Media Sampler

This page displays several opportuntities to see the diversity of our work.  Please enjoy these video samples.

Quantity Recognitiion Project 


The following two videos show some of the early steps in each phase of what Ken formerly referred to as the "counting project" but later renamed "quantity recognition." Ken worked on this project from 2013-2016.  The dog's name is Coral, she is a rescued Airdale mix (3 to 5 years old during the course of this project). The first video is a ClickerExpo promotional video that shows a brief segment of phase one in which the dog was taught to touch different targets depending on how many objects were in a tray. That same video, also illustrates the early steps of phase two in which Coral was taught to look at as many as eight objects in a tray and indicate the quantity by touching a white board with the correspnding number of dots. 

After excellent feedback from the scientific community, Ken changed his procedure to include matching to sample, varied sized and shaped dots, and he increased his testing up to 24 objects.  The videos below do not show the actual double-blind trials as those are being prepared for future scientific publication.  But the second video does show the early trials with known numbers using the new matching to sample protocol.

Results and fulll details of research are still awaiting publication. These videos indicate only the early training steps.

Imitation Research - Dog Copies Behavior of Other Dog


The following two videos show some of the early steps of the imitation research project that Ken conducted from 2009-2011.  The dog is Nico, a rescued American Bulldog.  The goal was to teach him the concept of imitating the behavior of other dogs.  The videos below represent session 16 and 21 very early in the training of this project.  Session #16 was the first session that introduced masking and some of the research protocols needed to prevent bias or inadvertent cueing.  Session 21 is the introduction of a 5th behavior (kenneling).  At this point all behaviors being requested are already in Nico's repertoire, but he had not been trained to copy the rollover or the kennel and he understood what to do immediately.  However, the real test does not occur until much later in the project when he is asked to imitate new dogs and completely novel behaviors.  Results and fulll details of research are still awaiting publication. These videos indicate only the early training steps.

Rescued Dogs at Shedd

In 2013 Ken Ramirez brought rescued shelter dogs back to Shedd for the third incarnation of "Pet Training the Shedd Way."  This time the dogs were a featured component of the new marine mammal show enititled "One World" which debuted on the 4th of July weekend.  The show uses dogs to highlight the important rescue and rehabilitation work Shedd has done for years, while also helping audiences understand the importance of training and the similarities in techniques between dolphin training and dog training.  The two videos below were both aired on NBC in conjunction with the new show, but they take a slightly different approach in telling the story. 

The Diversity of Training

The following Clip aired on Chicago's PBS affiliate WTTW in 2012 and focused on the importance of training and the diversity of animals that we train on a daily basis at Shedd. Although this message is certainly not new, it is always beneficial when it is spread to a wider audience.  In this instance it showed off more than just the typical marine mammal training, but also some work that we do with an alligator snapping turtle and our sharks.

Excerpts from TV Series "Talk to the Animals"

This video shows several excerpts from the pilot episode of "Talk to the Animals" filmed in 2003. This popular show aired from 2004-2006 in Australia and New Zealand. In each epsiode, series host Ken Ramirez helps owners solve typical pet problems then he travels to a zoo or aquarium around the world to demonstrate how similar training techniques have been used to solve behavioral problems with exotic animals.  This clip shows a few brief segments of the very first show.

Targeting with Dogs

During our many workshops and seminars, we use many videos to help illustrate training concepts and principles.  We know that there are many types of learners, but we have discovered that video seems to resonate with most people.  This is just one short example of the thousands of videos we have created and used in our classes. 

Sea Otter Enrichment

This video is an excellent example of how enrcihment and training go hand in hand.  At Shedd Aquarium our sea otters were rescued from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.  Each otter was an orphan and thus did not have the skills to survive on their own in the wild, so Shedd offered to give them a home.  Part of our agreement is that we would take blood samples each month for a year as part of a study to determine the long term effects of the oil spill on wildlife.  In an effort to make the area where blood samples were collected as positive as possible for each otter, trainers provided unique enrichment every day in the blood taking area.  We recorded hundreds of hours of video of these enrichment sessions - this video is a 4 minute music video with some of our favorite moments from those sessions.

Pet Training the Shedd Way

This video highlights segments from Shedd Aquarium's show, Pet Training the Shedd Way.  This version of the show debuted in 2008. This unique program takes in shelter dogs and trains them using the same positive reinforcement techniques used in training the aquarium's exotic animals. The show is meant to help guests connect to and understand training better and at the same time expose them to the plight of shelter dogs in the U.S. Finally, the show hopes to expose visitors to the vital role that training plays in responsible pet care. At the end of the season, Shedd adopts out it's dog stars to good homes.

Bonneville Dam Sea Lion Training

The next clip is from a WGN TV news broadcast and focuses on the story of 2 California sea lions that were rescued from the Bonneville Dam by Shedd Aquarium and relocated to Chicago.  These sea lions were feasting on an endangered species of salmon forcing the government to either relocate these animals or euthanize them.  Shedd offered them a great home and all the non-endangered fish they could eat.  This was taped only a few months after the sea lion was rescued from the wild.

Cavalia & Shedd

The next clip is an NBC news piece that follows trainers from Shedd Aquarium and trainers from the horse show Cavalia as they get together to share training techniques.  Summer 2009.