At my first Clicker Expo, I was terrified and overwhelmed by the whole concept of a conference. So many new people! So many people WHOSE BOOKS WERE ON MY SHELF! ACK! Social anxiety runs rampant in the dog training world, and I am no exception. So, Gambit came with me, and the experience turned out to be worth it. Yes, I have a somewhat codependent relationship with my dogs. I’m ok with that.

Tons of great speakers. Learned so much. Blahblahblah.

But then THIS happened in the women’s restroom (totally true story):

Me: <walks out of stall, begins washing hands>
Leslie McDevitt: <walking into stall> “Hey, I like your Terv.”
Me: <swoon!>
Gambit: “Pantpantpant.” <smiles>

That’s right Leslie Freaking McDevitt LIKED MY DOG!!! OMG!

Fortunately, the bathroom stall door closed at that point, and I’m pretty sure she missed my total fangirl freak out. Hopefully, I said something, “Oh, thanks. He’s a great dog. Love your book, btw.” or something else cool and chill. I don’t actually know, because I blacked out for a while.

Some of my favorite aspects of Clicker Expo:

  • Happy Hour! (Alcohol is always a win)
  • Meet people (Ok, admittedly hard for me and a lot of folks. But it gets easier when you realize that this is one of the few places where showing photos of your dogs on your phone is actually a legitimate conversation maneuver.)
  • Meet dogs! (Easy. Always good.)
  • Win valuable prizes! (Conference swag varies from year to year, but the tag ticket drawings always have some cool crap.)
  • Ken Fan club (If you don’t have a crush on Ken now, you will, no matter what your sex.)
  • Inspiring and motivating… awesome energy! (Thank goodness, because otherwise I’d pass out after day 1.)
  • So much unashamed geekdom. (Dog geekdom. Clicker geekdom. In one place. I LOVE IT!)

Also, it’s crazy how accessible speakers are (Not me. I’m in my ivory tower. Sipping champagne and eating strawberries, with a millionaire that looks like Richard Gere… oh wait, now I’m describing Pretty Woman.)
The speakers all have to use the exact same toilets as everyone else. Trust me, there is NO special treatment in that department. Ever wanted to wait in a bathroom line with Kathy Sdao? This is your chance!

You will probably end up sharing an elevator with The Karen Pryor. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll be running your dog out for an early morning bathroom run, and you’ll still be in your pajamas. You won’t have had your shower yet, or your coffee either. You may even be (a little) hung over. She’ll still smile and be gracious, because she’s just cool like that. This is another reason why you may be better off attending without a dog.

Tangent – Go see a horse lecture, even if you only care about dogs. Even if you are allergic to horses, donkeys, zebras, and anything with hooves. Do it. You will be a better trainer for it.

Is it energizing? YES!
Is it exhausting? YES! 

Still worth it. And I’m as lazy a trainer as they come.

So, if you’ve bothered to read this far, you are probably a friend or relative, and so you already know that I’m about to speak at Clicker Expo for the third year in a row. Yes, Karen Pryor called me on the phone to ask me to speak. No, I was not at all cool or chill, but I don’t think I actually vomited until after she hung up. I’ll post more later on my experience presenting… a whole ‘nother level of wow. But this self-indulgent stream of consciousness has already gone on way too long. I feel like I should reinforce you for reading (or skimming) along this far.

This year, they are doing a referral code discount deal. “Share it with your friends!” they said. “Sure,” I said. And thinking maybe like 3 people would see it, I posted naively on Facebook that any friends that wanted to come to Clicker Expo could message me and I could give them a discount code. The messages started trickling in. At first, just a few, and I happily copy/pasted the disount code into my responses. Then suddenly the trickle picked up to a steady stream of requests. That in itself wouldn’t be so bad. But in the middle of responding to all these requests, I was *forced* to post a snarky photo comment on some ridiculous status my brother posted (if you know both of us, you know this was not a choice. It HAD to happen.) And then I went back to answer messages about Clicker Expo.

And then this happened:










[Note: While there is not an active discount code for Clicker Expo at this time, I’ll definitely share any discount programs they do in the future!]