Training Matters, located at 1104 Ames Hill Road in Brattleboro, Vermont, is pleased to offer occasional seminars, workshops and classes to introduce residents of Brattleboro and surrounding communities to the latest thinking on positive dog training and animal behavior.
These sessions are packed with interesting and practical dog training strategies and information for other companion animal owners.
- Former zookeeper and professional dog trainer Sara Matters covers topics ranging from basic manners and obedience training for dogs to animal behavior across species, from parrots to pigs. Future sessions may include:
- Basics of canine behavior,
- How animals learn,
- Operant conditioning in zoo animals and how it can work for your pet,
- How to keep your animals adequately stimulated when life gets hectic or the weather is lousy and why it’s important
Additionally, Training Matters hosts applied workshops and other educational seminars for animal training professionals and other animal care practitioners. Applied workshops cover topics like evidence-based enrichment provision and force free husbandry training. Informational seminars include topics such as the elements of applied behavior analysis that all trainers and animal care professionals should understand to do their best work, how to work with fearful animals, and the latest science on topics such as neuroscience and cognition.
Check back here periodically to find out about upcoming classes and events!
Covid-19 update regarding scheduled workshops and seminars:
We are keeping up with the latest recommendations about how to handle events given the spread of coronavirus. As of this writing on March 19, 2020, current recommendations are that gatherings not be of more than ten people. As such, our neuroscience workshop is canceled and will be rescheduled for 2021. However, we do plan to hold online live versions of Debbie Jacobs’ two one-day seminars originally scheduled for May and now set for June. Her seminars will be recorded. Please read more below.
We still hope to run the August and September workshops, but will keep up with the news to do what seems best and will update registrants accordingly. Our location is rural and the facility is spacious. In Vermont, social distancing is just life.
Pandemic Puppy Preschool
Three weeks of socialization and beginning training of young puppies, ages 8-14 weeks. May 31, June 7 and June 14. Staggered drop off and pickup of puppies to maximize social distancing beginning at 11 a.m. Details emailed following registration.
- introducing mark and reward training
- teaching some basic skills: sit, wait, recall, walking with a person
- exposing pups to novel things such as different surfaces, skateboards, noisy kid toys, etc.
- playtime breaks
- crate games to help your pup learn to love the crate
- nosework games to find food and experience novel scents
- building confidence with leash, harness, collaring, grooming, veterinary procedures
Pandemic outdoor leash walking class
Learn the essentials of outdoor leash walking: How to keep your dog paying attention to you, walking with you and being mannerly, especially on trails when encountering others. Four sessions on Sundays beginning May 31 at 3 p.m. with staggered start and end times to maximize social distancing. Masks must be worn. No more than four dogs participating. Details emailed following registration.
Mini Seminars with Sara Matters and Debbie Jacobs
Short, single-session and single-topic seminars conducted by Debbie Jacobs and Sara Matters reviewing training and management solutions to common behavioral issues pet owners face. The goal is to increase owner understanding of how to handle specific behavior concerns as well as how to tackle behavior issues generally using humane, science-based methods. Check here periodically to see if a new one is scheduled.
Behavior Basics and Beyond
Two workshops focusing on the foundations of behavior with Debbie Jacobs, CPDT-KA
June 13, 20 and 27, 2020
Debbie is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Registered Behavior Technician working with children with autism. She is well known for her work with fear-based behaviors in dogs and providing evidence-based resources for owners and trainers looking to help this population of dogs. Working across species she has first-hand experience about the gaps dog trainers have in regard to the science their training is based on, the same science used to teach skills to humans, even those with cognitive differences and challenges. She has studied and trained with Bob Bailey, Jean Donaldson and Susan Friedman.
Debbie’s no nonsense, no gimmicks approach to learning and training will provide participants with the information they need to assess behavior and devise efficient, humane interventions using the least restrictive alternatives available. You will also get information to help you evaluate other training suggestions, methods and protocols commonly seen in the training industry.
While these two seminars were planned to be held on a weekend in mid-May, we will instead be conducting them live online in three, 2-hour sessions per seminar. Please join us for one or both of these informative seminars.
Behavior Basics: There are more than you may think
11 a.m.-1 p.m. EST
As dog training takes the inevitable, and much needed turn toward evidence-based methods, the need for more, better and clearer information about how to think about behavior and create plans for changing it has become critically important. In this presentation you will learn the key factors for being a humane and efficient trainer. This presentation is appropriate for anyone interested in how dogs learn, especially professional trainers.
8 CEUS for CPDTS.
6 CEUS for IAABC.
Fear: It’s Impact on Behavior
2 p.m.-4 p.m. EST
What everyone must know in order to work with dogs struggling with fear/anxiety-based behavior challenges. This presentation is appropriate for owners, trainers, vets, techs, groomers, shelter staff, kennel staff and rescue groups.
Please use the link below or go to Debbie’s website, fearfuldogs.com, to register for one or both days of this exciting event.
6 CEUs for CPDTs.
6 CEUs for IAABC.
POSTPONED UNTIL 2021
An Introduction to the Neuroscience of Dog Training and Behavior
Kathy Murphy BVetMed, DPhil, CVA, CLAS, MRCVS
Understanding what’s happening in the dog’s brain can impact how you train. This two-day workshop will provide an introductory overview of neuroscientific principles and how they apply to various aspects of training and behavior.
On Day 1 we will begin with applied functional anatomy and physiology, and the various ways that they are modified during neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the process by which brain structure and function changes in response to our surroundings and interactions. Delving into the complexity of neuroplasticity provides a gateway into understanding where the laws of behaviour come from, and what mechanisms are at play when working with dogs at different stages of development. We will take a look at fundamental neurophysiological mechanisms such as attention, arousal, reward and fear conditioning, directly applying the science to practical examples or cases.
On Day 2 we will look at how our choice of training method can influence brain structure, function and ultimately wellbeing; before moving on to understanding some of the neurological mechanisms of trauma and ways we might apply that knowledge when working with traumatised dogs. Literature and cases used to illustrate principles will be multispecies, everything from worms through to primates. And take-home messages will be designed to support you being able to easily communicate what you learn to other enthusiasts and clients without the jargon.
Literature and cases used to illustrate principles will be multi-species, everything from worms through to primates. And take-home messages will be designed to support you being able to easily communicate what you learn to other enthusiasts and clients without the jargon.
CEUs are available. Please copy and paste the link below into your browser to register and find out more. Or look up the event on the Eventbrite website.
Husbandry for Healthy Pets: Hands on, force free training for every dog care professional
Marie-Claude Desbiens and Yanick Dion, CDT
August 14, 15, 16, 17, 2020
Even before recent advances in fear free handling of companion animals took off with the popular online programs offered through Fear Free, Marie-Claude Desbiens and Yanick Dion of L’Art au Poil Ecole in Quebec were introducing groomers and veterinarians around the world to restraint and force free grooming and medical husbandry of dogs and cats. Watching Marie-Claude and Yanick, and professionals trained by them, work with animals is not just fear free, it is delight-full.
Now L’Art au Poil is extending this training to all animal care professionals and dedicated pet parents. Experienced trainers are blown away by groomer Marie-Claude and trainer Yanick Dion’s husbandry training skills as well as Marie-Claude’s grooming process, and her in-depth knowledge of the biology of healthy canine hair and skin. At a recent training retreat, trainers likened watching Marie-Claude work with dogs to going to church.
Training Matters will share Marie-Claude and Yanick’s expertise in this hands-on workshop for trainers, veterinary professionals, shelter workers, groomers, breeders, day care providers and pet sitters. While working with dogs and/or cats, attendees will get practice with force-free husbandry essentials, including grooming and medical procedures, and how to quickly train animals to behave fearlessly and confidently when being brushed, clipped, bathed, getting nails trimmed, having blood drawn, receiving injections, even having their temperature taken! The emphasis will be on health-physical and behavioral-and hygiene. This workshop will extend whatever you may have learned from an online program and give you the experience of applying it with live animals under expert guidance. This is a rare offering.
Marie-Claude and Yanick’s former professional students have valued the improvement in their practices after training with them. Students’ businesses improved as did the students’ enjoyment of their work. Dedicated pet owners and breeders are encouraged to join us. Stop stressing out about routine grooming and medical care requirements for your dogs. Learn what you can do at home safely and successfully with your pet, saving time, money and worry. This workshop will pay for itself in no time!
CEUs for trainers are pending.
Second Annual Enrichment and Wellness Workshop
Lindsay Mehrkam, Ph.D., BCBA-D
September 11, 12, 13, 2020
Last year’s enrichment workshop with Lindsay Mehrkam was such a success that we’re bringing it back and adding a day to the schedule! Additionally, the workshop will be about not just enrichment for animals but also for animal care professionals.
People working in the animal care industry, especially shelter and veterinary staff but also private dog trainers, are subject to emotional burnout from the often stressful work they do. While providing enrichment to animals in a science-based way can be a joy for animal care workers, tending to self is also a necessary pleasure. We will feature good food, relaxation exercises including yoga and breathing techniques, and Lindsay will review ABA-based treatment approaches for burnout. That in addition to revisiting behavior-based design and implementation of enrichment for the non-human animals in folks’ care, designing and providing enrichment for the animals at Training Matters’ Upper Way Farm, and exploring data-driven evaluation of the enrichment provided. Last year enrichment was designed, provided and evaluated for birds, cats, dogs, a goat and guinea pigs. Since then Upper Way Farm has added four sheep and a rabbit to the collection. Animals taken in have been in need of rehoming for various reasons and will live out their lives as part of Upper Way Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Dr. Mehrkam is an applied animal behaviorist, animal welfare scientist, and doctoral-level Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (Certificate Number: 1-15-17919, Certified February 2015). Her primary research interests focus on the benefits of human-animal interaction, enrichment, and training for improving the welfare of both animals and people in society. As the director of Monmouth University’s Human & Animal Welfare Collaboratory (HAWC) and the faculty representative for the Six Flags Field Experience Program, her teaching and research programs in applied animal behavior, learning, and well-being have led to grants, publications, workshops, internships, and service learning opportunities in animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, animal sanctuaries, among others for her students. Dr. Mehrkam’s research has been published widely in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at national and international conferences. She has been recognized through popular media outlets, grants, and scholarly and industry awards, including the Association for Professional Dog Trainers, Maddie’s Fund, and the Animal Behavior Management Alliance. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Mehrkam serves as the Vice President for the Applied Animal Behavior Special Interest Group for the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and as an advisory board member for Big Oak Wolf Sanctuary.
CEUs are pending.