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Animal Behavior Society
Animal Behavior Society

Working towards a better understanding of animal behavior

Applied Animal Behavior

The field of Applied Animal Behavior specializes in the behavior of companion animals, the behavior of farm, zoo and laboratory animals and studies of the behavior of wild animals when these studies are relevant from an applied perspective, as well as methodological studies.

Applied Laboratory Animal Behavior

Applied Animal Behavior for Laboratory Animals: It is crucial that laboratory personnel understand the behavioral needs of each specific species to maintain integrity of research. Applied animal behaviorists can guide development of appropriate enrichment and behavior programs.

Understanding the behavioral needs and drives of laboratory animals is important ethically and scientifically. Natural behavior can be used as the central theory behind a behavioral test to assess a potential new drug or tell us when an animal isn’t feeling well. If animals are not able to engage in highly motivated behaviors, this can affect scientific data as well as their wellbeing. While rats and mice are still the predominant species found in laboratories, this principle holds true for any species in a typical laboratory animal vivarium: cats, sheep, pigs, nonhuman primates, or even axolotls. This wide variety of species makes applied animal behavior for laboratory animals that much more intellectually stimulating and challenging to study.

Online Resources:

1. AALAS learning library
2. AALAS webinars
3. OLAW website: or
4. International Society for applied ethology

Guide books:

Animal Welfare Institute – Comfortable quarters for laboratory animals

Charles river guidebook series – specifically A GUIDE TO THE BEHAVIOR & ENRICHMENT OF LABORATORY RODENTS