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The Power of Choice: How It Can Decrease Stress in Dogs

September 12 @ 9:00 am - September 13 @ 5:00 pm EDT

    • Do you work with dogs who have big behavior issues and are stressed to the max?
    • Do you want to learn more about how giving dogs choices can help decrease their stress and improve behavior?
    • Do you want to add more to your toolbox for assessing and modifying behavior in stressed dogs?

    Join Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CDBC, KPA CTP, VSPDT, CBATI, VSDTA Faculty, DWA Faculty and Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB for two days of interactive learning with working spots for 6 dogs on the second day. They will present about the power of giving dogs choices and how it can decrease their stress and modify behavior in a positive manner. This workshop will aid in honing your assessment skills and training/behavior plan development to work successfully with dogs who are stressed out and have behavior issues. This workshop is open to all trainers, behavior consultants, veterinarians, shelter staff, or anyone interested in learning more about the power of choice and how it can help decrease stress and improve behavior.


    September 12th and 13th, 2020


    Christmount Retreat, Camp and Conference Center- 222 Fern Way, Black Mountain, NC 28711


    9 AM to 5 PM, both days, registration begins at 0815 both days


    CCPDT: 11 CEUs for Trainers and 8 CEUs for Behavior Consultants

    (CPDT-KA:11,CBCC-KA:8, CPDT-KSA Knowledge:2.00, CBCC-KSA Knowledge:8.00, CPDT-KSA Skills:9.00, CBCC-KSA Skills:0.00)

    IAABC: 19 CEUs

    RACE: 16 CE


    • Early Bird Discounts until July 12, 2020
      • Individual – $250
      • Group Rate for 4 or more registering and paying at the same time – $225
      • Working Spot – $275 (There are 6 total working spots.) Working spots must be preapproved. Please email joann@thelooseleashacademy.com for more information.
    • Registration after July 12, 2020
      • Individual – $275
      • Group Rate for 4 or more registering and paying at the same time – $250
      • Working Spot – $299 (There are 6 total working spots.) Working spots must be preapproved. Please email joann@thelooseleashacademy.com for more information.

    In this workshop the following topics will be covered:

    • Why is chronic stress bad?
      • Effects on health, learning, and emotions
    • Research on stress
    • How can we reduce stress?
    • Research on reducing stress
    • Control (or the lack thereof)
      • Adding choice to daily life
    • Improving coping mechanisms
    • Enrichment
    • Permission from animal learner
      • Training
      • Petting
      • Husbandry
      • Walks
      • “Room of one’s own”
    • Why don’t we already do this?
      • Human need for control
      • Lack of understanding/cultural fog
      • Delayed reinforcement (for human)
    • Teaching animals to make better (by human standards) choices
      • The matching law and why it matters
      • Foundation skills for a choice-rich life
      • Setting up the environment for success

    How the two days will be structured:

    – The first day will feature lectures and interactive portions helping attendees better understand the concepts presented. All the interactive portions will involve human partners; dogs will not be involved.

    – The second day will feature lectures and interactive portions helping attendees better understand the concepts presented, but the interactive sessions on day two will involve the dogs of working teams. Attendees without dogs will be assisting working teams. (More info on working spots is shown below)

    NOTE: There are only 6 working spots available, so make sure to secure your spot early

    Speaker Bios


    Irith Bloom is the owner of The Sophisticated Dog, a pet training company based in Los Angeles. She has been training animals since the 1980s and has worked with everything from chickens and rabbits to dogs and horses—not to mention humans. A biologist by training, Irith is fascinated by the science of learning and is a sought-after presenter at conferences and seminars worldwide. Her writing has been published both online and in print and she is the co-chair of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Education Committee and she is a Director on the Board of Directors for the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).

    In addition to her CPDT-KSA certification, Irith is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC); a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP); a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT); a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI); and is certified in TAGteach, a positive-reinforcement method for teaching humans. She is on the faculty at Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior and DogBiz’s Dog Walking Academy.

    Irith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Southern CA, where she volunteers with National English Shepherd Rescue; the Los Angeles County 2020 Healthy Pets Healthy Families Coalition (a One Health initiative aimed at improving the health and well-being of people and their pets throughout Los Angeles County); and Wallis Annenberg PetSpace.


    Dr. Kristina Spaulding owns Smart Dog Training and Behavior LLC. She has a PhD in biopsychology – the study of the biological basis of behavior – and is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist through the Animal Behavior Society. Kristina has been in the dog training and behavior profession for 20 years.

    In addition to working with behavior clients, Dr. Spaulding teaches a variety of online courses and webinars on the science of behavior. She conducts staff training on dog behavior for local veterinary clinics and animal shelters and regularly presents on the science of animal behavior at training and behavior conferences.

    In addition, Dr. Spaulding is a member of the APDT Education Committee. As a member of this group, she helps the APDT develop and evaluate their educational resources. In 2019, Dr. Spaulding received the Association of Professional Dog Trainer’s (APDT’s) Member of the Year Award. She is also a member of the Fear Free Advisory Group and an authorized Speaker for Fear Free which advocates for minimizing fear, anxiety and stress for pets around the country. She chairs the Quality of Care task force for Meeting of the Minds, a coalition of top dog professionals across the country charged with improving quality of life for our dogs.

    Before opening Smart Dog, Dr. Spaulding earned her B.S. in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In college, she volunteered for a year at the local humane society. She was then hired by the same shelter. During her time at the animal shelter, she and a coworker established a training program for shelter dogs and their volunteer walkers to make the dogs more adoptable. She also served as an assistant trainer at Dog’s Best Friend, which was owned at that time by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell. In 2000, Dr. Spaulding moved to Minnesota where she worked as a dog trainer at a local dog training school before moving to her permanent home in upstate New York.


    Should I audit or bring my dog?

    If your dog doesn’t like group settingsgrowls when dogs approach him or his stuff, or gets distressed when you are out of sight or interacting with another dog, an auditor spot is the perfect choice for you. Auditors will be able to observe, assist, and participate in the exercises. After the seminar, you can teach your dog what you learned in the comfort of your own home.
    If your dog is comfortable around new people and other dogs, has no significant history of resource guarding or separation anxiety and is able to settle quietly in a crate or tethered on a mat between training sessions, a working spot may be the right choice for you.

    Dogs are welcome on the second day only. Please leave all pet dogs at home the first day (though service animals are welcome to accompany their handlers).


    Refunds up to 30 days before the event, August 13, 2020. After that date, no refunds will be given.


    • Coffee, tea, water and light snacks provided
    • Lunch will be on your own. The venue will provide lunch if you wish to purchase it. The cost is 25 dollars for both days. If you have a special dietary request, send an email to joann@thelooseleashacademy.com Lunch tickets are nonrefundable


    • The rates for the regular hotel rooms at Christmount are $110/night and they also have everything from RV hookup spots to group lodges that can be rented. They do have some dog-friendly rooms and the website is: https://www.christmount.org To book a room, call 828-669-8977 and mention that you are part of The Loose Leash Academy group.
    • We also have a small block of rooms at the Hampton Inn in Black Mountain. That rate is 10% off weeknights and for Sat/Sun $144/night for a king room and $134/night for a room with two queens. https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/avlmohx-hampton-black-mountain/ To book there, you can call the hotel 828-669-1000 or at hampton.com Make sure that you use group code LL3 to get the discounted rate.


    • Paper/pen to take notes
    • Please dress in layers for comfort and wear closed-toe shoes

    For more information: Joann@thelooseleashacademy.com or 585-905-8281


September 12 @ 9:00 am EDT
September 13 @ 5:00 pm EDT
Event Tags:
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The Sophisticated Dog


Christmount Retreat, Camp and Conference Center
222 Fern Way
Black Mountain, NC 28711 United States
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