Instructor: Laura Waudby
This class is all about foundations! Start a new dog on the right foot or discover missing pieces in your training. This class is designed to cover all the exercises in TEAM level 1. The TEAM program lays out the building blocks for developing very solid behaviors that the dog can perform in a variety of unique presentations!
The skill areas assessed in this TEAM course include: Engagement and Focus, Heeling, Fronts & Finishes, Distance work, Targeting, Jumping, Scent Work, and Impulse Control. The individual pieces of exercises are broken down for you in manageable steps! Introducing all these core areas from the start makes sure that obedience remains fun for both the dog and the handler!
This is an introductory course and makes no assumptions about your dog's prior knowledge. Whether you are new to competitive obedience training or you have discovered a need to revisit skills with advanced dogs, this course will help you prepare to title by video in TEAM or simply give you an excellent set of foundation skills for any dog sport or competition venue such as AKC or FCI obedience, freestyle, etc.
For more information on the TEAM titling program, please visit www.fenziteamtitles.com
Announcement: This class will be part of a pilot program that will use Teacher Assistants (TA's). If you join the FB study group for this course, then you will have access to two well qualified TA's to assist bronze and silver level students who need additional support. There will be no change to the classroom itself here on the FDSA website and Laura will respond to all student threads as per usual. For more information about joining the FB Study group for this course, please join the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy Alumni AFTER you become a student of FDSA.
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 12:00 Noon Pacific Time.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Gold Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to post questions and videos to the course forums. Students will receive instructor feedback on written and video assignments.
Silver Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to participate in the discussion forum. Students may ask GENERAL questions about course materials and may submit two, one-minute videos for instructor feedback. Any questions specific to your dog MUST be accompanied by a video.
Bronze Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to read all questions and answers posted in the class forums. Students will not post questions or submit written or video assignments.
For more details, refund policies, and answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Because of the wide range of skills, students are not expected to master all 9 areas of focus in roughly 15 skills. About 3-4 skills will be introduced per week and gold students will have the option of working on any of the skills discussed from the current week or previous weeks. All lectures will be introduced in the first 4 weeks of class in order to give students enough time to focus on the topics of their choosing.
Roughly the order of skills taught will be:
Week 1: Engagement, Paw targets (front foot, rear foot, and all 4 feet), Auto leave it, doggy zen games, Fly around a cone, Pivoting for heelwork
Week 2: Style of Position Changes(Sit, Down, Stand), Adding a cue to position changes, Nose targets (chin rest and duration to a lid), Fronts, Release cues and zen games (stays)
Week 3: Backing up, Scent Articles, transitions between exercises
Week 4: Vertical target (for Go Outs), Jumping, Building Distance of Position Changes
Week 5 & 6 will be continued work on any of the above skills.
Students will also have the opportunity to send in a video of a potential TEAM video submission to get feedback at the end of class.
This is a FOUNDATION level class designed to introduce the beginning steps for each of the areas up to the point that the TEAM level 1 test includes. No experience is necessary to start!
Equipment needed is dependant on which skills each team wants to focus on. Upon registration, a supply list lecture will give more in depth information on how to make, purchase, or scrounge up from around the house your supplies! Ideally, teams will have access to:
- Platform for fronts and finishes (approximate size just barely longer than the dog is wide and long enough for the dog to stand on)
- Perch for pivoting (round bowl, phone book, brick...)
- Large cone or another object for the dog to circle around
- Foot target for position changes (PVC box, front foot target, rear foot target...)
- Altoid tins, flat metal electrical plates, canning lids, or any other type of a flat surface for dogs to learn a nose target indication for scent work.
- Jump (formal obedience/agility jump OR creative jumps such as a broomstick, log....)
Backing Up - TEAM Level One Sample Lecture
By Laura Waudby
The goal of this exercise is to teach the dog to back away without any forward motion from the handler into the dog's space. This skill is extremely useful to add into other exercises where the dog has to perform at a distance. If the dog starts to expect going backward after performing (ex: down signal followed by backing up) it will lessen the dog's natural tendency to want to creep forward. In TEAM this skill will show up in more advanced levels to proof the dog's ability to think instead of anticipating what is coming next.
Training with a Back Foot Target
The most common way to teach an independent backup is through the use of a target behind the dog. A target gives the dog something to aim for and naturally encourages the dog to reach with their back feet to find it. Common targets include the dog's platform he's used to putting all 4 feet on, or a foot target the dog is used to targeting his back feet to (the 2on 2off position for agility handlers).
If you haven't taught your dog to immediately offer whatever position you chose on their target then first spend some time teaching the position. You want this position to be a strong automatic behavior for the dog.
While many dogs will use 4 feet on their platform for this exercise, here is a clip of me teaching a back foot target to Molly. Some dogs have an easier time learning backing to a back foot target as it emphasizes the importance of moving their back legs.
Step 1: Stretch the Dog
At this first stage, we're not doing any backing up! Our focus is on stretching the dog from the target so that both back feet remain on the target as their front feet get further and further away.
Give a cookie while your dog is on the 2on/2off (2o2o) position. Then give another cookie just an inch further. And then another cookie another inch further away. Keep giving your dog treas further and further off the target until the back feet come off the target. Pause, and then help your dog do a Uturn back into the 2o2o position.
At this stage, you're looking for the dog to try really hard to keep their rear feet on the platform even with a tempting cookie!
Here Splash is working on this early step of keeping his back feet on the target while I feed further away. You can see that he's already showing some stretching, but does come off pretty easy still. You can see at this stage he's still going to do a U turn to get back onto the target! I'm happy he's showing those signs of knowing getting back onto the target gets the cookies to come again!
You can see in this video how with a back foot target, teaching the dog the concept of stretching is already getting some backing up:
Step 2: Tiniest Backup
At this stage, you're seeing the dog really stretch to keep their rear feet on the target. When the dog comes off, they turn around to get back onto the target themselves.
Now you're so close to get getting just 1 tiny step of a backup!
Try to do your stretching so just 1 paw is off the target if you can arrange it. When the dog is off from their 2o2o position you will pause and wait. Let the dog think! If the dog backs up the 1 paw required to get back into position then reward!!! If the dog moves forward and circles around back to their target you can reward this in the beginning but soon only reward for actual backing up. Do not add in your backup cue at this stage as the dog is focusing more on their target than what they are actually doing to get there.
If your dog still struggles and is just not offering any bit of backing up, you can encourage the dog to at least back up their front feet after some stretching.
Feed out a few times, then lure the dog back with their front feet BEFORE the dog's back feet come off. Think of it like an accordion!
Here I'm demonstrating this accordion feeding style with Splash:
Step 3: Distance of Backing
At this stage the goal is to increase the distance your dog can back up to their target until you reach about 3 feet. I typically want to switch to a LOWER target after just a few sessions. Too tall of a target often leads to the dog reaching too high with their hind feet and you get some awkward backing! My ideal backup target is just an inch off the ground.
For many dogs this is a difficult step. Increase distance very slowly and always mix in easier repetitions so that it is not always getting more and more difficult for the dog to perform. A verbal cue and/or hand signal can be used once the dog is consistently backing up, not turning around, and some distance is worked through.
Here Cougar is starting to get pretty consistent with a distance of 3 feet. Note that the movement is still very awkward for her and not at all fluid! I should have switched to a lower target before building to this distance:
Alternative Method: Channel
Some dogs will also benefit from learning with a channel to help guide their body and create a more fluid backing up motion than a target method can train. For this method the goal is still to create an independent backup without the handler having to move into the dog. You will need to create a channel for the dog to walk into but one that has a small enough width that turning around is difficult.
Get the dog in the channel (and possibly stand in it with them) and then show the dog you have treats on the other side. To get the treats the dog will have to back out. Mark while the dog is backing up and move to toss the treat to the dog. You may need to start with a 1ft backup distance before progressing the length of the entire channel.
Here is Molly's first session with the channel. She takes to it easily. Some dogs may first try experimenting with jumping on the channel before attempting to back up!
Here is Zumi being setup in a channel for the first time and struggling to get what I might want. She figured it out, but you might have to try a shorter channel, setting the food in a bowl on the ground, or having a helper call the dog out to them if your dog is too polite to experiment with getting the food from your hand!
Note that while this method can work independently of any other method, I still strongly recommend trying a foot target method as well. The channel is great for getting the concept of backing across but you have to very slowly fade it's presence.
A sampling of what prior students have said...
The sport of obedience never interested me before. But when looking for my next class, I read the summary of Laura's class. It sounded interesting, it was a foundation class so I was confident I could do it so I gave it a shot. Now I'm in love with the sport of obedience. I love Laura. She was fun, her instructions were clear, plenty of videos to watch for examples. She gave us options and made her expectations clear. She always found something to reinforce but at the same time coached us to be better. I will definitely be taking Laura's level 2 in December and hope for another Gold spot
I am so glad I took the TEAM class this term. The course material was extensive and well organized. I feel we have made good progress towards our level 1 certification. Laura provided very awesome videos and comments which were detailed and easy to follow. You'll definitely want this course in your library!
Two exercises for this class -- pivot and backup -- were ones I have struggled to teach my dogs for literally years. With this class, I had improvement on both in MINUTES
Taking my first class at Fenzi Academy was an incredible experience start to finish! My instructor was incredibly knowledgeable and was helpful to my individual needs. When I ran into road blocks with my dog's progress and nothing was working, she came up with solutions for my guy that were positive! This is one place that you can find just about any sport you could possibly want to learn with your dog and I'm excited to continue this adventure with my whole canine family! Lori R.
Thanks Laura and well done! You did a brilliant job considering the huge amount of information you had to impart and the range of different skills you were teaching. The clear breaking down of each skill into smaller steps in the lecture notes (and each step with its own demonstration video) was perfect. I'll be referring back to your lecture notes for a long long time to come!
Laura has helped me in so many ways throughout this class. She is quick to respond to class homework. Her comments are always positive and she always gives detailed instructions. Laura has a real gift for catching the "little things " that need improvement, and motivate me to do the extra work necessary to improve my skills. Her gentle guidance has helped me become a better trainer.
She could see my shy boy for his sensitivity yet being eager. She re-directed us in ways that helped and supported him without over-energizing or shutting him down. And with just 2 silver videos, not 6 weeks of staring at us!!
Laura gives the most amazing detailed feedback. She has an excellent eye and can tell right away what will help a team succeed.