Home » Clicker Training Community Blog » ClickerExpo 2018

Five Essential Elements that Give ClickerExpo its Soul

Filed in - ClickerExpo 2018

If you know of ClickerExpo, you know it’s supposed to be “great!” What you don’t know is why, and the “why” is important. Within the “why” is the true value for attendees in 2018.

If you are wondering if you should go, wondering if it’s worth it, wondering what you can expect to get from ClickerExpo, read on! The 6 simultaneous programming tracks along with the 80 courses from 20 world-class faculty members make up just the skeleton of ClickerExpo. Here are five essential elements that give ClickerExpo’s skeleton its unique soul. 

Too often in life we hesitate to offer ourselves the gifts we will treasure the most. While we are pretty good at self-criticism, we are less practiced at self-recognition, and we are even worse at rewarding ourselves. Yet, a habit of rewarding ourselves for the good things we do ALLOWS us to be more generous with others. Self-reward and giving are manifested at ClickerExpo in a culture that is warm, open, and welcoming—because everyone there has chosen to be there.

“An atmosphere of sharing and creativity that is unrivaled by any other professional conference I have been to.” - ClickerExpo Attendee

“What I learn is invaluable, as are the experiences I have with other conference-goers and the presenters. Just being in that environment felt healing and inspiring.” ClickerExpo Attendee

The only person who can put ClickerExpo on your wish list and make sure you receive that gift is you. Don’t you deserve it?

Yes, I do!

Experiences with purpose

A wealth of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than possessions do. “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Cornell professor of psychology Thomas Gilovich, a leader in the field. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.” (Atlantic Monthly, October 2014, Buy Experiences Not Things)

While happiness is powerful and important, it’s not the same as, nor as powerful as, having purpose. People whose lives have purpose experience an elevated sense of well-being and resiliency—and are more likely to contribute more to society than they take. (Atlantic Monthly, January 2013, There’s More to Life than Being Happy) Many times people make choices that bring no happiness, but there is often a corresponding sense of well-being derived from transcending your own needs. Think of soldiers and their bond through a common purpose. Or, Mr. Spock’s death in Star Trek. Art imitates life.

ClickerExpo is powerful because it bundles happiness with purpose.
ClickerExpo is powerful because it bundles happiness with purpose. The experience itself is imbued with all the factors that drive happiness: self-expansion, new-skill acquisition, new sights, sounds, social interactions, and learning opportunities. But the conference is also filled with purposeful activity: helping others learn, finding ways to learn from and communicate with animals, and being part of the larger purpose to “make the world a better place, one click at a time.” (Karen Pryor) In fact, empathy for, and giving to, the learner is intrinsic to excellent clicker training. I’ll let you think about why.

The net effect on attendees of experience combined with purpose is awesome.

“It lights me up on every level, intellectually and emotionally!” - ClickerExpo Attendee

“I am new to clicker training as well as this community, and WOW. I am blown away. I feel a part of something truly spectacular, and after this weekend I just want to run with the wind.” - ClickerExpo Attendee

Come to ClickerExpo for your own one, two, or three-day dose of happiness with purpose.

I want that!

Learning unchained
Psychological literature makes clear that building competency helps build self-esteem. What the literature misses most of the time, and what we know, is that learning unchained by fear (of embarrassment, punishment, etc.) leads to the highest levels of self-esteem and skill competency. You can see the joy of learning fear-free at ClickerExpo reflected in comments like these.

“The quality and quantity of information presented in one place is unbeatable. You can’t help but become a better animal trainer.” - ClickerExpo Attendee

“Great seminars and Labs! People were so complimentary to me and my dog, even when I thought we might have to leave early because he was so over-stimulated. (He did calm down. Whew!)”- ClickerExpo Attendee

Come experience learning without fear, with or without your dog

Register for California or St. Louis

No matter where we are in the world, we need “our kind of people” for connection—our tribe. ClickerExpo is filled with people who are true clicker trainers, not people who just use a clicker. Every year at ClickerExpo our attendees express a common sentiment. “I feel at home.”

This feeling seems to be true whether you come alone or come with a group, whether you are highly experienced or less experienced, whether you are from the city or a small rural town, whether you are already using positive reinforcement or have come to explore it.

“I found a community that I didn't know existed, and would not know where else to find.” - ClickerExpo Attendee

“When it comes to dog training conferences, it's the best one. The caliber of speakers alone is reason enough, but I especially appreciate the overall non-judgmental attitude staff members have with trainers who may not be fully crossed over or involved in clicker training yet.” - ClickerExpo Attendee

Come home and settle in. It’s ClickerExpo.

Join my tribe


If your training is stuck, ClickerExpo will get you unstuck.
EVERYONE feels re-energized by ClickerExpo. Maybe your teaching has been in a rut. ClickerExpo will lift you up. If your training is stuck, ClickerExpo will get you unstuck.

“It is exciting, invigorating, and rejuvenating.” - ClickerExpo Attendee

“I came home and people said ‘How was it?’ I said, ‘I am INSPIRED and TIRED!’ Exhausting and stimulating, LOVED IT!" - ClickerExpo Attendee

Bottom line? Yes, you will be tired by the end of the conference, but it’s that good tired. You will leave ClickerExpo feeling uber-motivated to work with your dog, your horse, your cat, your student, your child, and maybe your spouse!

Energize me!

Energize your training, inspire your soul. Experience ClickerExpo 2018.

Register now for ClickerExpo 2018:

SoCal (Irvine) January 19-21 , St. Louis March 16-18

About the author
User picture

Aaron Clayton is President of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and TAGteach International, and a member of the ClickerExpo Faculty.