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Guide-Dog and Assistance-Dog Organizations See Clickers in their Present and Future

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Service- animal and guide-animal organizations are becoming clicker-savvy rapidly. Adopting the practices and tools of modern positive animal trainers allows these organizations to offer more people life-changing assistance, including guide animals. Why is that? Positive training is a triple benefit. Training is completed more quickly, more animals finish the program successfully, and more human-animal matches are successful.

For example, there are more than 100 guide-dog school members of the International Federation of Guide Dog Schools. In 2006, only three of those schools were using clicker training or another form of positive reinforcement. In 2017, more than 40 guide-dog schools are developing guide dogs via clicker training methods. A catalyst of the change in the industry has been Michele Pouliot, a longtime member of the ClickerExpo faculty. In 2016, Michele was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Guide Dog Federation.

Assistance-animal and guide-animal trainers from all over the world will be coming to the 2018 ClickerExpo animal training and behavior conferences to learn, network, and explore. Some of these trainers are just considering the transition, others are well along the way, and still others have completed the transition process entirely.

Organizations represented at ClickerExpo in 2018 include Atlas Assistance Dogs, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Freedom Dogs, Guide Dogs of America, K9s for Warriors, Blind Foundation Guide Dogs New Zealand, Brigadoon Service Dogs, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Leashes 4 Life International Assistance Dogs, Psychiatric Service Dog Partners, and Summit Assistance Dogs!

Whether you are already down this path or just curious, take this opportunity to explore the bright future of assistance-animal and guide-animal training. You can even dig in in learn by getting “hands-on” through our popular Learning Lab course format.

The next ClickerExpo conference is just weeks away—in St Louis, Missouri, March 16-18.

Join us at ClickerExpo in St Louis, Missouri.

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