Association of Pet Behaviours Annual Conference 2014

Association of Pet Behaviours Annual Conference 2014

Saturday, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the APBC Annual Conference in Kettering.  This was my first conference and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a day conference, with four marvellous speakers, all of them were extremely informative and very enjoyable.

It kicked off with Helen Zulch, a Veterinarian from South Africa who now focuses on animal behaviour.  Her talk was called ‘Putting Research into Practice: current cognition research applied to behaviour counselling’. I really enjoyed this, it reaffirmed my own thoughts on the subject which was a relief to know I’m on the right track :-)

Next up was Veterinary surgeon and Clinical Animal Behaviourist, Kendal Shepherd.  Kendal’s talk was about ‘Welfare implications of dog law including case studies and suggested improvements for the system’. This particular talk had most of the audience in tears, happy and sad.  Kendal does an fantastic job with “Dangerous Dogs” and I take my hat to her. Google her and see for yourselves.  www.kendalshepherd.com

For me, the highlight of the day was Pat Tagg’s ‘Practical application of breed specific knowledge into resolving behaviour problems’.  www.apbc.org.uk/blog/german_shepherd_dogs

Pat’s delivery was clear, funny and thoroughly captivating.  Her breed of choice was the beautiful German Shepherd. To learn how the GSD sees the world and tries so hard to keep everyone in line was just mind blowing.  Having spent time with GSDs over the years I was aware of some of what was said but to hear the intricate details of their minds just made everything fall into place. A truly instinctive and intelligent breed. I want one!

The final speaker of the day was the one I was waiting for.  It was billed as “Applying human psychology to consulting skills and success of the behaviour modification programme” and was excellently delivered by the wonderful Karen Wild www.pawprintpets.com.  I completely agreed with Karen, you really need to be able to communicate with an owner before you do their dog.  If you can’t get the owner to understand the importance of what you are trying to do and get them to work alongside with you then you are never going to help the dog. Yes, of course trainers are there to help the dog but their first port of call will always be the owner and ultimately, they are the ones who have to put in the hours and patience to get a well rounded and relaxed dog with a flourishing dog/owner relationship. Bravo Karen!

I will definitely be going back next year and looking for more seminars and conferences in between. My head is now full of renewed excitement and a thirst to learn more about dogs. I don’t think I’ll even be full up with dog behaviour knowledge, I know the basics and more than most but, I’m know I’ve only scratched the surface with my various courses and certificates.  What shall I do next?

by Sue Pitcher