Off-Site Events

If you are interested in attending any of our off-site events, please understand that presenters will be working amongst horses, zoo animals, and shy/fearful shelter animals. For this reason, spaces are limited and offered on a first come, first served basis.

All-Day Equine Workshop

May 4th, 2023, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Central)
6 CEUs pending (CCPDT, IAABC, KPA)
Simple lunch provided midday
Shuttle service provided from Royal Sonesta Houston to Independence Stables (Stafford, Texas)


We’re in for a ride! Join us for the IAABC Foundation All-Day Equine Workshop!

We are proud to offer this LIMA-based horse training and behavior workshop! With renowned speakers, we are in for a day FULL of fascinating presentations and demonstrations. Topics will cover many facets of modern horse training.

Regardless of your level of expertise, this workshop is for YOU. Make sure to sign up early; limited spots available.

Houston Zoo Event


May 4th, 2023, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm (Central)
3 CEUs pending (CCPDT, IAABC, KPA)

Ever wanted to take a peek behind-the-scenes at the zoo, not just in the movies or on TV, but “IRL”? Now’s your chance! Join the IAABC Foundation @ The Houston Zoo experience on Thursday afternoon, May 4th, 2023! We will explore the animal kingdoms together as the animal care and wellness team give us the inside scoop on their everyday lives at the zoo.

Can you imagine providing voluntary hoof trims to a huge herd of goats? How about completing a cooperative care protocol for cheetah or tiger tail blood draws? Learn about the diseases that plague elephants in the wild and zoo environments, and see how these magnificent, majestic creatures receive cooperative care for an amazing variety of things. Some techniques you may even recognize, just on a grander scale!

We will explore all of the above and more, so come join us for this incredible experience at The Houston Zoo! At the end of our adventure, join us for our casual “Beasts, Bites, & Brews” Social Hour at 4:00pm Central Time, as our IAABC Foundation Animal Behavior Conference weekend comes into full swing!



Choice-Centered Care 

Friends For Life Shelter
May 4th, 2023, 1:30 pm – 6:30 pm (Central)
5 CEUs pending (CCPDT, IAABC, KPA)
Light dinner and networking opportunity included

After attending this workshop, participants will have the tools to:

  • Implement novel and accessible ways of adding choice and agency to the lives of shelter animals
  • Identify animals who would benefit from a choice-centered, ritualized introduction to potential adopters
  • Tailor ritualized introductions to meet the need of individual animals
  • Demonstrate mechanical training skills that contribute to the success of ritualized introductions to novel humans

During the workshop, participants will learn about various ways that FFL applies choice to grow a sense of agency in their resident animals. These include some very simple, accessible practices requiring very little training and resources, as well as other, more ambitious processes like the Ritualized Introduction Protocol that helps FFL’s most fearful dogs and cats learn to opt-in to friendly encounters with new humans.

The program will conclude with a light evening meal with FFL Behavior Team members and an open discussion about modern sheltering practices and how participants can advocate for more choice for residents at local shelters.

Read more in the IAABC Foundation Journal:

Playgroups: Where the Magic Happens

BARC Animal Shelter
May 4th, 2023, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm (Central)
5 CEUs pending (CCPDT, IAABC, KPA)
Light lunch provided

We know that playgroups at shelters can be beneficial for dogs: they provide enrichment, social contact and communication with other dogs and people, and allows them to decompress away from the kennel. But how are you supposed to start such a program from scratch at your shelter? Especially if there are no staff resources to allocate to this worthwhile endeavor? This workshop will answer those questions and more!

After this workshop, participants will be able to:
• Successfully and safely introduce dogs
• Train volunteers with no playgroup experience so they can facilitate
• Collect data on their playgroup sessions
• Manage a playgroup session and be able to perform any of the roles at a playgroup

This workshop will be hands on with dogs that are currently residing at the shelter! Once you’re familiar with the structure of playgroup, we’ll give you all the tools you need so when you get back home, you can start running playgroups and improving the welfare of your shelter’s dog population!

This workshop will include classroom presentations, hands on practice, Q&A with both of the presenters and current Playgroup volunteers who went through the training, and will include a light lunch where you can continue asking questions and network with like-minded shelter dog enthusiasts!

Unable to participate in any of those events?


Here are some other suggestions that you can do on your own …

Support the Houston Zoo by visiting on your own (purchase your ticket at, and then join us for our casual social hour at the zoo (4:00pm Central).

You’re also always welcome to tour Friends for Life Animal Shelter during their regular hours of operation.