Top 10 Animal Behavior Conferences for 2018

Top 10 Animal Behavior Conferences for 2018

best conferences of the yearWe’ve compiled the Best Dog Conferences for you to attend in 2018 and beyond because we’ve done that every year (2017, 20162015). Explore science topics, learn better training skills, concentrate on motivation or the human-animal bond. It’s all here. Let’s go!

Conferences are listed in chronological order due to the author’s inability to decide which should be first.

1. ClickerExpo

ClickerExpo will be held in 3 locations throughout 2018. This year ClickerExpos have slightly different labs and workshops depending on the location.

Irvine, CA

When: Friday, January 19-21, 2018

Where: Irvine, CA

Why: Educational Themes are back for 2018. Themes are labs and presentations focusing on a certain concentration. Themes include: Trainer Skill Development, Teaching People, Aggression and General Behavior Management, and Veterinary Environments. Feel free to follow a single theme or skip around and explore a variety of topics. There’s something for everyone! CCPDT, IAABC, and KPA Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.

More Information: https://clickertraining.com/clickerexpo/2018/socal/register

St. Louis, MO

When: Friday, March 16-18, 2018

Where: St. Louis, MO

Why: Educational Themes are back for 2018. Themes are labs and presentations focusing on a certain concentration. Themes include: Trainer Skill Development, Teaching People, Aggression and General Behavior Management, and Veterinary Environments. Feel free to follow a single theme or skip around and explore a variety of topics. There’s something for everyone! CCPDT, IAABC, and KPA Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.

More Information: https://clickertraining.com/clickerexpo/2018/stlouis/registration

United Kingdom

When: Friday, October 26-28, 2018

Where: Winchester, England

Why: Join Ken Ramirez, Kathy Sdao, Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D, and Michele Pouliot covering topics such as errors and choice in training.

More Information: https://clickertraining.com/clickerexpo/luminos

 

2. Animal Management Behavior Alliance (ABMA) Annual Conference

San Antonio, TX

When: Sunday, April 8-13, 2018

Where: San Antonio, TX

Why: The Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA) specializes in animal care and training through enrichment. This year’s theme is “History in the Making: The Future of Behavior Management and Its Role In Conservation”. Conference locations include the San Antonio Zoo and Sea World.

More Information: https://theabma.org/abma-annual-conference/

 

3. Canine Science Symposium

San Francisco, CA

When: Saturday, April 14-15, 2018

Where: San Francisco SPCA in San Francisco, CA

Why: Bringing together professors of Psychology, Anthrozoology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Behavior Analysis, this symposium covers the science of welfare for shelter dogs, training, and canine aggression. Enjoy two days with some of the leading canine science minds with Julie Hecht, Monica Udell, Kathryn Lord, PhD, and Clive Wynne, PhD. CCPDT and IAABC Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.

More Information: http://events.sfspca.org/css2018

 

4. IAABC Animal Behavior Conferences

 

IAABC Conferences will be held in 2 locations throughout 2018.

Boston, MA

When: Thursday, April 19-22, 2018

Where: Burlington (Boston), MA

Why: The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants has creatively merged their multiple species Conferences into one event. Choose to follow the Dog, Cat, Parrot, Horse tracks or Business tracks, or pick and choose which presentations you’d like to join. The conference features speakers discussing the latest science, treatments, and protocols for managing and modifying behavior in all species. Some Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.

(Read about our experience at the 2015 IAABC Conference.)

More Information: http://iaabcconference.org/home/

United Kingdom

When: Saturday, May 22-23, 2018

Where: Manchester, England

Why: The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants UK conference concentrates on dogs and horses. Topics include aggression, client compliance, and presentations of case studies. The conference features speakers discussing the latest science, treatments, and protocols for managing and modifying behavior.

(Read about our experience at the 2015 IAABC Conference.)

More Information: https://iaabcconference.org/uk/

 

5. PennVet Working Dog Conference

Essington, PA

When: Friday, April 20-23, 2018

Where: Essington, PA

Why:  You may have seen this conference’s DVD’s on TawzerDog. Did you know you could attend the Penn Vet Working Dog Conference? This year’s theme is “Creating the Working Dog: Puppy to Professional” with Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB as the keynote speaker discussing resilience in working dogs. Individual topics include breeding, health and nutrition, and training for reliability and confidence.

More Information: http://www.vet.upenn.edu/research/centers-initiatives/penn-vet-working-dog-center/working-dog-conference

 

6. PPG Training & Behavior Workshop

 

Kanab, UT

When: Sunday, April 22-26, 2018

Where: Kanab, UT

Why: Four days of lectures and hands-on clinics on the Location: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary campus.  With industry experts in multiple species, sessions include stranger fear, relationship building, and husbandry skills.

More Information: https://petprofessionalguild.com/2018-Kanab

 

7. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy Training Camp

Wilmington, OH

When: Friday, June 1-3, 2018

Where: Wilmington, OH

Why: It’s back! The Ultimate Dog Sports Training Camp covers Obedience, Rally, Agility, Nosework, Freestyle, and Rally FrEe!  Join 16 energizing dog sports goddesses for 3 days of fun and learning. Work on heeling, utilizing play to build motivation, clean cuing, and so much more. Priority registrations will be given to students that have previous enrollments in FDSA online courses.

More Information: https://fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/ipo-courses/8-fdsa/2436-ferretpalooza

 

8. International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) Conference

Sydney, Australia

When: Monday July 2-5, 2018

Where: Sydney, Australia

Why: The International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) annual conference covers new and intriguing ideas in Human-Animal Interactions. This year’s theme is “Animals in Our Lives: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Human–Animal Interactions” The speakers and program for 2018 is pending, but topics include grief, shelter animals, and the ethics of animal use.

More Information: http://www.isaz2018.com/

 

9. The Emotional World of Dogs

Bensalem, PA

When: Saturday, July 7-8, 2018

Where: Bensalem, PA

or

Oakland, CA

When: Saturday, July 28-29, 2018

Where: Oakland, CA

Why: This is a Two-Day Seminar with Professor Daniel Mills, Lincoln University, United Kingdom presenting the latest research on dog cognition and emotion as well as how these findings can be applied in clinical practice. Topics include attachment, anxiety, dysfunctional relationships, separation disorders, and puppy development.

More Information for Bensalem, PA: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-emotional-world-of-dogs-new-insights-into-behavior-and-training-tickets-40718237344?aff=es2

More Information Oakland, CA: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-emotional-world-of-dogs-new-insights-into-behavior-and-training-tickets-40718438947?aff=es2

 

10. Clinical Animal Behavior Conference

Las Vegas, NV

When: Oct 5-7, 2018

Where: Las Vegas, NV

Why: The Clinical Animal Behavior Conference is a collaboration between AVSAB, SVBT, and AVBT, giving members and non-members the opportunity to learn about clinical behavior of multiple species. Topics include husbandry, development, and behavior modification for horses, cats, and dogs. The 2018 website isn’t available yet, but the Facebook event page below has details.

More Information: http://www.animalbehaviorconference.com/

and the Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/130096144343477/

 

Looking Ahead to 2019

Some of the best conferences and seminars fill within days of registration opening. Following these organizations on social media or signing up for newsletters will give you a heads up when registration opens.

The Art & Science of Animal Training Conference

Wolf Park Behavior Seminars

Woof!

To Niche Or Not To Niche

To Niche Or Not To Niche

how to find a niche in dog trainingTwo species cannot coexist if their needs are identical. Competition for food, water, and shelter is bad enough within the same species, if you add another species one will out-compete the other. The ecological niche relies on the assumption that diversity will always give one species an advantage, no matter how slight. If each species has something unique, then no two species will occupy exactly the same niche. The species Dog Trainer needs to diversify in order to compete.

Dog trainers already occupy a niche by their service area. You cannot compete with a trainer in Ohio if you’re living in Oregon. But is location niche enough? If you’re doing exactly what everyone else is doing in the exact same way then someone will out-compete the other. There must be a difference for a dog owner to choose you over the competition. “When two species are in competition, the outcome will be either the exclusion of one species or the evolution of one or both species resulting in less or no competition.”  Either one trainer will win all the resources or both will evolve so there is less competition. It’s time to evolve.

Who is competing with you for your resources?

If you are alone in your service area then you basically have nothing to worry about. Dog owners will call you for whatever they need. Your limitation may be your own time availability and resources, not competition from other trainers. If other trainers are in your area then you have competition over resources, namely dog owners. The people that hire you now have some choices, so who are they going to hire? How will they decide?

It is important to keep up with who and what your competition is doing and offering. Pretend to be a dog owner and do some internet searches for your location plus “dog training” and “dog trainer.” If you’re in a high competition area you may be surprised to find the top people in each search are different. Does their service area overlap with yours? Is it a multiple trainer company that can hit a wider audience? Are they also offering other services like pet sitting, dog walking, or transportation? Do they offer the same services as you? If you offer group and in-home instruction, do they do the same? Who are they targeting? What service is first on the home page of the website? This will give you a clue as to what they really want to concentrate on.

Finally, what do their reviews look like? Do they have any? Are they good, bad, or in the middle? Are they active on social media? Do their followers interact with them on social media? Do they have a YouTube channel with weekly videos? Or is there one video on their channel from 5 years ago?

Once you gather all this information you can see who your closest competition is and how they’re doing with it. You can then diversify.

The Price Niche

After location the next niche trainers normally use is setting their prices in comparison to their competition. Do you match them, undercut them, or charge more than them? The normal inclination is to match prices thinking that is what the local population is willing to pay. The problem with that is your competition may have set prices during a recession and never raised them, or set them during a boom and never lowered them.

Price comparison shoppers will always be there, but they don’t make the best clients. They chose you because you met their price point, not because you’re great and not because they like they way you do things. You cost what they want to pay, that’s it. The flip side is the shopper who wants the best and thinks the best costs more. There are fewer of these in your local population, but if you’re going to go after them you will need to be much higher than your competition. This isn’t a $10 more kind of thing. This is the $100 surround sound system vs the $4000 in-home theater system thing. If you’re going to go after this market the difference needs to be significant.

Unless your competition is targeting a vastly different customer you should never match prices. Matching services and pricing means high competition for the same target resource: dog owners who are willing to spend a specific amount of money on training services. If you feel the need to match prices then there must be something different about you to make you stand out.

The Certification Niche

A lot of trainers use certifications and education as a way to stand out against the competition. While education and proof of knowledge standards are great for the profession, they haven’t quite filtered down to the average dog owner yet. It’s been said many times that clients don’t understand all the letters after a trainer’s name, and if they did, there’s really no data on whether they’d care or not.

We know the certification niche works in some cases because there are quite a few organizations that are now offering them. More trainers are adding letters after their name, which means they are either viewing them as an industry standard or a marketing tactic. It’s probably more the industry standard view. A certification niche can work in some areas. College towns and areas with residents with advanced college degrees will see the logical benefit of education, even if they don’t value it as a choice selector. By all means, fly your certification flags and put logos on marketing material. You worked hard to get them and deserve to use them, they just probably aren’t helping people choose you over the competition.

The Method Niche

The nice vs. not nice training method niche is one we see often. Using “positive” and “nice” and “friendly” training as a way to find a market of people who want to be nice to their dogs is certainly a way to separate you from the competition. Unfortunately, most people want to be nice to their dogs. In fact, they think they’re already being nice to their dogs even if they’re throwing chains at them. People want to be nice to their dogs but they also want their dog to stop peeing on the sofa and refusing to come when called. They don’t particularly care how they get these things to stop, they just need them to stop.

That said, the “positive” and “nice” and “friendly” approach isn’t a bad idea when we switch it to people skills. The dogs aren’t writing the checks, the humans are, so if your niche is that you’re kind and friendly and supportive to people then you’ll have a leg up on the competition. This niche works when your goal is to be someone’s dog trainer. Your feedback for this niche is clients saying, “Let me give you the name of my dog trainer,” instead of “Oh, I have a great dog trainer.” This is the personal approach; the bonding of client and coach where you become “theirs” instead of just an “a”.

The Dog Type Niche

This is the meat and potatoes of the niche market that separates the girls from the Girl Scouts. This niche concentrates on some segment of the dog population such as breed, age, and problem behaviors. You love poodles, so go after the poodle owners. You love puppies, so go after the puppy owners. You love dogs that hide behind things, so go after the fearful dog owners.

Marketing in this niche can take some skill and some research. For instance, you need to be sure someone in your local habitat isn’t also a poodle lover going after poodle owners. If there are already three trainers targeting puppy owners you will either need to do things very differently or find another niche. Remember, the whole point of the niche is to lower competition, not increase it, so finding an untargeted market segment is the only way to do it. 

Marketing language for this niche will move away from generalities like “dog trainer” to “puppy trainer” or “poodle trainer.” The problems you list will move away from a general list of behaviors to those more commonly found in your target market. Targeting puppies might use teething and jumping and sleeping through the night, while targeting poodles might move more to handling for grooming and curbing zoomies.

Once you find your market look at your previous clients who were your ideal customers and what problems they were having. Look at intake forms and emails from them to find the language they used to describe their dog. Make a list of terms and then compare. You’ll find that the language people use to describe their dog or problem are pretty consistent. These are also the terms they’re going to use to search for a trainer to help them. These lower competition keywords are your low hanging fruit to integrate into marketing materials. It really doesn’t matter whether you are targeting a breed or a problem or an age, there is a commonality to the language people use to describe their dogs. These words are how you target your niche.

The Human Type Niche

The alternative to the Dog Type niche is the Human Type niche. This segment targets specific human groups defined by age, family status, or special circumstances. Seniors, families, first-time pet owners, college students, and stay at home moms would fit in this niche.

Marketing language for this niche is focused on the human need instead of the dog problem. Understanding your targeted niche means understanding what problems they’re likely to encounter and how to help them. For example, college students may have problems with separation anxiety or how to deal with unruly roommates. A senior might walk slower, travel more, or need the dog to be okay when grandkids come over once a month. Understanding the environment and conditions each segment creates means you can sell personalized preventative training instead of problem solving. While problems will certainly occur, being the guru of a human niche means you’ll have the experience to solve them.

Getting your message in front of your chosen market segment can be a bit different than trying to tap the general dog owner. You need to find out where they hang out in your area, what they read or view, and how to reach them. Don’t discount senior centers and public parks and local neighborhood apps to reach these audiences. Be clear who you are targeting with keywords concentrating on the human need and experience instead of the dog’s.

The Activity Type Niche

The Activity Type niche is where the crazy people are. Okay, they’re not really crazy, but they’re usually goal driven and competitive. This segment isn’t so much about problem solving as it is about skill building. It also covers both ends of the leash since good handling skills are needed by the human to compete well.

Agility, scent work, obedience, tricks, canine parkour, hiking, kayaking, and herding all fall into this niche. For some of these activities interest and skill is not enough, clients want titles and a lot of experience. Experience does tend to include training multiple breeds to do the task, not just your own dogs.

This niche lends itself to creating communities, and you really should view part of your task will be community building. The human social aspect of classes and competing and engaging in the activity is part of why people do it. Being a great trainer in a sport or activity will allow you to introduce people to each other and build friendships just by the very nature of how you set up the learning environment. Clients who fall into this niche are usually in it for the long haul, so cultivate each one and you’ll have a repeat customer for a very long time.

While marketing to this niche is pretty straightforward since the keywords are built into the activity language, this segment lends itself to using a lot more visual images and video than other segments. Video of a calm dog enjoying a ride on a kayak, agility runs, photos of ribbons, and huge smiles will go farther than a website page called “Canine Kayak Training”.

This niche can be easier to reach by attending local events and taking part in the sport. On the plus side, all those entry fees and travel expenses are tax deductible.

Final Thoughts

Marketing to everyone is marketing to none. This is true in the ecology of every profession, but perhaps more so with dog training. Reducing your competition by doing what you enjoy for a price you can live on will bring you years of a successful career instead of slogging through clients you hate just to get by.

Did we miss a niche? What’s your marketing segment? Let us know in the comments!Save

How to Attend a Dog Training Conference

How to Attend a Dog Training Conference

With the registration date for ClickerExpo coming up, I began to think about what learning goals to concentrate on this year, who I wanted to hear speak, and if there should be a theme or if I should just see whatever sounded interesting. I then began to think about the other part of going to conferences; meeting people and networking. So many times I’ve seen someone I haven’t seen in years passing by in between sessions and had that 7 second drive-by conversation, “Hi! How are you doing! Great to see you! Let’s meet for lunch or something!” The other person responds, “Great!” and then that’s the end of it. This year, I really want to make a plan.

1. Put people you want to meet on your schedule.

I always have the best of intentions and every conference I fail. This year I’m putting people on my schedule. Message people and ask them for a time to meet or share a meal or have a drink. Put the appointment on your schedule with a reminder so you don’t become that person that stood someone up at a training conference. You have 3 meals a day, after conference drinks, breaks in between speakers, and skipped session periods you can fill. Fill them. If meals are coordinated and prepaid you might consider skipping one and doing a DIY lunch at least one day to accommodate people who aren’t purchasing meals.

Related: Are drinks after the conference your favorite part of attending conferences? Do you like meeting online friends in-person? Ever wish you had a group of local, friendly dog trainers to chat with to continue the conversation? Check out our latest project: Mastermind Meetups for Modern Dog Trainers

2. You don’t have to fill every session.

I actually learned this when I got violently ill at a conference. Fatigue set in and I needed to prioritize my energy instead of my desire to see everything. There were some session slots where there just wasn’t anything that really perked my interest or I had seen all the presentations already. I skipped that period and took a nap, waking up refreshed for the speakers I really wanted to see. When I skipped and didn’t take a nap, I met a bunch of people that were also skipping!  If you’re just trying to fill time by seeing a speaker, meet up with people instead.

3. Introduce yourself to people sitting or eating alone.

If you haven’t filled a meal period with a scheduled meet up then scan the dining area and look for people wearing the conference badge who are sitting alone. Go introduce yourself and ask if they want company. Please don’t push in if the person says they’d rather be alone. Conferences can be overwhelming and some people need quiet time. I’ve had many amazing conversations eating with strangers. Meeting and talking to people way outside your normal circle can be more educational than some presentations. This practice also makes everyone feel welcomed and interesting. Which brings us to number 4.

4. Remember to get cards or contact information for people you meet.

I’m putting this on a post-it note on my forehead this year, “Please give me your business card.” After introducing myself and eating with a stranger and having a lovely conversation, it inevitably happens that the conference bell rings and you’re off and running to the next session. The number of times I’ve grabbed my things and said, “Thank you for the wonderful lunch!” then sprinted away is embarrassing. Take a moment, get a card or have the person put their email address in a note for you. When you get seated at your Must Get To session, make a note of where you met them, what you did together, and the general topic of conversation. Even if you never message them you will have a reminder if you see them at the next conference.

5. Organize meetups with your virtual friends.

We all have them, people we “know” from Twitter, Facebook, certification organizations, clubs, and schools. Schedule a meetup and get a few people you want to meet in one place. On Twitter you can create a hashtag and have people retweet or reply they’d like to join. You can create calendar and Facebook events so other people can invite other people. While it may seem fun to set these up for dinner at a restaurant, some trainers are on a budget. You might consider doing these in hotel common areas instead of restaurants so everyone can bring their own food yet still have dinner together. Remember to send reminders to everyone who was interested when you get to the conference.

Check out our latest project: Mastermind Meetups for Modern Dog Trainers

Did we miss anything? What is your go-to strategy for attending conferences? Tell us in the comments!

Why Dog Potty Training Fails: Helping Your Clients Through The Mess

Why Dog Potty Training Fails: Helping Your Clients Through The Mess

One of the most frequent problems dog training professionals face is potty training failure. Clients are getting incomplete information from a number of sources: online searches, Veterinarians, friends, and previous experience. A lot of these sources conflict, so clients are cobbling together a plan and it doesn’t always work. Let’s help them out.

Potty Training Basics

At it’s core, potty training is teaching dogs that when they feel pressure in their bladder or bowels they go to a specific place to relieve it. This requires some specific skills, both on the human and dog end.

Dog Potty TrainingHuman Skills:

  • Predict when there is a high probability of the dog needing to relieve themselves.
  • Showing the dog where they would like the dog to relieve themselves.
  • Teaching a signal that dog can use to ask to go to the location.
  • Reinforcing the dog for relieving themselves in the correct location.
  • Looking at failure as a failure in the plan, not in the dog.

Dog Skills:

  • Must have muscle tone enough to hold urine or feces long enough to get to the proper location.
  • Must know the route to the proper location from all household locations.
  • Must be able to signal to humans to open a door if a dog door is not available.
  • Must be able to recognize the substrate as something they can relieve themselves on.

The Problem With Potty Pads

One of the most frequent problems I see is when clients are using potty pads. They’re using pads for a number of reasons, so asking “why” is very important. A lot of clients are using them because outside is unsafe and they’re waiting for full vaccination before teaching the dog to go out. Some have busy households and they can’t quite spend enough time watching the dog carefully.

First, clients are teaching dogs to go to the wrong location from the beginning. If one of the skills is knowing the proper route to the appropriate place, they’re teaching the wrong one. Clients also frequently splash potty pads all over the house, so that “one location,” is now understood to be the entire house. If the client is set on using potty pads make sure it is located as close to the door the dog will need to exit to go out when they are ready.

Second, potty pads contain a “dog attractant.” Since dogs use their sense of smell to tell them where they should relieve themselves, clients are teaching the wrong smell from the beginning. If the client is set on using potty pads make sure they use the dog’s scent instead of the attractant to teach them where to go. This means leaving feces and urine for a bit and making sure the pad is large enough for the dog to relieve themselves on the other end.

Finally, dogs seem confused by the substrate and similar household items like rugs. The non-woven fabric layer contains cotton, which is also in a lot of rugs and clothing, so there can be confusion when smelling for that perfect spot. Again, scenting the pads can help dogs understand what smell they should be looking for. Translating this to outside, they will mark and over-mark their last spots.

Learning The Routes

Clients are obviously worried about accidents between the time they know the dog has to relieve themselves and getting to the right spot. This means dogs are frequently carried to the spot instead of learning to walk it on their own. This is particularly common with puppies and small dogs.

Make sure the client is letting the dog walk. If they have had problems with accidents make it a fun Run To The Door party, so the dog is learning to walk or run quickly to the exit. Make sure the client is doing this from multiple locations in the house, not just the pen or crate area.

A Really Big Signal

The most common breakdown is when dogs need to ask the human to open a door so they can get to the right location. Most people expect dogs to figure this out themselves, but what ends up happening is a quiet dog sitting next to a door that no one sees. Dogs also come up with destructive signals such as scratching or loud barking.

Talk about what works for your client. Bells in either manual or electronic form almost always work and can travel with clients on vacations and outings if needed. Some clients like the bark, so teaching the dog to Speak! would be needed. No matter what the signal, it’s important to teach it as a separate skill. Signal = Door Opens.

Teaching a bell is great for passive learning. The human rings the bell, opens the door, and takes the dog out. Most dogs learn that the bell opens the door in a week or two all on their own. If you need to teach the bell ringing as a skill, watch the dog interact with some targets first. Do they use their nose or their paw? Choose the one they use most often and make sure the bell is hung low enough for them to use that body part.

Make sure clients aren’t asking for a Sit before the door opens unless the door opens into an unsafe environment. We want the Signal to mean the door opens, and asking for patience with a sit may delay the door opening to the point of an accident happening.

Understanding The Right Spot

There are a myriad of reasons why a dog might not want to use the right spot to relieve themselves. Substrate preference, wetness, competing smells, and fear responses can impede potty training to the right location.

If at all possible start training on the substrate the client would like them to eventually use. If you’re training a puppy or small dog without muscle tone to hold it yet, still try to replicate the substrate. This means instead of potty pads you’re going to use a litter box with the appropriate material. Sod pieces and gravel are much easier to clean and cheaper to replace than potty pads. In a perfect world this is close to the eventual exit door, but puppies may need one close to their sleeping location for middle of the night potty breaks.

It’s important to keep the right location scented but clean. This means not picking feces up right away so the area is scented, but no leaving it so long that the area is soiled. If there is more than one dog in the household make sure that they both are comfortable using the area. Some dogs aren’t keen to over-mark other dogs, so they may need their own spot. If there is wildlife in the area, make sure the area is cleaned or watered a few times a week if the dog is suddenly reluctant to go when they had previously gone.

Outdoors can be scary. Dogs outside during fireworks or thunder or trash trucks can associate the location they heard the sound with the sound. Dogs can also be afraid of the dark, so they may go out during the day but after dark have a problem. Dissecting fear responses can take some time, but desensitizing the sound or adding more light in the yard can get the dog back to a place of feeling safe.

Distractions can impede potty training. Be sure that during the learning phase that Door Opens = Go Potty First is taught from the beginning. Getting to sniff and zoom and play should come after they’ve relieve themselves. This may mean using a leash to prevent the dog getting distracted until potty has happened, then the leash comes off and the dog can roam and play as they like. For some dogs coming back in is boring, so make sure you pay attention to what the dog is communicating about staying outside vs. going inside. If they are reluctant to go back inside, make inside play time. Toys fly, food mysteriously appears to be hunted, and it’s fun to be indoors.


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Top 10 Dog Training Conferences for 2017

Top 10 Dog Training Conferences for 2017

See the latest post: Top 10 Animal Behavior Conferences of 2018


We’ve compiled the Best Dog Conferences for you to attend in 2017 because we’ve done that every (20162015). Explore science topics, learn better training skills, concentrate on motivation or the human-animal bond. It’s all here. Let’s go!

Conferences are listed in chronological order due to the author’s inability to decide which should be first.

the best dog training conferences coming up in 2017

1. ClickerExpo

ClickerExpo will be held in 3 locations throughout 2017. This year ClickerExpos have slightly different labs and workshops depending on the location.

Portland, OR
When: Friday, January 27-29, 2017
Where: Portland, OR
Why: Educational Themes are back for 2017. Themes are labs and presentations focusing on a certain concentration. Themes include: Trainer Skill Development, Teaching People, Aggression and General Behavior Management, and Veterinary Environments. Feel free to follow a single theme or skip around and explore a variety of topics. There’s something for everyone! CCPDT, IAABC, and KPA Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.
More Information: http://www.clickertraining.com/clickerexpo/portland/registration

Stamford, CT
When: Friday, March 31-April 2, 2017
Where: Stamford, CT
Why: A complete Equine Theme which includes Husbandry, Saddling, Trailer Loading, and much more continues for 2017. This is in addition to the Themes listed for Portland above.  CCPDT, IAABC, and KPA Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.
More Information: http://www.clickertraining.com/clickerexpo/stamford/registration

ClickerExpo Europe
When: Friday, November 3-5, 2017
Where: Denmark
Why: The ClickerExpo 2017 schedule for Denmark has not been released yet. It will be released by 15 February 2017.
More Information: http://www.clickertraining.com/clickerexpo

2. WOOF!

When: Friday, February 10-12, 2017
Where: University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Why:  It’s back! It’s’ back! The very successful WOOF! European Behaviour & Training Conference has been on hiatus since 2013, but it’s back for 2017. 3 full days of brilliant seminars with Bob Bailey, Susan Friedman, Kay Laurence, Jean Donaldson, and Clive Wynne.
More Information: http://www.domesticatedmanners.com/woof2017

3. Canine Science Symposium

When: Saturday, March 11-12, 2017
Where: San Francisco SPCA in San Francisco, CA
Why: Bringing together professors of Psychology, Anthrozoology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Behavior Analysis, this symposium covers the science of welfare for shelter dogs, training, and canine aggression. Enjoy two days with some of the leading canine science minds with Julie Hecht, Monica Udell, Sheila D’Arpino, and Erica Feuerbacher. CCPDT and IAABC Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.
More Information: https://www.sfspca.org/get-involved/events/CSS2017

4. IAABC Animal Behavior Conference

When: Saturday, April 8-9, 2017
Where: Culver City, CA
Why: The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants has creatively merged their multiple species Conferences into one event. Choose to follow the Dog, Cat, Parrot, or Horse tracks, or pick and choose which presentations you’d like to join. The conference features speakers discussing the latest science, treatments, and protocols for managing and modifying behavior in all species.
(Read about our experience at the 2015 IAABC Conference.)
More Information: https://iaabc.org/conference/2017

5. DogEvent 2017

When: Thursday, April 14-17, 2017
Where: Rambouillet, France
Why: 4 days of dog training, behavior workshops, and demos on the outskirts of Paris! Each day has a theme: Clicker Training, Motivation, Aggression, Canine Sorts, and more. Speakers include Emily Larlham, Chirag Patel, Nando Brown, Denise Fenzi, and Lori Stevens. Presentations will be given in English.
More Information (in French): https://www.weezevent.com/dogevent-2017
More Information (in English): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dogevent-2017-tickets-27382612130?aff=es2

6. Animal Management Behavior Alliance (ABMA) Annual Conference

When: Sunday, April 23-28, 2017
Where: Cincinnati, OH
Why: The Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA) specializes in animal care and training through enrichment. This year’s theme is “Back to Basics: Crossing The Bridge Between Training and Conservation.” Conference locations include multiple zoos. This year’s keynote speaker will be Megan Parker, PhD, Co-founder & Director of Research, Working Dogs for Conservation discussing ways to use dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell to protect wildlife and wild places.
More Information: https://theabma.org/abma-annual-conference/

7. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy Training Camp

When: Thursday, June 22-25, 2017
Where: Linn County Expo Center, Albany, Oregon
Why: It’s back! The Ultimate Dog Sports Training Camp covers Obedience, Rally, Agility, Nosework, Freestyle, and Rally FrEe!  Join the energizing dog sports goddesses Denise Fenzi, Deb Jones, Hannah Branigan, Julie Flanery, Loretta Mueller, Nancy Gagliardi Little, Shade Whitesel, Amy Cook, Julie Symons, and Stacy Barnett for 4 days of fun. Work on heeling, scenting, retrieves, utilizing play to build motivation, and so much more. Priority registrations will be given to students that have previous enrollments in FDSA online courses.
More Information: http://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/camp

8. International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) Conference

When: Thursday June 22-25, 2017
Where: Davis, CA
Why: The International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) annual conference covers new and intriguing ideas in Human-Animal Interactions. The speakers and program for 2017 is pending. Stay tuned to the link below to keep up as this conference program develops.
More Information: http://www.isaz.net/isaz/conferences/

9. International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) Conference

When: Friday, August 7-10, 2017
Where: Aarhus, Denmark
Why: The International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) annual conference covers the presentation and discussion of advances in applied animal behaviour science and education and. The speakers and program for 2017 is pending, but topics include, Animal learning and cognition, Social behaviour of animals, Animal stress responses, and Human-animal interactions. Stay tuned to the link below to keep up as this conference program develops.
More Information: http://conferences.au.dk/isae2017/

10. APDT Annual Conference and Trade Show

When: Wednesday, October 18-21, 2017
Where: Richmond, Virginia
Why: You’re a professional dog trainer, this is your Association. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference is full of prestigious speakers and engaging seminars. The speakers and schedule for 2017 is still pending. This entry will be updated as information becomes available.
(Read about our experience as a volunteer APDT Border Collie.)
More Information: https://apdt.com/conference/


 

Why You Should Be Using #Hashtags

Why You Should Be Using #Hashtags

Dog Social Media

If you’ve spent any time on social media you’ve probably seen a hashtag. Each platform has its own hashtag culture, and some are better than others for growing engagement.

What is a Hashtag?

At its most basic, the hashtag acts like a preprogrammed search link. When you click it you are actually searching for multiple posts that have used that hashtag, whether you follow the person posting or not. The reverse is also true. If you post with a hashtag and someone clicks the link they will be able to see your post whether they follow you or not.
You can probably already see how you can grow followers and clients using hashtags. They allow you to reach new consumers.

There is a difference between a tag and a hashtag. A tag is mentioning another person or corporation or account on the social media platform you’re using. A hashtag is a sentence or sentiment in a string of words following a pound or hash sign: #.

Where can I use hashtags?

While Facebook allows you to use hashtags and have them work, they sort of counteract the privacy settings most users use on their personal accounts. In order for a hashtag to be seen outside your friends list the post has to be viewable by the public, which means changing your privacy settings or using them on your business page. However, studies show that hashtags on Facebook do not increase engagement, so best to spend time on other platforms. (Check out this eBook on Facebook Marketing Strategies to get the most out of that platform.)

Hashtags work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, and Google+. Choose one or two platforms to play with hashtags at first, otherwise it can be overwhelming. For instance Instagram adds “of instagram” to a lot of the hashtags. While Twitter might use #DeafDogs, Instagram will use #DeafDogsofInstagram. Spend some time searching for hashtags on your platforms and see how people are using them there.

Be sure not to overdo it. Hashtag soup is difficult to read and it can be confusing what conversation you’re joining. One or two hashtags is enough.

Let’s set some goals.

Promoting your own business. Promoting a cause or charity or sentiment. Promoting another entity like a school or member organization or corporation. The first two are probably self explanatory. Why would you want to promote an entity other than yourself? Because chances are pretty good that entity will retweet or share your post to their followers, getting you new followers.

Ways to use hashtags.

1. Get involved in an existing hashtag campaign.

National Day / Month campaigns are a great way to reach beyond your existing followers. Using hashtags like : #NationalPetDay or #AdoptADogMonth. APDT does their Train Your Dog Month in January. For 2017 they are promoting the hashtag #APDTTrainYourDogMonth2017.

You could post photos of classes, photos of training, posts promoting group classes, etc. and add the hashtag and join in the campaign to promote dog training.

Other events include AKC championships, national dog shows, learning and science conferences and webinars.

2. Create your own hashtag contest.

Photo contests are a tried and successful way to promote your business. That said, you’ll have a lot of competition in this arena. The idea is to promote a contest that participants can only join by using a hashtag. You can have entries use your business hashtag or something unique. #MyBusinessPhotoContest might get the job done, but if you want to think broader you might target your city location #AtlantaTrainMyDog or #AtlantaFreeGroupClass. You could target a type or breed of dog #TinyDogsAreAwesome or #PittiesAreAwesomeContest. Use your imagination and spend some time promoting the contest on your web page and social media channels for a few weeks before the contest begins.

3. Hashtag your location.

“Registration for Group Dog Classes in #Cincinnati starting today! Check it out!” And add a link to your registration page. In theory, you could also add a hashtag for #dog, however, remember the hashtag is a link to a preprogrammed search page, which means #dog and #dogs are two different searches. If you’re going to add a second hashtag you might need a few variants so you hit both result pages.

4. Hashtag for retweets.

This one is quite variable, so sit down and ponder a bit. Photos and positive mentions are more likely to be retweeted and shared.

An easy example of this one would be to post a photo of a team passing the Canine Good Citizen test. Along with the photo is “Congratulations to Riley on passing his #AKCCGC test! @AKCDogLovers” This one uses a variant of the CGC hashtag and tags the official AKC account. AKC retweets quite a few of these, so you have a good chance of getting shared with all of their followers. There are variations of the #CGC hashtag, #CGC, #CanineGoodCitizen, #AKCCanineGoodCitizen, etc. Do a search or two before posting. The higher tests can be more confusing, #AKCACGC or #AKCAdvancedCGC or #AKCAdvancedCanineGoodCitizen. Again, do some search and see which one has the most recent usage.

Another example would be to tag or hashtag a company which produces products you use and like. “Check out Riley rocking his #BalanceHarness and loose leash walking in class!” “Riley thinks peanut butter and #Kongs are a perfect match! @Kong” “Riley drools for the entire 3 minutes it takes to make @HonestKitchen #Zeal.”

You get the idea. The point of this one is to support those products you like by helping to promote them. Depending on whether or not they have a social media person that’s on the ball, your post may be shared or not. Give a tag or product hashtag a few a tries. If your post isn’t shared then move onto another entity to promote.

One of the easier ways to do this is to simply share posts from organizations. A share / retweet may get you a few “likes” and followers.

5. Promoting a cause or sentiment.

These usually have their own hashtags, but followers are loyal to these niche markets so some research on your part may be needed. #PibbleLove, #Tripawds, #DeafDogs #WhoAdoptedWho #RescuedDogsofInstagram are causes and sentiments you can use on social media. Do some searches of some of your favorite types of dogs to work with, some charities you like, some causes you support and make note of the hashtags they are using. This can be being part of a much bigger conversation, but your existing followers will get to see what you care about, what you promote, and that’s a good reason to hire you. You care.

A Few Final Hashtag Rules

  • Keep hashtags short. 20 characters should be the max.
  • Keep spelling accurate. Remember that things like contests may be passed verbally, so keep it “positive” not “pawsitive.”
  • If you don’t know what a hashtag is saying, don’t use it. You’ll see a lot of “trending” hashtags which are usually used for causes or sentiments. If you don’t know what it’s for either research it or don’t use it. Pushback for hijacking a hashtag is pretty brutal
  • Use tags and hashtags sparingly by switching between posts that use them and that don’t use them.
  • Join existing conversations. Participation goes both ways. If you’re just posting and not participating you probably won’t get very far. Share, reply, and comment on posts you like.
  • Be cautious of participating in political and religious causes.

Resources

RiteTag has a free search to check on how certain hashtags are doing. In-depth reports require a subscription, but the free version should get you started.

Dog Training Topic Calendar & Business Tips

Subscribe to The Modern Dog Trainer Blog to get our monthly dog training topic calendar for social media or blogging ideas. The calendar shows “National Month” and “National Days” so you can use those hashtags in your planning.

Don’t forget to let us know what you want to learn more about in the form below!

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