Training Bootcamp


About FDSA Bootcamps

A core of FDSA instructors worked together to identify weak spots that we have observed in our classes and seminars, and set about to create a curriculum to address them. The result is an intensive seminar focused on good training.

That means rather than being sport-specific, the seminars are applicable to anyone who teaches others or who wants to compete in their chosen sport.

Bootcamp topics and exercises will center around:


Evaluating and training your dog as an individual


Maintaining emotional comfort via handler decision making: Does your dog need choice or structure?


Moving through working spaces to maintain connection and comfort


Determining readiness to work and addressing a dog that is NOT ready – now what??!!


Handling disengagement


Developing training excellence: reinforcement, timing, setting, mechanics, maintaining and raising criteria


Evaluating, planning and changing your training sessions


Handling errors


Just do it: creating behavior chains, proofing, generalization, progress!


Your 30-day plan

We’re excited to start some intensive in-person activities and hope you choose to join us on our latest FDSA adventure!

Bootcamp has two components:


4 Hours of Video Lecture

The first component will be 4 hours of video, divided into four separate lectures. 

These video lectures will be provided well in advance of the seminar and will be offered through the FDSA platform/classroom. Lecture topics are:

Lecture 1: Engagement, Focus and the Spaces in Between

Lecture 2: Teaching Behaviors: Methods and Mechanics

Lecture 3: Decision Making

Lecture 4: Just Do It! Transforming Plans into Action!

2 Day In-Person Seminar

The second component will be 2 days of in-person bootcamp. Seminar time will be heavy on applied work with the dogs, and will follow the themes of the video lectures.

The pace of the weekend will be very fast because there is a lot of material to cover. Lecture materials will be lightly reviewed but not repeated.

Students will be enrolled in both the lecture classroom and the seminar when they sign up, and they will be expected to watch all of the videos in advance of the bootcamp. 

This approach will effectively allow us to offer 3 days of seminar content over 2 days, plus the participants will have a chance to get to know each other before they meet up in person!

To register for a working spot students should have taken at least 4 FDSA classes or workshops.

IMPORTANT: Is Your Dog Appropriate for Bootcamp?

Only you can answer this question. Will your dog be comfortable and well behaved in a moderately crowded space? Can your dog comfortably work with multiple teams on the floor and working simultaneously? Can your dog handle being crated for long hours without your attention and without making excessive noise?

Will your dog bark, lunge or in any other way frighten or upset other dogs entering or leaving their crates? Barking and whining are a huge problem in seminars — It is stressful for the other dogs and is highly disruptive to both speakers and participants.

Is your dog mentally mature enough to work several times over a weekend? Even a highly seasoned dog is going to be taxed by this particular event — this is not the place for a puppy.

If your dog cannot settle comfortably in a crate, navigate tight spaces with dogs and people, and maintain a level of engagement and motivation for working with you for several hours over 2 days, then your dog is likely not a good candidate for this event — yet! It’s not fair to your dog, it won’t be fun for you, and it is harmful to the other participants.

Because the structure of bootcamp places emphasis on teaching our dogs the skills that surround our time in the ring, rather than the ring skills themselves, dogs must be comfortable crating indoors.

A mat behavior or car crating simply will not work as the exercises have been designed.

Bitches in season may not participate in bootcamps. Non-working auditor dogs will not be able to crate in the venue, due to space limitations. Car crating may be an option, depending on the venue, but is not guaranteed. Be sure to check your Bootcamp event-specific details for info on whether non-working dogs will be allowed inside the venue.

Do not underestimate the value of auditing!

If your dog is not well suited to camp, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attend! Auditors are able to relax, take in information, and observe carefully without worrying about the well-being of their own dog. If you are unsure, it is almost always a better idea to audit your first event. You can always attend subsequent events with your dogs, feeling confident that the situation will work for your team.

2020 Boot Camps are temporarily on hold due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is your refund policy for working spots?

Refunds and/or substitutions requested for working spots will be conditional on a suitable replacement from the waiting list or upon registration of an approved substitute. NO SUBSTITUTIONS WITHOUT APPROVAL. Refund requests must be made AT LEAST 1 month out from the live event. 

If you are approved for a refund, you have two choices:

  • You can downgrade to an auditor spot and a 25% refund ($100) will be issued.You will retain access to the online materials. 
  • If you cannot attend at all, a 50% refund ($200) will be issued. You will retain access to all online materials. 

All requests must be done by email to No refunds or substitutions will be considered if there is less than 1 month left to the live event. There are no exceptions to this policy.

What is your refund policy for auditing spots?

A 50% refund will be issued if requested AT LEAST 1 month out from the live event; you will retain access to the online materials. NO SUBSTITUTIONS WITHOUT APPROVAL. 

All requests must be done by email to No refunds or substitutions will be considered if there is less than 1 month left to the live event. There are no exceptions to this policy.

How do i register for a working spot?

Once the working spots have all registered, registration for auditing spots will open. The button next to the event above will be updated to send you to the registration page for that bootcamp.

What are the video lectures?

To help maximize the use of our in-person time at bootcamp, the video lectures are the bulk of the ‘lecture’ time included in bootcamp. 

There are 4 video lectures, and they will be released one a week, starting approx. 6 weeks out from the live event.

Lecture 1: Focus and Engagement with Shade Whitesel

Lecture 2: Teaching Behaviors: Methods and Mechanics with Julie Flanery

Lecture 3: Decision Making with Deb Jones, PhD

Lecture 4: Just Do It! Transforming Plans into Action! with Chelsey Protulipac

Please be sure to watch all the way through all four videos! We will not re-cover these topics during the live event — we’re counting on you to have watched them and begun to work on the things discussed.

Can auditors bring dogs?

Non-working auditor dogs will not be able to crate in the venue, due to space limitations. Car crating may be an option, depending on the venue, but is not guaranteed. Be sure to check your Bootcamp event-specific details for info on whether non-working dogs will be allowed inside the venue. 

I bought my spot! Now What?

As soon as you’re registered, login to your FDSA account and check out your classroom!

In the forums section, you’ll want to subscribe to event announcements. This is where news will be posted as it becomes available. The forums are also where you can post any questions you may have for our hosts! The hosts check in about once a week to make sure any questions you have are answered well in advance of the event itself. 

You’ll also want to check out the link to the Facebook event page! Our hosts will post regular updates there as well, and it’s a good way to chat will fellow attendees!

In the lectures portion of your classroom you’ll find all the other details you need for attending Bootcamp, including what to bring, where you need to be, and the time you want to show up. This is also where the videos will be posted as they become available — we’ll start posting pre-weekend lecture videos 6 weeks before the live event, so be sure to check them out as they become available! If you subscribe to the class announcements thread, you’ll receive an email each time a new lecture is made available. 

Then be sure to get to the event on time, and come ready to learn! We’ll cover a lot of ground and we’re super excited to have you join us!

Bootcamp Hosts

We will be looking for hosts for our seminars! Click the link below to download a PDF with our step-by-step expectations to see if you meet the requirements.

If you think you might be interested in hosting, the PDF includes information on how to apply to host a bootcamp. We are now scheduling bootcamps for 2020.

One quick note: FDSA Bootcamps are structured so that hosts neither make nor lose money — it is important to understand that there will be no potential profits. You MUST give the working spots to FDSA students and first crack at auditing spots to FDSA students as well – not optional! That is the reason we are doing this and to give these spots to outsiders would completely defeat the purpose.