It’s a wet dreary Monday in San Francisco, I didn’t get much sleep last night and I’ve got loads of work staring me down. But I’m in a terrific mood. This week I’ll be attending my very first APDT conference in Oakland!
APDT stands for Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the largest professional association of dog trainers in the world. APDT was founded in 1993 by Dr. Ian Dunbar, a veterinary behaviorist, expert dog trainer, and a giant in the field of positive dog training. APDT’s mission is to promote caring relationships between dogs and people by educating trainers in canine behavior and emphasizing professionalism and reward-based training. The annual conference is attended by thousands — trainers, behaviorists, shelter workers and other dog service professionals — from all over the country and the globe.
Confession time: I’m a doggy geek and I’m proud! I love to learn. High up on my list of favorite subjects is dog behavior, animal learning theory and the science of applied behavioral analysis. That’s one of the reasons I’m so jazzed about attending the APDT conference. It’s an educational mecca for doggy geeks like me. For five packed days, expert trainers and behaviorists will present the best most state-of-the-art information on dog behavior and training. We’ll learn about the latest research on canine cognition, the present and future of positive dog training, strategies for modifying aggressive behavior, and an entire day will be devoted to exploring the complex arenas of canine fear and anxiety.
Besides the seminars there’s a trade show showcasing the latest dog gear, products, toys, food, and training equipment. And last but certainly not least, the conference will be a great place to meet fabulous dog trainers.
I’ve come a long way since I first picked up a clicker years ago and trained my cat Ted to sit, head butt me, and wave. Since then, I’ve racked up countless hours as a shelter volunteer, worked in puppy day care, graduated from the SF SPCA’s Academy for Dog Trainers, worked as a shelter dog trainer, taught many dog training classes, and worked with private training clients. I’ve learned plenty, but there’s always more to learn. Much like my dog when he sees the clicker, I’m practically salivating at the thought of attending the conference. I can’t wait to learn all that I can there, and to share it here with readers, with my lovely canine clients and their human guardians.
As I count down to Wednesday, I’ll try hard not to drool.