Britta Wilson, BA, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA
I am an 8th generation San Diegan and a descendant of the historical Osuna family of Rancho Santa Fe. I have worked in the animal field for nearly 25 years and have been training exotic and domestic animals for 16 years. I specialize in animal behavior, marker/clicker training, enrichment, handling and care of animals.
I have been a lover of animals and an advocate for animals since I was child. I grew up with a mother who nurtured my love for animals and taught me to treat animals with love, kindness and respect. I grew up with many animals including, birds, rabbits, cats and dogs… and would ride horses whenever I got the chance. Growing up on the beach in the North County coastal area of San Diego also nurtured my love for animals and nature.
After a successful modeling and acting career in Los Angeles in the 1980’s I turned my professional focus to working with and helping animals. I volunteered at The Orangutan Foundation in Los Angeles, California and as a veterinary assistant at Sun Surf Animal Hospital in Sunset Beach, California. In 1993 I began an internship at the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park in Santa Ana, California while I was a student at California State University Long Beach. During my internship I studied the intraspecies and interspecies behavior of black-capped capuchins, howler monkeys and capybaras from South America.
I graduated from college in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, a minor in biology and an emphasis in animal behavior and upon completion of my internship, was offered a position as a keeper at the Santa Ana Zoo. I accepted, and began caring for a menagerie of animals including, mountain lions, colobus monkeys, ring tailed lemurs, white-handed gibbons and farm animals.
In 1995 I accepted a position at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park working as an educator/guide. My responsibilities included, but were not limited to, leading “behind the scenes” tours, presenting animals to the guests, working as a back-up lead trainer for Wildlife Education, driving photo caravan trucks and working as a media spokesperson on the local news.
In 2001 I accepted my “dream job” working as an animal trainer at the San Diego Zoo. My primary responsibility was providing enrichment for all the zoos’ animals, including, but not limited to, elephants, hippopotamus, bears, gorillas, tigers, lions and giraffe. In 2003, I transferred to the “Hunte Amphitheater of Animal Behavior” and trained, handled and cared for over 25 exotic animals and performed in shows attended by 1000’s of guests a year. Some of the animals I worked with included a cheetah, arctic wolf, red tailed hawks, binturongs, red river hog, clouded leopards, emu, pacaranas, badger and golden retrievers.
I left the zoo field in 2008 and began working in the animal rescue and shelter field. I worked as an adoption counselor for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, and as an elephant caregiver at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, one of only two reputable elephant sanctuaries in the United States.
In 2012 I launched my business offering my expertise in the animal field to pet parents in the San Diego area and volunteered my services training volunteers for Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas and for the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services in the use of positive reinforcement and animal handling techniques.
In 2013 I became a certified training partner of Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA CTP) and in 2015, developed a program called “Junior Animal Trainer” teaching children how to train animals using positive reinforcement and clicker training. The program is offered at Mira Costa “College for Kids.”
In April 2017, I received my 2nd certification in dog training through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). I am now a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowlege Assessed (CPDT-KA).
I look forward to meeting you and helping you with your animal training, animal care and dog walking needs.