E213: Sarah Stremming - "Shaping Demystified"

Shaping is all about the ABCs... and Sarah and I go into what that means in today's episode all about shaping!

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  934 Hits
934 Hits

Know the Signs for Higher Rally Scores!

If I could give you one piece of advice that could earn you a higher rally score, it would be "know the signs!" By far, the biggest reason that points are lost is due to not knowing how to properly do the signs. It seems like such a simple task, but in reality many rally signs are very similar to others, especially as you move up through the levels. It's very easy to get them confused. If you perform a sign incorrectly, you will lose 10 points. Being distracted for a moment trying to figure out what you should do can also cause lost points.

You want to know the signs so well that you can recognize them quickly upon first glance. If you need to read the sign and study where the stop signs are or think about it much, your dog will feel that attention shift and may disconnect or falter.

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  1474 Hits
1474 Hits

E212: Laura Waudby - "Debuting in Obedience"

Starting to think about obedience competition? Laura and I talk about the aspects of competing folks tend to overlook in training, and how to truly prep for heading into the ring!

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  687 Hits
687 Hits

Be Your Dog's Advocate

All of us who play sports with our dogs worry about musculoskeletal injuries. Whether your dog is very lame or just showing subtle signs of injury, there are few things that may help with a fast and permanent resolution of the problem.

Don't ignore early signs of a problem. Not all injured dogs show an obvious lameness. There may be a decrease in performance, such as slower times in agility, slower response to cues in obedience, a slight hesitation to start an activity. We all know some dogs will do what they love, or what we asked them to do, even if it hurts. Not too long ago, veterinarians were taught not to treat pain in dogs because the pain will make the dog restrict their own activity. Not many of us believe that any more.

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  801 Hits
801 Hits

E211: Sara Brueske - "Disc Dog Life"

You've seen the flashy performances disc dogs put on — this week Sara and I talk about the training behind the show, and what the options are for getting your own dog started!

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  627 Hits
627 Hits

Dog sports are team sports (and why that matters to train and compete in dog sports successfully)

It's easy to forget that dog sports really are team sports. Not a lot different to competing in the doubles kayak or pairs figure skating. It involves two individuals working towards a common sporting goal. Sometimes in dog sports we erroneously put too much emphasis on one member of the team—either we think the whole competition is about our dog's performance, or we put too much pressure on ourselves.

As the human in this partnership, it is often useful to divide our job into two distinct roles: one as team-mate and one as coach. Progress in training, and success in competition, can often be greatly improved if we look closely at specifically fulfilling the responsibilities of each of these roles.

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  1259 Hits
1259 Hits

E210: Heather, Nicole, and Chrissi - "Living With a Dog Athlete"

Life skills are easy to overlook with a potential competition dog — but investing the time and energy to get those things right can benefit your sports training, and the rest of your life with your dog.

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  763 Hits
763 Hits

How to Be Successful with Your Sporting Dog

The sporting dog group encompasses many beloved breeds, including some of the most popular. Whether you already own one of these wonderful dogs, or are considering a breed from this group, it's important to understand what these dogs were bred for so you know what to expect.

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  951 Hits
951 Hits

E209: Erin Lynes - "Pulling and Diving Dogs"

Today I talked with breeder and trainer Erin Lynes about dog sledding and dock diving, and what it's like to train and compete in them as sports!

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  687 Hits
687 Hits

3 Frequently Asked Questions About Intact Dogs — and the Answers

The first time I kept a dog intact it was for medical reasons. She had a health condition that made elective surgery of any type inadvisable until it was resolved.

At the time, the idea of living with an intact dog was both daunting and a bit scary. I mean, how was I going to keep her safe? Avoid unwanted puppies? Prevent health problems?

Fortunately, what seemed like a curse at the time ended up being a blessing in a Malinois disguise.

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  2394 Hits
2394 Hits

E208: Denise Fenzi - "The High Drive Dog"

Denise has a new project... and that means some changes for FDSA and some exciting plans for the future. We got on a call to talk about it.

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  1571 Hits
1571 Hits

The Real Reason Your Website Doesn’t Get You Clients

​This post originally appeared on The Dog Trainer's Umbrella.

Your website can be a highly effective and engaging tool in your sales process.

But all too often, it's… well, not.

When a website fails to lead to clients, many business owners decide it's the website's fault — they need a new one. The design is too busy; the content is too riddled with mistakes; they need better pictures; they need to give potential clients more information; they need to quit overwhelming clients with too much information… the list goes on (and on).

However, I'm here to let you in on a secret — for many of those businesses, it's not the website that's the problem.

It's a lack of traffic.

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  668 Hits
668 Hits

E207: Amy, Nancy, and Megan - "Does Size Matter (in a sports dog)?"

Today we chat about the little vs big debate when it comes to sports dogs with 3 trainers who have trained and worked with both and who offer their insights into the differences, pros and cons.

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  937 Hits
937 Hits

The Many Faces of Focus

A past discussion with my fellow FDSA instructors led me to explore the topic of focus for this week's blog post (thanks Shade for bringing up this topic). And thanks to all the instructors who joined the discussion. I've written about focus quite a bit, but somehow I always find more to say. Focus is a multi-faceted concept and the more I explore it the more I find to explore even further. This particular discussion had to do with defining focus and distinguishing focus from engagement. Denise Fenzi and I wrote about this in our last book "Dog Sport Skills: Focus & Engage!" It's a common question and I have some thoughts on all of this. Of course I do!

To start, let me provide a working definition of focus. Merriam Webster's definition, which I really like, defines focus as "a point of concentration". When we think about a dog's focus the question should be "focus on what?" I have identified four major subtypes of focus and will briefly expand on each.

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  1102 Hits
1102 Hits

E206: Sharon Carroll - "Talking About B-Mod"

Dealing with a behavior you'd really like to change? From leash reactivity to noise sensitivity, Sharon and I talk about it in this week's episode of the podcast.

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  1450 Hits
1450 Hits

E205: Loretta Mohler - "Agility in Small Spaces"

Struggling to train agility because of a lack of space or equipment? Loretta and I talk about options for training agility when your access to space or equipment is limited.

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  664 Hits
664 Hits

From TEAM to … Rally!! How Both Sports Complement Each Other

The TEAM titling program through Fenzi Dog Sports Academy is a way to encourage good detail-oriented training to prepare you and your dog for obedience exercises. What I love about TEAM is that it breaks down every behavior, and because there are different levels that you have to progress through, you have to go through all the steps.

The problem I see most often with my students is a lack of foundation. I get students in my rally courses class who are heeling and doing all the signs, but never really broke down the skills. When those students run into problems, I can't help them without going back to some foundation behaviors. Few people who have earned advanced rally titles want to go back and teach the dog the pivot bowl, for examples, but that is often the answer if they would like to truly improve the dog's skills.

Foundations are important, and TEAM encourages foundations! And you even get rewarded at each step through the different level titles!

I get lots of people in my Rally Foundation class that have started TEAM, and even those that have just passed the first level are really successful in rally. There are a couple reasons for this. First, dogs that go through TEAM are familiar with props, which can be very helpful in teaching certain behaviors. Second, these dogs understand the pivot bowl and rear end movement, fronts, stays, and many more skills that are helpful for rally.

Let's look a bit more closely at the TEAM skills from Level One that set your dog up for a very successful rally career.

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  681 Hits
681 Hits

E204: Julie Daniels - Starting Puppies Out Right

Pandemic puppies abound! Join Julie and I for a conversation about creating optimistic puppies, ready for anything the world is gonna bring.

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  1122 Hits
1122 Hits

One Trainer's Journey: From "Building Drive" to Understanding Optimal Arousal Levels

When I first learned to train for competition obedience, all problems were solved with more "drive."

Drive was loosely defined as getting the dog as "high" (aroused) as possible. I.e. tugging, playing, chasing food, games..anything that increased a dog's arousal level.

...Which is pretty dangerous when you pair a dog with a genetic predisposition to becoming over adrenalized with a trainer that has no concept of what the words "drive" or "arousal" really mean, and what they do to a dog chemically and emotionally!

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  1322 Hits
1322 Hits

E203: Shade Whitesel - "Strike a Pose: Teaching Positions"

Clean, confident positions look deceptively simple — but a lot goes into teaching them in a way that will hold up in the ring! Shade and I chat about that and more in today's podcast episode.

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  799 Hits
799 Hits

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