Thursday, April 19th

All-Day Fear Free℠ Veterinary Handling and Training

8:45 – 9:00 – Opening

9:00 – 10:15 – Fear Free℠ Track: Fear Free℠ Overview – Mikkel Becker

Gain a deepened understanding as to what Fear Free℠ is; including insight into key concepts utilized in Fear Free℠ Certification (e.g. Considerate Approach, Gentle Control, Touch Gradient and the FAS Scale). This includes the nitty gritty on the Fear Free℠ partnership that’s being forged between veterinary teams and qualified trainers and behavior counselors, who together can work towards the common goal of helping animals and their people to live out happier, healthier lives.

10:15 – 10:30 – Break

10:30 – 11:45 – Fear Free℠ Track: The Fear Free℠ Before and After – Julie Reck

Dr. Julie Reck will share with attendees why she took the first step and jumped into the Fear Free℠ waters.  Learn how Fear Free℠ transformed the patient experience, the culture and financial outlook of her practice, and how it changed her perspective of veterinary medicine.  What did she discover as far as trap doors, shortcuts, and blazed trails? Why is a Fear Free℠ practice a better place to work? Why do pets and pet owners love it? And finally, how has Dr. Julie Reck’s practice become financially successful and emotionally wealthy because of Fear Free?

11:45 – 1:15 – Lunch

1:15 – 2:30 – Fear Free℠ Track: Gentle Control and Handling Techniques – Debbie Martin

Which handling technique should be used and why? This session will discuss options and guidelines for when to use distraction, desensitization and counter-conditioning, and other advanced training skills when working with patients on handling and husbandry training.

2:30 – 2:45  Break

2:45 – 4:00 – Fear Free℠ Track: Fear Free℠ Be the Change – Steve Dale

Of course, veterinary professionals go into the profession to help pets, but Steve explains that many pets visiting the veterinarian actually feel as if they are going to die – literally. We know clients get “stressed out” even thinking about visiting the veterinarian because pets are so stressed, and then more likely to opt for “Dr. Google.” There is a better way, and that’s what Fear Free℠ is. Steve suggests Fear Free℠ begins in homes. He talks about lowering fear, anxiety and stress before veterinary visits – how to get pets to vets – and describes Fear Free℠ Happy Homes℠, and why how enriched environments matter. He also talks about several programs (perhaps taught by veterinary nurses), including pre-pet counseling, kitten socialization classes and puppy classes. A media professional, he also discusses how to use social and traditional media to market and support Fear Free℠.

4:00 – 5:00 – Fear Free℠ Track: With Fear Free℠ You’ll Achieve Practice Growth of 20% Plus Per Year – Marty Becker

In the past four decades we’ve had four transformations in companion animal practice. First was “feline medicine” followed by complete “oral health care.” These were followed by a focus on “preventive healthcare” and “multi-modal pain management.” All of these combined aren’t as large as the latest transformation in veterinary medicine and that is providing Fear Free℠ veterinary visits. After seven years of development by a team of over 160 professionals and five of successful in-practice deployment, Dr. Marty Becker and the team have rolled out the essential skills you need for real and lasting change. Practices implementing Fear Free℠ procedures and protocols are seeing 20% plus growth per year. Finally, something where everybody wins; the pet, pet owner, practitioners, practice and the profession. “Do well by doing good!”

 

Friday, April 20th

8:00 – 8:30 – Registration and Opening Invitation

8:30 – 9:30 – Fear Free℠ Track: Kitten Socialization – Steve Dale

If they’re well socialized, trained to the carrier and the car from the time they’re kittens perhaps they likely won’t be so adverse about going into the carrier to visit the veterinarian throughout life. As training classes with puppies has proved to enhance the owner/animal bond; it’s rational to believe the same is true for kittens. And kitten owners will learn things: From how to train cats to being more ‘tuned in’ to subtle signs of feline illness. Kitten classes aren’t a fun play session, it’s a chance to communicate important messages regarding cat health, behavior and care. A sample curriculum, as well as how to market kitten classes are also discussed. This is a primer on how to conduct socialization classes.

8:30 – 9:30 – Cat Track: More Than “Just a Behavior Problem” Feline Medical Compounders – Dr. Chris Pachel

This presentation will cover case studies from our cat behavior consulting practice. Many behavior changes can be “explained” by multiple factors and not every behavior issue has a medical cause. Individual vets have a varied understanding of the medical/behavioral intersection. This seminar will look at working on behavioral cases from the medical model perspective and where medical issues can present as, or exacerbate, behavioral issues.

8:30 – 9:30 – Business Track: Building Your Business Your Way – Your Online Presence – Mychelle Blake

Description to come.

9:30 – 11:00 – Fear Free℠ Track: The Fear Free℠ Veterinary Experience – Debbie Martin

The veterinary visit begins at home. Decreasing fear, anxiety, and stress associated with a veterinary visit requires a team approach. This session will explore tips for at home preparation by the pet owner, as well as cost-effective strategies veterinary hospitals can implement to cultivate a relaxing and inviting environment from the front door to the back door.

9:30 – 11:00 – Multi-Species Track: Everyday ABA: Problem-Solving for All Species – Adria Karlsson

A guide to using applied behavior analysis in actual client practice. How is ABA effectively used from start to finish.

9:30 – 11:00 – Business Track: Building Your Business Your Way – You Can Build a Consulting Business! Part 1: Jill Hourihan

Description to come.

11:00 – 11:15 – Break

11:15 – 12:15 – Fear Free℠ Track: Fear Free℠ Opportunities – Mikkel Becker

Learn how Fear Free℠ expands opportunities for trainers and behavior counselors to enhance and grow their business services and clientele. In this talk you will gain understanding of potential services and places for collaborative partnership with veterinary teams and pet owners that offer increased revenue and strengthened quality of services provided.

11:15 – 12:15 – Dog Track: In Whose Best Interest – Karen Deeds

Whether you are working with clients, in a shelter or rescue organization, or in a vet clinic with owners with dogs with severe behavior problems, it can often leave you wondering what to do.  There are only so many options that are viable and each specific situation is different.

There are a number of variables that you must take into consideration when making a logical decision about the future of the dog.  There are limitations with any household, shelter facility, foster, or volunteer on how well they can adhere to management and execute a training and behavior modification plan.  The environment, the human factor, and of course the dog itself all have their role to play in helping you help the decision makers involved to come to an educated decision about how to proceed.  This presentation will outline these variables and give you a way to put difficult decisions into perspective.

11:15 – 12:15 – Cat Track: Cats and Dogs Living Together – Steve Dale

An increasing concern as about a quarter of pet homes have at least one dog and one cat. What do clients do when they’re fighting like cats and dogs? Integrating a dog in a home filled with felines or introducing a cat into a house with a dog, a step-by-step description and tools to set up clients for success. Also, discussed will be common inter-species behavior issues, such as dogs who like snacking from the litter box or scarfing down the cat’s food, to cats who run outside the door when it’s opened for dogs to take a walk. Also, aggression between the species is discussed.

11:15 – 12:15 – Business Track: Building Your Business Your Way – You Can Build a Consulting Business! Part 2: Getting the Phone to Ring: Creating Your Custom Marketing Strategy – Jill Hourihan

 Description to come.

12:15 – 1:30 – Lunch

1:30 – 2:30 – Fear Free℠ Track: Behavior Services to Facilitate Fear Free℠ – Debbie Martin

As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  This certainly is true with canine and feline behavioral concerns relating to fear, anxiety, and stress. With behavior issues being the number one reason for pet relinquishment, it is imperative that veterinary hospitals provide preventive behavioral services for their clients/patients. An overview of several preventive behavior services that can be offered at the hospital will be explored.

1:30 – 2:30 – Dog Track: Your Brain on Dog Food – Linda Case

This seminar examines the current state of the pet food market and how information overload coupled with the over-abundance of dog food choices influence our ability to make wise and healthful decisions for our dogs. We begin with an examination of the roles that belief, emotions and reason play in human decision-making, including a review of cognitive biases that can hinder one’s ability to “stick to the evidence” when choosing a food. Using the evidence pyramid, we will examine the many types of information that bombard pet food customers daily and will examine the reliability and potential pitfalls of each. A set of basic nutrition facts about dogs is reviewed and participants learn how to consistently apply these when evaluating the many health and wellness claims that are made about commercial foods. Finally, attendees will have the opportunity to review, critically evaluate and support (or not) their own pet feeding beliefs during this informative and enjoyable seminar that asks, “Is this Your Brain on Dog Food?”

1:30 – 2:30 – Cat Track: Approach and Management of Over-Grooming in Cats – Dr. Lynne Seibert

Case management of over-grooming, and other self-directed repetitive behaviors in cats, will be discussed in a case-based format. Causes of over-grooming may include primary dermatological conditions, anxiety or stress, compulsive behavior, or a combination of these. Treatment will be specific to the diagnosis, and may include medication, behavior modification, and environmental adjustments.

1:30 – 2:30 – Business Track: Building Your Business Your Way – From Inquiry to Customer – Sarah Fraser

Description to come.

2:30 – 2:45 – Break

2:45 – 3:45 – Fear Free℠ Track: Cooperative Care – Mikkel Becker

Forced nail trims, ear cleanings and medication administration can be a thing of the past. Cooperative care is a Fear Free℠ approach that encourages animals to play an active, participatory role in their care; including both visits to the vet and home husbandry. In this talk, learn a few of the key ways to gain buy-in and cooperation from animals during care; all in a manner that safe keeps the animal’s emotional wellbeing in the process.

2:45 – 3:45 – Dog Track: Case Studies – Dr. Chris Pachel

2:45 – 3:45 – Cat Track: Help for Aging Cats: Behavioral, Environmental, and Medical Management Part 1 – Lynne Seibert

Behavior changes in older cats can be indicative of underlying medical issues, age-related cognitive decline, a primary behavioral disorder, or a combination of these. Behavior-related disorders can cause significant suffering for the patient, may challenge the caregiver’s ability to care for the pet, or may prompt the caregiver to relinquish or euthanize the pet. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical.

2:45 – 3:45 – Business Track: Building Your Business Your Way – From Customer to Follow Up: Leveraging Technology & Getting More Done Faster – Brian Burton

Description to come.

3:45 – 4:45 – Fear Free℠ Track: Fear Free℠ Panel

Description to come.

3:45 – 4:45 – Dog Track: Dogs are Carnivores, Right? – Linda Case

There is much argument (and polarization) today regarding how best to feed our dogs. While some believe that dogs are obligate carnivores and are best fed a raw diet containing high levels of meat, others promote avoiding all types of processed foods and feeding only homemade diets, while still others believe that the Holy Grail of dog health lies in avoiding gluten-containing ingredients or grains in pet foods. Yet another sub-group of dog folks maintains that dogs are more omnivorous in nature and are capable of thriving when fed a vegetarian diet. Where does the truth lie? Specifically, what does science tell us about the domestic dog’s eating habits and nutrient requirements? In this seminar, we examine the evidence that supports and refutes various beliefs about the domestic dog’s nutrient requirements, feeding behavior and nutritional health. Attendees will be encouraged to question and support their own beliefs and dog feeding practices as we explore what is currently understood about our canine best friend’s dietary needs, feeding behavior and health.

3:45 – 4:45 – Cat Track: Help for Aging Cats: Behavioral, Environmental, and Medical Management Part 2 – Lynne Seibert

3:45 – 4:45 – Business Track: Building Your Business Your Way

Description to come.

4:45 – 5:00  Break

5:00 – 6:00 – Business Track: Dessert Social

 

Saturday, April 21st

8:00 – 8:30 – Registration and Opening Invitation

8:30 – 10:00 – Multi-Species Track: Client Compliance Part 1 – Dr. Chris Pachel 

Every animal comes with at least one family member who will be responsible for implementing recommendations. For better or for worse, achieving a successful outcome through training and behavior modification is about so much more than training the animal! The “human element” side of behavior modification requires a person to recognize, navigate, and accommodate the patterns that affect the client’s ability to implement the plan that is given.

This talk will explore many of those barriers to success using a case-based format that will challenge you to think about problems in new ways. Specific topics will include navigating issues of anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism, identifying client strengths rather than faults, evaluating the physical environment for obstacles to success, and responding appropriately to sensitive information that is shared by clients. Attendees will learn to recognize communication patterns, partner more effectively with their clients, develop dialogues for navigating common situations, empower clients to implement recommendations, and ultimately be more successful in their business.

10:00 – 10:15 – Break

10:15 – 11:45 – Multi-Species Track: Client Compliance Part 2 – Dr. Chris Pachel

Every animal comes with at least one family member who will be responsible for implementing recommendations. For better or for worse, achieving a successful outcome through training and behavior modification is about so much more than training the animal! The “human element” side of behavior modification requires a person to recognize, navigate, and accommodate the patterns that affect the client’s ability to implement the plan that is given.

This talk will explore many of those barriers to success using a case-based format that will challenge you to think about problems in new ways. Specific topics will include navigating issues of anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism, identifying client strengths rather than faults, evaluating the physical environment for obstacles to success, and responding appropriately to sensitive information that is shared by clients. Attendees will learn to recognize communication patterns, partner more effectively with their clients, develop dialogues for navigating common situations, empower clients to implement recommendations, and ultimately be more successful in their business.

11:45 – 1:15 – Lunch

1:15 – 2:45 – Dog Track: In Search of Healing: Getting Dogs Back to Work? Part 1 – Karen and Bob Deeds

With today’s working dog, stellar performance and mental well-being go together.  That synchronization often becomes challenging in an unforgiving workplace, whether it is an overwhelming city street or the battlefield.  Maintaining quality work can be compromised by traumatic events, chronic stress, illness, poor training, and most importantly choosing the wrong dog for the job.  We will look at several disciplines such as Military, Urban Search and Rescue (disaster dogs), Therapy, and Assistance dogs to analyze how dogs are chosen, common maladies and causes, and current protocols and practices to get them back on the job.

1:15 – 2:45 – Multi-Species Track: Nutrients and the Gut Microbe Biome Influences on Behavior – Dr. Lore Haug

Description to come.

1:15 – 2:45 – Cat Track: The Practical Cat Consultant – Katenna Jones

Occam’s razor. Essentially, it means that the simplest solution is likely the best one, as opposed to over complicating or confounding the issue. The cat is attacking the owner’s legs, randomly and unpredictably, in every room of the house, at all hours. Do we clicker train the cat to station, CC/SD to human movement, and incorporate extra scratch posts, enrichment toys, and an exercise wheel? Spend hundreds in supplies and hours of training? Or do we simply remove the bird feeders? This is an example of one of my cases that was fully resolved in a single session. Of course, some cases are highly complicated and require a great deal of effort from the owner and the consultant. However, often that isn’t the case. In this session we will review some of my case studies – including the example above – where the answer was easier that it appeared. Learn how to objectively assess a case, develop a pragmatic approach, and increase the likelihood of client success.

1:15 – 2:45 – Parrot Track: The Scaredy Parrot – Techniques for Reducing Fear and Unease in Training and Everyday Life – Stephanie Edlund

Being very observant of small changes in their environment and reacting appropriately to those can be the difference of life and death for a wild bird. Even in our relatively safe homes, this preparedness lingers and we sometimes see very intense fear responses to things we consider harmless. In this talk we’ll review some of the different lenses through which we can view and define fear, some common strategies for working with scared animals and the pitfalls to avoid when doing so.

2:45 – 3:00 – Break

3:00 – 4:00 – Dog Track: In Search of Healing: Getting Dogs Back to Work? Part 2 – Karen and Bob Deeds

With today’s working dog, stellar performance and mental well-being go together.  That synchronization often becomes challenging in an unforgiving workplace, whether it is an overwhelming city street or the battlefield.  Maintaining quality work can be compromised by traumatic events, chronic stress, illness, poor training, and most importantly choosing the wrong dog for the job.  We will look at several disciplines such as Military, Urban Search and Rescue (disaster dogs), Therapy, and Assistance dogs to analyze how dogs are chosen, common maladies and causes, and current protocols and practices to get them back on the job.

3:00 – 4:00 – Cat Track: Working with Shelter Cats – Trish McMillan Loehr

Description to come.

3:00 – 4:00 – Cat Track: Case Studies – Dr. Lore Haug

Description to come.

3:00 – 4:00 – Parrot Track: The Finnicky Parrot – Stephanie Edlund

Converting parrots from an unhealthy diet to one that is good for them can be tricky at best, which is why many owners, even though they know they should – won’t do it. There are many common methods taught to parrot owners that range from eating together with their bird to simply starving it until it tries the new food. Some of these methods can be very stressful for both parrot and person and will often fail. In this presentation we will explore eating and interacting with foraging enrichment as the operant behaviors they are – and take a closer look at how we can use learning theory to reinforce eating healthy foods and more!

4:00 – 5:15 – Multi-Species TrackCompanion Animal Welfare: From Now to Next – Sarah Fraser 

This interactive talk will explore the now and next of companion animal welfare. Based on 2018 survey data of pet owners and behavior professionals, we will examine current beliefs, attitudes, and concerns about the welfare of companion animals. Then, leaning on lessons from other alternative and reformative social movements, we’ll analyze the primary strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats surrounding a movement for broad-based adoption of positive, welfare-focused care & training practices for companion animals.

5:15 – 5:30 – Break

5:30 – 7:00 – Multi-Species Track: Genetics and Cocktails with Dr. Elinor Karlsson

A discussion of the basics of genetics and animal behavior. How is the study of genetics used to learn more about animal behavior issues such as OCD.

Sunday, April 22nd

8:00 – 8:30 – Registration and Opening Invitation

8:30 – 10:00 – Dog Track: Dog-Dog Aggression – Michael Shikashio & Trish McMillan Loehr

In this full day track, Trish and Michael discuss intra-household dog-dog aggression! Effective safety and management setups, assessing prognosis, how to break up a fight, behavior modification, canine interactions, and more!

8:30 – 10:00 – Multi-Species Track: Getting the Right Information: Intake Information and What It Means – Dr. Chris Pachel 

Taking a thorough history is critical to making an accurate behavioral assessment. This process can be time consuming, especially if you’re not sure which information is relevant, or how to gather that information efficiently.  This session will focus on tools, strategies, and techniques for getting the information you need in the time you have.  Opportunity for video review of actual cases, both canine and feline, will also be included in this session.

8:30 – 10:00 – Cat Track: Working with Shelter Cats – Katenna Jones

Do you currently work with shelter cats? Do you want to add cat consulting services to your business? Do you already offer cat consulting and are looking to hone your skills? Do you just like cats and are ready to give back to your community? Then this is the session for you! We will discuss working with a variety of cats in a variety of shelter settings on a variety of things including enrichment, clicker training, and social groups.

8:30 – 10:00 – Parrot Track: Case Studies on Becoming a Parrot Behavior Consultant – Pam Clark

Description to come.

 10:00 – 10:15 – Break

10:15 – 11:45 – Dog Track: Dog-Dog Aggression – Michael Shikashio & Trish McMillan Loehr (continued)

10:15 – 11:45 – Dog Track: Puppy Problem Prevention – Karen Deeds

Many problems that trainers and consultants work with in adult dogs can be reduced or prevented with some acclimation, conditioning, and training as puppies.  Obviously, management is critical to prevent problems, but addressing specific situations like handling, environment, proper play skills, impulse control, and socialization will help to reduce or eliminate the onset of problems.

10:15 – 11:45 – Cat Track: Behavior Modification for Cats – Dr. Chris Pachel

Description to come.

10:15 – 11:45 – Parrot Track: Enrichment, Not Replacement – Stephanie Edlund

It’s a known fact in the world of ethology that we can’t satisfy one behavioral need with more opportunities to satisfy another one. We can’t satisfy a pig’s need for rooting by giving it a lot of opportunities to bathe. Yet very often this is exactly what companion parrot enrichment is, unknowingly, trying to do. How can we look beyond toys and provide our parrots with an enriched, species appropriate environment that takes all of the aspects of life as a parrot in to account? In this presentation we’ll discuss the purpose and definitions of enrichment and explore the ”24/7-zoo”-concept in the context of companion parrots.

11:45 – 1:15 – Lunch

1:15 – 2:45 – Dog Track: Dog-Dog Aggression – Michael Shikashio & Trish McMillan Loehr (continued)

1:15 – 2:45 – Multi-Species Track: Beware the Straw Man: Fact, Fiction & Science in the Training World Part 1 – Linda Case

As owners and trainers, we make numerous decisions for our animals (and for those of our students and clients) every day. Some of these decisions are simple and mundane, while others are of much greater importance to animals’ emotional and physical well-being. In today’s world, the amount of information that we are exposed to and that influences our decisions is vast and often overwhelming. In this seminar, attendees learn to critically evaluate the types of information that inform us about training and behavior. In particular, we will look at the role that science can play in our decision-making and how to use critical thinking skills to make evidence-based choices for our training practices. We will begin by reviewing the scientific method and how it is currently put into practice in animal cognition, behavior, and training research. A detailed (hypothetical) case study will be used to illustrate study designs, selection of study groups, use of controls, inclusion of statistical tests, and appropriate conclusions. The second half of the seminar will focus on a set of recently published studies that examine several popular training techniques. Attendees will be given the opportunity to select a training method that they use frequently and to consider the degree of influence that scientific evidence has had on that practice. We will finish with a discussion of the potential for current research in animal training, behavior and cognition to further enhance our understanding and use of best practices in our professional practices.

1:15 – 2:45 – Multi-Species Track: Remote Behavior Consults – Katenna Jones

Successful animal behavior consultants know, having a variety of options in the toolbox is essential. A variety of equipment, protocols, teaching styles, technique, and formats are just a few tools that we need to not only have but also know how to use. Virtual consults are one such tool. Some consultants may use them often, others rarely – but knowing how to offer virtual consultations can be incredibly helpful should the situation arise. They can be a great solution for owners who does not live near a consultant at all or one with your skillset. They can be more feasible for those on a limited budget as well as an easy way to provide follow-ups and check-ins for on-going cases. They are a non-invasive way to assist pets too afraid or even aggressive to work with you in their home. Virtual consults might also be a handy way to supplement your income during your off house, if you are too injured or sick to work in person, or when the weather doesn’t cooperate. No matter why or if you use virtual consults, it’s a good idea to know how. This session will review a variety of factors to think about when considering virtual consultations, including options, logistics, technology, and more.

1:15 – 2:45 – Parrot Track: Feather Destructive Behavior – Stephanie Edlund

Feather destructive behavior, FDB, is one of the most complex and often misunderstood problem behaviors in companion parrots. It’s sadly also one of the most common ones. In this presentation we will take a closer look at what FDB is; how the topography of the behavior can differ, possible causes, species differences and treatments. We’ll also talk about why cook-book solutions such as ”they need more toys!” can sometimes do a lot more harm than good.

2:45 – 3:00 – Break

3:00 – 4:00 – Dog Track: Dog-Dog Aggression – Michael Shikashio & Trish McMillan Loehr (continued)

3:00 – 4:00 – Multi-Species Track: Beware the Straw Man: Fact, Fiction & Science in the Training World Part 2 – Linda Case

3:00 – 4:00 – Multi-Species Track: IAABC Roundtable

Description to come.

3:00 – 4:00 – Parrot Track: Parrot Behavior Case Studies – Stephanie Edlund

Description to come.

4:00 – 5:00 – Multi-Species Track: No Mud, No Lotus: Thriving in the Difficult Work You Do – Jessica Dolce 

You love what you do, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t taken a toll on you. Over time, working with people and animals who are stressed, suffering, at-risk, and peeing in light sockets can have an impact on your well-being. You may find yourself stuck in a negative rut.

Lucky for you, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has your back. He reminds all of us that without the mud, the lotus flower can’t grow. The same goes for our work. Without the challenges and pain, many of the successes and joys of our work wouldn’t exist.

We’ll close out the conference by discussing both sides of our unique work and exploring how we can shift our perspective to embrace the mud, so we can lessen our own stress and enjoy ourselves more.

Bring your grown-up ears (there will be cursing) and your awkward middle school moves (there might be dancing) as we celebrate the complexities of our work with animals. Volunteer mic runners are needed (if you’ve always wanted to let your inner Donahue out, this is your moment!).