Clicker Expo was amazing! I find I am having a hard time putting into specific words what I learned as there is so much stuff still flowing through my brain and digesting. I need to print out the lecture notes and go through and make some notes and future goals. I attended mainly foundation series seminars and labs which are designed for newer clicker trainers.
I attended the following:
Ken Ramirez - Oops, What to do when mistakes happen seminar
Kathy Sdao - Understanding and applying shaping seminar and lab
Kathy Sdao - Developing cueing skills
Kay Laurence - World of targeting seminar and lab
Kay Laurence - The Al-lure of Luring lab
Michelle Pouliot - Hold it, Get it, Bring it, Give it (formal retrieve) seminar
Kay Laurence - Training with play lab
All of them were dynamic speakers with great passion for positive training and animals. I think that is one of the biggest things I take away from the weekend. There is obviously great science behind these training methods and I learned a lot about that but even more it is a mindset that there is a better way to get what you want. I also have great admiration (and a wee bit of envy) while watching these trainers with such amazing timing and understanding of the learning process. It inspires me to be more creative and to reach towards new goals.
I opted not to take a dog with me. It would have been to much for Riley I think and while Stella probably would have been fine I thought it was a lot to expect from an eight month old puppy. They were long days which would have meant lots of crate time and the working spots in the labs I attended had limited working time. I went with my trainer Heather who is a KPA graduate and she brought her dog so I had lots of opportunity for dog loving. I even saw my first real life wire haired vizsla. My dogs were well looked after at home and gave me a great greeting when I returned. Little Miss Stella was so excited that while I was greeting Riley the little brat actually nipped my butt to get my attention. Life with dogs is an adventure :o).
In honor of the clicker expo being held in Portland, Oregon here is a few pics of a year old Riley on a trip to the beaches of Oregon in 2007.