Animal Training and Enrichment Conference (ATEC 2103) comes to Bali December 1-5, 2013 – Indonesia’s first conference dedicated to positive reinforcement methods of animal training and enrichment will be headquartered at the Bali Safari and Marine Park.
While leading experts in animal training methods will be on hand at ATEC 2013, one of the more unique commercial exhibitors at the Conference will be a company called “Aussie Dog”
– the supplier of toys for canines and zoo inhabitants worldwide.
The story of “Aussie Dog”
began some 20 years ago with a Blue Heeler named “Mitch” who was cut badly while playing with a Frisbee
manufactured “especially for dogs.”
This got Joey, the founder of “Aussie Dog,”
thinking about how to improve animal’s play experience. Apart from Mitch's mouth injury, the other all too common injuries to dogs were stick mishaps, swallowing half a tennis ball, ingesting of cotton rope, ingested foam plastics and squeakers.
Joey was convinced there had to be a better way! After much research “Aussie Dog”
began developing a range of "safe" toys and enrichment aids for not only dogs, but also for horses and a wide range of animals housed in zoo and animal park around the world. These products quickly became popular in the industry and with behaviorists and dog trainers.
While the original line of products catered solely for dogs and horses, the concept of toys or enrichment devices was still very much in its infancy when two ladies from Melbourne Zoo approached the “Aussie Dog”
stand at a pet expo. Asking if the toys were suitable for seals, they purchased a couple of items and later contacted Joey to come to the Zoo in order to see the seals playing with the "Aussie Dogs
was then asked if they could make larger items that the seals might enjoy. In time, zoo keepers from other departments asked Joey to develop enrichment products for their animals ranging from primates, carnivores, pachyderms and even Tasmanian Devils.
In time, Australian zoos began posting information on their websites leading to the current day when “Aussie Dogs”
now exports animal toys to all parts of the globe.
The “Aussie Dog”
journey, although challenging, is never boring. Along the way they’ve collected bittersweet stories of reticent polar bears; fiendish Tasmanian Devils; creating tug toys for predatory Komodo Dragons in a London Zoo; humoring laughing hyenas; and creating indestructible playthings for tigers and lions.
One of "Aussie Dog's"
most memorable assignments was the creation of elephant boots for Bon Su,
the Bull Elephant at Melbourne Zoo.
Despite an Elephant’s size and their seemingly indestructibility, these large animals are prone to foot problems. ”Aussie Dog”
first started making boots for medical purposes, saving a number of rare animals in the process. Their boots were used during the cleanup of Sumatran and Thailand Tsunami storm damage and they have now developed a specialized boots for this purpose.
“Aussie Dog” has spent part of the past year making birthday presents for a pride of 6 lion cubs at the Melbourne Zoo.
The “gifts” were eagerly received by the 70 kilogram lion cubs who pounced on their customized toys and commenced hours of ravenous play.
“Aussie Dogs” attendance in Bali at ATEC 2013
will allow them to showcase their complete range of animal toys while meeting with trainers from zoos and animal parks, and exchanging ideas on how to develop new and interesting enrichment products for creatures great and small worldwide.
have a passion for animals, supporting organizations worldwide working to save endangered animals. Some of the organizations supported by Joey and his team include: Animal Asia, Borneo Orangutan Society (BOS), Free the Bears, Sepilok Orangutan reserve Malaysia, Royal Elephant Kaarl Thailand
and the Surin Project.
Shown on Balidiscovery.com
are some pictures of “Aussie Dogs”
large base of satisfied customers.
ATEC 2013 on Face Book
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