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Play. And….shameless advertising.

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On and off I’ve talked about play on this blog.  Maybe more on than off.

I happen to find the topic completely fascinating – You and your dog; interacting in a manner that is interactive, rewarding and joyful.  Maybe using toys or food but often with nothing at all.   How can a dog person not be fascinated?

Indeed, so fascinating that Deb Jones and I ended up writing a book about it, titled “Dog Sport Skills:  Building Relationship Through Play”.

That’s the good news; a book is in the pipeline.  The bad news is that it isn’t likely to be ready for awhile, as it is the second book in the series.  While written, we’d like to publish the first book….first.  Hopefully you’re waiting on pins and needles.

So…what’s a person to do while waiting?

Well, step in Tracy Skenlar from Agility University, who has asked me to teach an on-line class for her.  Any topic I like.  Obedience, relationship, Focus, etc.

And I picked play, because it is so completely cool.

Deb Jones agreed that I could use elements from the book to simplify my life….so this class will borrow heavily from the chapters in the book that cover the skills of tug, food play and personal play (just you and a dog).  Thanks Deb!

If this topic interests you, I’d love to have you in the class.  While the working and auditing spots have been taken, there are observing spots available.  As an observer, you can do all of the reading, watching, listening and learning that you can hold.  Indeed, you can keep on reading for six months, twenty four hours a day.  Seven days a week.  Soon you’ll be teaching me!

And when the book comes out?  Well, I hope you’ll run right out and buy it!

But in the meantime, I hope to give potential players lots and lots of lots of help getting their companions to play and to interact in the most positive way possible. I’m putting a fair amount of time into designing this class, so hopefully you’ll get your money’s worth and then some.

Intrigued?  Check out Agility University; Building Relationship Through Play, at:

The class starts October 31st.  You’ll notice that the class costs money; $75 for an observer spot.  And I usually just give it all away for free right here, which is totally fine and I will continue to do that.  But hey; I’ve got a couple of kids to put through college, so this time you’ll have to pony up some money if you want to play.  I sure hope you’ll join me!  If it’s fun then I hope to teach another class in the spring – I have a totally different topic in mind:).

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

27 responses »

  1. Hi Denise! I have Chihuahuas that I train and trial with in agility. They have tiny teeth and don’t enjoy tugging that much, so toy play with them is somewhat limited in terms of reinforcement. Do you have experience in training small dogs with your “play” methods? Will that be covered at all in your new book? I completely enjoy your blogs and videos, but my experience is so different with my “minis” that I sometimes find it hard to translate to our situation. Any guidance or help you can point us to would be appreciated!

    • I treat all dogs the same regardless of size or breed – I think the trick is to find the information that works for your dogs. Maybe personal play or food play would end up being more valuable to you than toy play. On the other hand, I include “chase” as toy play, regardless of whether the dog actually grabs the toy.

  2. As an auditor what would you get? An outline of the course and any feedback at all in comments? Will video and assignments be given? Just curious! Thanks!

    • Auditing spots are taken, so you would be an observer. The workers will have assignments – you can choose to do them (I would if I were you) but you will not get feedback from me. I will be assigning reading/written assignments and video assignments to workers. You can see their completed homework along with my comments on it. I’d think with 12 workers and 15 auditors (who do ask questions about the materials), most people will be able to identify with a good portion of what they see. Think of it as a DVD course – you can choose how much to follow along on your own.

  3. I hope you some info for seniors with limitations !

  4. Hi Densie,
    Course sounds great, but I’m not getting the structure – is it once a week for 6 weeks at the same time? Is it a webinar format? Can we log onto the class at anytime if we can’t make the specific ‘class time’? Can you tell me where on the website to get this information?

    • No, it goes on the entire time; you can log in whenever and read/view whatever has been posted – videos, homework, etc. I’ll post comments all the time as I have time to log in and see what has been submitted. As an observer you can come in and view whatever interests you.

      It’s sort of like this….you have the option to “watch” the lessons that I teach over six weeks to other participants. Since the lessons are recorded videos and written responses, it doesn’t matter when you log in and watch. If you find that some dogs are more similar to your own, you’d probably focus on watching their videos and my responses to them. Does that make sense?

      In terms on lectures, I’ll post them once a week but you can read them whenever you want. Same with homework; I’ll post it once a week (along with Lyra performing as the demo dog) but working people submit when they have time and I respond when I have time – over the week. Then you read and watch videos when you have time.

  5. I am signed up as an Auditor, I have never done an on-line course so thanks for the explanation, I also thought there was “class time” 🙂
    I am excited to learn how to engage my Collie and Mudi in active play with me, they tug with each other but just deliver to me.

  6. Really looking forward to the class. Hope to see how to use some personal play that would be appropriate for the obedience ring with big dogs that get excited pretty quick and who like to use their mouths a lot. I’m thinking what we’ve got going right now is too rough for that environment. And me sometimes. 🙂

  7. I can’t wait!! And I’m in line with Kathy: how to handle high drive big dogs who get amped up QUICKLY and love to chomp. I chose a high drive/high prey bloodline, I’ve worked hard to foster play/tug……however, I’m now having issues with Crazy Wuppy who enjoys the “fly by snag” if I don’t have toy in hand (sometimes). I refuse to schedule an OB/GYN appointment!! 🙂 🙂

  8. I’m already enrolled in the class with a working spot…very excited to get started on what’s always seemed like the puzzle of how to play with my aussie, Wiley.. thought I’d post about the online classes in general after reading the comments…..I’ve taken various online classes at agility u before both with working spots and as an auditor, and have loved the classes. In a lot of ways, have found the online format more valuable than “live” classes. The action in the videos is so much closer, the feedback is much more specific, and you can replay as many times as you want until you see/understand what the instructor sees. Strongly recommend if anyone is sitting on the fence about it to just go for it……

  9. Sounds like a wonderful course!

    Do observers have access to watch your demo videos with Lyra, and also the completed video assignments by the workers?

  10. I am very excited about the book on play and cant wait for it to come out! And what is the title of the first book in the series?

  11. I’ve already signed up as an Observer. Paying $75 seems like a bargain to me. I’m just looking for ways to be more exciting to my dogs because I started out as a very boring trainer.

  12. Hi Denise,

    We are ready, ready, ready! Can’t wait till next week!


  13. Can’t wait Denise! I too need play that won’t get my dog too amped up and mouthing in the obedience ring.

  14. If anyone here signed up, feel free to log in to Agility University now and “get comfortable” in the classroom. We’ll start assignments in two days:).

  15. Oops, it’s November 4th and I just found out about this. Can I still sign up as an observer?

  16. Reblogged this on Climbing Up Into the Sun and commented:
    I’m taking this course with Castle. I have long known that I need to move towards using more non-food play and less treats when training. Looking ahead to next year, and thinking about competing in agility with Castle made this jump to the forefront of all the various things I want/need to work on. Then Denise Fenzi announced that she was running a course all about how to play with your dog in a fun, rewarding manner for both of you. I nabbed a working spot… we just completed our Week 1 homework and I’m looking forward to Denise’s feedback on our videos (gulp!).

  17. Pingback: The Week in Tweets (18th November) | Some Thoughts About Dogs

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