Be Crisp!

Good training is much more than teaching specific skills or developing your dog’s emotional comfort. You also need a plan for what you will do after you finish one exercise and before you start another, a plan for unsuccessful repetitions, and a plan for...

Handling training sabotage

You’re working on your dog’s polite greetings and your neighbor encourages your dog to jump enthusiastically on her chest.  You want your dog to wait politely at the door but your spouse allows them to rush out willy-nilly.  Your reactive dog is struggling...

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

In a nutshell, the Dunning-Kruger effect says that experts tend to overestimate the ability of others to do what they can do, and novices tend to overestimate their ability to do what they really can do. For dog trainers, this is bad news because it means that the...

The art of integration

Some time ago I started experimenting with incorporating circles into loose leash walking training.   I asked everyone I could get my hands on to try it, tell me what happened, and to show me videos whenever possible. When I felt confident about what I was seeing then...

Risk: Reason or perception?

Do your dogs play fetch?   Do you walk them off leash?   Do they play together unsupervised? What do they eat or get for toys?    Are they crated when you’re not home? You know there is a one in a thousand chance that your dog will get a given disease or get...

Accurate or effective?

Have you ever heard the dog trainer analogy, “Would you work without a paycheck? Why do you expect your dog to work without a paycheck?” There’s a problem with that analogy because dogs and humans are not the same.  Humans are motivated by a wide...

Helping a Hypergreeter

A few years ago I developed a simple protocol for dogs who are “hyper greeters.” Hyper greeters are not just friendly and enthusiastic dogs.  They are dogs who show an extreme lack of impulse control in the presence of people, and as a result they get in a...

Are you excellent?

On the way to school this morning, my younger son commented that he knows a lot about driving. He’s got the strategy down. Presumably, this is because my husband normally drives him places and my husband is all about strategic driving.  Making the...

An emotional model of behavior change

Humans have opinions about behavior.  We have clear ideas about which behaviors are good and which are bad.  In a nutshell, if we benefit from the behavior of another, then it’s good behavior. And if it inconveniences us in any way?  Then it’s bad...

More on socialization?

You’d think I would’ve said all I want to say on this topic. And the truth is, I have.  Here is my primary post on how I approach socialization.   I have looked it over and I am still comfortable with what I wrote there. And yet I am informed that I have...

Developing Foundation Skills

Not sure what foundation skills to teach your new puppy or dog that is destined for dog sports? Here is a recent Facebook live on the topic. I explain what I teach and why I teach it.  It applies to all dog sports, so take a look if you need some inspiration about...

The Quick Fix

I recently saw a meme that talked about separation anxiety.   The owner dressed up a “lookalike” human dummy and left it with her dog.   It kept the dog company. The dog’s behavior improved.   He began to relax when the owner was not home. It’s...

Reactive dogs in Mexico

This is a rather poorly named post because there were no reactive dogs in Mexico. Not one. Not one snark. Not one growl. Not one lunge.   Moreover, the dogs at the conference where I taught looked perfectly happy and relaxed. So many new friends to play with!  All...

Wait. I’m not the perfect trainer?

I got the following response to a recent blog: “I’m pretty sure I’ve heard YOU use No Reward Markers in your training.” I have no idea how to respond to that. You should see what I do when a squirrel cuts across the front of my house and all...

Training: Open middles or tight edges?

You are preparing your dog for competition, and you are at the point where you take your dog to novel places to practice. If you do obedience or rally, that includes jumps, signs, etc.  For agility, you’ve packed up a few jumps and a travel board and whatever...

What is trial readiness?

When I say a dog is “trial ready”  I mean that he is fully prepared to compete and has a good chance of being successful at a real event. That means that my dog is comfortable in crowds, can handle the pressure of the competition ring, and is not relying...

Dogs shows are for…who?

Training dogs is fun. Obviously I like training dogs or one hopes I would have found a different direction in life.  And I’d like to believe that my dogs think training is fun too. Indeed, I go to a good deal of effort to make it fun for them. So how about dog...

Basic foundation behaviors for all dog sports

Not sure what to do with your new puppy that is destined for dog sports? Take a look at this recent Facebook live on the topic. I explain what I teach and why I teach it.  It applies to all dog sports, so take a look if you need some inspiration about where to start!...

Reducing Reinforcement

Reducing reinforcement – another HUGE topic!  If you’d like to learn more about it, take a look at the facebook live I did yesterday. And on a unrelated note, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy’s 5th annual dog sports training camp will be held in Lebanon,...

The Forest? The trees? How about…both!

You’re trying to solve a problem.  Where does one start? If the problem is common, save yourself some trouble and use known and effective common solutions. For most problems, there are approaches that will work for the 90 percent.  The more of these you pick up...

Eight days of Wink

Have you seen this video? It’s about 2 1/2 hours of unedited training with a puppy who was visiting me last year.  There is a ton to be gleaned from this so if you have some free time go ahead and take a look. I explain in the Youtube description what I cover in...