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...

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...