Anja is a senior at UNT who is working on getting accepted to the Behavior Analysis graduate program in the Fall. She came to the U.S. from Germany to learn how to improve her animal training as well as how to give lessons that improve the relationship between human and animal.
She has been training animals since she was 8 years old, starting with guinea pigs, bunnies, and cats, and expanding her repertoire to rats, birds, and dogs. Today, her focus is on horses, donkeys, and mules, even though she still enjoys working with all kinds of animals.
Anja owns a cat, two dogs, and 15 horses. She spends most of her free time rescuing troubled horses from slaughter plants and retraining them. Her goal is to be able to help each horse through training to find a place in society. Depending on the horses’ physical abilities she trains therapy horses as well as show and liberty horses. It is very important to her to implement training methods that rely on the animal’s voluntary participation rather than force or pain.
Anja’s current project in ORCA is a former racehorse that exhibits problem behavior that could be classified as separation anxiety. He gets nervous and at times dangerous when taken out of his herd in order to be fed in his stall. In addition to calling and dancing, he also developed a head bobbing tic whenever he is separated in a stall. This tic causes him lameness as he shifts his weight to his front end. Under the supervision of Dr. Rosales-Ruiz, Anja was able to conduct baseline sessions that will help her develop an intervention program in the near future.