2015 APDT Conference – Day 2 Summary

2015 APDT Conference – Day 2 Summary

Before I get into today’s Speakers, I just want to report on what a great Conference this is! Everyone is so nice and friendly, I am rooming with Facebook friends, met lots of other friends as well as people I have interviewed. I am really enjoying the educational aspect of this Conference and the comradery of the Attendees.

2015 apdt conferenceDr. Stephen Ledoux

My first Speaker today, was Dr. Stephen Ledoux, his topic was – Introductory Behaviorology: A Book Discussion on his latest book – “Running Out of Time—Introducing Behaviorology to Help Solve Global Problems”.

I enjoyed Dr Ledoux easy way of talking with his interjections of humor and he was very approachable. He talked about the origins of this book, the contents, the purpose of this book and other books and how they relate to dog training and other companion animal behavior training , behavior science.   Attendees found out how the natural science of behavior was the common theme of many other behavior training books.

Newsletter Marketing: Help Dogs While Growing Your Business with Veronica Boutelle

My second Speaker was Veronica Boutelle, MA Ed., CTC of Dogtec fame, she talked about “Newsletter Marketing: Help Dogs While Growing Your Business”.

We learned about the different uses, audiences and goals of print and email newsletters. content and design,  guidelines, best practices.  Also covered was choosing an email marketing service provider, sourcing images, the structure of emails – short and sweet, whether to have a single topic or 2 to 4 topics, how often to produce your newsletter.  How to get readers by interviewing, featuring dogs and dog related businesses.

85% of content should be fun and informative while the other 15% should be info on your business – services, special discounts, upcoming events.  She also gave tips on how to maximize your chance of being read:

  • no lecturing,
  • short sentences,
  • using headers,
  • subheaders,
  • bullets and lists,
  • along with lots of photos – but watch that the dog shows the body language you want to convey.

I was so pleased to meet Veronica in real life since I had worked with her and Gina Phairas, when I won the APDT Business Makeover in 2013, she is as nice in person as she was to deal with online.

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2015 APDT Conference – Day One Summary

2015 APDT Conference – Day One Summary

My eyes opened up to darkness at around 6:00am and instantly I was excited when I realised I was in the Sheraton Dallas Hotel for the 2015 APDT Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show.  This is the first year I have attended and this is known as being a “Puppy”.

I made my way down to the Dallas Conference Room for the Opening Session & Welcome given by Amber 049 Burckhalter, Chair of the Board of Trustees, she welcomed the attendees and gave some random facts about Dallas – Barney the purple dinosaur from the very popular children’s tv show originated from Dallas along with German Chocolate Cake and the Margarita machine. She talked about the APDT Foundation and their Auction on Friday.

She handed over to the Treasurer – Robin Bennett, CPDT-KA who reported that the APDT’s pre-audit figures as at June 30th, 2015 accounts were in good standing. Casey Lomonaco, KPA CTP, the Secretary advised of the two new Board Members – Nick Hof and Megan Armstrong CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA.

The 2015 Award Members are as follows –

Members of the Year – for the first time that Casey knows of there were two winners – Sandy Crosby, CPDT-KA and Dae Grodin, CPDT-KA.

APDT Scholarship Winners – Mary Fish Arango, MA, Med, Dawn Gardner, CPDT-KA, Samantha Schinder, MA.

Dogwise Shelter – Scholarship Winner – Kim Imel, LVT, CPDT-KA.

Casey & Amber were both presented with a gift for their dedication and hard work.

Amber issued a Challenge to the attendees – Make an Impact – find 3 things from the Conference and take them home to make a difference.

2015 APDT Conference – Keynote Speaker

The keynote speaker was Stephen Ledoux, PhD whose topic – Helping our Canine Friends by Helping Ourselves with Science. His talk highlighted some characteristics of behaviorology, the natural science of behaviour, that enable us to apply it in ways to benefit our canine friends.052

He talked about how to keep magical approaches to behaviour separate from scientific approaches and how to avoid a variety of unhelpful, fictional explanations of behaviour.

Scientific approaches:

Genetics – about the structural foundation of behavior

Physiology – about HOW behaviour happens or occurs

Behaviorology – about WHY behaviour happens or occurs

a. Sample – Recombination of repertoires

i. “Self-Concept”
ii. “Insight”

b. Sample – Concept formation

c. Sample – Complex behaviour

i. Multiple stimuli – affect multiple responses
ii. Coincidental reinforcers and superstitious behaviour
iii. The Law of Cumulative Complexity

The general relation of brain structures to behaviors of consciousness in humans and canine species.

Linda P Case, MS – Beware The Straw Man: Fact, Fiction & Science in the Dog Training World

1. Understand the way in which the scientific method is applied in canine science. Identify important components of a well-designed study.

2. Identify and assess various sources of information, including the “evidence pyramid” of science.

3. Appreciate and assess a research study example case – the effectiveness of “Touch then Treat” training.

Scientific Evidence Pyramid088

Systematic Review
Randomized Controlled Studies with Dogs
Case Studies & Case Reports with Dogs
In vitro studies, research in other species

Linda Case then went into an example of a recently published study which examined a technique called “Touch then Treat”, a popular training and behaviour modification technique. This study was evaluated along with the results, the relevance of the results and the how further studies were needed to help -trainers, pet professionals and dog owner make well-informed, evidence-based decisions for their dogs.

Roger Abrantes, PhD – The Evolution of Canine Social Behavior207

This very interesting talk covered the differences between aggressive, fearful, dominant and submissive behaviour, the variety of expressions in wolves, jackals, foxes and the domestic dog, the greeting, bonding, friendliness parental behaviour, mating strategies. Attendees learnt about dog body language, how to distinguish between closely related but different behaviors, and how to interpret dog behavior based on science rather than popular myths.

Day 1 is now over and my brain is already fried. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

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Countdown To The APDT 2015 Conference

Countdown To The APDT 2015 Conference


In less than one week, I will be traveling all the way from Barbados (a tiny island in the APDT Dallas TexasCaribbean) to attend the Association of Professional Dog Trainers’ Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show, which will be held from Wednesday, October 14 to Saturday, October 17, 2015, in Dallas, Texas, USA.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers goal is to promote better trainers through education, and they welcome all trainers in their pursuit of learning modern, scientifically-based training methods.

It was through the APDT that I met positive reinforcement trainers, which started me on my journey to crossing over and I am most grateful to them for this.

Can I say how excited I am??? It will be my first APDT Conference and I have the honor of blogging for The Modern Dog Trainers Website. I get to attend some fantastic presentations by well known and reputable Speakers  –

  • Dr. Stephen Ledoux
  • Dr. Roger Abrantes
  • Dr. Cynthia Otto
  • Veronica Boutelle
  • Gina Phairas
  • Linda Case
  • Charlene Woodward
  • Sue Sternberg
  • Sarah Fulcher

Check out this link for a complete list of Speakers – https://apdt.com/conference/speakers/

There will be live animal workshops where people get to actually work with guinea pigs in Dr. Roger Abrantes’ Scent Detection Workshop; Dr. Lore Haug’s IAABC Workshop – Advanced Behavior Techniques & Practices; working with dogs at the Dallas SPCA to learn new skills or hone their current skills in Teoti Anderson’s Desensitization & Counter Conditioning; Lisa McCluskey’s Troubleshooting Aggression/Anxiety; Sue Sternberg’s On Leash Dog-Dog Encounters.  These Live Animal Workshops have a separate registration fee.

There are also short presentations throughout the day called APDT Shorts. Speakers will be talking about a wide variety of subjects from Aggression, Behaviorology, Business & Marketing, Dog Body Language, Euthanasia, Food, Stress, Science and so much more.APDT TEXAS

I’m suffering from “too much choice dilemma” since I don’t know who I want to see as yet. So I have to sit down, take a look at all the presentations and see which ones to attend that I can learn and benefit from the most. I really wish I could see ALL the speakers live.

But the good news is that if you want to get all the latest information and earn CEUs, you can buy their DVDs at https://apdt.com/conference/dvd/ or receive access to the Online Library at https://apdt.com/conference/streaming/

When you arrive at the conference hotel, the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, you need to check in at the Registration Desk to pick up your packet and you can ask them any questions.

Not only are the educational benefits diverse, but there are lots of opportunities to network, too:

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Puppy Bingo
  • Click-it With a Ticket
  • Brochure and Business Card Contests

There is also the Trade Show and Exhibit Hall and I am going to enjoy browsing through and buying the books, DVDs, dog toys and other products which will be on show. Hope I don’t go over my 50 lb limit for my suitcase.

I know I am certainly looking forward to learning new things and meeting Facebook friends and people I have interviewed. Have I mentioned before that I am soooooooooo excited? LOL.

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Preparing For The APDT Conference in Hartford

Preparing For The APDT Conference in Hartford

APDT conference

Finding Roommates

The APDT Community has a specific discussion thread about finding roommates for the APDT Conference. Having a roommate makes the trip and stay more affordable and fun! Roommates allow you to network efficiently by meeting friends of friends as you experience the conference together. Log on to the APDT Community to connect with several attendees that are currently searching for roomies!

Planning Your Conference Schedule

The APDT Conference is jam packed with a variety of speakers all four days. Unfortunately, you will have to pick and choose which speakers you’ll want to go see since many speak at the same time. Take a look at the Agenda for an idea of who is speaking when. This year, some of the speakers you’ll get to choose from are:

  • Patricia McConnell
  • Ray Coppinger
  • Christopher Pachel
  • Ian Dunbar
  • Sue Sternberg
  • Robin Bennett
  • Gail Fisher
  • Rise VanFleet
  • And so many more!

There is so much learning to be had and the possibilities are endless! You may want to plan ahead or you can meet some friends and tag along with their plans. After all, networking is one of the greatest benefits of attending any kind of professional conference.

Planning Your Meals

There are several quality restaurants located near the Conference. Here are the best rated restaurants within walking distance from the conference center:

  1. Ted’s Montana Grill
  2. Front Street Bistro
  3. DISH Restaurant (New American Cuisine)
  4. The Capital Grille
  5. ON20 (New American Cuisine)


Anytime you go to a new city, even if it is work related, it is important to check out some of the unique and entertaining features that you can discover. In Hartford, there are a few “must see” attractions you might want to slip away to while you’re in town.

Have you created a plan for your trip to the APDT conference this year? Which seminars or workshops do you consider “must see” events? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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