Highlights » Lifestyle » Vol. 16


A Weekend with Dr. Patricia McConnell and Ken Ramirez

Where: Eager Lecture Hall, Worcester State College
When: July 17 & 18
By Hillary Stone

Ever looked at your dog and wondered how much of her emotional life is like your own? Learn the biology behind emotion in both you and your dog, and why it’s reasonable to believe that both species share the emotions of love, fear, sadness, happiness and anger. This day-long seminar includes slides, videos and hands-on work with dogs, all illustrating what emotions really are, and what emotions we might share with dogs and what ones we might not. Included is lots of practical information about how to handle problematic emotions like fear and anger. The day ends with an in-depth examination of our love for dogs, and celebrates the amazing and unique emotional bond between individuals of two different species.

Emotions in You and Your Dog, and How they Affect Training and Relationships (Saturday July 17)

Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., CAAB is an Ethologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who has consulted with cat and dog lovers for over twenty two years. She combines a thorough understanding of the science of behavior with years of practical, applied experience. Her nationally syndicated radio show, “Calling All Pets,” played in over 110 cities for fourteen years. She is the behavior columnist for The Bark magazine (the New Yorker of dog magazines) and a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Comparative Psychology. She is Adjunct Associate Professor in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaching “The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships.” Dr. McConnell is a much sought after speaker and seminar presenter, speaking to training organizations, veterinary conferences, academic meetings and animal shelters around the world about dog and cat behavior, and on science-based and humane solutions to serious behavioral problems. She is the author of twelve books on training and behavioral problems, as well as the critically acclaimed books The Other End of the Leash, For the Love of a Dog and Tales of Two Species. For more information on her books and DVDs, head to www.patriciamcconnell.com or visit her blog at www.theotherendoftheleash.com

From Purgatory to Nirvana: The Path to Enlightened Training (Sunday July 18)

Ken Ramirez, who has been training a variety of animal species for more than 30 years, will speak on three distinctly different topics. He will expose participants to the challenges of problem solving, the advantages and techniques of using non food reinforcers, and take a personal journey through the evolution of modern training.

PROBLEM SOLVING ~ As a consultant, Ken is frequently called upon to resolve training challenges. These have ranged from problematic zoo animals to difficult working dogs to the more common pet challenges. In every case, he utilizes a problem solving flow chart or matrix that guides him and his clients to an effective solution. He will share that process with participants and use one or two cases studies to demonstrate how to use the tool effectively.

NON-FOOD REINFORCERS ~ Most experienced trainers recognize the value of finding reinforcers other than food or treats. However, not every trainer knows how to establish new reinforcers nor how to evaluate their effectiveness. Ken will share his perspectives and experience with non-food reinforcers and explain his approach to implementing them into a good training program.

EVOLUTION OF THE MODERN TRAINER ~ Ken will use a review of the trajectory of his career to examine the growth and changes in the training community to help explore what is possible and how far the training community has progressed. This presentation will take a brief peek at a variety of concepts including relationship building, husbandry training, mimicry, remote training, complex chains, and so much more. This final section is less about how to do these things and more about seeing what possibilities exist.

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

A 30+ year veteran of zoological animal care and training, Ramirez served nine years at Marineworld of Texas. He also coordinated animal care programs at Ocean Safari in South Padre Island, Texas, as well as acting 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 developed an acclaimed pet training television series that compares pet training to the important work done with training and caring of animals in zoological facilities – the program ran for two years in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He has also recently worked closely with several search and rescue dog organizations 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, and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, where he has served on the board of directors for nearly 20 years. 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. 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 is a member of the faculty for Karen Pryor’s Clicker Expos. He regularly travels around the world teaching and consulting about animal training concepts and applications.

For information on registration (which includes seminar support materials, beverages and light snacks) costs, optional lunches, group discounts, payment options, directions, and more, please email crevling@dogsofcourse.com with the Subject line “Group rate for McConnell Weekend.” Space is limited.


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