1+1=3: Adduction & Combining Cues

Experienced trainers and animals often look for new challenges and ideas to stretch and expand their abilities. At ClickerExpo, Ken Ramirez has frequently challenged attendees and their dogs with various forms of concept training: first with modifier cues, then mimicry. In this lecture, Ken continues with the theme of concept training, but this time focus on the art of combining cues — a type of compound cue often referred to as adduction.

Although there are many types of adduction, Ken starts with the most common cue combinations that he refers to as “additive adduction.” Here’s an example: a dog is spinning, and while the dog does that behavior the trainer cues a bark. The dog continues spinning but now barks at the same time, creating, in essence, a third behavior (bark while spinning) out of two separate behaviors.

The main focus of this lecture ishow to teach an animal the actual concept of adduction — meaning that once the concept is learned the animal could be given any two or more cues and combine them even if the trainer had never presented that particular combination of cues to the animal previously. A training approach for the concept of “AND” as well as the concept of “THEN” will be presented.

In addition to being fun to learn and teach, adduction can help animals learn new behaviors more quickly. This can be very helpful for both working animals and any animal facing new challenges on a regular basis.

Through stories, examples, and videos, you will learn the three different types of adduction, a step-by-step approach for training each, as well as their applications and limitations.

Ken Ramirez

Ken Ramirez is the Executive Vice-President (EVP) and Chief Training Officer of Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT). There he helps to oversee the vision, development, and implementation of training education programs for the organization.

A 40+-year veteran of animal care and training, Ken is a biologist and animal behaviorist who has overseen or consulted on training projects for many zoological organizations throughout the world. He began his training career working with guide dogs for the visually impaired and continues to work with organizations training dogs for service work, search-and-rescue, bomb detection, and narcotic detection. Ken has also maintained a close affiliation with pet training throughout his career.

Prior to his work with KPCT, Ken served as EVP of Animal Care and Animal Training at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium for more than 25 years. There he developed and supervised animal care and animal health programs, staff training and development, and public presentation programs for more than 32,000 animals. Ken has written for numerous scientific publications and authored countless popular articles. He authored the book ANIMAL TRAINING: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement, published in 1999.

Ken taught a graduate course on animal training at Western Illinois University for 20 years and has been active in several professional organizations, including as a past president of the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (IMATA). He is actively involved in the creation of a certification process for animal trainers in zoological settings. Currently, Ken is developing courses and programming at The Ranch, the Karen Pryor National Training Center in the state of Washington.