Choosing Your ClickerExpo Courses
ClickerExpo 2019, in Portland & Washington DC, features 6 simultaneous courses during almost every time slot throughout 3 days, plus 3 Plenary Sessions—for a total of more than 75 choices!
There are courses available for every experience level and nearly every area of interest. This guide will help you navigate your choices and make the most of your ClickerExpo experience. You do not need to reserve a seat for most courses, so you can register without knowing your full schedule.
Follow these easy steps to make the right course choices!
1. Define Your Interests
Interested in courses on a particular topic? Each of the courses in the program has one or more identifying topics that indicate the focal point(s) of the course. Here is a summary of these identifying topics and their meanings:
Aggression & Behavior Management
Courses relevant for people working with behavior issues including, but not limited to, management of reactivity and aggression
Courses for professional trainers looking to sustain and grow their businesses
Canine sports and competition courses
Courses developed specifically for horse trainers and owners
Health & Wellness
Courses related to optimal health and wellness practices, including canine conditioning
Courses that look at skill-building and knowledge through the lens of behavioral science
Shelter & Rescue Work
Issues common to shelter and rescue work
Training skills and knowledge critical to trainers’ continued skill development
Skills and knowledge related to teaching people
Skill development and knowledge useful in veterinary environments
Covering a range of topics (for example, ClickerExpo’s opening and closing presentations)
Course offered by one of the conference sponsors
2. Assess your skill and
Understanding the experience-level rating helps you know what to expect, and know what is expected of you!
Not all of your courses have to be at the same level; your selection should depend on your experience within the given topic. Read the full course description for the most complete understanding of a course's relevance and appropriateness for you.
- Some All Levels courses give attendees the opportunity to explore aspects of training and behavior to which they rarely have access.
- Other All Levels courses are appropriate for everyone because they teach a set of skills or provide information that everyone needs but few have developed.
- Still other All Levels courses address a specialty topic that will be interesting and informative no matter what your experience level.
Foundation courses are intended for attendees not yet familiar with and comfortable applying the basic methods and science of positive reinforcement training.
Students may already have had some formal education and may have some experience in animal training. Even if you are an expert in a related field, such as veterinary medicine, the Foundation rating refers solely to your training expertise and, in particular, to your knowledge of, and experience applying the science, tools, and methods of positive reinforcement training.
Intermediate courses are intended for attendees with a working knowledge of the vocabulary of clicker training and operant conditioning.
Students should have already learned to train basic behaviors with a marker signal, know how to put behaviors on cue, and have several behaviors with their dogs solidly on cue.
Note that Intermediate Learning Labs often require that participating dog-and-handler teams have specific training and skills.
Advanced courses are intended for students with a solid understanding of learning theory and the vocabulary of training and operant conditioning, as well as considerable experience in applying these techniques.
Advanced courses assume that attendees teach behaviors through shaping and targeting routinely, have many behaviors reliably on cue, have built small behavior chains, and know how to rename cues.
Note that the dog you work with in an Advanced Learning Lab should be accustomed to the shaping process and know how to initiate behavior and try new things without prompting or luring. Learning Labs often require participating dog-and-handler teams to have specific training and skills. Please do not try to work with less experienced dogs in these Labs.
3. Review the program
ClickerExpo offers two distinct types of courses: Sessions and Learning Labs. The availability of and relationship between lecture-style classes and hands-on training with our expert faculty members is one of the things that make ClickerExpo unique.
- Sessions are open seating, so you can register for the conference without knowing your full schedule!
- You must reserve spots in Learning Labs ahead of time. These spots are limited so we recommend that you reserve your Lab spots when you register. (This is especially true if you are coming with and planning on working with your dog!)
- If you are new to clicker training, please consider taking Foundation Level classes for at least the first two days of the conference.
- Open seating. Unlimited access to Sessions is included with your registration.
- Sessions are a primary teaching vehicle at ClickerExpo. Sessions are delivered by ClickerExpo faculty members in dynamic, multimedia presentations via lecture, on-stage demonstrations, video, and PowerPoint. Some Sessions may include participation exercises for individuals or small groups.
- Some Sessions have two parts. You may attend just one part, but we encourage you to attend both. In some cases, a Session has a supporting, related Learning Lab that you may want to attend either as a participant or as an observer.
- You must register for any spot in a Learning Lab before arriving at ClickerExpo, as space is limited. We recommend that you choose Learning Labs during your registration in order to have the widest choice.
- Learning Labs provide an opportunity to work with your dog or to observe others working with dogs under the tutelage of the ClickerExpo faculty.
- There is a $12.95 fee for each dog/handler spot in a Learning Lab. Observer and participant spots are complimentary.
- Learning Labs are limited to no more than 14 dog/handler teams (and are often limited to 4-6 teams). ClickerExpo faculty members lead these Labs; often, other Expo faculty members or KPA Certified Training Partners assist.
- Many Learning Labs are based on concepts presented in a preceding Session. Labs that are linked to Sessions have "In Action" in their titles; and the corresponding Session will be listed as a prerequisite for the Lab. Note that the prerequisite Session is only a requirement if you are a participant in the Lab, but Lab observers are strongly encouraged to attend the Session as well.
- Learning Lab faculty members assume that participants have attended the prerequisite Session, if there is one. Please do not register to participate in a Lab if you do not plan to take the prerequisite Session.
- There are Learning Labs that are not directly linked to Learning Sessions; these Labs offer great exploratory learning opportunities.
- There are some Learning Labs for humans only. Be sure to read course descriptions fully.
Three-day attendees may register for up to 4 Learning Lab spots, two-day attendees for up to 2 Learning Lab spots, and one-day attendees for 1 Learning Lab spot.