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Upcoming Events

smiling woman walking on a large green lawn with a dog on a leash

Working With Fear, Aggression & Reactivity

Animals who frequently display behaviors that we’d label fearful, aggressive, anxious or reactive require trainers who have a greater understanding of how to assess behavior and develop effective and humane interventions to give them skills, that without, can lead to a life of limitations, or euthanasia. Training is serious business, and at Lemon’s Hope Sanctuary, we take it seriously.

During event you will be introduced to:

  • An overview of how fear, stress and anxiety contribute to a range of behavioral and medical issues
  • In-home management of challenging dogs
  • Assessing the function of behaviors
  • Linear vs non-linear contingency analysis
  • How to develop operant and classical conditioning plans
  • Reinforcement schedules
  • Enrichment as intervention

There is also the opportunity to work hands-on with animals at the sanctuary on an optional second day. You will have the chance to put your learning into practice!

Dates: May 20, 2023

May 21, 2023 Additional day available for hands on training and instruction (previous day attendance required)

Cost: One day $125, two days $225

CEUs: May 20 CPDT 6 CEUs

May 21 CPDT 6 CEUs for trainers, 2 CEU’s for behavior consultants

Your instructor Debbie Jacobs, RBT, CPDT is known for her work specializing in the management and training of dogs struggling with fear-based behaviors. Her book A Guide To Living and Training a Fearful Dog, first published in 2007 continues to be a valuable and important resource for pet owners.


Special One Day Fundraising Event March 4, 2023 For Lemon’s Hope Sanctuary in Brattleboro VT!
Same great content, sliding scale for donations. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

From Dogs to Donkeys: What training other species can teach you

TEAM: Training Efficiently And Mindfully

We had a fantastic time in 2022! Hope you can join us in 2023.
Location: Lemon’s Hope Sanctuary, Brattleboro, VT

Join Sara Matters, MA, ABCDT, Debbie Jacobs, CPDT-KA, RBT and special guest presenters for three days of evidence-based information and practice related to learning and behavior change at Training Matters’ farm animal sanctuary in beautiful southern Vermont. Behavior change professionals, whether they are animal trainers or human educators or both, are invited to hone their training and teaching skills with the animals of Lemon’s Hope Sanctuary, sheep and a goat, miniature horses, guinea pigs, cockatiels and resident dogs and cats. Other individuals of other species may be recruited to participate as well. We hope to include beginning animal trainers, behavior analysts who are interested in moving from working with people to working with animals, as well as experienced animal trainers of a variety of species in multiple contexts, and other animal care professionals.

Special presentations by coyote and wolf researchers and trainers! Exciting information for canid enthusiasts! We will also incorporate the use of PORTL into the experiential learning during this fun and educational event.

There will be daily seminars on applying the science of behavior analysis to training and interventions. Among the topics we plan to cover are:

  • Where the other behavior sciences sit in relation to applied behavior analysis
  • How to systematically plan for working with a member of any species
  • Behavior analysis of challenging behavior
  • Using function-based assessments
  • Developing successful interventions
  • Using enrichment in interventions
  • Task analysis (or, writing training plans)
  • Shaping
  • Data collection
  • Training habits and practices to cultivate
  • talking or writing about behavior using behaviorally appropriate language

In addition to listening to presentations on these and other topics, attendees will practice their training skills with sanctuary and other animals. The animals are almost all rescues, and they vary in sociability as well as physical ability. We will discuss each individual and what they are able to do or not able to do, and where things stand with their training and socialization. We will provide species and individual-specific considerations for working with these animals, and discuss beginning or more advanced training as appropriate for and interesting to the trainer/learner team. We may also compare teaching one behavior to more than one species, such as haltering.

Our location in Brattleboro offers many opportunities for relaxation in down time: swimming, biking, boating, walks or hikes in soothing landscapes. Unique local attractions will also be recommended, so that you can round out your educational experience drinking in the beauty of Vermont.

Dates: June 9-11, 2023

Cost: $375

CEUs: CPDT- 14 CEUs for trainers & 5 CEUs for behavior consultants


The importance of hands-on experience for the scientist and practitioner.

Animal Trainer’s Retreat

Collaboration, support, education, recreation & rejuvenation!

Join us at Lemon’s Hope Sanctuary for a weekend of practice, discussion, and reflection. Improve your understanding of the science of Applied Behavior Analysis and your hands-on training mechanics. Wherever you are in your training journey from hobby trainer to professional, you’ll find non-judgmental support at Lemon’s Hope. This is critical to your growth and understanding of the application of science to make you a more compassionate and effective trainer and coach. And, it will be fun! Bring your bike, borrow a kayak, stroll with a friend to a stream in the woods, visit nearby Brattleboro known for its eclectic blend of shops and galleries. Our work is important. Your well-being and education are central to creating a more sustainable and successful profession. Visit this page for more information and registration.

12 CEUs for CPDTs 

19 CEUs from IAABC (2022)

Dates: September 29-Oct. 1, 2023

Cost: $275

smiling horse trainer standing next to a mini horse

“I’m inspired by you and Sara! Honestly, I think this is the fresh perspective that BCBAs need right now. You are all doing some amazing behavior analysis…”

Jennilee Lacroix, M.S., BCBA

Hands-on Intensive For Shaping Behavior

Join us to learn how to shape behaviors without having to use modeling, physical guidance, or hand-over-hand prompting and create a task analysis for them. After practicing with other participants you’ll have the opportunity to try out your skills with a variety of animals at Lemon’s Hope Sanctuary in Brattleboro Vermont including mini-horses, sheep, goat, guinea pigs, birds, dogs and cats. Get started or continue to practice using a clicker as a conditioned reinforcer (marker or bridge) for training and shaping.

Participants will be introduced to PORTL (Portable Operant Teaching Lab). PORTL is a tabletop game that provides an interactive environment for learning about behavior principles and investigating behavioral phenomena. PORTL had its beginnings in another game, called GENABACAB, which was developed by English dog trainer Kay Laurence. This was Debbie’s first introduction to the process, and she completed 2 levels of Kay’s Competency Assessment Programme (CAP). About a decade ago, Laurence taught this game to Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz and his graduate students.

This event has been designed for BCBAs and RBTs along with animal trainers to expand on their understanding of operant conditioning, and work on the skills of identifying and deconstructing behavior in order to build training plans, create criteria for reinforcement, and improve the timing and rate of reinforcement. Professional animal trainers have been working with non-verbal learners for decades and have been assessing the risks and potential fallout for using force or coercion when training.

Contact us to find out how to schedule this event for your staff or clinic. Visit this page for more information. 

Coming up October 21, 2023! For anyone interested in improving their training mechanics. 

Stay tuned for…….

Working With Wolfdogs. For owners, trainers and sanctuary staff.
For Kids Who Love Animals, ages 10-17. Whether your child has or wants pets, this experiential educational program will give them a foundation in the care and training of animals. They’ll have the opportunity to train mini horses, dogs, cats, sheep, goat, birds, and guinea pigs, learning humane training practices and having fun in the process.
children training agility with dogs

Past Events

Animal Trainers Collaborative in Puerto Rico

Our 2020 Collaborative in Puerto Rico was a great success! We plan to offer future collaboratives. You can learn more about the event by viewing our 2020 Collaborative details.

Go There

Behavior Basics and Beyond

2 On-Demand Webinars

Beyond the Basics: There’s more than you know

Fear: Its Impact on Behavior

Go There

Who is Debbie Jacobs, CPDT-KA, RBT?

Debbie Jacobs is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Registered Behavior Technician. She is the author of A Guide To Living With and Training A Fearful Dog, and Does My Dog Need Prozac? She has provided evidence-based information for owners, trainers, and veterinarians since 2007 and this website is recommended as a resource by veterinary behaviorists. She is recognized internationally for her commitment to helping animals struggling with fear-based behavior challenges, and educating on best practices in training. Learn more

Behavior is Lawful.

These words changed the world of dog training for me. 
Find out how these three simple words can change everything for you too.