I’m back from the Clicker Expo and overflowing with new ideas to try! My favorite conference of the year, Clicker Expo always recharges my batteries, fills my brain, and leaves me exhausted by the time it’s over. I get to catch up with far-flung colleagues, make new friends, and eat way too much. How great is that?!
I traveled in a pickup truck over nine hours with my fellow graduates of the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training. Three of us shared a room (!) and wound up having the time of our lives.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the seminars I attended (and how I might use the info in my classes):
- Working for the Joy of It: A Systematic Look at Non-Food Reinforcers (think: teaching your dog to work for a toy, a game, a belly rub – instead of food)
- The ABCs of Obedience Trial Champion: Skills for Top Performance (there are only 18 skills to master!)
- Broken Clicks: How Reinforcer Delivery Impacts Learning (the human’s timing is very important in teaching your dog – I’ll spend equal time on perfecting the human’s skills in class and the dog’s skills)
- Cue Comprehension (Do you really know what your dog is responding to when you ask him to sit? Or Down? Or Come When Called? You might be surprised! I’m going to work this into my classes right away.)
- Cue Control (How much control do you have over your cues? Can your dog still Sit if you have both hands over your head? If you whisper? If you say it in a different voice? What if you say Pit, not Sit? Or Sat, not Sit?)
- Training Guide Dogs for the Blind: Revolutions and Revelations (Another organization leaves old-fashioned correction training behind and finds tremendous success with clicker training!)
- What’s that Smell: Keys to Reliable Scent Discrimination (Nemo and I are going to start tracking. If anyone’s interested, let me know!)
I didn’t take Tango with me (and I missed all the dogs like crazy), but next year’s Expo is in Rhode Island, so he’ll probably be my traveling companion again!