Deborah Jones, Ph.D. is a psychologist who specializes in learning theory and social behavior. She has taught a variety of psychology courses at Kent State University for the past 20 years. Deb has been training dogs for performance events for the past 25 years and was an early innovator in the use of clicker training techniques in dog training. She has owned and worked with a variety of breeds and has earned top level titles in agility (MACH), rally (RAE), and obedience (UD) competitions. Her focus is on developing training methods that are enjoyable and effective for both the dog and the trainer. Her mission is to help others develop strong positive relationships with their dogs. Her favorite saying is “it’s all tricks!”
In 2004 Deb developed the FOCUS training system, along with agility trainer and World Team member Judy Keller. FOCUS stands for Fun, Obedience & Consistency lead to Unbelievable Success. They first applied FOCUS training to agility dogs but quickly realized its usefulness for all dog sports. Their latest work is “The Focused Puppy” which lays out a strong and systematic foundation for all future training. Deb has written a series of 4 books with Denise Fenzi titled “Dog Sport Skills.” She is currently working on a book on Cooperative Care.
Deb has taught a variety of dog training classes, workshops, and seminars. She loves teaching in an online format!
Deb's Current and Upcoming Courses
Current and Upcoming classes
Have a question about an upcoming course taught by Deb? Not sure if your dog is suitable for a specific class? We welcome you to contact instructors by email to make sure the course is suitable for you and your dog.
FE105 – GET FOCUSED
I took this class for my 5 yr. Airdale mix. I accomplished what I never thought I could accomplish by taking this course. I've spent almost 5 years trying one technique after another without success. With just using the first exercise that is taught in the first week of class, everything changed and I accomplished more with my dog in a couple of weeks than I'd ever had before in the almost 5 years of working with her. All the exercises taught in this class are extremely helpful and easy to do. I was impressed with how involved and in depth the instructors were with each of the gold level students. Very labor intensive but I learned a great deal because the instructors went so in depth. Diane H.
The class was amazing! The changes I saw in my dog were dramatic. The instructors were great and gave honest and very helpful feedback. Jody and Ursa
In 6 weeks we went from noise sensitive "satellite" ears in the show ring to "showy bitch". I am amazed at how many of what I thought were 'training problems' are really being caused by a lack of focus. This course uses a systematic plan combined with Deb and Judy's insightful observations to teach focus and also develops a stronger partnership with your dog. - Linda H.
FOCUS was a very important class for us. We worked on 12 exercises over 6 weeks. The first exercise seemed so basic that I thought “piece of cake.” Click and treat rapidly 10 times while the dog is oriented to you. It just wasn’t that simple. Several weeks later many of us were still struggling with the unfamiliar (to me) concept that we were conditioning an attitude not a behavior, such as “watch me.” Deb and Judy patiently explained the same concepts over and over until we began to get them. At Judy’s suggestion I worked Exercise 1 many times in our entry way, where our dog is hyper-sensitive to the environment outside. As a result, we have gained calm and FOCUS out the front door for the first time – no whining, no drama! This is the foundation that we were missing. I hope to take the class a second time and will definitely continue to work the exercises. The lectures were well-constructed, and the individual feedback thoughtful and thought-provoking. Although the response rate of the students was especially enthusiastic, I appreciated that the class itself proceeded methodically and slowly with plenty of time to digest the material.
If I could only take one FDSA class and I had to pick, I think this would be the class. Everything builds on it and it makes all the other things so much easier. And, I really think it's not just about teaching focus to my dog, it's even more about the concept of training and our relationship and how we move forward as a team.
FE205 - FOCUS GAMES
I first took the Get Focused course then followed on with the Focus Games with my young border collie. It has made a huge difference in his training and his focus is quite increadable. he is a work in progress and with using the tools from these courses Im hoping he will turn out to be a wonderful compitition dog and pet. Lyn C
These two courses (get focused and focus games) should be on any trainer's must do list. The amount of knowledge imparted is simply amazing Judi E
Definitely. I can't remember exactly what convinced me to take this course. First I wasn't going to take any courses this session, then I thought okay I'll take this at bronze, then something someone said about the course popped me over to wanting very badly to take it at Gold. I'm SO glad I did. It's turned out to be the course that seems to have turned a light bulb on for us (both of us).
FE120 – PERFORMANCE FUNDAMENTALS
Incredibly informative and helpful class. I am a crossover student, with 35 yrs experience training the "traditional" way. This is a challenge for me! But I have seen significant improvement in my dog's problem areas, so I am now committed to learning these training techniques; I'm starting over with her, having lots of fun and learning new things as fast as I can keep the clicker going! I have high expectations for achieving all of my performance goals using the Fenzi Academy to help me get there. I can't wait for my next class!!
My first Fenzi course was Performance Fundamentals with Deb and Judy. What a great course! I learned a lot and really enjoyed the exercises. Judy and Deb provided great, timely feedback. This was a super course for anyone interested in performance events in the future. Every lesson was well thought out and there were thorough videos and explanations for each exercise. Griffin and I had so much fun with the class. Highly recommended! Kelli Whitfield
I've done a lot of shaping exercises with my dog, even taught classes as a pet store trainer, and this class still taught me loads! Some things were just a different perspective, but others were things I had never even thought about! I got some actions out of my dog I had previously thought he might just be physically incapable of! My favorite addition to training sessions from this is the "reset" treat; I find it creates way more excitement for coming back!
This has been a great course for us. Gracie is just 7 months old and I can see that this is setting the foundations not just for training,but for our relationship
I'm an IT professional during the day, but had not imagined online courses working so well for training my dog. For me, two of the best features are videoing my training for my own benefit and having the time to take the instructors' comments on board and think about them before trying to put them into practice. Thanks so much!
FE110 - IT'S ALL TRICKS
I can't recommend this class strongly enough. It might seem like it's a distraction if you're focused on a specific goal, but if you're having trouble figuring out the way to train a particular dog, if you and your dog have relationship issues or don't feel like a team, if you get frustrated at your lack of progress toward your 'real' goal, this class can help. For me, it removed the stress of not getting to that shiny training goal (going in the ring, getting legs, whatever) and let me concentrate on what I was doing and what my dog was learning (and what I was learning). If we're learning a trick and things get off track and we have to back up--so what? It's 'just' a trick. Now I know--it's all tricks. Deb C
This class was very enjoyable. Deb and Judy are fantastic instructors. I appreciate the flexibility, and plan to enroll in another round right away to keep going. This course is great fun for both me and my dog. I always felt welcome to ask questions, and fully appreciate the constructive feedback.
This was hands down the best class I've ever taken with this dog. I started taking classes here because I wanted to build my relationship with Blue. This class not only did that, it me develop better problem solving skills, it removed the emotional component and the stress of getting competition ready. Trick skills don't matter (although of course they do) and I could assess in a way I hope will carry over into all my training.