Press Information

Animal Training – Bridge and Target – Syn Alia Training Systems

Bridgton, Maine – OFF THE WALL presents Kayce Cover, founder of the Syn Alia (sin uh lee’yah) Training System, for the first time in Maine, Sept 8-10, 2006.

Friday evening, there will be a special demonstration at the farm of Karen Hawkins, for Maine Greyhound Placement Service, and for animal shelter and rescue workers, with a special focus on greyhounds. Press are invited. Saturday and Sunday will be seminar, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (same location). Dedicated animal professionals and lovers are welcome for this mixture of presentation and hands-on training. Call Karen (see below) for more information.

Cover maintains that most animals have the ability to learn and understand many things about their care and the world around them, especially if we help them to learn. Using three signals: the Terminal Bridge (tells the animal when it is finished), the Intermediate Bridge (tells the animal it is on the way to success) and the Target (shows the animal where to go or look), we can describe almost any behavior to an animal, and coach the animal to perform that behavior. We can even teach concepts, like Left versus Right, Up versus Down, Move versus Stop, body parts, colors and numbers. Cover named this system of communication, Bridge and Target Training, in a manual she published in 1991, “An Introduction to Bridge and Target Technique”. Bridge and Target Training is part of a larger training and management system, SATS (Syn Alia Training System), which Cover developed.

SATS works with all animals, and is kind, simple, fast and fun. People are usually amazed to learn how smart their pet is.

What has been done with SATS / Bridge and Target?

  • Heifers told scientists what they wanted. (UMD, see /category/kayces-chronicles/)
  • Horses were litter trained (UMD)
  • Chickens danced for a Wild West chicken show.
  • Polar bears presented teeth and nails, for examination (Smithsonian’s National Zoo)
  • Monkeys have been trained to aid quadriplegics (Tufts New England Medical Center).
  • Dogs have learned to find family members and go for help!

In over thirty years of work, Cover has introduced many innovations to training, including the Intermediate Bridge and Perception Modification, which are scientific terms for a special way to coach an animal, and teaching animals to cope with stress and emotion. Cover will show video of birds learning English words, a dancing horse, and a six month old baby learning left and right. Cover has degrees in animal management and education and has worked at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of Maryland, and Mystic Aquarium, and has worked in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and all corners of the US.

For more information about SATS, visit
To read about some of Cover’s adventures, see

Or contact:
Karen Hawkins 207 627 3734 or
Kayce Cover 757 214 2836

Help for sheltered animals – Animal Issues

January 5, 2005 – Kayce Cover is bringing new ways to rehabilitate traumatized and difficult dogs to shelters. SATS (Syn Alia Training System) is the name of a multipronged approach to develop difficult dogs into adoptable companions. This system is based on teaching dogs to consciously relax, giving them lots of information about what is going on and how we want them to behave, and giving them ways to give us back information directly. Best news is, results have been very fast and dramatic at Wood Green Animal Shelters (see where Kayce and staff trainers have been collaborating on the retraining of some difficult dogs. (see

Cover teaches animal professionals and owners how to interact safely with animals in a very positive way. The training is voluntary, and relies on creating a desire to learn within the animal. Food can be used, but is not necessary in many cases.

As Wood Green Animals Shelter’ experience shows, shelters are looking at new ways to support dogs needing help. One of the most difficult aspects of the shelter worker’s job is deciding/attending euthanasia (humane killing of an animal). Euthanasia is a last resort, but necessary when an animal cannot be safely rehomed. A significant number of sheltered dogs have behavior that the original owners were not able to tolerate or change. This leads dogs to shelters, with the hope that someone else will be able to cope with, or change, the dog’s behavior. But of course, the dog now has a habit that many humans would find difficult or impossible. These habits commonly center on house training issues, aggression, reactivity and hyperarrousal. And, being in the shelter setting can make it worse. Many dogs find being in shelters very stressful, with tension from other dogs, barking, lower contact levels and less personal exercise and attention all being contributing factors.

In fact, one scientific study has recently concluded that aggression in dogs cannot be corrected while the dog is in a shelter setting. This leads to the necessity of euthanizing dogs which are aggressive toward humans or animals. SATS is at work to change this reality.

For more information:

Or, contact:

Kayce Cover
Syn Alia Training Systems
757-588-5967 or 757 619 5557
Sue Gearing (UK)
44 1480 830 014 x204