Guidelines For Handling Wild Animals

  1. Each new step in training must be introduced slowly and carefully to avoid triggering a FLIGHT FEAR REACTION. If a bad "fear" memory is formed during training, a very flighty animal may become more difficult if not impossible to train. Fear memories can be formed by either a painful or a non-painful, highly adversive, frightening event.

  2. Use food treats which are highly palatable and not part of the animals regular diet.

  3. The animal's FIRST EXPERIENCES when training must be as pleasant as possible to prevent a "fear" memory. Do not attempt to force a flighty animal in any way. If the animal begins to exhibit signs of agitation and stress - DO NOT CONTINUE. Wait for the next training session and try again. It is recommended that training sessions be at least 24 hours apart to allow the animal sufficiant time to calm down.

  4. The person doing the training must be a person the animal trusts. This trust can be developed by habituating the animal to the trainer's physical presence in or around the stall. Just allowing the animal to accept an individual's quiet presence would be the animal's training at this stage. People that can be associated with possible traumatic past experiences should not attempt to train the animal because in the majority of cases, the animal already associates these people with a fear memory. Examples of traumatic past experiences :
    • Wildlife: darting or netting
    • Livestock: rough handling, being hit, being chased at high speeds