FE505: The Book: Train the dog in front of you!

Instructors: Denise Fenzi 

Course Details

Are you making choices for your dog based on both his stage of training and his unique temperament?  Are you handling your dog in a manner that builds on his strengths while also improving his weaknesses?  Or are you following someone else’s training plan that may or may not have anything to do with what your dog needs?


If you want to understand how your dog’s temperament is reflected in his behavior, and how that should impact your training decisions, this class is for you. In the lectures that lie in the coming weeks, we will consider who your dog actually is, not who you think he “should” be. We will explore a range of traits your dog might have and how those traits impact the way your dog responds to training. We’ll consider our options for working with these traits, both individually and in concert with other traits, in order to enhance our chances of developing an excellent working partner.


This isn’t your typical dog training class with a cookie-cutter approach. Generic dog training is only a good idea if you happen to have a generic dog, and most dogs are not generic at all!  It makes no sense to focus on drive building activities with a dog who is already frantic and out of his head with excitement over what you have to offer. It is equally illogical to work through self-control exercises with a dog who has never shown any indication that he even wants what you have to offer in exchange for his efforts.

My goal is to help you develop a dog who is as secure and receptive to training as possible; one who is engaged with you and with what you are doing together.  To get there, you need to understand who your dog is. From that point of understanding, you can appropriately structure your training sessions to develop a willing and engaged partner.

In other words: Train the dog in front of you!

This class will require a good deal of thinking!  Watching your dog.  Considering how the pieces might come together.  The class is largely self directed, so this is not the right class if you need to be told what to do, step by step, because "it depends" is the whole point of the class!  Unlike a typical Gold spot that relies heavily on video submission and reivew, this class does not.  You may submit videos but much of the value of gold is in the discussion with the instructor; videos are not nearly as relevant, though they are allowed.

Note:  The first three weeks of this class was run in a prior term, co-taught with Deb Jones. That class was three weeks with Denise and three weeks with Deb. This class contains the materials from the first three weeks with Denise, but the class has been expanded to cover a full class.  Please be aware that if you took the first Train the Dog class, then you will find approximately 60% of the material in this class to be review.    

If you took the first class with Deb and Denise together, then you will retain all of your materials from that class in your library - including Deb's portion, but you will not recieve the new materials from this cass.  If you take this class, then you will only have the materials for this class, and that will not include Deb's portion.  


There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.

Gold level registration was by lottery, there's no silver level, registration for bronze will begin at 10:00am PST.


Lecture 1: It's Just Behavior

Lecture 2: Secure vs. Cautious

Case Study #1:  Karen and Dan (Human Window Washers)

Case Study #2: Connie (Golden Retriever) Emotional Pressure

Lecture 3: Environmental vs. Handler Focused

Case Study #3: Nick and Grandma - Curious, Boredom, Fear

Case Study #4: Willie (Dobermann) - Curious, Boredom Fear

Lecture 4: Muscle Memory vs. Thought

Lecture 5: Power!

Lecture 6: Obsessive Dogs

Case Study #5:  Brix (Jack Russell Terrier) - Sex Obsession

Lecture 7: Biddability and Handler Sensitivity/Hardness

Case Study #6: Chloe (Standard Poodle) - Low biddability, Medium sensitivity, Medium High environmental interest

Lecture 8: Working Drive

Lecture 9: Learners vs. Performers

Case Study #7:  Tempo (Golden Retriever): Performer, and Strider (Border Collie): Learner

Lecture 10: Understanding Movement

Lecture 11: Seminar Evaluation Process

Lecture 12: The Dog-Handler Match

Case Study #8:  Random Poor dog-handler matches

Prerequisites and Equipment


Course Testimonials

New Course December 2016

Please refer to the instructor bio page for sample testimonials from other courses she has taught.