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Hello everyone! So as of today, ClickerExpo is officially 50 days away! I am extremely excited, I have been counting the days since I registered in November!
I opted to do the beginner/Foundation Curriculum, so in addition to the lectures/seminars I will be doing the following labs:
  • You're in Great Shape: Understanding and Applying Shaping
  • What a Cue Can Do: Developing Cueing Skills
  • Love it! Effective Non-food Reinforcement
Both dogs will be coming with us, but Heidi and husband will be checking out the city, and Levi will be my main guy during the day.

So with all that in mind, I have one main issue: the dogs get way too aroused in exciting/dog-heavy environments. This is 100% my fault, as my husband and I have not always been consistent. (In a rush to get somewhere, just let them pull, we need to go!) However, if I want them to come to ClickerExpo (and classes, agility trails, pet stores...) they need to know what my criteria is, and I need to be more consistent. Fifty days is a decent stretch of time, and I'm not expecting perfection, and I'm anticipating some slip ups while there, I think we could make some major strides.

With that in mind, I've thought of a list of places to practice in, at least once a day for 10-15 minutes. I'm going to be using the 300 Peck method, since we have had the largest amount of success with. I've ranked them according to colour difficulty (green being fairly easy, orange more difficult, and red being a spot that is very difficult for them):
-Basement
-Backyard
-Front Yard
-My Street
-Front Road (main street, lots of cars, minimal pedestrians/dogs)
-Malden Park (Great walking trails, fair amount of people, more dogs, but all on leash)
-PetValu/PetSmart
-Training Facility
-Dog Park (Very difficult, dogs running, barking, off leash outside of park)
-Brand New Environments (Only for the first several minutes)

My plan for these places are to simply go and practice. The dog park in particular, I think I'd like to go and do a loop or two around the outside and not even enter the dog park, is this a good idea, or would they consider it a punishment to go and then not actually get to go inside?

Any thoughts/advice/suggestions are always welcome! I'll try to upload some videos so you can see where I'm reinforcing/you can watch me almost die as the dogs drag me towards the park
 

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Clicker expo is a blast! Have fun! The line up looks great this year. :)

I think your plan sounds pretty good.

Do keep in mind though that big events like clicker expo really arepacked with people and dogs. And it's a really long weekend for both dogs and people. I took Penny in the past to clicker expo and Dexter over summer to Ferretpalooza.

In addition to llw, make sure you have a super solid settle on mat and crate training. Levi may well need breaks in your hotel room if you want him fresh all weekend for your working labs. I would actually give him those breaks each day, even if he seems ok.

As he is larger, get into labs and lectures a bit early and choose seating strategically. Choose a spot a bit out of the way so you won't need to constantly move him for people. And since excited by dogs, pick a spot a bit away from others. I
tend to take spots on an end near the back unless it's a working lab (checked in and sat in front). Just incase I felt my dog needed to potty or something.

Manage really well. Keep him on a super short leash when moving from one area to another. Don't let him stare at or fixate on other dogs. Keep yourself between him and other dogs when needing to pass especially in tight spaces.

It's been my experience that most people are good about managing their dogs and respectful of others space at events like this. But it's crowed. Really crowded. Last time I went to clicker expo there were 500+ people and just under 200 dogs iirc. This was a couple years ago so may have the numbers wrong. But it was something like 1/3 of people attending had one or more dogs with them.

Bring plenty of stuff to entertain the dogs with. Kongs and stuffing, favorite chews...
When I go to stuff like this all food is either a stuffed kong in a crate or training rewards.

Anyway, seriously have a blast! I'm bummed I can't go this year. So I'm jealous of you!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
@kmes - Thank you! I really am excited, I cannot wait how quickly it's come up.

He has a very good mat/crate cue, but we have been working on the settle/relaxation portion of it. Right now, he's quite alert, waiting for his next cue, so I will add that to our repertoire daily. That's a great idea about giving him a break, I think I will for sure, especially since my husband is coming with me to help out.

I will bring lots of Kongs/long-lasting reinforcers, that's a great idea, and awesome ideas about choosing seats!

I'll be sure to post lots of pics and lots of posts when I get back! :D
 

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I have no advice related to a specific conference like this, but I can say, I found when I went to our state wide trial that was PACKED, as much as you think you'll be walking on a loos leash (Roxie has an excellent LLW when Forbes isn't around), I actually found myself walking through the halls with a lot less leash then we are use to, even going so far as grabbing her collar to walk through heavily populated area. I would practice a lot of walking by your side, watching you (keeping eye contact) and moving through tight areas. And honestly, I would also work on being able to walk with holding his collar (I didn't even consider this, but seeing what I had to walk through and finding out that I wasn't allowed to use a gentle leader, it was really my only option that I felt comfortable with).

Also, something I've struggled with that you may be able to work on at the stores. The bathroom. Nature of the beast is you are going to have to use the bathroom a few times during these few days. Practice bringing Levi into a bathroom or stall with you. I've done it with Roxie and recently discovered it's something I am going to have to work on with Forbes.
 

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@jclark343 - oh great ideas! Levi is pretty good on the collar-grab (Thank you Susan Garrett), but I would have never thought of using the bathroom. He does follow me into our bathroom at home, so hopefully he will adjust well.
 
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@jclark343 - oh great ideas! Levi is pretty good on the collar-grab (Thank you Susan Garrett), but I would have never thought of using the bathroom. He does follow me into our bathroom at home, so hopefully he will adjust well.
Ah! One would think! Forbes has to come in with me every time I pee and place his head on my leg. I had thought he would be fine in a stall as well. Wrong. I took him into the Petsmart bathroom because I had to pee before we went for a walk and he FLIPPED.
 

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Ah! One would think! Forbes has to come in with me every time I pee and place his head on my leg. I had thought he would be fine in a stall as well. Wrong. I took him into the Petsmart bathroom because I had to pee before we went for a walk and he FLIPPED.
I'm officially going to try going to the bathroom at PetSmart tomorrow.
 
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Ditto jclark on the collar! Lots of big dog owners do walk with collar in hand to keep their dog right next to them and leash in opposite hand. I have also seen flyball type collars with handle or a tab lead (same handling as collar just holding tab lead or handle instead of flat collar).

Something else to be prepaired for is the smaller dog owners carrying their dogs in carriers or in their arms. Also carriers on the ground (prevent sniffing) and dogs on laps.

I often carry my guys in my arms in crazy crowds since it lets me get around quicker and without worry of my guys getting stepped on. And my guys hate other dogs sniffing/greeting when they are in a crate or carrier.

Normal for medium and large dogs to bounce up or try to investigate, but not always well recieved. It's probably the most common problem I have had... Keeping a very short lead or holding collar prevents it and the little bit of extra consideration is much appreciated!
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Ditto jclark on the collar! Lots of big dog owners do walk with collar in hand to keep their dog right next to them and leash in opposite hand. I have also seen flyball type collars with handle or a tab lead (same handling as collar just holding tab lead or handle instead of flat collar).

Something else to be prepaired for is the smaller dog owners carrying their dogs in carriers or in their arms. Also carriers on the ground (prevent sniffing) and dogs on laps.

I often carry my guys in my arms in crazy crowds since it lets me get around quicker and without worry of my guys getting stepped on. And my guys hate other dogs sniffing/greeting when they are in a crate or carrier.

Normal for medium and large dogs to bounce up or try to investigate, but not always well recieved. It's probably the most common problem I have had... Keeping a very short lead or holding collar prevents it and the little bit of extra consideration is much appreciated!
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Ah, noted! Levi is pretty good about that, simply because I know I don't appreciate when dogs come up and sniff when my guys are in their crates (I'm trying to get them to relax!), but I might also look for a collar with a tab. He does have a leash with a traffic loop, but it's pretty long, so I don't know if I even want to use it.
 

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Oh! Also no new/novel treats! Just stuff they are already get often without issue. Events like this are enough to cause soft poo, nevermind adding in a totally new food or treat! Something I've learned from experience!

Also just plenty of potty breaks in general.
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I normally use 4 foot leads at events but keep other lenghts on hand in my bag.

Tab leads are cheap and clip right into any collar. I have a couple as I often have them on my boys during classes when working offlead with multiple dogs nearby.
One is a fancier leather tab. One is a nylon tab that I picked up for $1-2. The other Leggs "helped" me make. Little snot chewed through a leash in class when a baby. I just cut the leash on clip end to the lenth I liked, tied a simple knot on the very end, and threw it in my training bag.:p
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I'm so jealous!! I can't wait to hear what you learn. Especially the 'Love it! Effective Non-food Reinforcement' lab you are doing. Take lots of notes!
 

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Honestly, I took a lot of potty breaks for both me and Roxie. Sometimes it's nice to step away to be able to not be on high alert all the time. Also, will you be staying in a hotel? Cause my first trial was the first time Roxie stayed in a hotel and I had to bribe her to eat.
 
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