Schedule

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Speakers

Sponsors

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Eva Bertilsson

Eva Bertilsson has a master’s degree in behavior analysis and a passion for all things related to behavior, learning and animal welfare. She grew up with horses, rabbits, and other animals, and ventured into dog training in the early 1990s. For many years Eva spent most of her time on the agility field, earning top merits with phalènes Misty and Soya. She has always been most fascinated by the processes of learning and teaching. For the past ten years Eva has been working full time as an educator in a wide variety of settings—from puppy classes at the local dog club to husbandry training in zoological settings to seminars for teachers on the science of behavior.

Together with business partner Eva Bertilsson, Emelie runs their collaboration Carpe Momentum. Emelie and Eva’s goal is to help people acquire knowledge and skills in science-based, modern, humane and empowering teaching strategies for the benefit of learners of all species. They teach seminars on the general principles of behavior and learning, and coach trainers in the art of structuring great training sessions regardless of the venue or the species.

“E&E” are the first Level 3-certified TAGteachers in Europe, offering consultations and workshops about applying positive reinforcement techniques with human learners in all imaginable areas. The colleagues’ first book, Agility Right from the Start, was published by Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) in 2010. The book outlines Emelie and Eva’s philosophy and structured approach to training, making it a worthy read not only for agility enthusiasts.

Eva lives in the village Ljungskile, on the west coast of Sweden and north of Gothenburg, but spends much of her time travelling. Border collie Tizla makes sure Eva’s free time is filled outdoor activities and enriching training projects.

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Hannah Branigan

Hannah Branigan has been training dogs and teaching people for more than 12 years. In addition to being a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), she is a faculty member for KPA, a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). She is also a popular speaker and teaches workshops all over the country. As the owner of Wonderpups, LLC, Hannah is committed to training both dogs and people with positive reinforcement methods.

She has titled her dogs in conformation, obedience, schutzhund, agility, and rally. Her dogs have multiple class wins, both AKC and UKC High in Trial awards, and scores that qualify for several Front & Finish Awards of Excellence (FFX).

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Lori Chamberland

Lori Chamberland is the director of Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA). KPA offers online and blended-learning courses for aspiring and experienced trainers. Lori oversees all of KPA's courses and programs, curriculum development, faculty, and staff.

In her prior position as curriculum development manager for KPA, Lori was responsible for leading the development and launch of three new KPA courses: Dog Trainer Foundations, Puppy Start Right for Instructors, and Shelter Training & Enrichment.

Lori taught group dog-training classes for several years. Currently, she offers private, in-home training lessons on a limited basis. Lori enjoys educating pet owners and fellow trainers about the joys and benefits of clicker training. She has a special passion for helping new puppy owners set up their puppies for a lifetime of success.

Lori lives with her Labrador, Zam, and her border collie, Blink. She enjoys participating and competing in canine sports, including Treibball, agility, and K9 Nose Work, and has many titles on her dogs in those sports.

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Aaron Clayton

Aaron Clayton has been president of Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) and a business partner with Karen Pryor for more than a decade. He is a management executive with approximately 25 years of experience growing service-based businesses. Of all his experiences, Aaron's involvement with teaching and learning as the president of KPCT has been the most fun and reinforcing (pun intended!).

Prior to partnering with Karen, Aaron helped found and fund a human resources company and was a partner at a business strategy consultancy focused on improving the market position and performance of Fortune 500 companies. He is a board member of TAGteach, LLC. Aaron holds a bachelor's degree from Brown University and an M.B.A from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

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Jen Digate

Her lifelong passion for horses has inspired Jen Digate to reimagine the horse-human bond, and explore both the myth and legend of these magical creatures. Through a blend of behavioral science, practical experience, and positive reinforcement methods, Jen strives to build a collaborative relationship with her horses. She believes in building choice, clear criteria, and barometer behaviors into the structure of her training sessions.

Jen specializes in introducing untamed mustangs to domesticated life, including exposure to husbandry and vet care; exploring the intricacies of balance and healthy biomechanics to promote soundness, beauty, and longevity for all horses; foal training; and helping fearful, anxious, and mistreated horses learn to trust humans and enjoy the game of training.

Jen has been training horses and dogs for 15 years, and holds a Certification for Behavior Consultants - Canine (CBCC-KA). She offers both in-home behavior modification consultations for dogs and group classes through her business, Wild Canine. Jen also holds foundation-level clicker training clinics at Idle Moon Farm in southeastern Wisconsin, as well as clinics with Alexandra Kurland, with whom she has studied intensively for the last five years. Jen offers individual coaching sessions for humans and their horses both through her own business, Spellbound, and as a coach for Alexandra Kurland's online course.

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Susan Friedman, Ph.D

Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University. She has helped pioneer the cross-species application of behavior analysis to animals, using the same humane philosophy and scientifically sound teaching technology that have been so effective with human learners. Susan has co-authored chapters on behavior change in four veterinary texts, and her popular articles have been translated into 13 languages. She offers seminars on animal learning at conferences and zoos around the world, is a member of Karen Pryor Clicker Training’s ClickerExpo faculty, and teaches yearly hands-on animal training workshops with Steve Martin at Natural Encounters, Inc.

The Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the American Humane Association (AHA) Film and TV Unit, Susan is a member in good standing of ABAI, AZA, ABMA, IAABC and IAATE.

This year Susan was included on the Vet Tech College’s list of 15 Animal Professors to Know. Her acclaimed online course, Living and Learning with Animals for Behavior Professionals, has provided even wider dissemination of effective, humane, behavior-change practices to students in more than 30 countries.

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Peggy Hogan

Through her business, The Best Whisper is a Click, Peggy Hogan provides clicker training lessons, clinics and online coaching, all focused on horses.

A horse-lover since the age of three when her sister put her on a pay-per-lap pony ride, Peggy loves all animals and has a passion for training. She has studied natural horsemanship in depth and immersed herself in the teachings of Peggy Cummings, founder of Connected Riding. With inspiration from Alexandra Kurland, Peggy fully embraced clicker training and positive reinforcement.

Learning from clicker trainers of other species, Peggy has investigated ways to add more shaping, capturing, luring, and targeting to her clicker training for horses program. Horses offer complex behaviors freely if given the choice, behaviors that apply to environments that range from agility to freestyle to medical procedures. All of these freely offered and shaped behaviors create wonderful riding horses. Peggy has worked with clicker training techniques in the area of horse rescue as well.

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Mary Hunter

Mary Hunter earned a master of science degree in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas in 2013. She has trained a wide range of species, including dogs, horses, cats, rats, raccoons, Patagonian cavies, macaws, and more. Mary is interested in how behavior analysis can be used to improve human-animal interactions; she believes that an understanding of the science of behavior can help us discover smarter and more humane ways to train animals.

Currently Mary serves as the president of The Art and Science of Animal Training, a non-profit organization in Denton, Texas. The organization offers educational programs, including an annual conference, for both pet owners and animal training professionals. Mary also owns and operates Texas Animal Training, which provides training and consulting services to dog and horse owners in the North Texas area. In addition to training animals and their owners, Mary is involved in research about animal learning. Her main interests include studying the process of shaping and developing better methods for teaching people to train animals. On a regular basis, Mary shares about her training adventures and about the science of training on her blog, StaleCheerios.com.

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Emelie Johnson Vegh

Emelie Johnson Vegh began training dogs as a teenager, after many years of involvement with horses. Her first dog was a mixed breed that competed successfully in both agility and obedience. Emelie's first Border terrier came into her life in 1994; all together she has had three terriers. The Border terriers have been involved in agility primarily, but also in some freestyle and ground work.

In 2009, a Kelpie made an entrance into the family. With her, Emelie is working in rally obedience, obedience, and freestyle, and they also enjoy urban mushing. Emelie and her dogs have won medals at the Swedish Nationals, both as youths and as adults, with a silver team medal as the best placement.

Together with business partner Eva Bertilsson, Emelie runs their collaboration Carpe Momentum. Emelie and Eva’s goal is to help people acquire knowledge and skills in science-based, modern, humane, and empowering teaching strategies for the benefit of learners of all species. They teach seminars on the general principles of behavior and learning, and coach trainers in the art of structuring great training sessions regardless of the venue or the species.

“E&E” are the first Level 3-certified TAGteachers in Europe, offering consultations and workshops about applying positive reinforcement techniques with human learners in all imaginable areas. The colleagues’ first book, Agility Right from the Start, was published by Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) in 2010. The book outlines Emelie and Eva’s philosophy and structured approach to training, making it a worthy read not only for agility enthusiasts.

Emelie lives in the very south of Sweden, in the country's third largest city, Malmö. She shares her life with her husband, two sons, a daughter, and Kelpie, Scout. In addition to dog sports, she enjoys training in general, and is very interested in sports psychology, running, multisport, and yoga. Emelie is also an author of fiction novels.

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Alexandra Kurland

Alexandra Kurland began her instructional career as a dressage rider and teacher and as an accredited TTouch Practitioner. In 1998 she launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of her first book, Clicker Training for Your Horse. Alexandra teaches clicker training geared to any horse need or sport—including developing a gentle and companionable riding horse, halter training foals, training advanced performance horses, and reforming difficult and unmanageable horses. She travels widely, giving clicker training seminars in the US, Canada, the UK and Europe. Several years ago, Alexandra trained a miniature horse, Panda, to serve as the guide animal for a blind owner.
A graduate of Cornell University, Alexandra has written The Click That Teaches: A Step–By–Step Guide in Picturesand has also produced The Click That Teaches DVD lesson series and is presently at work on new books and videos.

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Debbie Martin

Debbie is a licensed Veterinary Technician in Texas, as well as a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Behavior (VTS-Behavior). Debbie received a bachelor of science degree in human ecology from The Ohio State University and an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology from Columbus State Community College. She has been a fulltime registered/licensed veterinary technician since 1996, and worked in private practice for 14 years.

Since 2005 Debbie has been the animal behavior technician for Veterinary Behavior Consultations, LLC. She assists Kenneth Martin, DVM, DACVB, during in-home behavior consultations.

Debbie is the co-owner of TEAM Education in Animal Behavior, LLC, a business focused on providing education on humane training and behavior modification and fostering collaboration between various animal behavior professions.

She is a contributing author and co-editor of the textbook Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses by Wiley-Blackwell. Debbie and Dr. Martin have also authored a book on normal development and training for dogs: Puppy Start Right: Foundation Training for the Companion Dog . The pair also authored the Karen Pryor Academy course, Puppy Start Right for Instructors. The course provides not only the thorough knowledge necessary to provide puppy socialization classes, but also a complete curriculum with supplemental materials.

Debbie’s combined experience in general practice and behavior specialty has fueled her passion for preventive behavior medicine and the Fear Free initiative. Debbie is honored to be representing veterinary technicians and animal trainers on the Fear Free executive committee.

When she is not seeing clients, writing, or speaking, Debbie enjoys spending time at home with her husband, three Belgian Malinois, and a beagle/Jack Russell mix on their 5-acre property, aptly named the Malamo, in Spicewood, Texas. She took up a new hobby recently, motorcycles, and is enjoying learning a new skill!

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Theresa McKeon

After more than 30 years as a national-level gymnastics coach, Theresa was determined to find a way to speed up skill acquisition for her athletes while simultaneously decreasing stress and fear in the learning environment. Her search for behaviorally sound techniques, clean instructions, and the proper timing of feedback and reinforcement, led to the development of the TAGteach methodology. Theresa teamed with Joan Orr, Beth Wheeler, and Aaron Clayton and Karen Pryor of Karen Pryor Clicker Training, to found TAGteach International, LLC.

Since then, TAGteach has evolved into an entire teaching protocol benefiting an endless variety of human applications. The success of the methodology has been accented by the wide range of applications embracing it. Theresa now consults and designs TAGteach programs in business management, industrial safety, medical and surgical training, sport coaching, family communication, and, of course, training for those who teach people to train their companion animals. She is a sought-after speaker around the world, including in Europe, the U.K., Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

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Sarah Owings

Sarah Owings, KPA CTP, is passionate about reaching the difficult dog. She specializes in using clicker training principles to help transform the lives of fearful or shy dogs. As the owner of Bridges Dog Training, co-creator of Cyber Dog Online, and a regular contributor to online training forums, Sarah is known for her innovative approaches to tough behavior problems, and her compassionate and insightful teaching.

A regular speaker at ClickerExpo for the past four years, Sarah was selected to serve as a Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) faculty member in 2015. She has presented webinars for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians (SVBT) on emotions in training and shy dogs, and co-presented seminars with KPA faculty member and author of Chill Out Fido, Nan Arthur. Sarah’s popular YouTube channel features videos that showcase clicker training, exotic-animal training, life enrichment, as well as her clients’ success stories. She has written articles for Clean Run and veterinary technician magazines, and blogs regularly about what she calls Brave Learning and the Art of Loving Dogs.

In addition to a lifetime of working and living with a wide variety of animals, Sarah has had many years of experience as a kindergarten teacher where the joys and challenges of the classroom have fueled a passion for teaching, learning, and human connection. She lives in Los Angeles with her amazing and supportive husband, Fred, her mom, Morgan, three rescue dogs, Zoë, Maya, and Tucker, four house rabbits, three cats, one dove, a tortoise, and an iguana named Spot.

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Emma Parsons

Emma Parsons has been training dogs for more than 20 years and specializes in managing and rehabilitating the reactive and aggressive dog. Emma is a faculty member of Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA), as well as a ClickerExpo faculty member. She gives Click to Calm seminars around the world, teaching others how to manage and rehabilitate reactive and aggressive dogs. Emma is the author of Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog and Teaching the Reactive Dog Class, as well as some best-selling DVDs. She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).

Emma holds a B.A. degree from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and shares her life with her husband, Greg, and their four clicker-trained dogs: three Goldens, Lizzie-Taylor, Kayden-Blue, Austyn-Roque; and a Papillon, Wylie-Rae.

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Michele Pouliot

Michele Pouliot began her animal-training career through her love of horses. She attended the Pacific Coast Equestrian Research Farm, studying under the tutelage of Linda Tellington and Wentworth Tellington. After graduating at the school’s highest level, Michele remained there as an instructor, until her next position, in North Dakota. There, Michele acquired her first dog—a move that would change her life and career. With dog-training pointers from a former riding student, Michele became fascinated with her dog’s willingness to learn; she spent all of her spare time training him. It was then that Michele’s path changed toward a career in dog training, which progressed to guide dog training.

Michele Pouliot began her 42-year career as a licensed guide dog instructor when she joined Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), the second-largest guide dog school in the world. In addition to personally training more than 350 guide dog teams over 20 years, Michele contributed to major change in the organization by leading the adoption of clicker training in the formal training of guide dogs and in the development of puppies raised for guide dog work. Michele also developed the education program for GDB’s blind clients learning to clicker train their own guide dogs.

Since 2005, Michele has been a pioneer in the guide dog industry worldwide. GDB and Michele actively support and assist other guide dog schools in crossing over from traditional training methods to positive reinforcement and clicker training techniques. In order to provide education to more individuals worldwide, GDB and Michele have offered four International Guide Dog Clicker Conferences for professionals in the guide dog field. Recently, Michele was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award from the International Guide Dog Federation for her innovation, creative development, and service to blind clients and guide dog programs around the globe. She leads seminars and workshops around the world, for guide and service dog organizations and for dog sport training. Michele is known as a very clear and enthusiastic teacher who demonstrates her love for animals and people every time.

Michele has also been very active and successful in canine dog sports. She was heavily involved in competition obedience for 20 years, winning four Obedience Trial Championships with her personal dogs. Michele has also competed in tracking and in the sport of agility. In 2005, Michele discovered the new sport of Canine Musical Freestyle; she is now a leader in the sport, with help from her dogs Cabo, Listo, Déjà, and Saké. Michele and her dogs are winners of multiple national and international competitions; they are known for creative behaviors and entertaining routines. Michele and Listo made history in the World Canine Freestyle Organization as the first team to ever receive perfect "10" scores in both Artistic and Technical categories! They repeated this incredible achievement 23 more times with six different routines.

Michele loves to spend time at home, in Oregon, with her dogs and her horses. A member of the ClickerExpo faculty since 2008, Michele partnered with Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) to create an online Canine Freestyle course. The course has received rave reviews from students and is popular even with clicker enthusiasts who are not involved in the freestyle sport.

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Ken Ramirez

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

Previously, Ken served as EVP of animal care and animal training at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, where 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 worked at Shedd Aquarium for more than 25 years and continues as a consultant to this day.

A 35+-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 has maintained a close affiliation with pet training throughout his career. Ken 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. Recently, he has also recently worked closely with several search-and-rescue-dog organizations and service-dog groups, as well as with bomb and narcotic dogs.

Ken has been active in several professional organizations, including the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (IMATA), of which he is a past president. He has been actively involved in the creation of a certification process for animal trainers in zoological settings. 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 teaches a graduate course on animal training at Western Illinois University.

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Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, Ph.D

Jesús Rosales-Ruiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. He obtained his Ph.D from the University of Kansas in 1995 under the direction of Dr. Donald M. Baer. He serves on several editorial boards, including the European Journal of Behavior Analysis and the International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy. His areas of interest include antecedent control of behavior, generalization, behavioral cusps, fluency-based teaching, treatment of autism, teaching of academic behavior, animal training, and rule- and contingency-shaped behavior.

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Kathy Sdao

Kathy Sdao is an applied animal behaviorist. She has spent more than 30 years as a fulltime animal trainer, first with marine mammals and now with dogs and their people. Kathy received a master’s degree in experimental psychology from the University of Hawaii. The United States Navy then hired her to train dolphins for open-ocean tasks. Kathy next worked as a marine-mammal trainer at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Later, Kathy co-created Tacoma’s first dog-daycare facility, where she began teaching clicker-training classes.

Since 1998, Kathy has owned Bright Spot Dog Training. Services include consulting with families about their challenging dogs, teaching private lessons, and mentoring professional trainers. Kathy is proud to be an original faculty member at Karen Pryor Clicker Training’s ClickerExpo conferences.

Kathy has traveled extensively across the United States, Canada, and Europe, and to Australia, Israel, Japan, and Mexico, educating students about the science of animal training. Her first book, Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace was published in 2012.

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Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Laura VanArendonk Baugh operates Canines in Action in Indianapolis. As a crossover trainer, Laura is particularly interested in the science of more efficient behavior change. She became a Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Certified Training Partner (CTP) in 2008 and returned to the Academy as an instructor, teaching certification workshops around the country. She is also certified in TAGteach.

Laura blogs on clicker training and behavior frequently, writes articles on various behavior and training topics, and is the author of the bestselling Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training Crazy Dogs from Over-the-Top to Under Control.

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Lindsay Wood Brown

Lindsay Wood, KPA CTP, ACAAB, currently serves as the Director of Operations for Lynchburg Humane Society (LHS), an open-admissions animal shelter located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Her role at Lynchburg Humane includes the oversight of all shelter operations, with a strong focus on behavior and behavior modification to increase the number of animal lives saved and successfully rehomed.
Prior to her current role at LHS Lindsay served as the Director of Animal Training and Behavior for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Boulder, Colorado. She developed Boulder Humane's Training and Behavior Department, including the curriculum for a wide array of positive reinforcement, clicker training classes for community members. Lindsay also developed the organization's comprehensive behavior modification program that focuses on rehabilitating dogs with specific concerns, including food guarding, fearful behavior, body-handling sensitivities, separation anxiety, and dog-dog aggression.
Lindsay joined the Karen Pryor Academy faculty in 2012. With a master's degree in psychology and a concentration in animal behavior from Hunter College, Lindsay also received the Hunter College Graduate Certificate in the Advanced Psychology of Animal Behavior and Conservation. Her graduate thesis research project assessed the benefit of clicker training shelter dogs to facilitate learning, and is featured in Karen Pryor's book, Reaching the Animal Mind.

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Natalie Zielinski

Natalie Zielinski is the Director of Behavior Services for the Wisconsin Humane Society. She develops and oversees the behavior assessment, enrichment, and modification programs for shelter animals, public dog-training classes, private consultations, and hands-on animal training for more than 1000 volunteers for the three-campus shelter. Natalie’s love for teaching and bridging the gap between animal and human communication has fueled her passion in the animal welfare community for more than 20 years.

A successful riding competitor in open and breed shows competing across multiple disciplines, Natalie introduced clicker training to an already impressive show record. She specializes in restarting horses, overcoming poisoned cues, and engaging the shutdown horse physically and emotionally to create a willing and enthusiastic partner. These transformations come from Natalie’s extensive studies with Alexandra Kurland and with influence from classical dressage. Natalie supports the clicker training community as a coach for Alexandra’s online course.

As a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine (CBCC-KA) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), Natalie understands the science behind clicker training and brings years of teaching experience to her craft. Her personal focus is building a community where horse and human are connected in both physical beauty and emotional balance.
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Bravo

Conference Sponsor
Bravo is a family-owned business located in Manchester, Connecticut. Our parent company has been providing high quality meats to fine dining establishments throughout New England since 1942. Leveraging our expertise, we pioneered the raw pet food category by introducing our Bravo Blends line in 2002. So you might say our focus on super-premium nutrition runs in the family.

Today, Bravo offers over 125 different products for dogs and cats. All are made from the finest, most nutritious ingredients such as antibiotic-free poultry, responsibly harvested fish and select cuts of meat. And you can rest assured that our multi-step process meets strict food safety guidelines while keeping our food as close to natural as possible.

As our pet parent fan club continues to grow, our commitment to quality and purity will remain the simple idea at the heart of every Bravo product. Because we firmly believe in giving pets the best so they can be at their best. That’s what our make good happen™ slogan is all about.
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Kong

Toy & Recreation Sponsor
ONG founder, Joe Markham, loved his trained police dog, Fritz, but did not love his destructive chewing habits. Where other dogs might have chewed your shoes or favorite purse, Fritz loved to crunch on rocks, sticks and other harmful items. Fritz’s teeth were wearing down and his need for stimulation and play was not being met, and Joe was frustrated.

One day, while working on a VW Bus, Joe began throwing out car parts to Fritz to lure him away from those rocks. Fritz was immediately taken with a rubber suspension part and dropped it in Joe’s lap to play. The erratic bounce and toughness of the rubber inspired Joe.

We’ve been making KONGs from our own proprietary, pet-safe, built-to-chew rubber ever since. Dogs love KONG. The way it bounces keeps them engaged and ready to play. It has a soft mouth feel for a satisfying chew and, of course, it’s super durable. Owners love KONG too; they can stuff it, throw it, leave it out in the yard — KONG keeps coming back for more.

Dogs and their owners choose the original KONG and all of our other favorite toys because they’re fun. KONG toys are the best of the best in quality, originality, variety, safety, and value. Give a dog a KONG. They’ll be the first to show you: it’s not just a toy, it’s a KONG.
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Rally-Free

Retail Partner
Rally-Free is a unique sport combining trick behaviors of Canine Musical Freestyle with the format of Rally-Obedience. It emphasizes the precise execution of fundamental freestyle and obedience skills while encouraging creative and novel behaviors on a Rally-Obedience style course.

Musical Freestyle is fast becoming a mainstream canine performance sport that showcases the creativity and training skills of a dog-and-handler team in an entertaining performance choreographed to music.
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Blue-9 Pet Products

Retail Partner
Many training methods used by professionals often involve a dog training platform or “Pause” table. The problem with most dog training platforms is that they tend to be heavy to accommodate larger breeds, they have a number of parts and require time consuming assembly or they’re difficult to clean and cumbersome to transport. The Blue-9 KLIMB™ features a molded, one-piece top with a fully washable surface. The KLIMB is strong enough to securely hold any size dog, yet weighs less than 14 pounds!

The KLIMB dog training platform gives a dog a place that they learn is their very own. A place where they feel focused and close to their owner or handler. A place they associate with reward and success.
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FitPAWS

Retail Partner
AT FITPAWS®, we admire dogs and people who work with dogs. We admire the passion, the love, the hard work, the devotion, the belief that dogs will give their best…and that we can also give OUR best to the dogs.
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LessionAire

Retail Partner

You Bring Inspiration.
Lessonaire Does The Rest.

You found your calling teaching others, but growing and managing your business can be overwhelming. Let Lessonaire provide the tools you need to grow and manage your teaching, tutoring or coaching business.
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PupPod

Retail Partner
Exclusive offer for ClickerExpo attendees! Try PupPod for $99 (normally $179) and tell us what you think!

PupPod is a high-tech puzzle game that increases in difficulty to keep dogs challenged based on their performance. Dogs play with smart toys to earn rewards from a human or Bluetooth dispenser. You can view stats and data on learning progress instantly on your smartphone.


As a new product, we're eager to hear from trusted trainers on how they use PupPod and what they think of it. We're offering ClickerExpo attendees 50% off in exchange for sharing feedback on social media through pictures, videos and posts using #PupPod.


Stop by our table in the ClickerExpo Store to learn more and make sure to check out our live demo on Friday at 10:10am.


Details and limitations: Limit one per ClickerExpo attendee. Limited quantity and time offer. Android or iOS smartphone required. PetTutorBlu dispenser sold separately.

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Registration

05:00 PM 07:00 PM

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Open Event

Welcome Reception, presented by Karen Pryor Academy

05:00 PM 07:00 PM

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Store Open

05:00 PM 07:00 PM

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Registration Open

07:00 AM 06:30 PM

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Ticketed Meal

Breakfast

07:00 AM 09:00 AM

Advance purchase only. No on-site purchase will be available.
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Store Open

07:30 AM 06:30 PM

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Level: All
Type: Session

Newcomer Orientation

08:00 AM 08:45 AM

This Session is STRONGLY recommended for first-time attendees. It will also be useful for Expo veterans who need a little refresher.

First time here? Welcome to ClickerExpo! Aaron Clayton will help you make the most of your experience in this Session designed specifically for newcomers to ClickerExpo. He will cover topics that include how to maximize your chances of winning the big daily raffle, navigating ClickerExpo with your dog, choosing courses and changing your schedule, and attending special events.

This practical but humorous 45-minute introduction to ClickerExpo is a "must" for those experiencing the magic of ClickerExpo for the first time. The Session is a wonderful refresher for Expo veterans, too!

Attend this Orientation and then follow up with the general Opening Session at 9:00am!

Course Type: General Session
Experience Level: All Levels

Speakers

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Level: All
Type: Session

Opening Session: The X-perience Factor

09:00 AM 10:00 AM

We talk about trainer experience levels frequently, and use the terms novice, intermediate, and advanced. But what do those labels really mean? There is no universal agreement on the difference between each of these levels, and they are used for very different purposes. Levels can sometimes be beneficial in guiding learners toward appropriate level courses, but they can also become divisive categories that make trainers feel uncomfortable with such vague, generalized groupings. However, we all agree that experience is important in becoming a great trainer. So how do we define experience, and how should experienced be evaluated and used?

Ken will explore this common question and give his own perspective on the topic of experience. While this discussion may aid some attendees in selecting the right level of courses for this ClickerExpo, the Session will go beyond Expo and talk about the role of experience in the larger training community. Ken will also share some thoughts about why experience is important and why it has relevance to improved training and better animal care.

Course Type: Plenary Session
Experience Level: All Levels

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BREAK

10:00 AM 10:30 AM

Use this time to stretch your legs, give your dog a stroll outside, or visit the ClickerExpo Store for a demonstration! 
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Theme: Science
Level: Foundation
Type: Session

A Moment of Science: Clicker Training 101

10:30 AM 12:30 PM

If you have been using a clicker but are not fully familiar with the science behind it, you will find this Session to be highly worthwhile[deleted text here].

Are you new to clicker training? Or are you using it, but are confused by the terminology and the reasons behind what we do? Here's an introductory course on learning theory and the important scientific principles that govern clicker training. The information you'll learn here will inform the many choices you must make as a trainer and will improve your application of clicker training techniques.

Kathy Sdao, associate certified applied animal behaviorist, former marine-mammal trainer, and dog professional, is a gifted teacher who enjoys sparking her students’ interest in the science of animal training. Start your ClickerExpo experience on Friday with this Session and you will have the foundation and vocabulary to help you understand, enjoy, and benefit from the rest of the program.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Foundation
Topic: Science

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Level: Intermediate
Theme: Aggression & Behavior Management
Type: Session

The Anatomy of an Aggressive Dog-Training Plan

10:30 AM 12:30 PM

Now that you have decided to see clients whose dogs have aggression issues, what should be included in that type of lesson? Are you going to focus directly on the behavioral issue that the client is calling about or will you provide enough additional information to help the client stabilize this dog’s life? Will you give all of this information in one visit or will you spread it over the course of three? And how will you check up on the dog and client? Will you charge for this service? All of these questions will be answered in this Session.

When I treat dogs that have aggressive tendencies with both people and other dogs, I see the solution as a big puzzle where pieces such as dog parenting, diet, clicker training foundation behaviors, and management fit together perfectly. Although I am not going to teach the Click to Calm method per se, I am going to give you some training plans that have been used successfully to help treat dogs that have these issues.

In this Session, I will take you through my thought processes as I deal with aggressive dogs. We will walk along the continuum: everything from the first date of contact to the training session itself to the follow-up. Real-world, current case histories will be used as models to learn from.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Topic:Aggression & Behavior Management

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Theme: Aggression & Behavior Management
Level: Advanced
Theme: Skill
Type: Session

Dr. No: How Teaching an Animal to Say "No" Can be the Right Prescription

10:30 AM 12:30 PM

Positive reinforcement trainers try to create a safe and nurturing learning environment for animals. When done properly, this makes the learning process fun, and the animal will participate in sessions eagerly. It is common for trainers to point out that their animals have the choice to participate, and that the lack of the use of punishment creates a stress-free working environment. Ken believes these statements to be true when everything is done correctly.

Choice and control have been proven to be powerful reinforcers for most learners. Trainers in recent years have explored how to provide more options in their training. Over the course of Ken’s career as a consultant and problem-solver, he has encountered situations where the relationship and trust between trainer and animal appears to have become strained for various reasons. In a few of the more extreme situations, Ken initiated a protocol in which the animal was taught how to indicate that it did not want to do a particular behavior. In essence, this was teaching the animal to say “no!” In all four cases where this protocol was used, it resolved the problem behavior and moved the animal and trainer back to a good working relationship.

In this Session, Ken will explore these case studies, describe the training process involved, and discuss the broader significance of this protocol. The Session will also compare and contrast the protocol to other types of training that are about teaching the concept of “no.” These other types of training will include intelligent disobedience work with guide dogs and “the all clear” signal in scent-detection work. These latter examples are very different protocols, and the differences will be discussed.

Ken will conclude the Session with a broader discussion of whether his “say no” protocol should be implemented with all learners. It is a unique protocol that is not widely used in the training community. After Ken shares the details of this protocol and his opinions about its use, there will be some time to engage in a discussion with the attendees.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Topic: Skill, Aggression & Behavior Management

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Theme: Equine
Level: Foundation
Type: Session

Let's Get Started! Introducing Your Horse to Clicker Training

10:30 AM 12:30 PM

You’ve decided that you are going to clicker train your horse. Where do you begin? Even if you are already familiar with clicker training through your dogs, there are some major differences. For a start, horses are bigger. Eager enthusiasm for the first clicker games can be charming in a dog, but it can quickly become overwhelming in a horse. Adjustments need to be made. This Session takes you step by step through your first clicker lessons with a horse. It highlights the similarities between clicking with dogs, dolphins, and other species, and it also looks at the initial lessons that are specific to horses.
Alexandra Kurland writes about this year’s Session on introducing your horse to clicker training:

“I’ve given this talk at ClickerExpo for several years now, and each time I focus on a different aspect of introducing a horse to the clicker. So if you’re a regular Expo attendee and you’re thinking you’ll skip this talk because you’ve already seen it, think again. You haven’t. This year I’ll be turning the spotlight on yet another aspect of clicker basics that leads to training success with horses.”

These lessons are more than a starting point. They create the core building blocks that lead to performance excellence. This Session will outline a training progression that takes you from clicker basics to clicker superstars.”

Who is this Session for? If you are new to clicker training horses, this is a must-attend session. It will provide you with a step-by-step structure for getting off to a great start. But what if you are already clicker training horses successfully? This talk is also for you. Whether it’s for problem-solving or advancing a horse’s training, a review of the basics is an important part of every training plan. Focusing on the details of these early lessons and finding the perfection within them creates a straight path to training excellence.

So whatever your training goals are—great stable manners, a safe and reliable companion, a confident riding horse, superstar performance, a magical relationship—you can have all this and more with a great start.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Equine

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Level: Intermediate
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill

Tricky Motivators

10:30 AM 12:30 PM

Participant notes:
We will have approximately 5 dog/handler teams. Dogs should already understand the click/treat relationship, be comfortable with normal handling, and be able to work in close quarters with other dogs. Handlers should have some experience with shaping. You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab. To participate in any Lab, you are expected to attend the prerequisite Session.

This is a combination Learning Session and Learning Lab, mixing lecture with-hands on training for working participants. This Session will include PowerPoint presentation, video demos, and hands-on training exercises with working teams.

This Lab will focus on clicker training a variety of trick behaviors, with a goal of discovering new and useful motivators for your dog. Tricks are entertaining and fun to train, but they can also be applied as rewards and motivators for performance. In addition, trick training can continue to expand the handler and dog’s abilities in shaping behavior.

Course Type: Session and Learning Lab
Experience Level: Intermediate and Above
Topic: Skill

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Level: All
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill

Play it Forward: Using Cues to Make Play Fun Again

10:30 AM 12:30 PM

Participant Notes:
This Lab will accommodate 6 dog/handler teams. It will be especially appropriate for dogs that lack motivation to play, and for dogs that tend to struggle with self-control around toys. Please do not bring any fearful dogs or dogs that have resource-guarding issues! Dogs should be able to work in close quarters with other dogs around food and toys, and be able to comfortably offer attention to their handlers around other dogs playing. You may participate with your dog, or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab. There is no prerequisite Session for this lab.

We will be working with food tossed on the ground, as well as a variety of toys. Some toys and balls will be provided, but if your dog has any favorite tug or fetch toys, or you have toys you wish your dog would enjoy playing with more, feel free to bring them.

The only thing more exhilarating than playing with your dog is knowing how to play skillfully. In this special two-hour, Lab-only Session, we will focus on teaching and handling strategies that can transform run-of-the-mill fetch and tug games into a fluent vocabulary of play-related cues. Although each exercise will be adapted to meet the needs of participants, we will have two specific types of players in mind: 1) the so-called “hard to motivate” dog that seems too inhibited to fully enjoy play with humans, or shuts down when asked to play in new environments; and 2) the more “over-the-top” or “toy-crazy” dog that plays with such abandon, it can sometimes be difficult to use toy reinforcers in training sessions effectively or safely.

For the more play-inhibited dogs, patterns of reinforcement that build anticipation, and shaping for enthusiasm incrementally, can work wonders. For dogs already over the top about toys, instead of “impulse control,” our goal will be to clarify the exact meaning of each play-related cue via consistent handler communication, improved trust, and better stimulus control.

NOTE: The exercises covered in the Lab may change depending on what each dog/handler team teaches us in the moment, but here are a few examples we may draw from.

CUES FOR PLAY-INHIBITED DOGS:

1.“Touch!”—using a fun, fast nose touch to a toy in place of tugging or fetch
2.“Love that Glove”—meatballs in a glove (plus targeting) to inspire fast runs to a tossed toy (credit: Helix Fairweather)
3.“Kill it!” —shaping for enthusiasm while tugging
4.“Whoo hoo!”— a conditioned Jackpot signal, great for dialing up excitement while playing
5.“Get-it!”—a fun movement cue taught with food tosses

CUES FOR TOY-CRAZY DOGS:

1.“Drop” / “Out” / “Give”—improving latency on toy release to hand
2.“Go!”—conditioned fetch cue that means you are throwing long
3.“Tug!”—improving stimulus control on your dog’s strike to a tug
4.“Catch it!”—conditioned movement cue that means you are throwing high
5.RELEASE—to toy on floor or Zen bowl
6.“Trade!”—accepting food for a toy without conflict
7.“All done”—how to end the game without punishing desirable responses (such as giving you the toy back when you ask for it)

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Skill

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Ticketed Meal

Lunch and Round Table Discussion

12:30 PM 02:00 PM

Join in roundtable discussions and share knowledge and insight with other attendees as you connect on topics of mutual interest!
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Ticketed Meal

KPA Lunch

12:30 PM 02:00 PM

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Level: All
Theme: Equine
Type: Session

Baby's First Steps: Foal-Raising

02:00 PM 03:30 PM

Raising a “clicker” foal? Jen Digate will share the things you need to know to raise a happy, healthy young horse. This will include a review of normal developmental stages and how to teach appropriate skills for the appropriate age. She will discuss when to switch from scratching to food reinforcers as well as how to include “mom” in the training scenario safely. Many foals are not handled at all until they are weaned and the process can be quite abrupt and stressful. We all know that it is hard to learn when stressed!

This Session will focus on how to train daily and gradually using short sessions so that your foal has the skills to thrive in a complex human world.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels

Topic: Equine

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Theme: Skill
Level: Foundation
Type: Session

Building Behavior: Shape the Future

02:00 PM 03:30 PM

Some of the most common questions about clicker training relate to getting a new desirable behavior to mark and reinforce. Luring, modeling, capturing, and prompting can take us only so far, and shaping seems like such a complex challenge. Let's talk about splitting a behavior into many tiny steps and progressing smoothly through a training plan to a goal behavior. In this way, animals discover their own creativity, power, and desire to work with a trainer faster. Shaping is fun for both trainer and learner. It builds a great relationship, but requires comprehension of the game by the animal, and both conceptual and mechanical fluency in the trainer. We will work on concepts in the Session first and then on mechanical and technical skills in the Learning Lab.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Foundation
Topic: Skill

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Level: Advanced
Theme: Skill
Type: Session

Retrieve Reboot: Unfreeze Your Retrieve

02:00 PM 03:30 PM

Clicker training the retrieve is the way to go, of course, whether for business or leisure. But what about when things don’t go as planned? Sometimes, despite best efforts and intentions, the dog just doesn't follow the recipe! Why is it not working, and how can we fix it?

This Session will look at the common problems encountered training retrieve behaviors, such as:

  • Reluctant dogs—“I only open my mouth for food.”
  • Dogs that actually avoid the dumbbell—“Oh no… not that thing again!”
  • Overly enthusiastic dogs that chomp and chew—“OMG! DUMBBELL! GIMME!”
  • Dogs that play “keep away” with the retrieve item—“Mine! Mine! Mine!”

We will peel away the layers of this complex behavior chain, identify complicating factors, and diagnose weak links. We will also explore strategies to problem-solve even the most challenging retrievers!

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Topic: Skill

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Theme: Aggression & Behavior Management
Level: Advanced
Theme: Skill
Type: Session

The Great Divide: Is it Operant or Classical?

02:00 PM 03:30 PM

Behavior consultants navigate multiple pathways in the course of planning treatments. At the top of our list of considerations is paradigm approach: the choice between an operant or classical conditioning treatment method. A thoughtful approach and clear behavior modification plan are essential for effective treatment. However, we often become fixed on our learning paradigm of choice, hindering our perspective and ability to harness both types of learning occurring simultaneously. This Session will explore both classical and operant treatment options when initiating a behavior modification plan. It will consider the role of emotions in changing behavior, the benefits and weaknesses of classical and operant conditioning, and how we can most effectively harness both types of learning for greatest success for our learners.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Topic: Aggression & Behavior Management, Skill

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Level: All
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill

Practice Makes Perfect - with Locum!

02:00 PM 03:30 PM

Participant Notes:
This Lab is for people; no need to bring your dogs—let them rest! The focus will be on trainer skills and will have approximately 50 spots for participants.

Locum tenens is a Latin phrase that means “temporary substitute.”

In this Lab, stuffed animals, mirrors, video, magnetic boards, and helpful humans will be the substitutes for live animals while you build your skill set and confidence. You can relax while practicing with a partner that never gets confused or stressed out. We’ll have stations for stress-free practice of clicker mechanics, agility and freestyle movements, and even delivering cleaner cues. You’ll take away great ideas on how to create “Locum” training at home with family, friends, and clients. Don’t worry; no animal will be harmed when you practice with Locum!

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic:Skill

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Level: Advanced
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill

How to Get Started with Concept Training

02:00 PM 03:30 PM

Participant notes:
In this unique Lab, approximately 6 dog/handler teams will learn the first steps of teaching your dog to participate in concept training exercises. Dogs should already understand the click/treat relationship, be comfortable with normal handling, and be able to work in close quarters with other dogs. Dogs should be fluent in cueing, be comfortable staying on a mat, and know how to touch/target a variety of objects with their noses when cued. You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab. To participate in this Lab it would be helpful if you have attended one of Ken’s previous Sessions on concept training, although this is not mandatory.

In this Lab Ken will guide dog/handler teams through various basic exercises required to teach more advanced concepts such as Matching to Sample, Modifier Cues, Imitation, and Counting. Although the exercises are basic, the Lab is designed for experienced dogs and advanced handlers who want to get started teaching conceptual learning. The Lab will focus on how to set up your dog for success when you are training matching concepts. There will be four primary exercises:
  • Targeting – Use of multiple targets; teaching the dog to make selections and indicate choices through varied types of targeting
  • Pairing, Choices, and Repetition – So much of concept training is teaching multiple options at the same time, repeating trials over and over again, and teaching the animals a way to make choices
  • Release cues – This concept may go by different names depending on you and your dog’s training history. For many types of conceptual learning it is important to teach the animal a way to receive multiple cues and wait to carry out the instructions until released.
  • Cue transference (fading) – Most concepts are about teaching the learner a new or different type of cue. Learning how to fade to a new cue is a necessary skill for most concept training.
This Lab will focus on the tools needed for advanced conceptual learning. Because of the advanced nature of the task, participants will only be able to participate in the first steps of each exercise, which will set them up to continue the work and succeed when they return home. All exercises are basic, but are the essence to successful concept training.

Course type: Learning Lab
Experience level: Advanced
Topic: Skill

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BREAK

03:30 PM 04:00 PM

Use this time to stretch your legs, give your dog a stroll outside, or visit the ClickerExpo Store for a demonstration!
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Theme: Aggression & Behavior Management
Level: Foundation
Type: Session

Elimination Happens!

04:00 PM 04:45 PM

A top behavioral reason why dogs and cats are relinquished is inappropriate elimination. Pet owners do not care if Fido can do a 3-minute down stay on his bed as an adolescent if he is still urinating and defecating on their family room carpet. Acquire some quick tips for helping pet owners be successful with teaching appropriate elimination habits for dogs and cats. Find out what questions to ask to determine if the behavior is possibly related to a medical condition or lack of training, or due to stress or anxiety.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Foundation
Topic: Aggression & Behavior Management

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Level: All
Type: Session

Lining up the "How", "What", and "Why" of Training

04:00 PM 05:45 PM

What do prices, your weight, and temperature all have in common?

They all go up and down. Why? Why shouldn’t weight go in and out like your waistband? What has hotter got to do with going up? Why is quantity linked with verticality? Why is your brain surprised by these questions? And what does all this have to do with clicker training? It turns out quite a lot.

The link between quantity and verticality is an example of a primary metaphor - meaning a connection that is made between two seemingly unrelated experiences. Our brains are designed to create these connections. They happen so early in life that they become automatic and largely unconscious. They influence both what we think and what we cannot think. Cognitive linguist, George Lakoff would say that these “primary metaphors create realities in our mind and we don’t even notice."

His exploration of metaphors helps us understand so much about our training - beginning with why we were attracted to clicker training in the first place. It explains the naysayers who are trying to convince us that we’ll “ruin our animal with all those treats.” Whether it’s with your dog in the local dog park, or your horse in the boarding barn, have you even wondered why so many people want to tell you how wrong you are to clicker train? Bring out your treat bag, and the sharks attack! Why? And what do you do about it? Can you reframe the conversation so you create a more productive outcome? How can you change the dynamic so you no longer have to wait until everyone else has left before you bring out your clicker and treats? How can have an internet conversation about your training choices without feeling as though the sharks are circling?

That’s just the beginning. When you first explored clicker training, did it feel like a homecoming? Did the how, what, and why of training all match up? Or did you feel as though you were being pulled in two different directions? You wanted to click and treat, but when your dog jumped up on you, or your horse crowded into your space, you still felt the urge to correct. What is the source of this ambivalence? Understanding the primary metaphors that influence your behavior means that you can be more aware, more deliberate in your training choices.

And why shouldn’t you correct that unwanted behavior? In clicker training we are urged to focus on what we WANT our learner TO DO - not the unwanted behavior? The cognitive linguists would tell us this is wise advice. Every time you focus on the unwanted behavior you strengthen it. You may be clicking your dog for four on the floor, or your horse for backing out of your space, but if your focus is still on stopping a behavior you don’t want, you may not be seeing the changes you hoped for. It can be very subtle, and it can feel as though you are a positive trainer, but those unconscious influencers may be inadvertently strengthening the very behavior you DON'T want.

Changing this dynamic begins with becoming aware of the metaphors that influence your behavior. What are the primary metaphors that form your core values? That’s what we’ll be exploring in this talk. It’s a fascinating exploration of language and the connections to training. Is this program for you? Let’s find out: Are you curious about why people behave the way they do? Do you have conversations with other people and wish they could go better? Do you want to be an even better trainer? Yes, yes, and yes! Then this program is definitely for you.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels

Speakers

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Level: Intermediate
Theme: Skill
Type: Session

Collar Cues: Communicating through Touch

04:00 PM 05:45 PM

Collar cues are valuable communication and training tools that are applicable for any service-dog work or dog-sport training. Clicker training your dog how to move via directional collar cues opens a gateway to faster, more efficient training, and provides an additional communication tool when training new behaviors or improving existing behaviors. Training young puppies how to respond to collar cues can provide a powerful foundation skill that supports many other goals.

Join internationally renowned guide-dog trainer and multi-time world champion freestyler Michele Pouliot as she shows you how clicker trained collar cue behaviors can become powerfully positive training tools to add to your toolbox.

This Session is recommended for anyone starting to train a new puppy, training service dogs of any type, competing in canine sports, or simply desiring an easily managed dog on leash.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Intermediate and Above
Topic: Skill

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Level: Intermediate
Theme: Skill
Theme: Science
Type: Session

Ideas that Should Die: Outdated, Outmoded & Misunderstood Behavior Science

04:00 PM 04:45 PM

The inertia that results from so-called conventional wisdom about how behavior works is a big obstacle to the widespread adoption of positive reinforcement-based training. Discussions quickly devolve into rancorous debates based on little more than personal belief and political affiliations. One example is the intrinsic vs. extrinsic reinforcement debate. As a result of many myths and misunderstandings, learners fail to benefit from the wellspring of information that is the result of decades of application of the technology of behavior change known as applied behavior analysis (ABA). At the center of this problem is the deeply rooted belief that behavior exists inside individuals, independent of the conditions in which they behave. In this Session, common myths and misunderstandings will be discussed so that participants are better able to address them.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Topic: Skill, Science

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Level: All
Type: Lab

If You Build It, They Will Come: Training a Reliable Recall

04:00 PM 05:45 PM

Participant notes:
We will have approximately 8 dog/handler teams. This Lab will have handlers and their dogs work on beginner, intermediate, and advanced recall exercises. All dogs must be comfortable working near and around other dogs that may be running near them. All dogs will be able to participate in the beginner exercises and probably the intermediate exercises, but only a few dog/handler teams will be able to participate in the more advanced exercises.

Many people struggle with teaching dogs to run to them on cue. Though a relatively simple movement, the recall is also a crucial behavior with several key criteria. This means trainers can easily make mistakes! Yet the power of clicker training is perfectly suited to this task. In this Lab, we’ll practice three specific training exercises (beginning, intermediate, and advanced). As a bonus, we’ll provide a list of 10 practical training tips for your use and to share with your students, if desired.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels

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Type: Lab
Theme: Skill
Level: Foundation

Building Behavior: Shape the Future - In Action

04:00 PM 05:45 PM

Participant notes:
We will have approximately 16 dog/handler teams. Dogs should already understand the click/treat relationship, be comfortable with normal handling, and be able to work in close quarters with other dogs. Handlers should have some experience with shaping. You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab. To participate in any Lab, you are expected to attend the prerequisite Session.

Some of the most common questions about clicker training relate to getting a new desirable behavior to mark and reinforce. Luring, modeling, capturing, and prompting can take us only so far, and shaping seems like such a complex challenge. Let's talk about splitting a behavior into many tiny steps and progressing smoothly through a training plan to a goal behavior. In this way, animals discover their own creativity, power, and desire to work with a trainer faster. Shaping is fun for both trainer and learner. It builds a great relationship, but requires comprehension of the game by the animal, and both conceptual and mechanical fluency in the trainer. We will work on concepts in the Session first and then on mechanical and technical skills in the Learning Lab.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Foundation
Topic: Skill

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Level: All
Theme: Skill
Type: Session

At Long Last! Creating Longer-Duration Behaviors

05:00 PM 05:45 PM

One of the biggest challenges in animal training is to create a behavior, put it on cue, and have it demonstrated until completion is signaled. The behavior can be in the form of a moving behavior like heeling or backing up, or a stationary behavior like a sit, down, or stand stay. To accomplish all three parts of the challenge, the behavior must be reliable so that it can be replicated, or in the case of a static behavior, the dog must be able to maintain a certain position for a long period of time. The timing of the click has to be exquisite in order for it to mark the correct behavior, especially teaching a dog to hold an object.

Through the use of a PowerPoint Presentation and video, we will explore these training principles and how to implement them in your training plan.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic:Skill

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Level: All
Theme: Science
Type: Session

Poisoned Cues: Diagnosis, Analysis & Repair

05:00 PM 05:45 PM

Much is known about cues that are established using positive reinforcement and cues that are established using aversive events. However, much less is known about the effects when cues are established using a combination of positive reinforcement and aversive events (such a corrections or punishment). This phenomenon has been termed “the poisoned cue” by Karen Pryor, and Dr. Ruiz presented lectures on the subject at early ClickerExpo conferences. Understanding the poisoned cue is very important for animal trainers, especially working with cross-over animals that have been trained previously using traditional or balanced methods.

For those familiar with the concept of a poisoned cue, the beginning of the Session will be a review. Then there will be new material demonstrating what has been learned about the poisoned cue in recent years. We will review some experiments demonstrating the effects of the poisoned cue with both animals and children. We will also discuss ways to identify if a cue has been poisoned. Sometimes, trainers blame poor performance on distractions or lack of motivation, when the culprit is actually a poisoned cue. Finally, we will discuss ways to overcome a poisoned cue if you discover that you have one.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Science

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Ticketed Meal

Networking Event: 70's Inspired

07:00 PM 09:00 PM

Fill your stomach and your personal organizer at the same time! You'll be exchanging ideas, contacts and more. Don't forget your business cards, and your love of DISCO! 

Digital Polaroid Photo Booth, Entry to the Raffle for everyone who dresses up, and a mystery game! 

Get your tickets now! Advance purchase only. No on-site purchase will be available.

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Ticketed Meal

Breakfast

07:00 AM 09:00 AM

Advance purchase only. No on-site purchase will be available.
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Store Open

07:30 AM 06:30 PM

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Registration Open

07:30 AM 06:00 PM

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Level: All
Theme: Skill
Theme: Teaching Others
Type: Session

Teaching & Training at the Next Level: Karen Pryor Academy

08:00 AM 08:45 AM

No matter how long you’ve been training, there is always room to improve!

Perhaps you’re an experienced trainer who is looking to kick it up a notch by becoming an expert in concepts such as fluency, using cues as reinforcers, and constructing solid behavior chains. Maybe you’re looking to grow your training business, or become part of a global network of certified trainers.

Maybe you want to add or improve puppy socialization classes using a top-notch curriculum, learn the sport of Canine Freestyle with ClickerExpo’s own Michele Pouliot, or improve the training and enrichment program in your local shelter. Or maybe you’re rather new to clicker training and would like to find an online course that brings all the basics together for you in one place.

Wherever you are in your training, this Session will show you how Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) can help. KPA Director Lori Chamberland will give you a taste of content from KPA’s courses and discuss the benefits of a KPA education. There will be plenty of time for you to ask questions as well!

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Teaching Others, Skill

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Level: All
Theme: Equine
Type: Session

Safety in Numbers: Working with Multiple Horses

08:00 AM 08:45 AM

An environment with multiple horses (or people) is a growing safety concern for trainers who are using food to train their horses. When someone begins to clicker train a horse, the recommendation is to distance himself or herself from the horse using protected contact as basic skills are established. Beginning horse behaviors include training hand feeding safely and keeping the head forward out of the treat pouch, and may include some targeting behaviors. These vital behaviors help establish the purpose of a click. At the same time, the protected contact keeps trainers safe in the initial phase.

When we move beyond some of the basic behaviors, there may be a situation where the horse becomes animated and assertive—and steps into our space when other horses or even other humans are present. Not only can this be disconcerting to a beginning clicker trainer, it can be dangerous. The behavior may even escalate when more than one horse is present.

In this Session you will learn how to shape several behaviors that are designed to allow the horse a choice of offered behaviors considered safe for a handler with food. Video and lecture material will help you identify expanded herd dynamics, feeding protocols, general management techniques, and training a variety of behaviors that can make your daily work with multiples safe and comfortable for all.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Equine

Speakers

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Level: All
Theme: Teaching Others
Type: Session

Look Away from the Dog

08:00 AM 08:45 AM

Why look away from the dog? Because if you’re going teach a person to handle, train, or compete with a dog, you’ll eventually have to look at the person.
Don’t worry, this Session will demonstrate how trainers can switch their focus from the dog, to the human, and back again efficiently and without missing a beat.

Through videos, lecture, and audience participation, we’ll work through the details of human training when the human is in partnership with an animal (dog, horse, llama, bird, etc.)

Included in the discussion:
  • Finding motivation to focus on the human
  • Human or animal partner—Who should learn which skill first?
  • Developing a dedicated curriculum for the human client
  • Describing to clients the benefits of training first without their animal partners
  • Detecting clients’ hidden fears of training without their animal partners
  • The logistics of separating the humans from their animal partners in a class scenario
  • Identifying human behavior that can influence learning, including displacement behaviors and calming signals

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Teaching Others

Speakers

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Level: All
Type: Session

Bravo Presents: How Food Affects Behavior

08:00 AM 09:00 AM

Bette Schubert is one of the founders of Bravo and a raw diet expert. 
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Level: All
Theme: Skill
Theme: Competition
Type: Session

The Fab Five: Concepts That Will Make Your Training Rock!

09:00 AM 10:30 AM

Visiting from Sweden, Emelie and Eva bring a unique training style to ClickerExpo. As readers of their book, Agility Right from the Start, already know, the ideas these two trainers present transfer extremely well to training venues other than agility just as well. In this Session, Emelie and Eva will connect the dots for you, condensing their principles and procedures into “five favorites”—five concepts that will bring your training to new heights.

Are you curious about what “Good Agility Practices” look like when applied to obedience training? Can you see the similarities between heel-work and weave-pole exercises? And, what’s up with those spontaneous starts, anyway?
Everyone committed to reward-based training will enjoy learning from this Swedish duo. If you are looking for a competitive edge or simply for more joy and confidence in your training, this Session is for you!

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Skill, Competition

Speakers

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Level: Foundation
Type: Session

What a Cue Can Do: Developing Cueing Skills

09:00 AM 10:30 AM

Effective cueing is essential for achieving reliable responses. The process of adding cues in clicker training is different than in other training methods. Getting behaviors on cue is often the most difficult concept for new clicker trainers to understand because the process is somewhat counterintuitive.

This Learning Session is about choosing and maintaining effective cues for operant behaviors as well as about understanding how cues are integral to more advanced training applications. Kathy Sdao will show you how to use cues to gain control of operant behaviors. You'll learn what a cue is—and isn't—and how cues differ from commands. We'll discuss how to choose cues to maximize clarity, how to transfer a known cue to a novel cue, and how cues function in behavior chains. You'll also learn how cues can be transferred and combined to produce complex and flexible behaviors, and how to avoid the “good enough” syndrome.

Course Type: Learning Session

Experience Level: Foundation

Speakers

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Theme: Aggression & Behavior Management
Level: Advanced
Theme: Skill
Type: Session

Full House? Working & Living with Multiple Animals

09:00 AM 10:30 AM

Often we teach training by focusing on working one-on-one. But how do we train and work with multiple animals at the same time? In this Session Ken will share techniques and knowledge he gained from working in the zoological community, where working with groups of animals was the daily norm. He will translate that knowledge to working with animals of any type.

Some of the key concepts that Ken will focus on include stationing, fairness, clicker use, and new-animal introductions (a new puppy, shelter dog, a cat to a dog, or any species of animal). The first half of this Session will include helpful information for trainers at all levels, but the Session will progress to an advanced case study during the second half.

From 2013 through 2015, Ken was involved in a project where he and his team adopted several very aggressive and reactive dogs. The goal was to use the same techniques Ken has taught to his students for introducing animals (techniques that will be covered during the first half of this Session) with the problematic dogs rescued from a shelter. Ken will share the step-by-step process in a detailed case study of this special project!

Course type: Session
Experience level: Advanced
Topic: Skill, Aggression & Behavior Management

Speakers

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Level: All
Theme: Equine
Type: Session

Riding with Clicker Training

09:00 AM 10:30 AM

For many people, riding a horse with the clicker seems mysterious. How do you deliver treats? What do you click? Doesn’t your horse have to stop to get his treat? How is that going to work? You click when he’s cantering, and suddenly he’s slamming on the brakes. How can that be right?

Clicker training is all about breaking down lessons into small steps. Every time you click the clicker you are creating a step in the training. On the ground those steps are easier to understand. If you want to teach your foot-mover of a horse to stand still next to a mounting block, you can see all the preliminary lessons you need to teach before you ever take him near a mounting block. It’s easy to click and hand him a treat. But if you have taught that lesson well, you’re ready to put your foot in the stirrup and climb aboard and you want to take clicker training along for the ride. How do you do that?

This Session will look at the universals of riding and how to teach them using the clicker. The information crosses all riding disciplines. It doesn’t matter if you ride English or western, if your dream is to ride in a dressage arena or on backcountry trails, there are basics ALL horses need to understand. Remember the very first lessons a beginning rider is taught? This is how you ask your horse to go. This is how you stop him, and this is how you turn.

Stopping, starting, turning, moving in balance: those are the universals. What separates a novice horse from an advanced performer is how well he responds to those basic requests. In this Session we will tease apart the universals of riding. We’ll see how to introduce the universals to a horse and how to develop those universals into performance excellence. Again, these lessons are independent of riding discipline. We’ll be looking at the overall structure of using clicker training to build performance under saddle.

(Is this Session is only for riders? Not at all. If you are interested in how to break a complex behavior into its component parts, and then how to teach those parts separately so you can recombine them to create performance excellence, thisSession is for you—even if you never intend to put your foot in a stirrup.)

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Equine

Speakers

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Level: All
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill

At Long Last! Creating Longer-Duration Behaviors - In Action

09:00 AM 10:30 AM

One of the biggest challenges in animal training is to create a behavior, put it on cue, and have it demonstrated until completion is signaled. The behavior can be in the form of a moving behavior like heeling or backing up, or a stationary behavior like a sit, down, or stand stay. To accomplish all three parts of the challenge, the behavior must be reliable so that it can be replicated, or in the case of a static behavior, the dog must be able to maintain a certain position for a long period of time. The timing of the click has to be exquisite in order for it to mark the correct behavior, especially teaching a dog to hold an object.

Through the use of a PowerPoint Presentation and video, we will explore these training principles and how to implement them in your training plan.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic:Skill

Speakers

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Theme: Aggression & Behavior Management
Level: Advanced
Theme: Shelter & Rescue
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill

On Guard! Resource-Guarding Lab

09:00 AM 10:30 AM

Participant notes:
This Session/Lab will accommodate approximately 12 dog/handler teams. Teams should have advanced clicker training experience. Dogs must be comfortable working in close quarters with other working dogs. You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

In this Learning Lab and Session combination, Lindsay will use the first 30 minutes as a learning session to explain her resource-guarding protocol. After that, she will show participants how to practice the steps to modify food-guarding, based on a statistically successful protocol that she developed. The protocol applies force-free, scientific principles of desensitization and counter-conditioning to modify a dog's existing negative association with food-bowl interference and removal.

Lab participants will develop their treatment skills by practicing the steps within the protocol, learning to assess behavioral criteria for progressing through the treatment plan, and troubleshooting complexities that may arise as dogs move through the protocol.

Course Type: Learning Session/Learning Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Topic: Shelter & Rescue, Aggression & Behavior Management, Skill

Speakers

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BREAK

10:30 AM 11:00 AM

Use this time to stretch your legs, give your dog a stroll outside, or visit the ClickerExpo Store for a demonstration!
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Level: All
Theme: Teaching Others
Type: Session

What a Pithy: Making Classes Memorable

11:00 AM 12:30 PM

“Pithy” means “concisely cogent.” It describes an essential skill of the best training instructors. We work in challenging conditions: teaching two species simultaneously a series of precise physical skills, often in less-than-ideal environments. We must communicate unfamiliar concepts to our human students quickly. Explore creative ways to present this information concisely (i.e., in few words) and cogently (i.e., in a powerfully convincing way).

Summary of Presentation
Part of the job of a pet-dog instructor is to communicate basic learning principles—about reinforcement, timing, criteria, cues, generalization, and more—to novice students. But we are limited in the amount of verbal explanations we can provide. Extended lectures lead to bored and noisy dogs. If we challenge ourselves to be creative, we can devise teaching approaches that are brief, memorable, and effective. Metaphors, analogies, parables, and anecdotes can convey broad or advanced concepts meaningfully. Cartoons can also express ideas succinctly; just think how much impact a political cartoon can have.

This presentation will be an exercise in generative thinking. It will attempt to spark your own ingenuity and give you fresh ideas for classes that may have become stale after years of repetition. Come prepared to learn innovative instructional tools that can bring life to your teaching.
Learning objectives:
  1. To learn to use language in creative ways to convey jargon and complex training concepts to students
  2. To become familiar with several forms of narrative devices instructors can use to simplify and clarify their information

This Session will focus on:
  • Teaching as performance art
  • How to be “sticky” 
  • Metaphors and analogies 
  • Stories and parables
  • Perspective shifts
  • Humor 
  • Avoiding clichés 
  • A few examples of concepts we can use as practice

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Teaching Others

Speakers

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Level: Intermediate
Theme: Science
Type: Session

The Rat Is Never Wrong: Training with an Errorless Learning Mindset

11:00 AM 12:30 PM

We all know the saying, “We learn from our mistakes.” But, mistakes resulting from poorly designed training can be costly: Learners practice errors, which can make correct responding less likely, and learners can become frustrated as a result of the low rate of reinforcement. These costs led researchers and practitioners to ask, are errors really necessary for learning to occur?

Errorless learning is a term used to describe a teaching approach that limits incorrect responses. In this presentation, the basic elements of designing an errorless learning environment, and considerations for using errors to improve your training plans, will be discussed.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Intermediate and Above
Topic: Science

Speakers

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Level: Advanced
Theme: Competition
Type: Session

Fail-Safe: Cracking the Code for Ultra Depend-Ability

11:00 AM 12:30 PM

For a winning (or even qualifying) performance in the ring, we need accurate, precise behaviors, but we also need those behaviors to be highly reliable. We can’t just train until the dog gets it right; we need to train until he can’t get it wrong!

In this Session, we will explore the process for building robust, reliable behaviors. This process goes beyond simple distraction-proofing. We need complete understanding, flawless communication, and core skills that are so strong as to be automatic.What we need for super-fluent, unstoppable behaviors will be discussed, as will when and how to add distractions without increasing the error rate and putting our precious competition behaviors at risk.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Topic: Competition

Speakers

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Level: All
Theme: Equine
Type: Session

Let’s Stay Together: Start Your Horses Under Saddle at Home

11:00 AM 12:30 PM

Starting young horses under saddle is a task often left to professionals, a job we "send our horses out" to have done. As more horse owners switch to the positive-reinforcement paradigm, they are finding that they no longer want to send their horses out to be started. “Boarding school” sounds less appealing and owners would rather their horses at home. But where to begin?

In this Session, we will look at the basic skill set needed BEFORE you get on your young horse, barometer behaviors for safety, equipment basics, and first rides. This Session will follow a video story of a young horse being started under saddle step-by-step, so that participants can observe all training principles and behaviors with a real horse. Join Jen Digate in this fun and informative Session to learn how to get your young horse ready for riding.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Equine

Speakers

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Level: All
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill

Love It! Effective Non-Food Reinforcement

11:00 AM 12:30 PM

Participant notes:
Dogs should be clicker-savvy, have a robust behavioral repertoire, and regularly and effectively use toys or play as a reinforcer already.

The effective use of non-food reinforcers is a critical skill that all trainers will likely use or need at some point in their training career. Being able to use non-food reinforcers is extremely useful, but requires an understanding of their role in training and a well-thought-out training approach. This stand-alone Lab focuses on two main practical aspects of using non-food reinforcers: how novel stimuli, like clapping and verbal praise, become reinforcers; and how to maximize the use of play and toys.

Dog/handler teams will have the opportunity to start training novel stimuli as reinforcers and gain valuable insight from Ken about how to maintain the strength of these unique reinforcers. In the latter half of the Lab, the focus will be on using play and toys as reinforcers—demonstrating their use with participating dogs, as well as maintaining and evaluating their effectiveness.

Observers and dog/handler teams will all get valuable tips and strategies for making non-food reinforcers more effective. The Lab will include some brief video examples and a step-by-step demonstration of how to teach new reinforcers to an animal.
Join Ken Ramirez for this important Lab. You'll "Love It!"

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Skill

Speakers

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Type: Lab
Theme: Skill
Level: Foundation

What a Cue Can Do - In Action!

11:00 AM 12:30 PM

Participant notes:
We will have approximately 10 dog/handler teams. To participate, your dog should already be fluent at performing a simple targetingbehavior to an object or to someone’s fingertips or palm (i.e., be able to do at least 5 repetitions in 30 seconds of “touch nose or paw to target — hear click — eat treat — return immediately to touch target again”). Handlers should have basicclicker training mechanical skills (the treat follows the click, the click overlaps the desired behavior, etc.). You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. To participate in any Lab, you are expected to attend the prerequisite Learning Session.

We will add a cue to a simple targeting behavior, and then begin the process of teaching the dogs to wait for that cue. We will add a different type of cue to a previously known behavior (e.g. physical for verbal) and, if time allows, may also spend time problem-solving individual cueing-related issues handlers may be having with their dogs.

Lab participants will get a chance to refine their understanding of how to add cues to newly shaped behaviors. Skills covered will be:

  1. How to know when a behavior is ready for a cue
  2. How to present cues cleanly and consistently, so what you are signaling makes sense to your animal
  3. How observation and great timing help minimize cuing errors
  4. How to respond if your animal makes a mistake
  5. How to begin teaching your animal to wait for cues, without the use of extinction
  6. How to replace ineffective or poisoned cues with new ones

Course Type: Lab
Experience Level: Foundation
Topic:Skill 

Speakers

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Ticketed Meal

Lunch and Roundtable Discussions

12:30 PM 02:00 PM

Join in roundtable discussions and share knowledge and insight with other attendees as you connect on topics of mutual interest!
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Level: All
Theme: Equine
Type: Session

Loopy Training

02:00 PM 03:45 PM

How quickly can you change criteria? What tells you that your learner is ready for you to move on? Not sure? It’s a question many trainers have. Suppose you are introducing a horse or a dog to a target. After the first touch or two, it’s tempting to begin moving the target around. Both horses and dogs are attracted to movement, so they can usually follow these changes. They are reinforcing you for lumping, making big leaps in your training, instead of breaking the process down into small steps.

What’s wrong with that, especially if your animal is tracking the target successfully and getting clicked and treated? When your focus is just on the outcome, touching the target, you often miss important details that are also occurring, details that may get in your way later.

Alex wants handlers to notice potential problems while they are still little things. That's when they are easiest to deal with—not after the molehill has grown into a mountain. The loopy training teaching strategy helps you notice details, both good things you want to reinforce, and unwanted behaviors you'd like to clean up. Loopy training is going to slow you down so you can progress faster. If that sounds like a paradox, it's not. Loopy training helps you be more systematic so you aren't glossing over issues that will slow you down in the long run. Loopy training gives you clear guidelines for knowing when to increase your criterion and when to linger just a little longer at a particular step. When a loop is clean, you get to move on. Not only do you get to move on, you should move on.

Loopy training helps you get it just right! For those who have heard Alex speak on this topic previously, this Session will review those concepts and add in the developments and learning that she has discovered from teaching this concept for many years.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Equine

Speakers

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Level: All
Theme: Veterinary
Type: Session

Crossing Chasms: Understanding Trainer and Veterinary Perspectives on Animal Care

02:00 PM 03:45 PM

Trainers and veterinarians have so many things in common. They all:

  • Are passionate about animals
  • Have a desire to provide the animals they work with the best care possible
  • Work with individual clients
  • Are professionals with unique knowledge and skills

Despite these common goals, the tension and difficulties these professionals sometimes face when working together can create serious problems that get in the way of serving the clients and their animals successfully. In this Session, Debbie and Ken will share their experiences, each having worked extensively on both the training and veterinary sides of animal care. The goal is to share the unique perspectives of both professions and suggest steps that will aid in improved cooperation.
Debbie will focus on the medical model for behavior classification, the challenge of communication between professionals who are often the authority figures in their fields, the perspective of the trainer and the perspective of the veterinarian (common concerns each has about each other).
Ken will focus on a model that has been successful when veterinarians and trainers are working for the same organization, and how that model might transfer to those working with individual clients. He will also share his perspectives on communication challenges, individual perspectives, and solutions for working together.

Ken and Debbie will then open the Session to questions and discussion from attendees, looking for additional perspectives and questions that can help all of us move toward a more cohesive approach to accomplishing animal health care goals.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All levels
Topic:Veterinary

Speakers

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Level: All
Theme: Skill
Type: Session

Control is an Illusion: Stimulus Control without Frustration

02:00 PM 02:45 PM

“Good stimulus control is nothing more than true communication—honest, fair communication. It is the most complex, difficult, and elegant aspect of training with positive reinforcement.” - Karen Pryor

Stimulus control is not about how much control you have over your animal, but about how precisely you are able to communicate when reinforcement is available for a behavior and when it’s not. Stimulus control is also a reflection of overall dog and handler fluency at the moment the cues are learned. We’ve all seen or worked with dogs that fidget, pant, bark, and throw every behavior they’ve ever been clicked for when they are not quite sure what you want. These responses are not caused by over-arousal or the use of food in training, but by unclear criteria, unclear context cues, unhelpful defaults accidentally reinforced in past training sessions, and the resurgence of incomplete behaviors that were never fully put on cue to start.

The goal of this Session is to highlight the importance of stimulus control by looking at ways to refine how to teach it. Happily, the use of extinction is not necessary. There are far less frustrating methods to get behaviors on cue efficiently, as well as to make it clear exactly when we want our animals to offer behavior, and when we want them to wait. If you’ve ever struggled with a “frantic dog,” have a dog that frequently goes off course because fun obstacles keep trumping your directional cues, or have a dog that has a start on lots of behaviors that you now want to get on cue more reliably, this is the Session for you!

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All
Topic: Skill

Speakers

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Level: All
Theme: Equine
Type: Session

From Fear to Near: Behaviors that Change Horse Husbandry - Part 1

02:00 PM 02:45 PM

Many of today's modern horse owners are faced with a unique situation. While some have boarded their horses at a barn that's complete with turnout, blanketing, training, cleaning, and other care needs provided by someone else, there are increasing numbers of horse owners who have chosen to care for their horses on their own.

Whether your horse is at home or under your care at a different location, if you are committed to the process of caring for a horse, there is a huge training responsibility that sits on your shoulders. Horses need to have a large repertoire of learned husbandry behaviors in several overall categories.

Training these care behaviors can be very manageable for the horse owner who is using clicker training. With the tools and techniques you will learn in this Session and in Part 2, you can break the training into components that will make training those husbandry behaviors joyful daily events.

PART 1 will a focus on shaping, capturing, and targeting as tools for teaching husbandry behaviors. You will see how these tools can become the foundation upon which a trainer can continually build and refine a horse’s skills and repertoire of behaviors. Video will be used to demonstrate many behaviors in the categories of safe ground manners, stationing, haltering, leading, grooming, saddling, and safe feeding rituals.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Equine

Speakers

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Level: Advanced
Type: Lab
Theme: Competition

Fail-Safe: Cracking the Code for Ultra Depend-Ability - In Action

02:00 PM 03:45 PM

Participant Notes:
This Lab will accommodate approximately 12 dog/handler teams. Teams should be clicker-savvy and have advanced experience with shaping. Dogs should have a minimum of 3 fluent behaviors under good stimulus control. The behaviors can be very simple (for example: target, sit, down, etc.) and need not be specific to competition obedience. Dogs must be comfortable working in a seminar-type setting, in close quarters with other working dogs, even when excited. You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab. To participate in any Lab, you are expected to attend the prerequisite Learning Session.

In this Learning Lab, we will practice enhancing the fluency of behaviors by introducing challenges incrementally while striving for errorless learning.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Topic: Competition

Speakers

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Level: Intermediate
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill

Collar Cues - In Action!

02:00 PM 03:45 PM

Participant notes:
We will have approximately 6 dog/handler teams. Dogs should already understand the click/treat relationship and should be able to work in the same room as other dogs. Handlers and dogs should have previous clicker training experience. You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

Collar cues are valuable communication and training tools applicable for general dog training, service-dog work, or dog-sport training.
This Learning Lab will demonstrate how to clicker train dogs to move with directional collar cues. Collar cue behavior provides an additional communication tool for training new behaviors or improving existing behaviors. Join top guide-dog trainer and multi-time world champion freestyler Michele Pouliot as she shows you how collar cues, trained via the clicker, can give you just the right touch.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Intermediate and Above
Topic: Skill

Speakers

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Level: All
Theme: Science
Type: Session

Effective Affection: How to Get it Right

03:00 PM 03:45 PM

Pet owners often reinforce unwanted and annoying behaviors inadvertently (such as petting a dog when he jumps up) by giving attention and affection for these behaviors. When trainers are shaping new behaviors, they often default to food as a reward, and find it difficult to use petting, scratching, or other forms of affection effectively in order to reinforce behavior. Yet, if the problem behavior is maintained by affection, using affection is often the fastest and most effective way to solve the problem. The pieces that are often missing in this kind of problem-solving are teaching the animal how to receive affection and teaching the human how to use affection correctly to shape behavior. In this Session, I will describe in detail a powerful procedure that can be used to teach animals how to request and receive affection. Then we will discuss how to use affection to shape new behavior effectively, with plenty of video examples from a variety of different species.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Science

Speakers

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Level: All
Theme: Equine
Type: Session

From Fear to Near: Behaviors that Change Horse Husbandry - Part 2

03:00 PM 03:45 PM

Many of today's modern horse owners are faced with a unique situation. While some have boarded their horses at a barn that's complete with turnout, blanketing, training, cleaning, and other care needs provided by someone else, there are increasing numbers of horse owners who have chosen to care for their horses on their own.

Whether your horse is at home or under your care at a different location, if you are committed to the process of caring for a horse, there is a huge training responsibility that sits on your shoulders. Horses need to have a large repertoire of learned husbandry behaviors in several overall categories.

Training these care behaviors can be very manageable for the horse owner who is using clicker training. With the tools and techniques you learned in Part 1 and will learn in this Session, you can break the training into components that will make training those husbandry behaviors joyful daily events.

PART 2 will continue to show how shaping, capturing, and targeting can be used for training husbandry behaviors. Included are descriptions and video of the at-home care the horse might require, including preparation for the vet, medical procedures performed by the owner, hoof care, and preparing a horse for farrier visits.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels

Speakers

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BREAK

03:45 PM 04:15 PM

Use this time to stretch your legs, give your dog a stroll outside, or visit the ClickerExpo Store for a demonstration!
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Level: All
Theme: Teaching Others
Type: Session

Help Your Teacher Help You

04:15 PM 05:45 PM

As a student, you appreciate a knowledgeable teacher—but sometimes the abundance of information from a teacher can be overwhelming. Maybe you are an instructor who has seen your students glaze over, but you’re not sure where you lost them. Clear communication with students is the most important ingredient in any educational setting, and is something that is rarely established.

In this Session, we’ll talk about effective student-teacher communications so that you can make the most of each session together.

We’ll use TAGteach WOOF principles:

What you want
One thing
Observable
Five words or fewer

The Session will also provide other techniques to encourage concise instructions, timely feedback, and positive reinforcement from your teachers. And, just in case you encounter a stubborn case of over-coaching, we’ll discuss how to reduce incoming information quickly and create your own focus points. You’ll be amazed at the amount of success you can have when you know how to “Help your teacher help you.”

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic:Teaching Trainers

Speakers

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Level: Intermediate
Theme: Skill
Type: Session

Animals in Control: The Choice Is Theirs

04:15 PM 05:45 PM

As positive reinforcement trainers, we work hard at building relationships and creating partnerships with our animals. But there can be a huge difference between simply gaining an animal’s cooperation and giving the animal true choice! Trainers Eva Bertilsson, Emelie Johnson-Vegh, and Peggy Hogan have explored this concept in vastly different scenarios and are eager to share with ClickerExpo attendees.

This presentation, which combines lecture, personal examples, and videos, will introduce various techniques designed to help open the conversation with your learners. These techniques have been used successfully with dogs, horses, and many zoo animals in various contexts, including medical behaviors, challenging working scenarios, or any exercise that may give an animal pause. Teaching animals a way to “give you permission” to proceed or indicate that they are “ready” prevents inadvertent cueing behavior before an animal is prepared or committed to the activity. While all experienced trainers must become skilled at reading their learners’ body language, it is possible to take that skill a step further by teaching the animal to signal or “invite” the trainer to continue. Learn these techniques and you will be able to take another giant step toward the place where you and your animals are full and harmonious participants in a teaching and learning process.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Intermediate and Above
Topic: Skill

Speakers

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Level: Intermediate
Theme: Skill
Theme: Science
Type: Session

We Just Have to Dish: Training, Science, and Nerdy Stuff with Kathy & Susan

04:15 PM 05:45 PM

There’s never enough time to chat, right? You know, time to safely engage in meaningful conversation with colleagues about evolving topics in our field. In this Session, Kathy and Susan invite you to join them in an informal discussion of current practices they have been thinking a lot about lately, such as client compliance, animal consent, naturally occurring reinforcers, and separating negative punishment and negative reinforcement in the procedural hierarchy. Join us as we go off the leash, off the perch, and outside the box.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Topic: Skill, Science

Speakers

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Level: All
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill

Dr. Dolittle, I Presume

04:15 PM 05:45 PM

Participant Notes:
This Lab is for people; no need to bring your dogs—let them rest! The focus will be on trainer skills, and there will be approximately 40 spots for participants. Although Alex will use her experiences with horses, the exercises will apply to body awareness for all trainers, no matter what species you work with. If you have attended Alex’s Body Language Lab at ClickerExpo, this Lab will allow you to build and expand on the skills you have already learned.

I’m sure many of us who are drawn to clicker training wish we could truly talk to our animals. In many ways, clicker training lets us carry on a conversation. But how clear are we? We give a hand signal with the intention of getting our animal to stop and back up. Instead he swings wide and ends up facing us instead. What has gone wrong? Often the source of the confusion lies in all the conflicting signals we are giving to our animals. We mean back up, but our shoulders are telling our animal to go forward. Which signal should he listen to? Often the signals that win are the ones we aren’t even aware that we’re giving.

Horses and dogs are geniuses when it comes to reading people. That means that we need to become more aware of the clues/cues we are giving. Watch good trainers, and you will see an economy of movement. They try not to say too many things with their bodies at once. Their cues are clear and consistent. Their animals have no problem reading the cues. When a handler's body language sends meaningless messages, or messages that contradict other cues, animals can become confused, frustrated, upset, and unsuccessful.
In this Lab, we will explore some simple exercises that will help you become more aware of the cues, both intended and otherwise, that your animal is reading. For example, is your horse a pest when you stand next to him? Does he keep bumping into you and pushing you off your feet? And, even more maddening, does he stand perfectly well for your friend? Why are you someone to nudge and pester, and she is not? You’ll discover the difference that makes a difference in this Lab! Find out what it means to be grounded, and to give clear body language signals so you are communicating exactly what you intend and nothing else. The result will be a clarity of connection that takes you one step closer to truly being able to talk to your animals.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Skill

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Level: All
Type: Lab
Theme: Skill
Theme: Teaching Others

Game On! Train or Be Trained - Part 1

04:15 PM 05:45 PM

Participant Notes:
This Lab is for people; no need to bring your dogs—let them rest! The focus will be on trainer skills and will have approximately 60 spots for participants.

Great clicker training relies on effective communication between teacher and learner. A well-timed click, effective delivery of reinforcement, and a well-thought-out plan go a long way to make the experience a joyful one for both human and animal. Although we all know this, nothing compares to actually experiencing it.

In this Lab, you will be introduced to PORTL (the Portable Operant Teaching and Research Lab) and introduced to how it can be used to gain insight into the training process. PORTL is a game played with a collection of small objects and a clicker. The teacher communicates with the learner entirely through reinforcement. No instructions, prompts, or models are used during the game to direct the learner. PORTL can be used to improve mechanical skills, model training concepts and behavioral principles, and gain insight in developing and modifying a shaping plan

This Lab will introduce you to PORTL and the basics of how to set up and play PORTL.
We will practice the fundamentals of PORTL mechanics and play one exercise where you will get to be the teacher or the learner. After the exercise, we will discuss what you experienced while playing the game, including your emotions as the learner or teacher. Through these activities, you will experience how PORTL can be an effective teaching tool for helping people understand clicker training and[text deleted here] improve their shaping skills.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels
Topic: Skill, Teaching Others

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Level: All
Theme: Equine
Type: Session

Healing a Wild Stallion

04:15 PM 05:45 PM

In 2010, Jen Digate adopted a traumatized, fifteen year old mustang. Tarot had been gathered from the wild as a mature stallion who had spent his entire life solely in the company of other horses. Each year of captivity, for six years, he went through one new home, until they too decided he was too difficult to handle. For his seventh home, he landed with Jen. Armed with the science of positive reinforcement, open expectations and a video camera, Jen began the slow and patient work of teaching Tarot humans could be reliable and training could be reinforcing. Watch video of Tarot from his first training sessions to his most recent and see how clicker training made a new life possible for him. The session will include detailed explanation of core training principles and a deep look into LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive) as both a philosophy AND a practice.

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Open Event

Book & Media Signing

06:00 PM 06:30 PM

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Ticketed Meal

Dinner and Panel Discussion

07:15 PM 09:30 PM

Room with a View: A Training Conversation
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Ticketed Meal

Breakfast

07:00 AM 09:00 AM

Advance purchase only. No on-site purchase will be available.
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Store Open

07:30 AM 02:00 PM

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Registration Open

07:30 AM 02:00 PM

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