Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Clicker Con 2011 - Newport Beach, CA

First off, shame on the Karen Pryor Clicker Training staff who had a hand in planning Clicker Expo in the gorgeous state of California. Because, really, who can concentrate when the day outside looks like this:

and this:

But then again, Clicker Expo is all about training, behavior, animals - 

it just makes my head spin in the most enjoyable way!

So, while it's always hard to choose between fun in the sun and dog training, I will always go to the dogs!

Here's a recap of our visit to Newport Beach, CA:

We traveled with our dog training bestie, Smart Dog University's owner Laurie Luck:

We learned about micro-shaping, super skills, back chaining and the value of fine tuning your observation skills...

We got to speak with like-minded people about positive reinforcement training and how it's not just "nice" for the learner, it's smarter...

But the highlight of the expo had to be the Saturday dinner with guest speaker, Victoria Stilwell:

You may have heard of her: she's the star of It's Me or the Dog on Animal Planet and she's pretty awesome. She's helping trainers like us spread the word of dog-friendly training, encouraging the public to educate themselves and make humane choices when it comes to teaching their pups. 

Oh! and just in case you haven't heard, Ms. Stilwell also helped my lovely boyfriend propose to me. :)

That's right, folks. This dog trainer is now officially spoken for with some bling on her finger. 

And he proposed to me at a dog training convention - [bats her eyelashes] he's so dreamy - by having an internationally known dog trainer ask, "Does anyone in the audience have a question?"

That's when he stood up and said "I have a question, Victoria, but it's not for you...

...I don't know how many of you know Erica but for those of you who do, you may know that she's an amazing dog trainer and an incredible woman. I've told her many times that I want the whole world to know how much I love her and I figured I'd start with all of you here tonight..." 

That's about when he did this:

And made me cry like this:

And of course, I said yes:

I know. This is a dog training blog. But let's be honest: I wouldn't be half the dog trainer that I am today without the support of my lovely, J. So it deserves mentioning in this forum. Plus, what dog-crazy girl wouldn't want the man of her dreams to propose to her at the largest positive trainer expo in the world??? 

I got to say thank you to Karen Pryor and Aaron Clayton for their help coordinating such an awesome proposal:

and we got to thank Victoria herself:

but a humongous, super-huge thank you to my friend, Laurie, who helped coordinate the whole proposal  with my fiance. She's a doll, isn't she!?

And although the expo is officially over (major sad face on that one), I will forever remember Clicker Expo 2011 above all others. 

Thank you J for being the man of my dreams and I look forward to forever with you. I just hope you can put up with this crazy dog trainer for that long ;)


  1. Awww! Congratulations!

    Your sweetie didn't have to "shape" your acceptance with a clicker, did he?

  2. Wow! What an awesome proposal story...Congratulations!

  3. Sweeeet !! Here I was coming for a serious - is that doable on your blog? :) - report on the Clickerexpo, finding this fantastic story instead.

    Congratulations !!

  4. Congratulations! That's an amazing proposal story. Good luck and much happiness to you both.

  5. Thanks for the congrats ladies!! It was a dog-geek's dream!

    @Pamela - oooo! now THAT would have been amazing. Then again, I'm pretty sure he shapes much of my behavior without me realizing it.

    @Kenzo - I try and try to be serious but I just can't do it ;)