Meet Shelley Wood

Shelley’s love for animals started at a young age. She pestered her father for a dog to play with and care for, but to no avail. Her early childhood animal memories are of her goldfish, hamsters, duck and cats. When Shelley was 5 years old she saw the movie Dr. Dolittle and it had a profound impact. What could be better than talking to animals? That childhood dream has lead Shelley’s quest to find effective ways to communicate and care for animals in human care.

She began her professional career in 1990, landing a job training and performing with dolphins and sea lions at a marine park in the Florida Keys. There she was introduced to the science of training through positive reinforcement.

In 1994 Shelley moved to Cancun, Mexico, employed by the newly founded Dolphin Discovery where her career flourished. She was instrumental in developing the training protocols used in the marine mammal interactive programs. These protocols are still used today to ensure the safety and integrity of all interactive programs at Dolphin Discovery.

Shelley Wood served on the Board of Directors of the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association(IMATA) for more than a decade and became the organization’s President from 2010-2012. She won numerous awards for her presentations and dedication to the field of animal training and care. 

In 2008 Shelley founded ABC Animal Training. ABC is dedicated to producing educational material to improve the quality of life for animals living under human care.

She is the producer and author of the ABC Animal Training video course, which is an in depth and balanced presentation of the science of Operant Conditioning and its various applications.

Shelley Wood is also Director of ABC Dolphin Trainer Academy. The Academy provides exciting hands-on workshops to promote and encourage career sustainability within the marine mammal training profession.

What Shelley finds most fulfilling, after 30 years of teaching both animals and people, is the development of a human-animal bond, created and thriving through proper choice driven training. The 1967 film Dr. Doolittle is indeed live and well and human-animal communication technology can be perfected by professionals and lay people alike—all for each other’s mutual benefit


Meet Roque Velarde

Roque Velarde has been an animal trainer for 18 years. He began his career as marine mammal trainer for Dolphin Discovery in 2002. He worked with dolphins, sea lions, manatees and a variety of exotic land animals. Roque’s formative years were spent with his family in remote jungles of Belize and this is where he came to understand that his calling would be in the animal field.

ABC Animal Training is the foundation for trainer development program at Dolphin Discovery and this is where Roque learned to develop his skills in the Mexican Riviera Maya. As Roque’s animal training knowledge, practical application, and animal care skills developed he became a trusted member of the corporate team. In 2010 Roque was promoted to Supervisor at a newly formed Dolphin Discovery sister facility in Sonora, Mexico.

Roque’s skill set further developed during his 5 years as Supervisor where he demonstrated a high level of proficiency teaching trainers and demonstrated excellent animal care management protocols. In 2015 he was promoted to Corporate Regional Manager for several Dolphin Discovery facilities located throughout the Caribbean islands and in Florida, USA.

Roque believes the most remarkable aspect of training is the bond that is created with an animal using ABC Animal Training positive reinforcement technique. Building trust is the critical element in this training methodology and Roque excels at building trust during his training sessions with both people and animals. He firmly believes that both parties will benefit greatly from such a unique bond.