I’m home from three nights in Atlanta for BarkWorld Expo 2013! This was my third BarkWorld and the best so far with the opportunity to meet many brands, attend some excellent sessions, and catch up with old friends and meet new ones as well. Special thanks to Nutrish, our new sponsor, for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference!
Tomorrow I’ll bring you some of the product news from the conference but, first, a few of my personal highlights:
The roundtables consisted of three 30-minute sessions when attendees came over to my table to ask questions, share favorite travel destinations, and chat about pet travel. I received some great questions including some that we’ve discussed on our DOG TRAVEL EXPERTS radio show such as how we safely restrain our dogs in the car (Kurgo harnesses) and how to get your dog to overcome fear of riding in a car (everything from Adaptil pheromone collars to gradual, positive reinforcement training to show your dog the car is a great place!)
We also had excellent discussions about dog-friendly hotels, cars that work well with dogs, and some of the attendees’ favorite places to vacation with their dogs, where I learned some fun locations that are now on my travel wish list. At the end of the third session, the roundtable facilitators each provided a wrap-up (photo, above) for all the attendees about the discussions at their table.
The Dog Biscuit Cookoff
I hadn’t planned to enter the dog biscuit cookoff but I’m so glad I did! This unique activity, which was limited to six entrants, was held much like an Iron Chef competition. A table held large bowls of potential biscuit ingredients–flour, oatmeal, grits, rice, parsley, peanut butter, and eggs…and a mystery ingredient which turned out to be bananas!
Contestants weren’t given a recipe or measuring utensils…just a large commercial bowl for mixing.
I made a lot of treats in preparing our My Dog Says I’m a Great Cook! cookbook so I tried to use some of my favorite tricks to produce a treat that I thought would be a good combo with the given ingredients. After preparing the treats, the chefs from The Westin baked the dog biscuits and let them cool prior to judging.
And who was the judge? No other than BarkWorld founder Denise Quashie’s Frankie Beans. Like a pro on the Food Network, Frankie walked carefully and slowly from plate to plate of treats, returning to sniff them out as he chose his winner. When he was done, Frankie sat down in front of my plate of treats and started to eat…my treats won! (This was extra special because we’re just about to announce a new dog cookbook with a major publisher…stay tuned!)
Unleashed by Petco Auditions
On Saturday, I also had the opportunity to audition with Unleashed by Petco. They are looking for four vloggers to produce video content in the coming year. The audition was extra special because we *just* received our first Unleashed by Petco store in our area recently when the Round Rock store opened! I won’t know the results of the audition for a while but it was definitely a lot of fun.
The Nutrish Block Party
On Friday night, block parties provided several hours of fun after a busy day. As a Nutrish blogger, I was primarily in the Nutrish block party where attendees could come in and paint a ceramic pet bowl. It was fun to see the creative designs that each developed! The bowls will be glazed and fired and shipped to everyone in the coming days.
Victoria Stilwell Keynote
The conference included some great keynotes and sessions but the Victoria Stilwell session was definitely a high point for me. I love her positive reinforcement message and always enjoy her presentations!
Cat Writers Association Announcement
On Friday morning, BarkWorld made a big announcement: the 2014 BarkWorld will include the Cat Writers Association conference! As you know, I’m a member of Cat Writers Association and will be speaking at the 2013 conference in Dallas this fall. (I’m speaking about Twitter for Authors and Twitter for Shelters.) This will be a fun addition to BarkWorld next year!
This post is sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish. All thoughts and opinions are our own. As always, thank you for reading and supporting our sponsors.