7:30-9am         Conference check-in​

8am                  Coffee + breakfast bar

9am                  Welcome

BREAKOUT SESSION  9:15-10:45am

(choose one 90-min session)

New Perspectives on Socialization. Canine Socialization: Why, When, and How? 

Dr. Theresa DePorter, DVM, MRCVS, DECAWBM, DACVB

Why is that period of socialization in dogs so important? How should we provide the optimal experience during the socialization period? There is so much more we can do with puppies beyond games like 'pass the puppy,' and having strangers give dog biscuits. Socialization is more than just meeting people, and sometimes doing too much or socialization incorrectly is detrimental.

Canine Body Language

Francisco Barrios, CPDT-KA

This presentation will cover how to identify and interpret canine-body language, the importance of accurately interpreting these signals, and how to use this information to build a better, more trustworthy relationship with our canine companions. Knowing how to interpret these signals not only make the dogs happier and more confident, but also reduces the risk of bites and other forms of canine aggression.

The Science of Fundraising

Kristina Rinaldi, Executive Director, Detroit Dog Rescue

Join Kristina Rinaldi for an eccentric look at maximizing your connections, expanding your network, and fueling your fundraising projects to increase results for your non-profit or business. Whether you're an eager volunteer, an event committee co-chair, or the manager of a business, this is one fundraising and marketing-fused session you won't want to miss. You will leave with a better understanding of your network and a yearly plan to get your non-profit increasing their numbers.

BREAK  10:45-11am


(choose one 60-min session)

Separation Anxiety: A Multimodal Approach to Best Help the Dogs In Your Care

Dr. Erica Hawker, DVM

This lecture will focus on the science behind separation anxiety in dogs. We'll look at the important role veterinarians and techs play in alleviating the fear and panic some dogs experience when left home alone. Additionally, we'll look at behavior modification techniques, medications, and tools you can recommend for patients or clients to improve quality of life for both pet and owner.

An Overview of Feline Enrichment

Jessica S. Buccilli, BS, LVT, UW-AAB

Concerned that your cats are spending the day watching the grass grow? The purpose of this presentation will be to focus on ways to alleviate boredom, reduce stress, and enhance the lives of cats in our care through the strategic use of environmental enrichment. Types of enrichment and their applications in a variety of settings, such as shelter, veterinary, and home, will be discussed.

LUNCH BREAK  12-1:30pm


(choose one 60-min session)

BREAK  2:30-2:45pm


(choose one 90-min session)

Understanding and Working With Predation In Dogs

Kate Wilson, BS, CDBC, CPDT-KA

This lecture will take an in-depth look into predation and predatory behavior in dogs. We will be exploring why animals predate, the ecological balance of predators and prey, what predatory behaviors we see in dogs, and how to use this ingrained behavior to train and manage predatory behavior.

BREAK  4:15-4:30pm


(choose one 60-min session)

Solving the Puzzle: A Dive Into Understanding and Treating Inappropriate Elimination In Cats

Kristen Klebba, LVT, KPA, CPT

Inappropriate elimination, or urinating outside of the litter box, is one of the most common behavior problems in cats and the number one reason for relinquishment. This lecture will discuss how to triage the issue and basic management techniques. Attendees will learn what roles inter-cat conflict, preferences and resources play in the treatment of feline inappropriate elimination.

End of Saturday's Schedule

Optional Dinner and Mixer: 7pm

Harnessing the Fun: An Introduction to Dog-Powered Sports

Amy Cooper, BAS, LVT

This session for all levels will explore the growing popularity of dog powered harness sports and their benefits for dogs that naturally love to pull, no matter the breed or size. We’ll look at not only dog sledding but also skijoring, bikejoring and canicross, the required gear, safety considerations, and how to get your dog started today

Show Me the Science: Positive Reinforcement Training

Dr. Ashley Elzerman, DVM

This session will present three, related mini-topics: a brief overview of the current scientific information available for evaluating training methods, data on why owners continue to use punishment-based techniques, and some ideas to get people on board with positive reinforcement based training.

Mismatched or Mis-Wired: Understanding, Assessing, and Placement Options for High-Risk Cases

Dr. Marie Hopfensperger, DVM, DACVB

This session is geared towards helping rescue, shelter and veterinary professionals understand, assess and make treatment decisions for the more serious behavior issue cases they see. With a Veterinary Behaviorist lens, this session will take a deep dive into why aggression might develop for some dogs and what the placement options are based on severity. By the end of this lecture, you should be able to better assess what is an environmental problem (lack of exercise, not a good placement, etc.) vs. what is a sign of a more serious mental health issue and what a long-term prognosis might be for various behavior issues in dogs if/when re-homed. Session will go over genetics, important factors to consider, ethical implications, and community safety considerations.