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What a Pithy: Making Classes Memorable Presented by Kathy Sdao

  • Sunday, February 03, 2019
  • 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday, February 03, 2021
  • 8:00 PM
  • Recorded Webinar


  • Registration for PPGBI Members. If you are a member of another chapter (not British Isles), please use the International Chapter Registration link.
  • For PPG Members belonging to other charters. Registration code required. You can find this code in the member area on your PPG website.


CEUs: PPAB 1.5, CCPDT 1.5, IAABC 1.5

Registered for the live event, get busy and cannot make it!

No worries you will automatically receive a recording!

Pithy means “concisely cogent”, which describes an essential skill of the best training instructors. We work in challenging conditions: simultaneously teaching two species a series of precise physical skills, often in less-than-ideal environments. We must be able to quickly communicate unfamiliar concepts and basic learning principles - about reinforcement, timing, criteria, cues, generalisation, and more - to novice students. But we are limited in the amount of verbal explanations we can provide. Extended lectures lead to bored and noisy dogs. Yet, if we challenge ourselves to be creative, we can devise teaching strategies that are brief, memorable, and effective.

This presentation will be an exercise in generative thinking. It will spark your own ingenuity and give you fresh ideas for classes that may have become stale after years of repetition. Come prepared to learn innovative instructional tools that can bring more life to your teaching.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn to use language in creative ways to convey jargon and complex training concepts.
  • Become familiar with several forms of narrative devices instructors can use to clarify their information.
  • Recognise some pitfalls to avoid when designing teaching tool.

About The Presenter

Kathy Sdao is an applied animal behaviourist who has spent 30 years as a full-time animal trainer, initially with marine mammals and currently with dogs and their people. As a graduate student at the University of Hawaii, she received a Master’s as part of a research team which trained dolphins to solve complex cognitive puzzles. She was then hired by the United States Navy to train dolphins for open-ocean tasks. Next, Sdao worked as a marine-mammal trainer at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. After leaving the zoo world, she and a colleague created Tacoma’s first dog day care facility where she began teaching clicker training classes for dog owners. For the past 17 years, Sdao has owned Bright Spot Dog Training in Tacoma. Services include consulting with families about their challenging dogs, teaching private lessons, and mentoring professional trainers who want to maximize the power of positive reinforcement training. Sdao is an original faculty member for Karen Pryor’s ClickerExpos and has taught at 29 of these popular conferences since 2003. She also has traveled extensively educating students about the science of animal training. Her first book, Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace, was published in 2012.

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