ClickerExpo 2013: My head is still spinning!

I arrived back in Texas late yesterday after spending three days in Stamford, Connecticut at ClickerExpo. ClickerExpo is a twice yearly conference organized by Karen Pryor Clicker Training. This year’s conference was a blast. Of course, it’s going to be a fun time when you bring 500 positive trainers together and offer three full days of presentations and demonstrations by the country’s top animal trainers. I had a great time and my head is still spinning with all of the information that I crammed into it over the weekend.

I almost thought I wasn’t going to make it to ClickerExpo, as the Midwest and Northeast got a huge snow storm at the end of last week! Luckily, most of the snow held off until I made it. But, the first night that I was there, Stamford got hit with a good several inches of snow.

I had a lovely walk in the snow the next morning with several of my horse clicker training friends, Katie, Laurie, and Jane. Of course, we talked about training on our walk!

One of my favorite parts about ClickerExpo is getting to meet and talk with the other participants. I got to catch up with lots of old friends, as well as meet plenty of new ones. Also, it is always a lot of fun to get to meet in person many of the people who I know from groups and forums online.

I’ll be posting my notes from ClickerExpo on my blog over the next several weeks. I went to about 10 presentations, so I have quite a few notes to get organized and posted on my blog.

The hardest part about ClickerExpo is always picking which sessions to attend. During every time slot, there are three different lectures and two different hands on laboratory sessions (where participants actually get to work with their dogs). And, the sessions don’t repeat! So, you really have to pick carefully, as there is no way to see everything.

I saw presentations by Kay Laurence, Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, Michele Pouliot, Eva Bertilsson, Emelie Johnson Vegh, Dr. Susan Friedman, and Cecilie Koste. The photo above is from one of Michele Pouliot’s lab sessions, which was called “Better, Faster, Smarter: Competition Training with Platforms.” This was a really interesting session and definitely one that I plan to write about on my blog. I saw a presentation by Michele several years ago about platform training, so it was fun to get to see platform training in action this year.

This was the 10th anniversary of ClickerExpo! We celebrated Saturday night with a big cake and a round of “Happy Birthday to ClickerExpo.” In the photo below, the ClickerExpo faculty all posed around the cake, before blowing out the candles.

I’ve heard that the first ClickerExpo was pretty small and only had 40-50 attendees. It’s amazing to see how much it has grown in 10 years. I think it will be really exciting to see how the positive training world continues to grow and evolve in the next 10 years.

At the opening reception Thursday evening, the event staff was passing out leis. When I got home last night, I let Ginger dog try on the lei. (Ginger did not get to go to ClickerExpo. She would have been completely overwhelmed by that many dogs and people.) Ginger wasn’t entirely sure what to think about the lei, but was happy to wear it in exchange for some of the free treats that I got from Bravo! at the Expo.

Keep an eye on the Conference and Clinics Notes page over the next few weeks. As I post my ClickerExpo notes to my blog, I will add links on that page to each post.

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