New! First time at The Ranch
GAME ON: A WEEKEND OF BUILDING SKILLS THROUGH GAMES
Spend a weekend at The Ranch playing games with Ken Ramirez. Games? Yes, Training Games. You will be playing the training games Ken has created based on a lifetime of experience helping trainers sharpen their skills. Through these games, you will enhance your own training skills and develop a deeper and more flexible repertoire of ways to build and develop skills in others.
In this seminar you will develop skills that are rarely taught, such as training in protected contact, a critical skill both for dog trainers working with aggressive and reactive animals and in many zoological and medical contexts. Classic games that are used to experience successive approximations and shaping, such as Karen Pryor’s pioneering Training Game, will reveal new levels of insight through unique variations. You will work on physical training skills with a series of games that helps build competency in these skills and, simultaneously, illustrates their criticality. You will explore the use of table games to predict and plan for the challenges associated with complex training objectives (e.g., training a lengthy chain, teaching a complex “concept” like match-to-sample), among other goals. You will even learn how to use table games to help someone safely experience the impact of aversives on training/learning.
When you join Ken Ramirez at The Ranch for a weekend of fun and (training) games, you will experience all of this—and so much more. Game On!
Seminar Focus & Curriculum
Day 1: Game On
The Potential of Training Games
Training Games, Skill Drills, Learning Exercises—they all have the potential to be incredibly valuable. Too often, that potential is not realized. “Playing games” or “marching through some skill drills” can easily land with students as “dead on arrival” without thoughtful adaptations that make them appealing from the start. Effective but crucial adaptations can be as simple as adjusting the language used to present the games or skills! Ken will kick off the weekend by teaching you how to think about and execute the successful set-up and implementation of “training games” so that they are successful for your clients and other human learners. He will share his criteria for when to use training games, and in what contexts it makes sense to steer clear of them. This first topic will prepare you for weekend-long discussions of skills, exercises, and the best choices to make.
Physical Skills Exercises
Discover the benefits of physical skills exercises that help learners recognize the value, and practice the competency, of specific skills, such as hand to neutral, timing of the click, delivery of reinforcement, and use of training tools.
The Traditional Training Game
Karen Pryor may have been the first to popularize what Ken refers to as the “Traditional Training Game.” Ken will explore this version of the game, describing and highlighting its benefits. He will also share some of the many variations of the game that may be useful, depending on the skills you are trying to teach your client or student.
Protected Contact in Games
Many trainers do not have a great deal of experience working in protected contact. Ken has used a version of the Training Game to develop those skills in trainers who do not use protected-contact tools often or who are stymied accomplishing certain tasks. Protected-contact skills are useful for people working with exotic animals in a zoo, for anyone working with aggressive and reactive dogs, for trainers trying to teach complex medical behaviors, and for people starting out with a large or pushy horse. Many trainers find the games focused on protected contact, learning to use protected contact successfully, to be the unexpected gems of this course.
Day 2: Game On
The Versatile Table Game
The table version of the Training Game has been around for decades; Ken has used it to teach skilled trainers difficult concepts for more than 30 years. Whether you know the game as Genabacab (You Don’t Say!), introduced to the world by Kay Laurence nearly 20 years ago, or as PORTL, described and expanded by Dr. Jesús Rosales Ruiz and Mary Hunter more recently, it has proven to be a versatile tool in teaching many concepts. Day Two will begin with an introduction to the basic version of the game.
Table Games for Hard-to-Grasp Concepts
A large portion of the day will be spent using table games to illustrate important or hard-to-grasp concepts. After playing versions of the versatile table game, participants will be able to engage in discussions about the benefits of each game. Ken will also draw on personal case studies from his many years as a consultant to share how he has found these games to be beneficial to clients. Some of the concepts that may be explored include putting together a lengthy chain, using various reinforcement schedules, the impact of aversives on training, how to teach a concept (such as match to sample or counting), the risks of having multiple trainers, and more.
Who Should Take This Seminar?
This course was created for experienced trainers and instructors who wish to enhance their own training skills as well as their teaching skills. Ken has also found that trainers with less experience also benefit from and enjoy this course as they develop their own skills.