Lesson 9 – Animal training relationships. (Molly the Morepork, Part 1).


This is the first of five videos about training Molly the Morepork owl. The series will cover building animal training relationships, hand feeding, target training, crate training and training Molly to be used for educational purposes in a zoological setting.

Although this is a bird based in a zoo setting, like all the videos on this site, the basic behavioral principles are applicable to all animals. So if you work in a zoo, great. However, if you’re a veterinarian, a domestic pet owner or something else, what you can learn here will work for you too.

This video demonstrates an important aspect when starting any new training program. This element is building partnerships (relationships with our animals). In the video you can hear me referring to the RECIPE. The RECIPE is an acronym that includes some essential ingredients involved in any good training initiative. These are as follows:

  • R – Reinforcement (positive).
  • E – Environmental arrangement.
  • C – Communication.
  • I – Information (scientific).
  • P – Partnerships.
  • E – Empowerment.

Although this is the first time the RECIPE has been mentioned on this website it will be referred to again. Consequently, make yourself familiar with the above essential training ingredients.


Developing a good partnership with your animal is essential to building trust and getting success with your training initiatives. Trust is when you can do something like physically restrain an animal for a health check and have that same animal immediately approach you again and interact in a positive way. The reason they do this is because we have a good relationship with them. This relationship is based on an understanding our animal has. This understanding Is that we are the deliverers of predictable and pleasant events. We want our animals to think HEY… here comes that person, something good is about to happen.

Start all your training off on the right step. Spend time building up a partnership (animal training relationship) with your animal by being a constant deliverer of positive reinforcement into it’s environment. Watch this lessons video to learn more.