Bio

Deborah Jones, Ph.D. (she/her) is a psychologist who specializes in learning theory and social behavior. She taught a variety of psychology courses at Kent State University for the past 20 years. Deb has been training dogs for performance events for the past 25 years and was an early innovator in the use of clicker training techniques in dog training. She has owned and worked with a variety of breeds and has earned top level titles in agility (MACH), rally (RAE), and obedience (UD) competitions. Her focus is on developing training methods that are enjoyable and effective for both the dog and the trainer. Her mission is to help others develop strong positive relationships with their dogs. Her favorite saying is “it’s all tricks!”

In 2004 Deb developed the FOCUS training system, along with agility trainer and World Team member Judy Keller. FOCUS stands for Fun, Obedience & Consistency lead to Unbelievable Success. They first applied FOCUS training to agility dogs but quickly realized its usefulness for all dog sports. Their latest work is “The Focused Puppy,” which lays out a strong and systematic foundation for all future training. Deb has written a series of 4 books with Denise Fenzi titled “Dog Sport Skills.”  She also recently finished a book on cooperative care.

Deb has taught a variety of dog training classes, workshops, and seminars. She loves teaching in an online format!  

Deb's website is www.k9infocus.com and her blog is at k9infocus.wordpress.com.

Pronouns: Deb goes by she/her.

Deb's Current and Upcoming Courses

FF180: Yes Please! Cooperative Canine Care

Can you draw blood from a whale without force?  Yes, you can.  What about put eye drops into a sea lion's eyes with no fuss?   Again, yes you can.  But you...

December 1, 2020

FE415: Zen Logic - Making Sense of Self Control

What is Zen Logic?  The title Zen Logic has two meanings.  First, Zen Logic is a training approach based on the concept that giving up what you want can lead to an e...

February 1, 2021

FE105: Get Focused!

Do you struggle to keep your dog engaged and attentive in training? Does your dog find other dogs, people, or even smells on the floor more interesting than you? Do you have a...

April 1, 2021

FE205: Focus Games

  Focus: everyone wants it! But do you know how to get it? This course will help you develop basic focus and a great working relationship using a variety of games that ...

June 1, 2021

FF180: Yes Please! Cooperative Canine Care

Can you draw blood from a whale without force?  Yes, you can.  What about put eye drops into a sea lion's eyes with no fuss?   Again, yes you can.  But you...

August 1, 2021

Self-Study Classes - available for lecture purchases only.

FE110: Raising a Performance Puppy

  There is nothing as exciting, or as terrifying, as starting training with a new puppy.  If you have high hopes that this pup will be your next performance partner...

Deborah Jones (Faculty)

FE160: It's All Tricks!

  In our opinion, dog training really is "all tricks."  There's no distinction between "serious" work and "fun" work.  It's all fun if you're doing it right! &...

Deborah Jones (Faculty)

FE310: Training with Remote Reinforcement

  Training with Remote Reinforcement Remote reinforcement devices (such as a Treat & Train, Manners Minder, or Pet Tutor) can offer some unique advantages to your t...

Deborah Jones (Faculty)

FE700: The Cat's Meow

Cats!  We love our cats, but rarely try to train them.  There's a pervasive myth that cats cannot be trained, but of course, they can.  This myth is likely due,...

Deborah Jones (Faculty)

Pet Professional Workshops on Demand

WP320: Learning About Learning

Learning Objectives:   1. To introduce current and future pet dog instructors to the basic concepts of classical and operant conditioning. 2. To provide a refresher cou...

Deborah Jones (Faculty)

WP410: Can You Handle It? Preparing for Grooming and Vet Visits

Learning Objectives:1. To introduce physical handling to dogs in an effective and respectful manner.2. To establish in dogs a strong positive conditioned emotional response to...

Deborah Jones (Faculty)

WP730: Preparing for Success: Structuring & Organizing Your Class Materials

Learning Objectives: 1) To help you organize your course materials in a logical and systematic way.2) To help you develop the skill of breaking course material into realistic...

Deborah Jones (Faculty)

WP885: Zen Focus

 What is Zen Focus? It is a workshop that combines two incredibly important and often overlooked concepts. As an experienced trainer and instructor you know that having a...

Deborah Jones (Faculty)

WP930: Housetraining for the Hard Cases

Housetraining can be hard! We all want our dogs to learn, as quickly as possible, where they should go when nature calls. Sometimes this process goes fairly smoothly, and in o...

Deborah Jones (Faculty)

Contact Information

Have a question about an upcoming course taught by Deb?  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.

Click here to contact

Student Testimonials

I was impressed with how involved and in depth the instructors were with each of the gold level students. Very labor intensive but I learned a great deal because the instructors went so in depth.  Diane H.


My first Fenzi course was Performance Fundamentals with Deb and Judy. What a great course! I learned a lot and really enjoyed the exercises. Judy and Deb provided great, timely feedback. This was a super course for anyone interested in performance events in the future. Every lesson was well thought out and there were thorough videos and explanations for each exercise. Griffin and I had so much fun with the class. Highly recommended! Kelli Whitfield


Deb and Judy are fantastic instructors. I appreciate the flexibility, and plan to enroll in another round right away to keep going. This course is great fun for both me and my dog. I always felt welcome to ask questions, and fully appreciate the constructive feedback.


This is a fantastic course for breaking down the skills of "stillness" and self control that my dog was so lacking. Even though she is 8 years old (and so you'd think "set in her ways"), she still benefited tremendously from this class, and we'll continue to work on the exercises in the coming months. I'm already seeing ways to carry the exercises over in preparing her for the stationary portions of exercises in Open and Utility obedience classes, and remarkably I'm also already seeing my wild girl exercise some self control in the house (unasked!). As a great side note, the class also helped me improve my rudimentary shaping skills that I hope to keep developing in Deb's next class. I would recommend this as a foundation course for any dog trainer, no matter how beginner or experienced. Thank you, Deb!


I've really enjoyed my Gold level Focus classes with Deb and Judy. They've provided thoughtful, encouraging and practical feedback. I've taken the "Get Focused" and "Focus Games" classes and have seen steady and wonderful improvement in the ability of my standard poodle, Audrey, to maintain focus in training, class and competition environments.


Deb thank you for all of the positive feedback and encouragement. Absolutely brilliant class and it has given me hope that we will not have to repeat the past nightmare in future vet visits and blood draws, forever grateful, Lorraine and Stitch


I've taken over 100 Fenzi classes and this was one of the best. Everyone should work through these skills with every dog! I cannot recommend this class enough and Deb and Judy are committed and supportive instructors.


This is a fantastic course for breaking down the skills of "stillness" and self control that my dog was so lacking. Even though she is 8 years old (and so you'd think "set in her ways"), she still benefited tremendously from this class, and we'll continue to work on the exercises in the coming months. I'm already seeing ways to carry the exercises over in preparing her for the stationary portions of exercises in Open and Utility obedience classes, and remarkably I'm also already seeing my wild girl exercise some self control in the house (unasked!). As a great side note, the class also helped me improve my rudimentary shaping skills that I hope to keep developing in Deb's next class. I would recommend this as a foundation course for any dog trainer, no matter how beginner or experienced. Thank you, Deb!


 I said it already in this survey but I’ll say it again - I love Deb!! Her ability to clearly and concisely break down the behavior has helped me so much in understanding my role in training my dog. I would take any class she offered, on any subject, in a heartbeat!