I stumbled across Fenzi Dog Sports Academy classes on an online forum. I thought it would be good for Mr. N to take an impulse control class and I couldn’t find an in-person class that fit with my schedule, budget and would take him.
It’s amazing how many of the local classes refuse to take reactive dogs in any of their “normal” classes (outside of the classes meant specifically for reactive dogs). I looked at various classes including recall, agility and tricks and he wasn’t allowed in any of them. At this point, Mr. N has progressed to where he can go to classes without reacting as long as the other dogs are under control but it was difficult finding classes at the time.
Fenzi is an online dog sports academy that teaches a variety of different classes including agility, obedience, nose work, freestyle, disc and pet manners. They offer different levels (gold, silver, bronze) depending on whether you have a working spot (with feedback) or auditing. They also offer scholarships for people who need them.
The instructors post weekly lectures and the gold students post videos of their dogs doing the assignments and the instructors offer feedback. Gold and silver students can ask questions on the forums.
Mr. N has taken various classes including nosework, shaping, Bogeyman (dealing with reactivity) and skills for little dogs. All of their classes are taught with positive training methods. What drew me the most to Fenzi was their ethos.
“We do not believe that “purely positive” exists, so we do not use that term. At the same time, we do not believe that compulsion is needed in either the training or proofing phases of dog sport preparation. All of our courses are taught in a manner that respects the well being and emotional comfort of both halves of the team – not just the handler. We do not teach pain compliance techniques in our courses.”
I’ve always trained in a positive fashion but the Fenzi philosophy made me really think deeply about Mr. N’s emotional comfort as well. Is it fair to him? Is he comfortable? There are always things he will not like but I believe it’s important to help him cope with the things that are inevitable (fireworks, the vet) and not put him in situations that he shouldn’t have to cope with.
We’ve quit several different classes because a trainer would keep picking him up when he clearly did not want to be, he would repeatedly be charged by off-leash dogs in the classroom and was clearly set up for training failure by flooding. Fenzi gave me the conviction and awareness to say no, this is not fair to my dog. This is not fair to me. I’m leaving.
We dabble in dog sports but I take classes mostly because I want Mr. N to be the best dog he can be. And because we enjoy it. When I ask Mr. N if he wants to train, he eagerly runs to our training spot. Training is one of the highlights of his day. More than any training mechanics (although those too), Fenzi has taught me that relationship is paramount. I’m going to their dog sports camp (Ferretpalooza) this summer and I’m already making up a list of sessions I want to attend.
Our friends at Dash Kitten told us that when writing their kindness post, they were inspired by Mr. N when it came to writing about dog training.
“The happy whizzing tail of a pup going at top speed when its owner is kind, and gives praise for a training session that has gone well.”
That is what I strive for.
Welcome to First Monday’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below. Our theme for this month is training inspiration or training mentor but any positive reinforcement training posts or comments are also always welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long. Our next hop will begin February 6th and continues for a week.