PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
OR, if you are out of this area, inquire about a telephone or e-Lesson
I enjoy conducting dog behavior seminars, in person and appearing at media events. I have done them for public events, such as Seattle’s Pet Fest. I have done them for breed clubs, such as the Southern States Rottweiler Club and the Mastiff Club of America. And I have done them for veterinarians, wanting consultation on how to make their practices safer and better for their patients and their staff.
I am available to give seminars throughout the US. All you have to do to arrange one is to contact me, tell me what your group requires, and we’ll work out a topic, budget and agenda. As a general rule, the best seminars run no longer than 2 hours, and are targeted specifically for the group’s needs. For out of state seminars, you will need to arrange for flight, hotel, and rental car. And speaking fees are negotiable.
In 2002, I was a featured speaker at a major AKC breed club specialty. I enjoy doing these kinds of seminars.
I have volunteered countless hours doing dog rescue work, giving away free training to help dogs without homes. I have personally witnessed that it is tricky business when you run, or are part of, an all-volunteer organization that rescues dogs from shelters and from the homes of the public. If it were not for folks that really love dogs, who are dedicated to their breeds, then no one else in their right mind would take on the responsibility, and liability, involved in placing abandoned purebred dogs into new homes. It’s a lot of work, for no pay, and the only satisfaction is knowing you are saving dogs and placing them with good people.
But, there is also a downside. For example, sometimes a rescue volunteer will unknowingly (or foolishly) pick up and place a dog with dangerous tendencies, and place it in a new home. Then someone gets hurt. Or a volunteer will be misled by the previous owners who didn’t disclose that their dog had dangerous tendencies, and the volunteer doesn’t find out until the new owners are confronted with a dog that is attempting to attack innocent people.
In addition, not all parts of the country (and in fact, not many parts of the world) have dog behavior experts that are qualified, or are willing, to evaluate and work with dogs that have biting tendencies. So folks that deal with dogs either have to go by the seat of their pants and take a risk that no one makes any mistakes, put to death dogs that they don’t know how to evaluate or handle, or they must invite a consultant with canine behavioral expertise to help them figure out what to do. Rescue groups will fly a dog behaviorist, like myself, all the way from Seattle to the Midwest for a behavioral seminar, because there are just not that many of us around.
A major goal of this club was to educate their members on which dogs to bring into rescue, and which dogs were not suitable for adoption. The club also requested that I cover breed specific questions. Therefore, I set out to prepare a seminar that would be targeted for this audience.
I had approximately 7 months to prepare. By February of 2001, and working closely with a couple of representatives of the club, I had amassed all that I was going to say in a 150 page typed rough draft. That draft alone took me around 100 hours of time to develop. However, it was an excessive amount of material! Since I only had 2 hours to make my presentation, I had to condense and condense the material until I had a polished 11 page final outline. This outline then became the seminar handout for each of the participants.
The flight to Oklahoma City was very interesting. I had never been to that part of the country, and since I like to travel and I like to fly, I enjoyed the trip. I had an hour layover in Denver, and it gave me time to re-examine my thoughts on flying dogs on airlines. I thought back to a time when I sent a dog, nonstop, from SeaTac to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After experiencing the arid climate around the Denver airport, it reminded me again that it is dangerous to fly a dog anywhere, because the dog might get overly hot or cold along the way and die. Dogs have died while being transferred to the new airplane. They have also died in the cargo compartments when they have not been properly pressurized, supervised, and/or crated. I am not comfortable flying dogs anywhere except when necessary.
The night I arrived, the day before the seminar, I had dinner by myself at a Mexican restaurant in a special part of the city. As I walked around town after dinner, I really missed having my dog with me! With no one to visit with, it would have been nice to have him around and show him a new place and a good time. But, as I indicated, I am not keen on flying dogs anywhere, so I called my mom (who was babysitting my pup) in Seattle to see how he was doing. Of course, he was having a merry time with her, and probably was not thinking of me at all! I am such a sap! My dog was doing just fine, but I was 1,000 miles away having Separation Anxiety!
The next day I gave a two-hour seminar to a group of about 50 club volunteers. The seminar consisted of three parts.
The first part of the seminar was about the reasons why dogs bite. People that handle many dogs, especially when dealing with dogs that are unknown to them, always risk that the dog will bite someone. I wanted to help the volunteers understand what triggers dogs to bite.
The second part of the seminar was about how to evaluate unknown dogs, but only with respect to whether they were safe to adopt. About 1/4 of my business is dealing with dogs that bite. Therefore, I have learned how to be very careful when evaluating dogs. Not all dogs that look friendly, and not all dogs that are from so-called “good” breeds, are safe to handle. Therefore, I described some of the techniques I use when dealing with strange dogs, especially with those that I suspect are biters. I also devised some techniques the volunteers could use when visiting shelters and homes.
The third part of the seminar was a Question and Answer session. As I expected, most of the questions revolved around what to do with fearful dogs. Many abandoned dogs, in fact a lot of dogs in general, are fearful. We discussed things like desensitization, fight/ flight behaviors, the goal of fearful dogs, anxiety, phobias, symptoms of the fearful dog, and placement of fearful dogs.
Overall, the seminar was a very good one and it received a lot of positive feedback. I felt good about doing this seminar because I like working with abandoned/ rescued dogs, and I felt that this was a good way for me to help good dogs find new homes.
A second seminar in August, at the Mercer Island Library, was for a veterinary managers group. Some of the attendees were veterinary technicians, others were managers, and others were veterinarians.
The first part of this seminar covered four objectives for each customer visit and veterinary examination (from a behavioral, not medical, standpoint): Make the experience good for the owner, Make the experience good for the dog, People Safety First, and Animal Safety Second.
Next, was a detailed description of the four reasons why dogs bite: Something Is Wrong With The Dog, Prey Drive, Aggression, and Fearfulness. Also covered were the other factors that influence biting. An out-of-control dog can seriously hurt a veterinarian or veterinary technician during an exam! If you think of it from a dog’s point of view, it is very unnatural for a stranger to grab and restrain you. When you then mix in the fact that some dogs are fearful of strangers, some dogs are aggressive towards strangers, and other dogs are just a bundle of energy¦ then the potential for injury is very high for EVERYONE involved: the dog, the customer, the veterinary technicians, the veterinarians, and innocent bystanders in the waiting room.
I handed out a 5-page syllabus, which included an outline of the seminar, plus techniques for safely handling dogs. Also included were sections covering certain questions the group wished to discuss, and an example of a questionnaire that they could use with customers to build a behavioral profile on the dog before the examination was to take place.
Feedback on this seminar was also very positive. There were about 15 to 20 attendees. I felt good about doing this seminar, because I have seen and heard a lot of things being a dog owner and trainer, and it was a privilege to be able to discuss with this type of group how they might make examinations safer and better for all involved. Statistics indicate that the average veterinary practice loses about $17,000 a year in revenues because they have to turn customers away because their animals are not safe to handle.
I have been invited to do more seminars. I enjoy doing this kind of work since there is a considerable need for information by a variety of organizations that deal with dogs.
If your organization would be interested in a dog training and/or behavioral seminar, please feel free to call or email me. In some instances, depending on the nature of the group, I will do seminars free, and in other circumstances there will be a fee charged.
I look forward to seeing you soon at one of my future seminars!
Why Should You Choose Sam Basso To Train Your Dog? (What To Expect)
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