March 21, 2011

ClickerExpo 2011

Just got home from the ClickerExpo 2011 in Chicago (a 3-day training conference about Clicker Training).  It was really great!  LOTS of great people and LOTS of great info!  I always come home more motivated to train my dogs with some new "tools" in my training "toolbox" :-)

Dazzle checks out the goodie bag we got at check-in:

Dazzle showed-off his badges to MANY of the attendees who had not heard of Dog Scouts.  I handed out lots of brochures too!

 The main hall:

Dogs of ALL sizes and breeds/mixes participated!:

 Dazzle and I had a front row seat for the panel discussion. On the table on the left side of the screen was one of the prize baskets we won! It was filled with goodies from the store):

 Part of the crowd of attendees listening to the panel discussion:

 This dog was SO adorable as he was learning to use platforms for training!  I don't know how old he was, but he acted like a clumsy puppy. :-)

Dazzle also participated in the platforms session, but the photos I asked another attendee to take of us didn't show the platform- oops :-) But I really appreciate the effort!  I just needed to be more clear in my directions about what I was looking for. :-) No problem though, I'm sure I'll soon be posting video of Dazzle working on platforms!

I had planned to take more photos, but most of the indoor spaces were too dark for my camera to get a good shot and most of the sessions we attended were "lectures" so this is what most looked like:
Dazzle did SO GOOD at laying quietly and not getting over excited too much.  I had several people comment that he was the calmest Malinois they had ever known.  I always made sure to explain that it was only due to the MANY MANY hours of training we had done to GET that calm behavior! :-) Yes, it really CAN be done!

On the way home, we kept seeing signs for Fair Oaks dairy farm and they made us curious enough to stop and check it out.  What a cool place!  We didn't take the whole educational tour, but we did visit their store for cheeses made on site, lunch and ice cream made with milk from their cows.

The store had observational windows that allowed you to look in on their process of making cheese and ice cream:

I saw a photo op with this cow Dazzle wanted to greet...

 He went right up and snifffed her nose:

 Then I had him pose:

 Then we got silly :-)

 Their climbing wall looked like a container of their milk!  They also had a kiddie train, public garden, playground and an entire educational tour.

Just north of Fayetteville, there are several miles of windmills I had no idea where there. I stopped counting at 300!  On our way to the Expo, it was a much clearer day (with much higher winds!), but I didn't have my camera. It was mesmerizing to see them all turning about the same speed in the high winds.

On our way home, it was really overcast so you can't see how the windmills went on for as far as the eye could see on a clear day!  And this was the case for several miles of the highway. 

 From a distance they looked randomly set, but they are actually set in long rows:

 These were outside a gas station we stopped at and they made me laugh so I took a photo: :-)

A really great trip!  I'm already looking forward to next year.  They haven't announced the East coast location/dates yet though.