Westlund, K. 2014. Training is enrichment - And beyond. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 152, 1-6.
With regards to the issue of animal training in the zoo community, there is some debate as to whether or not it should be considered a type of environmental enrichment (EE). This article suggests four criteria by which an intervention may be considered enrichment. The putative enrichment should (a) give the animal more control over its environment; (b) add behavioral choices; (c) promote species-appropriate repertoires; and (d) empower the animal to deal adequately with challenges. Using these criteria, I demonstrate that formal training using operant conditioning fulfills them all; some training may thus indeed be regarded as EE. Moreover, the application of a comprehensive training program will help animals obtain better welfare than can be achieved by conventional environmental enrichment (CEE) alone through the addition of other training techniques such as counter conditioning and systematic desensitization. A holistic behavior management plan should include CEE as well as a well-orchestrated and enriching training program; they complement one another and produce synergic welfare effects.