Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WinsDay #7- Fenzi Academy OB210 Obedience Skillbuilding 1 Class Review

Welcome to WinsDay again! My win this week is an awesome class that just finished up. I recently took Fenzi Dog Sports Academy's OB210 Obedience Skillbuilding 1 class.   At the bronze level you do not have actual video assignments or feedback from the instructor, but I can honestly say that this was still such a useful class!  This class is all about foundation skills needed for obedience exercises other than heeling.  So this class covers skills like platforms for straight sits at heel and in front, finishes, all the positions (sit, down, stand) and the transitions between all of those, wrapping for distance work and jumping, and scent discrimination without any retrieve.

The platform used in this class is a round pivot platform, not the larger rectangular platform.  I worked the platform (an overturned food bowl) with both dogs and saw improvement in rear-end movement when moving to heel position and a faster finish left from Dot.

I started the scent discrimination technique from this class (which is to clicker train nose touches) with both dogs and ran into some issues.  When we first started, Dot would whine and give up early on, not wanting to be wrong so frequently.  While she is used to clicker training, she is not used to having to try so many repetitions before being correct.  Even with only two targets out, she would nose the unscented one a few times and then just give up with a whimper of exasperation.  It took her a couple of frustrated sessions before she caught on to nosing multiple targets before getting to the scented one and finally getting clicked.  Eventually she had the confidence to search the targets, nosing around for the scented one which is the entire point of this method.  It teaches the dog to search the pile and check out all the options, not just pick up the first article they notice.

Taco, with his limited training, didn't have this issue.  He was eager to nose a target in my hand (he knew hand target previously), then nosed it on the ground.  When multiple targets were added he would assertively try each one until he got the right one.  Taco's trouble was short attention span.  He would sniff a few and then drift away to something else.  This was addressed in several of the forum threads for Gold participants, their sessions were frequently too long.  So I took Hannah's advice and set a timer, each dog got 2 minutes and if Taco seemed like he wasn't even going to make it to 2 minutes, we broke it off.  Great advice!

This was my first course through Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.  At the Bronze level, without access to the instructor for feedback or answers I was afraid I would just be left with a series of written lectures and lots of questions.  I found the forums way more useful than I thought I would.  I had thought that everyone would have their own individual problems and didn't think my chances of finding answers to my questions in someone else's progress were very good.  But with 15 dog/handler teams to follow, there was a lot of variety not only in what each team was choosing to focus on but also what issues they were having. Following other's progress and reading responses to their questions and concerns helped answer a LOT of my own questions.

The instructor of the class, Hannah Branigan, was exceptionally supportive and encouraging.  Her responses always included compliments and helpful tips for each of the students.  This online course far exceeded my expectations and I am looking forward to OB220 Obedience Skillbuilding 2 this semester!

Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review.   The opinions expressed are all my own with no vendor influence whatsoever.

Join us for WinsDay and show off your dog showing/trialing/training pictures and stories.  Show off your ribbons, tell us about your latest training triumph or ask a burning dog show question you're dying to hear others' opinions on.

WinsDay is not just the place to show off ribbons.  Maybe you learned something new about a breed or dog sport that you'd like to share or maybe you have a doggy giveaway going on at your blog and would like to give us all a chance to win!  Maybe your dog earned its CGC or you started working on a new level of obedience or agility.  Maybe you mastered doorway manners or housebroke your new puppy.  These are all wins, celebrate them with us!



  1. I took the same class! I was at Silver level, though I think I only asked one question... I am doing bronze level precision heeling this time :)

    1. Awesome! I've been gleaning the precision heeling info from videos I found on youtube. :)

    2. Good catch on the pocket hand! I just realized the other night that I wasn't doing that on the pivot :)
      I had been doing it in our class, where I shape the "return to heel" or the one-step heeling, but I obviously need to do it here too!
      Believe it or not, but he can stretch his head up just far enough for me to do it :)

    3. WOW, that's quite a neck! I'll have a video of Taco's pivot for my Train Your Dog Month post tomorrow. Bowl pivots, it's the new hot thing to do!

    4. He's a pretty tall cardigan. Or I am pretty short!

  2. Thanks so much for the kind review! I really appreciate it. This totally made my day. :-)

    1. You're very welcome! This class gave me such great ideas for my own dogs and for the 4-Hers I teach!