Beyond the Basics: Unlock Your Dog's Behavior

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Denise Fenzi
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Fenzi Dog Sports Academy Publishing

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You are a dedicated pet owner or trainer who is willing to put a fair amount of time and thought into the process of changing dog behavior. You want to develop a training plan that accounts for your dog's needs as well as your own, and that moves you to desirable behavior as expeditiously as possible! 

By considering your dog's emotions, overall health, and temperament and then adding a big dose of applied training skills, you and your dog can come to a place of mutual cooperation and behavior change. Not only will this book help you understand your dog better so that you can pick the right training plan, it will also help you evaluate your decisions after the fact to ensure that you are, indeed, making progress towards your goals. 

The first part of this book focuses on "Understanding". Understanding what factors influence your dog's behavior and also how to apply training skills to your situation so that you can design a training plan. 

The second part is a series of case studies, focused on the problem behaviors of excessive barking and failing to recall. Both are frustrating to owners, and both require a good look at the overall situation before deciding how to proceed with any given dog. 

The final part of this book focuses on Evaluation. Did you reach your goals? If not, why not? By walking through a systematic approach to evaluating both success and failure, odds are that success will be reached more quickly. 

Born into a "dog family," Denise Fenzi started training and competing in dog sports over 35 years ago! Over that period of time, she found kinder and gentler ways to approach dog training, and now she is well known for her effective and humane techniques for gaining cooperation from all types of dogs. Denise's first series of four books, Dog Sports Skills, co-written with Deb Jones, has been wildly successful! Three of these books have won the Maxwell award for Best Behavior and Training book! Her latest books, Beyond The Backyard, Train Your Dog to Listen Anytime, Anywhere!, Blogger Dog, Brito! and Train the Dog in Front of You are already receiving acclaim from those within and outside the dog community. Denise owns and operates Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a large and well regarded online dog training school.

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  • 5
    Beyond the Basics

    Posted by Allyson Tohme on 7th Sep 2022

    This should be recommended reading for all novice dog owners as it is not just a “how to get your dog to (insert relevant behaviour)” but about understanding, behaviour and training. More importantly it is a book which explores what may be the potential fallout of poor choices; (particularly pertinent in the current world where anonymous “experts” give their recipes for success via internet forums, pages, and groups). This book would be a great back up to lessons when neither the owner nor instructor has time to explore some of the broader issues within class. In the quest for solutions Denise warns against ignoring the emotions that may be driving behaviour as the problem may be exacerbated. (Note this book is not intended for severe behavioural issues where the relevant qualified, reputable professional is more appropriate). The possibility of pain/illness being a factor in behaviour is not overlooked and the author reminds the reader how the temperamental traits of breeds may impact on the owner’s life; something often overlooked when the purchase of a pet is made! Applied training skills is discussed at some length along with how to design a training plan. As always, Denise’s pragmatism remains at the fore with her recommendation to prioritise training decisions according to the life and needs of the owner and to put time and effort into the skills that are important to them! The second section of this publication focuses on case studies covering two very common problems; barking and recall. With seven examples of each, different solutions are highlighted as although the symptoms were the same, the causes varied. I like this part of the book because it prompts the reader to consider a variety of approaches to universal problems. The last part focuses on Evaluation and why training programmes fail, usually because owners “misdiagnosed” the issue (eg the dog may be undiagnosed deaf in the case of recall problems) or have not executed training correctly (eg not provided something the dog values as a reinforcer). I think this book bridges the gap between the “how do I get my dog to “and more serious academic tomes and could trigger the reader to undergo more in-depth study.

  • 5
    Helpful, helpful book for supporting your dog to be their best

    Posted by Diane Pellowe on 8th Jul 2019

    I’ve trained dogs for many years and have read many training books. Denise Fenzi’s Beyond the Basics is my new favorite go to guide. Denise helpfully and empathically encourages you to understand your dog for who they are, not for who you wish they were. This basic idea provides a reassuring foundation for reaching training goals with your individual pup. All dogs are different and we can best serve them by understanding who they are, what they need and how they best learn. The individual vignettes will help you to better understand how the root of a problem might vary from dog to dog, and why different dogs might need different kinds of help for a presenting problem. Reading this book made me feel even more love and compassion for my own dog and her individual needs, strengths and quirks, and less frustrated about some of our training. Thank you, Denise. I recommend this book to any trainer or dog owner regardless of your previous training experience.

  • 5
    Great book for understanding your dog

    Posted by Helen K on 15th Jan 2018

    I just finished reading Beyond the Basics and it has helped me understand the behavior of my 2 cattle dogs much better. I loved the case studies that broke down the behavior, the history and how to go about coming up with a possible solution to the behavior as well as what to do when your training plan doesn't work. I've just started putting the helpful ideas into practice. Thank you, Denise. for writing this book.