FE250: Life Skills - Real Life Skills for Performance Dogs

Instructor: Hannah Branigan

Course Details

Do you struggle to balance high energy, high intensity behaviors in your sport with calm behavior in every day life? If so, this class may be for you. 

This class will cover:

  • Loose leash walking
  • Public Appearances
  • Polite Greetings
  • Household Manners
  • General use management strategies to use in performance settings

Give your dog the skills he needs for life outside the ring. All taught with positive reinforcement, and all with the goal of preserving working drive and walking into the ring with a dog that is ready to perform with maximum focus and intensity.


Next session starts: October 1, 2017
Registration starts: September 22, 2017
Registration ends: October 15, 2017

Registration starts at 10:00 AM PDT

Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited. If you are interested in bronze level, you can sign up any time during the registration period.



1. Equipment - scope and appropriateness (time and place)
2. The Dance
3. Soft hands - giving to pressure
4. Developing Reinforcement History
5. Emergency U-turn
6. Zen and the Art of Real Life "leave it"
7. P-mail and other Real Life rewards - Go Sniff
8. Hanging out at the coffee shop - Settle and wait
9. Tables are for people
10. Say Hi - Polite greetings
11. Dealing with Distractions in the Real World
12. Moving through a crowd
13. Intensity on the field, calm in the house.
14. Hounds about Town
15. Walking Multiple Dogs

Prerequisites and Equipment

No prerequisites. 


  • Flat or martingale collar
  • 4-6 leather or nylon leash
  • The usual treats and toys, etc.

Please contact Hannah Branigan directly for more information on this class.

Course Testimonials

A sampling of what prior students have said about this course ....

Hannah does it again. This was a great lesson plan for building great "life skills" in our dogs. She breaks down all the skills for both handler and dog to get the right actions and emotional state. She's very supportive of her students and helps them through any problem. Can't wait for what she thinks up next! Molly B            

"Life Skills" has been a terrific investment. We've made good progress in loose-leash walking, and the exercises have even strengthened our formal "heel" position, which is a very nice "fringe benefit." My dog and I are still working on a couple of things, but with these materials in my Library, I can continue to do that with clear end-goals in mind.            

When I read the course description, I knew that Noah & I needed this class - you see, Noah is a Golden Retriever, and like most GR's, has "excessive greeting disorder" and every distraction (he's 9 months old) is a SQUIRREL!!! moment. We had lots of "aha" moments as we worked this class. So simple in concept, yet so brilliant at the same time. We're still behind in class, as we got a little over eager to join classes in October, but the value is definitely there, and we WILL complete this course in our time, and our relationship will be even stronger for it. Can't wait to take more of Hannah's classes in the future, as well as Life Skills Pt. 2 (hint, hint!) Robin A.             

I have done two of Hannah's classes - Sensational Stays and Life Skills and love the way she breaks them down into so many simple little exercises that are easy to practise and then they all come together for great results. Sue H.           

Hannah, this is the first course I have taken from you and I am so glad I did. You are an asset to your students and the FDSA, not only are you a fantastic trainer, but your instruction is clear, precise, and very enjoyable because of your wonderful sense of humor and joy of living! I hope to be able to take another course from you another time. Thank you very much!          

I loved Hannah's calm and systematic approach to each exercise. Also the way she spaced the class out gave us ample time to digest the lesson before the next was introduced. Our LLW has been an on going struggle with my BC for 4 years. We now have a plan in place that is very effective and worth the price of admission!!! Thank you:)))           

Loved the way each week could be done alone but also built layers of behavior. If you think about each week as a transparency (like a map overlay), as the weeks progress each behavior transparency covering the one below until at the end it revealed a complete, complex, behavior. The game/techniques and explanations have helped me with my dog and helped me help my students dogs.