Shade Whitesel (she/her) has been training and competing in dog sports since she was a kid. Always curious in how dogs learn, she has successfully competed in IGP/IPO/Schutzhund, AKC obedience and French Ring. Along the way, Shade has received a perfect score in the IPO tracking phase on two separate dogs, a perfect score in IPO obedience, placements at Nationals and Regionals in Schutzhund and numerous 1st in class in AKC. Shade currently competes with Talic, who just started his AKC obedience career with 3 High in Trials on his way to his CD.

Though Shade is owned by highly motivated working line German Shepherds and is known for her toy skills and marker cues classes, she especially enjoys teaching foundation skills to all manner of dogs and their people. Good training and learning starts at the beginning. 

What started out as an experiment — competing at the National level in IPO without the use of an e-collar — has now turned into a firm commitment to the positive method, and the desire to teach other trainers and dogs how to be successful in all the things with as little aversives as possible.

Shade's personal website is

Pronouns: Shade goes by she/her.

Shade's Current and Upcoming Courses

OB340: Strike a Pose: Fabulous Positions!

You enter your sport ring/field, dog heeling by your side. When the exercise comes, you leave them on a specific position and walk away. You cue each position change, and your...

August 1, 2024

FE130: Toys - Developing Cooperation and Play

Do you have a dog that chases the ball, yet won’t bring it back? Plays keep away with toys? Tugs but won’t let go? Bites you instead of the tug? Obsesses over toys, yet won’t ...

October 1, 2024

FE155: Crucial Concepts of Competition - Shaping/Luring/Capturing and More!

  Got a new puppy? A new sport prospect for the sport of your choice? Got future plans but no idea how to start? Which behavior DO you start with? Got a pet dog and dis...

October 1, 2024

Self-Study Classes - available for lecture purchases only.

OB465: Shaping a Flashy and Confident Heel - Putting the Skills Together

This class is the 3rd in a series of 3.  We've taught the foundations, both moving and stationary, and now is the time to put them all together to create the full picture...

Shade Whitesel (Faculty)

OB630: Shaping a Fast and Furious Retrieve

Want a strong, motivated retrieve of the dumbell and a good foundation for utility exercises? Join me as I teach you how to create a firm hold, the end skill in the ...

Shade Whitesel (Faculty)

SH101: Introduction to IPO Tracking

This course introduces the team (handler and dog) to the basics of footstep tracking.  "Footstep tracking" refers to the style of tracking where the dog must show where e...

Shade Whitesel (Faculty)

SH201: IPO Tracking - Skillbuilding

 In Introduction to IPO Tracking, we taught the dogs how to follow the precise footsteps. Now, on to the fun part, following those footsteps to the articles! This course ...

Shade Whitesel (Faculty)

SH310: IPO Obedience - Sit Down Stand out of Motions

  SPECIAL NOTE: This course will concentrate on the sit/down and stand out of motion exercises in IPO 1-3. We will spend time on each position, exploring how to get flu...

Shade Whitesel (Faculty)

SH340: IPO Obedience: Sendout and Down Stay

  This class covers how to get fast speedy full-field sendouts, plus how to get a quick down out of that full run away from you. Then we change tactics and cover how to ...

Shade Whitesel (Faculty)

Contact Information

Have a question about an upcoming course taught by Shade?  Not sure if your dog is suitable for a specific class?  We welcome you to contact instructors by email to make sure the course is suitable for you and your dog.

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Student Testimonials

The six-week course format gave us time to develop our play skills all the while getting Shade's regular feedback and advice as we worked through the course information. I love how each of us worked at our own pace, and how Shade directed us to focus on the most important aspects according to our individual needs. So, apart from us now having a good play foundation that we can build on, Shade's comments and advice helped me to better read and respond to my dog's body language during play, and allowed me to develop a clear play framework so she could feel comfortable and have fun with me. I also learned so much from my fellow students as they worked through their own challenges. I now see that how we play is absolutely key to meeting my training goals and having the best possible relationship with my dog. I'm well on my way to both, and Dama and I cannot thank you enough Shade! I look forward to more courses. Diane L & Dama

Shade's class was helpful to us from the first lecture on. The progression of the 2 ball game helped us get a better out, increase drive, and improve impulse and handler control while in a state of arousal. We now have more motivation and focus, and our training is more fun! Amy S.

The IPO I Fundamentals class taught by Shade, that I am taking with my puppy Ronin, has been the best training class I've ever taken (I've been training dogs in class settings since I was 10). This was my first online course and I have learned just as much from it, as any of the other classes that I have taken at different training facilities by several different instructors. Shades positive reinforcement training methods have opened up a whole new world for me and they have taken my training and my relationship with Ronin to a higher and fantastic level! We have so much fun together, I enjoy it because Ronin enjoys it! In all the years I've been training my dogs, I've never had a dog so eager and excited to train. He literally jumps up and down and circles around me while I'm getting our equipment together. I've never experienced this before, so for that Shade, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for introducing so many people to positive reinforcement training. I am very much looking forward to taking the IPO II class that's coming up! Nikki K.

I took Shade Whitesel's IPO Fundamentals class in Fall of 2013, Gold Level. I previously saw Shade at her seminar in Summer 2012 so I already knew her teaching and training style. She blew me out of the water with the quality and quantity of the materials she presented us in this class. Solid foundation skills are incredibly important in all training and she provided me with strategies and methods to teach my dog as well as helped me problem solve if something didn't work as expected. Her methods are always positive reinforcement based which creates a greater level of understanding with your dog. I'll be working with my dog on these new skills and I look forward to taking her next IPO Training class in the Spring! Thank you so much for hosting Shade, Fenzi Dog Sport Academy! - Ines G.

I could not have made it this far doing IPO with positive methods without these courses at FDSA. Truly game changing for me. Shade has not just taught us the exercises, she has made me a better handler and trainer.  My dogs and I thank her.   Amy S.

I highly highly recommend all of Shade's IPO courses for people looking to develop a better relationship with their dog and to bring fun into training.  Shade is very positive and gives clear and valuable feedback.  These courses are good, not only for people interested in IPO, but for those looking to develop a solid, happy relationship with their working dog.

Shade has great patience with us, and had fantastic suggestions when we were stuck!!! I cannot recommend this course enough. I had been struggling by myself for three years trying to train IPO tracking, and finally I can see my dogs making progress, after only 6 weeks of this course! I could not have dreamed up better results! I am so happy. T

As someone who has never done tracking before, I wasn't sure what to expect of this tracking course. I am now positively hooked because of the guidance and instruction that Shade provided. This was one of the best courses I have ever taken! Shade's ability to communicate with her students on their level is outstanding. Her encouraging words and helpful instruction have given me confidence that I didn't have when I started this course.  Lynne B.

This was my fourth course with Shade. She gets better and better. She made me feel welcome in class. She was always encouraging and gave excellent personalized advice. We will certainly be enrolling in her next course. Can't wait. Amy S.