How to Pick a Pet Dog Trainer

You have a new dog or puppy, and you’re either feeling pro-active and want to get off on the right foot or you’ve got a problem brewing and you need to do something about it. How do you find a dog trainer for your pet dog? The typical advice you’re going to get will...

How to Train an Animal. Any animal.

Today my husband and I faced our seventh failed attempt to protect our vegetable garden from squirrels.  As I thought through our recent war with the critters, I was reminded of the principles of excellent animal training: 1. Set up challenges that become increasingly...

Are we having fun yet?

What does positive reinforcement based training mean to you? For some trainers, it means a lot of cookies and maybe throwing a toy into the mix on occasion.   I see that kind of training a lot. As a matter of fact, it’s the most common type of positive...

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...

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...

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...

Do you NEED Engagement Training?

Engagement training is the very specific training process where responsibility for starting and pushing for work is transferred from the human to the dog.  That is different than having an “engaged dog, which could happen with no specific training at all. Do you...

Why?

In a recent seminar, someone commented that they needed to play with their dog in new environments even if the dog wasn’t asking to play.  If the dog refused then she would have to crate the dog.  That belief doesn’t happen to mesh with my philosophy so I...