Are You Ready for Geek Week?


Event Dates - November 11 - 15, 2020

Geek Week is the ultimate virtual event for professionals working in the fields of pet care, animal behavior and training, as well as for guardians who want to learn more about their pets!

So, join us for more than 130 sessions delivered by 85 world class presenters
over 24 hours a day for a fabulous five days!

The Pet Professional Guild has built an International Geek Week event like no other.

Partnering with six other amazing organizations, we are collectively bringing a fantastic educational experience both to our members and the general public all at a highly affordable rate. Get Registered Today

Get Your “Geek On” and Save Your Spot!
With globally respected presenters delivering education at less than $1.55 per hour it’s a Geek Brainer. Over 100 great sessions are available round the clock to suit all time zones. Watch from the comfort of your own home in your very own “Geek Apparel."
Join us here on our Virtual Platform where you can cruise the presentations, browse in the exhibitor hall, enjoy the spoils of your virtual SWAG bag, attend fun sessions, win great prizes, and so much more.

Unlimited Access
All sessions will move to the On-Demand area within three hours of completion and will remain available to you for 12 MONTHS.
CEUs Are Available As Follows:

PPAB 36, PPGA 24, INTODogs 30, KPA 36,CCPDT 30, IAABC 36

Your Geek Week Presenters

Grab A PDF of the Schedule



Your North America and Europe Geek Week Kick Off

Niki Tudge
Louise Stapleton-Frappell
Dr. Hannah Capon
Denise O' Moore

Your North America and Europe Geek Week Kick Off

Join Niki Tudge, Louise Stapleton-Frappell, Dr. Hannah Capon and Denise O'Moore as they chat through the schedule. Learn about all of the fun competitions, sponsor spotlights and wonderful sessions.
 Watch out for some fruity variances as they may help you win prizes later in the week. 

The Role of Nutrition on Behaviour

Dr. Conor  Brady

There is a saying in human nutrition - if you can't pronounce it, don't feed it to a hyperactive kid. Or, if it has more than four ingredients don't feed it. These sayings clearly never crossed over to the world of canine nutrition.
Sadly, dog behavior is never measured by pet food company scientists. It was during the presenter’s time with guide dogs 10 years ago when he was first alerted to the fact all may not be so well in this respect. He encountered a guide dog school who had recently changed approximately 180 dogs to raw feeding and among other benefits, the dogs were better able for their work. Exactly how or why may still elude us today but we have a lot more answers than we did back then.
The literature is rife with studies documenting the power of food to alter, stoke or soothe human behavior. Unsurprisingly, we are finding the majority of these compounds work in a similar fashion in dogs, most of which you will nod your head to as the presenter lists them, including various colored fruits and veg and copious amounts of herbs.
This session will discuss the top components in processed food for negatively impacting training in dogs. Of all aspects in this respect, the gut microbiota is now perhaps the most promising frontier and keeping them happy with a simple, real diet is perhaps the most important thing you can do for their mental capacity and stamina. The presenter will take a trip through a number of fascinating canine nutrition studies that highlight many of these points and conclude with some baseline tips on what you might do, should you be faced with a problem dog.

Who Controls The Training Session - You or The Animal?

Dr. Karolina  Westlund

Many animal trainers, veterinarians and pet owners highlight the importance of controlling animals. Controlling them, as in restricting the animals’ movement, their choices and their opportunities to control their environment through their behavior.
Sometimes you have to, for safety reasons. But often you don’t – and more often than you might think. Actually, the trend in modern animal training is to deliberately and strategically shift control from the handler to the animal, while still staying safe. Giving control to animals enables us to better understand their quirks and preferences, not to mention reducing fear and improving welfare. In this session, the presenter will walk through a formal training session and discuss all the possible ways of handing control to the animal during training. For instance:

  • Does the animal have control when, where and with whom a training session starts?
  • When ending it?
  • When individual trials within a session start (so called start buttons).
  • Which behavior to work on?
  • Can he say, “No, actually, I changed my mind?”
  • Can he choose his reinforcer?

These questions and more will be discussed. Some might say it’s preposterous to allow the animal to dictate the training session. But that’s not what the presenter is saying you should do. After all, you have options, too, and one of them is to choose when to hand over control to the animal – and when not to.

Adolescent Dogs – Engage the Brain, Reduce the Pain!

Sarah  Fisher
Many adolescent dogs become body sensitive around the 5-month mark and this, coupled with the natural biological process of the adolescent period, can lead to misunderstanding and confusion which in turn creates conflict and can break down the relationship between the adolescent dog and the guardian(s). Adolescent dogs are more likely to be surrendered or abandoned, but should we be assessing adolescent dogs in the kennel environment?

At a time when dogs are perhaps at their most vulnerable should we really be intensifying/accelerating socialization and training as many suggest, or should we be focusing on refining a more flexible strategy to support dogs, and their guardians through this wonderful (but sometimes challenging) phase?

Instead of thinking about what we should teach adolescent dogs, let’s consider what we can learn from them.

This presentation will explore the magnificent adolescent phase and will also include:

Identifying the right decompressors for the individual dog.

  • Minimizing frustration by paying attention to our own behavior.
  • Modifying games.
  • Giving adolescent dogs choice, and a voice.
  • Establishing a body contact contract.
  • Building calm foundations on which further learning can be built within a framework of ACE Free Work.

Sponsored by:

FUN COMPETITION. Your Geek Week Vendor Scavenger Hunt - Like to scavenge? Love to win prizes!

Kelly  Fahey
The Geek Week Scavenger Hunt!

Kelly Fahey takes you through the competition details so you can compete and have fun and watch out for the hidden FRUIT!

Jump on this session and learn about the fun you can have during the week while increasing your chances of winning a
huge prize. So much fun to be had while you explore the event, question the vendors and make new friends!

To submit your Scavenger Hunt questions please click here
To enter into the all important and life altering Banana Hunt competition you can submit your banana locations on this form. Click here 
This form enables you to save and return, so you can edit it up until Sunday afternoon. 

An Introduction to the Science of Canine Olfaction

Dr. Nathan Hall
To understand the canine perspective, or umwelt, learning how canines sense their world is important for trainers and owners. However, several myths of canine olfaction are commonly perpetuated.

This talk will break down three myths commonly perpetuated on:

  • Canine olfactory sensitivity.
  • Breed differences.
  • Odor mixture perception.

Guardians and trainers not familiar with detection training will leave with a better understand of canine olfactory perception and how it influences their dogs at home.

Sponsored by:

Your Essential Toolkit for working with KIDS!

Justine  Schuurmans
When you think of working with kids do you panic, or break out in hives? Maybe you’re not totally allergic, it’s just the “how” and “what” to teach them that’s holding you back.
Families with young children are getting dogs at a crazy rate, and they desperately NEED YOUR HELP to create a safe and happy life with their pup.  But to make family training successful, the WHOLE gang has to be on board – especially the kids.  
 This toolkit of essentials will give you the confidence you need to take on new family clients and offer fun and effective training for their children.
Learning Objectives:

  • Learn WHY families need you – and how you can grow your business by working with children.
  • Find out WHEN is the best time to integrate children and how structure your sessions, to optimize a child’s learning.
  • Understand WHAT to prioritize in training, to help families achieve the greatest success.
  • Learn HOW to make your sessions super effective and compelling – so that the kids love your classes as much as the dog does!
No prior experience is necessary.  This session is perfect for trainers at any level who want greater success and compliance when working with families and young children.

Sponsored by:

Successful Veterinary Visits

Dr. Lynn Honeckman

Veterinary visits can be stressful for everyone! Learn how to help pets and their families build better relationships with their veterinarian, prevent fear in the veterinary patient, and treat anxiety and aggression in the clinical setting.

Sponsored by:

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT SESSION Business Insurers of the Carolinas

David  Pearsall
David Pearsall CIC CWCA of Business Insurers of the Carolinas has been working with pet care service professionals for over 25 years.

In this session, he will share details of liability exposures common to pet care service providers, including dog trainers, behavior consultants, pet sitters/dog walkers, pet groomers, and boarding/daycare facilities.

The presentation will cover all the insurance coverage/insurance policies you should consider in order to be adequately covered.
It will begin by defining common exposures unique to the industry and will then walk you through each type of policy you should consider, depending on your individual business. This includes general liability, professional liability, workers compensation, commercial auto, bonding and employment practices liability insurance.

Each insurance policy will be explained in detail to give insight into why it may – or may not – be needed. The session will include actual claims examples that have been paid over the last 25 years, including payment amounts, so you can get an idea of what can really occur, regardless of how careful and safety conscious you may be.

Whether you have been in business for over 20 years or are just starting out, you will walk away with a better understanding of insurance and risk management after this session. The knowledge you gain will greatly assist you and/or your business to reduce your exposure to risk.

Afterwards, presenter David Pearsall and his colleague Laura Bridges CISR will be available to answer any questions you may have that are unique to your business.

Working with Clients with Mobility Impairments

Veronica Sanchez
Mobility impairments affect millions of individuals in a wide range of ways. In this session, we will learn how trainers can best help clients with these limitations be successful working with their dogs using positive, science-based training techniques.

We will also review training techniques for people who use wheelchairs, crutches, canes and walkers as well as people who have impaired mobility but do not need adaptive equipment. Finally, we will learn ways to address common challenges including loose leash walking as well as how to facilitate safety and prevent falls.

Sponsored by:

When SECs Happen: Proactive Handling for Sudden Environmental Contrasts

Mike Shikashio
The dreaded “SEC!” We’ve all been there – a provocative stimulus suddenly appears in the environment, and the dog we are handling explodes with barking, growling, and lunging!
In this session, the presenter will highlight proactive handling techniques as well as ancillary measures to set the stage for success when in contexts where SECs are likely to happen.

Proactivity is always better than reactivity in these cases, and the presenter will showcase a variety of handling skills that can help dogs and their handlers in areas that can be fraught with challenges.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define “SECs” and recognize the environments where they can happen.
  • Learn proactive leash handling techniques.
  • Review ancillary measures that can set our dogs up for success.

Management or Training?

Kay Laurence
All of us are forging a pathway through a forest of options. We question what this individual needs to learn to be able to live well in their destined lifestyle. What may suit one partnership may not suit another. Not all pathways are following a route of training; in many cases temporary or permanent management provides the opening. 
What we label training is in reality the combination of learning and practice. This requires a clear identification of what is needed, isolation for practice until fluency is achieved, and then integration. Active learning and practice require guidance, attentiveness, feedback and self-awareness. These are the key skills we learn and teach, so learning and practicing become their own reward.

Sponsored by:

You Had Me at Sniff: Dog-Dog Interactions

Suzanne  Clothier
Dog-to-dog interactions are difficult to master. Because we don't speak Dog, and dogs don't speak English, we are stuck with interpreting what we see... and sometimes, we are wrong. It can be hard to know what to do. But we want to get it right.
We all have questions and worries when two or more dogs are together. Are we being too cautious? Or too careless? Do we just "let them work it out" or try to orchestrate pleasant encounters? When is it okay to put two dogs together? What is play and what is not play? What is a suitable playmate? Do size or age differences matter? Is that an argument or a serious fight?
This session provides an overview of dog/dog interactions.

The presenter will use video to help you understand some of the intricacies of dog/dog encounters.

  • Reading Body Language in Dog/Dog Interactions: What balance, stance, flexion, orientation, macro and micro body language can tell you.
  • Play – or Not Play?: Low level testing.
  • Complex Interactions: How physical issues, lack of social skills, play style mismatch and a cold day in Texas created an argument.
  • This session offers practical tools for trainers who want a deeper understanding of the amazingly nuanced communications between dogs.

Peaceable Kingdom: Using Feline Science to Increase Success of Multicat Households

Dr. Mikel  Delgado
Because cats are solitary hunters, they often get mislabeled as an asocial species, when they are actually socially flexible. But many attempts to integrate multiple cats into a home fail, leading to stress, injuries, and behavior problems.

This talk will review our current understanding of cats’ social lives and family structures. Including case studies, the presenter will illustrate how we can enhance the lives of cats in multicat households, ensure smooth introductions and co-existence between cats, and solve problems when they arise.

Scratch This! Why Cats Scratch and How to Protect Your Furniture and Carpet

Carrie Seay
Scratching is a natural behavior for all cats but they often choose to scratch items that owners prefer they would not. Declawing* is not the answer to saving furniture and carpeting!
Understanding why cats scratch can help us learn how to encourage them to choose an appropriate surface for their scratching needs.

Learning Objectives:
Learn the different reasons why cats scratch.
Understand why declawing is not recommended.
Learn how to listen to your cat when choosing scratching surfaces.
Learn how to help your cat change from scratching furniture to scratching a more appropriate surface.

*Organizer’s note: While declawing for cosmetic reasons is banned in the U.K., Australia and a number of other countries, in the U.S. and Canada, it is still practiced by some vets. In St. Louis, Missouri, Board Bill 140, was passed in December 2019 with a vote of 21-1 to ban declawing. Declawing is already prohibited in nine US cities [eight cities in California] and in seven of the 10 Canadian provinces. Anti-declaw legislation is currently being considered in California, New Jersey, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In the U.S., all veterinary hospitals operated by Mars Veterinary Health, including VCA, Banfield, and BluePearl hospitals, no longer offer declawing. VCA-Canada‘s clinics stopped offering declawing in 2018 (The Paw Project, 2020).


Veronica Boutelle
Gina Phairas

Come and Learn About  dog*Biz

“If you are looking to up your business savvy, run, don’t walk to dogbiz. Veronica and her team are consummate professionals who, refreshingly, operate with integrity, skill and a passion to help others. You cannot afford not too! For many aspiring dog trainers and accomplished professionals, the reality sets in after a few months in business – dog training and pet care skills alone are not enough to successfully operate a business. In a highly competitive market with a business model often run by passionate animal welfare advocates, you need a business support structure to help you stay focused and to navigate the highways to success.
dogbiz gives you just that support. They provide you with the necessary tools and onboard support system to help you navigate your way through the windy, often frustrating roads of business ownership, supporting you in your business growth while empowering you to work to your passions and unique skills. Don’t let your passion become your headache. Champions in every field keep a coach in their toolbox recognizing it’s a sign of great insight and self-assurance to partner with like-minded professionals who can help you take your knowledge and skills to a higher level recognizing that the investment you make pays huge dividends.”
–Niki Tudge, Founder & President of The Pet Professional Guild, The DogSmith, DogNostics Career Center & President, Doggone safe

It Takes a Village. The Team Approach to Treating Emotional Disorders in Dogs

Dr. Lisa Radosta
This session will discuss the team approach to treating emotional disorders in dogs.

What is the role of a veterinary behaviorist in the successful treatment of emotional disorders in dogs? What is the role of the dog training professional? How should a dog training professional approach a veterinarian about medications?
Veterinary behaviorists and dog training professionals are partners, not adversaries. By working together, we can improve the lives of pets exponentially. Learn how the presenter and her colleagues have learned to work as a team with our dog training partners to build long-term successes.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the options for referral of a pet with a behavior disorder.
  • Learn how dog training professionals, behavior technicians and veterinary behaviorists can work together to provide the best outcome for the patients that we share.
  • Learn how to approach the topic of medical treatment of a behavior disorder. 

Sponsored by:

Rebranding and Resetting to be Future Ready

Coleen Ellis
The future is now! How are you getting ready for it to make sure you and your business are addressing the changing demands of the pet and pet family, not to mention the new normal of our world? Join the presenter and let’s talk! Let’s get creative and put some freshness into the new you for future successes. The session will reframe the business of today and get reset for tomorrow.

Best Foot Forward: Using Positive Reinforcement for Safe Hoof Care

Dr. Dorothy Heffernan
One of the most common reasons for a horse guardian to consult a positive reinforcement trainer is when they're having problems handling hooves. They've usually been through a whole range of advice about how to improve hoof handling, involving ropes, gloves on sticks, not letting go of hooves and a variety of other creative but usually very aversive approaches.
People are often very surprised to hear how simple it is to teach a horse to be a cooperative partner in the process, offering hooves, holding them up without leaning even inviting themselves to sessions with hoof care professionals.
This session will look at how to train for cooperative hoof care, as well as how to resolve existing issues with hoof handling using force-free, positive reinforcement methods.

FUN COMPETITION. Shock-Free Coalition Help support our Shock-Free movement through your creativity

Don Hanson
Niki Tudge

Passionate about a Shock-Free world for our pets?
Join this competition and use your creativity, writing skills or artistic endeavors to help us create a treasure trove of marketing materials for our big push next year to remove Shock from the mainstream!
Huge prizes!
Join us for this session and learn about each of the participation options, there is something for everyone
When you are ready to submit your work please use this link. 

What Not to Pair: Changing the Value of Reinforcers & Punishers

Kathy Sdao

Kathy Sdao is in the house. Kathy will present for us on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. and will then be back on Thursday at the same time for a live Q&A
In her first session Kathy will talk about "What Not To Pair" 

Behavior is a function of consequences (i.e., reinforcers and punishers). Understanding how consequences can change as a result of learning is a key to effective training. In this session, the presenter will address:

  • How inadvertent classical conditioning can weaken or destroy punishers.
  • How inadvertent classical conditioning can weaken or destroy reinforcers.
  • How to avoid these common training mistakes.
So join us at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday 12, November where Niki Tudge will interview Kathy Sdao live. Have a question? Submit it here

Sponsored by:

Foundation Training Skills to Prepare Dogs for Future Learning after Adoption

Emily Larlham
When working with a shelter dog, we always hope that the people adopting the dog will not only provide a safe loving home but also teach their dog skills to help him thrive and fit in with the family’s lifestyle. 
A skilled trainer can easily teach a dog new skills and complex behaviors even if the dog has the personality to become easily frustrated, over-aroused or perhaps is harder to motivate than most. However, adopters who have the best intentions don’t always have the best training skills. Often, we see these adopters struggling to keep their dog from barking, whining or throwing 101 behaviors at them and then when the trainer takes over, the dog is suddenly the star pupil. 
Instead of trying to create amazing trainers out of each person who adopts a dog, the presenter believes it is a good idea to teach dogs certain foundation skills and concepts to set them up for a lifetime of learning in a not so perfect world, where sometimes reinforcement will be slow coming, too much will be asked of the dog, or sometimes the dog will have no clue what their handler wants.
In this session, the presenter will demonstrate how to lower or build arousal for reinforcement so that when the dog goes into his new home, he won’t be revved up by training or, conversely, be disinterested by it. 
Often, dogs can become easily frustrated by the lack of information they are receiving from a new adopter and start to offer “dog behavior” when they do not know what to do. By teaching the dogs that, when the handler is fumbling and distracted, it simply is the cue to wait, it can save a lot of problem solving for the new adopter. 
The presenter believes one of the best ways to train new behaviors is by training in small achievable steps with a one-to-one rate of reinforcement. An adopter however, while teaching a new behavior might raise criteria too quickly and have five incorrect responses before giving up and problem solving. Meanwhile, the dog has offered five behaviors with no reinforcement. For this reason, the presenters considers it important to teach shelter puppies and dogs right from the start the concept of working on a variable ratio of reinforcement, so that when a future training plan encounters a hiccup, the dog can take it in stride.
Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about building or lowering arousal for reinforcement used in training.
  • Teach default behaviors for waiting for cue, waiting for reinforcement or for when confused about what is being asked.
  • Teach working for duration and performing multiple behaviors without frustration before going to live with a newbie trainer.

Sponsored by:

Relationship Goals: Achieving a Rock-Solid Relationship with Your Dog

Laurie Williams
Learning Objectives:

  • Examine the 5 love languages of a relationship (in canine terms).
  • Identify and rank your own dog’s “love languages.”
  • Learn strategies and tools that enhance connection.
  • Improve communication skills.
  • Minimize ineffective, threatening, unproductive communication patterns.
  • Establish realistic expectations.

FUN COMPETITION. Are You The Top Nerd?

Niki Tudge

The Biggest Nerd - Tune in to learn how you can win this Geek Week prestigious competition. 
This is the easiest competition to compete in because you are already in! Just by being part of the Geek Week attendance you are “in to win”
So, jump into this session and learn how it all works

Your Australia and Southern Hemisphere Geek Week Kick Off

Barbara  Hodel
Niki Tudge
Louise Ginman
Louise Newman

Your Australia and Southern Hemisphere Geek Week Kick Off
Join Niki Tudge, Barbara Hodel, Louise Ginman and Louise Newman celebrate as Geek Week kicks off in the southern Hemisphere.
Learn about all of the fun competitions, sponsor spotlights and wonderful sessions.
 Watch out for some fruity variances as they may help you win prizes later in the week. 

‘Owner’ versus GUARDIAN: How Changing the Language Changes the Experience

Dr. Lisa Ackerman
In this session, the presenter will address a comparison of the concepts of ownership versus GUARDIANSHIP and the implications each mindset has on the physical and mental health and welfare of dogs. She will also discuss the principles of GUARDIANSHIP and how, by simply changing the language that we use, we not only change the experience for dogs, but also change our own life experience within our communities on a local level. In addition, we change the professional experience within the dog training industry itself, and the collective experience for dogs and humans on a global level.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding the presenter’s powerful concept ‘SCIENCE IN eMOTION’ in relation to the language we use and the human-animal bond.

The Power of Predictability

Sara McLoudrey

Predictability is a strong force in training and behavior modification. It gives pets a mental road map of what is coming. If you are unaware of predictability or when it is happening in your training program, it can be a roadblock in your progress.
A wide variety of pets benefit from predictability in training – from shy, nervous pets to reactive or aggressive animals. This session will examine the concept of predictability and how it can enhance our work with cooperative care, confidence-boosting, and reactivity behavior modification.

When you plan predictability into your training program, you can harness its powers to enhance your training, not hinder it. The session will also look at how to spot predictability before it derails your training progress, as well as strategies for building intentional predictors into your training.

Come and learn how to add the Power of Predictability to your training repertoire!


Margaret  Gray

Five years ago, Margaret Gray, owner of and Tails Up Dog Training ( decided that she wanted more out of her training business than she was getting at the time. Of course, she knew that this meant she would need to put much more into it.
In this session she will outline the process that she and her partner went through to achieve a 270% increase in their business simply by redesigning the way they responded to their clients. This is something that any other dog trainer, no matter how small their business, can do.
In the second half of this session, Margaret will be giving you a look at some training kits that they are launching during Geek Week. These kits were developed and tested as part of their review process and contributed significantly to the success of their business improvement project.

Come and Learn About I'm A Dog Trainer

The objective of I’m a Dog Trainer is to respond to the professional needs of fear-free, pain-free, force-free dog trainers by bringing them professionally developed course materials, thus easing the heavy load so many of them are carrying.
The materials developed so far include:

  • A training book of handouts on skills and technical knowledge.
  • A 6-week puppy pre-school course complete with client handouts and lesson summaries.
  • Promotional and training video packages suitable for use at any level of dog training.
  • An 8-week adult/juvenile dog training course.
Monthly Zoom meetings are available to trainers who purchase packages and need further support.

Teenage Dogs in Training Classes

Barbara  Hodel
Humans and their teenage dogs often seem frustrated in their daily life and even more so in training class. The teenage phase in dogs is not well researched and guardians can be taken by surprise by its challenges. As professionals, we need to take this frustration seriously as this is the age when dogs are often at risk of being surrendered, relegated to the backyard or worse, euthanized for behavioral reasons.

Group dog training classes often do not to cater to the specific needs of teenage dogs, focusing too heavily on training “obedience” behaviors. To run successful teenage dog training classes and helping owners live peacefully with their dogs during this challenging time, professionals and guardians need to be familiar with brain function, emotional state, and learning capacity of teenage dogs. The importance of a good relationship, trust and choice needs to be addressed, too.

Teenage dog training courses need to cover more than just “training.” They need to cover lifelong socialization, calmness and focus, critical anthropomorphism, how to deal with daily challenges (such as secondary fear phase, startle responses, selective friendliness and trigger stacking) and how to provide a more enriched environment for teenage dogs.

This presentation will first cover how the teenage brain works (or more accurately, doesn’t work) and why teenage dogs often behave in erratic ways. It will then move on to the value of a good relationship and how to achieve this. The second part of the session will discuss the “ideal” content of teenage dog training classes and how to set them up to help humans and their teenage dogs to succeed.

Emotion, Arousal and Impulse Control in Working Dogs

Jane Ardern
This session is based on developing a deeper understanding of working breed dogs and meeting their needs on an emotional and developmental level. It will include both theory and practical training exercises.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding the influence of genetics.
  • Recognizing how the environment impacts arousal and behavior.
  • Building the right neural pathways and habits through brain games.
  • Positive reinforcement training for working dogs.

Science Rocks! What one little dog taught a professional animal trainer about counter conditioning

Peta Clarke
This session will describe the journey the presenter’s Chihuahua cross, Quinn, took her on as she navigated the process of changing his emotional state and, thus, behavior towards other dogs and people. The presenter will explore the interplay of classical and operant conditioning specific to her journey with Quinn and look at the detail she believes was central to making this program – or should she say “lifestyle” – such a great success. 

Sponsored by:


Denise O' Moore

FUN COMPETITION. It's A Page Turner.  How well do you remember the titles and authors of your favorite books?  Check out 'It's a page turner' and see how many you can get by filling in the blanks. 
Remember you have to be in to win! and watch out for Bananas that will get you points and points mean prizes
After you watch this short session simply click here to answer the quiz

Can Individual Handler Styles Dictate Our Training Methods?

Dr. Robert  Hewings
What are individual dog handler styles? How do these change our training style, and our techniques and methods?
The human attributes that characterize individual dog handler styles in the context of pet dog training, working dog training and sport dog training is a fascinating investigation. How do handler styles correspond with our training methods – do we need to change and adapt in order to communicate with our students? Do we need to change our techniques to match the different learning/personality styles of each dog? Does a different handler “personality” make any difference to the performance of the dog?
Join the presenter within this captivating thought process on how our learning styles our attitudes and behaviors really can affect our engagement with the dog.

Introducing the Foundations of Interactive Toy Play

Craig Ogilvie
In this session, we will talk through a step-by-step system of how to introduce the foundations of interactive toy play to dog and guardian teams, catering for different preferences and abilities.

This delivery will give you the tools to allow your dog to drive the choices that you make with regards to introducing the foundation of interactive toy play. The talk includes toy choice, creating a reinforcing interaction, reluctant players and much more.

Sponsored by:

Using Behavior Analysis to Analyze Behavior, Part I: A Data-Taking Perspective

Dr. Eduardo J.  Fernandez

The use of Behavior Analysis within the animal training and welfare community has become commonplace. While the core principles of Behavior Analysis (i.e., a focus on reinforcement contingencies and functional understandings of behavior) are now frequently used for applied animal behavior purposes, the use of data to measure those applications remains virtually untapped. This creates a conundrum for hopeful Applied Animal Behavior Analysts: An increased demand for applying behavioral principles, but with limited opportunity to bring about their empirical, analytical counterparts.
The first part of this talk focuses on bridging the gap between data and training by providing simple yet effective data-taking procedures for a variety of animal training and welfare needs. Specifically, this talk will focus on the use of preference assessments to systematically identify potential reinforcers and enrichment objects/procedures. Measurement systems for training projects that allow trainers to directly document their training/shaping progress, and creating behavioral inventories (e.g., ethograms) that facilitate general welfare improvements, including the empirical success of enrichment programs and the like. Particular attention will be placed on how anyone can collect data, scientist and practitioner alike.

Sponsored by:

The Neurobiology of Fear: How an Understanding of it Can Help Inform Our Training Choices

Dr. Kathy Murphy
In this session, the presenter will explore the processes going on in a dog’s brain during and after a fearful encounter. Understanding these, and the different neurobiological consequences (or after-effects)of such events, can help inform our choice of training methodology; enabling us to select the most appropriate method, as well as helping us predict and communicate to clients the time course over which we expect to see changes in behavior as a result of training.

Sponsored by:

Behavior Differences in Deaf and/or Visually Impaired Dogs

Dr. Morag Heirs
Deaf dog learns sign language while waiting for an extra special home” and similar headlines are seen more often on social media sites for canine rescue organizations.

There are specialist deaf and blind dog rescue groups in both the U.K. and U.S., and we can see breeders carefully placing their deaf or visually impaired pups in homes rather than hiding them away.

Whether blind or deaf from birth, due to an accident or old age, trainers and behavior consultants are increasingly likely to be working with these dogs and helping them to enjoy a better quality of life.

Can deaf dogs play like hearing dogs? What kind of toys work best for blind dogs? How can we help deaf and/or blind dogs play more safely with other dogs?

All these questions and more will be discussed as we explore the world of play and social interactions for dogs with hearing and/or visual impairments.

Drawing on the available research, plus personal experience of living with deaf, and deaf-blind dogs, and knowledge collected while supporting the Deaf Dog Network (U.K.), the presenter will help you see the world from a different perspective.

Learning Objectives:

  • Appreciate the key similarities and differences in behavior between dogs with visual or auditory impairments, and those without.
  • Explore the distinctive social interaction styles of deaf and/or blind dogs.
  • Understand how to train three key skills with deaf and/or blind dogs to enhance their quality of life.

November 12 - Catch a quick morning update on any Geek Week news and win some great prizes

Niki Tudge

Good Morning Geekers!
It’s Day TWO
Come and spend 20 minutes with Niki Tudge, Denise O’Moore and Rebekah King as they chat through some FAQ’s from Wednesday and talk through the schedule for Thursday.
Listen carefully, there are three questions posed that will win you prizes. The first person to put the answer to each of the questions in the Chat Lounge will win a great prize. 

Sponsored by:

The Science of Separation Anxiety

Dr. Kristina Spaulding
Separation anxiety is a common behavior issue in dogs and it creates a lot of distress for both dogs and their families. As behavior professionals, we want to help, but for a long time, the field lacked good research on this subject. Luckily for us there has been a recent surge in scientific studies on separation disorders. This talk will discuss the findings and interpretations of some of the more recent papers on this important topic. Keep up-to-date on what we know about separation related disorders and put yourself ahead of the game in working on this issue.

Stress, Recuperation Rates and Elizabethan Collars

Louise Stapleton-Frappell

Let's Smash the 'Cone of Shame' and Replace it with the 'Sunflower Shield'!

After surgery, a pet is often sent home wearing an Elizabethan collar - also referred to as an E collar, Buster collar, or plastic cone - to prevent licking and chewing of the incision which could cause irritation, infection, and delayed healing.  Could non-compliance lead to delayed healing?  Could the cone itself lead to extended recovery time if the pet experiences fear, anxiety, or stress while wearing the cone? And, if so, what can we do to about?

Join the presenter as she delves into scientific, observational, and anecdotal evidence regarding the impact of owner-compliance and stress on recovery rates and provides a solution to help make wearing of the Elizabethan collar less stressful for the dog, pet guardians and veterinarians.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand how fear, anxiety, and stress may directly or indirectly affect wound healing.
  • Understand the potential negative impact of Elizabethan collars on animal welfare.
  • Learn how non-compliance of Elizabethan collar wearing may lead to delayed recuperation rates.
  • Understand the potential for delayed healing which may be experienced by some dogs wearing Elizabethan collars.
  • Learn what trainers, guardians, vets, and pet care providers can do to help take the fear, anxiety, and stress, out of the Elizabethan collar, setting the scene for a happier pet and the potential for a speedier recovery rate.

Sponsored by:

Puppy Problem or Pathology? When Do Puppy Behavior Concerns Require Medical Attention?

Dr. Lynn Honeckman

Puppies can be fun, playful, exuberant, bundles of joy, but they can also be far more challenging than expected. This talk will focus on how to differentiate between typical puppy problems and behavior concerns that require veterinary intervention.

Going for a Bumble

Helen Phillips
Jules Morgan

There is a great deal of debate, conflict and confusion around the subject of whether to let your gundog run free off lead in the countryside – whether or not it is worked in the shooting field! 
This session gives a pragmatic and empathetic approach to teaching your dog, regardless of breed or job title, how to learn the difference between “going for a walk” (bumble) and “going hunting” in the same stimulating environment.
The presenters will draw on environmental triggers and explain how to use them as high value life reinforcers to help maintain connection and partnership in challenging situations.
Learning Objectives

  • Understand the difference in the dog between proactive hunting behavior and social interaction with the handler and environment.
  • How to build the “Invisible Piece of String.”
  • The creation of a “Zone” that maintains connection.
  • To encourage decision making.
  • Understand the importance of different reinforcement strategies from the dogs point of view.
  • Develop the handler’s skills critical for success.
  • Games to play.



FUN COMPETITION. What Ya Know About Canine Arthritis?

Dr. Hannah Capon
Win a FREE CAM Advocate Course being rolled out now. Be one of the first to access this great program and learn how you can help pet dogs with arthritis.
This quiz will not only teach you a few things or too but will also entertain you and put you in the running for a great prize. So, Join Dr. Hannah, listen and learn and then when you are ready click this link and take the quiz.

Cue Technology

Kay Laurence
Cues, signals, stimulus, prompts are an integral part of our teaching, training and living with dogs. Understanding how the cues are part of the environment and represent opportunities for reward brings an entire new world to the building of behaviors.
Reward predicting stimulus can elicit memories of rewards that serve to motivate a dog to perform the associated behavior. Giving a cue and responding to a cue is a conversation where questions are asked and answered. We give cues and the dog can answer; dogs will also give us cues and we can listen. Being able to have this conversation is a skill we can learn, develop and ensure all parties are enjoying the process without any stress or anxieties.

Learning the skill of discriminating between what is relevant and what is not and making decisions about what to respond to can help your dog when the environment is calling him/her to respond in so many different ways.

How Cognitive Biases Interfere with How We Acquire Knowledge

Dr. Karolina  Westlund

Given how behaviorists, ethologists, neuroscientists and veterinarians often get into conflict, this talk discusses how our cognitive biases impact knowledge acquisition. Cognitive biases makes us reject information that we should accept, and accept information that we should reject. In this talk, the presenter will discuss a handful of them:

  • The curse of knowledge.
  • Authority bias.
  • The illusory truth effect.
  • The availability cascade.
  • Tribal epistemology.
  • Confirmation bias.
  • The Semmelweiss effect.
  • The backfire effect.
  • Reactance.
  • The Dunning-Kruger effect.

The aim of this session is to open attendees’ minds more to how biases come about and how problematic this is – and facilitate those difficult discussions with people who have other backgrounds.

Sponsored by:

Fostering in the Animal Shelter

Dr. Lisa Gunter
Exploring the Welfare Benefits of Temporary Fostering and Short-Term Outing Programs for Dogs in the Animal Shelter

It is likely that social isolation contributes to reduced welfare for dogs living in animal shelters. One type of intervention that addresses this concern, human interaction provided at the shelter, has been demonstrated to improve behavior and reduce physiological measures of stress for dogs awaiting adoption.

This session will discuss research conducted at nine animal shelters across the United States which have investigated the impacts of temporary fostering (sleepovers) and more recently, outings (field trips) away from the shelter, on shelter dog stress and activity levels. It will examine the particular effects of these programs and how they can be implemented in the shelter to positively impact the lives of dogs.
Learning Objectives:

  • Relate how human social interaction in the shelter can improve the welfare of dogs in the shelter.
  • Discuss the different activities dogs likely engage in during temporary fostering and short-term outings.
  • Extrapolate how these differences may impact dogs’ stress and activity levels.
  • Differentiate the conditions under which temporary fostering and short-term outings would impact dogs’ proximate and distal welfare.
  • Propose a system for dogs in your shelter in which you could identify the dogs that would most benefit from these programs.

Sponsored by:

Pet Lovers & Pet Loss

Coleen Ellis
You got into this business because you love pets. In the beautiful words of Jon Katz in the trailer to his book Going Home, “there’s always a goodbye hovering in the shadow of a dog.”
This session will talk about this inevitable part of loving a pet while being aware of their eventual or impending death. It will give you some incredibly beautiful ways to help you, the professional, so you can help those who need you during this difficult time.

Canine Welfare: How Do We Measure It and What Can We Learn

Dr. Lisa Gunter
Canine Welfare: How Do We Measure It and What Can We Learn Using These Measures in the Animal Shelter?

Considerable efforts have been made to improve the outcomes for dogs arriving to animal shelters, resulting in substantial increases in the number of dogs adopted and returned to their owners as well as reductions in euthanasia. Over this time, the role of the animal shelter has changed as well, from one of temporary holding to longer lengths of stay as animals with more complex behavioral and medical needs are placed. Thus, we must also evolve the care that we provide to these dogs to adequately meet their welfare needs.
This session will discuss how we can best assess welfare and promising measures found across the scientific literature that can help us better understand dogs’ experiences in the shelter. With these measures in mind, the presenter will describe recent research investigating the effects of housing and social interaction on shelter dog welfare. By identifying meaningful welfare measures, interventions intended to improve the lives of shelter-living dogs can be tested and, when impactful, implemented in animal shelters.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify stressors in the shelter environment that may compromise canine welfare.
  • Describe the difficulties inherent in measuring welfare.
  • Explain the different physiological, cognitive, behavioral, and health measures that can be used to measure canine welfare in the shelter.
  • Summarize how housing and interactions with other dogs may affect shelter dog welfare.
  • Develop a plan about how you could measure the welfare of dogs in your animal shelter. 

Sponsored by:

Remote Chows

Jean Donaldson
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person training has become difficult for applied behavior practitioners to deliver, and so many have begun offering services remotely. In this session, the presenter will discuss three case studies of Chows and their families counseled remotely via Zoom. In each case, she will describe the presenting problems, client goals, go over the prognosis estimate, give an overview of the management and behavior modification plans, and then present a snag or two along with which counseling techniques were germane to achieving a good outcome. 
She will also describe what practice modifications were necessary to work remotely rather than live. Far from being prohibitive, counseling remotely is feasible and even offers numerous advantages. And, because competent non-aversive trainers are still in too-short supply, leveraging the best trainers for the most tricky cases, regardless of where they live, represents a possible best practice.    

Sponsored by:

How Dogs (and Other Animals) Think and Learn

Pat Miller
This session will cover the  basics of behavior and learning.

Learn how to understand and identify the differences between the sometimes-confusing principles of operant and classical conditioning and cognition, and how they all work together. Understand how to use applied behavior analysis in your work. If you want to be a real professional, it’s important to know these principles!

Sponsored by:

“No! That’s MY Owner!” Helping Dogs that Fight over Their Owner

Mike Shikashio
How can we help dogs that compete over resources, and the resource is the owner? This presentation will focus on restoring harmony between dogs who have a history of conflicts over their owner’s attention. The presenter will review the setups for safety when working these cases, discuss the behavior change strategies that are most effective, and feature videos of these techniques in action.

He will also highlight how stationing behaviors can be incredibly helpful in these scenarios, as well as discuss when to incorporate operant vs. classical conditioning, and vice versa.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the safety setups to have in place for these cases.
  • Review how stationing behaviors can be used for successful outcomes.
  • Understand when we would choose to focus on operant behaviors vs. incorporating classical conditioning strategies.

Sponsored by:

Rethinking Separation Anxiety in the Homeless Dog

Malena De Martini
Casey McGee
Join separation anxiety trainers Malena DeMartini and Casey McGee to explore some common misconceptions about separation anxiety in the homeless dog.
Dogs with separation anxiety are often a source of heartbreak for shelter and rescue staff, despite this disorder being one of the primary behavioral reasons cited for owner surrenders. This presentation will draw on the presenters’ considerable experience interviewing and consulting with shelter and rescue staff wanting to better serve this vulnerable population.

Sponsored by:

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT SESSION DogNostic What Do Trainers Need?

Niki Tudge
Louise Stapleton-Frappell

Come and Learn All About DogNostics!

What do you need, where do you think educational organizations should focus? How can DogNostics help you?
In this session we review who we are and how we can help.
 We will show you some snippets of The Dog Training Certificate Program, The Behavior Consulting Diploma and a selection of our short courses and Tool-Kits

Sponsored by:

It Takes a Village: Cases

Dr. Lisa Radosta
Through a case series, this session will explore how the partnership between veterinary behaviorist, dog training professional and pet parent improves the lives of the dogs they collectively treat.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn through case-based learning how dog training professionals, behavior technicians and veterinary behaviorists can work together to provide the best outcome for the patients that we share.
  • Learn through case-based learning how to approach the topic of medical treatment for a behavior disorder. 
  • Learn through case-based learning what roles the veterinarian, veterinary technician, veterinary behaviorist, and dog training professional play in the outcome of cases. 

Complex Stimulus Control for Odor-Detection Training

Dr. Nathan Hall
Detection dogs are trained to detect a wide variety of complex odor targets. This talk will highlight advanced topics in olfactory learning such as generalization, overshadowing, compound stimuli and concept formation. It will discuss how these learning topics apply for detection dogs learning complex odor discriminations and how training procedures can be adapted to focus detection to the desired stimuli and avoid distractors.

Detection trainers will leave being able to adapt their training procedures to focus canine detection to the relevant odorants and enhance performance and accuracy.

Evidence-Based Calmacology Part 1

Dr. Robert Falconer-Taylor

Calming Diets, Calming Supplements, Calming Vests Under the Spotlight Again

The brains of all vertebrates – from primitive aquatic animals to complex mammals like ourselves – follow a common, highly conserved (i.e. the same) evolutionary architecture. Our brains, and of course the brains of our pets, are both anatomically and functionally deeply hierarchical and sparsely connected. This makes the brain very different from all the other organs of the body, which are anatomically just collections of identical, repeating functional units.

The unique architecture of the brain means that the entirety of our complex emotional lives, our motivations, and our mental aberrations (manifested as sometimes highly challenging behavior problems) are expressed through just a handful of simple bioactive molecules, operating in a limited number of regions scattered across the sparse neural network.
Over the last few years, a plethora of commercial products and services have become available, primarily targeted at dogs, under the general therapeutic label of “calming.” There are tryptophan-fortified diets and supplements, essential oil-based aromatherapies and pheromones, prebiotics, probiotics, herbal supplements, homeopathic remedies, vests and body wraps, and of course well-established physical therapies such as TTouch.

What all these diverse therapeutic modalities have in common is that in order to work – to be effective in the claim that they are “calming” – they have to be able to engage with the brain in a physiologically compatible manner. This means that the “active ingredients” of these therapeutic agents must be engaging with the brain through the same interfaces as those utilised by the body’s own intrinsic neurotransmitters and neuromodulators.

This interface of engagement is an enormously powerful and useful concept to understand because it applies universally to any kind of therapeutic intervention, including implementing a practical, hands-on behavioural modification plan. The brain can only do what the brain can do; no more, no less.

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand the functional organisation of the brain.
  • Understand the key mechanisms of interventional emotional and behavioural therapeutics, using ‘calming’ modalities as the exemplar to explain the concepts.

Sponsored by:

Managing a Brand During a Crisis: Keeping a Positive Perception During Change

Dr. Robert King
Even though we hope that the pandemic and its effects are mitigated in the near future, there is still a fair amount of time before we have normalcy. With this in mind, focusing on what can be done to keep a brand strong during times of crisis are paramount. This session will focus on first understanding what your brand “means” to customers and what you can do to keep this perception high if positive or how to pivot if it is negative. Formally, we will discuss target markets, perception, branding, and evaluation. 

A Geek Week Live Interview with Kathy Sdao. Have a question? Submit the form!

Kathy Sdao
Have a Question for Kathy Sdao?

Join Niki Tudge who has the pleasure of interviewing Kathy Sdao live at Geek Week.  

Gather all your questions from Kathy's first session Titled "What Not to Pair: Changing the Value of Reinforcers and Punishers"
Have a question? Submit it here

Be a Super Sleuth - Discover Medical Problems that Affect Behavior

Dr. Adam Honeckman
This session will discuss some medical conditions that can affect the behavior of dogs and cats. Diseases that will be discussed include brain diseases, painful conditions, disorders of the senses, and thyroid hormone imbalances.

Puppy Day Training—Better For Your Business, Better For Puppies

Veronica Boutelle
Gina Phairas

Concerned about the puppies in your community getting enough socialization exposure (and the right kind, too)? Looking for a way to increase your training income? It may be time to consider adding a puppy day training program. (If you’re not familiar with day training, think puppy board and train without the boarding.) There’s no one better than a positive reinforcement trainer to both train and socialize a puppy, after all.
Day training gets puppies out during their guardians’ workday, taking better advantage of that all-too-narrow socialization window. It gives pups and their people a jump-start on manners training. It means better proofing of that training, too. And if that’s not enough to convince you, puppy day training fills private training slots (during the day, no less) and offers several innovative models for significantly increasing your private training revenue. In this session, you will learn how to set up a puppy day training program right for your business and clientele.

Sponsored by:

C.A.T. with CATS – from Fearful to Friendly

Caroline  Crevier-Chabot
Fearful shelter cats are numerous in our shelters. If they are not euthanized because of lack of resources, they can spend months in shelters or in foster families with few improvements. While the term feral does not apply to these cats, they do lack the tools to deal with strangers and new places.
Can we help them gain these tools? Can we change their view of strangers? Can we bring them to a state where their chances of getting adopted and of staying in that home are now good? Join us to think about cats, about the constructional approach and about re-evaluating how we are currently working with fearful cats and why. This presentation will use videos and examples to illustrate the subject.
Learning Objectives

  • To understand the particularities of cats.
  • To understand what C.A.T. with cats is and why we would want to use it.
  • To geek out on the science of behavior behind it.
  • To get you interested in working with cats!

Behavioral Predictors of Subsequent Respiratory Illness Signs in Dogs Admitted to an Animal Shelter

Dr. Alexandra (Sasha)  Protopopova
Individual variability is evident in behavior and physiology of animals. Determining whether behavior at intake may predict subsequent illness in the animal shelter may influence the management of dogs housed at animal shelters and reduce overall disease.
While normally associated with mild disease and low mortality rates, respiratory disease nevertheless poses significant challenges to the management of dogs in the stressful environment of animal shelters due to its highly infectious nature. Therefore, the aim of a study co-authored by the presenter was to explore whether behavior at intake can predict subsequent occurrence and progression of upper respiratory disease in dogs at animal shelters.
In a correlational study, 84 dogs were assessed throughout their stay at a city animal shelter. A basic PLS (partial least squares) path regression model revealed that time in the shelter, and sociability and curiosity scores were associated with increased illness. Activity and anxiety scores, however, were not associated with illness. Urinary cortisol: creatinine (C:C), taken on the first full day, did not predict subsequent illness when accounting for time.
Limitations included attrition of dogs, a small percentage receiving vaccinations, and continuous and non-systematic rotation of dogs in the kennels. Understanding if behavior can predict subsequent illness may improve shelter management practices, and in turn, result in improved live-release outcomes.

No More Cat Wrangling: Techniques for Force-Free Feline Handling

Tabitha Kucera
Many cats feel fear, anxiety, and stress when being handled and/or approached. The effects of feeling this way can lead to reduced quality of life for the patient and animal care teams, an increase in injury to staff, and make owners less likely to bring their cats in for veterinary visits.
Fear, anxiety and stress can also make veterinary visits more difficult and lead to lower quality care, fewer diagnostics, and ultimately poorer medical outcomes. And they can lead to cats being surrendered due to broken bonds between pets and their owners. This is why it is vital for professionals to do what we can to limit fear, anxiety, and stress in the cats we are working with and provide consistent, positive human to cat social interactions. 
In this session, we will discuss the effects and how to identify the signs of fear, anxiety, and stress in our cats. We will also discuss tools and handling techniques that can help reduce feline fear, anxiety, and stress, thus making the shelter, veterinarian and/or home overall less stressful and happier places for cats, visitors, employees, and volunteers. When a cat’s fear and anxiety is reduced, they will be more adoptable and more likely to stay in long-term, loving homes.

Learning Objectives:

  • The effects of fear, anxiety, and stress in cats.
  • Identify signs of fear, anxiety, and stress in cats.
  • Understand the potential consequences of force-based handling techniques on cats and humans.
  • Learn basic handling techniques to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress for cats in veterinary clinics, shelters, and at home.

Sponsored by:

Dog Trainers and Veterinary Teams Working Together

Laura Ryder
Finding the time to incorporate dog training and behavior into a busy vet clinic can appear daunting to veterinary staff.
Working in a busy vet clinic for over 20 years, I see on a daily basis the time constraints placed on veterinary staff, and the often rushed answers to behavior and training questions that clients may ask. Working together, dog trainers can provide valuable resources and marketing strategies to engage and educate clients visiting the vet clinic. This results in well-mannered, calm patients for veterinary staff to treat, new clients for professional dog trainers and, most importantly, happier dogs.

As professional dog trainers, we can work together with veterinary staff to provide pet owners and other pet industry professionals with the knowledge and tools to not only look after a pet’s physical well-being, but their emotional well-being as well.

How Dare You Hold Me to Expectations I Am Not Aware of!

Niki Tudge
In the business of training and consulting, we are bound by some contractual language that outlines some of the key expectations from each party. This formal contract is not the end of the professional-client contract story, however. Once you have established that your contract and liability waiver have been understood and signed, you must then consider the psychological contract. In short, this summarizes the beliefs held by both trainer and student about what they expect from one another. It is an unwritten set of expectations that is constantly at play during the term of the formal contract.

The interactions you have with your clients are a fundamental feature of the trainer-student relationship. Each individual’s role has a set of behavioral expectations that are often explicit to the individual yet ambiguous to other parties and not defined in the business contract. More disappointment and frustrations come from this set of expectations even though in most cases they have not been clearly outlined and understood.
Join the presenter as she explores this key and critical component of case management. 

Learning Objectives:

  • What is the psychological contract and why is it so important to the outcome of case management?
  • How can you better and at the front end define the roles, responsibilities and key expectations across team members to prevent “unaware and unfulfilled expectations?”
  • Understand the importance of your system of beliefs and how you can articulate these to your clients.

Sponsored by:

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT SESSION Are You Living with or Training a Young Dog?

Barbara  Hodel

Are you living with or training a young dog?

Then you need this new book. To our knowledge the first one focusing solely on the teenage dog phase. And it can be a difficult time in a dog’s life for the dog and their humans.
Dogs become teenagers, depending on the breed and size, around 7 to 12 months and will reach social maturity around 24 to 30 months. Small dogs and some of the terrier and working dog breeds enter teenagehood early, larger dog and especially large gun dogs enter that phase later.
Young dogs are being spooked by a man with a hat, disappear in the distance chasing a rabbit, or the humans come home to a loungeroom filled with white fluff or a dug-up back yard. The puppy has become a teenager – and it happened almost overnight – just when we thought all was going well!
As with humans, dogs need to go through the teenage phase to reach the stability of adulthood and there are biological reasons for a lot of the frustrating behaviours we see in teenage dogs.
The book
  • Explains why teenage dogs do what they do because their brain is still under construction
  • Explains why the relationship matters
  • Introduces the role of critical anthropomorphism for understanding teenage emotions
  • Defines best practice training methods for teenage dogs
  • Redefines socialisation and why it is a lifelong process
  • Discusses the new job description for our dogs – Is calm just another behaviour?
  • Shows how to deal with the daily challenges such as startle responses, trigger stacking and behaviour chains.
  • Has a how to train section
The book can be bought on for the ebook version and printed version in Australia. For  the print version overseas check Amazon and other large retailers.

My Dog has cancer: Navigating cancer from a pet parents’ perspective

Louise Ginman

Getting a cancer diagnosis for your dog (or any pet) is scary – or maybe terrifying is a better word. We would all deal with the news differently but, commonly, emotions well up and there’s confusion about where to start and what to do.
Information overload can easily occur while your vet or oncologist is telling you about treatment options, costs, side effects and statistics, depending on which option you choose. You walk out of their office confused and scared and struggle to remember anything you’ve just been told. It’s all so overwhelming. Combine that with a feeling of disbelief and devastation that your beloved dog has now had a time limit placed on them and a grim future ahead.
This session presents a case study and a personal journey of a beloved dog’s cancer diagnosis, as well as what subsequently unfolded, complete with lessons learned and insights that may make another’s sad journey just that tiny bit easier.
Learning Objectives:

  • Getting that diagnosis.
  • Learning how to find and work with specialists – it takes a village.
  • Navigating treatment options using contemporary and complementary medicine.
  • What research you need to do – be part of the team.
  • Developing your own resource list – where to find the information you need.
  • What changes you can make to improve quality of life and longevity.
  • Avoiding common mistakes.
  • When the end of the road has come.

At the Heart of the Walk

Cristina and Aurélien Budzinski
In this session, the presenters will discuss the results of their field study where they observed more than 60 dogs during a walk. All kind of dogs participated: puppies, adults,  seniors, males, and females; all dogs had very different lifestyles.
The presenters were able to compare the impact of the length of the leash, and while they measured the dogs’ pulse, they also observed some very common behaviors in dogs and how these affected the dogs’ pulses. For instance, they observed how sniffing, chewing grass, scratching, "shaking it off," and several others behaviors impact pulse rates.
By understanding how canine physiology works and how pulse rates vary, this session will provide a glimpse into how dogs are feeling and why they engage in some of the behaviors they do when out on a walk.
Learning Objectives:

  • The dog’s physiology, how the pulse works and how it is relevant to our observations. 
  • Whether the pulse in different dogs reacts in the same way in similar conditions. 
  • What we can learn from the variation of the pulse. 
  • How some behaviors affect the dog’s pulse and whether there is a reason for those behaviors. 
  • What is the difference for the dog to be walked on a short leash, a long leash, or unleashed? 
  • What the research teaches us about offering the best possible walk to our dogs. 
  • Can we help our dogs to be more comfortable during  their walk? 
  • What it is important to consider in the case of a stressed dog?
The study presented in this session will not only give you a different view of how dogs feel and why they do some of the things they do, but also what we can learn from that and apply in our daily lives.

Mish, Mash, Mush... A Window (Or Two) into Training the Whole Dog

Kaye Hargreaves
This presentation explores the relationship between operant and classical conditioning and address the following:

  • Are they two separate procedures?
  • Do they have two separate uses?
  • is it bad practice to “mash” them?
  • Or are they better viewed as two different windows onto the one whole, which inevitably occur at the same time?

The presenter will put forward the view that the dog “switches mental gears,” being open to operant conditioning, offering operant behaviors, at some times, and being in a more emotional or reflexive state at others.
In the latter case, “training” in the sense of operant conditioning, is not the answer. Strategies of classical conditioning, such as counterconditioning and systematic desensitization are more appropriate.

Using aspects of her Reactivity Training Program, the presenter will give examples of the use of both operant and classical conditioning, including giving examples of how the mental state of the dog can change from moment to moment, requiring the trainer to change their training response accordingly. The best trainers learn how to "mix and match."

FUN COMPETITION. Look Who's Talking!

Louise Stapleton-Frappell
Niki Tudge

Look Who’s Talking – Oh What Fun We Had!
Can you pick the well-known presenter out of the lineup of cute babies and toddlers?  This is going to create some giggles that's for sure!
Match the baby pictures up with your presenters. You have to jump in on this one just to see the lineup of prizes. So, watch the session, have some laughs then download the PDF and click this link to submit your answers.

Canine Compulsive Disorder

Toni Shelbourne
Like people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), dogs can display seemingly neurotic behaviors, such as shadow chasing, fly catching, tail spinning, blanket sucking, and persistent barking. Scientists would describe this as Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD).

OCD in people is a mental illness that can cause feelings of distress, disgust and unease. Whether dogs can obsess is under debate, but compulsive type behaviors are distressing for the animal and can be a reason for euthanasia in severe cases. It is certainly not easy to watch or live with for their human guardians. However, there are many techniques and tools we can implement to help the canine sufferer to calm down and even get over their fixation.
The first stage is to understand the root cause. These fall into neurological, psychological or physical. The category will determine the ability to help the dog and the treatment/training plan that may be needed.

This comprehensive webinar includes information on:
The definition of Canine Compulsive Disorder, Behaviors included in this category, The causes of Canine Compulsive Disorder, Common triggers for stress related compulsive behaviors – environment, conflict, the human factor etc, How to make positive, simple changes to help manage the condition, Calming the environment, emotions and conflict that may trigger CCDs, Equipment and tools to manage a compulsive dog, Mental stimulation, exercise and enrichment, Training methods to support the CCD dog,  Holistic options, Drugs, Support and resources.

Whilst we can’t necessarily alter neurological abnormalities in individuals, for others, changing the management, manipulating the environment, enhancing enrichment, calming the emotions and treating physical causes will all aid in the reduction or recovery of a dog displaying compulsive like actions.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this session participants will:

  • Be able to define Canine Compulsive Disorder.
  • Recognize and name behaviors associated with Canine Compulsive Disorder.
  • Understand root causes of the behaviors and categorize them.
  • Recognize triggers and list simple changes which can be made to the environment, and management of the compulsive dog.
  •  Name training methods which can help the compulsive dog.
  • Name holistic and drug options to aid treatment and training.

Sponsored by:

Become a CAMadvocate and Join Us in Our Fight Against Arthritis And Premature Euthanasia.

Dr. Hannah Capon
Become a CAMadvocate and join us in out fight against canine arthritis and unnecessary premature euthanasia. Why? Why you? and When?

Arthritis is a household name, often considered to be a simple side effect of aging and something we will be lucky to avoid. Those who don't have the disease themselves tend to think of it as the cause of mild stiffness and a bit of joint related pain. How wrong! 
Arthritis is A, if not THE, leading cause of elective euthanasia. Yes, you heard me! It is the most common reason we choose to say our final farewell. This final farewell is the end point of months, if not years, of managing pain that commonly radiates through their whole body. Pain so bad, that the dog does not want to move or be touched. Pain that will cause them to avoid or react to other dogs, fall apart in a thunderstorm, or even bite.
This session will introduce you to a global problem that we need to be doing a lot more about for the sake of the dogs we care for!

The Art of Mindful Retrieving

Helen Phillips
Jules Morgan
Many dogs who love to play fetch may be over-aroused, under-challenged and vulnerable to injury due to the repetitive nature of “flingers” and “chuck-its” which have become a regular feature of today’s dog walks.
This session will highlight the pros and cons of retrieving and how to be more creative with your set-ups, as well as understanding how to consider the mental and physical impact on the dog’s well-being. It will also help you expand your toolbox of games that can be played in training sessions and on walks to stimulate and challenge your dog both mentally and physically.

Learning Objectives 

  • How to take the chuck out of “chuckit.”
  • Consider both mental and physical well-being.
  • How to avoid repetition.
  • Understand the multiple set ups so as to create games for handlers and their dogs with a variety of needsthat:
  • Develop problem solving skills.
  • Include multiple retrieve.
  • Pick this not that.

Why High Carbohydrates Cause Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer, & Pancreatitis in Pets & What to Feed

Dr. Conor  Brady
There is a saying in human nutrition - if you can't pronounce it, don't feed it to a hyperactive kid. Or, if it has more than four ingredients don't feed it. These sayings clearly never crossed over to the world of canine nutrition.

Sadly, dog behavior is never measured by pet food company scientists. It was during the presenter’s time with guide dogs 10 years ago when he was first alerted to the fact all may not be so well in this respect. He encountered a guide dog school who had recently changed approximately 180 dogs to raw feeding and among other benefits, the dogs were better able for their work. Exactly how or why may still elude us today but we have a lot more answers than we did back then.

The literature is rife with studies documenting the power of food to alter, stoke or soothe human behavior. Unsurprisingly, we are finding the majority of these compounds work in a similar fashion in dogs, most of which you will nod your head to as the presenter lists them, including various colored fruits and veg and copious amounts of herbs.

This session will discuss the top components in processed food for negatively impacting training in dogs. Of all aspects in this respect, the gut microbiota is now perhaps the most promising frontier and keeping them happy with a simple, real diet is perhaps the most important thing you can do for their mental capacity and stamina. The presenter will take a trip through a number of fascinating canine nutrition studies that highlight many of these points and conclude with some baseline tips on what you might do, should you be faced with a problem dog.

Click INTO Calm: Starting Positive Reinforcement Training with Horses

Dr. Dorothy Heffernan
Teaching horses using positive reinforcement is a very effective way of training a whole range of important (and fun) behaviors. However, many beginner clicker trainers find their horses quickly become so enthusiastic that they have to back off from the training.
There are some key techniques that are important in establishing a calm and engaged horse from the beginning, and this talk will cover them. The presenter will focus in particular on creating a default behavior that can be used as training progresses to create a safe, emotionally balanced but enjoyable learning environment.

Evidence-Based Practice for Animal Professions (Where’s the Evidence?): Part One

Dr. Morag Heirs

How do you stay up to date with the latest research in your field? Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Or has that slipped away since you graduated, and no longer had to reference assignments.
The good news is there’s more research being published around animal behavior than ever before. The bad news is you might not know it exists or how to access it.
Evidence-based practice is a relatively new buzzword for the animal behavior and training world, but it’s been around a long time in human health care and research. When we’re trying to decide what strategy to take for a specific client, or justify a decision to the animal shelter, wouldn’t it be great to have some solid scientific back up?  Even if it turns out that there’s not much evidence, that can help inform our decisions too.
Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how to frame clinical questions – the starting point for all evidence-based practice.
  • Discover the best places to search for reader friendly summaries of research.
  • Seek out and retrieve relevant research papers.

November 13 - Catch a quick morning update on any Geek Week news and win some great prizes

Niki Tudge
Chat & Chuckle with Niki Tudge as she recaps the day’s sessions, competitions, and sponsor spotlight sessions.

Sponsored by:

Associations Between Pruritic Skin Diseases and Behavior

Dr. Naomi  Harvey

Health and behavior interact in varied ways. Behavior can change as a result of illness, or behavioral and emotive factors such as chronic stress, can increase risk of illness or health problems. Much of the time the relationship may be hard to disentangle, but there is a growing evidence base for the need to consider behavior alongside most chronic health conditions. In this session, the presenter will provide an overview of how health and behavior can interact, with a specific focus on inflammatory, pruritic (itchy) dermatoses.

As many as 1 in 5 dogs may suffer from allergic skin disease. Although not fatal, the condition is life-long, and in severe cases can be very distressing for owners and dogs alike. Using data gathered from a validated questionnaire to compare owner-observed behavior between dogs with skin allergies and healthy-skinned controls, the presenter has been able to show that dogs with itchy skin from allergies display more behavior indicative of stress and comfort-seeking behavior.

Dogs with pruritic conditions also showed extremely elevated levels of over-grooming and were typically less trainable than their non-itchy counterparts. The results of this behavioral analysis are the first of their kind exploring the impact of skin allergies from the perspective of the dog itself by evaluating the behavioral changes it may be linked with.

Whilst causality cannot be ascertained from this study, the behaviors that were associated with pruritus severity were redirected, self/environment-directed displacement behaviors, which are often considered indicative of stress. As suggested by others, these results support the call for treatment of dermatoses in dogs and other animals to include management of environmental stressors to reduce the overall stress burden.

The fact that many of the stress and attention-seeking behavior exhibited by itchy allergic dogs are considered to be “problem” or “nuisance” behavior by owners could also contribute to a breakdown in the dog-guardian relationship and an increased risk of relinquishment for dogs with skin allergies, making such dogs a particularly vulnerable group.

Spinning Plates - Focus & Engagement is the Foundation

Claire Staines

Do you have a super bright dog, but he finds everything else going on around him more attractive than whatever it is you want him to do at that time?

Ranked right after a dog’s being comfortable and confident in the world, focus is a top need. It is a skill that needs to be taught and nurtured all by itself. Without focus, you will struggle with teaching behavior, recall, or loose leash walking.

This presentation will walk you through easy-to-use, easy-to-teach games that are a great addition to your toolbox for teaching clients. The games are fun and reinforcing for dogs, and a great warmup for any training session you plan to do.
This session will explore and address the following: 

  • Engagement games using capturing.
  • When is it fair to expect focus from your dog?
  • Focus pattern games that are an easy reference for your dog.
  • When to increase the distraction in accordance to ability.
  • Do not shy away from arousal. Surf that wave.
  • Get ready to unleash your dog’s potential!

Evidence-Based Practice for Animal Professions (Critical Appraisal or How to Read a Paper): Part Two

Dr. Morag Heirs
This session will start by assuming you have some primary research papers saved on your computer or printed out on your desk. Journal articles can look intimidating, and very few make good bedtime reading material. Understanding the scientific form and language is a skill in its own right and improves with practice.
Rather than skimming the abstract, or just reading a summary of the paper on a blog, this session is all about digging into the juicy innards of research articles. Critical appraisal really means working out how much we can trust the results of a study. Did the researchers use the most suitable methods to answer their question? How reliable will those answers be? How useful are the findings in relation to your practice and experiences?
Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the key words and essential sections to look for in an article.
  • Create an outline of the paper using PICOS.
  • Critically read the findings AND decide if it's worth changing your practice


Dale  McLelland
Debra Millikan
Caption That.
We love our dogs and know how much they make us laugh... now it's your turn. Check out some of the funniest photos and give us your best caption.
You can submit your caption ideas here after you watch the presentation.  Don’t forget to download the PDF so you have it on hand when you click the link!

Using Play Therapy to Facilitate Emotional Learning to Create Behavior Change for Reactive Dogs

Angelica  Steinker
In this session, learn how to use play to supercharge your behavior consulting sessions by increasing efficacy via emotional learning. Learn, too, what emotional learning is and why it supersedes operant conditioning,  respondent conditioning and even non-associative learning.

Emotional learning powerfully affects attention and memory. This can work for us or against us. Learn how to help reactive dog clients maximize results by leveraging emotional learning and minimize undesired side effects such as accidental training of tactical deception. Super charge your reactive dog behavior change protocols and your client coaching by using play therapy.
Why train if you can play? With 20 years of full-time dog behavior consulting, Play Training has been the single most powerful method the presenter has developed and used, and is very motivated to share, so all us dog behavior consultants can make more of a difference. Her play therapy program was built on the shoulders of Dr. Karen Overall, Leslie McDevitt, Kay Laurence and James O'Heare. 

Using play therapy is both more effective and efficient because of affective neuroscience whereby research by Jaak Panksepp, Joseph LeDoux and others established the mammalian brain's capacity for emotional learning, introduced the negativity bias and how emotions affect learning, attention and memory. Understanding these concepts will improve your reactive dog coaching skills. 

When working with reactive dogs, the detail of using play rather than food-based training can lead to much more powerful results. Why coach your reactive dog clients to train their dogs, if you can coach them to play with their dogs? The play training process recommended is self-reinforcing for both parties, and functions as a stress barometer while continuously guarding against accidental flooding.

Reactive dog clients are subject to more stress than any other clients but using play therapy will relieve and reduce stress and facilitate mindfulness by eliciting the ability to entering into the present moment and bring joy!
Finally, professional dog behavior consultants are subject to experiencing excessive stress themselves, as reactive dog coaching is more intense and emotionally demanding. Understanding emotional learning and using play therapy are thus ways to guard against burnout and find the fun in many behavior consults.

The Power of Pavlov

Dr. Karolina  Westlund

Classical conditioning is important to understand for anyone interacting with animals. This session will examine and discuss practical examples of:

  • The matter of order.
  • Blocking.
  • Overshadowing.
  • Respondent extinction.
  • Spontaneous recovery.
  • Pre-exposure.
  • Learned irrelevance.
  • Latent inhibition.

In the session, the presenter will discuss how these learning mechanisms impacts animals’ emotional states, decision making and behavior – and how we can best harness them.

Sponsored by:

Enrichment in the Shelter: Using Science to Guide Us to the Most Efficacious Practices

Dr. Lisa Gunter
The use of behavioral interventions designed to improve the welfare of shelter dogs has become much more commonplace; yet, many interventions have not been empirically tested. Within the literature, animal scientists have explored the use of a wide range of enrichment strategies with sheltered dogs and tested their impacts on physiology and behavior with the goal of improving welfare.
This presentation will examine these interventions which can be broadly categorized as either social interaction with a human or conspecific; object enrichment; or sensory stimulation. Most importantly, it will discuss the implications of these studies, including which additive interventions show the greatest potential for positive impact and should be included in the care that shelter dogs receive while awaiting adoption.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify what types of enrichment have been empirically tested with dogs in animal shelters.
  • Catalogue the effects of the various types of enrichment interventions presented.
  • Compare and contrast their impacts, within and across enrichment categories.
  • Describe what interventions have the greatest likelihood of impact on shelter dog welfare, considering time and resources.
  • Formulate an implementation strategy for a new or revised enrichment program for dogs at your shelter using one or more of these interventions. 

Cues Beyond Words and Gestures

Irith Bloom

When we hear the word "cue," we tend to think of a word or gesture from a handler that lets an animal know what behavior is desired at that moment. There's a lot more to cueing than just that, though!

There are so many ways to add, change, and use cues. Expanding our understanding of cues makes us better trainers. This session will focus on ways to become more aware of, and take advantage of, the many cueing options available to us.

Empowering With Patterns: Cooperative Counter Conditioning for the Real World

Leslie  McDevitt
Join the presenter as she explores in depth the “how” and “why” behind her popular Pattern Games.

Learn how to empower animals by giving them control over their own counterconditioning procedures.

Learn how to integrate start button and voluntary behaviors into your work with reactive or anxious dogs, combined with special patterns designed to help them feel safe, confident and enthusiastic about learning.

Canine Behavior Challenges

Pat Miller

Apply the principles of behavior and learning to resolve problem behaviors without the use of force. It’s easier than you might think!

Follow Pat Miller’s “Positive Aggression Treatment” program (PAT) and examine actual case histories from her files, behavior modification protocols, including counterconditioning, CAT and BAT, and case results.

Sponsored by:

From 0-63 Days: Understanding How Early Puppyhood Development Affects Behavior for Life

Suzanne  Clothier

Early puppyhood (0-9 weeks) is the physical, social, mental and emotional foundation for all dogs. Rearing practices such as The Enriched Puppy Protocol™ promote healthy development and maximize each pup's potential. Confidence, resilience, self-regulation, social relationships, coordination and more begin here. Deficits or deprivation can create behavior problems.
Trainers who are knowledgeable about early development build on this foundation to help pups continue on a positive curve. For pups and dogs with less than ideal puppyhoods, the knowledgeable trainer can provide support, specific skills and realistic expectations.
Attendees will understand:

  • The developmental timeline.
  • Critical vs. sensitive periods.
  • Enrichment and age-appropriate challenges.
  • Sensory development and integration.
  • “Serve-return" interactions.
  • Confidence, coordination and competence.

While we cannot turn back the clock and give any dog what he should have had but missed, we can understand how early puppyhood sets the foundation for what the adult dog will be. As trainers, this enables us to provide remedial assistance where possible, and to develop management and training strategies to help each dog.
Deepen your knowledge of the most critical 63 days in a dog’s life – join us for this enlightening session from the creator of The Enriched Puppy Protocol™, a program whose principles have been used to raise more than 15,000 puppies in guide dog schools.


Sponsored by:

Asking Dogs Questions

Sherry Woodard

This session will discuss working with your shelter or rescue to learn more about the dogs in their care/foster to promote them for homes and/or create plans to manage and improve behavior.

Cats in Crisis: The Facts and How You Can Help

Dr. Liz Bales
Even the most passionate cat lovers among us are not aware that our cats are, and have been, in crisis in our homes. While debates rage on about what food to feed your cat, whether you should get your cat from a rescue or a breeder, the most important health crisis facing cats has got almost no attention.

The number one cause of death for cats is being unwanted due to behavior problems. Why? Veterinarian and feline behavior scientists have devoted decades to researching this question and the answer is clear. Cats are very different from humans. This fact may seem obvious, but it is also the root of this epidemic.

Sponsored by:

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT SESSION. The Learning Journey with Karen Pryor Academy

Ken  Ramirez
Join Ken Ramirez and the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) team as they share the various ways that you can continue your education through courses and opportunities offered by KPA.

We’ll give you a peek at our Dog Trainer Professional program and share the adjustments we’ve made in response to COVID-19.

We’ll also explore a variety of other options for those who are already certified trainers or just starting their training journey!
Explore options like Dog Trainer Foundations, Puppy Start Right for Instructors, and Shelter Training & Enrichment, as well as advanced, specialized courses like Michele Pouliot's Freestyle Training and Ken Ramirez' Concept Training.

This presentation also includes the opportunity to ask Ken and the KPA team questions so you can start planning your learning journey!

Inside the Matrix: Understanding the influence of thyroid disease on canine emotional disorders

Dr. Lisa Radosta
This session will present an understanding the influence of thyroid disease on canine emotional disorders.
Enjoy an evidenced-based journey through the research on thyroid disease and its effect on canine behavior. Emerge from your journey enlightened and ready to educate your pet parents! 

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the current research exploring thyroid disease in dogs as it relates to behavioral signs. 
  • Understand the potential influence of thyroid disease in dogs on behavior.
  • Understand which tests are necessary for evaluation of the thyroid.
  • Understand the pros and cons of supplementation.

Mia Wants a Dog

Veronica Boutelle
Gina Phairas
Mia Wants a Puppy, You Want Training Clients: Marketing Lessons from a 10-Year Old
When dogbiz co-founder Gina Phairas’ daughter decided she wanted a puppy, she launched an all-out marketing offensive to make it happen. Phairas was amazed at how closely Mia’s campaign mirrored the marketing tenets dogbiz has been teaching dog trainers for nearly 20 years.
In this session, Phairas recounts the story of how Mia got her puppy (against all of her mom’s resistance), while dogbiz’ other founder, Veronica Boutelle, draws the take-home lessons for your business. If you need more clients, you’ll want to make sure not to miss these five marketing tips from a 10-year old girl. They really work—just ask Phairas and her family’s new dog.

Sponsored by:

Evidence-Based Calmacology Part 2

Dr. Robert Falconer-Taylor

Calming Diets, Calming Supplements, Calming Vests Under the Spotlight Again

In part 1 of this session, the presenter described the brain as an organ that is both deeply hierarchical and sparsely connected. He described how its function was expressed through a few simple bioactive molecules, operating at a limited number of locations scattered across the network. The technical term for this brain-chemical interaction is pharmacodynamics, which is the description of how a substance acts on the body to implement a physiological change.

There is another side to this story, it’s not a one-way street. The body can and does proactively “engage back” with any bioactive substance it comes in contact with, and for an ingested substance, this process starts in the gastro-intestinal tract, long before it ever gets a chance to reach the brain.

Again using “calming products” as the exemplar, this presentation examines the other crucial requirement of any therapeutic agent. That is, overcoming the body’s highly restrictive and tightly regulated absorption processes through the various mucosae, and then surviving the very efficient distribution, metabolic and excretory processes for long enough in order to reach their target organ via yet another obstacle, the blood-brain-barrier. This chain of processes is neatly wrapped up in the biological term – pharmacokinetics.

The liver plays a central role in this process, and after the brain, is the presenter’s second-favourite organ of the body. The liver is a weird organ indeed, a miracle of evolution, and weird because of the arrangement of its dual blood supply, which means that it is always working on the brink of oxygen starvation! Yet, the liver is a remarkably robust organ. But many bioactive substances never get that far. Turmeric and CBD (cannabidiol) oil, for example are not absorbed well from the gut, and simply get excreted out unchanged.

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand the key principles of pharmacokinetics.
  • Understand the rationale behind making the best choices when selecting the most bioactively available calming products for your own pets or your clients’.

Separation Anxiety in the Research

Malena De Martini

Separation anxiety in dogs has been the number one researched behavior issue in the past four decades and much has been learned although treatment, etiology, and prevention are still not entirely understood. Discover what the research has shown and learn about the current role that the research has played.

Sponsored by:

Working with Noise Sensitivity

Dr. Amy Cook
Fear of sudden or loud noises is a common problem facing dogs and working with it takes a specific approach. What may start out as a little startle response when an unusual noise happens can turn into a phobia very quickly in certain dogs, and fear of one sound can generalize to fears of related sounds before you know it. The key to preventing an issue from forming is to teach dogs that sudden sounds are actually predictors of fun. Teach your dogs that sounds have a happy meaning so that they don’t attach their own, negative meaning!
Learning Objectives:
        • Factors involved in noise sensitivity.
        • Common noises dogs are sensitive to and may fear more than others.
        • Why working with noise is different from training behaviors.
        • The framework of applied classical conditioning, without jargon.

The Cognitive Revolution and Everyday Dog Training: What is Cognitively Modified Counterconditioning

Dr. Laura Donaldson

And Why Should I Care?

Counterconditioning is one of dog training’s most widely disseminated behavior change methods. Popular versions of counterconditioning often define it as presenting an animal with a reward in the presence of a worrying trigger – or, as one participant in an online discussion group vividly described it, “just raining treats from the sky” on a dog when “his trigger is far enough away not to cause a reaction.”

The notion that giving a dog food rewards in the presence of a trigger will not only inhibit the dog’s fear and anxiety, but also teach them to “like” the scary person feeding the treat or the dog passing by has become a common truism in practical, everyday dog training.

Like many dog training professionals, the presenter has used counterconditioning with her own dogs and recommended it to her clients. Over years of trial and error experience, however, she found that traditional counterconditioning failed to generate behavior change that was as consistently reliable as she had hoped. Because of this, she gradually forged a hybrid form of counterconditioning that she calls Cognitively Modified Counterconditioning (CMC).

CMC combines the physical relaxation techniques embraced by traditional counterconditioning with insights from the emerging research on animal cognition. Here, cognition is broadly defined as a non-human animal’s ability to process information from the environment. Cognition also includes mechanisms by which subjects acquire, process, and interpret this environmental information such as perception, learning, memory and decision-making.

Recent scientific studies provide strong data that traditional counterconditioning is not nearly as effective with non-human animals as it is with human animals. This research indicates that a non-human animal’s cognitive acceptance of the concerning stimulus is critical for any significant reduction in fearful, anxious behavior. In other words, you can’t just rain treats from the sky; the dog must also cognitively and actively accept the concerning stimulus.

CMC emulates counterconditioning’s focus on deep physical relaxation in the presence of aversive stimuli through a focus on teaching dogs to relax on their mats, for example, as well as engage in biofeedback. CMC also intentionally incorporates a robust cluster of cognitive skills that are crucial for actively processing environmental stimuli in a socially appropriate manner. At the top of this list would be the ability to look calmly at the stimulus, or non-aroused information processing, and the ability to look away, or disengagement. Unless a dog can actively process the presence of the concerning stimulus in non-aroused manner and then voluntarily disengage from it, the chances of achieving genuine physical and emotional relaxation are very limited.

This presentation will examine both the scientific studies as well as individual case histories to suggest a practical program for incorporating CMC into any behavior change training for dogs. The presenter’s hope is that CMC will enable the important practice of counterconditioning to become much more productive in positively enhancing the daily lives of our dogs


FUN COMPETITION. Taking The Bite Out of Bite Prevention - Canine Communication, do you have the Can

Niki Tudge
Debra Millikan

Can you Communicate with Dogs?
Dogs don’t whisper nor do they talk, they use a complicated system of communication to express themselves. Do you have what it takes to communicate with our canine friends?
There are lots of prizes here to win so be sure to play. Points mean prizes!
Join Debra Millikan as she takes you through this quiz and how it works. Then when you are ready click this link and take the quiz. Don’t forget to download the PDF so you have it on hand when you click the link!

Navigating the Social Network Storm

Dr. Robert King


Tips for Being Engaging Without Getting Pulled into Controversy

Social networks, with all of their benefits and drawbacks, are as close to mandatory as a smartphone. The biggest benefit is being where your customers are and being able to engage with them where it is most convenient for them.
In this session, the focus will be on how to properly manage a social network presence and ensure that actions taken are in the best interest of your business. Formally, it will discuss social networks, engagement, and the basics of understanding social media metrics.


The Effects of Containment, Price, Volunteer Behavior, Dog Behavior & Morphology on Adopter Interest

Dr. Alexandra (Sasha)  Protopopova

An Experimental Assessment of Dog Adoption Event Protocols
No best practices currently exist for showcasing shelter dogs at off-site adoption events.
This session will discuss a series of experimental adoption events that were held on university property with dogs, sourced from local animal shelters, assigned randomly to the experimental conditions. The events were advertised to the public and dogs could be adopted on site.
In a sequence of 10 adoption events, the containment method, cost, volunteer presence, and volunteer behavior were manipulated to determine their effects on adopter behavior. Additionally, the type of secondary interaction with the dog-of-interest was varied to determine whether going for a walk or sitting in a chair promoted adoption. Morphology and behavior of the dogs was recorded. On average, visitors (n = 149) stayed for 29 min at the event, spent 30 seconds per dog, took out 4% of dogs for a meet-and greet, and submitted an adoption application for 1% of dogs.
Adoption was predicted by asking information about the dog and engaging in a meet-and-greet. Crating dogs and free cost resulted in highest requests for meet-and-greets. The presence and the behavior of volunteers on adopter behavior suggested that a proactive approach to marketing dogs may be best. The type of meet-and-greet did not affect adoption likelihood. These data provide the first step in creating best practices for displaying dogs at adoption events.
Learning Objectives:

  • Consider the importance of understanding human behavior when it comes to shelter animal adoption.
  • Separate concepts of counseling and marketing of companion animals in the context of adoption.
  • Identify which aspects of adoption events guide adopter behavior.
  • Recognize how adoption events can be improved to maximize adoption.
  • Summarize future directions in shelter animal marketing research.

Celebrating Approximations

Ryan Cartlidge
Minimize animal training overwhelm and feel great about what you are doing. Simple ideas to help build upon your planning, reviewing and training sessions.

Sponsored by:

Do I Just Put in Cheese?

Sarah  Forge

You’ve heard it, you’ve read it. Someone asks, “My dog won’t take a tablet, what should I do?” and inevitably the reply turns to hiding it in xyz food, because “that’s what I use for my dog.”
It hurts this presenter deep inside when someone says their dog won’t eat their dinner, because they tried hiding medication in it. Or their dog won’t eat a particular food at all anymore. She believes that placing tablets in a dog’s food bowl should be a cardinal sin.
Force-free and fear-free husbandry or veterinary care have been gaining popularity in recent years. All good trainers add at least the basics into their puppy preschool socialization and preventative care curriculum. But why not tablet taking too? At the very least, dogs are going to be needing a few worming tablets every year. Some will need daily medications for short periods of time, and others lifelong. Let’s make tablet taking fun and a part of our positive preventative husbandry training. It’s not too difficult or time consuming to add it into our puppy training programs.
We can also do remedial work with dogs that are already rejecting food or tablets, as well as enjoy the challenge of undertaking a functional assessment of clients’ dogs who are having issues. Too many people get hung up on B – C relationship rather than the whole equation MO – A – B – C.
Learning Objectives:

  • Review various tablet taking methods.
  • Analyze the pros and cons.
  • How to add tablet taking to a puppy training program.
  • Go beyond putting it in food. Understand naked tablet taking is mission possible.
  • Know your options for dogs who already have food/tablet aversion. 


A Lesson in Anthrozoology for Pet Professionals

Emily Tronetti
Anthrozoology  is a growing, interdisciplinary field that many people have never heard of. It is the study of the interactions and relationships between humans and other animals.
Anthrozoologists research a wide range of topics that are relevant to pet professionals, such as the human-animal bond, animal welfare, animal behavior, animal cognition, and more. In this presentation, we will examine how pet professionals can apply anthrozoological research to our work caring for other animals and supporting their relationships with humans. Additionally, we will discuss how to hone our critical thinking skills as well as the importance of recognizing and challenging our own biases about other animals.
In exploring how to think like an anthrozoologist, we’ll consider how other animals perceive the world while also acknowledging our limitations in doing so. By incorporating what can be learned from the field of anthrozoology into our work, pet professionals can further improve the interactions and relationships between humans and other animals.
Learning O b j e c t i v e s :

  • Define anthrozoology.
  • Identify the types of research that anthrozoologists conduct.
  • Understand how pet professionals can apply anthrozoological research to the work they do.
  • Describe why critical thinking skills are important and how pet professionals can hone these skills.
  • Understand the value in considering how other animals perceive the world.

Home Alone Program for Puppies and Dogs of All Ages

Louise Ginman

Dogs are a social species yet many of our dogs have to endure many hours home alone while we go about our daily lives. Commonly, puppies and dogs are given no training or preparation for their time home alone. This presentation will discuss and describe a home alone program for puppies and dogs of all ages that is easy to implement and has been tried and tested for over 15 years.

The presentation covers the following:

  • Normal puppy development.
  • Wild canid puppy development (as a comparison).
  • Current owner practices.
  • Home alone program.
  • Enrichment program.

The program is not designed for dogs suffering separation anxiety. Rather, it is a program for use with puppies and dogs new to the home or where a major change has occurred in the home such as loss of a dog or introduction of a new dog.

The Moral of The Story… Remembering to Learn what They have to Teach

Peta Clarke
The presenter has been blessed with a career spanning almost 30 years as a professional animal trainer. For about the same length of time, she has also been a professional learner. The Moral of the Story is a presentation listing a selection of her favorite learning opportunities as a trainer. 
The stories all provide huge learning experiences that you can take and use with the help of the presenter’s analysis of the situation through the lens of applied behavior analysis.
Some of the stories include:

  • A male African elephant who was scared to go into his crate.
  • A giant pacific octopus that liked to climb out on guest during meet and greets.
  • A Pacific baza who learned a very different cue for a behavior to the one the trainers were teaching.
  • A Californian sea lion who was so excited to hear his bridge whistle he couldn’t stay to receive his fish.
  • A lion who displayed intense aggression towards a keeper who had to take care of him. 
  • A rescue cat who ended up on a TV series. 

FUN COMPETITION. Who have we got 'ear?

Dale  McLelland

How well do you know your breeds? Check out these gorgeous ears and see if you can guess who owns them!
Have fun with Dale, watch the short presentation, grasp the rules and then jump in to win!Download the PDF so you have it on hand when you click the link here to submit your answers!

Using Behavior Analysis to Analyze Behavior, Part II: Data and Animal Welfare

Dr. Eduardo J.  Fernandez

The use of Behavior Analysis within the animal training and welfare community has become commonplace. While the core principles of Behavior Analysis (i.e., a focus on reinforcement contingencies and functional understandings of behavior) are now frequently used for applied animal behavior purposes, the use of data to measure those applications remains virtually untapped. This creates a conundrum for hopeful Applied Animal Behavior Analysts: An increased demand for applying behavioral principles, but with limited opportunity to bring about their empirical, analytical counterparts.

The second part of this talk continues the discussion of data-based training and enrichment by focusing more broadly on how to incorporate measurement into overall welfare assessment. Emphasis will be placed upon the ethogram/behavioral inventories portion of the previous talk, with broader discussion of

  1. what behaviors we choose to measure,

  2. how we measure those behaviors, and

  3. why overall behavioral measurement is important.

Thus, this talk is an attempt to foster discussion on the overall implications of behavioral measurement, and what it ultimately means to use data to succeed with the training, enrichment, and general welfare/well-being of your animals.

Bertie the Black Labrador - CAMadvocate training begins - An arthritis case study review

Dr. Hannah Capon
Join Dr. Hannah Capon of Canine Arthritis Management to review an everyday case. Learn about the veterinary approach to canine arthritis and how we can ALL do it better.

Positive Puppy Socialization in Times of Restricted Real-World Interactions

Louise Stapleton-Frappell
Puppy Essentials - Your Virtual and In-Person Guide to Early Socialization and Development - is a fun, interactive, training resource from DogNostics Education that can be used virtually to guide puppy owners through the first essential lessons. The focus of Puppy Essentials is socialization to situations, people, objects and other puppies; developing bite inhibition; preventing resource guarding; preventing separation anxiety; learning about canine communication and working with collaborative care skills.
Learning Objectives:

  • Help educate your clients about the importance of socialization.
  • Help your clients prevent resource-guarding issues.
  • Help take the fear out of being alone.
  • Teach clients to 'speak dog.'
  • Provide a guideline and suggested curriculum for virtual and in-person puppy socialization classes.

Sponsored by:

Escape the Snake, Back Chaining the Impossible!

Charlotte  Smithson

Escape the Snake, Back Chaining the Impossible!
We know it is possible, we’ve done it!
Here in Western Australia and around many parts of the world there is a hypothesis that you can only teach a dog to avoid snakes using a shock collar. However, we have a theory that you most definitely CAN teach a dog to avoid snakes – without resorting to the use of shock.
Our theory demonstrates that not only will our dog stay away from a snake, but that, on detection of its presence, he will return to his owner and indicate that a snake is imminent.
This session will highlight the following:
  • How simple tools in training can teach the impossible.
  • How back chaining can build a solid and reliable response utilising the power of positive reinforcement.
  • How adding a snake into the equation is just changing a cue.
  • Conditioning a dog to a snake’s scent is NOT teaching them to find snakes.
And then, find out how you can add this training to your own business services. 

November 14 - Catch a quick morning update on any Geek Week news and win some great prizes

Debra Millikan
Chat & Chuckle with Debra Millikan, Rebekah King and Niki Tudge as they recap the day’s sessions, competitions, and sponsor spotlight sessions.

Why Can't We Be Friends? From aggression to affiliation in multi cat households

Frania Shelley-Grielen
Domestic cats are our most popular pets. And while more households may have a single dog, most cat owning households have more than one cat. More multicat households may exist as cat owners can often be swayed by conventional wisdom that cats, like humans, have a need for companionship of their own kind, or be pressured to adopt more than just one cat.

Such thinking can have negative welfare impacts on a species where territory, range and choice of social groups are highly significant. In their natural environment, cats typically defend territory, socialize with family members or choose their own affiliates to socialize with. When we do the choosing, this can translate to invading home territories with conspecific strangers which can create potential for considerable feline stress, leading to issues such as idiopathic cystitis, inappropriate elimination, intercat conflict, aggression and often surrender or rehoming; all of which can have serious welfare concerns for cats and owners.

Identifying risk factors for feline stressors in the creation of multicat households, such as relationship history and number of cats, environmental resources, owner responses to behavior, etc. can be helpful. Having a protocol to start from before problems and conflict become critical and a call for intervention is made can make the difference between success and failure.

A species-specific appropriate introduction and integration process to enable successful new relationships is dependent on sufficient time and informed methodology. Flexibility in applied approaches to individual cats, group dynamics and situations is paramount. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand motivations, forms of aggression and appropriate interventions in multicat households.
  • Understand the role of punishment and why there is none.
  • Understand essential environmental management.
  • Understand why “go slow to go fast with cats” is more than just a saying.
  • Understand how to approach and implement feline friendly introductions.


The Adolescent Period of Development and Its Implications for Behavior/Dog-Owner Relationships

Dr. Naomi  Harvey

Whilst knowledge of dog behavior during adolescence arguably exists in the public and professional domain, the period of adolescence in dogs and other companion animals is vastly understudied within the scientific community.

Adolescence is a relatively long period of development during which a juvenile becomes and adult and is marked by intense neurological and hormonal changes. Within the domestic dog, adolescence is typically considered to begin with the onset of pubertal development at around 6 months of age (puberty is thought to begin between 6-9 months in males and 6-16 months of age in females) and continues until behavioral/social maturity is reached. There is no precisely agreed age at which an individual dog can be considered behaviorally mature, but dogs aged younger than two years have the shortest memory spans and certain trait level behavioral changes still occur between 18-24 months of age in Border Collie dogs. Therefore, dogs aged under 2 years of age are likely to still be undergoing adolescent behavioral development.

This period of development is likely to be a particularly vulnerable time for dog-owner relationships, and for shaping the long-term behavior of the developing animal. In this session, the presenter will provide an overview of the neurological and behavioural changes that mammals undergo during adolescence, along with highlighting the potential implications.

Although the particular focus of this session will be on dogs, much of the theory and evidence behind it should be applicable across all mammalian species, and much of the background provided will be in general terms, so the session should be applicable for anyone interested simply in mammalian behavior development.

FUN COMPETITION. NerdUP with some geeky terms used in our profession

Louise Stapleton-Frappell
Niki Tudge
Debra Millikan

Join DogNostics Education in this fun Nerdy competition focused on Applied Behavior Analysis terms and concepts.
Great prizes to be won. Watch the short presentation, grasp the rules and then jump in to win!Download the PDF so you have it on hand when you click the link here to submit your answers!

Fear Learning and How to Work with Fearful Dogs

Alexandra Santos

Fear is an emotion and, as such, subject to respondent conditioning. Therefore, trying to solve fear related problems by focusing solely on modifying the behavior may be pointless. Fear related problems need a respondent as well as an operant approach.

Fear learning is a type of emotional learning that is quite persistent for various reasons:

a)     It is linked with survival.

b)     The brain is prewired with a negativity bias.

c)     Sensory information conveyed by the thalamus reaches the amygdala (the brain’s center for emotional processing) much faster than it reaches the neocortex (the brain’s center for cognitive processes and thought). This means an animal will more readily emit an emotional response than a thought-out one.

This presentation focuses not only on fear learning, but also on the mechanisms that make it so persistent and why a respondent approach to solving fear related problems is essential. Some guidelines for effectively working with fearful dogs will also be presented.

Learning Objectives:

·       The function of emotions.

·       How fear learning occurs.

·       Systematic desensitization is much more than gradually reducing distance between the dog and the feared stimulus.

·       How to effectively apply systematic desensitization when working with fearful dogs.

·       Why respondent extinction may backfire in some cases.

·       How differential reinforcement of incompatible behaviors may, in fact, be flooding.

·       Some guidelines for working with fearful dogs.

Shaping Up Shaping

Dr. Karolina  Westlund

In this session, the presenter will go over some of the ways she sees good trainers tweak their shaping sessions using completely different strategies depending on context.

She will discuss:

  • Why the 80% rule is problematic.
  • Bold shaping.
  • Cautious shaping – pingponging.
  • How the 10 Laws of Shaping evolved into the Modern Principles of Shaping.
  • Some common shaping mistakes – and how to address them.

Shaping is the sharpest tool in the animal trainer’s box…theoretically. Practically, it can be hard to execute, and many trainers get stuck. Hopefully, this lecture will provide you with some ideas of how to get unstuck.

Resource Guarding and In-House Fighting: Can We “Fix” It?

Karen Wild
What if a dog loves to possess? Loves food, objects and/or places beyond all reason, beyond any common understanding? How can we reach and teach a dog that has decided nobody is allowed near him when he has possession of a prize, even if it's just a humble paper tissue?

Resource guarding can cause severe bites within families and injuries to guardians. It is therefore a high-risk behavior for both the family and the dog. It is a serious and easily escalated aggressive behavior.

How can other dogs in the household be managed around such an issue, and is it possible to prevent in-house fighting when everyone wants the same things?

This session focuses on deconstructing the features of resource guarding behavior in family pet settings, using case-study illustrations. A practical approach is taken in cases where the issue impacts upon multidog households and focuses on how resource guarding behavior can be worked with positively.

Learning Objectives:

  • What a “resource” is to a dog, and how to identify these.
  • The risk assessment within resource guarding behaviors.
  • What is meant by “risk of winning?”
  • How guardians may create, maintain, or worsen the issue.
  • Escalation and the frustration loop.
  • Safety and training measures – are they a “fix” for the behavior?

FUN COMPETITION. Figuring Out Felines

Paula  Garber
Debra Millikan
Figuring Out Felines!
Here at PPG we love all pets and don’t lose focus on our feline friends. Can you figure them out? Thanks to Paula Garber – PPG Feline Committee Chair we have a fun and educational quiz on our feline family members.  
So take a few minutes to watch the short presentation, learn the rules and what you can win and then when you are ready grab the PDF and click here to take the quiz

How to Use Social Learning to Teach Faster and More Effectively

Judy Luther

Dogs are social learners and teaching them using social learning concepts results in faster learning, enjoyable training sessions, and complicated multistep behaviors can be taught effortlessly. Plus, it is fun and easy.

In this session, we will learn what social learning theory is, the elements of social learning, and how to use it to teach our animals quickly and effectively. We will discuss how to prepare the dog to learn using this method, setting them up for success, and the various behaviors that can be taught, including how to reduce behavior issues and build confidence in the animals you work with.

At the end of the session, you will have an understanding of how to implement social learning in your training programs. And, although the focus will be on the use of the method with dogs, it is just as effective with other species.

Introduction to Behavior Medications: What Are They, and How Can They Help?

Dr. Jennifer Summerfield
Do you have a dog with behavior issues, or work with client dogs who do? If so, join the presenter for a fun and informative discussion! You may already know how to address issues like anxiety, reactivity, or aggression from a training standpoint, but many dog owners and trainers are unsure about how medication might fit into the picture.

This webinar will provide an overview of the most common medications used to treat behavior problems in dogs. The focus will be on practical, “real-world” information including:

  • How to know if your dog might benefit from medication.
  • Goals of using meds in behavior cases - specific effects we want to see, and how they can complement a behavior modification plan.
  • Different classes of drugs and how they work.
  • Deciding how long to use meds and if/when to wean off.

Stereotypes & Cultural Conditioning

Laurie Williams
Learning Objectives:

  • Understand cultural conditioning vs. racism.
  • Examine if/how culturally conditioning affects you.
  • Discover ways to decondition old beliefs.

Sponsored by:

Cooperative Care: Comfort Plus Challenge

Dr. Deborah Jones

In this presentation, Dr. Jones will discuss her approach to training our pet companions for stress free grooming and veterinary procedures. She uses the concepts of comfort, through developing positive conditioned emotional responses (+CERs), and challenge, through increasing criteria as appropriate for any given animal at any given moment. Helping an animal become truly comfortable with their physical care is a process of constantly balancing comfort and challenge. Dr. Jones’ approach also combines classical and operant conditioning procedures for the most effective and efficient learning sessions.

We face unique challenges while working to introduce and maintain physical procedures that may cause anxiety and concern for our training partners. If we focus only on comfort, then we don't raise criteria appropriately and progress stalls. If we focus only on challenge, we are likely to push too hard too fast and cause regression and again, progress stalls. Finding that "just right" balance of maintaining the emotional state we want as well as still moving forward is a unique training puzzle for each dog.

The presenter will discuss her philosophical approach, as well as demonstrate direct applications and exercises. She will consider how animals can learn and use consent signals and discuss how to proceed when there is a non-optional need for care, and will also present her ideas on the basic cooperative care exercises all dogs should be taught.

Sponsored by:

Raising a Well-Adjusted Dog

Dr. Amy Cook
We would all like to think raising dogs is a simple matter of including them naturally in our lives, raising a mentally healthy dog often means anticipating and preventing common problems, and seeing the challenges through their eyes. While some dogs handle life with us just fine, others do have predictable stress from living in our human world. The good news is that we can predict the areas that are most likely to inspire behavior problems for dogs and prevent them with a little forethought.
This session will cover the areas that can be potentially stressful for dogs as they grow with us, and you’ll learn strategies for navigating those rough spots!
Learning Objectives:
        • How to define what “well-adjusted” is, and how social and environmental needs affect dogs.
        • Specific behaviors you should teach and how to set them up in detail to support stress prevention.
        • How meeting your dog’s needs plus predicting the rough spots makes for a smoother socialization process.

Sponsored by:

The Fancy Schmancy and the Realities of Best Practices

Niki Tudge
Let’s explore the realms of best practices in pet training and behavior consulting and remove all the noise and ambiguity and industry nomenclature.

Let’s strip it right back to the discussion of what are best practices. Are they methods and techniques that have consistently shown superior results, or are they simply preferred processes, methods or conventional wisdom? In some cases, they may simply appear to be decision-making criteria.

The question of how a best practice is defined in the currently unregulated pet industry is historically troubling and continues to be one of the key sticking points among professionals. Is there a model for best practices that individual professionals can use that answers not only the process question but is supported by ethics and competency guidelines?

Learning Objectives:

  1. What is a best practice?
  2. How ethics are often misplaced for scientific argument.
  3. Is there a model to include scientific method, ethical guidelines and competency criteria?

Sponsored by:

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT SESSION Pet Remedy - Learn How Pet Remedy Products Can Round Out Your Training Kit

Andrew Hale

Pet Remedy Introduction with Andrew Hale(BSc, ISCP.Dip.Canine.Prac) 
Andrew Hale recently joined the Pet Remedy team as behavioural consultant. A fully certified animal behaviourist and trustee of INTOdogs, Andrew follows an animal centred care approach and has found Pet Remedy to be a valuable tool and support mechanism to help achieve best outcomes. 
In this session, Andrew will introduce Pet Remedy from the perspective of a professional behaviourist, explaining how and why it can help when supporting animals with their behavioural challenges. 
You will learn about the background and science behind Pet Remedy, practical advice on using the products and answers to frequently asked questions. 

Thinking Outside the Cage: Shelter Enrichment for Cats

Tabitha Kucera
Enrichment in the shelter setting is incredibly important for cats. Keeping cats stimulated mentally is as needed as caring for their physical needs.
Providing enrichment for cats and kittens in shelters can help decrease stress and unwanted behaviors that result from stress. It can also help to decrease illness. Happy and healthy cats are more likely to become adopted and stay in long term homes.
Learning Objectives:

  • What enrichment is and why it is needed.
  • Benefits of enrichment to animals, the shelter, and staff.
  • Practical application of shelter enrichment and enrichment examples will be discussed that respect all five of a cat's senses.
  • Feline friendly handling.

Canine Brain Candy

Pat Miller

Dive into the exciting world of canine cognition – choice; shape, color and object discrimination, reading, and more. We were told in the past that dogs weren’t very capable of cognitive behavior but you will be amazed at what dogs are capable of! This will include videos of dogs doing these activities.

Horny Hounds: How Intact Dogs can Impact your Business

Sara McLoudrey

More and more clients are keeping their dogs intact for a variety of reasons. During COVID, elective surgeries were delayed and there is mounting evidence that leaving dogs intact has a variety of benefits. As trainers, walkers, and daycare providers it is time to re-evaluate policies on intact animals in our care and classes.

The presenter offers a unique perspective, having worked with a variety of breeds that were intact, bred, and whelped a number of litters, and run a successful training facility. Many animal care professionals have never dealt with intact dogs. Join her to learn about common misconceptions related to living with or having intact dogs in classes and your care. There is important biological information that needs to be known and many myths to be busted.

Intact dogs are nothing to be fearful of or shy away from, you just need knowledge. Being welcoming and understanding of intact dogs can actually better your business’s bottom line!

Where to Begin: Off-Contact to Free-Contact Training with Zoo Animals

Lara Joseph

Training in a zoo environment provides the opportunity to work with an array of animals from primates to giraffes, land animals to aquatic species. Each animal is their own individual with their own histories of reinforcement for desired and undesired behaviors. The consistent denominator in working with all individuals is our application and understanding of Applied Behavior Analysis.


In this session, the presenter will demonstrate how she shapes desired behaviors – no matter what the species – beginning with off-contact training, transitioning to protective contact, and, many times, ending in free contact. Many people think if an animal cannot be touched, they cannot be trained. As professional trainers and professionals working with different species, we know if the animal can see, hear, feel, or smell us, training is happening. So let’s start training via off-contact while building the working relationship.


This session will also go into detail on the identification and use of varying reinforcers such as pace, food, attention, curiosity, and more. The presenter will explain how the positive reinforcer often starts as food (if we are lucky) and then often change to the opportunity to interact with the trainer.


The presenter is currently working with a pair of American alligators and will be implementing much video and detail of her training into this session, along with other species such as primates and birds.


The session will also show how we can use a variety of targets in training to teach different species to touch, station, go to desired areas, open mouths on cue, prepare for the veterinary exam, and so much more. 

Sponsored by:

What's in It for Me? Can Horses Choose to Be Ridden?

Dr. Dorothy Heffernan
Mary Richards
Positive reinforcement training for horses is not new, it has been around in various forms for a few decades now. However, the early applications involved a mix of negative and positive reinforcement, and while reinforcement was carefully managed, it wasn't always clear to what extent the horse would have chosen to participate, given complete freedom and attractive alternatives.
There are now an increasing number of trainers exploring training without negative reinforcement at all, and with the addition of "go/no go" signals from the horse where there's a genuinely attractive alternative. This session will explore how to prepare a horse for riding without the use of aversives and will discuss what riding without aversives will look like as the sciences of behavior and ethology meet.

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT SESSION Cooperative Paws Service Dog Coaching Program

Veronica Sanchez

Come and Learn About Cooperative Paws Service Dog Coaching Program

Join Veronica Sanchez MEd., CABC, CPDT-KA who s known for her expertise in service dogs. She developed a certificate program for professional dog trainers in service dog coaching and wrote the book, Service Dog Coaching: A Guide for Pet Dog Trainers. She is a frequent contributor to publications in professional organizations including the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the Pet Professional Guild. Veronica is passionate about educating professional dog trainers, healthcare professionals and others about service dogs.


Sponsored by:

Living in the Climate Crisis: Pet Ownership and Sustainability

Dr. Alexandra (Sasha)  Protopopova

How do we live with pets in the climate crisis? In this session, the presenter will review research on the environmental impact of dog ownership as well as offer more sustainable solutions in our attempts to lessen that impact.

She will cover superficial issues, such as food and plastic bags, as well as deeper, more existential questions of whether it is at all possible to sustain the pet-owning lifestyle.

Participants will be challenged to consider whether their pet-keeping behaviors are sustainable and explore difficult philosophical issues relating to pet ownership and climate change.

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize that human behavior affects climate change.
  • Identify aspects of pet ownership that are not sustainable.
  • Distinguish between mitigation and adaptation efforts.
  • List what we can do as pet owners to mitigate the effects of pet ownership.
  • Draw parallels between these mitigation efforts and the “3 Rs” in the use of animals in research.
  • Balance sustainability and animal welfare.

Keeping Children and Dogs Safe: Insights from Canine Science

Dr. Zazie Todd
This webinar will provide an overview of what canine science tells us about the relationship between dogs and children, from the risks of dog bites to the potential benefits (for the dog) of having a child in the house.

Dogs are common in households with children, and when asked to name their favorite pet, children will often pick a dog. But dog bites can be a serious hazard and more needs to be done to prevent them. There is a risk of dog bites to younger children from a familiar dog, often when the child approaches a dog that is resting by sitting or lying down. But research shows that people will often let their guard down when the dog is familiar, and do not perceive situations as risky as they would if the dog were not familiar. As well, children tend to misinterpret dogs’ body language, putting them at risk.

This session will also look at what research tells us about the perceived potential benefits and risks for dogs of living in a house with a child or children. Socialization during the sensitive period plays an important role in preparing dogs for being around children. It’s always important to provide the dog with a safe space to go, and to separate dogs and children when close supervision isn’t possible. But perhaps surprisingly, having a young child in the house is not the time when dogs are most likely to be re-homed; in fact, one study found the risk is higher when there is an adolescent in the house. As well as considering the scientific research, this webinar will look at the practical implications for working with households with dogs and children.

Learning Objectives:

  • Provide an overview of the research on dogs and children.
  • Understand the situations in which children are particularly at risk of dog bites and practical steps that can be taken to help.
  • Awareness of some of the common biases in how people look at interactions between dogs and children.
  • Evaluate the risks and benefits to animal welfare of having dogs as pets in a household with children, and how to use this information to help both.

Business Planning Basics — Tapping into Your Entrepreneurial Talents

Joan Hunter Mayer
This session will present a simple approach to business planning, making the process practical, functional and doable. It will help you organize your thoughts and lay the groundwork for a plan that brings you from wondering, ‘What if?’ to the successful implementation of your idea.

You have a passion for creating change. You want to help others. You want to solve a problem. But, where do you start? How do you do it? There’s so much to think about!
What resources will you need? Which resources do you already have? Great communication skills? Empathy? Experience? Knowledge base? Keep in mind that we often have to “pitch” to potential customers why they should hire us instead of a local competitor.

Learning how to be authentic, transparent, and comfortable with answering the phone and pitching is all part of your business plan — you are your best marketing channel! What makes your product or service the best option? Why should your target market change up what they’ve already been doing? For that matter, who is your target market?
Let your passion drive your entrepreneurial spirit and learn how to harness this energy into creating a well thought-out business plan. Each element of a traditional business plan is important, so we’ll be tackling each one in a practical way that makes it easier to digest, while making it enjoyable too. No longer will the art of planning and pitching be daunting, as we discuss the function of a SWOT Analysis or 1-minute Elevator Pitch and more.
If you can feel the gears turning as you read this description, then this presentation is for you!

Learning Objectives:

  • Determine the problem you want to address and the solutions you want to offer.
  • How to define your target markets.
  • Understand the importance of a SWOT analysis.
  • Specify which resources you already have and those you need.
  • Design a business plan for an entrepreneurial venture.
  • Develop a pitch of varying lengths.

FUN COMPETITION. The Amazing Things About Oz

Barbara  Hodel
Wanna Have Some good old clean Aussie fun? This is the quiz for you.
Watch the short presentation, grasp the rules and then jump in to win!Download the PDF so you have it on hand when you click the link here to submit your answers!
You will be amazed at what you can learn about this fabulous country. 

To Yield or Not to Yield, That Is the Question

Niki Tudge
Have you heard the expressions ‘revenue management’ or ‘yield management?’ Are you aware that, with some knowledge and a couple of tools, you can soon become your own revenue management expert? Maybe not, as this service industry concept is somewhat new to the pet industry.

However, you too can become a professional pioneer and implement skills into your business that you never want your competition getting hold of. Join the presenter as she shares principles of revenue management from the airline and hospitality industry that can be easily and ethically implemented into your own scheduling practices.

Learn from decades of revenue management experience how you can leverage low and high demand periods with the perishable commodity of the time we sell to manage more income and yield higher profit percentages – with less work. Get smart about how you manage your booking calendar so you can ethically profit from less effort!

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn to understand and analyze your low and high demand periods.
  • Understand the principles and operational benefits to implement a yield management policy.
  • Leave with a new tool and the knowledge you need to begin managing your yield immediately.

Sponsored by:

Working with Clients: Tips from the Trenches

Irith Bloom

It’s a common story. You come up with a great plan that includes enrichment, management, and training and should resolve the pet's issues in just a few weeks. But the client refuses to do it, or acts enthusiastically but then does nothing. Bottom line: Nothing changes and the family is still frustrated. What’s a professional trainer to do?

This session will go over lessons learned through years of working with the human side of the pet-handler partnership. It will go over tips for creating training plans that work for the client as well as the pet (and the trainer), discuss how to encourage clients to practice, and address how and when to adjust the plan. As they say, it’s the people who need the training, not the companion animals! This session will help ensure the people learn what they need so you can help them and their pets.

Aggression in the Multidog Household

Sharon Carroll
Historically, when people brought an additional dog into a household, the newly acquired dog was a puppy. Nowadays, with more blended families, we see more adult dogs being brought together to live under the one roof. The rise in the adoption rates of adult dogs has also seen an increase in the expectation for newly acquainted adult dogs to be asked to share a home. In many instances the outcome is wonderful. However, there are also cases where the dynamics are not so good.

Bringing two adult dogs together is not the only time we see dog-to-dog aggression within a household. Some dogs struggle with a puppy being added to the home, and in other cases, issues develop as one or more dogs reach social maturity.

The severity of the issues can range from “tension” and infrequent incidences of low intensity aggression, through to frequent displays of significant aggression resulting in hospitalization of one or more dogs.
In serious cases, guardians can be emotionally drained. They are often confused as to why the conflicts are occurring, they are constantly stressed about the possibility of another attack, and in extreme cases, the owners may even have considered re-homing or euthanizing one or more of their dogs. A truly horrible situation for any guardian.
When working these cases, it is important to assess the overall situation. This includes all dogs and all human family members, as well as the impact the current situation is having on all parties.

This presentation will discuss:

  • Underlying reasons for dog aggression in multi-dog households.
  • Identifying common triggers.
  • The importance of assessing and training each dog individually.
  • Specific training strategies for reducing the unwanted aggressive behaviors.
  • Identifying aspects that are likely to indicate a good prognosis for complete integration, and aspects that should give concern.
  • Management strategies and safety protocols.

FUN COMPETITION. Bites from BARKS - Even with a FREE subscription how well do you know BARKS?

Debra Millikan
Geek Week Bites from Barks
 So how much do you know about BARKS. This quiz asks some simple questions from the November 2020 issue of Barks. 
You can go directly to the November issue here  but better still, if you haven’t already subscribed, why not do that now?  You can do that here at BARKS very own website. Remember it is free!
Watch the short presentation, grasp the rules and then jump in to win!Download the PDF so you have it on hand when you click the link here to submit your answers!

About BARKS from the Guild
Since 2012, BARKS from the Guild has been helping pet care professionals stay up-to-date with current research, methodologies and thinking so they can help more pets and their people.
We cover all things animal behavior and training, pet care, canine, feline, equine, avian, pocket pets, and exotics, as well as business, sales, marketing and consulting.
In a world of information overload, we provide a platform for current, accurate and scientifically sound education that both pet professionals and pet guardians can trust.
By doing this, we can all help prevent behavior problems, while protecting the overall well-being of each individual animal.
And it's all yours for free! Subscribe today to get your free lifetime digital access to PDF downloads, option for print-on-demand issues, back issues (2014-2020), subscriber benefits and more.

Scent and Emotional Well-Being

Dr. Robert  Hewings
The olfactory world is something that is so important to our dogs, and training this already innate behavior increases and improves canine well-being. This seminar will discuss the reasons for this.
Why is olfaction so important to our dogs? Why and how can we make the most out of training search? Can every dog engage in this valuable, fun and at times challenging exercise? Do we all have to compete? Do we all have to search for “prescribed scents?” Discover how we can engage in this fun and relaxing exercise for the benefit of all dogs.

The Ethics of Aminal Training Procedures

Dr. Eduardo J.  Fernandez

It has become commonplace to refer to the science of animal training as being synonymous with applied behavior analytic principles. Less clear, however, is how ethical considerations correlate with other applied behavior analytic endeavors. While it remains tempting to refer to reward-based training methods as “more scientific” (presumably in comparison to other training methods), it is unclear whether such assertions are relying on scientific or ethical considerations. Thus, a distinction between both ethical and scientific guidelines becomes necessary. Simply saying a procedure is “more scientific” need not mean the same is true of its ethics or vice versa.

This talk examines the distinction between science and ethics, with a focus on how we make ethical decisions that guide our science-based animal training practices. Attention will be given to

  1. how we distinguish between science and ethics,
  2. what criteria we use for making ethical considerations, such as freedoms, restrictiveness, intrusiveness, and hierarchies, and
  3. why the tools we use to make ethical decisions should exist according to similar scientific criteria, so as to create behavior change plans that are simultaneously pro-science and pro-ethics, and thus, pro-animal well-being and welfare.

Paving the Way for Puppies! Beyond Socialization, Better Puppy Playgroups and Towards Earliest Inter

Karen Wild
Often, as trainers or behavior professionals, by the time we see the puppy he can have already learned a great deal of unwanted behaviors. A key moment of opportunity comes between breeder and veterinary practice, when pups are due their first vaccinations, or when they attend a puppy playgroup.
Is it enough to tell a guardian to “socialize” anymore? Or can we deliver a better set of tools to accompany this? There are many essential tips that must be delivered if the growing dog and his guardians are to have a happy long-term future. Care must be taken to standardize practice advice, ideally in consultation with experienced trainers and behavior professionals.
There is evidence that behavioral advice, when provided, results in fewer problem behaviors such as mouthing, inappropriate toileting, mounting and, more importantly, from a wider social perspective, aggressive behaviors towards unfamiliar dogs and people.
Guardians are newly learning about how to care for their puppy, and, as such, can be vulnerable to advice, both correct and incorrect. Where is this advice learned from? Can we assist in the community, building up trust with new guardians?
Learning Objectives:

  • Who can intervene, and how?
  • What key advice needs to be given?
  • Specific training that assists with puppy early learning.
  • Why this is important for any puppy?
  • How this approach fits into the pet care community.

November 15 - Catch a quick morning update on any Geek Week news and win some great prizes

Niki Tudge
Chat & Chuckle with Niki Tudge as she recaps the day’s sessions, competitions, and sponsor spotlight sessions.

Human-Animal Bond: Endless Opportunities

Claire Lush
Amy Thomson
“Can you assess my dog so she can be a school dog?”; “Can you help me train my dog to help my son with autism?” We all receive these requests! So, how do we support the care givers, manage their expectations and ensure the dog’s well-being is paramount? 
The presenters have a combined 20 years of experience in the field and, in this session, will deliver their thoughts on how to approach your client training plans with creativity, flexibility and ingenuity. Working alongside health and social care professionals, they are both specialists in tailoring animal assisted intervention plans and training programmes to support client outcomes. 

By the end of this talk you will be able to:

  • Recognize the difference between assistance dogs and animal assisted intervention.
  • Identify how to assess a dog’s well-being and the client’s lifestyle prior to recommending that they train their dog to become an assistance dog, or support others through animal assisted intervention.
  • Understand key differences between client group needs and the various support they may require when welcoming a dog into their lives. 
  • Think about how to maximize a dog’s well-being while considering your client’s individual needs.
  • Recognize the possibilities of what can be achieved with families and individuals once they have developed a strong relationship with their dog: direct and indirect involvement to support owner achievements. 
  • Identify when to refer a client on and where to refer them. 

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT SESSION ISCP. Strengthening the Human-Canine Bond

Lisa Tenzin-Dolma
 Building trust, and understanding our dogs' emotions and why they respond as they do to certain stimuli helps us to develop lasting bonds of love and affection with them. Lisa Tenzin-Dolma will be talking about why trust between both parties is so important and how to foster trust, the latest research into dog emotions, and why dogs respond to our emotional states. She will also explain the similarities between facial expressions in dogs and humans, why positive feedback is effective, and how we can develop clearer two-way communication with our dogs.

Scentwork Solutions for Common Behavioral Problems

Dr. Morag Heirs
Scentwork has taken off across the world as a fun activity to share with your dog, and there are a whole range of methods and approaches. While some methods concentrate on competition, there’s increasing interest in the use of scentwork and nose games within behavior modification programs.
This session will refresh your knowledge of basic scentwork approaches and their effects on the canine brain. Then, using a mixture of case studies and video, it will explore how scentwork can play a key role in behavior modification for a range of commonly presenting problems in dogs, including fear, frustration and more.
Learning Objectives:

  • How “sniffing” affects the canine brain.
  • What kind of scentwork might we use in a behavior modification program and why.
  • How we can integrate scentwork into behavior modification plans.

Rattlesnake Avoidance: It's Positively Possible

Lynn Webb
Many people are interested in teaching their dogs to avoid rattlesnakes but do not know that it can be done without using aversives, like shock.
This session will explore how education and training can teach humans to avoid hazards while also teaching dogs to respond to the humans they are with. It will also discuss the role snakes play in this type of training and address the question: Can it only be successful if using visible, live snakes?

Quiz, Quiz & More - Come and Win Prizes LIVE!

Niki Tudge
Debra Millikan
Quiz Quiz & More – Play Live. Join us at 11am ET for a FUN Competition with Great Prizes
How to Play!
Join Niki Tudge, Debra Millikan, and Rebekah King at 11 a.m. ET on the Geek Week Platform
Be Prepared

  1. Have open in separate windows the Session Window and the Chat Lounge. (Once you are in the session simply right click on Exhibitor Hall to open the link in a new tab).
  2. Listen to each question carefully and its corresponding prize
  3. As quickly as you can type your answer into the Chat Lounge
  4. First one to answer each question correctly will win a GREAT prize

Cooperative Care Meets Training Plans: The Academy for Dog Trainers' Husbandry Project

Kristi Benson
Many dogs find veterinary care to be worrisome or even awful, to the point that many guardians just don't take their dogs to get care even when they should. Our partners in the veterinary medicine world are starting to pay attention to the emotional toll veterinary care can have on dogs, and as behavior professionals, we stand beside them in their efforts.
The Academy for Dog Trainers recognized early on that dogs deserve well-vetted dog training plans, both for prevention purposes and to treat fearful and aggressive dogs. We created several dozen plans and tested them, both with Academy trainers and the public, during a multi-year project known as the Husbandry Project. The plans include both classical conditioning plans and stationing plans, and cover many of the procedures that dogs endure during vet care. During this presentation, you'll learn about the project itself, about training plans for veterinary and other types of care, and about following training plans. You will also receive the full set of training plans.

The Four Main Factors of Reinforcer Effectiveness

Lara Joseph
There is much more to positive reinforcers than the identification!
Have you found yourself in a training situation where you know you are working with a highly valued reinforcer but the animal isn’t responding as you predicted? While shaping a behavior, have you found yourself in a predicament where you know you have taught the learner a variety of environmental events to set you both up for success, but are not getting the behavior you want or assumed you would get? If so, there are many factors at play.
Through photos and videos of training a variety of zoo animals and complex behaviors, in detail, the presenter will describe the four main factors of reinforcer effectiveness.
These are:

  1. Deprivation.
  2. Immediacy.
  3. Size.
  4. Contingency.
When shaping behaviors, all four of these factors are often being implemented in one training session.
Learning Objectives:
  • Learn the factors involved in perfecting the four areas of reinforcer effectiveness.

CARAT: Temperament Assessment

Suzanne  Clothier
This session provides an overview of CARAT (Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool), a novel temperament assessment system developed by Suzanne Clothier in 2007. 

CARAT takes a detailed view of the individual dog as a unique combination of many factors working together to influence, exacerbate, mitigate and enhance each other. In the profile created by the complex interaction of multiple traits, an accurate picture is created of the individual dog, regardless of breed, age, sex or training.

CARAT recognizes that different temperament profiles reflect suitability for specific lifestyles, tasks or handlers. For example, there would be readily identifiable differences in the CARAT profiles for a successful guide dog, competitive agility and a suitable companion for an elderly person with mobility issues.

Who Needs Carat?
CARAT is a must-have tool for anyone involved in assessing behavior. Whether you are a trainer, a behavior consultant, a breeder, a veterinarian, in rescue/shelter work, or involved in service dog organizations, CARAT opens a new world of observation and understanding.

CARAT helps you fine tune your assessments, your behavior modification and training plans, improve your selection of suitable dogs for a given task, and help find the best possible job/task/home for an individual dog.
As those who know CARAT say, “CARAT changes everything!” Join us for a fascinating overview of this powerful assessment tool.

The Play Way: Using Social Play to Address Stress and Anxiety

Dr. Amy Cook
Play is a fantastic stress reliever, but it’s often something we don’t explore with our dogs. Social play is a really useful approach for making your dog feel better and can be used in an applied way to judge threshold, putting your dog in a better place for changing her reactions to triggers.
The? ?Play? ?Way? is the presenter’s method of helping shy or anxious dogs overcome their issues to live a happier, less-stressed life. Rather than focusing on food, as many do when working with these dogs, she have established a more nuanced rehabilitation process that revolves around personal interactions. The presenter believes play is a much more reliable method of judging a dog’s true behavioral thresholds, while being equally effective at supporting a dog to make emotional change. Play is both an indicator of stress and an intervention for stress. Come learn the Play Way!
Learning Objectives:
        • How social play is very different from toy play, and why the presenter calls it a “conversation.”
        • How to play “predator” or “prey” games, based on what your dog likes.
        • The use of play in setups to increase and measure comfort, and to let them “look and dismiss” on their own.

Sponsored by:

Asking Cat Questions?

Sherry Woodard
This session will discuss working with your shelter or rescue to learn more about the cats in their care/foster to promote them for homes and/or create plans to manage and improve behavior.

The Role of Scent and Pheromones in Cat Behavior and Tips for Enrichment

Dr. Zazie Todd
Cats have an amazing sense of smell. This webinar will explore the cat’s sense of smell and the important role that pheromones play in feline behavior and behavior problems.
Pheromones are chemical signals that have meaning to cats and are detected by the cat’s vomeronasal organ, which is above the hard palate. When you see a cat doing the flehmen response, with their mouth open in a kind of grimace, they are investigating pheromones by drawing molecules up through ducts in the roof of their mouth and into their vomeronasal organ. Cats have glands that produce pheromones in various parts of their body including their cheeks, the anal glands, and the base of the tail.

There are important practical implications for cat guardians and anyone who works with cats. An environment that respects the importance of the cat’s sense of smell is one of the five pillars of a healthy feline environment, and we will consider how we can use scent and pheromones to help cats feel at home and to provide enrichment. Pheromones are important right from when kittens are born, and the nest odor is thought to have a calming effect on kittens.
Pheromones also play a role in intraspecific social behavior. As for relationships with people, cats tend to prefer their humans to pet them in places where the scent glands are, around the head and face. We will look at the catnip response, which not all cats show, and other similar compounds that can provide enrichment, as well as the idea of bringing scents in for indoor cats to investigate.

Overall, this session will give a better understanding of aspects of cat behavior related to scent and pheromones and how to use this information to improve cat welfare.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the role of scent and pheromones in normal cat behavior and in behavior problems.
  • Describe some of the ways in which pheromones are used by cats.
  • Outline important ways to respect the cat’s sense of smell in their environment.
  • Identify ways to use scent as enrichment for pet cats.

Sponsored by:

Soothing the Savage Beast: Vet Visits For Aggressive Dogs

Dr. Jennifer Summerfield
If your sweet, friendly dog goes into “Cujo mode” as soon as you come through the door of the veterinary clinic, rest assured – you’re not alone! This session will discuss how you can work with your veterinarian to make your pup’s vet visits as safe and stress-free as possible, for all parties involved.

Specifically, it will address the following topics:

  • Training and behavior modification strategies.
  • Pre-visit anxiety meds and sedation options.
  • How to make a plan with your veterinarian.
It will also discuss a few case examples, to give you some specific ideas that might work for your situation.
(Note that, although this webinar will be geared towards dogs who bark, growl, lunge, or try to bite at the vet’s office, a lot of the information will also be applicable to dogs who are “just” anxious or fearful.)

Quick Games for Behavioral Change

Sara McLoudrey
As trainers, we are often asked to help and instruct novice dog owners on how to manage and train major behavioral and safety concerns. Our clients did not add a pet to their household to become expert animal trainers – most often they are looking to have quick, easy-to-implement training that works with their lifestyle and produces results.
In this session you will learn games that you can teach your clients during the first session, where the clients need little to no training skills to be successful. These games will immediately improve their lives with their pets and set foundational training in place.
With these quick changes, you will see more client buy-in and bookings. Let’s show clients you don’t need to suppress behavior to have a quick change. We can do it with easy to learn, positive, fun games, that are stress-free for both the people and the pets.

Incorporating T-Touch Into Dog Training

Robyn Hood
The Tellington TTouch Method was developed for horses in 1975 by Linda Tellington-Jones. A specific program for dogs was then created in the 1990s. Many aspects of the method can be added to other positive techniques, especially with those dogs that don’t respond to training alone, in particular those dealing with anxiety and fear.
General Use in a Training Class Situation
Getting Dogs Used to Being Touched

  • Many guardians confess to not being able to touch their dogs in certain areas.
  • Showing guardians how observe small concerns a dog may have, teaches them to “listen” so dogs don’t have to “shout.”
Settling Emotions so Learning Can Take Place
  • This session will look at the emotional, mental, and physical. These need to be addressed before learning can commence, which works with the mind/body connection.
Puppy Classes
  • Teach people the difference between touch with intention and random touching.
  • Making body contact pleasant so there is acceptance of grooming and handling.
  • Observing small signs indicating a puppy may have tension or concerns.
  • Tellington TTouch in warm-up and cool down; in training; settling a dog at a competition.
  • Human Body Wraps to keep the handler stay calm!
  • Body Wraps for dogs who are reactive or overly excited on the course or while waiting.
  • Balance Leash – brings dogs into physical balance.
Reactive Dogs
  • TTouch – used initially to learn more about where the dog carries tension in a non-aroused situation - how you “feel” will be reflected in how you “act.”
  • Body Wraps for calming, settling and security.
  • Equipment – balance leash/sliding handle/Connector.
  • Groundwork – exercises to help focus and relax a dog to lower arousal.
Equipment - Leash pulling is probably one of the top five complaints to dog trainers and TTouch has many ways to work with this issue alone.
  • Balance Leash is a simple yet effective tool for many situations.
  • Sliding handle or TTouch Connector helps balance the signal between the front and back of the harness, helping a person attain loose leash walking quickly and easily.

Geek Week - Nerds Over & Out

Niki Tudge
Debra Millikan
Louise Ginman
Louise Newman
Kelly Fahey
Debra Millikan
Denise O' Moore
Geek Week finally comes to an end, but we will close out in the same style we came in.
Tune in to listen out for your name as a competition winner!
Join Niki and the Geek Week team as they chat through all of the fun, education and networking that has taken place and listen to the formal competition winner announcements!

Don't worry if you cannot attend, this session like all the others will be recorded and available for you in the on-demand area for 12 months. 


Doggone Good Clicker Company

Business Insurers of the Carolinas has been a proud provider of insurance coverage specifically designed for pet care professionals since 1992. 

Friends & Supporters

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia is proud to be an industry-leading forum for dog trainers and anyone involved with dogs to communicate and exchange ideas regarding pet dog training and behaviour.

APDT Australia provides educational and networking opportunities including a newsletter, sharing of resources such as videos and books, an annual conference and workshops. Our annual conference features speakers who are experts in their fields.


Where Science, Systems & Ethics Meet

Support Materials for Dog Trainers

As dog trainers ourselves, we know how very busy life can be, particularly if you have another job as well as your dog training business.

We also know, though, from years of experience, that it pays to have all aspects of your business looking as professional and running as smoothly as possible.

This means that your lesson plans, client handouts & class materials all need to be clear, concise & client friendly.

Over the years, we have developed and refined our lessons & supporting materials. We now offer them to you - other dog trainers - with a view to easing your burden of behind the scenes work, thus allowing you to get on with training, the thing that you do best!

All of our materials come with 12 months of updates as well as monthly Zoom sessions to answer your questions.

K9Connectables - Enrich their world!

K9Connectables is an enrichment feeding system designed to make dogs think and work for their supper! Our patented connection system has up to 6x levels of difficulty, easy for the lazy pups all the way up to level 6 for super dogs. 

Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) for Animal Training and Behavior  teaches animal training with innovative courses for both aspiring and experienced trainers. Each KPA course is designed to empower students to take their training or teaching skills to a higher level, with most courses offered online. Our flagship course, the Dog Trainer Professional program, includes both online work and hands-on workshops. To learn more about KPA's course offerings, visit For information on our training center (The Ranch), ClickerExpo educational conferences, streaming videos, and best-selling training gear, visit


We provide insurance solutions for a range of pet professionals

I help women in the pet industry grow their business by building their community and avoid burn out.  If you've ever felt like you have zero time, you aren't making enough money, and you aren't getting where you want to go...I can help!

I offer group coaching programs to help you:
      * Get clear on your goals
      * Grow or start your business authentic to you
      * Design offers around your ideal client and what you want to offer
      * Build and maintain a marketing strategy that attracts your ideal client easily
      * Feel supported every step of the way

My ultimate goal is for you to be happy.  The whole program is custom to the individual and their business.

Check out one of my current coaching clients rocking her passion while still having a great life:   CLICK HERE to see CHELSEA from Pawsitive Futures

lease stop by for a chat during the conference or after.



Pet Remedy provides a unique and natural calming solution using its clinically proven formula based on valerian absolute oil blended with vetiver, sweet basil, and clary sage essential oils.

The versatile, fast acting, and easy to use product range provides a complete calming package for you and your clients.

Pet Tutor by Smart Animal Training Systems is dedicated to the development of positive solutions to help owners and trainers with their pets.  Pet Tutor's Smart Training Feeder is a remotely controlled intelligent treat dispensing tool designed to assist us in training, feeding and playing with our pets. TRAIN, FEED, and PLAY with Pet Tutor!

Visit our website at PetTutor.Biz

Deepen your understanding of dog behavior and learn how to apply that new knowledge directly to working with dogs.  Our webinars and in-depth multi-week courses bring you the latest in dog behavior science.  By taking courses at Smart Dog, you will:

•Stay current with the most up-to-date research
•Learn how to apply scientific research to your day-to-day interactions with dogs
•Go beyond basic learning theory – learn the science of aggression, anxiety, stress, social cognition, social behavior and more!
•Discover new material that isn’t currently well known in the field
•Receive training on how to find, read and interpret scientific research

The Family Dog specializes in helping families live SAFELY and HAPPILY with their dogs.

You'll find tons of fun and high quality content for parents and kids, plus FREE information and paid turn-key programs for TRAINERS - we're a one stop shop! 

If you have ever considered why choose the ISCP, it is because we educate students of canine behaviour in the most up to date methods and place a strong emphasis on positive dog training and rehabilitation. Seminars, talks, and workshops aim to increase your understanding, and provide opportunities for face to face question and answer sessions. The Diploma course (also available in three stages) is based on discoveries made through the latest scientific research and the founder’s extensive experience of successfully working with many dogs from all breeds and backgrounds.
Dogs have been our helpmates and companions for many thousands of years, and their evolution has taken place alongside ours. They are hard-wired to bond with us and have an extraordinary ability to understand our subtle signals and body language. Through the ISCP courses you will learn to ‘read’ dogs and to discover how and why dogs respond to humans, other animals, and the environment.
The ISCP is accredited by UK Rural Skills. The ISCP is also registered as a college and training provider with the CMA, a governing body which provides global recognition for the Diploma course, and with The National Register of Dog Trainers and Behaviourists. The school is an official vendor for Pet Professional Guild. We are also approved by The Association of INTO Dogs, an organisation for behaviourists and trainers who use only positive methods.

Our courses have also been approved for CPD hours and have accreditation from CPDUK.

We promote the safe and effective use of essential oils for dogs and their humans as well those in the pet industry. 

We use essential oils which are of the highest standard and support people accessing the right oils for their situation and offer ongoing support.

We run educational workshops and one on ones to teach dog owners how to use essential oils safely for a variety of different issues ranging from fear of noises, over excited, not travelling well in the car to removing toxins from the home and supporting physical wellbeing.

We have a holistic approach to managing dogs emotional and physical wellbeing.