Webinar: Every Day with Every Interaction: Deepening the IACUC’s Understanding of Positive Reinforcement Training

Wednesday, April 17 | 1:00-2:15 PM ET

View the webinar recording:


Every day and with every interaction, animals learn how to respond to the people in their research environment. Positive reinforcement training (PRT) techniques can improve animals’ level of compliance with research tasks, as well as their physiological response to their environment. PRT reduces the need for coercive methods of handling and improves animal welfare for all species. It’s critical that IACUC members have a working knowledge of classical and operant conditioning in order to critically assess research proposals to ensure that the protocols include appropriate PRT.


  • Positive reinforcement training (PRT): philosophy, purpose, and function
  • Classical and operant conditioning: definitions and examples
  • Secondary reinforcement: definition; tools; and techniques, including clicker training, approximations, targeting, luring, and shaping
  • Considerations for IACUCs, including how to recognize and ensure PRT is adequately and accurately included in a research protocol
  • PRT as part of a framework of “lifelong learning” for animals used in research

What will I learn?

After attending this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Define the foundational principles of classical and operant conditioning
  • Assess whether PRT has been adequately incorporated into a research protocol
  • Recognize other operant techniques in use, and assess the accuracy of language used to describe them

Who should attend?

This webinar is aimed at IACUC professionals and members. Compliance staff, animal husbandry staff, veterinarians, trainers, and investigators may also benefit.

Continuing Education

CPIA Credit labelWebinar participants holding the Certified Professional in IACUC Administration (CPIA®) credential may apply 1.25 continuing education credits towards CPIA recertification. Learn More »


Kelly-MorrisoeKelly Morrisroe has been an animal trainer for over 25 years and has trained non-human primates at the Washington National Primate Research Center for the past 10 years. Having previously specialized in training monkeys for neuroscience, she is currently developing a center-wide program focused on bringing positive reinforcement techniques to all aspects of research and animal care. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior from the University of Washington. In addition to training primates, Ms. Morrisroe trains dogs for competition and therapy work. She is a Canine Good Citizen evaluator, a STAR puppy trainer for the American Kennel Club, and a certified helper for United Schutzhund Clubs of America.

Additional Resources

A collection of relevant readings accompany each PRIM&R webinar. Groups that register for webinars receive a discussion guide containing thought-provoking questions and facilitation tips that may help in using the webinar as an educational tool for IRBs.


If you are not yet a PRIM&R member, we encourage you to join today, and take advantage of your very first membership benefit immediately: a discounted registration fee to this webinar.

Individual rates
Member $145
Nonmember $200
Group rates
Member $325
Nonmember $400


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