07 How To Be an Expert Animal Trainer With Barbara Heidenreich

Barbara Heidenreich and I met back in the early 2000’s when she was first starting out. I won’t ever forget meeting her at a conference and I was immediately drawn to how easy she made positive reinforcement based training for the parrot owner to consume and apply. She was just starting up Good Bird! Magazine, and allowed me to contribute some articles. I always took away something from her parrot workshops, partly because they were so dense and partly because she too was evolving her strategies and learning new things, too.

In the nearly 20 years since then, Barb and I have not only crossed paths, but shared rooms for weeks at a time, worked together on projects, brainstormed, and she has helped me bounce ideas around in countless ways. As a role model, she has become someone that I look up to not only for animal training challenges (hello, WWBD?) but also when it comes to strength and integrity.  There aren’t too many people that you can say that about.

Barb and I both launched our online education membership sites generally around the same time, vaguely having an idea what the other was up to. We love that we are each working on what we find our complementary strategies that speak to where our respective paths have taken us: Barb with her incredible work with improving the lives of exotic animals and me with my continued work with parrots, raptors, other exotic birds, and domestics. It is this camaraderie and similar approaches to animal training that allowed us to work so well together in 2016-2017.

You can check out my affiliate link for Barbara Heidenreich’s animal training education membership site, a treasure trove of courses and such for zookeepers and trainers, visit and check out the $1 trial mentioned!

For more on peak performance and focused practice, look for Anders Erikkson’s book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

As always, you can watch highlights of our training on the Avian Behavior Lab Facebook page and Instagram