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Four Things I Am Most Looking Forward to at ClickerExpo 2018

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I always look forward to each new year of ClickerExpo with a mixture of geeky anticipation and excitement. The learning experience is always so exceptional. Now that I am intimately involved in the planning of each ClickerExpo, I get to work with each of our talented faculty members and speakers, and the thrill is even greater. I have an inside look at each Session and Lab, and the opportunity to discuss the topics in depth with each faculty member. Having recently opened registration for next years ClickerExpo, and I wanted to share what I am most looking forward to in 2018.

15th Anniversary

Next year happens to be ClickerExpos 15th anniversary! I was an invited guest speaker at the very first Expo in Chicago, joining the faculty the following year. I have been a part of Expo since the beginning, and have enjoyed watching it mature and grow. The 15th anniversary gives us an excuse to look back at the growth of the positive-reinforcement community and the many great things that have come from our talented speakers. Some of the ideas that I was introduced to at ClickerExpo include the concept of the poisoned cue, the idea of micro-shaping, and the click to calm procedureto name just a few. Even the launch of Karen Pryor Academy grew from discussions among Karen with ClickerExpo faculty members. During our anniversary year, I am looking forward to the various ways we explore and celebrate the contributions that have come from ClickerExpo. 


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Another highlight for me has always been the way faculty members explore the science in new ways. They strive to make science more accessible while still opening our minds and challenging our thinking. 2018 should prove to be an excellent year for those fascinated by the science underlying our profession. There are many excellent Sessions devoted to science. Here are five that I think will be highlights and intriguing to attendees:


·       Dr. Susan Friedman is leading a new Session entitled The Learning Planet. She will explore the intersection of behavior, genetics, and neuroscience. It should be a fascinating exploration.

·       Susan is also teaching a new Session entitled Please Sir, May I Have Some Food, Water, and Control? This Session will examine choice and control as primary reinforcers.

·       Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz will be exploring Reinforcement Schedules: Theory and Application, clarifying the science and helping us understand the use of these tools.

·       Lindsay Wood Brown will be presenting Arousal: Science Not Sex. We hear the term arousal related to dog behavior all the time. Lindsay will answer some key questions. What is arousal? What does science say about the topic? What do we need to know as trainers?

·       Kathy Sdao will be discussing The Seductiveness of Shock, which will explore why some trainers are still drawn to its use. Kathy will talk about the various ways positive reinforcement trainers can respond to clients desiring to use shock. She will also explore some of the studies that have arisen from the use of shock.


New Look at Common Problems

I am always fascinated when faculty members explore a common problem from new perspectives. There are dozens of these topics on the Expo program in 2018. Here are just a few; I think the titles are self-explanatory. After talking with each presenter, I am excited by the unique approach each plans to take and the new information that they will be sharing.


·       Kathy Sdao - But My Dogs Not Food-Motivated

·       Michele Pouliot - The Puzzle Master: Training the Whole Picture in Small Pieces

·       Debbie Martin - Elimination Happens: Canine and Feline House-Soiling

·       Emelie Johnson Vegh and Eva Bertilsson - Self-Help: How to Be Your Own Coach

·       Sarah Owings - Free Cookies: Non-Contingent Reinforcement for Frustration

·       Laura VanArendonk Baugh: How to Win Friends and Influence Puppies: Effective Socialization                                                                                                 


Horse & Business Topics

For the last two years we have expanded our U.S. programming by adding horse-specific topics to one of the years ClickerExpo conferences and business topics to the other Expo conference. In 2018, we are including both sets of topics at both Expos! I am excited that we have so many new and useful topics in each area. Gina Pharis and Veronica Boutelle of Dog*Tec will be back providing several Sessions on the business side of the profession. Their Sessions have been attendee favorites for the past two years. One of their new topics is Say Yes to Success. Its aim is to help attendees learn that success isnt based on saying yes to every offer and client that comes their way. Sometimes being selective and using better time-management skills will go a long way toward success. (I definitely need to make time for that Session!)

Alexandra Kurland, Jennifer Digate, and Peggy Hogan each have several new topics focused on horse training. I am certain that our regular horse enthusiasts will be thrilled! Many of these Sessions have excellent cross-over appeal (helpful no matter what species you work with). I am particularly looking forward to Alexs advanced rope-handling skills Lab, Jens Session on trail riding, and Peggys new look at shaping your way to better riding.

Dont Miss ClickerExpo 2018!

I am really excited about the 2018 program. There is something for everyone! As I wrap up this list, I realize that there are so many other new Sessions and Labs that I think people will really love. So, check out the programI think youll be thrilled. See you at ClickerExpo 2018!

Happy Training,



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