FE500: Train the Dog in Front of You

Instructors: Denise Fenzi and Deborah Jones

Course Details


Are you training and handling your dog in a manner that builds on strengths, while thoughfully addressing and improving upon your dog's weaknesses and challenges? Or are you following someone else's training plan; a plan that may or may not have anything to do with what YOUR dog needs?

Generic training is a great idea if the dog in front of you happens to fit the training plan that you or your instructor has laid out. But what if your dog doesn't fit that plan? What if your dog is handler sensitive, lower drive, or tends towards frantic or fearful behavior? Is your dog focused on the environment and oblivious to you? Or so focused on your that he cannot relax and make decisions for himself without being micromanaged at every moment? Does your dog need more energy and drive? Or are your decisions simply building your dog's frenzy and exacerbating the problems that you already have? Or maybe you have the opposite problem - maybe your training choices are making your soft and sensitive dog even more handler dependent and slow, unsure and reliant on you.

Train the dog in front of you!

In this class, we'll spend the first three weeks taking a hard look at your dog - who is your dog? What does YOUR dog - your unique teammate - need from you to bring out his or her best, most confident and engaged self?

We'll consider building up love of work and confidence in less determined dogs and we'll also consider methods for reining in dogs that show different temperaments; impulsive, driven, independent or maybe just self interested!

And then we'll look at the process of adding skill building to each of those types of dogs! Should your dog have shorter or longer sessions? More hard work or easy work? Should you train new skills to fluency at home first, or take your skills on the road early on? What motivators are most appropriate at different times and under different circumstances? When and how will you raise criteria in the training process? All of these questions are a function both good training AND your dog's needs.

The goal?

A secure and confident dog that is engaged with us and what we are doing together! A better understanding of your own dog's temperament as it relates to training so that you can avoid distress in training, and use reinforcers and the work/play balance appropriately for a given dog. A respectful balance of power between dog and handler. The correct amount of choice in training, so that your dog can thrive and progress! Bright eyes and confident focus!

Denise: Weeks 1 - 3 : Focused on "balancing" the dog's temperament with discussion of strategies for the specific types of dogs.
Deb: Weeks 4 - 6 - Focused on setting up training plans that address the unique temperament of your dog for specific skills (exercises).