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for Dog Breeders and Owners

Our lively, fun seminars offer insights and tips to take your puppy rearing to the next level. If you are a dog trainer working with owners of new puppies, these seminars will help you teach owners what they can do to create stable pets.

And if you are a competitor, working dog handler or dog enthusiast, our seminars will enable you to understand how a puppy’s first four months sets the stage for its lifetime!

Upcoming Seminars

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What Happens At Our Seminars

Looking for a Distinguished Speaker?

Gayle speaks on all things dogs, focusing primarily on using science to breed and rear stable, healthy puppies. A master presenter and breeder, Gayle entertains while she informs and engages while she teaches.

We offer single and multi-day seminars on topics including raising puppies to be healthy and stable, puppy temperament testing and matching so pups end up in the right homes, and creating a dog breeding strategy to enable breeders to meet their goals. We also waive our speaking fees for shorter keynote presentations at national breed specialties.

Hosting an Avidog Seminar

Here is what you can expect from us:

  • Prompt, professional replies to your phone calls and email messages.
  • A personal phone consultation with us prior to your event, so we can better understand how we can best serve you and your audience.
  • An announcement about your event on our blog and social media channels. (This assumes that your event is open to the public and you want additional visibility for it.)
  • A professionally prepared, dynamically delivered presentation focused on achieving the outcomes you want with your audience.
  • A custom resource page, exclusively created for your attendees. It will include the slides we used in the presentation, along with links to books, articles, and other resources we believe will be helpful.
  • A quick follow-up communication after the event, to make sure we met your expectations. (We also want to know how you think we can improve.)

If you have questions or to inquire about hosting a seminar, please contact us!

Avidog Seminar Topics

Transformational Puppy Rearing: Raising Healthy, Stable Dogs!
This two-day seminar will focus on the why, what and how of Avidog’s scientifically based, ground-breaking puppy-rearing system that enables us to bring out the best in puppies. This seminar can include working spots on Day 2 for pups 8 weeks to 6 months.

Day 1 (Early Puppy Rearing)

Will focus on puppy development from before conception, through pregnancy, up to three weeks of age. During this session, we will cover key activities during the prenatal, neonatal and transition periods that give pups the best chance to become healthy, stable, long-lived dogs. We will address everything from epigenetics to potty training litters.

Day 2 (Sensitive Period Puppy Rearing)

Covers a puppy’s Sensitive Period, from four to 16 weeks, the most critical time in a dog’s life. Topics include nutrition, socialization, sport and work development, housebreaking, recalls, and much more. All are focused on optimizing every pup’s temperament, health and talents so it will thrive.

Who Should Attend Transformational Puppy Rearing?

The seminar has something to offer any serious dog person but will have particular appeal to:

  • Present and future dog breeders of competition, working and pet dogs
  • Working dog owners and handlers
  • Performance dog owners
  • Dog trainers
  • Veterinarians and vet techs

What past TPR seminar participants have said

The Transformational Puppy Rearing seminar was incredible. Gayle’s intelligence, passion, and commitment, along with her dynamic delivery and wonderful sense of humor, made the two information-packed days fly by and left me wanting more. – Kelly

Transformational Puppy Evaluation and Matching: Connecting Dogs and Owners So All Thrive
One of the best parts of dog ownership, is living with a dog that matches you! It is so enjoyable to have a dog whose personality, structure and passions fits perfectly with you. Equally ideal is when your personality and lifestyle enables the dog to flourish. Making this match, either as an owner or breeder, enables all of us to thrive. Even the best-raised puppy may not thrive in the wrong home and even the most diligent owner may struggle if her dog doesn’t fit her personality, goals or lifestyle.

This two-day seminar will focus on the why, what and how of Avidog’s scientifically based, ground-breaking puppy evaluation and matching system that enables us to match pups to homes. If a litter is available, we will temperament test two puppies during the seminar.

Day 1 (Puppy Eval 1)

Begins with determining why we need to evaluate and match puppies, how to evaluate prospective owners and homes, and evaluating health, structure, and natural working ability. We will end the day with an introduction to temperament and the components that make dogs more or less successful in their homes.

Day 2 (Puppy Eval 2)

Continues with an in-depth look into temperament, identifying those traits that do not change over a dog’s lifetime and those that can be influenced by breeders and owners. We will then watch and score an Avidog Puppy Evaluation Test (APET). From there we will try our hand at matching puppies to homes and developing individualized training plans for each pup.

Who Should Attend Transformational Puppy Evaluation and Matching?

The seminar has something to offer any serious dog person but will have particular appeal to:

  • present and future dog breeders of competition, working and pet dogs
  • working dog owners and handlers
  • performance dog owners
  • dog trainers

What past TPE seminar participants have said

Gayle Watkins is a first-class presenter who is able to explain complex topics in a straight-forward manner while still being very entertaining. Her methodology on puppy testing is revolutionary and will change the way we place our puppies. Her method of testing is not only easy to implement, but it is intuitive and repeatable. Her seminar will teach even the most experienced breeders something new. – Debra

Transformational Dog Breeding: Ensuring Success in Your Breeding Program
This two-day seminar will focus on the why, what and how of Avidog’s Breeding Strategy System, which will enable you to create an individualized breeding strategy to ensure you meet your breeding goals, short term and long.

Day 1 (Trans Dog Breeding 1)

Introduces the eight components of the Avidog® breeding system, from setting and measuring goals to analyzing progress toward them. We then dig into goal setting, weighting and measuring. With goals in place, we will discuss applying epigenetics to breeding programs. Although a very young science, epigenetics should play a role in how dog breeders and owners select, raise and breed dogs for future breedings.

In addition to epigenetics, population genetics should influence breeders’ breeding stock selection. Sires and dams contribute differently and play different roles in a breeding’s success but each plays a critical role in their puppies’ future.

Day 2 (Trans Dog Breeding 2)

Continues the creation of your breeding strategy by developing plans for puppy rearing, evaluation and placement. We will determine the kinds of homes that fit best with our pups and develop a plan to find them. Finally, we will analyze how we are doing in our breeding. What is working? What isn’t? How can we improve?

Who Should Attend Transformational Dog Breeding?

This seminar has something to offer any serious dog person but will have particular appeal to present and future dog breeders of competition, working and pet dogs, and national breed club board members and officers. Attendees will create their own individual breeding strategy during the seminar, leaving with a plan they can immediately implement.

Transformational Puppy Rearing Seminar for National Specialties

Avidog has a special seminar for National Specialties!

We do not charge national clubs a speaking fee for this popular, three-hour keynote seminar. It is perfect for the education component of your national! During the seminar, Gayle will introduce participants to the why, what and how of a scientifically based, ground-breaking puppy-rearing system that enables us to bring out the best in puppies. It will focus on early puppy development including epigenetics, nutrition, and unique aspects of canine development that we can use to best develop our pup.

The seminar has something to offer any serious dog person but will have particular appeal to dog breeders and competitors.

What past National Specialty seminar participants have said

A great eye-opener! I wish I had all of this information years ago!

From Research to Real Life: Combining Art and Science to Raise Great Dogs
In this two-day seminar, we will move from the research papers into the whelping box. Starting when the breeding is just an idea on paper, we will progress through the critical components of a breeding, touching on such topics as epigenetics, pedigree analysis, stud and brood bitch selection and preparation, and apply key principles of breeding stock care and management.

We will explore issues around mating and whelping, paying close attention to nutrition, conditioning, and how to optimize your breeding success. We will then turn to the critical early period that sets each dog’s life-course trajectory for lifetime health and temperament, discussing what makes up under-, over-, and optimal rearing. We will progress through each stage in your dog’s early development, highlighting the action steps that you should take in each to enable your puppy to develop fully. You will leave with hundreds of simple yet scientifically sound ideas for creating an optimal breeding and rearing program, regardless of breed or background.

Who Should Attend From Research to Reality?

This seminar has broad appeal to breeders, owners, competitors and trainers, and veteran Avidog seminar attendees!

Fit to Be Tied: Conditioning Breeding Dogs
Together, well known veterinarian, Dr. Chris Zink, and long-time breeder, Gayle Watkins, developed the Fit to Be Tied program to enable breeders and stud dog owners to properly condition their dogs. Breeders and veterinarians know that dogs should be in good shape for breeding. However, no one knew what specifically that meant. So Chris and Gayle created a detailed fitness program that will enable studs and brood bitches to perform reproductive activities better, including breeding, whelping and puppy rearing. In addition, fit dogs suffer less stress and recover more quickly. This translates to healthier puppies and greater stamina and longevity.

In this 3-hour seminar, Gayle will present the Fit to Be Tied program, including what exercises should be done each step of the breeding process, from before the first tie until the pups go home. Using lecture, videos and demonstrations, you’ll learn how easy it is to teach the exercises to your dogs. Infrequently, Chris and Gayle will offer Fit to Be Tied together. Drop us a note, if you are interested.

Although this seminar is focused on breeding dogs, the analyses and exercises are also appropriate for performance and working dogs.

The seminar has something to offer any serious dog person but will have particular appeal to present and future dog breeders of competition, working and pet dogs, veterinarians and techs, and rehab specialists.

About Gayle



Gayle is the co-founder of Avidog International, where she works with dog breeders around the world to design breeding programs that produce healthy, stable, long-lived dogs of all types. She has bred golden retrievers for over 40 years, is a Gold Breeder of Merit, and is one of the few dog breeders to have thrice been selected by the American Kennel Club as “Breeder of the Year.”

Gayle’s professional life included 22 years of service as a US Army officer (retiring as a Colonel), teaching, speaking and publishing, and conducting research for the Department of the Army as well as many corporate and non-profit organizations. Her education includes biology, business and sociology degrees from Harvard, Stanford and Gettysburg College.

Gayle has bred and/or shown over 130 American and Canadian Conformation, Tracking, Obedience and Agility champions, plus Qualified-All Age and Master Hunter golden retrievers. These dogs include the only two-time AKC National Agility Champion, the AKC Rally National Champion, and the youngest Champion Tracker golden.

Avidog International II, LLCWe combine science, art and over 40 years of dog breeding experience to create, develop and present puppy rearing courses, programs and equipment for puppy owners and dog breeders.

Avidog International II, LLC
PO Box 66
Highlands, NC 28741