ClickerExpo Session & Lab Descriptions 2014

Descriptions for the 2015 program are coming soon!

The program schedule for 2014 will help you learn more in three days than you thought possible! It is chock full of stimulating courses and exciting hands-on Labs, taught by the ClickerExpo Faculty who bring their unique talents and perspectives to work for you. The program features more than 50 courses. Register now!


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Day 1

Newcomer Orientation
Karen Pryor, Aaron Clayton

Note: 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! Karen Pryor and Aaron Clayton will help you make the most of your experience in this Session designed specifically for newcomers to ClickerExpo. They 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 introduction to ClickerExpo is a "must" for those experiencing the magic of ClickerExpo for the first time, and is a wonderful refresher for Expo veterans, too!

This Session supplements but does not replace the 9:00 a.m. Session.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Reaching the Scientist’s Mind What scientists don’t get about the Conditioned Reinforcer
Karen Pryor, Aaron Clayton

Behavior analysts, cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, medical doctors—almost none of them recognize the importance of the event marker in developing new behavior. In this Session, Karen Pryor discusses pervasive misunderstandings about the conditioned reinforcer in the scientific community, and what we are doing about it. She will also share some of her own experiences introducing scientists to the power of a click.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

The Foundation Station Clicker Training 101
Hannah Branigan

Are you new to clicker training? You may have heard the buzz words "operant conditioning" and "marker training," but what does that mean in terms of practical dog training?

Here's a crash course on clicker training, learning theory, and the laws governing how learning really works. You'll learn what you need to know about the underlying science in order to get out of the gate fast — or to get back on track. If you start your ClickerExpo experience on Friday with this two-hour Session, you will have the foundation and vocabulary to help you understand, enjoy, and benefit from the rest of the program.

Hannah Branigan will help you understand why clicker training principles work and what the terms really mean—and she will make it fun! Attendees will learn about the following topics:

  • What is learning?
  • Classical vs. operant conditioning
  • The ABCs of behavior
  • Mumbo Jumbo and Terminology: What does it mean, and does it really matter?
  • Quadrant Schmadrant
  • Extinction (and I'm not talking about dinosaurs!)
  • Event markers
  • Cues and stimulus control
  • Leash, clicker, and treats… but I only have two hands?
  • Tips for making it work in the “real world”

This is the first course in a recommended series of foundation courses at ClickerExpo. The series is intended for new or less experienced clicker trainers and is called the Foundation Curriculum.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Foundation
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

What a Concept! New Frontiers in Concept Training
Ken Ramirez

This new Session follows the theme of concept training that Ken Ramirez presents and evolves at ClickerExpo. It is designed to challenge experienced trainers and animals looking for new ideas to stretch and expand their abilities.

At previous ClickerExpo conferences, Ken has focused on various forms of concept training—first was modifier cues, then mimicry, and, most recently, adduction.

New for this year, Ken will look at several different types of concepts including matching to sample, "you do as I do," repeat signals, and counting (including the concepts of more vs. less and same vs. different).

This Session will highlight the foundation skills needed to teach various concepts to your animal, and will examine the steps to train them and the possible challenges you may face.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Reward Ends, Then What?
Eva Bertilsson, Emelie Johnson-Vegh

A desired behavior is followed by reinforcers, which strengthen the behavior in the future. That's the bottom line of positive reinforcement training. But does it matter what happens right after each reward? You betcha. What happens right after the reward is a neglected part of the training loop that deserves more focus. Whether we intend it to or not, the end of the reward will function as a cue for some behavior. The behavior that regularly happens to appear and be reinforced after a reward ends will then be under stimulus control of that reward ending. By being aware of this process, one desired behavior can be promoted and undesired behaviors nipped in the bud before they become built into the training experience.

This Session will discuss rewards both as consequences and as antecedents. Attendees will learn how to predict and develop specific behavior so that what happens after each reward is beneficial for future training. Examples and video demonstrations will be included.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Super Friendly to Super Cool Teaching Impulse Control
Michele Pouliot

Participant notes:
In this two-hour Learning Lab we will have approximately six 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.

Does your "social butterfly" dog want to greet absolutely everybody? Is he overly friendly, jumping up on any human that looks at him, or running up to other dogs? Is he unable to contain his emotions when someone is talking to him or petting him?

There is help for you! Guide Dogs for the Blind Research & Development Director Michele Pouliot demonstrates cutting-edge techniques her organization is using to create happy, friendly dogs that are also in control.

Michele will teach participants effective setups for learning, criteria-raising, how to turn dogs' impulses into cues for desired behavior, and even how to use platform tools to help your dog with impulse control. Not only are these valuable techniques for developing good canine manners, but impulse control is a must for working dogs and for dogs that compete in sports.

This small-group Learning Lab has a maximum of six participants so you will get lots of hands-on instruction from Michele. Work with your dog or observe dogs learning impulse control via clicker training. Impulse behavior problems such as rushing toward people or dogs, jumping up, bolting through doors, and counter-surfing may be worked on.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

I Beg Your Pardon? Repurposing Default Behaviors
Kay Laurence

Participant notes:
This Lab will accommodate approximately 16 dog/handler teams. Dogs should already understand the click/treat relationship and be able to work in close quarters with other dogs. You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

Many people think of the default behavior only as the behavior that the dog learns first and/or is most likely to perform in the absence of other information. The default behavior is an overlooked piece of the training puzzle, though. It can be used as a way for your dog to communicate with you when what you have asked for is unclear or unsafe.

Does the dog have the option to not respond to your cue? Can the dog say "No?" Perhaps the dog means, "What you just asked for is not recognized," or "At this moment, that behavior would be a very stupid thing to do," or "I'd rather not right now"?

We like to think we are listening to our dogs, but when we give a cue, an opportunity for reinforcement, are we really open-minded to them expressing an opinion about our suggestion? Do we hear them when they say "No, thanks" to that opportunity? To develop our own listening skills, we need to teach dogs how to "express their opinions." This can be taught with a default response to a cue.

In this Lab, we will go through the process of training default response to a cue thoughtfully and strategically so that it becomes an essential part of your training approach.

We will also observe dogs' responses to cues and begin to "hear" what they think. Cues will become a much more intimate part of a conversation with a partner, rather than an operative. The result is a cue that becomes more thoughtful and informative, and more likely to be successful.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

Emotional Fluency Capturing Emotions in Training
Sarah Owings

We often talk about behavioral fluency in training, but it is only by nurturing the right emotions behind the behaviors that truly great trainers achieve resilient, high-level responses from their animals consistently. In this Lab, participants will discover what emotional fluency looks like and will learn practical ways to incorporate an emotional component into their training plans right from the start.

Emotions, such as confidence, calm, focus, anticipation, excitement, and joy can be captured, shaped, and put on cue just like any other behavior. Attendees will learn how to achieve this through careful planning, good mechanics, strategic associative pairings, dependable training rituals, stimulus control, and the effective use of reinforcers.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach

You're in Great Shape Understanding & Applying Shaping
Eva Bertilsson, Emelie Johnson-Vegh

Related Lab(s):

Shaping behavior by reinforcing small steps toward a future goal is one of the core processes of clicker training, and is the key to creative and limitless training. It is often hard for trainers to make the shift from luring, prompting, or leading animals through the desired movements to letting animals discover what works on their own. The benefits of this shift are enormous to both trainer and animal.

Shaping builds the trainer’s observation and mechanical skills, and is the foundation of teaching complex behaviors. Shaping also makes training fun for the animal and strengthens the relationship between animal and trainer. Without an understanding of shaping, trainers will not experience the full power of clicker training.

Shaping depends on good observation and timely use of the clicker as a tool for communicating a movement as it is happening. You’ll learn what shaping is — and isn’t — and how it differs from other ways of “getting behavior.” Eva and Emelie will demonstrate shaping techniques and discuss how to overcome common obstacles. If you’ve been frustrated in your attempts to try shaping, you’ll be inspired to try again.

This Session will include PowerPoint slides and videos.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Foundation
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Puppy Einsteins Teaching Cued Behaviors to Young Puppies
Michele Pouliot

What's a fast, positive, and fun way to teach a young puppy to lie down, sit, stand, or stay? Can luring be a part of a clicker trainer's toolbox? Learn a few of the positive reinforcement methods being used with puppies to prepare them to be future guide dogs!

In this Session, Michele Pouliot shares some of the techniques that she and Guide Dogs for the Blind use to teach foundation behaviors to young puppies. You will see how platforms can help you teach introductory behaviors and concepts like sit, down, stand, and impulse control to puppies 8 to 16 weeks old.

Michele will also cover how to use luring to your advantage when your puppy handlers are not skilled shapers. Find out how to transition from a food lure to hand signal to verbal cue in short order, long before the puppy becomes reliant on a food lure.

This Session will include a PowerPoint presentation and video demonstrations.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

It's a Good Fit! Operant & Classical Conditioning
Kathy Sdao

Some trainers rely heavily on classical conditioning, especially when trying to overcome behavioral difficulties such as fearfulness and fear-caused aggression. Techniques based on classical conditioning can include desensitization, habituation, and counter-conditioning, creating a classically conditioned association between primary reinforcers and the triggers for unwanted behavior.

Other trainers rely heavily on operant conditioning when trying to combat unwanted behaviors or emotional states. Techniques based on operant conditioning include training an incompatible behavior, bringing an unwanted behavior under stimulus control, extinction by removal of reinforcing events maintaining the unwanted behavior, and use of the LRS ("least-reinforcing stimulus").

In fact, both classical conditioning and operant conditioning are involved in almost all learning situations. While operant conditioning may be uppermost in the trainer's mind, classically conditioned stimuli from the environment, internal states, and previous learning may all impact the learning. The trainer working solely with classical conditioning may be unnecessarily prolonging a process that could be hastened by the addition of conditioned reinforcers as markers of desirable behavior.

Kathy Sdao will discuss ways of blending both kinds of conditioning to simplify and speed up both the acquisition of new responses and the repair or modification of existing undesirable behavior or emotional states.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

What a Concept! New Frontiers in Concept Training - In Action
Ken Ramirez

Prerequisite:

Participant notes:
Dogs and handlers should be very clicker savvy and fluent at working with any toy or object. Participating dogs must be able to indicate on cue any object or toy presented easily (the indication behavior can be a nose or paw target, or a retrieval). You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

This Learning Lab is an extension of the Learning Session What a Concept! New Frontiers in Concept Training, and is the latest in the concept training theme that Ken Ramirez continues to evolve at ClickerExpo. The Lab is designed to challenge experienced trainers and animals looking for new ideas to stretch and expand their abilities.

This Lab will focus on the initial steps and set-up needed to train matching to sample as well as the concept of counting. Participants with dogs will be able to start some of the basic training, uncover some possible challenges, and get feedback from Ken on how to initiate training for these and other concepts.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Teaching Reactive Dog Class
Emma Parsons

Participant notes:
This Lab will accommodate 16 dog/handler teams. Dogs and handlers should be experienced with clicker training. Dogs should be comfortable with normal handling and able to work in close quarters with other dogs. You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

Dogs with a history of aggression or fearfulness should not be in this Lab; the purpose of the Lab is to show instructors how to properly set up a reactive dog class, not to treat already-existing fear or aggression problems.

This Learning Lab will demonstrate strategies and specific exercises that instructors can use in their classes to teach highly stimulated dogs to focus on their handlers even in the most challenging environments. Mastering this single skill—a huge challenge for many dogs—will save heartache and angst, and avoid serious injury.

Attendees will practice many of the specific games and challenges used most often in Emma Parsons' reactive dog classes and consultations. Special emphasis will be placed on focus exercises and on how to set up the challenges safely for others so that all participants, no matter what level, will enjoy them.

This Lab will have one or more exercises including, but not limited to: parallel running and jumping, agility tasks, and musical barriers. Important aspects of the exercises include helping the dog to maintain focus on the handler despite a very challenging environment, teaching the handler how to maneuver around other dogs safely, and slowly increasing the number of triggers and distractions in the environment at a rate that the dog can handle.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

On Extinction
Karen Pryor

Extinction takes place when reinforcement stops; when that happens, the behavior it is supporting stops, too. Extinction can be a natural procedure. For example, infantile feeding behaviors in puppies and kittens disappear as more adult behaviors develop to exploit new sources of reinforcement. Extinction can also be a deliberately induced research tool, intrinsic to many procedures for measuring memory, intelligence, and the effects of drugs.

It's something we all wish for at times (will that dog ever stop barking?!). Extinction, however, is always an aversive experience, sometimes extremely aversive, triggering rage, aggression, and despair. Furthermore, once learned, no behavior ever really disappears; all you can hope for is that you have extinguished the behavior under present conditions and to all reasonable extents and purposes.

Nevertheless, extinction continues to be regarded as not just a possible but a preferred tool in many textbooks on learning and behavior. In this Session, Karen Pryor will discuss how to recognize when you are accidentally triggering extinction and the resulting extinction-induced aggression, how to avoid the unnecessary cruelty of deliberately induced extinction, the downside of punishment as a pathway to extinction, and some reinforcement-based alternatives.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Power of Choice Part 1: Locus of Control
Irith Bloom

Animals often have little or no choice about the things that happen to them. They live under what is known as an “external locus of control.” Research in humans and other animals suggests that an external locus of control (having little control over one’s environment) is associated with greater amounts of stress.

This Session will focus on the power of choice in animal training. Allowing animals greater control over their environment, through methods such as clicker training, can reduce stress and improve outcomes. As trainers often joke, the trick is to let the animal think he or she is in charge of the training!

Whether you are interested in dog sports or just in having a happier parrot, this Session will help you find appropriate ways to offer your animal more control both during and outside training sessions. This Session will include videos, audience participation, and examples.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach

Gimme Shelter! Training & Enrichment
Steve Benjamin

Imagine a shelter where the dogs do not bark, the cats can do tricks, and everybody is smiling. This "dream shelter" can be a reality when you implement some simple training protocols and a low-cost enrichment program, as taught in the new Karen Pryor Academy course, Shelter Training & Enrichment.

Steve Benjamin, course co-author and instructor, will share tips on how to transform a shelter from bare-bones concrete and chain link to a comfortable and safe haven for the dogs and cats that live there.

We will explore a range of topics including "Quiet in the Kennel," addressing barrier frustration, identifying signals and causes of stress in shelter animals, and much more. Attendees will also see examples of behaviors that can help make shelter animals more appealing to adopters and improve the overall atmosphere for staff and volunteers.

This Session will include a PowerPoint presentation and video examples that show the improved quality of life for shelter animals that a broad training and enrichment program can bring.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

Train That Chain! Behavior Chains: Part 1
Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Related Session

Related Lab

At some point, we realize that one click and one treat per behavior will be cumbersome to keep up forever, or simply impossible for certain key tasks. At that point, we must develop and maintain chains of behaviors.

Behavior chains can be smooth and efficient packages of pristine behavior if handled well, or they can be frustrating and time-consuming if handled poorly. They can also be our worst behavioral nightmares, reinforcing bad behaviors, if they are not planned carefully!

This Session will cover methods of training and assembling chains, ways to repair a broken chain, identifying and fixing unhelpful chains, and even some uses for chains you might not have thought of.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

You're in Great Shape Understanding & Applying Shaping - In Action
Eva Bertilsson, Emelie Johnson-Vegh

Prerequisite(s):

Participant notes:
All Levels welcome. In this Learning Lab we will have approximately 15 dog/handler teams. Dogs should already understand the click/treat relationship and should be able to work in close quarters with other dogs. Handlers should be able to work independently to click and give reinforcers. 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. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

This Learning Lab is designed for those new to shaping or uncertain about whether they're on the right track with their shaping skills, including people who have trained dogs primarily with lure/reward techniques but want to transition from luring to shaping.

In this Lab, you'll learn basic shaping skills, such as how to structure individual shaping sessions. How to choose criteria to ensure success and how to maintain a high rate of reinforcement will be explained. We'll also work on improving observational skills. If needed, we'll explore exercises for "loosening up" dogs that are used to waiting for guidance from their handler rather than offering behaviors.

Training exercises include: establishing routines for the training session, shaping a movement (such as head drop or back up), and shaping an interaction with an object (like a chair, a box, or a mat).

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Foundation
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Better, Faster, Smarter Competition Training with Platforms - In Action
Michele Pouliot

Participant notes:
Handlers should be able to effectively work their dog in a distracting environment with other dogs nearby. To get the most out of this Learning Lab, handlers should already be familiar with using platforms. The dog also should already be very familiar with and "magnetized" to platform use (dog automatically mounts an available platform).

Michele Pouliot is one of the most successful canine freestyle champions in the history of the sport, dazzling audiences and judges with her creative routines that are full of imaginative behaviors. Using raised platforms as a positive training tool has aided her in creating dozens of advanced routines consisting of 80 or more behavior cues and accomplishing three OTCHs (Obedience Trial Championships) with three dogs.

No matter what your sport or performance needs, platform training can help you and your dog make training progress faster, and at the same time add some fun to the challenge of training precision.

In this Lab, you'll focus on using platforms to train a new complex behavior and using platforms to improve upon an existing advanced behavior. The skills that you'll be practicing include making the most powerful use of a platform by planning your goal behavior, keeping the fun in training sessions while making notable progress, and assessing how to modify platform use during a training session.

As explained further in the Participant Notes, participating dog/handler teams should already be familiar with using platforms.

Use platforms and you'll find that you will soon begin developing your own ways of speeding up training with this versatile tool!

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

On Negative Reinforcement
Karen Pryor

For thousands of years people have been tending and using animals, driving and herding them, riding, leading, and steering them. The tools we use are worldwide and millennia old: bits, bridles and reins, goads, prods, whips, collars, and leashes.

All of these tools are based on negative reinforcement. "Just do what I ask, and you will stay out of trouble." This works, and learners accept the bargain. However negative reinforcement—taking away a bad thing in order to increase a certain behavior—requires the ever-present possibility of the bad thing happening. The animal working to avoid bad outcomes is in a different emotional state than the animal focusing on possible opportunities for earning positive reinforcement.

Research in England shows that high cortisol levels and stress-related symptoms such as stomach ulcers are common in normal, well-trained, well-cared-for riding horses. Rather than equating negative and positive reinforcement as two sides of the same coin, Karen Pryor suggests that negative reinforcement has little place in modern training practice, and is valuable only in circumstances where positive reinforcement is impossible, such as when a learner is too fearful to approach. In this Session, Karen offers examples of using negative reinforcement to shape behavior in a reindeer, catch loose horses, tame a timid dolphin, and halter an untrained llama.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Power of Choice Part 2: Dealing with Problem Behavior
Irith Bloom

When there is a discrepancy between how humans want an animal to behave and the animal’s actual behavior, humans often characterize the behavior as “misbehavior” or “bad behavior.” In most cases, however, what is actually going on is a mismatch between the choices available to the animal and the value of the reinforcement contingent on each of those choices. In other words, a “misbehaving” animal is generally just following the rules of learning.

The most elegant way to deal with undesired behavior is to change the environment so that the animal is likely to choose a different, more appropriate (to the human) behavior.  Ideally, the animal is guided to the proper choice without being forced into it. When this process is applied repeatedly, animals learn to make choices that agree with human desires even in new contexts. The key is maintaining a careful balance between training (changing consequences) and management (changing antecedents).

This Session will discuss practical ways to teach animals to make better choices, using both training and management.

This Session will include videos, audience participation, and examples.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach

We Demand Clicker Training Overcoming Resistance
Andre Yeu

If you work with dog owners, you have probably encountered resistance to clicker training: looks of reluctance and skepticism, direct objections, or flat-out refusal. Where does this come from? Some resistance may stem from existing misconceptions, but often it’s caused by how we present and introduce clicker training to our prospects and new clients for the first time. What is needed is to present the information clicker-style!

Instead of trying to overcome an endless series of objections, find out how to build enthusiasm from the start. Show people what works, get them clicking, and help them see how fast the dog is learning and how much fun is involved. The ultimate goal? Turn them into clicker training evangelists!

This Session will include a lecture component, Q&A, and a chance to practice the skills we will introduce.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

Train That Chain! Behavior Chains: Part 2
Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Prerequisite:

Related Lab

At some point, we realize that one click and one treat per behavior will be cumbersome to keep up forever, or simply impossible for certain key tasks. At that point, we must develop and maintain chains of behaviors.

Behavior chains can be smooth and efficient packages of pristine behavior if handled well, or they can be frustrating and time-consuming if handled poorly. They can also be our worst behavioral nightmares, reinforcing bad behaviors, if they are not planned carefully!

This Session will cover methods of training and assembling chains, ways to repair a broken chain, identifying and fixing unhelpful chains, and even some uses for chains you might not have thought of.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Day 2

Urban Mushing Harness Your Wild Beast
Chris Waggoner

Have a dog that pulls? Looking for a way to put that to good use? Mushing is not just for the Iditarod-bound! Harness your dog’s energy with Urban Mushing. No snow or ice required! The right equipment will work on any even surface, at any time of year. Any breed or mix can enjoy this fast-paced outdoor sport.

This Session will include examples, videos, and a live demo.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach

To Refer Or Not to Refer? Trainer Best Practices
Laura Monaco Torelli

It’s a great time to be a dog trainer! More and more pet owners are seeking training for their dogs. Shelters and rescue organizations are recognizing the value of training in keeping pets in their forever homes. Veterinary professionals are witnessing firsthand the benefits of training, including faster and easier examinations and less stress for their patients.

For us as trainers, this means more opportunities than ever to collaborate with those who share our goal of strengthening the human-animal bond. Dog trainers are often the first professionals to hear about behavior problems, and have the unique opportunity to perform a “triage.” Many times, the undesirable behaviors clients report are simply due to a lack of training. But, sometimes trainers suspect that something more may be going on—something that requires a referral to a veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist who can provide a medical and/or behavioral diagnosis and determine if a treatment plan is needed.

The reality is that at some point in his or her career every professional dog trainer will come across cases that require collaboration with other professionals. When a veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist becomes involved,the trainer’s goals are to continue supporting the client, help implement any training plans that may be prescribed, and ensure that everyone involved is kept in the loop.

At these times, in addition to their own best practices, trainers must consider additional ethical obligations working with clients and referral sources.

In this Session, you’ll begin to learn:

  • How to discern a training concern from a behavioral abnormality
  • When to refer to a licensed and qualified veterinary professional
  • How to develop collaborative relationships that are beneficial to trainer, client, and veterinarian
  • How to provide immediate success points to ensure engagement in what can be a long and trying process
Examples and video demonstrations will be included.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

Training for the Easily Frustrated Dog
Emily Larlham

Whining, growling, barking, mouthiness, jumping up, as well as inaccurate and incorrect responses are just some examples of what can happen if a dog becomes over-aroused or frustrated during training. Every trainer dreams of working with a dog at the perfect level of arousal. When is that? When a dog is highly motivated but also able to execute behaviors with accuracy, enthusiasm, and pizzazz, and doesn't panic when we make mistakes in our training. However, in the real world, there are many dogs that can become over-aroused easily and frustrated simply by the criteria being raised. Some dogs become over-aroused by just the sight of the clicker and bait bag, leaving their trainer feeling overwhelmed.

In this Session, we will investigate the use of reinforcement deliveries, reinforcement placements, handling, calming exercises, and secondary reinforcers to tackle the problem of over-excitement or frustration. We will also cover how to look deeper into a training scenario, rather than just focusing on the cue, the marker, the reinforcement, and the desired behavior. Noting what the dog is doing after the click and before receiving the primary reinforcement, or while you are getting ready to train, can help you manage the actual training session and reduce over-arousal.

This Session will include lecture and video presentations.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach

At Your Service Teaching Service Dog Behaviors
Laurie Luck

Prerequisite(s):

The road to becoming a service dog is arduous. Training starts at 8 weeks and continues for at least 18 months—even after the dog is matched with a partner. The expectations for a service dog are high; a strong work ethic, reliable and fluent behaviors, exceptional health, and a gentle but persistent personality are required. Dogs in training have at least three homes throughout their career: the puppy raiser, the service dog agency, and, finally, their permanent home with their partner. What's the common thread in all of this? The clicker!

Learn what it takes and what it's like to be a service dog raised in a clicker trained environment. This Session will show you how a service dog organization clicker trains everyone (from volunteer dog walkers to puppy raisers to recipients) and every service dog (from wheelchair assistance to diabetic alert to balance assistance).

This Session will discuss the service dog training process from acquisition of puppies, through their training in the puppy raiser's home, the formal training process (including goals, milestones, etc. for each dog), the matching of dog to client, and the transfer camp where the disabled person learns how to work with his or her canine helper. Examples and video demonstrations will be included.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

Links Between Diet & Behavior
BRAVO!

Coming soon!

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Easing a Dog's Anxiety
Thundershirt

Coming soon!

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

What a Cue Can Do Developing Cueing Skills
Kathy Sdao

Related Lab(s):

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 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
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Pace, Place & More Strategic Reinforcement Delivery
Michele Pouliot

Related Lab(s):

Effective clicker training is sometimes thought of as exclusively depending on the timing of the click and the value of the reinforcer. An often overlooked subject is reward delivery. How, where, and when rewards are delivered is often crucial to efficient and clear training because it is a key linchpin in the communication cycle you are creating. Implicit in "Click, then treat" is all of the activity that happens in "then." While most beginners know that beginning the process of reaching into the bait bag, say before the click is completed can weaken the power in the click, even experienced trainers don't always understand other critical effects of reward delivery on learning.

Strategic reward delivery includes how reward delivery can be used to either lower or increase a dog's energy, how the makeup of the physical reward itself can enhance or hinder the reward process, whether the placement of reinforcement should support the goal behavior or be used to reset the dog for another repetition, and how teaching a dog to tolerate occasional longer reward sequences can allow for flexibility without dampening the reinforcement process. Finally, strategic reward delivery means being conscious of the choices you are making and how they impact your dog's learning.

This is a PowerPoint presentation with video demonstrations and examples.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Reducing Behavior with Reinforcement? Oxymorons & Other Jumbo Shrimp
Susan Friedman

It's definitional, right? Reinforcement is the process by which behavior is strengthened with contingent consequences.

Wait a minute! What about reducing problem behaviors with differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors? Is non-contingent reinforcement even possible? When it comes to applying best training practices, even our most trusted definitions go a little bit sideways when we implement the basic learning principles creatively.

In this Session, we will explore the role reinforcement can play in reducing problem behaviors, effectively and humanely.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

The Transformers Training Shelter Dogs
Steve Benjamin, Lori Gwyr

In this demo-only Learning Lab, Leanne Falkingham, co-author/instructor of the new Karen Pryor Academy course Shelter Training & Enrichment and Lori Gwyr, head of curriculum development for KPA, pluck dogs straight from a local shelter and bring them to ClickerExpo for some hands-on training and to help make them more adoptable.

Whether they pull like a freight train on leash or relentlessly jump up on people, these shelter dogs will get a chance to prove just how smart they really can be. Watch as Lori and Leanne introduce a clicker to these local shelter dogs for the first time and start to transform them from wild-and-crazy to cool, calm, and collected—all in 90 minutes.

NOTE: This Learning Lab is free to all observers and will include discussion, videos, and hands-on training demonstrations.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Train That Chain! Behavior Chains - In Action
Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Prerequisite:

Participant notes:
This Lab will accommodate 16 dog/handler teams. Dogs should already understand the click/treat relationship and should have at least five fluent and reliable behaviors. Dogs should 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. To participate in any Lab, you are expected to attend the prerequisite Learning Session. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

Chaining together behaviors is essential to efficient and useful training, and it's not nearly as hard as some fear!

This Lab will walk dog/handler teams through forward chaining and back-chaining, the importance of testing cues for use in chains, and how to recover from mistakes and fix broken chains.

Observers may be asked to assist working teams with data collection or other aids. Video examples will be used as well as demos with working teams.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

The Power of the Conditioned Emotional Response
Lindsay Wood

A conditioned emotional response (CER) is a classically conditioned response to a specific circumstance. We have all experienced conditioned emotional responses ranging from elation when the recess bell rang in school to anxiety at the scent of the dentist's office.

Animals develop CERs all the time. For example, many dogs develop CERs to the leash being clipped on, car keys jingling, or the sound of the refrigerator door opening.

Can you deliberately create new CERs? Lindsay Wood, Director of Animal Training and Behavior for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, and Karen Pryor Academy faculty member, will discuss, first, how to recognize animals' emotional responses, and second, how to see and harness opportunities to create new emotional reactions.

Lindsay will explain how to use the clicker to condition powerful and desirable CERs, in the shelter environment and in everyday scenarios at home. Attendees will also learn about using the power of the CER to modify behaviors rooted in fear, anxiety, and some types of aggression.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Missteps, Myths & Mantras Keeping Your Training on Track
Ken Ramirez

Training is straightforward — at least when reading about it in a book! After all, isn't it as simple as remembering and applying pithy training guidelines like "Reinforce desired behavior and ignore unwanted behavior?" Despite a plethora of training mantras, established practices, and surefire recipes, many trainers find themselves heading unwittingly down one unproductive path or another, confused about their true choices and why their application of the training rules failed to produce the hoped-for result.

This Session will focus on avoiding some of the most common mistakes and ill-advised shortcuts trainers take, and explore the reasons we are often tempted to go in the wrong direction. More than a dozen common mistakes and solutions will be discussed, from looking for the quick fix for a problem behavior, to a trainer's desire to ask for a behavior "just one more time" or to use a behavior before its training is complete. Additionally, Ken will examine the myths and mantras that often misguide trainers – exploring where those beliefs or sayings developed, what they really mean, and how they can cause our training to go off plan. Examples range from the more serious belief that a dog is just a "domesticated wolf" to such commonly misunderstood sayings as "the click ends the behavior."

So, if you've gone down a training road to nowhere, don't worry, you are not alone. Ken Ramirez has made his fair share of mistakes and he's eager to share them with you! Join Ken, learn from his mistakes, and be better equipped to keep your training on track.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Obedience Competition Break It Down ...To Build It Up!
Hannah Branigan

Related Lab(s):

Obedience competition exercises are complex tasks. The very word "utility" strikes fear into the hearts of many handlers. But even the most complex exercises are made up of simpler behaviors. We can break these exercises down into small, achievable chunks, to make it fun and easy for both dog and trainer.

In this Session, you'll learn how splitting obedience exercises into the smallest component behaviors and criteria makes training faster and easier, and increases precision and reliability. By watching video examples, you'll learn how to break down advanced exercises and how to save time by identifying basic skills that apply to multiple exercises.

Hannah Branigan, who has titled her dogs in conformation, obedience, schutzhund, agility, and rally, will show you how to maximize your pup's potential and build a partnership that will last for a lifetime. Hannah's own dogs have multiple class wins; AKC, UKC, and CDSP High in Trial awards; and scores that qualify for several Front & Finish Awards of Excellence (FFX).

The material presented will be aimed at advanced clicker trainers who already have a solid grasp of learning theory, clicker training principles, and shaping techniques.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Pace, Place & More Strategic Reinforcement Delivery - In Action
Michele Pouliot

Prerequisite:

Participant notes:
Participants in this Lab may be training new goal behaviors to experience the impact of reinforcement delivery on learning. Dogs should be clicker savvy and used to learning new behaviors, as well as able to train effectively in close proximity to other dogs and handlers. Handlers should already be able to train comfortably and effectively using clicker training techniques

How, where, and when rewards are delivered is often crucial to efficient and clear training because it is a key linchpin in the communication cycle you create with your animal.

Aimed at the advanced student, this Lab will allow you to learn and practice strategic reward delivery in order to assess the impact your choices make on the teaching and learning experience. Participants in this Lab will experiment with such variables as the pace of reinforcement delivery and placement of the reinforcement in training sessions. Participants will be able to experience how greatly location of reward delivery can affect training progress, how placement of reinforcement can support the goal behavior or be used to reset the dog for the next repetition, and how well reward location suits the goal behavior and matches the individual dog. Skills students will practice include planning where and how the reward will be delivered, how the reward location will best support the end training goal, and evaluating how the delivery strategy affected the dog and the training.

This Lab will have one or more exercises including, but not limited to: training a behavior using delivery at the location of the final goal behavior, rewarding distance behavior strategically, and rewarding to successfully set the dog up for another repetition.

Michele Pouliot is a multi-year national champion freestylist, the trainer of three OTCh dogs, and an internationally-respected authority on clicker training for Guide Dogs. She may know more ingenious ways to deliver reinforcement, and reasons for using them, than the rest of us put together!

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

What a Cue Can Do - In Action (Part 1, Cue Control)
Kathy Sdao

Prerequisite:

Participant notes:
To participate, your dog should already be able to do a simple targeting behavior to an object or to someone's fingertips or hand. Handlers should already be able to use a food lure to elicit simple movements, and have basic clicker 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. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

Stimulus control is the foundation of fluent, reliable, real-life behavior. With a solid mastery of how to add cues to operant behaviors, you’ll maximize correct responses — resulting in better compliance and less frustration for dogs and owners.

In this Learning Lab, you’ll learn two different ways to add a cue to a behavior, how to extinguish off-cue behavior, and how to give a new cue to an old behavior. In-class exercises include adding a cue by fading a lure and adding a cue by using temporal conditioning. We’ll use the science of classical conditioning to improve cue training, and contrast older methods of adding cues with a more clicker-based method.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Foundation
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

"Corrections" & Clicker Training?
Laura VanArendonk Baugh

The path of clicker training is strewn with questions about interruptions, corrections, and punishment. What's the difference, or are they really the same? What's "legal" in clicker training? What about in an emergency?

This Session will explore concepts from interruptions to no-reward-markers, identifying both good practices to clarify a learner's options and where well-intentioned intervention can inadvertently become punishment. The Session will also cover definitions of commonly used terms and ambiguous or misleading language. You'ill leave with a new understanding of where unintentional punishment might be creeping into a training program and a new confidence in interrupting unwanted behavior without risking fallout.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Keeping It Real Helping Clients Set Goals
Chris Waggoner

Clients frequently request help eliminating “undesirable” behaviors, including those that have an essential and normal biological or social function for dogs. Digging, foraging, and barking are only a few examples.

This Session is about determining the function of the “undesirable” behavior and what maintains it, and then creating a realistic and effective training plan that satisfies the needs of both the human and the dog.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach

The Art of Practice
Kay Laurence

Excellence evolves from practicing. We all know this, but find it a challenge to implement. Instead of viewing practicing as a chore, we should see it as a privilege and an opportunity to be with the animals we care for. Enjoy the time together!

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explores what is behind exceptionally successful people. "Practice isn't the thing you do once you are good. It is the thing you do that makes you good." Once you acquire the art of practicing, you'll discover the joy of practicing.

Join Kay as she explores how to turn practice time into an exhilarating and rewarding experience. The outcome can only be an improvement in the training relationship with your learner.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

So You Want to Train a Horse?
Alexandra Kurland

One of the reasons for ClickerExpo's continued success is the cross-species networking that it creates. Dog trainers get to talk to dolphin trainers who are chatting with parrot trainers who are meeting up with horse trainers. The principles are the same, but the practical problems may be different. We learn from one another.

Has this ever happened to you? You clicker train dogs, and now someone asks you to help them with a horse. Where do you begin? Horses are not dogs; for a start, they’re 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, such as starting out with a fence or a stall door between you so the horse can express joy without knocking you over by mistake.

This Session examines what you need to create a safe "clicker classroom." It 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 clicker needs that are specific to horses.

If you are thinking of branching out and training a species that is new to you, this Session will help identify some of the things you will want to consider before starting that first clicker lesson. This Session will include lecture, videos, and Q&A.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Foundation
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Creativity as Therapy for Reactive Dogs
Emma Parsons

Participant notes:
We will have approximately 16 dog/handler teams. Dogs and handlers must have significant clicker training experience. Dogs should be comfortable with normal handling and able to work in close quarters with other dogs. You may participate with your dog or you may attend as an observer. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

The purpose of this Lab is to show participants ways in which they might use creativity to help a reactive dog. It is not intended to treat already-existing fear or aggression problems.

From a human behavioral standpoint, we know that creative expression like drawing, dancing, and writing can help us learn about our bodies, emotions, and thought processes. Canines, too, can benefit from exploring objects in their present surroundings and moving their bodies in certain ways.

This Learning Lab will explore the concept of using canine creativity to help the reactive dog make better decisions in his environment and greatly increase his confidence as his knowledge of the world, his body, and his mind grows. This is especially important for dogs that have been positively punished for a number of years and were never able to make their own decisions.

It is fascinating that, when we use the clicker to help shape a fearful dog's reaction to a certain stimulus, other areas of the dog's life are also affected. For example, a dog that was previously afraid of water now approaches the surf and actually gets his feet wet! Dogs that were afraid of people actually walk up to them to sniff their feet!

In this Lab, participants will allow their dogs to explore several novel objects; the sole purpose will be for the dog to experiment with his behavior. Participants will also learn how to put this creative process on cue.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Love It! Effective Non-Food Reinforcement
Ken Ramirez

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

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 as to 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
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

The Volunteering Horse Training Without Pressure
Peggy Hogan

There are so many ways we need to ask a horse to move its body, both on the ground and in the saddle. We want to teach the horses to move forward, backward, toward us, away from us, and to move the front legs, the hind legs, and a combination of both.

Traditionally, these behaviors are taught using pressure. Peggy Hogan will demonstrate techniques for teaching movement using shaping, capturing, and targeting. Even complex movements can be shaped and trained without pressure. Once learned, movements established on the the ground can be cued visually or verbally, or transferred to tactile cues, such as hand touches and lead-rope directions.

Conventional training under saddle involves teaching horses to respond to pressure from reins, legs, and weight by moving away from the pressure to remove discomfort. In training without pressure, the transfer to working under saddle is accomplished by transferring the ground cues to contact cues from legs, weight, and reins—cues that will carry the same information as the conventional signals.

Instead of increasing pressure to produce movement from avoidance while riding, you can simply indicate how to move verbally or through learned contact cues. You have a willing horse, offering behavior instead of resisting.

This Session will include examples, demonstrations, videos, and audience participation.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach

Shh! Tagging, Targeting & Tranquil Training
Laura Sharkey

How can talking get in the way of communication? Easily! We spend so much time understanding learning theory for dogs, but what about learning theory for people? Is it the same or different? If we are not supposed to repeat cues when training dogs, why do we repeat our instructions when teaching people? Watch what happens when Tranquil Training, TAGteaching, and clicker training collide to provide an enhanced learning environment for both people and their dogs.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

On Guard! Modification of Food Guarding
Lindsay Wood

One of the most intractable problems for shelters putting dogs up for adoption is the behavior of food guarding. A dog that might bite any hand that comes near its food bowl is not a dog that you can safely re-home into a family setting. Unfortunately, food-related aggression is fairly prevalent among shelter dogs nationwide, and euthanasia is often the end result of this particular behavior problem.

To address this problem, Lindsay Wood, Director of Animal Training and Behavior for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, developed a treatment plan for dogs that display food guarding behavior. The plan is aimed at reducing euthanasia due to food guarding in shelter dogs, but can be applied to pet dogs in the home as well.

This protocol applies force-free, scientific principles of desensitization and counter-conditioning to modify a dog's existing negative association to food bowl interference and removal. Current program results indicate an average treatment time of 11 days, with more than 90% of participants successfully passing re-evaluation by a novel tester (giving no evidence of guarding). The dogs tested are thus able to progress to the adoption center.

Thanks to the success and ease of use of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley's program, Lindsay Wood has taught the protocol to an increasing number of other shelters. Ongoing educational efforts may facilitate successful food-guarding behavior modification protocols nationwide, increasing the number of lives saved and advancing the welfare of shelter pets.

Attendees of this Session will learn how to use this efficient and effective method to help private clients who are dealing with resource guarding in the home.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Think Small! Tips for Training Tiny Dogs
Helix Fairweather

Related Lab(s):

Training a small dog takes a new set of eyes and new kinds of mechanical skills for the handler. Whether you have small dogs or teach group classes that could include small dogs, this Session will help you plan for success and see the world through the perspective of small dogs. Learning to manage treat delivery efficiently and to avoid looming over a small dog and causing unnecessary stress are necessary skills for small-dog handlers.

With a dog whose stomach is the size of a walnut, calories are a serious matter. To maintain a high rate of reinforcement without stuffing that itty-bitty belly, you will learn how to establish non-food events such as words, applause, and petting as genuine conditioned reinforcers. Perhaps the most powerful non-food reinforcer of all is the cue. By using well-trained cues for one behavior (such as the cue for touching your hand) as reinforcers for a "come," "down," or "stay" behavior, you can build stronger behaviors with no calories involved at all.

Finally, do you look at the environment from the little dog's point of view? Is he refusing to "down" out of stubbornness? Maybe he is feeling vulnerable to people or other dogs around him. Little dogs have to work hard to feel safe. Learn how to make good choices to support a dog's confidence in training, in public, and in daily life at home.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach

Using Resurgence to Your Advantage
Jesús Rosales-Ruiz

Resurgence is commonly defined as the reappearance of previously reinforced behavior during extinction. This reappearance is governed by the animal's training history. If the target behavior is no longer reinforced, a previously reinforced alternative behavior will appear. If that alternative is not reinforced, a behavior from earlier in the animal's training history will appear.

Extinction is usually thought of as a procedure to reduce behavior. But, extinction is also a part of the process of differential reinforcement, which is at the core of shaping. Because trainers often misunderstand extinction, they dismiss it or misuse it during training. However, extinction, like reinforcement, is an orderly and predictable process.

Several types of phenomena are associated with extinction, such as extinction-induced variability, spontaneous recovery, and resurgence. If extinction is continued for too long, an animal can become frustrated or just give up. Knowledge of this process can be used to increase the efficiency of your shaping plan and can also suggest what to do to decrease the likelihood that unwanted behavior will reappear in the future. An understanding of how extinction works also helps trainers deal effectively with mistakes during training and prevents guessing on the part of the animal. Because of extinction, letting the animal offer lots of extra behavior (figuring it out on his own) during shaping can lead to accidental chaining and undesirable resurgence in the future.

This Session will describe the process of extinction and will focus on resurgence and how trainers can use resurgence to their advantage while shaping and capturing behavior.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Norfolk

Room with a View Point A Training Conversation
Faculty

Join some of your favorite ClickerExpo stars as they argue, banter, and reveal their own opinions and experiences about issues in the forefront of the training world today. When they relax and say what they think, these folks are both insightful and funny! This get-together is a "don't miss it" event that brings people back to ClickerExpo year after year.

Course Type: Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Obedience Competition Break it Down ...To Build It Up! - In Action
Hannah Branigan

Prerequisite:

Participant notes:
This Lab will accommodate approximately 16 dog/handler teams. Teams should be clicker savvy and have advanced experience with shaping. Dogs should have a repertoire of fluent behaviors including positions (sit/down/stand), recall, retrieve, and nose and paw targeting. Dogs must be comfortable working in a seminar-type setting, 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. To participate in any Lab, you are expected to attend the prerequisite Learning Session.

In this Learning Lab, Hannah Branigan, who has titled her dogs in conformation, obedience, schutzhund, agility, and rally, helps you work with your dog to maximize his potential and build a partnership that will last for a lifetime. Hannah's own dogs have multiple class wins. AKC, UKC, and CDSP High in Trial awards, and scores that qualify for several Front & Finish Awards of Excellence (FFX).

This Learning Lab focuses on building competition obedience behaviors through splitting and then combining criteria. You'll practice shaping the component skills needed for an obedience exercise (such as Drop on Recall) and developing these skills into the fluent behaviors needed in obedience competitions.

The more skilled you are as a dog/handler team when you enter the Lab, the farther we can go!

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Think Small! Tips for Training Tiny Dogs - In Action
Helix Fairweather

Prerequisite:

  • Think Small! Tips for Training Tiny Dogs (Learning Session)

Participant notes:
Maximum dog size for participation in this Lab is 12" at the withers.

This Lab will accommodate 16 dog/handler teams. Dogs should already understand the click/treat relationship, be comfortable with normal handling and able to work in close quarters with other dogs. 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.

Training a small dog requires new kinds of mechanical skills for the handler. Helix will demonstrate how to plan for success with small dogs by positioning yourself so that you can observe behavioral details (dog on a table, or you on the floor). You'll learn ways to manage treat delivery efficiently, and to avoid looming over your dog and causing unnecessary stress.

With a dog whose stomach is the size of a walnut, calories are a serious matter. To maintain a high rate of reinforcement without stuffing that itty-bitty belly, you will learn how to establish non-food events such as words, applause, and petting as genuine conditioned reinforcers. Perhaps the most powerful non-food reinforcer of all is the cue. By using well-trained cues for one behavior (such as the cue for touching your hand) as reinforcers for a "come," "down," or "stay" behavior, you can build stronger behaviors with no calories involved at all.

Finally, do you look at the environment from the little dog's point of view? Is he refusing to "down" out of stubbornness? Maybe he is feeling vulnerable to people or other dogs around him. Little dogs have to work hard to feel safe. Learn how to make good choices to support a dog's confidence in training, in public, and in daily life at home.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach

At Your Service: Teaching Service Dog Behaviors - In Action
Laurie Luck

Prerequisite:

Participant notes:
Dogs should be clicker-savvy and have a robust behavioral repertoire. Handlers should have a solid grasp of cues and chaining, including back-chaining. 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. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

Behaviors commonly used for service work are often simple behaviors trained to fluency and stimulus control, and then chained together to become valuable behaviors that provide crucial assistance to disabled handlers.

Dog/handler teams will have the opportunity to begin chaining some common simple behaviors together to create typical service dog behaviors. These may include "get it/give," "tug/push," and targeting (paw and/or nose). We will discuss and practice chaining, as well as training behaviors to fluency.

Observers and dog/handler teams will learn valuable tips and strategies for teaching chained behaviors that can come in handy around the house, even if you aren't training a service dog.

The Lab will include some brief video examples and step-by-step demonstrations of how to chain and back-chain behaviors, as well as test for fluency.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Norfolk

Pushing the Limits Unexpected Findings About Instincts, Consequences & Complex Skills
Susan Schneider ,Phd

Behavior is shaped by consequences. Dr. Susan M. Schneider, a developmental psychobiologist and author, tells us, "The more that researchers explore animal capabilities, the more flexibility we find." That applies to instincts as well as to complex skills like learning through observing.

From simple rewards to far more complex relations, the science of consequences has expanded and flourished over the past century. Dr. Schneider's new book on learning and behavior, The Science of Consequences, is wowing scientists and trainers alike with new insights into the role of consequences in nature and in new applications such as clicker training.

Dr. Schneider will highlight classic and current findings from this world of innovative research. From instincts that change in five minutes, to dogs that learn hundreds of words to birds that use tools, see how animals are pushing the limits of what we thought was possible.

Course Type: Special Event & Dinner
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Day 3

Education of the Modern Trainer
Aaron Clayton

What makes a great training education? Tia Guest, Director of Karen Pryor Academy (KPA), will talk about the goal of a training education, the creation of Karen Pryor Academy, the Academy's educational mission, the components of its unique curricula, and how all of that fits into KPA's larger mission of producing excellent trainers with excellent career opportunities. There will be plenty of time to ask your questions, as well.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

How to Teach Anything Five Skills Every Dog Should Know
Helix Fairweather

Are you excited about clicker training, but feeling a bit overwhelmed? Do you have goals to compete in a dog sport one day, but aren't sure where to start? Do you experience a jigsaw puzzle of dog training ideas in your brain, but don't know how to put them together?

Experienced clicker trainers know that dog sports, companion dog manners, working dog careers, and more all start with a simple set of foundation skills.

Many of us start a 1,200-piece jigsaw puzzle with the corners. This Session will introduce you to the perfect set of "corners" for your puzzle! With these foundation skills, you can build from the corners and fill in the whole picture of anything you would like to teach your dog for the rest of his life!

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Foundation
Location: Long Beach

The Dynamic Duo TAGteach & Clicker Training
Theresa McKeon, Laura Monaco Torelli

Marker-based training provides clear communication to learners. Two types of marker-based training, TAGteach (Teaching with Acoustical Guidance) and clicker training, complement one another in many exciting and dynamic ways! This collaboration brings trainers to the cutting edge of the art and science of teaching. Applying the two marker-based training tools within our curriculum enhances the learning experience for everyone involved. Streamlining and implementing excellent observation skills, data collection, and achievable success points, enriches the teachers’ expertise and increases their learners’ experience, leading to better retention of lesson plans.

This Session will discuss how to integrate TAGteach into lesson plans while teaching clients about clicker training. Attendees will learn how to apply TAGteach and clicker training into their class curriculum easily while also applying the TAGteach “Focus Funnel.” Examples and video demonstrations will be included.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

Play,Toys &  More
KONG

Coming soon!

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Rally-FrEe An Introduction to the Newest Performance Sport
Rally Freestyle Elements

Do you enjoy teaching new tricks and novel behaviors? Do you also strive for precision and accuracy? Rally-FrEe is a unique sport combining the trick behaviors of Canine Musical Freestyle with the structure and 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.

This Session will cover some of the similarities to and differences from other dog sport venues, our unique way of training the Rally-FrEe sign behaviors, what foundation skills and behaviors you will need to be successful in Rally-FrEe (and Freestyle!), and lots of video! If you are looking for an enjoyable and supportive competitor experience, come see why clicker trainers are choosing Rally-FrEe!

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Who Nose? Scent Discrimination
Ken Ramirez

Dogs are uniquely qualified for, and talented at, using their noses. But, what's the best way to train dogs to search out and alert on a particular scent or scents?

Ken will explore the training of scent discrimination in a variety of disciplines. He will evaluate the many techniques used for training dogs to use their noses, examining the differences among the techniques. Ken will take what he calls "an outsider's look at the inner workings of scent discrimination training."

Ken began working as a consultant in a variety of scent discrimination programs more than 15 years ago—precisely because he had little to no experience with scent training. He was asked to take a fresh look at scent discrimination programs with several search-and-rescue teams (including disaster, avalanche, and cadaver dogs), as well as several law enforcement programs (including explosive and narcotic detection dogs).

This Session will look at all of these types of scent detection work plus some of the newer uses in sport and competition. Ken will evaluate the many techniques advocated by various scent discrimination disciplines and explain what the science indicates about each, ultimately looking for the most positive and effective approaches.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Crossover! Facilitating Successful Transitions from Traditional Training
Michele Pouliot

How do you effectively motivate and help others to adopt training methods that are not only more humane but more effective? Where do you start? What creates openness to change and actual progress towards crossing over to positive reinforcement training?

In 1974, Michele Pouliot began her career as a guide dog trainer. Not only has guide dog training been around for over 90 years but traditional techniques were successful, giving trainers very little reason to consider change. In 2000, Michele began a six-year effort with the largest guide dog training school in North America, Guide Dogs for the Blind, to adopt clicker training as their training methodology.

This effort has been wildly successful. The organization, which has approximately 75 trainers, now not only uses clicker training to teach their dogs, but also uses modern positive methods to teach the handler/clients. Clicker training has dramatically increased the success rate of the puppies that enter the program, and reduced the training time it takes for client handlers to learn the new skills they need to be successful back home.

In this Session, you'll learn how to help people and organizations "crossover" to clicker training. You'll be made more aware of the challenges traditional trainers face in adopting clicker training. You'll learn what motivates people to change, and ways to reinforce the process for those going through the transformation.

Join Michele Pouliot as she distills for you the principles and lessons that will help you to help others make better training choices for themselves and for the animals in their care.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Effectiveness is Not Enough The Ethical Intervention
Susan Friedman

Many forces conspire to make effectiveness the sole measure of a training program's success. Factors like clients' desperation, the animal's quality of life, and even the dynamics of a professional work-for-pay relationship create the pressure cooker that fosters an exclusive "eye on the prize" or "as long as it works" focus for many professionals.

In this Session, we will go beyond effectiveness by adding another measure to our success criteria: the process by which we achieve effectiveness. This second criterion is embraced in the concept "most positive, least intrusive" effective intervention, which has protected children in special education programs for almost 35 years, and is also referred to in law and medicine.

By implementing this standard, we will become more thoughtful about the path we take to effective training outcomes, increasing the likelihood that we will be maximally effective and humane.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

That's the Trick! Teaching Multi-Dog Tricks
Emily Larlham

Participant notes:
Handlers and dogs should be able to work in a distracting environment. Dogs for this Lab should be comfortable with friendly-but-unfamiliar dogs in very close proximity, and not likely to resource-guard. Both handlers and dogs should be very experienced in clicker training, with numerous behaviors on cue.

In this Lab, you will learn how to work on multi-dog tricks, with the focus not only on accuracy and enthusiasm, but more importantly on the dogs feeling safe, relaxed, and confident working with each other.

This Lab will cover the most important default and foundation behaviors necessary when working simultaneously with many dogs. Through video examples, Emily will show you how to break down complex multi-dog tricks into simple easy steps.

During the Lab, dog and handler teams will have the opportunity to practice certain exercises, such as teaching the dogs to respond to a cue for the whole group, and to respond to personal cues, while NOT responding to another dog's cue. This Lab will include lecture, video presentations, demonstrations, and working-dog participation.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach

The Craft of Fine Slicing
Kay Laurence

Finely sliced behaviors offer a view into the exquisite detail of behaviors—the subtle threads, movements, energy, poise, and balance. For animal trainers, this world is often hidden from view because we stand too far away and only want to see whole behaviors rather than the components.

By exploring, building, and attaching cues to components of behaviors we can enable learners to draw on an infinite library of new composite behaviors. This will result in creative new ideas for both teacher and learner, and in clarity of understanding that brings a breathless excitement.

This Learning Lab will examine the craft of fine slicing, from observation all the way through to planning and execution. Practical exercises will include building generic and essential components, extracting precision movements, and incorporating flexibility and strength into these behaviors. Components behaviors will be identified, assessed, and measured "ready for inclusion."

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Foundation
Location: Norfolk

What Our Body Language Says to Animals
Alexandra Kurland

Clever Hans was a famous horse that toured all over Germany in the early 1900s, astounding audiences with his ability to answer complex math questions. Even when his owner was removed from sight, Clever Hans still got the answer right. How could this be? Could a horse really be doing advanced mathematics? Horses were considered to be stupid animals. You couldn't have a horse doing math! So Clever Hans was tested, and it was discovered that as long as he could see someone who knew the right answer, Clever Hans would guess right. Clever Hans may not have been able to do math, but he was brilliant at reading human body language.

We need to keep that in mind when we are training not just horses, but dogs as well. They are all geniuses at reading people. That means that we need to become more aware of the clues/cues we are giving off. Watch good trainers and you will see an economy of movement. They try not to say too many things at once with their bodies. Their cues are clear and consistent. Their animals have no problem reading them. When a handler's body language sends meaningless messages, or messages that contradict verbal or other cues, animals can become confused, frustrated, and upset. Your dog is sniffing the ground, moving away, quitting on you—and you can’t imagine why.

In this Lab, we will explore some simple exercises that will help you become more grounded and more aware of the cues, both intended and otherwise, that your animal is picking up on. 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 play with or beg from and she is not? Find out what it means to be grounded, to communicate just what you intend and nothing else, and learn about the effects that has on your animal partner.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Exotic Animals Taught Me to Be a Better Dog Trainer
Ken Ramirez

Ken has worked with exotic animals for over 35 years$mdash; but his career began with dogs! Ken returned to the world of professional dog training 15 years ago. This Session will focus on the lessons he learned and the variety of techniques he has transferred from exotic animal training to the dog world.

Most of these techniques are simple and straightforward, but not often used by dog trainers. Ken will discuss various methods of training behavior, the benefits of each, and the reasons for keeping each of them in the toolbox. He will examine various methods of reinforcement delivery, explore and elaborate on the concept of balance of reinforcement, share stationing strategies and their uses, and discuss some effective approaches to general desensitization. This is a broad topic that covers the various tools and techniques commonly used with everything from dolphins to elephants, and would be equally useful with dogs.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Prep School for Competition Dogs
Hannah Branigan

Related Lab(s):

Thinking about competing in a sport with your dog? Are you wondering what skills or behaviors your dog needs to know before you can begin training seriously for the competition ring?

Whether you are adding a new puppy to your family, or are starting fresh with an older dog, the task of building a competition partnership from scratch can be overwhelming! You want to maximize your pup's potential and build a partnership that will last for a lifetime, but where do you start? Time is limited, so how do you decide where to spend it?

For most competitive dog sports there are common foundation skills and concepts a dog should have in order to be successful in the ring. The material in this Session will be relevant to handlers planning a career for new dogs in most competitive sports (agility, obedience, rally, freestyle, flyball, schutzhund, etc.).

Hannah Branigan, who has titled her dogs in conformation, obedience, schutzhund, agility, and rally, will show you how to maximize your pup's potential and build a partnership that will endure. Hannah's own dogs have multiple class wins, AKC, UKC, and CDSP High in Trial awards, and scores that qualify for several Front & Finish Awards of Excellence (FFX).

This Session is about setting priorities and creating a plan. We will discuss confidence-building, socialization, focus and motivation, body awareness, cultivating a variety of reinforcers, using the Premack Principle, and multi-purpose foundation skills useful for all sports.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Wallflowers Reaching the Shy Dog
Sarah Owings

Learned helplessness is one of the most challenging behavioral patterns for the modern trainer to address. How do you reach a dog that has learned that the safest option is to do nothing at all, or a dog that finds the relief of avoidance or shutdown more reinforcing than food, toys, or play? Where do you begin with a learner that finds the training game itself—and all cues associated with that game including treats, clicker, leash, trainer tone of voice, and so on—aversive?

In this Session, attendees will learn:

  • How to recognize the "wallflowers" of the dog world, as well as the unhelpful human patterns, labels, traditional training beliefs, and sacred cows that tend to keep these dogs helpless--even among positive reinforcement trainers.
  • How to invite a "wallflower" to take the first steps toward greater emotional resiliency and behavioral empowerment, without the added inhibiting pressure to perform.
  • How inspiring and courageous "wallflowers" can be once they do indeed begin to thrive, not only as family pets, but as training partners and teachers as well.
  • Practical games, ideas, and exercises that reframe or repair cues associated with the training game, empower the dog, and ultimately, activate the SEEKING system—the part of the brain incompatible with fear.

This Session will include a PowerPoint presentation and plenty of inspiring video clips of "wallflower" training in action.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach

Cues & Context
Jesús Rosales-Ruiz

After we train a behavior (e.g., sit), we often talk about adding a cue to the behavior, without realizing that the behavior is already under a specific cue or some kind of contextual cue. If this were not the case, learning would not have happened. As Alexandra Kurland says so aptly, "Cues evolve during the shaping process." So, when we say that we are putting a behavior on cue, all we are really doing is replacing cues that evolved during training with new cues. Knowledge of what cues evolve during training facilitates the training of new cues as well as gives us helpful hints if we are failing to establish a new cue. In this Session, Jesús will give examples of what kinds of cues can evolve during training, how they evolve, and what sometimes prevents them from evolving.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Norfolk

What a Cue Can Do - In Action (Part 2, Cue Comprehension)
Kathy Sdao

Prerequisite:

Participant notes:
Dogs should already have a repertoire of at least four behaviors, each at least partially on cue. Handlers should come prepared with a written list of:

  • Each behavior the dog knows fluently
  • The exact cue or cues for each behavior (words, sounds, gestures, prop cues, 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. Observers should not bring their dogs to the Lab.

Stimulus control is the foundation of fluent, reliable, real-life behavior. With a solid mastery of how to add cues to operant behaviors, you’ll maximize correct responses — resulting in better compliance and less frustration for dogs and owners.

In this Learning Lab, you’ll learn two different ways to add a cue to a behavior, how to extinguish off-cue behavior, and how to give a new cue to an old behavior. In-class exercises include adding a cue by fading a lure and adding a cue by using temporal conditioning. We’ll use the science of classical conditioning to improve cue training, and contrast older methods of adding cues with a more clicker-based method.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Foundation
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

On Guard! Modification of Food Guarding - In Action
Lindsay Wood

Prerequisite:

  • On Guard Modification of Food Guarding

Participant notes:
This Learning Lab will accommodate approximately 16 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. To participate in any Lab, you are expected to attend the prerequisite Learning Session.

In this Learning Lab, practice firsthand the steps to modify food guarding, based on a statistically successful protocol that was developed by Lindsay Wood, Director of Animal Training and Behavior for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.

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 Lab
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Parameters of Premack
Kathy Sdao

Behavior analyst David Premack first published the concept that a preferred behavior can be used to reinforce, and thus increase, the occurrence of a less-preferred behavior. While we may use this principle in daily life (wash the dishes and then you can watch TV; eat your vegetables and then you can have ice cream), we often fail to think of incorporating the Premack Principle in our training programs.

The Premack Principle can be very powerful. For example, people have trained wildly excited terriers to stop chasing squirrels by reinforcing quiet walking at heel with permission, and when the squirrel is close to a tree, to engage briefly in the (always fruitless, but exciting) chase.

When does the Premack Principle apply, and how can you use it to your advantage, both in training new behavior and in managing behavioral problems? Are there times when the Premack Principle should be avoided? Kathy Sdao provides a knowledgeable and intriguing look at this effective but not often used training tool.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Gimme Shelter! Training & Enrichment
Leanne Falkingham

Imagine a shelter where the dogs do not bark, the cats can do tricks, and everybody is smiling. This "dream shelter" can be a reality when you implement some simple training protocols and a low-cost enrichment program, as taught in the new Karen Pryor Academy course, Shelter Training & Enrichment.

Leanne Falkingham, course co-author and instructor, will share tips on how to transform a shelter from bare-bones concrete and chain link to a comfortable and safe haven for the dogs and cats that live there.

We will explore a range of topics including "Quiet in the Kennel," addressing barrier frustration, identifying signals and causes of stress in shelter animals, and much more. Attendees will also see examples of behaviors that can help make shelter animals more appealing to adopters and improve the overall atmosphere for staff and volunteers.

This Session will include a PowerPoint presentation and video examples that show the improved quality of life for shelter animals that a broad training and enrichment program can bring.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach

Give Pups a Chance Working with Aggressive Puppies
Laura Sharkey

Are some puppies just born "bad"? What do you tell the family with an aggressive 10-week-old pup? Can clicker training save this pup? These are just some of the questions Laura Sharkey will address by sharing case studies and protocols for rehabilitating truly aggressive puppies.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Norfolk

On the Record Data Collection & Record Keeping
Helix Fairweather

"That which can be measured can be improved."
- Terry Laughlin, Head Coach of Total Immersion Swimming

How do you know when your dog is learning? How do you know if he's learning what you think you are teaching? How do you know where to go next with your training?

The answer to all of these questions is: Keep training records! Records keep us from guessing, show us when to raise criteria, allow us to find holes in our training, and force us to be objective about our training progress. Keeping records may be daunting at first, so in this Session we will look at simple ways to get you started!

In this Session, attendees will learn:

  • the importance of being prepared for a training session
  • the importance of keeping track of what happened in your training session
  • how to keep track of your training sessions
  • how to analyze your results and plan for your next training session
Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach

Breakthrough! Clicker Training Humans
Theresa McKeon

"You mean it works with people, too?" Yes, of course! Nothing works as fast as a click to teach physical skills, whether you're training a golfer to swing, a carpenter to saw a straight line, or a young doctor to do a lumbar puncture correctly.

Theresa McKeon, co-founder of TAGteach International, LLC, the marker-based training application for humans, will bring us up to date on some of the most current successful TAGteach programs in the United States and abroad. These success stories include a statewide special needs teacher-training program, training surgeons in hospitals, businesses improving communications, and a fleet of Bering Sea factory ships TAGteaching all crew members for improved efficiency and safety.

TAGteach has also been beneficial in helping to teach people to train dogs, as well as to work with shelter volunteers and people in other animal-related fields.

Best new TAGteach product? Chaos to Calm, a mother-to-mother guide on using reinforcement at home to teach everyday skills to children on the autism spectrum.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

Prep School for Competition Dogs - In Action
Hannah Branigan

Prerequisite:

Participant notes:
This Lab will accommodate 16 dog/handler teams. Dogs should already understand the click/treat relationship, be comfortable with normal handling, and 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 Learning Session.

If you are thinking about competing in a sport with your dog, this Learning Lab is for you! This Lab will demonstrate skills and concepts that any performance dog should know. Participants will learn basic tools for confidence-building, developing focus, body awareness, cultivating reinforcers for use in practical training, and multi-purpose targeting skills.

Hands-on exercises may include: focus games, confidence-building games, using play as a conditioned reinforcer, "Practical Premack" (putting a behavior on cue to use as a reinforcer), rear-paw targeting for body awareness, and a restrained send to a target for distance.

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Team Train for Reliability
Emma Parsons

Participant notes:
This Lab will accommodate 16 dog/handler teams. Dogs and handlers must have significant clicker training experience. Dogs should be comfortable with normal handling and able to work in close quarters with other dogs. 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.

Dogs participating in this Lab will need to have mastered a variety of beginner to advanced obedience exercises that the handler considers reliable. We will test the reliability of the behavior in the Learning Lab exercises.

One of the most important aspects of teaching a behavior is making sure that it is reliable in a variety of environments and circumstances. When a dog is cued to perform a given behavior, he should demonstrate only that behavior.

Many competition dogs, whether in obedience, agility, or some other canine sport, perform many behaviors under varying amounts of stress. How can we help set dogs up to succeed in a competition environment?

We will explore the technique of team training in order to teach our dogs that no matter what or who is in the environment, they are still expected to demonstrate the given behavior perfectly when it is cued. This way, when he is competing alone in the ring with the judge, your dog will think, "Wow! This is a piece of cake!"

In this Lab, obedience challenges will be set up to test the reliability of specific behaviors. For example, can your dog sit/stay while two dogs on either side are recalled to their handlers? Can your dog run away from you to a target while another dog is moving in the opposite direction? Can your dog retrieve his dumbbell from a pile of other obstacles? How about if the dumbbell goes under a chair?

Course Type: Learning Lab
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Criteria Raising Re-Examined
Kathy Sdao

Shaping can proceed very rapidly, with the chosen criterion changing almost from click to click. But the task of deciding when, exactly, to raise the current criterion, and by how much, is sometimes difficult even for experienced trainers.

Staying at one level too long may "fix" the behavior at that level so that it becomes hard to shift. Raising criteria too far or too fast may halt progress entirely and put the behavior into extinction. Some trainers stay with one criterion per session, while others reinforce many different criteria, creating progress on many different fronts. Which is correct? How do we think about criteria raising today? How can you improve your own understanding of criterion shifts, to speed up the process of shaping?

Kathy Sdao, one of the foremost teachers of shaping procedures, offers a detailed view of current thinking about criteria-raising, and ways of making shaping easier, more fun, and more productive for you and your animal and human learners, too.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

The Cue Transfer Creative Training Applications
Alexandra Kurland

All of us have come across puzzles we couldn't solve. Maybe it was a math problem in school, or a clue in the morning crossword. We know what it feels like to be frustrated. And we know how discouraging frustration can be to further learning. If asked, most people would say that they want to keep frustration to a minimum with their animals, and yet all too often we find ourselves waiting out unwanted behavior. We hope for extinction, and yet we end up simply fueling the unwanted behavior with inadvertent attention.

In this Session, we will take a creative look at cues and conditioned reinforcers to develop strategies that reduce frustration in our animal partners. One of the most valuable strategies is the cue transfer process. With the speed of a magician's sleight-of-hand trick, cues are transferred again and again, always keeping the rates of reinforcement high, until the original annoying behavior becomes a cue for a desirable behavior.

Join Alexandra Kurland as we explore what can look like clicker magic but is really just the creative application of clicker science. This Session will include lecture, videos, and Q&A.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Advanced
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk

Freedom to Train Training in the Absence of Formal Competition
Kay Laurence

The rules and expectations of many canine competitions (dog sports) place artificial emphasis on our training. Dogs have been trained in key tasks for hundreds of years before there were competition rules governing what represented "top" performance. Historically, what mattered was task execution—gather the sheep and maintain their well-being—not if the cues used were single-syllable vocalizations or that the dog maintained a fixed distance from the stock.

If we removed the artificial expectations that generate distorted views of "teaching an exercise," a great deal of our training would change. Instead, we would look at what the dog needs to learn and how that relates to their reality. A real-life recall is not a formal exercise demonstrated in false conditions. It comes in many varieties and is about safety and management—mostly about "come away from that danger," not "sit in front of me."

Kay will present ideas that give you permission to teach real-life learning creatively, with real-life cues and real-life rewards.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Norfolk

When the Floor is Food Training through Distractions
Peggy Hogan

Horse owners have a unique distraction facing them when they leave an arena with their horses and set out to ride. The very ground they walk on can be a valuable resource to the horse!

One of the bigger training dilemmas for a horse owner is working or riding the horse around grass or other potential edibles without having to constantly guard against the horse’s desire to snatch a mouthful here and there. But horses can learn, without being reprimanded or physically coerced, that there is a time to graze and a time to focus on the human companion instead.

This Session will include instructions, exercises, video demonstrations, and audience participation, all designed to build skills for training your horse to work willingly on and around grass. Peggy will also discuss gentle treat-taking, "leave it," and the location of treat delivery.

Course Type: Learning Session
Experience Level: Intermediate
Location: Long Beach

From Your Backyard to Harvard Yard How Animal Trainers Can Contribute to Science
Susan Schneider ,Phd

Newton's apocryphal apple may be the most famous example of a long tradition in science: Make use of ordinary observations for scientific progress. These days, organized "citizen science" is everything from a minor assist to a transformational trend.

As applied scientists in effect, animal trainers are in a unique position to contribute to our understanding of behavior principles. From superstitions to unusual reinforcers to high-tech learning blitzes, our animals do the darndest things. What might you look for and how might you go about it? Dr. Susan Schneider will give you some ideas.

Course Type: Special Event & Dinner
Experience Level: All Levels
Location: Long Beach, Norfolk