Monday, June 22, 2015

SPARCS Conference

This weekend there wasn't a whole lot of mischief going on for us! We stayed home, parked in front of the computer watching the FREE stream of the SPARCS Conference! Even though I didn't have any mischief going on, they sure did at the conference! On the first day, after lunch, they were evacuated from the building! There was a problem with the sprinklers and it caused the fire alarms to go off! Everyone was okay and the conference continued the next day in a different hall.

The SPARCS (Society for the Promotion of Applied Research in Canine Science) Conference is a three-day scientific conference that blends the format of a traditional academic conference with a format that is welcoming, friendly, and engaging for all audiences.  Each day has a main theme whereupon our speakers give multiple talks about topics within the themed framework for that day, allowing for more discussion about the complexity, nuances, and controversies that exist amongst scientists.  Each day then concludes with a panel discussion to allow our speakers the opportunity to answer questions, discuss ideas, and debate controversies that arose during the day. Our audience is incredibly diverse, comprising dog enthusiasts, behavior consultants, veterinarians, researchers, and students.

This years topics included: Learning & Memory, Dogs Around the World and Stress: Physiology, Cognition, and Behavior.

There were so many interesting topics! If you'd like to read notes from the conference I highly recommend heading over to my friend Ines Gaschot's blog: The Modern Dog Trainer.  

If you follow me on twitter (@lauren_201) you will have noticed all my retweets from the conference. I really enjoyed listening to all the talks and learning about all the new studies going on in animal science.

While the girls were not that thrilled about a boring weekend (and we plan on getting back to adventures this week) I learned a ton and feel that it was definitely worth watching! One of my favorite talks from the conference was by Jeremy Koster talking about Nicaraguan Hunters and how they use their dogs to find food. It's just fascinating learning about different cultures! It was also amazing because they don't train their dogs to hunt and they don't even try to selectively breed dogs for their hunting skills! It's all luck of the draw. They also hunt their dogs in a similar fashion to how I allow mine to hunt. They take their dogs in the forest and let them go. They don't stay with their owners and hunt independently then when they find the prey they begin to bark and the owners can tell what kind of animal they found by the different types of barks the dogs make. 

I am so geeked out right now on Dog Science! I would highly recommend keeping an eye out for next year's conference and watching to stream it live it's FREE! Although they do sell memberships to go back and watch previous content. If you want to stay updated on future events you can check out the SPARCS Facebook page! or you can follow them on Twitter!

I hope everyone has an awesome week! 


  1. What fun! I never think to attend online conferences. I zone out and it's time and money wasted. Hard enough attending them in person. ;) But it sounds great! Especially the session on using dogs to find food.

    1. Oh whoops! I forgot to mention this conference is FREE! I'll go back and edit the post! It's completely free to stream it and they only charge if you want to go back and watch something later. They sell memberships to see the previous content. I totally know what you mean by zoning out though! One of the ways I kept my focus was by retweeting all the fabulous comments and info that they were tweeting. It really helped!

  2. That is how hunters with hounds hunt their prey...bear, boar, fox, racoon, rabbit, coyote, bobcat, etc.. They turn the dogs loose and let them hunt and when they bark, they find them and well... I bet I would have been interested in that segment.

  3. Thanks so much for posting all of this! I would LOVE to attend this conference!

  4. I saw your mentions of it on FB, and it sounded like something I'd love... but I have satellite internet and can't stream anything. :( I'll have to read those notes!

  5. I wish I could have caught more of the streaming content, because it's all very fascinating!

  6. That's so interesting about the Nicaraguan hunters! Sounds like it was a very interesting weekend - for you, anyway, if not the girls! :)

  7. Oh nice!!! It sounds interesting, and i'll definitely keep on the lookout for the next one!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!


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