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2022 Session Descriptions

​RACE and IAABC pending, CCPDT approved

  • Insights into Animal Behavior and Autism
    • ​Temple Grandin, Ph.D (Keynote Speaker) - The behavioral principles discussed in this lecture are applicable to dogs, cats, farm animals, and wildlife. Animals associate both positive past experiences and negative past experiences with things they were either looking at or hearing.  Suddenly introducing something new is often frightening for animals. New people, places or equipment should be introduced carefully.  There will also be a discussion of animal welfare issues associated with over selection for either production appearance or performance traits.

  • What’s in a diagnosis? The role of behavior professionals
    • Amy Pike, DVM, DACVB - The roles that the various professionals play in the treatment of dogs and cats with behavior problems can be confusing. Over the last twenty years, those roles have become more clearly defined and have even aligned more with the human psychiatry world. In this talk we will discuss the various roles that each professional has to play in this game of behavior modification and how we can support one another to achieve the most positive outcome. 

  • How Language Affects your Behavior and Responses from Others
    • ​Ginny Price, MS, CVT, VTS (Behavior) - In veterinary medicine, we interact with many people using language. The words, the tone of voice, and the body language we use affects how the receiver of our message interprets it. We can learn techniques to improve our communication with others. Clear compassionate communication affects the welfare of our patients, clients, and co-workers.

  • ​​Pandemic pups- separation anxiety and beyond
    • ​​Amy Pike, DVM, DACVB - We have all seen them- the dreaded pandemic pups. Our worst nightmares come to life, right? Unsocialized, untrained and hyperattached dogs and cats. We are all busier than ever because of these pandemic pups. So, what are we to do? In this talk we will discuss the two biggest issues being seen- separation anxiety and fear-based behaviors and how we can best support these clients and pets in a post-pandemic world.

  • Sensory Perception: Sensory Organs and Brain Interpretations
    • ​​Ginny Price, MS, CVT, VTS (Behavior) - This session will differentiate sensation from perception while including sensory parameters for cats and dog. We will explore variations in sensory parameters within
      species, breeds, and individuals including how size and shape of the animal effects different placement of the sensory organs on the body and how that placement affects perception. Conclusions about perceptions in dogs and cats and how humans can use this understanding to better interact with these animals will be discussed.

  • ​Behavior is such a pain- the role of pain in behavior problems
    • ​​Amy Pike, DVM, DACVB - Pain is an often overlooked component of behavior concerns. Clients and veterinary professionals may not recognize even subtle signs of pain that could be contributing to behavior problems. In this talk we will do a deep dive into the role of pain in behavior, how we can diagnose it, and what are the current treatment options available.

  • Training 101
    • ​​​Linda Ryan, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare, VTS (Behaviour & Oncology), DipAVN (Medical), KPA-CTP, RVN, CCAB - This session is an introduction to the basics of animal training, focusing on the application of positive reinforcement techniques. Positive reinforcement is welfare-centred, efficient and effective, and fun for both humans and animals. We will look at “mark-and-reinforce” (aka clicker) training, discussing the underpinning principles, how to use it, common types of training, as well as working towards your training goals. You will learn what a clicker is, what it is doing in the training context, why it works, and is a great way to train. And you will have a chance to try it for yourself!

  • Cooperative Care Training and Consent Behaviors
    • ​Linda Ryan, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare, VTS (Behaviour & Oncology), DipAVN (Medical), KPA-CTP, RVN, CCAB - Cooperative care training puts patient welfare at its heart, aiming to marry the goals of
      health care with optimal mental wellbeing considered equally throughout. It helps animals become part of their necessary care procedures, working towards a human-animal collaboration, and giving our patients a choice and a voice. It has been used across various animal care sectors for many years, including in zoos – often working with large and non-domesticated animals, and with great success – so, of course, we can accomplish great things with our companion animals too. Whether working in veterinary, shelter, grooming, rehabilitation, or the home setting (and more!), there is so much we can teach our animal learners to become comfortable in our care. Consent behaviors behaviours can be taught, so that animals comfortably accept handling and necessary body manipulation, assume positions, offer body parts, be still for longer
      durations, apply treatments, etc. This lecture will explore these concepts, and the practical sessions will give opportunity to build on the foundation concepts in the “Training 101” lecture, to try teaching some cooperative care and consent behaviours for yourselves!

  • Arousal: Science not Sex
    • ​​Lindsay Wood Brown, MA, ACAAB, KPA CTP - High arousal. Over arousal. Low arousal. Arousal as a behavior description is ever- present in our conversations about animals within a variety of professional environments. Across training, animal welfare, and other related settings, we tend to attach the label without an agreed-upon definition of its meaning. What does arousal mean? What is the relationship between arousal and emotion? How does arousal relate to other descriptors we use (often interchangeably) like drive, frustration,
      or even aggression? Is there a functional component to arousal? Is use of the label beneficial for our behavior conversations or does it muddy the waters? Let’s unravel the science of arousal from a behavioral perspective. It’s not sex, but for behavior nerds it’s still sexy!

  • Fifty Shades Deeper: The Sequel to Arousal
    • Lindsay Wood Brown, MA, ACAAB, KPA CTP - MORE arousal! Or, maybe, less arousal? What does it mean and, more importantly, what does it even look like? This talk builds on the concepts from Arousal: Science, Not Sex and dives deeper into how we can apply our understanding of arousal to meet our behavior goals. Do we have an arousal problem—or a training problem with behavior we’ve labeled “stressed” or “aroused?” How do conditions and consequences increase or reduce aroused behavior? What’s the role of antecedent arrangement in training for more or less arousal? How can we be strategic about our use of conditions to facilitate the level of arousal we want in behavior? How do the reinforcers we apply impact aroused behavior? Let’s unpack the topography of arousal and examine strategies that provide effective and efficient ways to achieve the desired behaviors. Whether we want low arousal or high arousal, it’s all sexy, all day long.


  • ​Stretch, Don’t Snap: Improving Your Resilience and Boosting Your Joy
    • Colleen Pelar, CPDT-KA, CDBC - “If one more person tells me to try yoga, I’ll scream,” a coaching client told me. Yoga is great, but it’s definitely not for everyone. One of the particular challenges of burnout and compassion fatigue is that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, which means much of the advice you receive doesn’t actually help. Fortunately, there are many mental, emotional, physical, and social strategies that can provide great relief. The trick is finding the ones that work best for you. As a veterinary and animal behavior professional, this is nothing new. Every day you use your powerful skills of observation and intuition combined with your vast knowledge and experience to choose specific strategies and create tailored programs that help your clients thrive.

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