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What We Can Learn from Animals with Cydney Peterson – 9-26-15

August 28, 2015

As we explore the ways that we can learn about ourselves from others, we also must consider the non-human energies that are present in our life that can also teach us.  Pets in our home help us learn about patience and compassion, but what else can our pets and other animals teach us about life and ourselves?  This week we speak with a person who has devoted her life to understanding and connecting with animals, and she’ll share with us how we too can learn more for the animals in our life.

CydneyPetersonJPEG0815Cydney Peterson was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and has spent a lifetime building relationships with animals.  She has always felt a special connection with them. She views the human-animal relationship as a gift and that it is humanity’s responsibility to care for Mother Nature’s creatures with kindness and love.

During her studies in biology and studio art at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, Cydney began exploring animal care and behavior. She completed a general internship at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, then a specialized internship in primate care at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, IL. In 2003, she began working as a zookeeper at the Houston Zoo in Houston, TX. In 2005 she then moved to Racine, Wisconsin where she worked as the Primary Rhino Care Specialist and Behavior Management Coordinator.

Cydney believes in positive reinforcement training to shape animal behavior and has attained exceptional results using this technique among a broad-spectrum of species. She has successfully built trusting relationships with dogs, zebras, capybaras, giraffes, tapirs, orangutans, wolves, fennec fox, bears, large cats, and rhinoceros, among many other species. Most notably, Cydney taught the black rhinos at the Racine Zoo to participate in unrestrained, non-sedated blood draws, a wide variety of husbandry behaviors, and painting with their prehensile lip.

Through her studies with the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior, Cydney has developed additional insight into shaping animal behavior and clarified her understanding of canine communication. This has enhanced her relationship with her own dogs and helped her to communicate these techniques with pet owners. She believes that a clear understanding of animal body language and communication is essential for a successful training program with any species; and that building trust with the animal promotes a harmonious human-animal relationship.

Cydney’s current endeavors include dog training, dog walking, and pet sitting. She enjoys continuously cultivating her knowledge of behavior and motivation and will be adding to that knowledge base by exploring the world of human psychology and behavior; studying people’s relationships with food, body image and self fulfillment through the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Cydney currently lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband, Adam, and two dogs, Cooper and Roscoe.

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