions there…I have also trained new behaviors with the River Otters and a Barn Owl. I am so excited about my job and training. I learned so much about training from your program and am always recommending it to people. Thank you for everything!
    Robin C.
  • Just want to thank all the ABC animal training staff/Dolphin Discovery for the most amazing two weeks. I recommend this course to anyone who is interested in pursing a career as a marine mammal trainer, its definitely worthwhile.
    Justine P.
  • I wanted to take a moment to thank you so much for offering your courses. I learned a ton and it was amazing to get to spend the time with you and to get my first bridge. I grew as a person so much during both weeks at ABC. I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally. I think the course was great because it taught us a lot about operant conditioning, but also about the true lifestyle of a marine mammal trainer... and educated us on the importance of professionalism in and out of the water. The teamwork segment was a huge bonus.
    Erin M.
  • When my colleague told me about the ABC Dolphin Trainer Academy at Dolphin Discovery it didn't take much thinking for me to decide that I would participate. And I'm very glad I did! It was an amazing week with truly dedicated people and wonderful animals. I learned a lot both in class and in the water. Thank you very much to each and every one involved!
    Silke P.
  • I have to thank you for being an absolute amazing mentor. The week I spent with you in Isla was unforgettable. You are an amazing teacher, and thank you for being so patient. It allowed me to refresh my training skills, and clarify so many terms I did not understand ... It is so awesome to be surrounded by people who are actual compassionate animal people. Thank you for reminding me who I am and the animals I truly love and want to work with. My appreciation towards you is immeasurable!
    Cara D.
  • ABC Animal Training's beginner and advanced courses are exceptional! They are structured to bring the lecture information to life with many hours of hands on work with the dolphins, sea lions and a myriad of other animals at the facility. The support from Shelley, Roque and crew of trainers was positive, fun and confidence building!  As  a dog trainer, these courses were instrumental in improving my training skills and understanding of how to work with any animal. I am ready to do it again, it was an experience of a life time!
    Jan Gould
  • My experience with ABC Animal Training was nothing short of amazing. Not only was the whole experience fun but, extremely educational. As an existing professional dog trainer with experience in training animals professionally , I learned SO much more that I was able to take home and apply to my dog training and clients. The caliber of my training has risen greatly since my time at ABC Animal Training, and I and my clients are all better pet owners because of it! I would do it several times over.
    Megan Kaczmarczyk
  • I have been an animal trainer and trainer mentor for almost 15 years. I strive to build the animal/human bond through meaningful learning utilizing humane, science-based strategies rooted in the learning theory and animal cognition, teaching basic and advanced skills to help pet guardians implement effective behavior training and management methods, with a strong emphasis on building trust and confidence, as well as specializing in rehabilitating shy/withdrawn dogs and combating fear-based aggression. I am also a humane educator and animal welfare advocate, working with diverse populations in communities building partnerships to promote the humane treatment of companion animals and prevent animal cruelty.  

    I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been part of the 2020 ABC Animal Training workshops.  Shelley Wood is a very skilled and dynamic trainer and teacher.  I can’t say enough good things about the experience.  Besides being absolutely thrilling interacting with some of the most amazing animals I have met to date, the workshops offer plenty of in-depth and personalized small group learning. The best part of working is small groups is the amount of actual hands-on application and practice using operant conditioning to teach, elicit and manage animal behavior.  While not new to these techniques, it was an incredibly valuable experience to practice with new species. Additionally, and perhaps the most important aspect for me, was learning how to be more effective working as part a team to develop and implement a shared training plan with precision and accuracy. Being a trainer working primarily with companion animals in the community, I often work alone to problem solve and plan– except for consulting pet owners in how to most effectively carry-out training as prescribed. Working as a cohesive team is an incredibly important part of caring for wild animals living in captivity and for me was the most rewarding aspect of the experience. It left me wishing for a more collaborative environment in the companion animal training and behavior management field.  Image the good work that could be done – particularly within and across animal rescues, if we could work openly and collaboratively to employ the most effective and humane behavior management and training strategies to help the most vulnerable animals in need.
    Natalie L. Keegan, BA, CPDT-KA, Founding Director/Humane Educator, Kids-4-K9s, Incorporated
  • I had a wonderful 2 weeks during the ABC animal training workshop this past summer.  I’ve taken several training workshops before at a few different facilities, but learning from Shelley offered so many new perspectives and applications on concepts I thought I was already pretty familiar with. The knowledge and experience she brings is invaluable, and the amount of hands on, learning by doing really took the training to the next level. It was also incredible to be part of a diverse group that ranged in age from 15 to 60, and all career paths including professional dog trainers!  I created lifelong friendships with some amazing people that share the same passion and love for animals. I look forward to taking her workshops in the future!
    Kate Walker
  • ABC Animal Training was a dream come true for me and my career. I spent two weeks learning everything there was to know about training animals using positive reinforcement. Shelley was amazing and taught me so much. Since her training I was able to push further and land a job with an aquarium! Thank you Shelley for everything!
    Dallas Marie Downing
  • ABC animal training is an experience I will never forget and will be one of the best two weeks of my entire life, the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained from doing both the basic and advanced course is out of this world and I cannot wait to hopefully put it in action myself. When doing the course I didn’t just learn how to train the animals but learned how to create a bond with them and how much care and devotion the animal care team give to the Dolphins, Sea Lions and Manatees. Some of my favourite things I did during the course was training Regina (Dolphin) and Kiko (Sea Lion) how to do a fast swim, and another was being one of the first none staff to enter the water with 2x 1 year old baby Dolphins as part of their training and seeing them be a little nervous at first and by the time the session was over they never wanted us to leave the water was an experience that will always stick with me. I just want to give a massive thank you and shout out to Shelley Wood whose knowledge, commitment and passion to educate people on these amazing animals under human care is priceless, as well as the staff at Dolphin Discovery for taking the time to help create amazing memories.
    Stephen Collins
  • Participating in ABC Animal Training was an experience like no other. I was fortunate to participate in both the beginner and advance course. Shelly Wood and Roque had so much knowledge about training animals it was a pleasure to learn from them and along side them. I was able to learn from and work with bottlenose dolphins, rough toothed dolphins, seals and sea lions, and stingrays. I was able to observe tortoises learning a new behavior as well as birds. The amount of hands-on experience ABC Animal Training gives you is priceless. It was beneficial to be able to learn about behaviors and training in class and then get the opportunity to practice them with animals and later reflect on our training sessions with the animals. The staff at GulfWorld in Panama City were welcoming and the trainers had lots of knowledge and answered any questions we asked them. I cannot thank Shelly Wood, Roque and the staff at gulfworld for an incredible and unforgettable experience.
    Abigail Denzer
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ABC of Animal Training DVD

  • ABCs of Animal Training is a new teaching tool for the professional trainer. It is one thing to read about training techniques, but actually seeing them demonstrated on video takes understanding a concept to a new level.
    Ken Ramirez, VP Animal Training, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago IL
  • The study guide and worksheets have really helped me set up classes and work with my team. The visual examples in the DVD make the material easy to understand, especially for someone whose first language is not English.
    Nahoko Hayashi, Senior Trainer
  • ABC's (or Animal Training)... not only played an enormously significant role in my sea lion training career but it has completely and utterly changed the way I work with horses. Thank you for the work you've done and thank you for putting it out there.
    Andra Irons
  • I wish someone would have done this years ago. The visual examples make complicated concepts easy to understand. This is without a doubt the best educational material on animal training I have ever seen.
    Jim Corey, Training Consultant
  • ABC of Animal Training video is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn to train animals effectively and humanely. The videos are informative and fun to watch and the study guide helps you monitor your progress.
    Karina M. Nielsen, Training Consultant
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