Saturday Morning Session Descriptions

Working teams will each choose one morning and one afternoon lab during registration.

9:00 – 10:40

Disc Foundations Lab with Sara Brueske: Experience Level – All

Does your dog love toys? Let’s turn that toy drive into disc drive! This lab will focus on the foundation skills needed to compete in a disc dog competition. You will learn how to properly throw a disc, how to teach your dog to bring the disc back as well as flat work for strategy games and freestyle. Come get your disc dog on and see what one of the fastest growing dog sports is all about! 

Reinforcement Games for Opt-in Performance Lab with Julie Flanery: Experience Level – All

Most training issues can be resolved by assessing and adjusting timing, criteria and reinforcement.  While we often work hard to increase our timing skills, observation and communication of criteria, it’s reinforcement that drives behavior.  Being able to recognize whether you are providing “free food” or reinforcement, creating an increase in the quality or frequency of behavior is essential to efficient and effective training.  Understanding how we may be adding or diminishing value in our rewards allows us to use reinforcement that increases motivation, attitude and criteria while speeding the learning process.  In this session you will learn both fun games and reinforcement strategies that increase the quality of our dog’s learning experience, creating an opt-in attitude as well as how to avoid some of the more common reinforcement mistakes that can hinder our dog’s progress and affect emotional states during training. 

Pocket Hand Heeling Lab with Denise Fenzi: Experience Level – All

Pocket hand is a way of teaching heeling that allows your dog to use the angle and position of your hand to develop and maintain an exceptionally precise heel position. You’ve heard people talking about “pocket hand” for heeling, and now you get to see it in action!  This technique will work just as well for retraining a 10-year-old dog as starting an eight-week-old puppy. If you’d like to learn more about using pocket hand, join Denise in this lecture and lab and have your dog heeling with finesse in no time!

Agility Getting Ahead Lab with Loretta Mueller:  Experience Level – Novice and Above

Are you always behind? Do you need to work on trusting your dog to do their job so you can move onto the next obstacle? In this session we will work on plans to not get behind so we can direct our dogs around the course efficiently. Are there skills that you need to teach your dog that will help you not be so far behind? We will identify those things that keep you from staying ahead of your dog.

Mind Your Beeswax Lab with Sarah Stremming: Experience Level – All

Hyper-social dog? Maybe a little worried about people or other dogs? Teach your dog the vital skill of default handler-attention in the face of social pressure.  This skill is vital for managing dogs in tight show spaces, hotel hallways, and just real life! 

Emotional Caretaking: Predict and Prevent Stress with Amy Cook – Lecture Only

Fitting a dog into a human world sometimes requires that we look out for the places where what dogs want and what humans want may clash. With clash comes stress, and we can prevent all that! What are some of the key places where being proactive can make a big difference? Come learn new ways of thinking about socialization to the world and to people (puppies and adults!), fear prevention, and importantly, how to soften the blow when you can’t give them the choices they want! Let’s be the best emotional caretakers we can be!

The Business End of the Dog: Marketing101 with Melissa Breau – Lecture Only

Do you run your own pet-related business? If you’re a dog trainer, groomer, or another pet professional with your own business and you struggle with marketing, this session is for you. Whether you’re new and trying to figure out where to start, have been marketing your business for a while and just aren’t seeing results, or have enjoyed a ton of success but need to figure out what’s working and what’s not, in this lecture/lab we’ll cover where most people go wrong, evaluate what’s working for you now (and what’s not), and discuss new ideas for improving the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of how marketing works and new ideas for bringing in new clients.

11:00 – 12:40

Handler Choice Lab with Deb Jones: Experience Level – All

Focus, Zen, Cooperative Care, Tricks, Retrieves, Rally, Obedience or whatever you would like!  Join Deb for some one-on-one time to work on whichever skill you need.

Heeling Handler Choice Lab with Shade Whitesel: Experience Level – All

Working spots will work one-on-one with the instructor to improve their heeling skills.  

Advanced Luring with Michele Pouliot Lab:  Experience Level – All

When clicker training first began spreading throughout the dog training community, the idea of luring behavior was considered a “no-no.” It was felt that “true clicker trainers” never used lures. Presently, more trainers are realizing the power available in well applied lures. Effective lure use and an organized process for omitting the need for a lure can become a power tool for any dog trainers’ toolbox. Michele will demonstrate the skills involved for effective luring in a positive reinforcement program, including the advanced luring skills every dog should know.

Agility Walking the Course Lab with Nancy Gagliardi Little: Experience Level – All

Do you walk courses and find that you don’t execute those handling decisions when you run your dog because you are not in position or you mistimed a turning cue?  Then this session is for you.  Learn how to use those 8 minutes of your walk through to develop a plan that you can successfully execute.  Teams will then have a chance to run the course with feedback.

Progressing Your Dog’s Fitness and Conditioning Lab with Lori Stevens: Experience Level – All

You will learn how to progress fitness exercises safely and effectively. Topics and activities will include reinforcement strategy, position resets, getting and keeping proper alignment, and how to empower your dog during fitness training.  Lori will coach working teams through hands-on exercises that will include assessing and improving your dogs’ alignment and how and when to progress the exercises. Join Lori as she teaches you how to get your dog fit. 

Nosework – Building a Thinking Nosework Dog Using Memory Lab with Stacy Barnett: Experience Level – Intermediate/Advanced

Using the way dogs think is the next frontier in training search dogs.  In this lab, teams will understand the role that memory plays in making searches more efficient and will learn how to avoid pitfalls when the role of memory is TOO strong!  Teams will learn how to strike a balance between memory and the nose. Dogs in working spots should be confident in finding multiple hides in novel search areas.

Concept Training with Heather Lawson – Lecture Only 

Does your dog really know his left from his right?  How about finding a matching object? Can he even count?  You bet he can. If you’re interested in elevating your training game, introducing new ways to use foundation skills or in finding a way to stretch your dog’s brain, then come join Heather on an adventure into the realm of concept training.  You’ll be amazed at how your dogs can grasp what are seemingly, at least to us, the very difficult concepts of matching to sample, modifier cues; understanding left/right, large/small, and even, yes, counting also known as quantity recognition.  You’ll be amazed at how transferable skills learned through concept training can help you in other dog sports.