BH300: Worked Up! Understanding, assessing, and soothing arousal in sport dogs

Instructor: Sarah Stremming

Course Details

This class is all about dogs that are over-stressed, over-aroused, over-adrenalized, and just plain over the top. Help your dog give his true performance in the ring by helping him be in a healthy state of arousal at trials. Learn how to ask your dog if he is ready to work, and how to respond when he says no, in order to help him be the best he can be. We will address everything that comes with problems of arousal: handler-biting, broken start lines and contacts, lack of focus, knocked bars, barking, and more.

Class trailer:


Registration will begin at 9:00am PST.

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.

Enrollment limits: 12 gold, 15 silver, unlimited bronze. If you are interested in a bronze level spot you can sign up any time during the registration period.


Worked Up! Curriculum

background information:

optimal arousal states for work

examining your training

marker signals


Week One

Concept: information gathering

Assignment: Arousal Testing

Week Two

Concept: the SEEKING system

Assignment: Arousal Soothing

Backing up the chain, utilizing the SEEKING system

Week Three

Concept: consent

Assignment: training start button behaviors

Week Four

Concept: recognizing what work creates what emotional state

Assignment: inserting the start button, adding work

Week Five

Concept: dialing it back down; what happens when you overdo it

Assignment: increasing the arousal of the work

Week Six

Concept: Deciding to be the handler your dog needs

Assignment: bringing it all together and long-term planning

Prerequisites and Equipment


There are no hard prerequisites but a good understanding of dog training basics and marker signals is recommended. This is an advanced class simply because it is very conceptual and requires good observation skills as well as the ability to respond to your dog depending on the information he gives you, i.e. if the dog does A you can do C, but if he fails C you might need to try B, and if neither C nor B are working, you may need to back all the way to Z. This class primarily utilizes food, so if your dog is not what you would consider food motivated, it may not be appropriate. 


Some equipment pertaining to the sport your dog exhibits his “worked up” behaviors in will be helpful. Other than that, just a leash, treats, and a clicker if you use one. 



FDSA is excited to welcome new instructor Sarah Stremming for the February 2017 session!