FE260: I’m just little! Foundation skills for smaller (or less confident) competition dogs

Instructor: Denise Fenzi

Course Details

In general, training is training and it simply does not matter if a dog is tiny or super sized. But in a world full of big feet, tall people, and large hands, there are some challenges specific to little dogs. Complicating matters, in a world full of large dogs, it's easy for the trainers to feel like their dog's unique needs are being ignored. 

If you have a dog who is sensitive to space and pressure, who struggles to work at a distance, or who is intimidated by his fellow canines, this class is for you! We'll focus on making our pint-size partners more comfortable. While this class will teach you relatively few specific obedience or agility skills, it WILL provide a range of foundation skills, exercises, and modifications to allow you to progress more rapidly when you do start to introduce the specifics of your sport. 

Join Denise Fenzi and her super star small dog Brito and learn how to make your small dog as confident as possible in this full sized world! 

Please Note: This class is also appropriate for larger dogs who are simply extra sensitive and need a confidence boost, but keeping in the nature of the theme, Gold level spots will be reserved for dogs weighing less than approximately 20 pounds. If the Gold spots do not fill by the first day of class, then larger dogs will be allowed to upgrade at that time.



This class is being offered as a "retired" class.

For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.


Week 1:  Playing Tug with a little dog

Selecting a toy

Figure eights and good play techique

Vibrate vs pull

Adding external pressure

Where to play

Safety from the environment

Week 2: Personal Play and the small dog

"Gotcha" games

One finger push and turn

Sensitive dogs require sensitive play

Week 3:  "What big feet you have!" Desensitization/games for space issues

Pocket hand - how and why

Opposition reflex

Leg tunnels/weaving




"doggy toss"



Platform madness

Leg targeting for front

Week 4:  "Oh, that's too far away!" 

Understanding the challenge of distance

Nose touch, foot target/platform and cone work

Using proofing to increase confidence

Week 5:  Understanding the relationship between pressure and confidence

Lessening and inceasing pressure incrementally to build confidence

Desensitizing to pressure - how and why

Desensitizing with food - incremental

Desensitizing with work - incremental

Stand for exam 

Week 6:  Catch up!

(No additional lecture topics) 

Prerequisites and Equipment

One smallish dog.