self-study classes

Self study classes contain lecture, video material and structured activities to help you with your training.  There are no interactive forums.
Below is a list of currently available classes – click on the button beneath each class for an expanded description and follow the link to the FDSA website to see a sample lecture and to purchase any class that interests you.
Each self study course is $50 and is available for purchase at anytime.

Fe101: Relationship Buildling Through Play

For some people – and dogs – play comes naturally. But did you know that good play is more than simply WANTING to interact with your dog? Good play requires the ability to engage with your canine companion on a level that taps into his natural interests, and this ability is one part art and one part mechanical skills. This class will teach you both of these elements.

We’ll discuss the correct presentation of toys, learning how to make cookies into an event, and understanding how to interact with your dog in the way that he likes best. It takes time and effort to learn your dog, to know what to do, when to do it, and when to STOP doing it. Taking this time is well worth the effort because the end result will be a dog who naturally looks to you for both direction and entertainment.

This class will introduce one form of play at a time. With over 70 videos featuring a variety of breeds, sizes of dogs, and handlers, you’re sure to find the information you need to form a fun and satisfying play relationship with your individual dog!

FE140: Engagement

The question we ask the dog will always be the same: Do you care enough about what we do together to ask for interaction?

Because engagement is easily turned to work, we can also ask: Will you ask to work with me at home? At a park? At the car wash? Can you interact with me on grass and on cement? When that dog is watching you?  Can you interact with me in a playful fashion without specific cues to follow, simply to enjoy the act of engaging with me?

And for the human: Do you know how to engage your dog in a playful and relaxed fashion?  Can you respond to your dog’s cues and then grow the interaction from simple eye contact to movement? Can you recognize when the environment will win? Do you understand acclimation, engagement, opportunity costs, conditioned emotional responses, and how to ask without begging?

If you want a beautiful display of teamwork and joy, then a basic understanding of the cues or exercises for your sport will not be enough; you will need engagement.  Join this class to develop a deep understanding of this fascinating topic!

OB200: Precision Heeling

Many dogs lack precise heeling because they have no foundation – they do not understand how to use their bodies with accuracy, and their trainers don’t know how to fix heeling mistakes when they occur. This class will give you specific tools that you can use to develop your heeling foundation, without using a leash, special collar, or any compulsive techniques.

We will use placement of food reward, platforms and discs, “pocket hand,” and activities that teach you and your dog exactly where heel position is located.  Static position (as opposed to moving) will be the primary focus.

OB260: Advanced Confidence Building for the Obedience and Rally Ring

This course adds additional people, dogs, challenges and more complex exercises to the ones introduced in the Ring Confidence Course.

Each of these exercises is designed to target a specific aspect of the competition ring.  We will consider the role of additional people, dogs and environmental distractions to our work.  While most of the exercises will continue to focus on creating a super bright and positive attitude towards the ring, we will now add some work within the ring.

OB300: Heeling Games

Done well, heeling is an intense, exciting dance between engaged partners requiring absolute concentration and energy. When heeling is practiced as a series of specific behaviors – left turns, right turns, change of pace, etc. – the dance is lost. This class will teach you how to practice heeling as a game – with the end result that your performance will be sharper, more interesting, and with much improved focus and endurance.

To utilize this class, a dog needs a few steps of good quality heeling but not much more than that!

OB310: OB-ILITY

Ob-ility is a fast paced and exciting way to teach advanced obedience exercises to dogs that like to move!  In this class, we will introduce the basic ob-ility cues (fly and thru) and demonstrate how to use them to teach any dog several fundamental obedience exercises.  All dogs will be introduced to the ob-ility method of teaching the broad jump, high jump, recall, directed jumping, gloves (no retrieves required!), drop on recall, retrieve on flat, and the signal exercise.  This class is appropriate for any dog or puppy with or without fundamental obedience skills.

OB400: Advanced Heeling and Problem Solving

This class is designed to combine precision heeling elements and advanced heeling skills to create the best possible combination of precision and enthusiasm. Denise will address almost all skill based heeling issues using extensive lecture and video materials.

Concepts from Precision Heeling and Heeling Games will be used in this course and Denise will presume a working knowledge of basic precision and heeling games techniques, including the correct use of discs, pocket hand, “fly,” etc.

FE260: I'm Just Little! Foundation Skills for Smaller Competition Dogs

We’ll focus on making our pint-size partners more comfortable in training, work and play! This class will provide a range of foundation skills, exercises, and modifications to allow you to progress more rapidly when you do start to introduce the specifics of your sport.

Join Denise and her super star small dog Brito and learn how to make your small dog as confident as possible in this full sized world!

FE430: From Start to Finished!

If you think competition dog sports looks interesting but you’re overwhelmed at what it might take to get “from here to there” then this is the class for you!

In this class, Denise will introduce proofing, reducing reinforcement, how to approach new locations, and creating finished exercises; all vital components of competition readiness! Denise will also address the importance of considering your dog’s unique temperament. When class ends, you’ll have a plan for how to proceed from absolute novice to the competition ring!

OB700: Shaped Precision Heeling: No Props, No Lures, and No Editing!

This class is completely unique! For 28 days Denise recorded all of her training sessions shaping the foundations of precision heeling for Brito and Lyra. There is no formal lecture included with these lessons; instead, you will have a process of learning by observation.

This is a class for advanced trainers! Denise will assume that you have the skill of shaping, and that you are able to deduce by watching what she is reinforcing, where she is offering support and what she is ignoring altogether.

Latest Blog Posts

Precision Heeling and Games – Finding the Balance Point

I love precision heeling.  I love seeing a dog heel with a perfectly parallel body, not moving out of position even an inch, pulling up on the left turns and powering through to the right. I also love heeling games!  I love how they add energy, flow, and confidence to...

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Your dog made an error. What do I do RIGHT NOW?!

You cued your dog to something and your dog did something else.  Or maybe your dog did absolutely nothing at all.  Now what? If you stand and wait quietly then you are teaching your dog that silence means they are wrong, or maybe you will teach your dog that whenever...

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