The future of progressive dog training

In the not so distant past, most of us considered pressure to be physical, in particular in relation to our dogs but also in relation to our children.  Dog won’t sit on cue?  Push the dog’s rear end down and pull up on the collar.  Dog doesn’t come...

Barking

I recently offered a quiz about “all things Fenzi and FDSA style training” on the FDSA Facebook business page.   I tested general dog knowledge along with training tips that are rather specific to me.  I’d like to talk about one of the questions and...

The Power of Habit, Part 2

In my last blog I discussed the role of habit in our dog’s lives.  I focused on habits in relation to house rules and not to performance dog training and that was on purpose.  Now I’m going to switch gears a little because I often want my dog consciously...

Problem Solving: Straight positions at heel

One of the exercises in Level 2 of the on-line TEAM obedience program requires that the dog demonstrate position changes (sit, down and stand)  in correct heel position.  While most dog-handler teams eventually master the position themselves, many teams struggle to...

Is movement or stillness the solution?

I’m a huge fan of allowing a dog to take in an area before you begin to train. This is particularly true if your dog tends toward a more nervous temperament or if they are easily overwhelmed by the world. So how, exactly, do you allow your dog to take in the...

Habit by Enforcement or Management

In my last blog I talked about developing habits in your dog at a very early age so that eventually, specific bad behaviors don’t even occur to your dog. Let’s look at an example. I spent the past week with a friend and her 10-month-old Spaniel at a mutual friend’s...

The Power of Habit, Part 1

Each day I wake up, go into the kitchen to feed the dogs, head to my computer where I clear my email and do a few routine tasks, take a shower, etc. The first hour or two of my day I think very little because my behaviors are largely driven by habit. Habits make life...

A Correction: To make sorry or make right?

In general, the verb “correct”  means to make something right after an error is identified. Most of us perceive it as a learning opportunity but with some emotional baggage attached.   For example, if your teacher corrects you repeatedly in a short period...

Structure your learner for success

Before you teach, you need to create a plan that will allow for a successful teaching situation. When your learner is engaged and happy and wants to be with you, training is easy. It only takes a few minutes to communicate new ideas effectively if the learner is...

Is Leadership taken or given?

Some super interesting questions emerged after I wrote my last blog on “What is Leadership.” Let’s start with this one: Does the leader take control or does the follower give control?  I see this as a chicken or egg situation, so let’s take a...

Understanding Leadership

How does one define leadership? I have tried, with limited success, to come up with a workable definition. It’s sort of like talking about love… What is love? How does one define it? What does it look like? Tricky. Here’s my best stab at defining...

Just on the Edge of Suck

Do you struggle to increase criteria in training? Stuck in a comfortable rut? Julie Flanery has written a guest blog for us this week on exactly this topic; read on! Just on the Edge of Suck  by: Julie Flanery I’m going to a new gym. It’s not like any gym I’ve been to...

Socialization and Early Training

I am often asked how we should socialize our dogs so that they will grow up as well adjusted as possible. I think the answer is both simple and intuitive: The same way you socialize your small children. I know that many of you don’t have children but work with me...

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...

My Life as A Blogger

365 days ago, I started a blog.  I had no agenda, except to create a “diary” of the process of raising my new puppy, Lyra.  I had no intention of posting every week.  I had no intention of using my blog as a soapbox; a chance to talk about whatever...

Balance – Trainer and Student

I have lots of opinions about how dogs “should” be trained.  I prioritize toys and play over food, speed over accuracy, short sessions over long ones, etc.  At the same time, I also have a range of students in both private lessons and in seminars with...

The NEW Dog Sports Trainer Certificates at FDSA!

We did another thing at FDSA! If you are a goal-oriented sort of person, and if you take classes at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, you may want to check out our new certificate program which combines the formal education provided by FDSA with an applied skills component...

The Guilt of Knowledge

We know a lot about good training these days. We know about errorless learning, setting up environments to foster success, and using our knowledge of total circumstances to change behavior in ways that are both kind and effective for the learner. We know how to create...

Free podcast on play with Denise

Recently I was interviewed for a 30-minute podcast for FDSA on the topic of play.  Click the link if you want to listen to it. I covered a lot of ground in this one!  Why I play with dogs.  What you can learn when you play with your dog.  How to play…in...

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...