My Experience As A Puppy At The APDT Conference in Hartford

APDT Conference 2014

This week I attended my very first conference. The 2014 APDT Conference is an annual dog training conference held by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. They had over 900 attendees! Here are the 5 best things I got from the conference.

Networking

This benefit is a given, but I don’t mean to use the term “networking” in a traditional sense. These days networking should be about getting to know other people in your industry in order to build lasting relationships for years to come. Not simply handing out your business card to everyone you meet – give them a warm, friendly feeling to remember you by. I was able to make new friendships with people I shared a room with. I also actively invited new acquaintances out to lunch or dinner so that I could get to know them better. It was such a blast getting to know each person’s personal experiences. I’m the kind of person that believes there is something valuable I can learn from each person I meet.

New Speakers/Voices In The Industry

One of my favorite parts so far has been attending some of the mini-presentations by trainers who submitted poster presentations. Hearing from new voices and perspectives is always refreshing and brings about new energy in the dog training industry. Not a single person views the world, or training for that matter, in exactly the same way. Opening opportunities to yourself can help grow your knowledge base and perspective.

APDT trade show

APDT Conference Trade Show

Trade Show 

The trade show is pretty much a dog trainer’s paradise. It is full of puzzle toys, bait bags, and a million other products that trainers love to provide their clients or their dogs. You have to make sure you watch your wallet so you don’t get buyers remorse! However, its beneficial to plan for a little spending money so you can fully enjoy the trade show experience. For example, companies like Kong had discounts up to 70% off their toys!

Meeting Online Peers In Person

Networking online is fun and easy. It’s even better when you get to meet some of your peers in person! Getting to know some of your online friend’s true personalities in person can strengthen the bond between you. Meeting in person will help you understand how friends form their perspectives on training.

Seminars!

What’s better than endless dog training and behavior seminars for 4 days straight? Not much for us behavior nerds… Unfortunately, many occur at the same time so you are left with difficult choices. I recommend partnering up with a few friends then divide and conquer so you can all gain valuable knowledge from each seminar. Even if you attend the same seminar, you’re likely to pick up different information from each other so share your thoughts with each other!

The APDT conference was amazing. Hartford is a beautiful area and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. I look forward to attending the 2015 conference in Dallas Texas next year! Will you be joining me? :)

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