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Susan Miller

ABI Success Story


Animal Training & Enrichment
Laboratory Aniomal Behavior

Let’s Meet Susan!

I am a Certified Laboratory Animal Behavior Professional at the Battelle National Biodefense Institute in Maryland, where I oversee the environmental enrichment program for a diverse group of lab animal species - everything from mice to nonhuman primates. I’ve always been interested in behavioral enrichment. I completed the programs in Animal Training & Enrichment and Laboratory Animal Behavior to gain a greater understanding of animal behavior and to develop enrichment and assessment plans for the animals in my care.

Our programs have been very successful. In fact, a colleague and I recently published an article about successful use of positive reinforcement in a laboratory environment; it appeared in a recent issue of Lab Animal Science Professionals.

How did you benefit from your experience at the Animal Behavior Institute?

I have been able to apply positive reinforcement training and to develop enrichment devices at my facility in Maryland; this is also where I completed my field experience requirement.  One of my favorite outcomes from the program is the ability to get our sheep to submit to voluntary blood draws without being restrained.

What was your favorite course?

I have a strong background in psychology. Thus, it was probably inevitable that my favorite course would be the Human-Animal Bond. I learned skills that I could apply to my own pets as well as those at the shelter where I volunteer on weekends. I’ve used my new skills to train my cat to walk on a leash and to work with rabbits at the shelter. While I was training my new puppy to sit, I unintentionally taught my cat to sit as well!

After completing my training, my one wish would be that all the volunteers at my shelter could take courses with the Animal Behavior Institute to increase their understanding of animal behavior and enrichment.

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