Top 10 Animal Training Conferences for 2016

The Ultimate Animal Training Conference Wish List for 2016

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Education, networking, adventure, and fun! Here are the best training and education conferences for you to attend in 2016. It was particularly difficult to whittle down the list this year. If your conference didn’t make the cut please post registration information in the comments! Conferences are listed in chronological order due to the author’s inability to decide which should be first.


ClickerExpo will be held in 3 locations throughout 2016. This year ClickerExpos have slightly different labs and workshops depending on the location.
Reno, Nevada
When: Friday, January 22-24, 2016
Where: Reno, Nevada
Why: New for 2016 are Educational Themes. Themes include: Trainer Skill Development, Teaching People, Aggression and General Behavior Management. Feel free to follow a single theme or skip around. There’s something for everyone! CCPDT, IAABC, and KPA Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.
More Information:
Cincinnati, Ohio
When: Friday, March 18-20, 2016
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio
Why: New for 2016 is a complete Equine Theme which includes Husbandry, Saddling, Trailer Loading, and much more! This is in addition to the Themes listed for Reno above.  CCPDT, IAABC, and KPA Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.
More Information:
ClickerExpo Europe
When: Friday, October 28-30, 2016
Where: Billund, Denmark
Why: The ClickerExpo 2016 schedule for Denmark has not been released yet. It will be released by 15 February 2016. The highlight so far? The conference is going to be held in the LegoLand Hotel!
More Information:

ORCA 8th Annual Art and Science of Animal Training

When: Saturday, February 20-21, 2016
Where: Dallas, Texas
Why: ORCA is now a two day event! This conference has become a staple for all animal trainers. Bringing together trainers and behavior analysts, the conference covers a broad spectrum of knowledge of animal behavior and how to get it. This year has two themes. Saturday will cover shaping behavior in both animal and human learners, and Sunday will cover concepts and tools for improving animal welfare and human-animal interactions. This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Iver Iversen, will discuss: “Selection and creation processes involved in shaping of novel behavior: Method and Theory.”
More Information:

Penn Vet Working Dog Conference

When: Friday, April 8-11, 2016
Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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 “Whole Dog 360: A multidisciplinary approach.” Individual topics will be addressed with a series of four (4) – ½ day sessions: Advancements in working dog health and medicine; Training the working dog using current scientifically-based methods; Implications of handler training on the successful working dog team; Driving progress in the working dog field through research & innovation. This year’s keynote speaker will be Ken Ramirez.
More Information:

IAABC Animal Behavior Conference

When: Saturday, April 9-10, 2016
Where: Anaheim, California
Why: The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants has creatively merged their Feline and Canine Conferences into one event. Choose to follow the Feline or Canine track, or pick and choose which presentations you’d like to join. The dual-track conference features speakers discussing the latest science, treatments, and protocols for managing and modifying behavior in dogs and cats.
More Information:

Animal Management Behavior Alliance (ABMA) Annual Conference

When: Monday, April 17-22, 2016
Where: Tampa, Florida
Why: The Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA) specializes in animal care and training through enrichment. This year’s theme is “Breaking Down Barriers: New Possibilities in Animal Welfare.” Conference locations include multiple zoos and a post conference trip to Natural Encounters. This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Susie Ellis of the International Rhino Foundation. Details will be posted as they are finalized.
More Information:

DogEvent 2016

When: Thursday, May 5-8, 2016
Where: Nice, France
Why: You’ve always wanted to see Nice and now you have an excuse! 4 days of dog training, behavior workshops, and demos. Each day has a theme: Shelter Dogs, Behavior Analysis, Training, Canine Nutrition, and Advanced Behavior Techniques. Speakers include Dr. Clive Wynne, Ken McCort, Jean Lessard, Nancy Tucker, and Dr. Jean Dodds. This conference has a limit of 100 attendees.
More Information:

Fenzi Dog Sports Academy Training Camp

When: Friday, June 19-22, 2016
Where: Purina Farms – Gray Summit, MO
Why: It’s bigger. It’s better. It’s at Purina Farms! The Ultimate Dog Sports Training Camp covers Obedience, Rally, Agility, Nosework, Freestyle, and Rally FrEe!  Join the dynamic dog sports goddesses Denise Fenzi, Deb Jones, Hannah Branigan, Julie Flanery, Loretta Mueller, Nancy Gagliardi Little, Shade Whitesel, Sue Ailsby, 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.
More Information:

Canine Science Forum

When: Tuesday, June 28-July 1, 2016
Where: Padova, Italy
Why: The CSF is a biannual event. This year’s topics include: Evolution of canines; Ecology and conservation of canines; Dogs and humans; Applied aspects of canine biology; Behavioural biology of canines; Cognition; Canine genetics and endo/phenotyping. The Forum also includes a Round Table on service dogs that will introduce some of the main issues related to service dogs and defining the needs and critical points of this area.
More Information:

APDT Annual Conference and Trade Show

When: Wednesday, October 12-15, 2016
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
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 2016 is still pending. This entry will be updated as information becomes available.
More Information:

Pet Professional Guild Educational Summit

When: Tuesday, November 8-11, 2016
Where: Tampa, FL
Why: The speakers and schedule for 2016 is still pending. This entry will be updated as information becomes available.
More Information:

Looking Forward to 2017 – WOOF! is Back!

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. Why look that far ahead? This baby is going to fill up fast! Speakers include Sean Pogson, Susan M. Schneider, Susan Friedman, Steve Martin and Chirag Patel. The full topics and speaker schedule is still pending. This entry will be updated as information becomes available.
More Information:


Training Camps and Workshops

In addition to the conferences, these training camps should be on every trainer’s Must Do list.

Terry Ryan Coaching People to Train Their Dogs
When: February 11-15th, 2015
Where: Waialua, Oahu
Why: Coaching People to Train Their Dogs is for anyone with an above average interest in dog training, animal training, and/or student instruction. This course is also for anyone who has read the book by the same name and wants to put it into practice.
More Information:

Bailey-Farhoody CHICKEN CAMPS
When: Summer 2016
Where: Columbia, MD
Why: Dogs are incredibly forgiving. If you want to test your training skills, train a chicken! Dr. Bob Bailey and Ms. Parvene Farhoody, MA, teach these Workshops using chickens as a behavior model in order to teach operant conditioning (OC) and applied behavior analysis (ABA) principles. The 2016 schedule is still pending.
More Information:

When: 2016
Where: Pending
Why: Training a chicken is a stretch and a boost to your mechanical skills. The average chicken is faster than the average dog, giving you a chance to improve your coordination and timing. The 2016 schedule is pending.
More Information:!chicken-workshops/cfvg

When: Monday, March 28 – April 1, 2016 and Monday, August 22-26, 2016
Where: Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL
Why: This is a full graduate course adapted to a one-week format for zoo training professionals. Although originally designed for zoo trainers, many dog trainers take the course each year. This course fills up early.
More Information:

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My Thoughts About The First PPG Summit

It was an honor to be a part of the historic, first-ever Pet Professional Guild Summit in Tampa, Florida, November 11, 12, and 13, 2015. I attended as a presenter (Training and Maintaining Therapy and Crisis Response Dogs) and as an attendee. The Pet Professional Guild provided me with a one-day registration for presenting and provided a Media Pass for the other two days so that I could share information on the Modern Dog Trainer blog.

World Renowned Presenters at the PPG Summit

Pet Professional Guild assembled an impressive group of knowledgeable and skilled force-free animal trainers to share their expertise with other trainers from around the world – Niki Tudge, Dr. Karen Overall, Chirag Patel, Emily Larlham, Pat Miller, Ken McCort, Jacqueline Munera, Dr. Soraya Juarbe Diaz, Pamela Johnson, Mark Hines, Angleica Steinker, Janis Bradley, Theresa McKeon, Laurie Schlossnagle, Diane Garrod, Lisa Morrissey, Shari Sprague, Diana Pappert, Scott Baggett, Nancy Tucker, Linda Michaels, Debra Milliken, Lara Joseph, Maureen Backman, Dr. Michelle Duda, JJ Bachant Brown, and Emily Cassell.

With so many sessions to choose from, it was difficult to decide what to attend. I finally decided to attend:

  • Dr. Overall’s keynote session with the opening by Niki Tudge
  • Chirag Patel – Shaping the Perfect Patient
  • Janis Bradley – That’s the Lab in Him. Breed Bias, a Distraction from the Dog in Front of You
  • Diane Garrod – Solving the Aggression Puzzle and Multi-Dog Household Aggression,
  • Pamela Johnson – Training Snake Aversion the Force-Free Way,
  • Lara Joseph – Online Behavior and Training Consultations and How They are Successful,
  • Linda Michaels – Understanding Research: Making the Case for Force-Free Training, and
  • Theresa McKeon – TAG Don’t Nag: Techniques to be Force-Free with the Humans in Your Life.

There were also panel discussions on Wednesday and Friday, but I did not attend those (on Wednesday I needed to let my brain rest and on Friday I left to fly home).

For me, two sessions really struck a cord with me – Chirag Patel and Theresa McKeon. In both of those sessions, I learned practical information that I will be integrating into my training, both personally and professionally. They were both excellent, organized, engaging presenters. I will be adding both of them to my list of must-see speakers!

Theresa McKeon’s session was especially wonderful. She created a comfortable atmosphere and allowed personal interactions through which I learned a lot. Overall, the PPG Summit was well organized and the speakers were prepared. Scheduling is a challenge at any conference and can make it difficult to attend every speaker you want to see. The sheer variety of speakers and topics was impressive and valuable.

Most attendees were privileged to session notes before the conference. I missed out on those emails, but Niki Tudge, the Founder of PPG, went above and beyond to make sure I received the notes once I asked about them!

Tampa was a great city to hold the conference. The weather was beautiful and travel was relatively quick and easy. The conference was held in both a hotel and in a convention center which made moving in between sessions time-consuming. Distance played a factor in deciding which sessions I would attend. There were so many interesting speakers and topics to choose from!

Conference Accommodations

The Sheraton Riverwalk Hotel staff had amazing customer service which made my stay very enjoyable. I was able to easily access WiFi in my hotel room and in the conference rooms (at the hotel) which we all know can be difficult to get when traveling!

It looked like there were some very interesting meals to be had in great company, but I was not able to attend them due to a break down in communication. Hotel meals and restaurant meals added up financially, not to mention missing out on stimulating discussions on animal behavior.


In the future, I hope to see more vendors attend the PPG Summit. There are a lot of opportunities to meet reputable people in the industry. The effort and planning that goes into an event, let alone a first-ever event, is enormous! Niki Tudge and her team put together a quality educational event for force-free trainers. Trainers came from all over the world to participate and to learn. The 2016 Summit is already being discussed and trainers are looking forward to attending.

It is often said that if you have two dog trainers the only thing they will agree on is that they disagree. The great thing about a conference of dog trainers is that while we still may disagree, we enjoy learning together and being able to be in the same place at the same time with other like-minded trainers. Thank you Pet Professional Guild for offering us this opportunity!!!

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The First Ever Force-Free Dog Training Summit

The First Ever Force-Free Dog Training Summit

PPG Summit logo

The Pet Professional Guild’s (PPG) inaugural educational convention is taking place in Tampa, Florida on November 11-13, 2015. Professional dog trainers with a strong conviction in their belief in force-free dog training will gather to learn about science-based training.

The PPG hopes to build greater awareness about the organization and increase collaboration between colleagues. Savvy pet owners are also encouraged to attend to learn about animal training methods that build communication between owner and animal. Veterinarians who attend will have networking opportunities and learn about force-free animal handling techniques.

The PPG has stood as one of the only organizations that strongly reject the notion of using force in any way to control and train animals. They widely advertise the fall out that shock, choke, fear-inducing, and force-full methods can create. As advocates for training methods, they encourage the use of techniques that motivate animals using positive reinforcement without any use of intimidation.

The Worlds Very First Force-Free Summit

The PPG’s Force-Free Summit is the very first of its kind.  Aside from the fact that all content will cover force-free and science-based animal training methods, the Summit will include a variety of educational and entertaining events for all members of the dog and pet industry.

“We can guarantee that our first-ever Force-Free Summit will be a milestone as far as advocating for force-free, positive training techniques is concerned,” said Niki Tudge, PPG president. “We can also guarantee a highly interactive and fun format for all who attend. We have placed a huge emphasis on formulating an educational event that offers a combination of lectures and working LABS, where industry professionals will have the opportunity to work with their pets under the guidance of a highly skilled mentor.”

The PPG Summit will feature more than 26 presenters over its three-day duration, and promises an enticing line-up of speakers and subject matter. World-renowned vet, applied animal behaviorist and author, Dr. Karen Overall, will deliver the keynote address, an unmissable presentation that will cover topics such as the canine brain, the neurobiology of reactivity and stress, assessing behavior and redefining humane behavioral care.

PPG Conference

Other speakers at Summit 2015 include a who’s who of behavior and training professionals:

  • Dr. Michelle Duda,
  • Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz,
  • Chirag Patel,
  • Ken McCort,
  • Jacqueline Munera,
  • Pamela Johnson,
  • Theresa McKeon,
  • Emily Larlham,
  • Pat Miller,
  • Nancy Tucker
  • Laurie Schlossnagle (Our very own Modern Dog Trainer Blog contributor!!!)
  • and many more, all of whom will contribute with lectures, working LABS, or smaller, more intimate, interactive sessions

This conference is sure to make some waves throughout the dog training industry. We look forward to hearing from Laurie about her experience as a presenter and attendee. She’ll be posting updates on The Modern Dog Trainer blog about the lectures, networking events, and accommodations so stay tuned!

Registrations for Summit 2015 are still open, with just a few spots left. Various packages are available to ensure delegates have a range of convention experiences and payment options to choose from. Continuing education units are available for PPAB, IAABC, CCPDT, KPA and PPG. For more information, see Force-free-Summit.

PPG Summit Updates

Laurie attended the PPG Summit as a speaker and as an attendee. Read about her experiences in these posts:

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