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Talkin’ Dogs in the Big Easy

I’m writing this entry on a flight home from New Orleans. I spent Saturday and Sunday teaching seminars on helping fearful dogs, separation anxiety, and dog-dog play. It was gratifying to see how many trainers, shelter and rescue workers, owners, and others turned out. A woman in the front row confided during a break that she wasn’t planning on becoming a trainer, and that her own dogs didn’t suffer from those issues–she simply wanted to learn more. I love that! I met some wonderful local trainers and rescue groups, and even a poultry vet!

My husband flew out to join me on Sunday night, and we spent Monday and Tuesday exploring the town. Our fabulous host, Lori Haeuser of the Louisiana SPCA, showed us the sights on Monday (this woman could easily be a professional tour guide!), including a tour of the shelter. The size and scope of the operation is impressive, as are the many caring employees and volunteers. The facility is well designed, right down to the individualized ventilation systems to keep disease from spreading from room to room. I also got to pay a visit to my friend and long-time rescue partner Tia Torres’ new site for Villalobos Rescue Center. If you’ve watched her show Pit Bulls and Parolees, you’ve seen what that trash-filled warehouse looked like initially. It was great to check out what she and her crew have done with the place, and to see the dogs looking so happy and healthy.

On Tuesday, my husband and I explored the city. We wandered around the French Quarter, walked along the river, and had beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde. (If you’re not familiar with beignets, just think pastry and confectioner’s sugar–lots of it.)

It was an all-too-brief but wonderful visit to a unique city. The weather was wonderful, the Saints won (wow, that’s one city that takes their football seriously!), and we were treated to a variety of Cajun and Zydeco music along the way.

I was thinking on the flight home that whenever I announce an upcoming seminar, there are always a few people who say they wish they could go, but either they’ve got conflicting plans or the distance is too far. So I wanted to share a couple of resources, whether it’s my seminars or those of other presenters you’re interested in seeing:

Tawzer Dog, LLC has been filming seminars for many years, and sells DVDs of those presentations. Their website is searchable by topic or speaker. Trainers can get an amazing education through those offerings, and there’s also plenty of useful information for shelter and rescue groups, owners, dog enthusiasts, and really, any type of canine professional.

Dog Seminars Directory is the place to find a comprehensive listing of upcoming seminars. You can search the site by location or speaker, and sign up to be notified of events in your area.

Various groups offer webinars, so check around online. I’ll be doing one through dog i-box at the end of October.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the APDT conference, which allows attendees to see plenty of great speakers in one convenient location. There are always wonderful presentations, fascinating topics, endless opportunities to network, and pack-an-extra-bag shopping at the trade show. You can still sign up last-minute for this year’s conference.

Lastly, if there’s a speaker you want to see but they never seem to come to your neck of the woods, consider hosting them yourself!

As my year of traveling comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on how much I love teaching dog behavior seminars. I’m grateful that so many of you put forth the time and effort to attend, and it’s especially gratifying to know that the information will be taken out into the communities and will benefit many dogs and people. It’s been wonderful to meet so many of you in person, and I look forward to meeting more of you next year. You can find my 2013 schedule here.

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