Ken Ramirez, the senior 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 animal care and training, Ramirez 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.
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. He has been on the faculty of Karen Pryor’s Clicker Expos since 2005. Ramirez has written for numerous scientific publications and popular articles and has authored the book ANIMAL TRAINING: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement, published in 1999. He also teaches a graduate course on animal training at Western Illinois University. Learn more about Ken at his web-site www.KenRamirezTraining.com
Most of Steve White’s 35 year law enforcement career has been in K-9. He is the only person to have served as a handler, trainer, and supervisor for the Seattle Police Canine Unit. Accredited as a Master Trainer in 1993 by the Washington State Police Canine Association. He served as Vice President of the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers, (now called the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers) and has been an instructor for the K9 Academy for Law Enforcement. Steve has instructed at seminars in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, Belgium and the United Kingdom. He is currently a primary instructor for the Karen Pryor Academy for Training and Behavior as well as ClickerExpo. He has taught obedience classes in a variety of venues. His articles have appeared in police K-9 and dog training publications in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He specializes in teaching problem-solving and scent work through the use of positive reinforcement-based operant conditioning. His Hydration Intensified Tracking Training system is revolutionizing the way people train tracking dogs. Steve provides consultation and training to K-9 units on administrative and legal issues, and has been recognized as an expert witness by Washington and Federal courts in Police K-9 and dog behavior matters.
Peta Clarke is a Nationally Accredited Trainer with almost fifteen years experience working as a professional animal trainer in a variety of areas both in Australia and America.
While Peta’s first love is working with dogs, her experiences in the field of animal training range from elephants to goldfish. As a trainer and presenter of animal shows in zoos on several continents, she has had the opportunity to work with many exotic animals, but centres her work in this area on working with free flighted birds and marine mammals. Whether it is a seal or a seagull, Peta has found that every interaction taught her more about being good dog trainer. She believes it was a real turning point in her understanding of the power of reinforcement training. “I thought I was using positive reinforcement well when I would work with dogs, but after I started training birds - animals that can just fly away if they are not interested in your ‘game’ and later seals - animals that could kill you if you didn’t have their total trust, I realized that if I wanted to truly be the best trainer I could be, it was time to pull my socks up”.
As well as a career as an exotic animal trainer, Peta also works extensively for Animal House Animal Talent Agency based in Sydney, Australia, training and working animals for the International Film Industry. Her credits include “Babe”, “Superman Returns”, “Wolverine” and many other local films and literally hundreds of television commercials. Some of her favorite memories working animals on set have come from working the cottonelle Labrador puppies for ad campaigns from around the world. Hard work, she says, but always amazing how quickly an 8-week-old puppy can learn!
In addition to these two roles, Peta also runs her own animal training and consultancy business, Animal Training Solutions, based out of Australia. Peta spends time consulting on both pet dog and parrot behaviour and training issues, advising wildlife parks and zoos on improved training practices and show development. She also is a sought after speaker in Australia, regularly teaching Certificate level animal training and behaviour courses for aspiring animal trainers and an invited lecturer for many dog obedience clubs and related assoications. She has also served as Vice President for the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia for 3 years.
She shares her home with two boxer dogs and a parrot.
Debra Millikan (AABP) – Debra is a Professional Animal Behaviour Consultant with the Association of Animal Behaviour Professionals, a member of the Delta Professional Dog Trainers Association and a full member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia. Debra has been appointed to the Advisory Board of the AABP and is also part of that association’s Professional Practice Guidelines Committee and Membership Examination Committee. Debra’s dog training experience spans more than 30 years and includes many titling successes with her dogs in conformation, obedience and endurance. She is currently Head Instructor at the Canine Behaviour School Inc, a positive reinforcement club based in Adelaide, Australia. Debra has written articles for various journals and magazines including the peer reviewed Journal of Applied Companion Animal Behaviour, Australian Dog World, the Canine News, Dog Blog n Cat Chat and Pet Lifestyle Magazine.
Teresa Crich owns her own business “DogPlay” that provides dog playgroups for dogs in the southern suburbs of Sydney. Her passion is seeing dogs interact and play together in a safe secure environment. She works on rehabilitating dogs who have “social issues” and loves nothing more than seeing a dog run and play that previously could not. Teresa is a Delta Accredited instructor and has previously run puppy and adult training classes as well as provided in home training. She lives happily with her 13 year old gentlemen Ridgeback x, Tequila, her boundlessly energetic 2 year old Kelpie, Zawadi and her 2 cats who keep the dogs in line! Oh and she has a husband who helps to look after the animals.
Terry Theakstone BA, BVSc, MACVSc, CMAVA, Dipl. Pract. Management, M.Appl. Ling. After graduation Terry worked for the Department of Agriculture before starting his small animal career. In 1970 work at the RSPCA at Moore Park in Sydney ensured that an animal welfare became a priority in approach. After leaving RSPCA and working as and assistant in a Sydney practice he opened his first practice at Rydalmere which quickly expanded to a multiperson practice before its sale. Similarly, a second practice at Ryde quickly developed to support several veterinarians. Two successful veterinary practices have been developed as start up businesses. During his career Terry has continuously expanded his knowledge in a variety of fields from statistics to genetics to linguistics. He has lectured at Macquarie University, tutoured at Sydney University and participated in cardiac research at North Shore Hospital as well as running veterinary practices. He is the current President of the Australian Veterinary Practice Managers Association a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association.