FE110: Raising a Performance Puppy

Posted in Core Courses

Instructor: Deborah Jones

Course Details

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, the pressure definitely intensifies.  You want to do everything right to maximize your pup's potential and develop an amazing working partnership.  With that goal in mind we will focus on  concepts, skills, and exercises that will give your pup a solid foundation for a career in a variety of dog sports.  We will use the book The Focused Puppy as a guide for this class.

While covering a range of puppy topics, we will emphasize focus, a solid recall, developing an "operant" dog, impulse control, and nurturing a love of interactive play, always working at the speed that is comfortable for your dog.  Sound interesting?  Come join us!

This class is targeted at puppies from 2 to 6 months old, but may be appropriate for older dogs on a case by case basis.  Feel free to contact Deb Jones if you're unsure about your situation.

CEUs available.

Check out our promotional video!



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


I have listed the exercises that will be introduced in class each week.  In subsequent weeks we will continue working on earlier exercises by adding variations and challenges.  These exercises are designed to be developmentally appropriate for puppies between 2 and 6 months of age.  This course may also be useful for older pups or rescued/adopted older dogs that need a fresh start and a good solid foundation.  

Week 1:

Identifying useful reinforcers

Toys & Play

Recalls:  Name Game, In Your Face, Head Turn, Come & Go Game

Offered Focus

Week 2:

Recalls:  Recall Game & Adding Distractions

Impulse Control:  Slow Treats

Confinement: going in, staying in, coming out on a verbal cue

Hand Touch

Toy Play 

Week 3:

Recalls:  Adding more distraction

Offered Focus

Slow Treats continued

Confinement continued

Toy Play:  "out" cue, moving tug, relaxing after play


Week 4:

Two Treats Game

Impulse Control:  Food Bowl Control

Tuck sit


Toy Play:  Two Toys Game, Moving Tug & Out 

Week 5:

Offered Focus


Mat Work


Toy Play: New location 

Week 6:

Jump Stand

Mat work continued

Leash work

Shaping (moving objects)

Toy Play 


Prerequisites and Equipment


Variety of small, soft, tasty treats

Variety of toys

Variety of safe props for shaping


Buckle collar, leash, harness (front clip preferable)

The Focused Puppy book by Deborah Jones & Judy Keller (recommended)

Video camera and ability to upload videos to YouTube for those in Gold level spots


None.  This class is suitable for puppies from 7 weeks and up.  It is also suitable for older dogs that need a fresh start.