WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School (WOHS) students in Karen Green's animal behavior course recently hosted a visit with dog trainer Frank Pugliese and his trained pitbull, Bella, to gain a better understanding of how to work with animals.

Pugliese, a Master Trainer/Behaviorist at Behavior Plus, and Bella demonstrated the best way to handle and train canines, including what not to do. Students were intrigued by his insights and knowledge on handling Bella. Interactive question-and-answer periods were interspersed throughout the demonstration.

The animal behavior class is now in its second year and is popular among students considering medical and/or veterinary careers. The course entails:

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  • Evolution of Animal Behavior
  • Learning and Cultural Transmission (instinct vs learned behaviors)
  • Sexual Selection and Mating System
  • Social Behaviors such as Animal Play, Animal Cultural, Animal Politics, Animal Language, and Animal Business

"The thing I look forward to the most is observing the students' reactions during a live lab activity," said Green. "They get so much into it with excitement and their reactions are priceless. Also, the trips are great, because the students are gaining real-life experiences when observing the animals.”

Labs include the study of earthworms and flatworms, Pill Bugs, and Choice Chambers.

Students also make class trips to observe animals, including visits to Turtle Back and the Bronx Zoo.

Guest speakers include veterinarians and most recently, Pugliese.