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Ken Ramirez is widely regarded as one of the top animal trainers working in world today. He's also an expert people trainer. Join us to learn from Ken about the key aspects of training both people and animals and to hear about some of his most fascinating projects (training free flying butterflies and wild African elephants and teaching dogs to count!)

Animal training has begun to venture into many new areas such as teaching medical alert dogs, husbandry training in zoos, conservation projects in the wild, and so much more. Skilled animal trainers are having great success, however, their biggest challenges often come from working with people and constantly changing and emerging technologies. In Ken's career as an animal training consultant and teacher, he has expanded his focus to include the teaching of people skills and the use of more advanced technology. This presentation will focus on examples where animal training, people teaching, and technology use have intersected in his day to day work.


Ken will talk about his work in training people to be better animal trainers. He'll share overviews of four fascinating projects that serve as examples of the convergence of human training, animal training and technology:

Staff Training in Zoological Setting

Butterfly Project (teaching clouds of wild butterflies to fly en masse on cue!)

Elephant Conservation Project (changing the migratory patterns of wild elephants to avoid poachers)

Dog Quantity Recognition Project (can dogs really learn to count?)


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Ken Ramirez is the Executive Vice-President and Chief Training Officer of Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) where he oversees the vision, development, and implementation of training education programs for the organization. He also runs the KPCT National Training Center where he teaches courses and seminars year-round. 

Previously, Ken served as EVP of animal care and animal training at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, where he developed and supervised animal care and animal health programs, staff training and development as well as public presentation programs for more than 32,000 animals. He worked at Shedd Aquarium for over 25 years.

A 40+ year veteran of animal care and training, Ramirez is a biologist and animal behaviorist who has overseen or consulted on training projects for many zoological organizations worldwide.  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 hosted two successful seasons of the television series Talk to the Animals that compared pet training to the important work done with training and caring for animals in zoological facilities.  He has also worked closely with several search and rescue dog organizations, service dog groups, as well as with bomb and narcotic dogs. 

Ramirez has been active in several professional organizations, including the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (IMATA), of which he is a past president.  Ken has been actively involved in the creation of a certification process for animal trainers in zoological settings. 

Ramirez has written numerous scientific publications and authored countless popular articles.  He authored the book ANIMAL TRAINING: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement (1999) and Better Together: The Collected Wisdom of Modern Dog Trainers (2017). For 20 years he taught a graduate course on animal training at Western Illinois University.