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Animal Training Pouches

Updated on June 19, 2011

Zoo Keepers have been using Training Pouches since the Ark. Invariably they have been home made or designed and put together in a zoo workshop. You only have to use one once in a Sea Lion or Dolphin show to appreciate all the advantages over holding a weighty bucket over your arm.

Some of the best I have seen have been purpose made out of fibreglass or an adapted tupperware cornflake container. These with belt attached fit snuggly on the hip with contents in easy reach. For dry treats a fanny pack can often be a useful choice. Utility belts for home and garden use can sometimes be adapted.

With the advances in and popularity of dog and horse training many other commercially produced Training Pouches have become available. Some of the most useful pouches in the zoo setting were not made for training at all. These are the 'Bait Bags' used fishermen to hold worms or maggots. Many of these can be adapted for zoo use. This has long been appreciated by dog trainers who often refer to their Training Pouches as Bait Bags.

Some of course are next to useless within a zoo setting but there are those which are excellent for certain types of animal and besides a pouch is a personal thing. What may suit one keeper will not suit another.

With the leaps forward in Zoo Animal Enrichment (and this INCLUDES training) in recent years there is now actually a need for practically all keepers to have a pouch. At its most basic it may serve to hold rewards for animals checked on the morning round. If the animal does not appear...something must be wrong.

Fitting in training around day to day routine for procedures like basic medical checks can often be difficult but with pouch and reward to hand this is made so much easier.

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Choice of pouch is going to be primarily determined by species. What will be ideal for birds or foxes will be unsuitable, usually, for Sea Lions or Large Cats.

The ideal pouches should be constructed of a lightweight strong durable material. It should be easily cleaned and have a snap shut opening. The size should suit the job in hand and colour too should be an option.

As someone who has worked with countless species over the years I know that there is not an all round bag. What I would use for one may not suit someone else. It all comes down to personal choice.


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  • David Fallon profile image

    David Fallon 8 years ago from Pomona, CA

    Interesting hub, I train service cats and am always looking for stuff to help me do my job.