Category Archives: Events

Clicker Expo 2013: Ten Years of “WOW”

Karen Pryor and I
Karen Pryor and I

Clicker Expo, held twice a year and organized by the Karen Pryor Academy is a three-day conference where dog trainers and others that work with animals can attend to learn about trends in the industry and participate hands-on with their dogs on various learning labs.

I attended ClickerExpo in San Francisco this past January and was impressed with many aspects of the conference but the two main overarching pieces that I particularly appreciated was:

1) the scientific approach that premised most of the talks and

2) The emphasis on modeling with our human counterparts the very principles that behavior professionals practice and preach about .

I won’t bore you with the scientific approach piece, but I will tell you about the  impact #2 had on me.  As a professional dog trainer that applies the use of positive reinforcement principles, we reward desirable behavior with consequences that the subject deems valuable.  The theory is that behavior that is reinforced is likely to repeat.  So we go on and on talking about the importance of catching our dogs doing the right thing so we can reinforce them, and how it’s important to watch our dogs closely so that when desirable behavior occurs, we’re there to say, “that’s right, that’s what we wanted”.  In essence we teach people to be good observers of behavior and good at reinforcing good behavior.  Well, this is all good and dandy, but what about people?  How many times have we complained to our significant others about a million things but forgot to mention how grateful we were for that one tiny little thing that we really appreciated?  If you’re a manager, how many times have you focused on that one thing that your employee did wrong and forgot to mention how thankful you were for that one thing he/she did that made something else go really smoothly?

ClickerExpo 2013 in Sn Francisco, California
ClickerExpo 2013 in Sn Francisco, California

At ClickerExpo, we had opportunities to get better at reinforcing good human behavior.  Every time, someone did something you really appreciated, you had a chance to provide them with a raffle ticket.  The more raffle tickets you got, the higher your chances of winning the raffle items.

Just to give you an example, right before I attended the conference, I became deathly ill with some weird flu/virus type thing and one particular day of the conference, I had to exit several times in the middle of lectures so as not to disrupt the lecture with my cough and in order to prevent my germs from being shared.  Well, every time I did that and someone noticed, I got a raffle ticket.  For those that brought their dogs, every time someone caught them in the act of doing something right, whether it was exiting the room if the dog barked, or working at the dogs’ level in terms of space, they had an opportunity to get a raffle ticket.  And in general as you met people and conversed, anytime anyone did or said something you really appreciated, you had the opportunity to give them a raffle ticket.

When working with dogs, it’s really fascinating to see how well this principle works, but after ClickerExpo, I was pretty amazed to see how well this principle works with people too.  I got so good at it, I ran out of all my raffle tickets before the conference was over and I  got so many raffle tickets, I won a prize (maybe cause I was really sick, or maybe cause I was really nice–okay fine, probability had a little to do with it).  Nonetheless, it gets you modeling the principles of the work that you do day in and day out.  At the end of the day, you’re living the positive reinforcement life not only with dogs, but with the species that you can’t ever get away from…PEOPLE!  What a concept, it pays to be nice to people too.

To learn more about clicker training click here.

Low Cost Spay/Neuter Surgeries

Low Cost Spay/Neuter Mobile Unit

The funds raised as part of the Coconut Grove Bed Race will go toward funding 3 days of low cost spaying and neutering services.  Two days will be held at Felix Varela Senior High School and the third day will be held at the Homestead YMCA.

Surgeries will be offered to dogs for $40.00.  Additionally, rabies vaccines will be offered for $10, Parvo/Distemper vaccines for $5 and micro-chips for $10.  All dogs who already have their rabies vaccine will need to bring proof.  Otherwise, vaccine will be given.

If you are interested in registering for this service, please complete the forms on the pages corresponding to the locations for which you are interested.  We are limiting registrations to the first 30 dogs and we’ll have a waiting list of 20.  A day prior to the day of surgery, we will confirm all registrations.  It is important that we verbally confirm your appointment with you.  So if we leave you a message, please call us back.

Dogs that are confirmed to receive the surgery must be fed their last meal no later than 12:00 am the previous night.  They’ll also need to be dropped off at 8:00 am and be picked up at 4:00 pm.

Low Cost Spay/Neuter in Homestead

Here are the details for our low cost spay/neuter in Homestead.

WHAT: Low Cost Spay/Neuter
WHEN: Sunday, December 16, 2012
WHERE: FOP Lodge by the Homestead YMCA (1034 NE 8 Street Homestead, FL 33030) and the Homestead Rodeo Fairgrounds

* The FOP Lodge will serve as the check-in/check-out area.  The FOP Lodge is on the corner of US1 and Campbell Drive on the south end of the YMCA parking lot.

Registration is limited to the first 30 that we receive.  Once you submit this form, you will receive a message indicating that you are registered, but your registration must be confirmed via telephone.  Please make sure that we have two telephone numbers that we can use to contact you.  Vaccines and micro-chips will be offered at an additional $5.00.

Please comply with the following instructions:

1) Dog must be dropped off at 8:00am
2) Dog cannot have food or water after 12am prior to surgery
3) Cost is $45 payable in cash or check *cost may be reduced if proof of government assistance is provided
4) Please bring proof of rabies or purchase for $5.00

NOTE: If your dog’s weight is over 50 lbs, you will be contacted with special instructions.

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Bed Race Donors

Our bed race donors were plentiful and we thank each one of them for supporting our spay/neuter cause and for their part in creating a community where animals are treated humanely.  There are many that are not pictured here, but they know who you are!  In addition to these individuals we want to also thank the following partners:

Much “Pack” Love to all!

Race Day at the Great Grove Bed Race

So we built our bed, pinned on our dog tails and laced up our running shoes for race day at the 2012 Great Grove Bed Race in Coconut Grove.

Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter Running Team

The event was attended by over 20,000 people and our Spay/Neuter team was there to send the message on the importance of spaying and neutering and how it has a direct impact on the pet overpopulation problem in our county.  As many of you know, the intake at our local shelter is very high.  Our adoption rate is also pretty high, but it pales in comparison to the rate of surrenders and the daily intake.  Unfortunately, many times our shelter is over capacity.  And because there aren’t enough homes and people to take all these homeless pets in, they end up being euthanized.

The good news is that if I do my part and you do your part and everyone does theirs, we can collectively reduce problem.  We can all start by spaying and neutering our pets.  Our message was clear, “Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter”.

Our running team was made up of the following super awesome and super athletic girls.

Geishel Valverde: is the Spartan Race Miami Manager.  She’s also an ambassador for liveutimateand regularly participates in charity 5K and competitive obstacle racing.

Channing Rollo: is a die-hard yogi, obstacle racer and vegan animal lover who volunteers with Miami-Dade Animal Services spay/neuter clinics and the South Florida Wildlife Center.

Caroline Gallina:  is the founder of UM’ s School of Law Chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.  She’s been a vegetarian for 20 years (8 yrs vegan), volunteers with Humane Society of Greater Miami, is a foster mommy for local rescue groups and fabulous distance runner. 

Liz Dinnen:  is a super sweet marathon runner and very active in the running community.

Race day wasn’t all about running.  The Friends Forever rescue dogs and Felix Varela Veterinary Science Magnet Academy students were at our booth wearing their spay/neuter t-shirts and educating attendees on the importance of spaying/neutering.

Booth Group

The event kicked off with a parade in which each team had an opportunity to showcase their theme and their bed to the panel of judges.  Prizes were awarded for best theme, best engineered bed, funniest and crowd favorite.  Our team had a few male un-neutered dogs.  And they were the cutest male dogs I’ve ever seen,  but take a look for yourself.

Bo, Baxter and Bubby

A great time was had by all and a very important message was sent.  Below are some photos taken throughout the day.

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