In October 2014, Ken Ramirez began his role as Executive Vice-President and Chief Training Officer of Karen Pryor Clicker Training where he helps oversee the vision, development and implementation of training education programs for the organization. This role aligns with Ken's philosophy of helping to bring positive reinforcement training to all corners of the animal training world.
Ken previously served as the Executive Vice-President 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 the entire animal collection of more than 32,000 animals. He worked at Shedd for nearly 26 years. In October 2014 Ken began a new role as a training advisor at Shedd as part of his responsibilities with Karen Pryor's organization.
A 40+ year veteran of animal care and training, Ken is a biologist and animal behaviorist who served nine years at Marineworld of Texas. He also was a trainer and coordinator 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 hosted two successful seasons of the pet training 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 recently worked closely with several search and rescue dog organizations, service dog groups, as well as with bomb and narcotic dogs.
Since 2005, Ken has brought his experience as a trainer of many cognitive projects with marine mammals and primates to the dog arena. Most notable has been his work with modifier cues, adduction, matching to sample, mimicry, and counting. The latter two projects: teaching dogs to mimic or imitate other dogs; and to learn the concept of counting are in the process of being prepared for scientific publication. Both of these projects have documented cognitive abilities in dogs that have not been previously well documented or understood.
Ken 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. He has been on the faculty of Karen Pryor’s Clicker Expos since 2005.
Ken has written for numerous scientific publications and popular articles and has authored the book ANIMAL TRAINING: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement. He also teaches a graduate course on animal training at Western Illinois University.