I am going to clicker expo in Portland at the end of January. I really had wanted to attend this for months but the responsible, practical side of me said I really couldn't afford to do it. However it appears the stars have aligned and thanks to an incredibly generous offer I will be attending with my trainer Heather. I am very excited!
Dog "training" is relatively new to me. When we got Lucy 15 years ago I did the regular basic obedience course (complete with choke chain) and that was it. She was a mostly well behaved dog and fit into out lives well. She had some issues (hated little dogs) but they were very predictable and managed fairly easily. When Riley came along I was a bit more interested in training and my main goal was a dog who came when he was called and got along with any dog or person. Those are probably the same goals of 90% of pet owners. We did puppy class, intermediate and advanced pet dog classes and even did some tracking courses. All of those things went very well and I was pretty darned proud of myself and my "well-trained" dog. When Riley hit about 1.5 years of age he went though a terrible teenager phase and he began to ignore me and developed some agressive tendancies (on leash etc.) towards some other dogs. This is very common teenage behaviour but it really threw me for a loop. I was so sure I had done everything right! Truth is I did do most things pretty well but also got complacent and figured we had done enough training. We got away with that with Lucy and people everywhere get away with it with some other dogs but Riley wasn't that dog. I needed to fix things or end up with a bunch more issues to manage for the rest of his life.
That started me about three years ago on my path to learn more about training. It began as just trying to help my dog and developed into a new interest that I needed in my life. There is a ton of information out there and I finally feel like I am discovering what is comfortable for me and how I want my relationships with my dogs. Riley loves to "work" with me and Stella is a wonderful new partner that I am sure will teach me all sorts of new stuff. I have more knowledge now but learning really is a lifelong process and I am just starting into the world of dog sports. Clicker expo is another step in my learning process and I am very grateful to be going.