All Presentations & Descriptions

Friday Oct 4

8:30 AM

Main Hall

Experience Level: Lecture Only

Join us all in the main hall for a welcome talk from FDSA Founder Denise Fenzi!

Friday Oct 4

9:15 AM

Hall C

Experience Level: All

Don’t we all want a good standing dog!

Having a verbal cue to stand your dog is one of my most favorite cues to teach! I don’t know why! I must just like a good standing dog! I also tend to use a stand as my dog’s default position for stillness (instead of a sit!). This builds value for the stand – and what they learn first they learn best!

This lab will cover:
– various methods for teaching a verbal stand cue, along with that beautiful kick back stand
– developing an instant “wait” with moving stands,
– fun ways to address anticipation,
– subtle footwork for the signal stand,
– breaking down the exam portion

Having a strong response for the stand cue will make all the difference for a successful performance. For each participant’s turn, be ready to pick your “stand” topic that you would like to work on!

The goal is to make standing one of your favorite exercises too!

Friday Oct 4

9:15 AM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: All

The goal of this session is to introduce your dog to the idea that rewards can be out of your hands, out of your pocket, and at a distance!

To do this we will be working with what is referred to as a “Zen bowl”- a small dish or lid on which a single reward (or small handful of rewards) is placed. The dogs will get started on being able to focus on you or “work” and willingly leave their reward of food (or a toy) they know they can grab at any time!

Friday Oct 4

9:15 AM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: All

In this session we will discuss some motivation issues, why it happens, and what you can do about it. We will go over several games to help unleash your dog’s inner feral beast.

Fun games = DRIVE!

Friday Oct 4

9:15 AM

Hall B

Experience Level: All

Are you struggling to maintain your dog’s focus during training or trials?

Common reasons dogs disconnect include:

-Dog isn’t mentally ready to work
-Distractions are too much for the dog
-The handler disconnects from the dog
-The dog doesn’t understand generalization
-The dog disconnects after a reward

Thankfully, there’s something we can do: we can play games that are fun and instill naturally focussed attention that will hold up in challenging environments—even the competition ring.

During this session, we’ll dive into why your dog disconnects. Then, you’ll learn a variety of games that prevent your dog from disconnecting and reduce the chance that your dog will disconnect in the future.

Finally, you will learn how to observe and listen to your dog through the different games. If your dog is telling you it’s too hard, you’ll know while playing the games, before you ever ask for behaviors!

Join Nicole to achieve better connection with your dog!

Friday Oct 4

9:15 AM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: All

This is probably the most critical component of searching that is also one of the most neglected. In this session, we will explore reinforcement systems and delve into what works for OUR DOG. We will get cleaner with our markers and figure out how our specific dog wants to be reinforced to drive motivation. We will talk about the impact of arousal and figure out just how much we need or should have depending on the dog at the end of the leash. This session will work for any team that is on odor. Working teams should bring a variety of treats and toys of various importance to your dog.

Friday Oct 4

9:15 AM

Hall D

Experience Level: All

Join Melissa for a session focused on games for loose leash walking, recalls, and building a stronger understanding of your cues… all done through games! During this session, Melissa will pull 9 games from her popular Pet Professionals Program presentation, “Show Don’t Tell – Games for Teaching Complex Ideas.”

Working spots will be split into small groups of up to 5 dogs and will get to play multiple games designed to build their dog’s focus in a group environment, teach loose leash walking skills, and take your dog’s recall to the next level! All games are adaptable for both beginners and advanced students. The only prerequisite skill is that students should have at least introduced dogs to the idea of coming when called for a cookie.

Auditors get to see how games can elevate training in a group situation so that everyone — dogs and handlers alike — have a good time and are successful. We’ll also briefly discuss some of the psychology behind the games and why they work well for the human learner while also setting the dogs up for success.

Friday Oct 4

11:00 AM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: Lecture Only

In this lecture session, I’ll be going over the Play Way system itself, beyond just the how-to of the play itself, and into why we want it to be a conversation, what doors that opens for both reducing stress and pressure and allowing you to know a lot more about whether you’re over threshold or not.

We’ll also look at the principles of Look and Dismiss (LAD), and the ways we practice it on simple things so dogs get fluency in the skill and have it as a strategy!

Come learn how to apply Play Way in setups to facilitate new learning!

Friday Oct 4

11:00 AM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: All

Do you walk courses and find that you don’t execute those handling decisions when you run your dog because you are not in
position or you mistimed a turning cue? Then this session is for you. Learn how to use those 8 minutes of your walk through
to develop a plan that you can successfully execute.

Teams will then have a chance to run the course with feedback.

Friday Oct 4

11:00 AM

Hall B

Experience Level: All

Targets are a great way to communicate criteria, often doing so more quickly and accurately than shaping or luring. Targeting is a previously trained behavior that is used to convey criteria for a new behavior.

In this session you’ll learn how to use a variety of targets to isolate movement, maintain stillness, speed your dog’s understanding of both broad and nuanced behaviors, and transfer to a new verbal cue.

Friday Oct 4

11:00 AM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: Novice & Above

We spend a lot of time teaching our dogs to retrieve items to us and to hold onto items, and then when we want them to take an object away from us and drop it in the middle of nowhere our dogs are understandably confused.

In this Drop It Like It’s Hot hands-on workshop I will teach you how to train your dog that taking an object away from you and dropping it on cue is just as rewarding as giving you an object.

It is a step by step process that will teach your dog on cue:

  • “Drop it Like It’s Hot”
  • With the handler at a distance
  • And then return to the handler having left the object behind

Prerequisites: your dog must be able to pick up an object off the floor

Supplies

  1. Small floor target (a fit paws silicon paw target is a good example; we likely have a few available if you  do not have one with you)
  2. Food your dog will do backflips for
  3. Clicker or other marker, a whistle or a duck caller
  4. 5 or 6 objects your dog likes to put in their mouth

Friday Oct 4

11:00 AM

Hall C

Experience Level: All

All performance dogs experience challenges and pressure when competing. We must provide our dogs with the skills to work through them. In this workshop we will use platform games to build a positive conditioned emotional response to pressure and distractions. These games can be adapted to a wide variety of sports and behaviors. Dogs think platform games are tons of fun… and you will too! Whether your dog is inexperienced or a seasoned competitor, these games will improve your dog’s self-confidence and give them the skills to overcome adversity.

Friday Oct 4

11:00 AM

Hall D

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Tricks aren’t just for fun anymore! This lab will focus on training tricks that offer more than meets the eye. Each of the tricks taught is specially selected for improving body awareness, developing critical thinking skills or for strengthening specific muscle groups.

Sara will talk about looking deeper into behaviors traditionally taught for entertainment to see how they can help you reach your training goals. Join us and see what tricks are hidden up our sleeves, you won’t be disappointed!

Friday Oct 4

1:40 PM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: Lecture Only

REACTIVE INTEGRATION – Integrating various training and behavior modification protocols to help your fearful or reactive dog in the real world.

This lecture is for those who have or work with dogs that are exhibiting behavior that is often described as ‘reactive or aggressive’. These behaviors can come from frustration, anxiety, fear, or over arousal. Many of the topics discussed will also help the sensitive or fearful dog. Regardless of the dogs’ underlying motivation for their behavior, the information here will help you learn to modify the dog’s emotional response as well as their physical one.

Creating clarity in reinforcement procedures, environmental exposure, and using agency to teach alternative skills, we can help develop a more confident dog. Applying principles of classical and counter conditioning we will work to change the dog’s emotional state in situations where the dog struggles with fear, frustration, or arousal.
You will likely be familiar with some of the concepts and topics discussed. Having a variety of tools in your toolbox will allow you to implement the most effective process or concept with the dog in front of you. Come join me in exploring your options for working with reactive dogs!

Friday Oct 4

1:40 PM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Setting up puzzles is a fun way for our dogs to build confidence sourcing hides. Sourcing a hide is all about problem solving and it’s our job to present appropriate and educational challenges. We can build their sourcing skills with purposeful hide placements that require dogs to push deep into areas or to puzzle out what the visual context might NOT be telling them!

Most dogs love to problem solve and thrive with the challenges. This lab will showcase many of my drills including mazes, use of airflow and setting up contrasts to build confidence and clarity. Dogs learn that the most relevant and salient component is the target ODOR!

Prerequisite: Dogs should be proficient on all 3 odors (Birch, Anise, and Clove).

Friday Oct 4

1:40 PM

Hall C

Experience Level: All

This lab will help you develop excellent toy play with your dog. Denise will introduce both the mechanics and the qualities of the dog-human interaction that can make toy play either highly enjoyable for both parties or an absolute misery. Toy play is not simple! It is fascinating and complex and subtle and, best of all, it can be learned!

Whether your dog shows absolutely no interest in toys or is a rabid tugger who simply refuses to return to re-engage, Denise can improve your game.

Friday Oct 4

1:40 PM

Hall B

Experience Level: All

Focus is so much more than just attention on the trainer! Our understanding and view of the value of focus in dog training has expanded over the years. We now understand that our dogs are always focused on something; it just may not be what we want or need at the moment. Rather than trying to force or limit focus, our goal is now to help our dogs learn how to shift focus quickly and easily.

The four main focal points for a dog are 1) external (things in the environment), 2) self (emotions & sensations), 3) trainer (the person they are directly interacting with), and 4) task (a specific set of behaviors or skills).

We can accomplish these focus shifts by introducing and practicing interactions with our dog in different modalities that encourage different points of interest. These different categories of interaction include 1) food, 2) play, 3) movement, 4) control, and 5) tactile. Within each category we can break down games & exercises even further. For example, we have stationary & active food delivery, interactive & independent play, shared & individual movement, passive & active control, and interactive & independent tactile activities. Our goal is to broaden our dogs’ experiences with the different types of interactions so that we have a wide range of ways to establish and nurture desired focal points.

These different interaction modalities allow us to naturally introduce focus shifts into our play & training sessions. Used thoughtfully we can help our dogs comfortably move between the different focus states. We will consider the types of focus each game encourages.

In this session Deb will introduce and walk you through several games from each category. Working teams will have the opportunity to practice and customize games to meet their needs. We will also discuss sequencing games for the ultimate in fast focus shifts.

Dogs in working spots should have basic interest in food and play. Working teams please bring a variety of your dog’s favorite reinforcers with you to the session.

Friday Oct 4

1:40 PM

Hall D

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Heeling is an incredibly complex behavior. The dog must maintain focal point, position and engagement around distractions and pressure. When you add duration things often fall apart. In this workshop we will look at games that increase energy and engagement. We will teach our dogs to give us more effort on individual pieces which adds momentum to the chain. We will learn how to use variable reinforcement and optimize the use of our reinforcers. We will introduce our dogs to backchaining which creates confidence and adds enthusiasm to the end of the chain. Your dog will learn to heel for a full pattern… and more without losing precision or attitude.

Friday Oct 4

1:40 PM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: All

This session will focus on getting your dog to understand, once cued to take a jump, that they should stay committed… NO MATTER WHAT.

How awesome would it be to be able to have 100 percent confidence that your dog will never pull off a jump again?

Friday Oct 4

4:00 PM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Close Proximity Hides are a challenging upper level skill because the dog not only needs to work through odor convergence, but they also need to be able to re-engage in searching immediately after finding a hide. In this session, we will work through an exercise designed to help build those expectations in the dog in a way that they start to search more quickly after the first hide and in a way that will set them up to not miss hides that are a part of close proximity sets. This session is targeted at NW3 through Summit or AKC Master and Detective teams.

Friday Oct 4

4:00 PM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

This seminar will cover all aspects of blind cross handling, including:

What are they?
Who should use them?
Where should they be executed?
When should they happen?
Why use them?
How should they be executed?

Bring your questions about blind crosses to this session. Also, bring your running shoes to try different short sequences where a blind cross could be used.

The working teams in this seminar should be able to get ahead of their dog by sending them to an obstacle like a jump or tunnel. Blind crosses won’t work well if you have to run with your dog.

Only jumps and tunnels will be used in this session.

Friday Oct 4

4:00 PM

Hall B

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Looking to add some paw-zazz into your sport training? Wanting to try something new, yet familiar? Thinking it’s time to push your Rally skills to a new level?

Rally-FrEe is a rockin’ sport that emphasizes the precise execution of fundamental freestyle and obedience skills while encouraging creative and novel behaviors, all on a Rally style course! Come learn about this cool titling sport embraced by dog sport enthusiasts all over the world!

Friday Oct 4

4:00 PM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Ready to conquer real world distractions with your dog? This lab will go over a step by step process for determining when a behavior is ready to be subjected to distraction, how to properly introduce different distractions as well as what to do when your plan fails. The world is a crazy place, let’s make sure those trial behaviors are ready for it!

Friday Oct 4

4:00 PM

Hall D

Experience Level: All

Play is your best stress reliever! Have you ever thought about what play would look like if you didn’t have a toy to play with? Have you ever thought about playing with your food instead of handing it over? Play, especially play that doesn’t involve toys, is often something we don’t explore with our dogs, but it’s really a useful skill for making your dog feel better!

Developing a good personal play relationship with your dog will allow you to play anywhere and reduce your dog’s stress levels (and maybe yours!). Additionally, playing with food raises its value and introduces dogs unfamiliar with play to the kinds of body language play has. Come play with us!

Friday Oct 4

4:00 PM

Hall C

Experience Level: All

Working spots will have 1-1 hands-on experience applying techniques to maintain optimal arousal levels in your dogs. Through practical demonstrations and personalized guidance, you’ll learn how to recognize and achieve the ideal arousal state in your own dogs, maximizing your dog’s ability to learn. You’ll explore various reinforcement methods, from behaviors to food rewards, personal play, and toy engagement, tailored to your dog’s needs. Working spots will leave the lab equipped with practical strategies to enhance your dog’s engagement and focus in training sessions.

Audit spots offer an opportunity to gain valuable insights into the principles and techniques of maintaining optimal arousal levels in dogs. Through detailed explanations and live demonstrations, you’ll learn how to apply these methods effectively in your own training sessions. Understanding a variety of team’s hierarchy system of reinforcements and its impact on canine behavior, will enable you to identify and address arousal-related challenges in your dogs. You’ll leave the lab with a deeper understanding of training methods and practical strategies to enhance engagement and focus in dogs.

Saturday Oct 5

9:00 AM

Hall D

Experience Level: All

Disc dog freestyle, tricks, distractions, obedience and secondary obedience for protection sports or whatever you would like!

Join Sara for some one-on-one time to work on whichever skill you need.

Saturday Oct 5

9:00 AM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: Lecture Only

Every consequence we choose in training is there to motivate behavior change, but did you know it also inspires emotion at the same time? In fact, that’s why they work! Emotion underlies all of your training, and that’s not optional – Pavlov is always sitting on your shoulder!

In this lecture, I’ll go over Conditioned Emotional Responses (CERs), what the quadrants feel like, why that matters, and how to keep your dog in the “happy bucket” and out of the “yucky bucket.” You have heard me say “every time you teach your dog what to do, you’re teaching them how to feel,” right? What emotional responses are you conditioning?

Saturday Oct 5

9:00 AM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Do you wish your dog would carry ahead on course? Hold commitment better? Focus on a lateral jump more easily at the startline? This session will help improve your dog’s forward focus in all of these moments. We will break down a few different exercises as well as a step by step procedure to bring your teamwork to the next level!

Let’s step up your obstacle commitment game!

Saturday Oct 5

9:00 AM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: See Description

Why games? We are more relaxed with games and have more fun with our dog which helps us as the handler and our dog progress in our training. It is amazing to see the relaxed body language in games searches versus any other search. Games will also teach our dogs that odor can truly be anywhere. I am a firm believer that anything goes when searching for odor as you never know what you will encounter in a trial environment. Many times we encounter searches that do not run as planned due to the environment. This class can help us prepare for the unexpected. As the saying goes…train hard, trial easy! And in this class, the “train hard” is FUN!

Nose work games can put the fun back into your searches, add a new twist to what you are already doing or take you to the next level. Games can help you find and FIX holes in your training and have fun doing it. I love watching dogs play these games as it really brings out their personality and you can see how much joy they have with all the different setups.

We will have beginner to advanced level searches geared to each team as well as modifications to make team appropriate.

Games planned based on search area availability, subject to change: Chair games, a-maze me, socks, socks, socks, eggs, crack hide (inside/outside as appropriate), nose point accuracy, can ya find me now fan game.

Saturday Oct 5

9:00 AM

Hall B

Experience Level: All

Pocket hand is a way of teaching heeling that allows your dog to use the angle and position of your hand to develop and maintain an exceptionally precise heel position.

You’ve heard people talking about “pocket hand” for heeling, and now you get to see it in action! This technique will work just as well for retraining a 10-year-old dog as starting an eight-week-old puppy.

If you’d like to learn more about using pocket hand, join Denise in this lecture and lab and have your dog heeling with finesse in no time!

Working spots: Should be just starting out with this technique – if you already have advanced pocket hand heeling skills, and need some troubleshooting, sign up for the heeling problem-solving lab!

Saturday Oct 5

9:00 AM

Hall C

Experience Level: All

Make no mistake about it, ALL dogs experience pressure when competing. They feel pressure from barriers, the environment, humans and even from us! When dogs feel pressure they do not feel safe. The key to confidence is teaching your dog the skill of pushing through while in a positive emotional state. In this workshop I will introduce you to a game that will help your dog overcome distractions that make them nervous. The touch-it game is empowering! You will learn how to use tricks to build confidence and success when working around a variety of challenges. Whether your dog is nervous and insecure or your dog can use a boost of confidence when under pressure, this workshop is for you.

Saturday Oct 5

11:00 AM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Moving up to the higher levels means that you need to be able to read when your dog is in and more importantly IS NOT in odor. Understanding blank area behavior will help you clear areas more effectively in addition to being able to call blank areas with confidence. In this session we will discuss the behavior that our dogs may give us in the absence of odor. We will watch the working teams work both blank areas and areas with odor in order to be able to understand the difference. Working teams need to be a little more advanced. Teams should be AKC Excellent, NW2 or the equivalent.

Saturday Oct 5

11:00 AM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: All

Does your dog struggle to work in tight spaces? Is your dog unsure about different surfaces? Do environmental pressures cause your dog to lose confidence? We can help build confidence with patterns. Patterns create a framework of predictable behavior. Predictability allows them to control the outcome. Using a well understood pattern, we can apply it to more difficult behaviors across different sports (Agility, Nosework)

In this lab we will empower our dogs to work in tight spaces or walk across different surfaces.

Simply put, dogs love patterns and predictability!

Saturday Oct 5

11:00 AM

Hall B

Experience Level: All

The things we need the most are often the things we train the least. A large part of being successful in performance sports is our dogs’ ability to work in the presence of external stimuli – what we often call “distractions.”

Performance skills can quickly degrade when our dogs aren’t practiced at maintaining attention and focus in difficult environments or under difficult circumstances. Not having these skills can decrease confidence in both the dog and the handler. They are the cement that holds our performances together and can mean the difference between a rock-solid performance and just getting by.

In this session, we will isolate and practice games and exercises that increase your dog’s desire to maintain attention and focus, turn attractions in the environment into cues to look to you and teach our dogs that it’s all part of a fun game. It’s not magic, it’s training!

Saturday Oct 5

11:00 AM

Hall C

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Having a problem with heeling or an obedience exercise? Do you need help with handling for your obedience skill?

In this session, Nancy will help you one-on-one with any heeling or obedience exercise.

Saturday Oct 5

11:00 AM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Do you struggle with getting your dog to turn? In this session we will work on how to go from extension to collection.

What exactly IS the perfect turn? And how to teach your dog that turning is FUN!

Saturday Oct 5

11:00 AM

Hall D

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Does your dog go from eager to work with perfect focus on you to suddenly being unable to do anything but sniff the ground the moment you step into a ring? Or maybe that was your last dog and you’ve vowed to fully prepare your current dog long before they ever will enter their first trial!

The goal of this session is to start teaching your dog the little pieces to expect at an obedience trial, and to teach you how to best support them!

We will discuss topics such as how to transition in the ring to the startline and in between exercises, how to handle delays in the ring, handling interactions with the judge, etc!

Teams who are nowhere near trial ready are encouraged to join us to set a solid foundation! And teams who have trialed and have found it didn’t quite go as expected are urged to start developing their plan now!

Prerequisite: The dog has a basic level of understanding heel position.

Saturday Oct 5

1:40 PM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: Lecture Only

You’ve got the basic skills but then comes the big question of how do you get those skills ready for competition and real-life distractions? Join Crystal Wing, Denise Fenzi, and Nancy Little as they discuss this topic!

Saturday Oct 5

1:40 PM

Hall B

Experience Level: Novice & Above

What is your ideal picture of beautiful heelwork? It likely includes words like precision and accuracy. Does it go beyond that to include enthusiasm, energy, lift, spark and joy? These are the attributes that make heelwork beautiful to behold, exciting to train and yes! Fun for both dog and handler!

By building animation, energy and enthusiasm as a separate piece from precision we can increase the rate of reward for each, creating value and joy in our heelwork training and performance. This session will focus on games and exercises that bring joy to your heelwork training and performance. Teams should have an understanding of heel position.

Saturday Oct 5

1:40 PM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: Novice & Above

There are many options for handling in Nosework. All dog sports require a thoughtful approach on what WE should be doing to support the team. Nosework is a sport where most of the time we are following our dog’s lead. However, our role as a handler is still very important!

Many of us train alone and place our own hides. It’s easy to consciously or unconsciously influence our dogs to work in a certain area or prevent them from going into unproductive areas. Those are some of the behaviors we might want to use intentionally – and then we are unaware we are influencing them at other times.

Since dogs are masters at reading our body language, it’s critical we are handling with intention. If our handling is not consistent on what we are meaning to convey, we create uncertainty in our dogs on what is meaningful or important to respond to.

Balancing when to follow their lead and when to interject is the art of handling. We should be focusing on building their autonomy, having patience as they solve these scent puzzles and not just trying to get them to a hide!

Join this session to learn about:
– Common handler mistakes.
– How to simplify your handling.
– What really is an independent searching dog?
– Why can directing or leading a dog be problematic?
– When CAN we make a suggestion?
… and much much more!

Saturday Oct 5

1:40 PM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Calling all bar knockers! In this session, we will focus on common reasons that dogs knock bars — outside of standard jumping form. Distractions can play a huge part in bar knocking. Whether that be handling distractions, item distractions like other obstacles nearby, cones, or gambling tape, sound distractions, people nearby the ring, or even just handler motion — all of these distractions can make keeping those bars up tough. We’ll go through several different exercises to help strengthen your dog’s jumping focus and ability to keep those bars up in the face of whatever else is going on around them!

Saturday Oct 5

1:40 PM

Hall D

Experience Level: All

Being in a trial environment often means being in a novel location with a lot more stimulation and distractions than you might usually see. Even the most seasoned dog can sometimes need your support and advocacy! You’ll need to be able to navigate busy, high arousal environments, prevent their social engagement with others, and keep their boundaries maintained so that the stress stays low.

In this lab we’ll practice some movement strategies and mental-game techniques to keep your dog able to cope with higher stress situations or close proximity to others, while staying connected to you. Join Amy to learn some tricks to traverse crowded areas with connection (magnet moves!) and games to keep their attention as other things pass by!

Saturday Oct 5

1:40 PM

Hall C

Experience Level: All

Handler errors are the most common reason for losing points in Rally, but achieving higher scores is easier than you might think!

This Rally session will teach you effective strategies, techniques, and tips that you can practice today to boost your score at the next event. By making minor changes in your handling, and with a little bit of education, you will see instant improvements in your competition behaviors. By the end of the session, you will have a better understanding of how to improve your scores and be better equipped to compete in future rally events.

Even if you’re just starting out in Rally, you can get ahead of the game by learning these tips before entering your first competition.

If you want to take your rally game to the next level, join Nicole for this session!

Saturday Oct 5

4:00 PM

Hall C

Experience Level: Novice & Above

In this lab, we talk about how to build reliable toy play through the use of food reinforcement. If your dog loves to play but struggles in new spaces, plays keep away once they get the toy or doesn’t show interest in playing, this is a beneficial lab to take.

We will be using food as reinforcement, so dogs who have medium to high food drive will do best in this lab.

Saturday Oct 5

4:00 PM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: All

Want to build your distance control and connection with your dog while participating in a great new sport? Or maybe you’ve always been fascinated by herding, but don’t have sheep. Check out Treibball!

Sometimes called “ball herding” or “urban herding,” treibball is a cross between billiards and soccer that you play with your dog. It’s perfect for a dog who is retired from other sports, dogs new to the sports world, or reactive dogs (since most venues restrict access to the competition field).

During this lab, we’ll cover the basic rules of the game and the foundation skills to get you started! Come learn about this relatively new dog sport!

Saturday Oct 5

4:00 PM

Hall B

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

If your container searches with your dog are reminiscent or an arcade game and you can’t keep track of where your dog has searched because they have searched ALL OVER, you might be needing to build in some more methodical skills into your container game. This session will focus on an exercise that helps the dog to regulate their rhythm in searching while tightening up their focus. Working spot dogs will need to be able to focus well enough to generally alert on a container the first time through. If your dog is missing a hot container consistently, it may be more difficult to apply these concepts in a camp situation.

Saturday Oct 5

4:00 PM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Fronts are a complicated but necessary skill for competition obedience and rally. It can be a struggle to maintain attitude (for dog and handler!) and consistent criteria. In this workshop I’ll show you how to teach your dog to hit front on the first try without stress or pressure. Taught properly, fronts can become inherently self-reinforcing. This workshop will demonstrate how to break fronts down to improve our dog’s understanding of what front means. You will learn to develop clear criteria and communication to build confidence. We will use a perch to develop a cue system to improve the dog’s success ratio. We will look at the pros and cons of different props and how to fade them. Finally, we will introduce games that will help keep fronts fun and exciting. Whether you are starting to teach fronts or you want to increase your seasoned dog’s accuracy and attitude, this workshop is for you.

Saturday Oct 5

4:00 PM

Hall D

Experience Level: All

All Things Parkour: The world is your obstacle course! After playing parkour, you will never look at the world the same again! You will always be on the lookout for places to play with your dog. This class is for those new to parkour as well as those wanting to train the higher levels. There will be a circuit type setup to allow teams to work simultaneously as well as choose novice obstacles or intermediate.

Parkour can be a challenging but fun activity to do with your dog. It includes jumping, climbing, and balancing. All dogs can participate in some form of Parkour.

Nature provides so many fun obstacles such as trees, benches, walls, logs, large rocks, picnic tables, boat docks, stairs, the list is only limited by your imagination. Parkour can also be played inside by using laundry baskets, exercise balls, scaffolding, carts, stairs, and boards.

There will be a short presentation to begin as Parkour should be done in a safe manner, evaluating all obstacles and surfaces before ever asking your dog to interact. We should also “spot” our dogs on higher obstacles, so there will be video examples before we begin any training.

The sky truly is the limit when it comes to Parkour!

Obstacles planned based on teams and area availability (subject to change): Presentation on safety and spotting, warmup exercises, 2 feet, 4feet, moving obstacle, wait on an obstacle, gap jump, through, in, balance, around, creativity, and pivot

Saturday Oct 5

4:00 PM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: All

Join Loretta for some one-on-one time to work on whatever agility skill you need!

Sunday Oct 6

9:00 AM

Hall C

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Have you ever wanted to have your dog find your lost items? Or been curious how Match to Sample works for scenting? It’s pretty straightforward for our dogs to learn to find OUR scent. What about searching for a STRANGER scent? Search and Rescue dogs do this – and so do our tracking dogs! There is also a new sport called Lost Item Recovery through The North American Sport Dog Association (NASDA) where you search for handler and stranger scent.

The focus of this lab will be to teach the process of Scent Match to Sample. Starting with our scent first we will then transfer that process to a stranger scent. This is an excellent skill to split out for tracking dogs too! Teaching our dogs how to re-scent an article will help your dog if they lose scent on a track. This is truly one of the most amazing dog skill abilities and a fun game for sport and real life!

Prerequisite for this lab is having some experience with finding your scent (handler scent).

Equipment: Bring some of your personal items (wallet, keys, cell phone, small articles of clothing (socks/gloves)).

Sunday Oct 6

9:00 AM

Hall D

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Heelwork-to-Music combines all that you love about heeling, with your enjoyment of music!

It showcases the precision, connection and teamwork you strive for with transition freestyle behaviors and sequences that help maintain position, increase flow and ease of movement for your dog while having fun and moving to music! Come learn about this fun sport!

Sunday Oct 6

9:00 AM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Have more than one dog that wants to work? Or a dog that doesn’t want to wait its turn at class?

This lab will cover how to manage working multiple dogs at the same time by using perch stays. Not only will your dogs learn to wait for their turn, but they’ll learn impulse control, patience and commitment to their stay!

Sunday Oct 6

9:00 AM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: Lecture Only

It’s a fact of life that things happen suddenly, and for your dog, even the more experienced and well socialized, those sudden events can sometimes be distressing!

Whether your dog is often pulled off center by events around them or it’s only occasional, when it happens to your dog, they need your help to recover.

It’s a great idea to have a plan in place before that happens, so you and your dog both have something to rely on! The startle to recovery framework involves simple, non-scary practice events, and parties that’ll convince your dog she won the lottery! Come see how to turn surprises into surprise parties!

Sunday Oct 6

9:00 AM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Are you always behind? Do you need to work on trusting your dog to do their job so you can move onto the next obstacle? In this session, we will work on plans to not get behind so we can direct our dogs around the course efficiently.

Are there skills that you need to teach your dog that will help you not be so far behind? We will identify those things that keep you from staying ahead of your dog.

Sunday Oct 6

9:00 AM

Hall B

Experience Level: All

In competition obedience our dogs need to work at a distance from us while under pressure from the judge, the environment and the ring gates. We have no connection with them when we leave, they are completely on their own. No wonder they don’t like it out there! We want to teach our dogs that being away from us is safe and fun. In this workshop we will look at a variety of games to keep our dogs actively engaged as we walk away. I will show you how to teach them a specific focal point to anchor their focus on you. You will learn techniques to keep them on the edge of their seat and ready to respond to your cue when you turn around. A combination of these techniques creates a dog that is confident and fully engaged.

Sunday Oct 6

11:00 AM

Hall B

Experience Level: All

Do you dream of doing fancy obedience work someday? Go outs are one of the most exciting exercises to train! The dog gets to run and jump, and there aren’t as many precision details to obsess over for the human.

These skills can be started with even very young dogs!

This session is for dogs at all levels. No idea what a go out is? Join us! Struggling with a certain aspect of your go out? Join us too!

The 3 main areas we will discuss in this session are:

1. Marking a line (useful for go outs, gloves, retriever work, and even agility!)

2. Sends to a target (Primarily discuss teaching a send to a stanchion, but any “target” works!)

3. Directed Sends (return to you by taking an obstacle- jump or cone- on the way back after a send!)

Sunday Oct 6

11:00 AM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: Novice & Above

How successful your search is, is often a direct function of your start line. In order to get a dog to leave the start line in focus and searching immediately and effectively, you need to have the right combination of arousal, timing, and engagement. What you do leading up to and on the start line can affect all three of these things. In this session, we will talk about how we can optimize these components and then we will modify and craft the start lines of the working teams in this session. We will also talk about staging strategies. This session will be helpful for teams at all levels and for all drive levels.

Sunday Oct 6

11:00 AM

Hall D

Experience Level: All

In this session, I’ll guide you through diagnosing and addressing any play-related challenges you’re facing. Through one-on-one interaction, we’ll work together to identify the root causes of these issues and develop personalized solutions. Whether it’s a lack of engagement, inappropriate behaviors, or communication barriers, I’ll provide tailored guidance to help you overcome these obstacles and foster a healthy, enjoyable play dynamic with your dog. Let the games begin!

Sunday Oct 6

11:00 AM

Hall C

Experience Level: All

Having a problem with an obedience exercise or part of an obedience exercise? Want to improve a known skill for obedience?

In this session, Denise will address any obedience handling or training issues that you might have.

Sunday Oct 6

11:00 AM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced

This seminar will take your contact training to a new level.

Does your dog understand the stopped contact behavior you trained? Revisit the following for your dog’s stopped contact skill:
Teaching and reinforcement
Cues, including releases
Handling

We will present them with exciting challenges to test your dog’s understanding in various situations.

Note this seminar won’t teach stopped contacts from the ground up. It is meant for dogs that already have stopped contact training.

Sunday Oct 6

11:00 AM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: Novice & Above

This session will be geared to setting clear expectations and communication with your dog in various situations. We will learn how to change, continue, or create a tendency (the 3 C’s) for our dogs to assist in addressing common non-sport behaviors. By applying the concept of clarity to our interactions and the reinforcement process we can reduce their frustration or anxiety and create a more cooperative partnership. We know that many sport dogs have benefited from their use, so applying a multiple marker system to the concept of stimulus control, impulse control, and even common or severe behavior cases can not only be fun, but beneficial. Just like in sports, using multiple marker cues for behavior cases creates greater clarity and communication between dog and handler. The effectiveness of behavior modification techniques and protocols are enhanced.

Sometimes, applying a more errorless learning concept during training will be helpful but how the reinforcement is delivered can be as important as the reinforcement itself!

By focusing on your mechanical skills and decisions about how to use reinforcement, this session will emphasize how strategic placement, physical presentation, speed of delivery, and even your personal energy can influence your dog’s behavior!

Sunday Oct 6

1:40 PM

Hall C

Experience Level: All

Yep. You’ve got the heeling basics AND… you need help! Maybe removing pocket hand or simply fixing a pesky little heeling issue. Need some attention to your heeling challenge? This is your lab!

Note: If you’re brand new to heeling, the Pocket Hand Heeling Lab is the place for you!

Sunday Oct 6

1:40 PM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Does your dog get easily distracted during agility? Are you not exactly sure how to train distractions without overwhelming your dog? This session is for you!

We will work on layering challenges, how to work on thresholds, and what to do in different scenarios.

Sunday Oct 6

1:40 PM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: See Description

A creative hands on workshop developed by Barbara Lloyd, the creator of “The Nimue Box Challenge” to test your dog’s ability to problem solve!

This workshop will consist of a series of Cognitive Challenges that range from easy to varying degrees of complexity. The main goal of the lab will be helping you understand how your dog reasons through how to solve a challenge and access a reward.

We will also discuss your dog’s learning style in contrast to your learning style and how that impacts your training sessions with your dog, as well as how to improve your training sessions with your dog via a better understanding of how your dog processes information and problems solves.

Decoding what your dog is telling you as they work through the challenges will be discussed in depth in order to give you a better understanding of how to harness your dog’s skills to train more efficiently.

This workshop is suitable for puppies and dogs all the way up to adulthood.

For young dogs and sensitive dogs this workshop will help build resiliency, grit, and confidence. Adult dogs will gain more sustained focus and thoughtfulness.

Participants will be instructed on how to set up the challenges and then allow their dog time to solve the challenge.

Each participant can choose how much assistance to give their dog, and part of the class will be outlining and discussing why you may or may not choose to simplify the task for your dog.

As the instructor I will give you feedback on what I see your dog doing, how to play to your dog’s strengths, how to improve a particular problem solving skill and how to make this relevant in other areas of training.

Sunday Oct 6

1:40 PM

Hall B

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Reducing reinforcers without losing focus and attitude is a challenge for all trainers. When dogs are not getting reinforced in the ring, they get confused, which leads to stress. We need to mindfully teach them that no reinforcer means “you are correct!”. In this workshop you will learn how to use tricks as a bridge and as a reward. How to teach your dog to give you more work for fewer reinforcers by creating behaviors that are inherently self-reinforcing. I will show you how to use forward chaining and backchaining to create energy and excitement as the chain progresses. Whether your dog is just starting out or your dog is trialing, this workshop will give you the tools to reduce reinforcement without losing attitude and confidence.

Sunday Oct 6

1:40 PM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: Lecture Only

This presentation will focus on basic concepts and approaches for cooperative care (CC) work with our canine companions. Hint: it works for all species in very similar ways! Deb will show you how to get started on the right path to a successful shared CC journey with your dog.

Topics covered will include:

A clear definition of CC (what it is and what it isn’t)

Overall CC goals & a holistic approach

Recognizing common signs of discomfort & responding appropriately

The importance of classical conditioning & the use of operant conditioning

Foundation steps to set up for success (place, zen feeding, stillness, touch)

Opportunities vs. cues

General training/conditioning plans with examples of specific procedures

Dealing with difficulties along the way (when your dog says “no” or when something must be done now)

The purpose of this presentation is to help you see the bigger picture and get a good overall view of how CC training can be most effective and useful. This lecture will be useful to you for your own personal training as well as for helping clients achieve their CC goals.

Sunday Oct 6

1:40 PM

Hall D

Experience Level: Novice & Above

We all want to find that elusive high hide! Getting those high hides takes good hide placement, a dog who knows to search high and handler observations! High hides can create more threads of odor in the air. Odor will loft out and then fall down – making it easier for dogs to work it back closer to source. Other high hides will just drop leaving a very small trail of odor. Often it’s pure luck that a dog gets in just the right spot to solve a challenging high hide, but the handler can help the team by reading the room and the dog’s behavior.

The downside to working elevated hides is working them too often! We can inadvertently pattern them to CHECK high and then when we see that behavior we make a wrong call. Dogs will also naturally search high when they can’t find odor so we need to make sure we don’t call high hides too quickly. Instead look for other signs – bracketing, nose in air, slowing down, and insisting that odor is UP.

This lecture and lab will show how hide placement, airflow and setup will enable your dog’s understanding and success for solving high hides, as well as improve your observing eye!

Prerequisite: Dogs should be proficient on all 3 odors (Birch, Anise, and Clove).

Sunday Oct 6

3:50 PM

Hamilton Room

Experience Level: Novice & Above

One of the hardest things to do in searching is to handle in a way that doesn’t negatively impact our dog’s searching when we are holding the leash. It’s so much harder to do this in tight spaces or in areas where we may accidentally block the dog. In this session we will cover the impact of pressure from both the environment and the handler and what we can do to release that pressure. We will cover handling mechanics, body position, and line handling and then apply that to tight spaces. Working teams need to be on odor and confident in sourcing at least single hide searches.

Sunday Oct 6

3:50 PM

Agility Hall

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Does your dog love toys? Let’s turn that toy drive into disc drive!

This lab will focus on the foundation skills needed to compete in a disc dog competition. You will learn how to properly throw a disc, how to teach your dog to bring the disc back, as well as flat work for strategy games and freestyle. Come get your disc dog on and see what one of the fastest growing dog sports is all about!

Sunday Oct 6

3:50 PM

Hall C

Experience Level: Novice & Above

Each dog sport has a foundation skill framework that builds reliable performance. But what about the glue that holds that sport-specific framework in place?

In this session, you will learn glue skills that can help accelerate learning opportunities (training, classes, seminars, and trials) for your dog. These skills are essential for your dog if competition is the ultimate goal. But they are also beneficial as general life skills for your dog. Without glue skills, dogs can develop unwanted habits, which interferes with their learning. Furthermore, once habits are established, they can be more challenging to change. Once you train glue skills with your dog, you will never return to training without them in your future dogs!

Sunday Oct 6

3:50 PM

Franklin Room

Experience Level: All

Do you want to know the most useful heeling move you can teach your dog? Sidesteps! Got a dog that heels wide? Do a sidestep! Does your dog sit crooked? A sidestep can fix that! Forging, wrapping, and more can all be improved by doing a sidestep. Teaching your dog lateral movement helps with rear-end awareness, too, which can help strengthen other behaviors.

In this session, you will learn how to teach lovely lateral movement! Working dogs who understand left pivots will have an advantage. Before starting lateral training, we’ll briefly cover the steps to get dogs off the pivot bowl.

You’ll also learn how to get lateral movement in front! This comes in handy for strengthening the front behavior. It’s also a required move in the Master level of rally.

Come join Nicole and learn how to teach your dog sensational sidesteps in heel and in front!

Sunday Oct 6

3:50 PM

Hall B

Experience Level: All

You’ve trained hard, have your heeling all set, your dog is engaged … uh oh. Where’d that judge come from? Why is she following us? Lots of dogs are proximity sensitive and aren’t comfortable with being directly approached, followed or crowded by strangers (especially strangers with clipboards and hats!). Some dogs want to rush to greet anyone within a 10 foot radius!

In this lab, we’ll go over things you can do to help your dog be comfortable with these “strange” judge behaviors and not feel the need to keep an eye on them, and help those greeters learn that judges are boring, and you are best!

Sunday Oct 6

3:50 PM

Hall D

Experience Level: All

We’ve all heard the term and many of us strive to apply it. So why is it so hard? And is it really all that important? When you see the lightbulb go on for your dog and it suddenly makes sense to them, you start to realize just how important a skill it is.

Clean handling is more than just separating your marker from your reward or making sure you have enough treats. It is a communication system that can reduce confusion, alleviate frustration and lead to a more enjoyable and productive training experience. In this session you will learn how to create changes in your training that will increase trust and overall success in your sessions. It’s up to us to make sure it all makes sense to our dogs!

Sunday Oct 6

5:40 PM

Main Hall

Experience Level: Lecture Only

Join our FDSA team of presenters and staff for one final conference-wise session reviewing camp, announcing the details for next year, and bringing the conference full circle!