Ken Ramirez believes that animals are capable of far more than we give them credit for—when training is fun! For example, animals can learn to identify a specific object among a group of both familiar and novel (unfamiliar) items. This concept, called Match-to-Sample, is one of the must-have core concepts that are used to train broader concepts such as Modifier Cues, Adduction, Mimicry, and even Counting!
When we think of animal training, we don’t often think beyond teaching certain cues. However, Ken Ramirez encourages everyone to think beyond the cue and rethink what dogs are capable of. With the proper foundation, dogs can be taught a variety of concepts, including the concept of counting! In this video, Ken uses the concept of “matching-to-sample” as a mechanism to ask the dog, Coral, multiple questions about a set of objects in a tray. How many tennis balls? How many Kongs? Coral chooses from a series of sample boards to indicate how many of those specific objects were in the tray.