Animal training

Seminar content Price / Accommodation Reservation Ken Ramirez Biography Contact  



through Positive Reinforcement

further challenging and advanced issues

with Ken Ramirez

 07. - 09. DECEMBER 2007 

at Munich / Germany

3 days Seminar learning, watching, asking Ken Ramirez.

A valuable chance to enhance your knowledge about operant conditioning, training situations and problem solving with positive reinforcement.

Written by an attendee :

"Ken Ramirez is a terrific teacher. His allover knowledge about animal training and behavior is significant. When I attended a seminar with him I felt inspired by his teaching abilities, in fact he used positive reinforcement with us attendees as well. The seminar was packed with interesting themes and profound knowledge. Although there was a lot of stuff to absorb, it was at no point boring. Ken got never tired to answer questions, even in breaks he answerded willingly all questions asked. His seminars are mind expanding, exciting and even funny. His amount of stories and experience about his life and training occurrences with animals, mixed with video sequenzes, which illustrate the themes of his seminar very well, makes attendence just plain fun."

The seminar will be held  theoretical. There are no life sessions with dogs planned.

 Class Outline ( hand out ):

 DAY 1 – BASIC TRAINING PRINCIPLES ( start 9 o´clock )

I.  Class Overview


II. Before Training Begins

  A. History of Animal Training  
    B. Why Training is Important  
     1. Training = Teaching

 2. Cornerstones of Animal Care

     3. Primary Reasons for Training
     4. Secondary Reasons for Training
  C. General Animal Care
     1.  Species (Breed) natural history
     2.  Individual animal history
     3.  Diet and Nutrition

 4.  Environment

     5.  Record keeping

  D. Interaction and Trust

III. Basic Operant Conditioning    
    A. Terminology  
    B. The Basic Science  
     1. Operant vs. Classical Conditioning
     2. Laws of Learning

 3. ABCs (Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence)

    C. Reinforcement  
     1. Reinforce vs. Reward
     2. Positive Reinforcement
     3. Marker Signals
    D. Shaping  
     1. Successive Approximations
     2. Shaping techniques
     3. Pryor’s 10 Laws of Shaping
    E. Stimulus Control (Cueing)  
     1. Discriminative Stimulus (SD)
     2. Fading
     3. Pryor’s rules of stimulus control
     4. Fluency vs. latency
     5. Superstitious behavior
    F. Dealing with Incorrect Responses  
     1. Ignore the unwanted behavior (LRS)
     2. Time-outs
     3. Deprivation is not the answer
     4. Aversive techniques (negative reinforcement & punishment)
     5.  Redirection

  G.  Training and Shaping Plans

IV.  Non-Formal Interactions    
    A.  Active vs. Passive Training  
    B.  Technique vs. Instinct  
    C.  Developing Relationships  
    D.  Ethograms  
V.  Cooperative Training (Husbandry)    
    A.  Cooperative Behavior  
    B.  Desensitization  
     1.  Habituation (Passive)
     2.  Counter-conditioning (Active)
     3.  Generalization vs. discrimination
    C. General Animal Care Principles  
     1. Husbandry – the four cornerstones of animal care
     2.  The veterinarian’s role – communication
     3.  The Dozen most common medical training mistakes
    D. Basic training techniques  
     1. Solid basics

 2.General body exams – finding the right position


 3. Blood sampling/injections and invasive  procedures

     4. Working around the mouth and head
     5. Removal from the environment
     6. Other husbandry


I. Advanced Techniques & Concepts    
   A. Defining an advanced concept  
   B.  Black & white – areas of gray  
   C.  Secondary reinforcers  

 1. Definitions

     2. Teaching secondaries
     3. Premack principle

 D. Advanced notes on reinforcement

   E. Schedules of Reinforcement  
   F. Punishment, negative reinforcers & aversive stimulus  
     1. Definitions
     2. Real world use of these concepts
     3. Rules for using punishers
     4. Public’s perception
   G. Conditioned punishers  
     1. Delta
     2. “No” signals (NRM)
   H. Recall signals  
   I.   Chained behaviors  
   J.   Other advanced concepts  
     1. Continue signals

 2. Combination behaviors

     3. End of session signals
II. Aggression    
   A. A natural phenomenon  

 B. Looking at it from operant perspective

   C. General rules about Aggression  
   D. Rules on reducing aggression  
   E.  Dangerous situations  
   F.  Intervention  
   G.  Putting aggression on cue  
III.       Problem Solving    
   A. Planning  
   B.  Identifying the Problem  
   C.  Determining the cause  
     1. Environment
     2. Social
     3. Psychological
     4. Physical
     5. Trainer
     6. Session use

 7. Regression


 8. Desensitization

   D. Behavioral analysis  
     1. Determine balance of reinforcement
     2. Understanding motivation
   E. Implementing a plan  
     1. Look at causes and potential motivation

 2. Techniques for untraining undesirable behavior


 F. Monitoring

IV.       Variety    

 A. Multitude of options

     1. Training sessions
     2. Toys and devices
     3. Play sessions
     4. Habitat options

 5. Social structure


 B. Session Structure


 C. Session Type


 D. Enrichment


 1.Providing variety


 2. Looking beyond toys

     3. Timing – operant conditioning principles always at work
   E. Consistency  


I.  New Studies – Recent Developments    
   A. Poisoned Cues  

 B. DRL – Differential Reinforcement of  Lower Intensity Behavior

   C. Negative reinforcement  
   D. Memory, mimicry, cognition, and exploration of the animal mind  
II.Concept Training  A. Overview – taking a step beyond the standard operant paradigm  
     1. Modifiers: Right or Left; Up or down – Search and Rescue training

 2. Matching to sample – Service dogs


 3. Space conceptualization - Guide dogs


 4. Aduction - Combining establish cues to create new instructions


 5. Mimicry


 B. How to begin concept training


 1. Important preliminary training


 2. Establish solid basics

     3. Desensitization and generalization
     4. Creativity within a framework
   C. Space Conceptualization  

 1. Service dog training


 2.Challenges of this training


 3.Keys to getting a dog to look beyond its own world


 D. Modifier Cues


 1. Useful in many scenarios


 2. Getting started – right and left (or over and under)


 3. Adding new modifiers


 4. Teaching animal more complex modifiers (Large, medium, small)


 5. Testing your animals – the transfer test


 6. Step by step – How to teach modifiers


 E. Matching to Sample


 1. Research technique, used in scent tracking and with service dogs


 2. Useful in multiple scenarios


 3. Training matching to sample

   F. Mimicry Training  

 1. Early testing with marine mammals


 2. Dog trials


 3. Step by step – How to teach mimicry


 G. Testing Your Animal


 1. Desensitization and generalization


 2. Transfer test - proofing


 H. Keys To Training Concepts


III.The Art of Training


 A. Is Art the Opposite of Science?


 1. Extremes in philosophy


 2. How do they blend?


 B. Performing at the Highest Level


 1. Complex chaining


 2. Reinforcement variety


 3. Polishing performance


 4. Giving the animal more detailed feedback

  a.  3 different types of “yes” signals

  b.  4 distinct “no” signals

  c.  Additional information


 C. “Reading” the Animal


 1.  Exploratory training


 2.  Letting the animal decide its limits


 3.  Don’t let the animal train you


 D. Putting it All Together




Price for the seminar without rooms :

Early Registration (means the payment of 400 Euro until 28th February ) From   01. November 2006  to  28. February 2007          400 Euros
Regular Registration (means the payment of 450 Euro until 30th June) From   01. March  to 30. June 2007  450 Euros
Late Registration (means the payment of 500 Euro until 31th Oct.) From   01. July  to 31. October 2007   500 Euros
  Latest Registration from 1. November 2007 are possible in consultation with us.  
External Participation  (without rooms at the hotel)  Have to pay 60 Euros more on every condition. That means early reg. -  460 Euro. Regular reg.  - 510 Euro. Late reg.  - 560 Euro.  460 / 510 /     560 Euros
Dogs / per day        8 Euro

Seminar costs Includes:

Other drinks than coffee and tea are available at breaks, but must be payed seperat, the drink for lunch as well.

Price for rooms per night at the Airport Hotel Mercure:

75 .- Euro Singleroom incl. breakfast  ( 3 nights 225.- Euro )

88 .- Euro Doubleroom incl. breakfast ( 3 nights 264 .- Euro )

Please book your rooms directly yourself at the Airport Hotel Mercure !

Email :    

or phone:  (049) 8122/8670

Since there is only a limited amount of double - and single rooms available, please start booking these early.

Rooms can be booked from Thursday 06 th December.



Seminar Reservation



  Ken Ramirez Biography

Ken Ramirez, vice president for animal collections and animal training, develops and supervises animal -care programs, staff training and development as well as public presentation programs for the animal collection at Shedd Aquarium. He joined Shedd Aquarium in 1989.

He is the person responsible for all animal care
(24,000 animals in over 1400 species) at that facility.

1976 he started his animal care and training career.  A 30-year veteran of zoological animal care and training. Ramirez served nine years at Marineworld of Texas. He also coordinated marine mammal care programs at Ocean Safari in South Padre Island, Texas, and has served as a consultant to many zoo and aquarium programs throughout the world. He began his training career working with guide dogs for the visually impaired and has maintained a close affiliation to pet training throughout his career. He is currently developing a new pet training television series that compares pet training to the important work done with training and caring for animals in zoological facilities. He has also recently worked closely with several search-and-rescue dog organizations.

Ramirez has been active in several professional organizations, including the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (IMATA), of which he is a past president, and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, where he has served on the board of directors since 1987. He also has served on the board of the American Cetacean Society. Ken is actively involved in the creation of a certification process for animal trainers in zoo settings.

Ramirez has written for several scientific publications, including Marine Mammals: Public Display and Research and Soundings , the IMATA quarterly journal. He teaches a graduate course on animal training at Western Illinois University and has authored the book ANIMAL TRAINING: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement , published in 1999.

Ken has just completed the first season of the television series “Talk to the Animals” that takes positive reinforcement training into the home to assist pet owners in solving difficult training dilemmas.

Further information on Ken Ramirez

Member of the Clicker Expo Faculty founded by Karen Pryor


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