skdt blog

Brain Mush: ClickerExpo 2017

ClickerExpo was this past weekend and, though it's been a few days, my brain still feels like mush. But, in a good way!


ClickerExpo is a 3 day animal training conference that provides animal trainers (dog trainers, horse trainers, seal trainers, etc.) the opportunity to improve their training skills, learn some new tips and tricks, and keep up with all the latest in positive reinforcement. All of the sessions are presented by the world's leading experts in positive reinforcement animal training. So, in a nutshell, ClickerExpo is an animal training nerd's heaven. Well, at the very least, it's this dog training nerd's heaven.

I have had the pleasure and the privilege of attending ClickerExpo 2 years in a row now and this year was no different from last year: I left the conference with pages and pages of notes, a bunch of new ideas, and a sore brain from all the information I tried cramming into it in such a short span of time.

Pros of ClickerExpo

  • Everyone is welcome at ClickerExpo. Whether you use a clicker religiously (or not), you are a balanced trainer, or you've never heard of positive reinforcement, ClickerExpo welcomes you.

  • There's something for everyone to enjoy and learn from! There are sessions about training principles and about teaching techniques. And, as a small business owner, I especially appreciate the tips, tricks, and ideas I got from the sessions aimed at the owners of dog-related businesses!

  • There's plenty of science at ClickerExpo. While not usually high on people's lists of pros about, well, anything, science is extremely important in the dog training industry. Because it's an unregulated industry, there are all kinds of techniques, tactics, and tools out there for anyone to pick up and start using with their dogs. Keeping up with science and the latest research in dog training, learning principles, and behavior analysis allows do our best to reach the goal we all have: provide our SideKicks with the best training.

  • I always leave with so many new ideas and tips and renewed desire to be the very best dog trainer I can be!

  • Dogs. Everywhere. There were about 150 dogs attending the ClickerExpo this past weekend!

Cons of ClickerExpo

  • How do you choose just one book or just one toy to buy in the ClickerExpo store...? Most of the money I spent at ClickerExpo was for one of these two things. My furry SideKick sure benefited from my inability to pass up a good deal on dog toys with above average life spans.

  • It can be a bit of a hike to get there. This ClickerExpo was held in Stamford, CT - which is no stone's throw from Milwaukee, WI; the cost of travel and of staying in a hotel for the duration of the conference is likely a bit of a deterrent for everyday dog enthusiasts, which means the ClickerExpo is probably much more attractive to individuals already in the biz. Really, this could be solved by having a ClickerExpo right in my backyard every year (or every month...)!

  • So many dogs! This is normally not an issue, but when you're trying to furiously type nearly every word a presenter is saying and you're trying to soak in every bit of information you can, a cute puppy snoring on the floor next to you can be pretty distracting!

My biggest takeaways from this weekend: animals are so cool and can learn the most amazing things (including humans); I'm so excited to try some of the new things I learned; and I cannot wait for next year's ClickerExpo to do it all again.


Have fun training with your SideKicks! Until next time!

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