I have an old dog

I have an old dog. When did she become old?  Maybe it started with the decline in her manners. Doesn’t she see me standing here as she pulls something out of the trash?!  Maybe, but it doesn’t matter because she knows I won’t enforce the rules and she can’t hear me...

A simple heeling game

Heeling games are things that we do to increase our dog’s drive and enthusiasm for heeling.   Dogs can learn heeling games even if they have no heeling at all; indeed, probably the best time to teach heeling games is roughly when you are teaching precision...

Making the Radar

Recently I was talking with a group of people about how I trained my neighbor’s free-roaming dog not to come through her gate and harass me and my dog. First I tried talking nicely to the dog. That had no effect. Second, I tried crossing the street. That seemed...

Setting goals

I recently asked a few people to set some goals for themselves. And they did! Big, general, enthusiastic stretch goals! Lots of goals! All the goals! Does that sound like you? I don’t do that. I don’t like big goals. They overwhelm me. Depress me. Make me...

Ask me anything!

Yesterday I answered questions for two hours; people were told that they could ask me anything. And they did! If you’d like to take a look, click the following thread through to Reddit. Ask Me Anything with Denise Fenzi – LIVE from...

Empathy and Behavior Change

Many years ago I sat in on a behavior consult with Trish King.  She spent 90 minutes listening to and supporting a very unhappy woman who wanted to talk about her long list of woes.  Honestly, I found her hard to take; I had this overwhelming urge to tell her to grow...

FB Live – Pocket Hand for Heeling

I talk a lot about “Pocket hand”.  That’s because it has turned out to be my most useful training tool!  I use it to teach heeling, finishes, straight positions, fronts, etc. So this afternoon I did a FB live on pocket hand to help anyone who might...

Will you give me your email address for FDSA?

I’m running a contest for a free FDSA class for this term (enrollment closes tomorrow!) or for August – you can choose!  I’ll draw a winner tomorrow evening. I want your email address so that I can send you information about FDSA, but only if you...

Ring stress

Sue Yanoff, a student at FDSA and a longtime obedience competitor, wrote the following description of her journey to her CDX with her Beagle Ivy.    I asked Sue if I could share it here because in my experience, ring stress is the most common problem trainers run into...

The concept of Choice

Note: I wrote this blog post within a few days of starting my blog in 2011. I don’t recall why I never published it, regardless, I found it here in my drafts folder today. Because I think it’s interesting to observe how thoughts about training (and writing...

No. Don’t do that.

If you were standing in the kitchen with your two-year-old and you noticed that they were about to climb on top of your kitchen table, what would you do? You would probably say something along the lines of “uh uh” and remove them as they climbed up the...

Reinforcement Choices in Heeling

Today I wanted to see what I had with Brito’s heeling. Here’s an unedited video: After you teach the pieces of lovely heeling, You have to string them together. At that point, I use my choice of reinforcement (food or toys) and the positioning of those...

Podcast

Do you like podcasts? I was interviewed by my friend Ryan Cartlidge recently for his Animal Training Academy Podcast.  If’ you’re interested, take a listen!  We covered a lot of territory, so it’s hard to say what all we covered, but we did talk...

What happens if?

I recently wrote a blog about the importance of asking “Why”. If you don’t know why something might work, don’t try it! Now I want to refine that discussion. While I need to know why something might work before I try it, I do not need to know...

the BEST way to train

If I am shaping a retrieve and my dog moves her mouth one inch from the dumbbell to half an inch, then I am closer to my goal.  I will mark and reward. But consider this. Rather than watching the dog’s mouth in relation to the dumbbell, someone else might be...