What really ARE Nosework Foundations?

So often we throw around the word, "foundations." In fact, when you hear people give advice it usually sounds something like "Just go back to foundations." Often, the advice is well intended, but it lacks substance.

The issue is that the word "foundations" is a buzzword.

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86 Hits

E138: Denise Fenzi and Shade Whitesel - "The Spaces In Between - Part 1"

Denise and Shade come on the podcast to talk about the state of positive training in the sports world today, the skills they feel dogs are missing that they need most in seminars and competition, and what people tend to overlook when training a sports dog. 

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343 Hits

PASSION and PRESSURE: Are you empowering or overpowering your dog?

I've been teaching agility seminars since the early 1990s. Back then, when I was young, R+ training was not commonly used, even in agility training, and it felt like an uphill battle. I used to be quite the zealot in my seminars. I was passionate in my presentation of dog's choice training. Passionate about my beliefs, my viewpoint and the way I choose to train. While I remember loving the job, it must have been difficult sometimes for the attendees to really hear my message through all that opinionated zeal. There's a lot of pressure from passion. It's hard to learn new stuff under pressure. I have a more empathetic approach now. I learned the hard way to practice inspiration rather than coerce others to train my way.

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  882 Hits
882 Hits

E137: Cat Warren - "What the Dog Knows"

NY Times Best-selling author Cat Warren joins me to talk about her cadaver dog, Solo, and what she learned while writing a book about their life together.

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333 Hits

Have a Rally Dog that Disconnects in the Ring? Here are 5 Tips to Stay Connected!

It's not easy to navigate a rally course while staying connected to your dog. Many dogs need a lot of connection from their handlers, and if we don't give it to them they will often disconnect and their attention will wander. When there are a whole bunch of distractions nearby, we don't want our dogs disconnecting!

I've put together a few tips for saying connected to your dog while navigating a Rally course.

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1955 Hits

E136: Megan Foster - "Handling Errors in Training"

Agility competitor and coach Megan Foster joins me to talk about handling errors in training and in the ring — and about the skills most handlers don't even realize they and their dog's need to actually achieve success.

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530 Hits

Keeping Track of Training: How to Organize and Track Dog Training Plans with Trello

My dog Dashiell and I are in the middle of learning a bunch of different sports - Nosework, treibball, fitness, and TEAM as a basis for rally - and keeping track of all the skills he's learning can be overwhelming!

I want to:
  • Keep track of where he is on each skill
  • Keep all the information I've collected on different approaches to training that skill (from classes, webinars, books, in-person training with instructors, and my own experience with him)
  • Not ignore the forest for the trees - remember where we're headed and prioritize what needs worked on next
  • Make a training plan for a single day so I know which skills I'm working on that day and what I'm doing next with each (shaping, luring? criteria? how am I reinforcing?)

I've tried notebooks, and keeping a bullet journal worked great for a while.

But I really wanted to have all the information about each skill in one place. That's awkward to do on paper, where it's hard to keep inserting text "in the middle" of the journal instead of at the end. I also wanted quick links to online resources.

So I started looking for a digital app to do this for me.
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1345 Hits

E135: Michael Badial - "Handling Aggression"

Michael Badial joins me to talk about how he came to work with aggressive dogs and the strategies he employs to stay safe.

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652 Hits

Teaching TEAM: Why I Decided to Offer TEAM Classes (And How It All Worked Out)

I have been teaching an in person TEAM class for about a year and a half. When I decided I wanted to teach again, I wanted to do so to share all I had learned about good foundations.

I wanted to share how fun training really is when we break skills down into tiny pieces that the dogs can understand and use props to help them be correct. With a high success rate, the dogs and people are so much happier!

What I didn't want to do was to put another "novice obedience" class on the schedule that would likely attract students who only want to practice the Novice ring routine, lumping and rushing to get their dog ring ready for a trial that will be held in 2 months.

How do you get people to buy in to practicing these tiny bits and pieces and not rush it? 

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807 Hits

E134: Suzanne Clothier - "Relationship Centered Training"

Suzanne and I talk about how she got her start in dogs, what led her to positive training and one of the mistakes she sees positive trainers making today.

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1267 Hits

Bum Knees: The Dog Sport Competitor's Guide to Common Dog Knee Problems

Knees are a fact of life with dogs. Unfortunately, so are bum or dysfunctional knees. No one wants to hear their dog has a bum knee or an injury to their knee. But if you are 'in dogs', you will experience a bum knee at some point. It is just part of the deal!

What is a bum knee? It can be anything from a torn cranial cruciate ligament ('cruciate', ACL, or CCL to some), luxating patellas, or straight knees, to osteoarthritis or arthritis, meniscal injuries, bone deformities, or a soft tissue injury. Of course, there are also the outliers: fractures, lesions, and growth related problems.

And some breeds are more prone to certain knee problems than others. For example, many small breeds have an inclination to luxating patellas. Rottweilers, Labrador retrievers and Golden retrievers are prone to cranial cruciate injuries. 

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636 Hits

E133: Loretta Mueller - "Intro to Agility"

Today Loretta comes on the podcast to talk about how she got started in agility, and what's changed in the sport. 

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391 Hits

12 ways to improve your accountability in dog training (and maybe life too!)

To look at ways to improve our accountability we have to make sure we understand the term.

Accountability has become a buzz word, and we, in that way humans do, like to hide behind buzzwords. "If I had an accountability buddy," we might moan, "why, then I would train every day!"

"If only I had some reason to be accountable I would do better at shows."

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  1268 Hits
1268 Hits

E132: Sara Brueske - "Getting Started: Marker Cues & Foundation Skills"

Today I'm joined by Sara Brueske to talk about the recent crazy in using multiple marker cues (and why they've become so popular!) plus her approach to using them as foundation for her training.

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655 Hits

Can you truly teach a dog to be calm?

My perspective on helping dogs behave in a calm fashion may be different than how others address it.

That's because, in my opinion, the emotion of "calm" is not something you teach operantly (dog is aware that they are learning) as much as "acquire" through classical conditioning and specific environmental associations.

"Calm" is an emotional state that results naturally from several things:

  1. Providing your dog with adequate physical exercise to satiate the body
  2. Providing your dog with adequate mental stimulation to satiate the brain
  3. A temperament that is stable and unstressed
  4. Classically conditioning your dog to feel the emotion of "calm" in various places

For example, how I "feel" in a church is different than how I feel at a rock concert, because I have developed different associations with those two places. Your dog needs to see your house as more of a church while the backyard might remain the favored rock concert.

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3058 Hits

E131: Janice Gunn - Positive Training for the Obedience Ring

International obedience competitor Janice Gunn joins me this week to talk about using positive training to reach the highest levels of competitive obedience.

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1109 Hits

Does Your Dog Feel Threatened (And Would You Really Know)?

Can you tell when your dog is uncomfortable? With experience, most people can figure it out. They get to know their own dog well and tend to notice when he's not being himself.

There are some typical stress-related behaviors most of us easily pick up on, but just like people, dogs might sometimes exhibit some less common or downright unusual signs of stress. I have a friend who laughs uncontrollably when she feels intense pain, and another who succumbs to giggle fits at really inappropriate times, like during a funeral or, once, while getting fired from a job she loved. Under very stressful situations, these friends respond with some rather unexpected behaviors.

Your dog might also display behaviors that are less than "textbook" when he's stressed. It takes practice to pick up on the more subtle clues, especially when they're a little on the unique side.

The good news is that most dogs will display the more easily recognized signs. The faster you can detect your dog's discomfort, the sooner you can intervene. Doing so will help prevent the development of a bigger fear-based problem, and if one already exists, knowing when and how to intervene can help your dog overcome his fear or discomfort. 

About twice a year I teach a class for FDSA on how to use counterconditioning and desensitization techniques to help treat fearful behaviors. Throughout the course I emphasize the importance of preventing dogs from "going over threshold" — that is, from putting them in a position where they are forced to cope with more than they can handle.

So how can you tell whether you've crossed that line? How much stress is too much?

First, we need to understand that signs of discomfort are often much more subtle than the bigger, more obvious signs that our dog is feeling extremely fearful.

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1616 Hits

E130: Michael Shikashio - "Muzzles and Unwanted Encounters"

Michael Shikashio joins me to chat about the Muzzle Up Project, reducing the stigma behind muzzles, and handling unwanted encounters of the canine kind — like loose dogs!!

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861 Hits

On Target with Target Training

Want to improve your training accuracy and precision? How about helping your dog learn how to be an active partner in the training process? Would you like a way to build solid complex behaviors? Then targeting is the technique for you! Sure, shaping is fancy and fun, and luring is quick and easy, but targeting offers its own unique advantages. 

Whenever I talk about teaching new behaviors I always say that I rely on three main techniques: shaping, luring, and targeting. Target training can be an incredibly versatile and useful way to develop new behaviors and refine existing ones. As with any other training technique, targeting can be accomplished in a smooth and precise manner or in a sloppy haphazard one, with the expected results.

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980 Hits

E129: Brenda Weeks - "Blogger and Service Dog Buffy"

Today I'm joined by author Brenda Weeks to talk about what it's like living with a service dog and competing in dog sports from a wheelchair. Transcription  Melissa Breau: This is Melissa Breau and you're listening to the Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, an online school dedicated to providing high-quali...
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462 Hits