MET Conference 2023

Third year of the international online conference for dog lovers and dog trainers took place on March 4th and 5th, 2023. Users from 29 countries have joined us. The conference was approved by CCPDT organization.

Thank you for your thought-provoking questions, sharing your experiences and for the wonderful feedback from around the world.

speakers at met conference 2023

Program

Saturday

Lenght: 2 hours 30 minutes (including 30 minutes Q & A part).

About the presentation: Recent decades have seen a very welcome move towards the use of positive reinforcement as a primary mode of training dogs. But have these improvements made a significant difference for our dogs or are they merely cosmetic? Are our dogs enjoying the experience of learning that they deserve? 

When we examine the usual expectation of training a dog to sit, down, walk on a loose lead, come when called, stay, etc (which are based on historical ideals of an obedient dog), they center around what people want and have no direct benefit to the individual dog. Even when taught with positive reinforcement it is with a view to controlling dogs. 

By reconsidering the learning that an individual dog may need to live in a world that is not natural for them, we can explore how we design the learning to be of benefit to the dog. The benefits are in what they learn and the way that learning is engineered. 

By flipping the process into looking at dogs as exceptionally good learners and using that skill to build a language of communication, we build a natural desire to learn more and gain tremendous pleasure from the process. 

All young animals have a lifetime of learning ahead of them. Instead of beginning with what we want, view that journey as what would they want to learn if we could ask them and give them the choice? 

This presentation will look at: 

~ considering what type of learning will directly benefit the dog
~ learning the skills to adapt the step-by-step progress to suit the learner
~ precision communication that leaves the dog with no doubts
~ designing the environment to build wellness and power
~ learning the joy of practice
~ deepening the reward pleasureAbou

Lenght: 2 hours (including 30 minutes for Q and A part).

About the presentation: In this lecture, we will look at the concept of enrichment for dogs. Eliška Pavetta Šuhaj will address the question: how do I know that my dog’s life is fulfilled? With the growing interest in the welfare of dogs and solving problematic behavior, more and more emphasis is being placed on fulfilling the natural needs of the dog.

To address these issues, we will discuss individual points of canine enrichment and how to objectively look at our dog and prioritize “what needs to be done.” We will show games that can enrich our coexistence with dogs (those that are played with the dog as well as those where the dogs occupy themselves) and ideas for improving walks.

Lenght: 2 hours 45 minutes (including 30 minutes for Q and A part).

About the presentation: Does a meeting between dogs conform to a standard describing how the dogs behave correctly? How important is meeting other dogs in a dog’s life? Does properly socializing a dog mean that he will want to play with everyone he meets? What role do owners play in mutual encounters and do dogs even know about them? If the meeting is difficult for the dogs, can we help them somehow?

In this lecture, we will look at working with a dog from a different point of view than purely training. We will show a part of the dog encounter ethogram, i.e. how to recognize a dog’s emotions and the resulting motivations for behavior that we often consider as “bad” or “undesirable.”

We will pay attention to how dogs communicate their emotions to each other and to us humans in such situations, and how we can respond to this in a way that makes them feel better. Changes in behavior come with changes in emotions and motivations. When we change the dogs’ feelings, their motivations and behaviors change as well.

This lecture will help bring a greater understanding of interpersonal communication, as well as unlock the most important signals directed at us humans. This allows you to experience more satisfying walks with your dog based on mutual understanding and respect for your dog’s personality.

Lenght: 2 hours (including 30 minutes Q and A part).

About the presentation: Learn all about one of the most popular learning games from Control Unleashed, Look at That and the newest version of it, LATTE (Look at That, Then Enrichment!) The hugely effective yet simple “LAT” protocol creates a behavior chain that allows dogs to indicate potential stressors in the environment rather than being reactive to them. “LATTE” builds on this and adds in elements of enrichment that soothes the nervous system of dogs by encouraging licking, sniffing, chewing, and searching behavior during counter conditioning.

Sunday

Total time: 2 hours (including time for Q and A part)

MANAGEMENT OR TRAINING (45 minutes)

About the presentation: Finding your pathway among the thousands of recipes and magical solutions offered is a skill in itself. Choice is often viewed as a positive situation, but too many choices without guidance can be overwhelming.

Being comfortable with the choices available, knowing what choices you have, and understanding the potential outcomes are essential to enjoying the process. This presentation will show you how to make important decisions, both during an urgent resolution and as a long-term goal, plus give you some really useful tips.

Kay will explain:

~  The difference between active and passive learning
~  How management solutions can be applied to ensure a positive learning experience
~  How to identify the skills to learn, isolate, and build those skills
~  Integrate practical activities with the greatest rewards to develop a strong relationship with your puppy or dog.

Learning about this fascinating world will open up many questions and choices.

CUE TECHNOLOGY (45 minutes)

About the presentation: Cues are a critical element of how we communicate with dogs and how we respond to the world around us. A dog is always seeking these pieces of information, especially when the information predicts something of benefit to them, like rewards. 

We will look at: 

~  Reward Predicting Stimuli and how they function
~  Developing a dog that is cue-seeking and how that is driven by reward value
~  Teaching simple and complex discrimination through relevant and non-relevant selection
~  The function of the marker as a cue and the cue as a marker
~  How cues build both desirable and undesirable chains
~  The fade-in protocol and cue hierarchies.

Once we grasp how cues are intricately linked to rewards, we begin to see the world with new eyes.

 

Lenght: 2 hours 30 minutes (including 30 minutes for Q and A part)

About the presentation: Sociality is a widespread feature in animals, and canids display a wide range of different social structures. Wolf-like canids, however, share a specific aspect of social life. In recent years, ethologists have moved away from the ‘classic’ pack concept after recognizing the close genetic ties among the group members. It seems that under the specific evolutionary scenario, the family structure was the most successful in supporting the survival of the individuals. 

Among animals, there is a range of very different social organizations.The social structure of a species, including canids, is influenced by its evolutionary heritage, the challenges of its ecological environment, and some other local factors. 

The social structure of dogs is or can be very complex, and quite different from that seen in wolves. Dogs’ increased capacity to adjust to specific local differences allows them to become members of social groups with very different structures. As a result, the key to dogs’ social behavior is to provide them with experience and the possibility to learn about both humans and other dogs. 

In this lecture, we will discuss what exactly is the difference between dogs and wolves and how wild dogs differ from those in our homes. We will look at how group structure affects communication and which factors determine specific behaviors. Among other things, we will also share modern context for  the much talked-about “dominance” concept.

This lecture shares the following information:
~ the ethological concept of hierarchy and dominance
~ the group structure of wolves
~ the differences in the social structure of canids
~ how dominance is measured in ethology
~ the trade-off between social structure and social interaction

Lenght: 2 hours (including 30 minutes for Q and A part).

About the presentation: Experience the power of Leslie’s famous Pattern games and learn how to customize them and make them your own! These games can be used for a large variety of situations and problems. They are easy to teach, and dogs enjoy the predictability and reliability of them. When dogs are exposed to “triggers” from the safety of their predictable trusted pattern, they feel safe and in control, and learn to feel better faster!

Lenght: 2 hours 40 minutes (including Q and A part)

About the presentation: Dr. Bailey’s presentation discusses the differences between animal training as a craft and as a science-based technology. It is generally agreed that animal training is probably an ancient craft, with origins likely earlier than 10,000 years ago, well before recorded history.  During this lecture, Dr. Bailey will briefly discuss animal training’s historical record. 

The scientific study of animal behavior, and the beginnings of the science of studying, and changing behavior did not begin until late in the 19th Century and early 20th Century. Dr. Bailey will talk about B. F. Skinner’s work of the 1930s-40s and the beginning of operant conditioning. He’ll also cover the work of Keller and Marian Breland, who created the company Animal Behavior Enterprises and the “Field of Applied Animal Psychology” in the 1940s-1960s. The creation of ABE led to the science-based technology spreading worldwide. Dr. Bailey will also describe laboratory and free-environment applications of operant conditioning (animal training).40

You can watch recordings of each presentation for 6 months. 

The time is in 24 hour format. Open each presentation for more details. The schedule may still change.

Program of the MET conference 2023

Times are stated in GMT / UTC +1 time zone (Prague, Czechia). Link to the time converter HERE.

%MET_PRAGUE_TIME%

SATURDAY

  • 09:00 – 11:50 Kay Laurence: Does This Benefit the Dog?
  • 11:50 – 11:55 Bonus video
  • 11:55 – 12:30 Pause (35 minutes)
  • 12:30 – 14:40 Eliška Pavetta Šuhaj: Canine enrichment
  • 14:40 – 15:00 Pause (20 minutes)
  • 15:00 – 18:00 Lenka Blachová: Dog Meeting Etiquette
  • 18:00 – 18:15 Pause (15 minutes)
  • 18:15 – 20:15 Leslie McDevitt: “Look at That” and “LATTE”: Counter Conditioning Games to build Confidence

SUNDAY

  • 09:00 – 11:00 Kay Laurence: Management of training / Cue Technology
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Pause (1 hour)
  • 12:00 – 14:30 Ádám Miklósi: Social Hierarchy and Dominance in Dogs
  • 14:30 – 15:00 Pause (30 minutes)
  • 15:00 – 17:00 Leslie McDevitt: The Power of the Pattern: Pattern Games in Control Unleashed
  • 17:00 – 17:30 Pause (30 minutes)
  • 17:30 – 20:10 Bob Bailey: A Brief History of Animal Training from the Perspective of Dr. Robert E. (Bob) Bailey
  • 20:10 – 20:20 Final word and information about the headliner of the MET 2024

Program MET konference 2023

SOBOTA 

  • 9:00 – 11:50 Kay Laurence: Je to pro psa přínos?
  • 11:50 – 11:55 Přehrání bonusového videa
  • 11:55- 12:30 Přestávka (35 minut)
  • 12:30 – 14:40 Eliška Pavetta Šuhaj: Enrichment pro psy
  • 14:40 – 15:00 Přestávka (20 minut)
  • 15:00 – 18:00 Lenka Blachová: Etiketa psího setkávání
  • 18:00 – 18:15 Přestávka (15 minut)
  • 18:15 – 20:15 Leslie McDevitt: Podívej se na“ a „LATTE“. Kontrapodmiňovací hry pro posílení sebedůvěry

NEDĚLE

  • 9:00 – 11:00 Kay Laurence: Management nebo trénink a poté Technologie signálu (Cue technology)
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Přestávka (1 hodina)
  • 12:00 – 14:30 Ádám Miklósi: Sociální hierarchie a dominance u psů
  • 14:30 – 15:00 Přestávka (30 minut)
  • 15:00 – 17:00 Leslie McDevitt: Síla “Pattern games”
  • 17:00 – 17:30 Přestávka (30 minut)
  • 17:30 – 20:10 Bob Bailey: Stručná historie výcviku zvířat z pohledu Dr. Roberta E. Baileyho
  • 20:10 – 20:20 Závěrečné slovo a představení hlavního řečníka MET 2024