BH150: Management for Reactive Dogs

Instructor: Amy Cook

Course Details

This class is for learning strategies for managing and controlling dogs that are reactive to dogs and people. Helping them get over their fears is best done when you can set up ideal conditions, but real life means you have to take your dog for a walk outside, and even when you do your best to set things up, surprises happen! You need management strategies that help you get through daily life that support your larger goals of reducing reactivity in your dog.

In this class you will learn leash handling skills for real life dog walking (u-turns, speed changes, side changes, quick sits), tricks you can do outside to keep their attention and help them stay calm (hand touches, two feet on, four feet on, find it), and strategies for minimizing in-home reactive barking (go to place, timed treats, pacifiers, settling in the crate). You will learn when to feed your dog and the importance of timing (pro tip: it doesnt actually matter sometimes!). You will also read about topics in reactivity, how to support your dog at classes and trials, how to travel in the car, how to be your dog’s advocate, and more!

All of the skills in the class can be practiced indoors, so this is an ideal cold winter or blazing summer class.

This class is designed as a companion class to “Dealing with the Bogeyman - Helping Fearful and Reactive Competition Dogs” and they can be taken in any order. In the Bogeyman class, we get to the root of the issue and heal it from the bottom up, using long distances and play therapy, and in this class you will learn strategies that minimize and even avoid the reactive outbursts when you find yourself too close to be able to play, which help you get through your regular day.

This course is intended to be an introductory course for people new to this issue of management, but is suitable for people who have successfully been managing so far and could use some polishing. Every skill in the class can be made more challenging if you already have some of them well in hand. If you do have a lot of experience but just want to pick up tips and clarify a specific issue that eludes you, the silver level is right for you. Please contact the instructor to ask if the class is right for you if you aren’t sure.



Next session starts: June 1, 2017
Registration starts: May 22, 2017
Registration ends: June 15, 2017

Registration will begin at 9:00 AM PST.

Enrollment limits: 12 gold, 25 silver, unlimited bronze. If you are interested in a bronze level, you can sign up any time during the registration period.



Each week will be structured like this:

You will learn and practice two leash small handling skills, which will build each week through the term. This is the "leash handling series."  Examples are having them walk next to you (rather than pulling out ahead!), sitting next to you, switching sides when asked and changing speed.  Each week adds a new component, so as you practice you can include each of the previous week's skills with the new skills.

You will also learn one or two assigned skills, each one independent of every other (hand touch, two paws up, four paws up, find it, leave it, stay on a mat). This is the "management skills series."  They each have introductory and more challenging versions that you can progress with through the term, so it's ok if you have introduced some of them to your dog already.  

Optional bonus work: Each week you can choose to teach one "trick" of your choice. It is fully optional, and for people who have the time, interest and skill in doing more work, and to increase the challenge for people whose dog may have some foundational skill already. Though I am not choosing your trick for you, I will decide if your trick will work for reactivity management, and will help you teach it (even making spur-of-the-moment videos if possible!). I can suggest to you where and how to incorporate it as well. You can also use this option to tailor the class to a specific need your dog has, giving you some flexibility to make this course your own. For example, if crates are a big issue for your dog, you may choose to work on a crate trick.

You will also read a lecture on one or more select topics per week, and any questions or suggestions that come from the forums may indeed turn into lectures!  Examples are how to deal with issues in the car, whether food is reinforcing all those reactions (spoiler: it isn't, but don't worry, it doesn't actually matter!), how to set your dog up for success, and maybe a Q&A style "what do I do if" guide, if I get enough questions that fit. The more you ask, the more I write!

Depending on the gold students that sign up we may do more, but we will at least do this in this class:

Week one:
Leash handling series -- walking next to you, both sides, sitting in that position, both sides
Management skills series -- hand touch, mat work intro

Week two:
Leash handling series -- speed changes (without tripping!), coming to front (you walk backwards)
Management skills series -- classical recall, find it

Week three:
Leash handling series -- quick sits, coming across body to switch sides
Management skills series -- Paws Up and/or Up On Top

Week four:
Leash handling series -- peeling off on the side your dog is on, peeling off on the side your dog isn’t on
Management skills series -- stationary leave it, mat work revisited

Week five:
Leash handling series --180 u-turn with backup, 180 u-turn with "front cross"
Management skills series -- dynamic leave it

Week six:
Leash handling series -- leash handling with hand touches, freestylin’ with paws up, hup-up
Management skills series -- polishing, putting it all together


Please contact the instructor for more information.

Prerequisites and Equipment

None. This is a novice level course.

Please contact the instructor for more information.

Course Testimonials


It was a really great experience for me and my dog. All lectures were clear and I admire Amy´s style of explanation and her remarkable power of observation and details. It was for the first time I understand clearly not only HOW to do it, but also WHY to do it.       

I loved this class and so wish I had taken it at Gold. Although I have worked with Bogeyman over many sessions, this was the perfect class for us. I “know” all these techniques, but turns out I didn’t know them as well as I might. As an example, she goes over loose leash walking in 6 different lectures with a new twist – how to “get out of Dodge” when your dog is in trouble. The goal is to move smoothly and confidently, ideally with a happy, cooperative dog. Her lectures in this class help you get there. Amy’s lectures are gems. The forums are filled with practical advice and lots of food for thought. Her videos are specific and helpful. In addition Amy recognizes how beleaguered those of us with reactive dogs can be. She is positive and encouraging. You come away thinking “I can do this!”            

I recommend this course to everyone who is dealing with dog reactivity . It is so great resource of information and Amy can help everyone to fill their baggage of managing skills.            

I wish i had come accross something like this years ago to help my dog and i. We eventually worked some things out but if i had had Amy's instruction in the whys and wherefores i could have helped my dog far sooner and in turn doing what we wanted to so much sooner. I am now on to the next generation of dogs and utilising these skills in Management. Benefits my dogs and my anxiety levels so reduced. Thankyou thankyou thankyou.           

I learn so much from Amy. This Management class dovetails so nicely with the Bogeyman class and I feel I am much better equipped to help my dogs in real situations. Amy has such a great eye and knows just what to suggest in each situation. I am so grateful to have Amy as my instructor.          

Before discovering Fenzi Academy, my dog was anxious, reacting to all the dogs around her, and I really didn't know how to communicate with her and make her feel better about her environment. With everything I learned in Amy's Dealing with the Bogeyman class, and Denise's play class, I started to understand what she was trying to tell me and what I could do to reduce stress and increase fun! After taking BH150 Management, I finally have the last set of tools that I needed to get through the sticky situations that can easily arise when trying to do dog sports. Thank you to Fenzi Academy for teaching me about my dog and giving me the tools to make her life happy and fun. I now have a dog that is happy to play, not worried about every turn, and trusts me to get her out of scary situations! Can't wait to see what else I can learn!            

I thought this class was great! I learned A LOT even though I was only lurking at the bronze level. Even without the specific feedback I would have gotten at higher class levels, I still thought the class was worthwhile learning from others. At first I thought an online training class would be strange but being able to go back over the class videos and lectures time and time again was a big plus. I definitely recommend this class to anyone with a reactive dog. Anita C.            

I really enjoyed this course! I learned a lot and discovered new ways to help the reactive dogs that I walk (and have one of my own at home). The videos demonstrated exactly what the instructor was teaching us which made it so much easier to understand and try on my own. I highly recommend this course!! JoAnne        

Great class. Instructor answers all questions fully and clearly. Very thorough. Lectures leave little to question regarding her responses to students. I would take classes she offers in a New York minute.