Protected by Copyscape Online Copyright Search


Kayce Cover
POBox 8788
Norfolk, VA
757 609 5066

Seminar Topics and/or Area of Specialty


Perception Modification: Teaching dogs to cope with stressors and manage their emotions. (there are 4 distinct seminar days in the Certification Series seminars - 1,2,3 & 4 - all prerequisite to being invited to the Perception Modification Certification Camp.

Introduction to Bridge and Target Technique: How to communicate anything you need an animal to know, using bridges and targets. We will then use these tools to create new behaviors and new vocabulary for our animals. There are 4 distinct seminar days in the Certification Series seminars - 1,2,3 & 4 - all prerequisite to being invited to the Bridge and Target Certification Camp.

Personal Goals Master Lessons: Participants bring their goals, dreams and problems - listed on paper. The group will develop training plans to accomplish their goals, and then work singly or in groups, to solve problems and make dreams come true!

Healing from the Heart Out: Helping shelter, rescue and rehab dogs reclaim and recreate their lives. Applies the dynamic SATS protocols to solve almost every problem dogs and owners experience.

Bridge and Target Certification Camp: Achieve Lay Level 1 Certification as a SATS trainer, in Bridge and Target Technique. 4 intense days. Cover basic learning theory and terminology, how to teach basic bridge and target skills, and much more. This is an incredible, bonding experience for all of us who participate. Requires Intro to Bridge and Target Technique, 1-4 for invitation.

Perception Modification Certification Camp: Achieve Lay Level 1 Certification as a SATS trainer, in the Perception Modification Protocol. 4 intense days. Cover basic learning theory and terminology, how to teach relaxation and coping skills, and much more. This is an incredible, bonding experience for all of us who participate. Requires perception Modification, 1-4 for invitation.

Streamlining Training for Zoo Trainers: How to apply bridge and target training in zoos. Shows how to get zoo animals up and running with training in less than 2 minutes per animal, how to integrate training in morning and evening line checks, how to minimize risk to trainer and animal, how to help the animals to cope with medical procedures and other stressful events – and MORE. Kayce Cover has a lifetime of experience training and managing exotic animals, in some of the most prestigious institutions, and some of the most demanding applications, ever. Kayce puts this experience to work for you and your animals, through this dynamic seminar.

Animal Training for Health Professionals: What?! The veterinarian and vet tech as trainers? Yes! In less than a minute per animal, you can see dramatic differences in how your patients cope, tolerate and cooperate with their own medical treatment. And the effects are long lasting. You will see it and you will believe it. NEW!!

International Consultant: Trains staff, animals, designs and implements training and management programs and facilities


Kayce Cover started training marine mammals at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1973, while enrolled at Revelle College, UCSD. There Cover assisted in various medical research labs. Important mentors were Erica Abt (Movie: "Day of the Dolphins") and Jim Mastro (SIO). Important guidance also came from Dan Petersen and Jim Corey of the US Navy programs, and Al Garvey, of Sea World.

Joining IMATA in 1974, Cover soon thereafter moved to Boston, becoming the initial trainer for the project that became Helping Hands for the Handicapped. The purpose of Helping Hands was to develop monkeys trained to aid quadriplegics. Cover did the initial training for Hellian, the capuchin monkey who assists Robert Foster, including basic obedience, safety behaviors, environmental preparation, and basic husbandry behaviors. Hellian has assisted Mr. Foster for 25 years, and was featured twice on "60 Minutes". Cover also worked for a short time at the Amigo School for people with autism, guided and inspired by the dedicated and courageous staff.

Next, to Mystic Marinelife Aquarium, doing shows for up to 1,500 at a time, up to 14 times a day, with Beluga Whales, Dolphins, and Sea Lions. Important mentors: Frank Heard, Jerry Winsett, and Annie Jones (all of MMA) and a special thanks to Jack Schmidt!

Next stop was the National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Cover was Keeper-Leader of Aquatics, Bears and Beaver Valley, and oversaw training and management programs for virtually all the animals in these collection areas. Five kinds of bears were taught to cooperate for injections, hair sampling, moving into travel crates and teeth inspections as well as for routine husbandry and management and demonstrations based on natural behaviors (Lisa Burton, the very dedicated trainer of Mary and the other Polar Bears). Wolves learned to cooperate with ear treatments, otters learned to use squeegee doors, and work safely in direct contact (even with 12 year old volunteers). Bush dogs, Maned wolves, and Cheetas were also trained and managed for their own best care.

The sea lions at the National Zoo were all rescues, who could not be returned to the wild. The National Zoo was their new permanent home, and they and soon mastered their entire curriculum of training, which was presented in educational demonstrations. Zoo audiences, sometimes stretching up the road as far as they could see or hear, and up the hillside to the bear exhibit areas, were directly included in bridging the animals and encouraging them in other ways, and even assisting with the training. The sea lions then went on to fun and enriching training, including amazing flips (Maureen was queen here! 1977-2007), spirals, bows, pillars, speed runs, relay races, working from cues given off exhibit, and coordinated behaviors where 4 sea lions would work together in aerial acrobatics.

Norman (1977-2005), the dominant male, cooperated in stationing on an island, allowing all the animals to be worked at once, by one person. It was stunning to witness. A trainer would walk onto the beach, give the speed swim cue, and all 7-9 animals would race counter-clockwise, entirely around the 450,000 gallon pool, exploding out of the water to jump onto their private stations on various islands and beach heads throughout the exhibit. The lone trainer could then direct all animals from a point on the beach, successfully delivering medication, specified amounts of food, training, and a demonstration, single-handedly. Eventually, the sea lions could be worked with the keep off exhibit and out of sight.

Cover was often seen swimming with all the Sea Lions cavorting around, and would sometimes swim out to an island to present parts of shows. Stay tuned to Cover's blog to learn about the time the huge dead snake was found in the sea lion pool - a little surprise encountered on one swim...

The Grey Seals were 6 years old at the time of their arrival, and had been retired from the US Navy program for open ocean work. These were extremely intelligent, educated seals! At the National Zoo, they went on to do extensive work in communication using graphics, and public interaction outside the exhibit area. Zoo visitors of that era may remember taking walks with the Grey Seals, and assisting in their training, in some rather unique ways. For example, one day, a seal was being taught to tolerate audiences. For this, the audience was asked to follow cues, to range their behavior from quiet and calm, to energetic and loud. One day, the plaza was filled with 100's of zoo visitors, and Dr. Ted Reed, then Director, was driving by in a scooter. With a look of amazement, he suddenly stopped his scooter, got out, climbed onto the bed of the scooter, and surveyed the assembled crowd, singing "Row, row, row your boat" softly in unison, as they moved their arms through graceful arcs... Half hour later, the phone rang. Curator Daryl Boness was checking, by request of the Director, to see if there was a new calisthenics program going on.. Well there was, but the point was to exercise the tolerance and confidence of our seals, and the understanding and involvement of our visitors - rather than any muscles!

During this time, Cover worked with all the Grey Seals, but was responsible for the training of Selkie and Gunnar, who are still at the zoo to this day. Say Hi when you visit them! Selkie is one of the most amazing animals Cover has ever had the privilege to work with. She is extremely intelligent and an outstanding matriarch. Together with Kayce, she created the basis of the two-way communication work that continues to be the foundation of SATS today. Selkie was Kayce's most important mentor during 8 years at the National Zoological Park.

Cover left the Zoo to finish a BS in Animal Science, with a senior theses on Farming Economics which was presented at an international conference in Economics, guided by Dr. John Wysong. Other projects included a survey of the state of knowledge on animal training and cognition, leading to the writing of the manual, "An Introduction to Bridge and Target Technique", for researchers and professional trainers, and a number of training projects, such as teaching pigs to stand voluntarily for blood collection, litter training a horse, and teaching cows to tell if they wanted food or a date with a bull. At the University of Maryland, Kayce learned from many important mentors, including Drs. Vaughn Flyger, Mark Varner, Thomas Hartsock, Benny Erez, Dennis Westhoff, Jerry DeBarthe, and the inimitable, Edwin Goodwin.

While in Washington, DC, Cover also participated in numerous events, such as productions at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, The Preakness, and events with two US Presidents, and their wives, Jacques Cousteau, James Brady, John Denver, Ben Tureen, Pete Seeger, and more.

Many talented zoo and training professionals spent time learning with Cover, during these years, and now are luminaries in their professions.

In 1991, Kayce embarked on a solo career, writing "An Introduction to Bridge and Target Technique (naming Bridge and Target Training in the process), formulating how to present sophisticated training technique to the lay public, creating a seminar curriculum leading talented trainers to various levels of technical mastery, and founding the Syn Alia Training System, now known as SATS®.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, Cover completed an MS in Education, at Old Dominion University, honing an understanding of how people learn and how to design learning materials and presentations.

This work has taken Kayce to many parts of the world, and there are now about 60 certified trainers from Japan to the Netherlands. Cover has introduced and refined many innovations, such as the Intermediate Bridge (or "Support Signal" of the "Support, Success and Touch Signals"®), Perception Modification ("Calm and Cope"®), the term "Diminisher", and more. Cover's work as been presented in Equus, American Animal Trainer Magazine, HIA, and more, in America, the UK and the Netherlands.

Acknowledgement and gratitude are expressed for the important assistance of Karen Hawkins, Off The Wall Emporium, and Julie Alexander, Talisman Dogs, as well as by the SATS® Certified Trainers, who are key in the dissemination of this information.


  • Certified, Teacher-Sci, Va 2002
  • MSED, Old Dominion University, VA, Dec. 2002
  • BS, Animal Science, UMD, Dec. 1989

Key Note Speaker

  • International Association of Canine Professionals, Annual Conference, Hutto, TX 2008
  • AustralAsian Conference on Zoo Training and Conditioning, hosted by Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia, November 2003.

Other Presentations

  • 2009: International Association of Animal Behavior Counselors Annual Conference, Friends for Life: Compassion in Action - Helping Dogs and Cats
    2008: Association of Behavior Analysts Annual Conference
  • 2004: Association of Zoos and Aquariums, International Society of AnthroZoologists, Association of Behavior Analysis


  • Syn Alia Animal Training Systems, 1990-present
    Certification for professional trainers.
  • Resources for animal trainers (manuals, articles, videos, and seminars, including "An Introduction to Bridge and Target Training," Syn Alia Series, the first explanation of the intermediate bridge and these techniques available to the public. See also publication list).
  • Research and behavioral engineering to develop animal based solutions to human and animal needs.
  • Consultant, trainer and animal manager; implements state of the art training programs and husbandry/animal management systems in domestic and exotic animal facilities, trains and motivates staff, designs and develops demonstrations for public education and entertainment, trains and manages animal models/actors.
  • Seminars, classes and events on animal training, training of new professionals, throughout the United States and Internationally.


  • Elephant training, Blijdorp Zoo
  • Training for staff members of zoos – Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Taronga Zoo, Adelaide Zoo, Oakland Zoo, Quebec Aquarium, Mesker Park Zoo, Aurora Park Zoo, Aquarium of the Americas, Antwerpen DierenPark, Good Day’s Ranch
  • Animal rescue organizations- HorseNet and Dog Ears and Paws, and Wood Green Animal Shelters
  • Private facilities – Ancient Oaks Farm, Silverdale Farm, Canine Horizons, 100 Acres Woods Farm, Talisman Dogs
  • Technical staff, University of Maryland 1987-1990
  • Keeper-Leader, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution, 1979-1987
  • Dolphin Trainer, Mystic Marinelife Aquarium, 1978

Public presentations

  • International Association of Animal Behavior Counselors (IAABC), Houston, Texas
  • SATS en Gedragstherapie, Liedschendam, Netherlands, 2008
  • SATS en Gedragstherapie, Meppel, Netherlands, 2008
  • International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP), Hutto, Texas, 2008
  • Association of Behavior Analysts, (ABA) Chicago, Illinois, 2008
  • International Society for Anthrozoology, (ISAZ) Glasgow, Scotland, Oct 2004.
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums, (AZA) New Orleans, Louisiana, 2004.
  • Association of Behavior Analysts, (ABA) Boston, Massachusetts, 2004.
  • AustralAsian Conference on Zoo Training and Conditioning, Taronga Zoo 2003.
  • "Animal Welfare and the Food Industry," guest lecturer, Food Sciences Senior Seminar Class, February 1990.
  • "Communication and Motivation," International Food Technologist Dairy Conference dinner speaker November 1989.
  • "Animal Training Technology, the State of the Art", Public Seminar, University of MD- CP, June 1989.
  • "Application of Animal Training Technology", Faculty Seminar, University of MD- CP, November 1986.
  • “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” Monkey and Sheep for Kennedy Center Opera, 1988.
  • “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Free Flight Pigeons for Arena Stage, 1986.
  • “Real Estate,” Free run Dog for Arena Stage, 1985.
  • "Monkeys Trained to Aid Quadriplegics," behavior staff/primate steering committee seminar, NIH, Bethesda, MD, 1980.
  • "COMPUCHIN", Honorable Mention (top 25 of 800 entrants), Johns Hopkins First National Search for Computing to Aid the Handicapped, 1980.

And INNUMERABLE live animal presentations for audiences of over 1000

Publications: See also “Public Presentations”
Numerous articles. Please see

  • Teaching Dogs to Manage their Emotions: Perception Modification, AAPDT Nwsltr, summer 2003
  • Syn Alia Series: Vol I: An Introduction to Bridge and Target Technique, Revised edition 2002
  • North American River Otter Enrichment, AZA publication pending, 2002
    Protected Contact, a New Era in Elephant Management, American Animal Trainer Magazine, July 2002
  • Introducing the Intermediate Bridge, American Animal Trainer Magazine, Oct 2002.
  • Primate Care Journal 2001
  • “Who’s Training Who.” feature of Simian Society of America.
  • The Journal of PsyETA: : Bridge and Target Training: Beyond Behavior Modification Sep 94
  • Pot Bellied Pigs Magazine 1991 - 1993
    Litter Perfect, litter training
    The Root of the Problem, or Squaring the Root of a Pig, how to constructively redirect rooting behavior
    Perfect Presents, preparing for the new pig, quarantine, travel and introductions
    Pig Prescription I: Vet Exam Training, general examinations, injections and temperature
    Pig Prescription II: Vet Exam Training, mouth, dental work, hoof care
    Home Away from Home, the travel kennel
    Teaching "Come" and "Heel,"
    Harnessing Pig Power, harness training
    Festivities and Fun for All, games for pigs and people
    Stay: To Remain in One Spot!
  • NAPPA Newsletter 1992 - 1993
    CalExpo or Bust! blood sampling to get pigs to the fair.
    To Train or Not to Train, why train a pet pig?
    Stress and the Health and Welfare of Your Pig.
  • Zooculturist: How to Catch the Fast Train, the benefits and logistics of training exotic animals, how to buy consultation services Dec 92.
  • Animals Exotic and Small: Monkeyshines, teaching monkeys to be nonaggressive Dec 92.
  • International Marine Animal Trainer's Assoc. - Conference Proceedings.
    Teaching People to Train Animals, with J. Zeligs Nov 91.
  • Information Storage and Retrieval System, Nov 81.
  • Fur Seal Experiences at Scripps Inst. of Ocean. Nov 78.
  • Soundings Newsletter - Training Terminology 1978.

Video Presentations

  • Instructional videos from Syn Alia 1990 - Present.
  • Blood Sampling Pigs, University of Maryland Mar 90.
  • Chickens on Stage, MCTV Jan 90.
  • Also featured in December 1992 Equus Magazine "The Secret of X" and in various television and other media articles and interviews.

Teacher of disabled children

  • Non-verbal Communication for Shayna, a CP child with CMV, 1994.
  • Teaching pre-verbal children to make non-verbal choices and understand their medical care, Centreville, VA 1993-4.
  • Teacher, Amigo School for Autistic Children, Quincy, Massachusetts, 1977.
  • Volunteer Teacher, Pacific State Mental Hospital, Diamond Bar, California, 1974.
  • Volunteer Tutor with dyslexic and retarded children, 1969-1973.

IT, desktop publishing, curriculum, and teaching certification

  • Created Web Site ( ), WebQuest, Data libraries.
  • Hosted numerous international, professional discussion communities. See (Protected Contact Elephant Management)
  • Produced several videos.
  • Published a book and numerous articles, over the Internet.
  • Established curricula for developing staff at animal facilities: Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, LA, 1996, Good Day Ranch, Austin, TX, 1991; Marine Mammal and Bear Keepers and Volunteers, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1979-1985.
  • Completed Student Teaching May, 2002. Eligible for teacher licensure, July 2002


  Online Class: Perception Modification - Cycles
  Kayce Cover
  Mondays, Oct 20, 27 and Nov 3, 10, 2014




  Perception Modification 1,2,3,4 - Teaching your animal to cope with stressors and manage his emotions
  Kayce Cover
  Aug 19-22, 2010
  Manlius NY (near Syracuse)

  Perception Modification: Teaching your animal to cope
with stressors and manage his emotions
  Kayce Cover
  August 29-30, 2009
  Manlius, New York, (near Syracuse)

Affiliate Disclosure
I am pleased to bring you content free of charge.
When you click on some links and purchase some items through my website,
I receive a referral commission.
I recommend products and services that I think you will benefit by using.
Thank you for your support.



We make every effort to post accurate and current information. Be sure to check with each lister's Website. If you find an error or a broken link on this site, please let us know. The listings on this Website are for informational purposes only and are neither supported or endorsed by Dog Seminars Directory. Thank you.

Return To Top