Popular Seminars & Workshop Topics
Although we specialize in customizing seminars and workshops to individual needs, this list of our more popular topics will give you a flavor of the types of seminars we provide. This is only a partial list.
FULL COURSE ON TRAINING – This is the most popular offering, a full course on animal training principles including the science and methods of practical application. The course includes:
- A comprehensive look at operant conditioning principles
- Learning outside formal sessions
- Husbandry training techniques
- Enrichment and variety
- Working with social groups
- Problem solving and dealing with aggression
- Complex training applications
This course can be abbreviated to a two day course (~16 hours) or can be more in-depth and be run over a full week. It can be tailored to individual species or mixed species and adapted to attendee experience levels. The complex training segment can be adapted to your particular application or given as an overview of examples from throughout the real training world.
TRAINING 101 – A PRACTICAL LOOK AT THE SCIENCE (1.5 – 4.0) – A broad overview of operant conditioning and how to apply it in practical everyday training programs. This seminar is designed as a broad overview of concepts and exposes the attendee to all the tools needed to successfully train any species. This course can be designed as a basic introduction to the beginner or a broad overview for all levels of trainers.
HUSBANDRY TRAINING (1.5 – 5.0) – This seminar looks at the keys to developing a good medical training program for any species of animal. It includes targeting strategies, desensitization techniques, and basic concepts needed to gain an animal’s trust and develop reliable medical care behaviors. This seminar can be a short overview or a detail how-to seminar for any species or setting.
REINFORCEMENT STRATEGIES (2.0 – 3.0) – Most good trainers recognize that reinforcement strategies are at the heart of successful training. This seminar delves deeper into many topics, including a discussion of what is a “positive reinforcement trainer” and what are the basic reinforcement keys that all trainers should keep in mind. A significant part of the seminar will focus on non-food reinforcers, reinforcement variety, and evaluation of reinforcers – with particular emphasis on the importance of strategic implementation of any new reinforcement plan. This is a core competency for trainers at all levels and this seminar is suited for all training levels.
COMPLEX TOOLS (1.5 – 3.0) – This is an in-depth look at some of the lesser-discussed but still frequently used and debated training concepts. This seminar will focus on the mythology behind the concept, the science that exists supporting the concept, and the instructor’s observations on the practical use of the concept. Depending on how much time is scheduled, the instructor will select from among the following concepts: Keep Going Signals (KGS), Time Outs (TO), Non-Reinforcement Markers (NRM), Redirection Strategies (DRA), End-of-Session Signals (ESS), Jackpots, Contingency Markers, Recall Signals, and the Least Reinforcing Stimulus/Scenario (LRS). This seminar is focused at experienced trainers, but is suitable for all levels.
SOCIAL ANIMALS (1.5 – 3.0) – This seminar explores the unique challenges we face when trying to work with or train more than one animal at once. Techniques unique or helpful when dealing with groups of animals will be discussed including stationing, fairness, group reinforcement, and new animal introductions. This seminar is designed for advanced trainers, but is suitable for all levels.
INTRODUCING AGGRESSIVE ANIMALS - A CASE STUDY (1.0 -1.5) - This can be incorporated into the Social Animals seminar described above or stand alone. It is not a seminar about aggression as much as a case study for how to work with and introduce groups of animals with a difficult past history. This seminar is designed for advanced trainers and is not suitable for less expereinced trainers.
HANDLING MISTAKES (1.5 - 2.0) - Even the best and most focused animals will make mistakes and positive reinforcement trainers are faced with the dilemma of trying to find the best way to respond to those mistakes. This seminar looks at the many options available to trainers and suggests the most positve approach to dealing with unwanted behavior. The draw back to the more traditional aversive approaches will be discussed and the seminar will focus on how best to ignore unwanted behavior and how to use redirection.
PROBLEM SOLVING (1.5 – 3.0) – Solving behavioral problems is usually at the heart of most consulting jobs. The instructor will share his flow chart or matrix for getting to the bottom of behavioral issues, no matter how complex. This seminar will focus on a step by step look at how to identify a problem, determine the cause, look at motivation, then implement a plan to resolve the issue. Most useful for experienced trainers, but suitable for trainers at all levels.
AGGRESSION (1.5 - 3.0) - Aggression is a constant concern for trainers of domestic and exotic animals as it is a natrual part of all animal's repertoire. This seminar focuses on step by step strategies and techniques for reducing aggression. Additionally, a separate or extended seminar focuses on an exploration of the various popular aggression treatment plans and their specific effectiveness and underlying science.
CONCEPT TRAINING (1.5 - 6.0) – “Stretching Your Dog’s Capabilities” There are many conceptual ideas that require a much more focused approach to training. This seminar will review the foundation needed for training broad concepts like modifier cues, mimicry, adduction, matching to sample, counting and other conceptual tasks. The seminar can be a broad look at concept training or a more focused seminar examining a step by step training process for modifier cue work, adduction, counting or mimicry as a behavior - or any combination of all three. These topics are designed for experienced trainers and animals.
SEMINARS ABOUT TRAINING PEOPLE
So much of what we must do as trainers is teach other trainers. The following seminars focus on that topic.
GAMES TRAINERS PLAY (1.5 – 4.0) – Throughout most of the seminars that are listed a variety of training games and exercises are described or used to assist trainers in honing their skills. This seminar is designed to look at the value of many of these games and demonstrate how to play them. This seminar is particularly useful for supervisors looking for new tools to develop their trainers.
RECIPE FOR BECOMING A TOP TRAINER (1.5 – 2.0) – As trainers we take classes and read books and learn about many concepts. But how does a trainer put it all together? There are many recipes for mixing training concepts into a cohesive program. Ken has organized and established many training programs and teaches many trainers how to be trainers. This seminar will focus on Ken's recipe for teaching new trainers and putting all the skills together. This is only one "recipe" but should help the attendee look at the logic and method behind Ken's successful approach. Designed for the trainers designing a program for teaching other trainers, but suitable for all levels.
CONSULTING (1.0 – 1.5) – “Wanted: Training Consultant! Those Good with Animals Need Not Apply!” Although the title of this seminar is somewhat facetious, the reality is that solving most behavioral problems requires many skills that have little or nothing to do with animal training. The reality is that some of the best animal trainers fail to be good consultants or good problem solvers, because they have not explored the skills needed beyond being a good trainer. This seminar will explore the people skills, organizational skills, and other aspects of working with the people that train and care for animals. Suitable for trainers at all levels.
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT FOR THE WORKPLACE (3.0) – The techniques we use to train our animals can go even further when we apply the principles of positive reinforcement to the workplace. This seminar will explore how reinforcement works with people and the challenges or differences when applying these techniques with co-workers, employees, or our bosses. This is designed primarily for those who supervise, but is suitable for all levels.
SEMINARS for GENERAL AUDIENCES
These seminars are designed for trainers and non-trainers alike.
WHY TRAINING MATTERS (1.5) – An introduction to the non-trainer or basic beginner to the field about the philosophy behind having a training program with your pets or in a zoo.
CROSS-SPECIES TRAINING (1.5) – This presentation will focus on many of the basic skills and techniques that are needed to train any animal, regardless of breed or species. The instructor will use his experience in working with multiple species and compare and contrast approaches to training. Ultimately, the background and skill set needed to train any type of animal are very similar. Broad overview, suitable for any level of trainer.
EVOLUTION OF THE MODERN TRAINER (1.5) – “Evolution of the Modern Trainer – A Personal Perspective” – The instructor will look at the changes that have taken place in the training community through his own unique personal perspective as a zoological trainer and dog trainer. Designed to be an interesting overview of various training concepts and give the participant an idea of the direction of the training community. Designed for trainers at all levels.
CONSERVATION CONNECTION (1.5) - One of Ken's passions is utilizing his training skills to aide in the conservation of wildlife. This seminar will focus on some of his projects as well as the projects of others that have used behavioral knowledge and skills to advance unique and important conservation projects. This is an inspirational look at what is possible - and is appropriate for trainers at any level as well as non-trainers.