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Choosing Your ClickerExpo Courses

Historically, ClickerExpo has featured five to six simultaneous courses during almost every time slot throughout three days, plus three Plenary Sessions—for a total of more than 80 choices! There are courses available for every experience level and nearly every area of interest. This guide will help you navigate those choices and make the most of your ClickerExpo experience. Most courses are open seating, so you can register without knowing your full schedule.

A ClickerExpo session

Here’s a guide to planning your experience and making the right course

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Define your interests
  2. Assess your skill/knowledge level
  3. Review the program
  4. Register!

1. Define Your Interests

Interested in finding courses on particular topic? Each of the courses in the schedule has one or more codes indicating the focal point(s) of the course. Here is a summary of these codes and their meaning in alphabetical order:

ADOPT = focus on issues common to shelter and rescue work.

ABM = Aggression & Behavior Management - content relevant for those working with behavior issues including, but not limited to management of reactivity and aggression.

BIZ = Business - focus on content for professional trainers looking to sustain and grow their business.

COMP = Compete - focused on canine sports and competitions.

EQ = Equine - courses developed specifically for horse trainers and owners.

SCI = Science, courses look at skill building and knowledge through the lens of behavioral science.

SKILL = Trainer Skill Development, focus on the training skills and knowledge that are critical to trainer’s continued development.

TEACH = Teaching Others, will focus on skills and knowledge related to teaching people.

VET = Veterinary, focused on skill development and knowledge useful in veterinary environments.


GEN = General - courses a will cover a range of topics like the opening and closing presentations.

KPA = For current students of the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional program and KPA Certified Training Partner members.

SPONSOR = A course offered on a topic by one of our sponsors.

2. Assess your skill and knowledge level.

All courses at ClickerExpo are given a skill/knowledge level rating. Choose courses at the level that's right for you (and your dog!) to make sure you get the most out of each and every class. Not all of your courses need to be at the same level; your selection should depend on your experience within the given area. Read the full course description for the most complete understanding of the course's relevance and appropriateness for you. (This is especially important for freestyle and agility courses.) Understanding the experience level rating helps you know what to expect—and know what is expected of you!

  • All Levels
    • Some All Levels courses give registrants the opportunity to explore aspects of training and behavior to which they rarely have access.
    • Other All Levels courses are appropriate for everyone because they teach a set of skills or provide information that everyone needs but few have developed.
    • Other All Levels courses address a specialty topic that we feel will be interesting and informative no matter what your experience level.
  • Foundation
  • Foundation courses are intended for those with little or no prior experience with clicker training. You may be an expert in traditional training, or in other areas such as veterinary medicine. However, this rating refers solely to your clicker training expertise. Foundation courses provide solid grounding in the vocabulary and principles of clicker training, learning theory, operant conditioning, and other key concepts. Foundation level Learning Labs provide registrants with the opportunity to begin to apply what they have learned.
  • Intermediate
  • Intermediate courses are intended for those with a working knowledge of the vocabulary of clicker training and operant conditioning. These students should have already learned to train basic behaviors with a marker signal, know how to put behaviors on cue, and have several behaviors with their dogs solidly on cue. Note that Intermediate Learning Labs often require that participating dog and handler teams have specific training and skills.
  • Advanced
  • Advanced courses are intended for those with a solid understanding of learning theory and the vocabulary of training and operant conditioning, as well as considerable experience in applying these techniques. Advanced courses assume that attendees routinely teach behaviors through shaping and targeting, have many behaviors reliably on cue, have built small behavior chains, and know how to rename cues. Note that the dog you are working with in an Advanced Learning Lab should be accustomed to the shaping process and know how to initiate behavior and try new things without prompting or luring. Learning Labs often require participating dog and handler teams to have specific training and skills. Please do not try to work with less experienced dogs in these Labs.

3. Review the program

ClickerExpo offers two distinct kinds of courses, Sessions and Learning Labs. The relationship between multimedia-style classes and hands-on training with our expert faculty is one of the things that make ClickerExpo unique.

Important!

  • Most sessions are open seating, so you can register without knowing your full schedule!
  • You only reserve “participation” and "observer" spots in Learning Labs ahead of time. Space for these spots is limited and we recommend you reserve your spots when you register. This is especially true if you are coming and working with your dog!
  • Again, you do not register for Sessions before arriving at ClickerExpo, but all Labs are registration required. In 2017, you also need to register for “observer” status in Learning Labs.
  • If you are new to clicker training, please consider taking Foundation Level classes for at least the first two days.

Sessions

  • Open seating. You have unlimited access to Sessions included with your registration.
  • Sessions are a primary teaching vehicle at ClickerExpo. Sessions are delivered by ClickerExpo faculty in dynamic, multimedia presentations via lecture, on-stage demonstrations, video, and PowerPoint. Some Learning Sessions may include participation exercises for individuals or small groups.
  • Some Sessions have two parts. You may attend just one part, but we encourage you to attend both. In some cases, a Learning Session has a supporting, related Learning Lab that you may want to attend either as a participant or as an observer.

Learning Labs

  • You must register for any working/participation spot in a Learning Lab before arriving at ClickerExpo, as space is limited. We recommend you choose these during your registration to have the widest choice.
  • In 2017, observer spots in Labs are NOT open seating, and need to be registered for..
  • Learning Labs provide an opportunity to work with your dog or to observe others and the faculty working with dogs under the tutelage of the ClickerExpo faculty.
  • Learning Labs are limited to no more than 10 dog/handler teams (and are often limited to 4-6 teams). ClickerExpo faculty members lead these Labs; often, other Expo faculty members or KPA Certified Training Partners assist.
  • Many Learning Labs are based on concepts presented in a preceding Learning Session. Labs that are linked to Sessions have "In Action" in their titles and the Session will be listed as a prerequisite for the Lab. Note that the prerequisite Session is only a requirement if you are a participant in the Lab, but observers are strongly encouraged to attend as well.
  • There are Learning Labs that are not directly linked to Learning Sessions; these Labs offer great exploratory learning opportunities.
  • There are some Learning Labs for humans only. Read the descriptions.

During the registration process, you will be allowed to register for a maximum of four Learning Lab participation spots (assuming you have chosen a three-day conference registration). If you are a two-day registrant, you may register for two Learning Labs, and single-day registrants may register for only one Learning Lab.

  • Learning Lab faculty assume that participants have attended the prerequisite Learning Session, if there is one. Please do not register to participate in a Lab if you do not plan to take the prerequisite Learning Session.

We suggest that you print out the schedule and circle your preferred preferred Learning Labs before you register.

4. Register!

Now that you've chosen your experience level and know which topics, Sessions and Labs pique your interest, you're ready to join the conference when registration opens over the summer!