Donna Hill has had a life long love affair with dogs and a fascination with dog behavior. She has broad practical experience in the dog world: volunteering and working in kennels and shelters, dog sitting and walking, fostering rescue dogs, teaching behavior modification privately, and teaching reactive dog classes. She stays current in dog behavior and learning by regularly attending seminars by top trainers and researchers.
She is probably best known for her two Youtube channels (supernaturalbc2008 and supernaturalbc2009). She is also the group owner of the Facebook group Observation Skills for Training Dogs. She is active locally as co-founder and professional member of Vancouver Island Animal Training Association (VIATA) and the founder and instructor for Vancouver Island Assistance Dogs (VIAD).
With her own dogs and other pets, Donna loves to apply learning theory (R+) when teaching a wide variety of sports, games, tricks, and other activities such as cycling. She loves using shaping to get new behaviors. Her teaching skill is in keeping the big picture in mind while using creativity to define the small steps to get to help the learner succeed. She is a splitter!
Donna has competed in agility, flyball, and rally O. She uses a holistic approach when solving people problems with their dogs.
Join Donna in one of her classes and find out how much fun (and success) positive reinforcement training and learning observation skills can be for everyone!
Current and Upcoming classes
- FE350: Build Your Bond -- Recalls starting on April 1, 2017
- FF360: Body Awareness for Precision Competition Behaviors starting on August 1, 2017
- FF450: The Daredevil Within - Building Confidence Through Skateboarding starting on August 1, 2017
- OB510: The Elusive Hand-Delivered Retrieve starting on October 1, 2017
Have a question about an upcoming course taught by Donna? 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.
FF450: THE DAREDEVIL WITHIN - BUILDING CONFIDENCE THROUGH SKATEBOARDING
Brand new course August 2015 - Stay tuned for upcoming testimonials.
OB510: ELUSIVE HAND-DELIVERED RETRIEVE
I am SO happy! I met the goals we set ourselves: actually walk towards a thrown object, pick it up, bring it back and deliver to hand. I love my girl, and I loved this class!:) I'm so happy about our progress... I suspect my dog and I will be having lots of retrieve fun in the future! I particularly appreciated that you're an outside-the-box thinker and encouraged us to try and think outside the box as well. Who knew there were so many different ways to explain a retrieve to a dog! I also liked that you reminded me of the importance of splitting, and of making training plans ahead of time. Your class has been very encouraging and inspiring, and you made sure to always keep it fun. Thank you, Donna! I think this has made me a better trainer in general. I also appreciated that you shared personal doggy stories.
An amazing resource with something for everyone. And the dogs win because it's fun.
I've struggled for years on a quiet dumbbell hold, and within the first week of class I was already seeing progress. Donna splits down the behavior chain so well, and offers so many different ideas for how to train the different behaviors. Thanks Donna! Molly B
We had so much fun, and Donna's help in coming up with creative explanations for Phoebe and her encouragement to think outside the box have been invaluable! I have learned heaps in those last six weeks - not only about the retrieve, but also about training in general. Thank you, Donna!
I am very happy I took this class. I feel we made a lot of very solid progress. It is so evident that Donna puts a great deal of thought, time and energy into her classes. She has broken the retrieve down into tiny steps to ensure us of success. Her lectures are filled with detail, suggestions and many helpful videos. Many students at the Gold level were enthusiastically repeating the class. She worked with each team independently right at the level where we were. Her fast response time (click) and her positive, helpful comments were very reinforcing. I hope to take the class again in the future. Sandy H
FE350: BODY AWARENESS THROUGH TARGETING
Way more than I expected! Excellent class! Best Fenzi class I've taken so far, which is saying a lot because they have all been excellent.
One of the best courses I have ever taken!
Donna has been amazing, very supportive throughout. Her knowledge is encyclopedic! Her feedback has been prompt, sincere and constructive. I have really enjoyed the course and would definitely take another of hers based on this experience!
Even though I was only a bronze, I read all of Donna's feedback to everyone and all of the comments she put in the discussion forum - she really made an effort to provide helpful suggestions and extra videos to help us learn. I had never done well trying to teach my dogs rear paw targeting, and now thanks to this course all of them are becoming very profficient.
This has been a fantastic course and has really tested my skills whilst building my confidence. Donna has been a great tutor, her knowledge and experience are outstanding and she has been a very generous mentor throughout. Teaching a group of humans and dogs with varying skill levels requires real patience and understanding, not to mention problem solving for the widely varied physicality of the canine students in our group. I really look forward to my next Fenzi course. LesleyT
BH250 - Creativity With Cue Concepts
A very strong community formed in Donna's Cue class. Perhaps it is partly due to the evolution of the Fenzi Academy as we get to know each other in various classes. It most certainly though is largely due to Donna's very personal engagement and connection in the class. Her lectures are filled with detail and numerous excellent videos to guide each stage of the process. We learned to identify what cues our dogs actually know. We found that sometimes they were responding to body movement, not the verbal cue we thought they knew. We learned to get the behavior the way we want it with low latency (speed) and stimulus control before adding the cue. Donna encouraged each of us to stay at our own level and not move ahead until we were ready. Although our team did not finish all the lessons, I feel extremely good about what we accomplished. In addition I was able to read and understand what the more advanced students were doing. Last year I went to a Ken Ramirez lecture at Clicker Expo. "Chaining, And adduction, Then adduction!" It was fascinating, but I didn't have a clue how one could train all that. It seemed magical. Thanks to Donna, I am starting to get it. Sandy H
Donna has a way of presenting complex information in a manner that is easy to understand. She broadens the topic from "this is for competition" to "this is for life" which I really appreciate. She mixes very practical methods with more academic methods. This was a fabulous class that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone who would like to improve their use of cues.
I highly recommend this class for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of cues and what they mean to our dogs. Donna Hill is an excellent instructor who prepares great lectures and gives lots of prompt feedback on assignments. I feel this class was well worth my time. I will be working on, and studying, the concepts learned in this class for as long as I am working with dogs. Katheleen C.
This is what I wrote in a thread that Donna started for our last week of class and would like to share it here as well since it sums up my thoughts on this class. ~ "This has been such a fabulous class and I'm sorry that it is nearing the end. Donna, you are an exceptional teacher! You provided us with excellent lecture materials and followed it up with great guidance and suggestions as we worked through the assignments. Buffy and I have had lots of fun and we both have learned so much. As we continue on our training journey I will work hard, and use what I have learned through this class, to maintain existing behaviors and teach new behaviors so that we always strive to get better stimulus control, low latency, and speed." Brenda W.
Everyone who wants to add depth to their dog training should take this class. It truly makes you understand how important it is plan your training and execute your cues carefully. It also makes you even more aware of how smart our great canine companions are - even when our communication is boggled at best, they somehow figure out what we are trying to communicate. I cannot say enough good things about this course and the instructor.
FE410 - Stir Crazy - Games for Small Spaces and Indoors
I really appreciated Donna's quick & timely feedback on the videos. I definitely wish I had more time to post the max number per week, but life always gets in the way. I was able to get my little guy to bowl by the end of the course! It was great to see where there were holes in my training and using fun games to go back and work on the fundamentals.
This is my 4th Donna Hill class. Obviously I am a fan. Through her classes I am learning how to train, how to break down behaviors in small pieces and how to make it fun. Our 3-year-old Aussie has some reactivity and arousal issues. Working on the behaviors in Donna’s classes, she has learned to focus and perhaps has learned that training is more fun than barking. I believe the games we have worked on in this Stir Crazy class have made her much more connected to us. She watches us closely and often tries to initiate play or training. She actually gets tired from the mental exercise and clearly loves it. She has learned to go backwards up the stairs (Targeting class), has learned the difference between left and right, and runs cone exercises with enthusiasm. And all the exercises and training methods can apply to more formal obedience or other sports. Donna has wonderful lecture materials. She has worked hard to make her many videos easy to follow. Her responses are quick and detailed. I certainly plan to take more classes from Donna in the future. Sandy H
If you have an older dog that is no longer able to get and be athletic, but you want to continue working with her by teaching new behaviors, this is a great class. If you have a new or young dog with whom you want to develop a working relationship, this is a great class. If you are house-bound because of miserable weather -- hot, cold, wet, whatever -- and need to give your dog training time indoors, this is a great class. If you want to begin developing a working relationship with your dog without the pressure of competition expectations, this is a great class. You'll find a decent variety of games, and clear instructions. (Signed) Marcia B.
In the Stir Crazy class we had fun learning new skills and using old skills in new ways. It is exactly what we needed. This was a super class! Thank you Donna for a great 6 weeks! Tracy R.
Donna Hill (along with Lucy and Jessie) provide exceptional lecture and video materials - they are always clear, easy to follow, and have all the detail needed to get from nothing to a final polished behavior. I love Donna's videos.
BH200 - Dog as a Second Language
Oh Donna, I found this entire experience so interesting. To be fair all the wonderful information you have shared in this course has made me look at all my dog interactions much differently. But since I did so much Conformation during the time frame of the course and I had this project it sharpened my eye on EVERYTHING going on at these shows. I am sold on the observation / documentation approach to investigating and hopefully problem solving issues. I am now trying to be so much better about planning my training, videoing all of it and then evaluating both quantitatively and qualitatively, while recognizing my own biases. Thank you so, so much for this class! I just love your classes - they are probably the most mentally challenging of all the Fenzi courses I take, but so very much worth it.
Before this class, I knew I didn't know why I thought certain dogs were uncomfortable or uneasy about something. I knew about whale eye, so I knew when I saw it, but I didn't know the other signs. Well, I obviously knew something wasn't right, but I didn't know why I knew that. I have a much better idea now. And at least I knew what I didn't know! Donna, I have learned a lot and it has been thought provoking as well. I will be rereading these lectures for quite some time! Your classes are always such a joy to take.
So glad I'm taking this course/don't think I would have zeroed into that (behavior) before. I know I'm not going to get through everything during the class time; but I will get to it eventually. I've learned so much and have really enjoyed the course. Thank you!! I will never look at dogs in quite the same way again.
Thank you! I really like getting your take on it and knowing that your thoughts on the behaviors align with what I was guessing, really gives me validation on my "musings" as you put it :). Have I mentioned how much I am absolutely loving this class?!!!
Donna, Thanks for your insightful comments! I have really enjoyed this class, and it has really been challenging and fun. Thanks for sharing Lucy and Jessie's videos and stories, and your knowledge. Sophie has a lot in common with Jessie! I was a little uncomfortable at Silver, but it got better as time went on. I tried! LOL and I learned a lot from reading other's threads and enjoyed them as well. I have had a lot of "AHA" moments and will finish week 6 in the days ahead. I will be seeing you in other classes, no doubt about it, as I really like the classes you offer.