The Tipping Point: Games to Build Contacts and Teeter Skills

 We all have that dream of perfect contacts. The dream of running as fast as you can while your dog comes down into their perfect contact position and holds that position until you release. Your dog is not distracted by anything you are doing, whether you are running lateral or running past as hard as you can. They drive to the end of the obstacle with no questions. 

Well here is the good news….this doesn't have to be a dream! 

It can be reality with some training and proofing and you too can have the contacts everyone dreams of!

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E103: Deb Jones - "Train it before you need it"

Cooperative care. All too often dog owners don't work on it until they need it, and then it's too late. We brought Deb Jones on to talk about how to be proactive, instead of reactive when it comes to handling.

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2989 Hits

What To Do When It All Goes Wrong: Dealing with Frustration & Failure in Dog Sports

Dealing with disappointment in the heat of the moment is tough. 

When you expect success and glory and are instead embarrassed, mortified, or otherwise upset it's a pretty human reaction to get upset, distressed, angry or uncomfortable. 

There are a whole lot of techniques and tools that we can apply to the aftermath of such a stressful moment. In that exact moment, though, when you look at your canine partner and think "WHO ARE YOU?" or "I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS" or whatever other negative thought stops your brain from functioning — well what can you do?

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3495 Hits

E102: Hannah Branigan - "Awesome Obedience"

 Hannah Branigan is on the podcast to talk about her new things - a new book on Awesome Obedience and her new series of classes on heeling!! Transcription  Melissa Breau: This is Melissa Breau and you're listening to the Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, an online school dedicated to providing high-q...
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4104 Hits

The 3 Rules that Make or Break Your Agility Foundation

Saving time, teaching your dog to love the sport, and building agility skills that are solid anywhere you go — these are just some of the benefits of a strong agility foundation. 

But you likely have questions, like...

What goes into a strong agility foundation? Are there games you can play to help you get there? How early in your new agility partner's life can you get started?

Here's the good news: In this post, we'll share the answers to those questions.

And the best part? 

They're all things you can start working on today.

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6857 Hits

PODCAST E101: Denise Fenzi - Do You Want to be Goal Oriented?

Denise comes on the podcast to talk about the latest happenings at FDSA (and boy is there a lot happening!) and then to chat about the differences between being goal oriented and process oriented. Which do YOU want to be?

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4033 Hits

Stress-Free Husbandry: First steps for more cooperative nail care, grooming, and more

This is an excerpt from the book Cooperative Care: Seven Steps to Stress-Free Husbandry by FDSA Instructor Deb Jones, PhD. Available now!

Step One for Cooperative Care: Place Conditioning 

It is important to have a dedicated place in your home where you will practice the majority of your husbandry work. You want somewhere that your dog can easily recognize as a husbandry training location and that you don't use for any other purpose. This enables your dog to make decisions about whether or not he wants to participate, as well as understand what he can expect from you.

A grooming table is an ideal place. It is clearly recognizable to your dog as a training place and the height will keep you from ending up with a backache from bending over. If you don't have a grooming table, any elevated surface, such as an ottoman, can work. Choose a surface that is solid, sturdy, stable, large enough for your dog to easily lie down, and that has a non-slip surface. Your dog will be spending a lot of training time there so it should be as comfortable as possible. The most important aspect of your training place is that you set it up so your dog has a way to get on and off by himself. This is what gives him the ability to leave if he's uncomfortable. You can set up your table next to a chair or other piece of furniture to make it possible for your dog to jump up and down safely.

Occasionally, using an elevated surface simply doesn't make sense. For example, maybe you have a giant breed dog. In this case, it's a good idea to set aside a location with a specific floor covering to delineate the space. A foam yoga mat or some children's play tiles would make a good floor covering for your place. Again, make sure the area is large enough for your dog to lie down comfortably.

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6011 Hits

PODCAST E100: Loretta Mueller - "Small Space Skills for Agility"

Trapped inside with your pup due to heat or cold? Today we talk to Loretta about how to get in practice even when you don't have much space to work with.

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2936 Hits

Dealing with Negative People: A Guide for The Positive Dog Trainer

So. It's happened. Maybe for the first time, perhaps for the 50th. No matter. It still stings, enrages you, upsets you, and gets under your skin.

Somebody made a snarky comment about you as a trainer, your positive training choices or, even worse, your dog.

The nerve! How dare they?

You chose to be a positive trainer after careful consideration, perhaps even after using a more forceful, punishment-based methodology. You might look up to many amazing positive trainers and be certain that if you were just as good a trainer as they are then the comment wouldn't have happened. 

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4338 Hits

PODCAST E99: Leslie Eide - "Canine Fitness with Cavalettis"

Today we talk science and fitness with Dr. Leslie Eide, and get the scoop her on her class all about cavalettis!

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Unintended Consequences: Understanding Poisoned Cues

In positive reinforcement training, a cue is something that indicates to the learner (your dog) that you would like her to do a certain behavior.

Most cues in dog training are verbal or visual. But cues can be olfactory (a dog training in scent work sniffs the odor and sits) or auditory (a click in clicker training), or environmental (you take your dog out of the car at the trailhead, and she knows she is going for a walk). A touch can also be a cue.

The dog learns that when she hears, sees, smells, or feels the cue, and performs the correct behavior, she will earn a reward.

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PODCAST E98: Sara Brueske - "Bombproof Behaviors"

Training your dogs with stinky fish on the field? Getting behaviors despite distracting environments (like a motorcycle show at the fair)? Yeah, Sara's done that! And she shares her tips on this weeks podcast!

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3669 Hits

Thresholds & Dog Training: When is your dog actually over threshold?

 If you manage a stressed dog, you likely think about thresholds quite a bit.

You think about whether your dog is "over threshold" in a given situation, and you may be continually planning how to keep him "under threshold" as much as possible.

Even if you don't have a dog with a tendency toward fear, reactivity, or stress, you want your dog to be in an optimal emotional state for learning, and that may lead you to thinking about what might push your dog "over threshold" and cause you to have to switch gears.

But just what is this "threshold?"

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33096 Hits

Using Trial Experiences to Improve our Nosework Training

As I've always said about Nosework, we are half the team! That means our success at a nosework trial has more to do with us than our dogs. There is so much involved — setting up training plans, handling, strategy and our nerves — we can make or break the search! Once our dogs know their job and have the skills, we need to focus on OUR skills and to glue it all together from start to finish to excel at a trial.

If you've trialed recently, and were disappointed with the results, it's time to take a look at your own performance!

By reviewing our trial experiences we can 1) own our mistakes, 2) improve our handling, 3) learn to read our dogs better, 4) develop our mental game, and 5) set appropriate goals.

Let's discuss each area in a little more detail. 

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PODCAST E97: Positive Training 2.0 - How did we get here?

Today we're doing something a little bit different - we're starting a new series called Positive Training 2.0. This week, we have on Deb Jones to talk about the world of positive training - how we got to where we are today and where she sees things going in the future.  

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2425 Hits

Defining “Perfect” Heel Position

When I first got started competing in obedience, I really had no idea what heel position meant. I mean, I vaguely knew the dog should walk at your left side and sit when you stopped walking. I could tell that much from watching other teams heeling, even with my uneducated eye.

It turns out that perfect heeling is a somewhat subjective thing. Everyone has their own aesthetic sense of what "perfect" means - their own picture in their mind of what perfect heeling should look like. Heeling was one of those things where I knew it when I saw it but I couldn't really tell you how to define it. Like art, music, fancy food, and other complex things, I could tell you when I liked what I saw, but I had no idea how to identify what made it great... and worse, I had no idea how to reproduce it. 

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15255 Hits

PODCAST E96: Trish McMillian - "Dog Body Language"

Today we talk to Trish McMillan about her experience working in shelters and with shelter dogs, as well as about some of the most overlooked dog body language cues you need to know!

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2978 Hits

Supporting Sensitive Dogs: 13 Tips to Help You Have a Successful Seminar

Editor's Note: This is adapted slightly from a post Sarah shared on facebook after a seminar with Julie Symons where she worked her dog Zoe. Included is video from that seminar, shared with both Sarah and Julie's permission.

Author's Note: These tips are not only great for "sensitive" dogs, but can be adapted for all dogs. Thank you Julie Symons' for creating such a safe place for learning, and for being open to adapting exercises to suit Zoe's needs. This was a big deal for her! First impressions really matter. After these first couple exercises, she was literally pulling me into the building the rest of the day! 
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4162 Hits

PODCAST E95: Leslie McDevitt - "Behavior Modification With Canine Consent"

 Trying to put together how consent and behavior modification and positive training all work together? Leslie explains, in this week's episode of the FDSA podcast!

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4951 Hits

The 4 D's of Nosework and Odor Obedience

 A lot of time in dog training, we hear about the 4 D's: Duration, Distance, Distraction and Diversity.

For example, in teaching Stays. Can your dog stay for a certain amount of time, at a certain distance from you, under certain distractions and in new places? It's easy to understand the 4 D's in this context. Nosework isn't any different!

In fact, the 4 D's are essential to the foundational quality of odor obedience. Let's explore!

Picture a search dog looking for narcotics. His sole focus in on finding the "dope." He works with intensity, ignoring things like dropped food. His only desire is the search. He's never been to that location, but he doesn't care; his focus is incredible. He leaves the handler because he's caught scent of some heroin in the garbage can. Now, his focus changes to the alert, signaling to the officer that he's made a find.

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5423 Hits

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