Concept Training

Sunday, Oct. 8

11:00AM - 12:40PM

Experience Level: Lecture Only

Does your dog really know his left from his right? How about finding a object that matches the one you’re holding? Can he even read? How about count? You bet he can.

If you’re Interested in elevating your training game, introducing new ways to use foundation skills, or in finding a way to stretch your dog’s brain while having fun, then come join Heather on an adventure into the realm of Concept Training. You’ll be amazed at how your dogs can grasp what are—seemingly, at least to us—the very difficult concepts of Matching To Sample, Modifier Cues (understanding left/right, large/small), and even, yes, Reading, Shape Discrimination and Counting, also known as Quantity Recognition. You’ll be amazed at how transferable skills learned through concept training can help you in other dog sports.

Presenter Bio

Heather Lawson

Heather Lawson, KPA-CTP & CPDT-KSA (she/her) has been training and competing in dog sports for 25+ years. She has always made it a point to understand how to meet her dogs where they are at any particular time in their training. She especially loves developing the bond between dogs and their people as people learn to guide their dogs in learning how to function in our human world. Whether it happens to be basic foundation manners, the odd behavioral challenge, or a more detailed dog sport, it is always about helping the dogs succeed and becoming a team together with their human.

Mica, Heather’s GSD was the one who took her on a journey never expected, a hard road indeed. With a dog people said would never get in the ring, Heather and Mica achieved national standings of Top 10 Obedience Dog multiple years running and Top Obedience German Shepherd for 5 straight years. Mica was also one of the first GSDs to achieve the CKC Masters Obedience Trial Champion title. It was because of her early struggles with Mica that Heather developed her philosophy of a kind hand, good heart, and understanding that if your dog is struggling you can’t make the dog do it — but rather you  need to find what works for them, then guide, support, and help them through with good training choices.

In addition to an extensive obedience career, Heather has also competed in Rally, earning 100+ perfect 100 scores. She and her dogs, Luka, Tag, Tissot, and now Piper, have also trained in Nose Work and Tracking. Recently, dog cognition and teaching concepts dogs can use in multiple ways has captured her attention. Concept Training and Dog Cognition asks the question: What more can our dogs teach us about what they are truly capable of understanding and doing? The answer is a lot more than we give them credit for.

Aside from being an FDSA Instructor, CGN Evaluator, Musical Free-style Judge and Therapy Dog Evaluator & Trainer, Heather has been running her own training business full-time for the last 25+ years. She can be found at, on Instagram @DogwiseTraining and Facebook at DogwiseTrainingCenter.