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Lunch Panel: Normal or Not? Drive versus Overarousal

May 9

1:00 pm PT


Panelists include: Denise Fenzi, Kamal Fernandez and Sharon Carroll; the panel will be hosted by Amy Cook.

This lunchtime discussion will be streamed via Facebook Live on the event’s Facebook page, free and publicly available, even to those not paying to attend the conference. Our panelists will discuss the differences between drive and arousal, and what is normal, vs what is… NOT.

Denise Fenzi

Denise Fenzi (she/her) has titled dogs in obedience (AKC and UKC), tracking (AKC and schutzhund), schutzhund (USA), mondioring (MRSA), herding (AKC), conformation (AKC), and agility (AKC). She has two AKC obedience champions, perfect scores in both schutzhund and mondio ring sport obedience, and is well known for her flashy and precise obedience work.

While a successful competitor, Denise’s real passion lies in training dogs and solving the problems that her own dogs and her students’ dogs present. She is a recognized expert in developing drive, motivation, and focus in competition dogs, and is known internationally as an engaging speaker and an expert in no-force training for sport dogs. She has consistently demonstrated the ability to train and compete with dogs using motivational methods in sports where compulsion is the norm.

In addition to training and speaking, Denise is a prolific writer. You can find her at where she maintains an active blog on all things related to dog training. She is also an active writer on Facebook, where you can follow her to learn more about her range of interests in addition to dog training. Several of her books have won Maxwell awards such as the Best Training and Behavior Book from the Dog Writers of America. Her latest book, Conversations with Raika, chronicles the final years of her retired competition dog’s life and has been recently released worldwide.

Denise thoughtfully and persistently works to break down the barriers that prevent people from obtaining a truly interactive and mutually enjoyable sports relationship with their dogs. Fenzi Academy is the culmination of her efforts as a forward step in providing progressive information to any trainer who wishes to learn.

Denise is currently focused on training for the dog sport of mondioring with her canine partner, Dice.

Kamal Fernandez

Kamal Fernandez (he/him) is an internationally renowned dog trainer, top level dog sports competitor, author, and world championship-level sports dog coach. With over 30 years of experience in the world of dogs and dog training, Kamal has pioneered the use of reinforcement based methodologies for dog sports and turned dogs from unruly pets to Crufts winners.

Kamal has competed at the highest level in dog sports and speaks at conferences and seminars all over the world, including the Victoria Stillwell Bite Conference, IMPACT conference for service and military personnel, as well as television appearances on Sky Television’s Dogs Might Fly, where 12 rescue dogs were followed on their journey to ‘flying a plane’.

Career highlights so far:

  • Crufts competitor.
  • World championship level dog sports coach.
  • Crufts judge/steward/team manager.
  • Keynote speak: IMPACT conference.
  • Victoria Stillwell Bite Prevention conference.
  • International Seminar presenter.
  • Author of: Pathway to Positivity.

Sharon Carroll

Sharon (she/her) has been a professional animal trainer for 30 years. She has been both a presenter and trainer in a range of animal shows and currently operates a dog training and behavior consulting business based in Newcastle, Australia. Sharon started competing with dogs over 30 years ago. She then made the change from competing with dogs to competing with horses.

For the next few decades Sharon had a successful career riding and coaching through to the highest levels in eventing and dressage (Grand Prix). During this time Sharon continued to train not just horses, but also dogs and a variety of other species. In 2018 she made the transition back to competing with dogs. She has since titled several dogs and achieved multiple wins and best in trial performances.

Intent on really understanding animals better, Sharon completed a Bachelor of Applied Science, a graduate diploma (Captive Vertebrate Management – wildlife and exotics), and a Master of Animal Science. Sharon is currently completing a PhD in veterinary pharmacology. Sharon is a Certified Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) in both dogs (CDBC) and horses (CHBC) and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Sharon guest lectures to post-graduate veterinarians and behaviorists at several universities and organizations on the topics of animal behavior, training, species-specific cognition, welfare, and psychological trauma in animals.

Currently, Sharon’s primary focus is working with dogs displaying significant aggression (dog-to-human and dog-to-dog), and also in cases where the animal is performing a range of other behaviors associated with fear or anxiety. In all cases, Sharon’s primary aim is to help humans understand the underlying cause for their dogs’ behavior, and to use both management and behavior-modifying training to achieve a better outcome for dogs and their human families.

Panel Hosted By:

Amy Cook, PhD, CDBC, CPDT-KA

Amy Cook, PhD (she/her) has been training dogs for over 30 years, and through Full Circle Dog Training and Play Way Dogs in Oakland, California, has been specializing in the rehabilitation of shy and fearful dogs for 20 years. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) through the IAABC and was one of the first trainers nationally to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CDPT) through independent evaluation. She is a graduate of the SFSPCA academy for dog trainers and has attended all four “chicken camps” in Hot Springs, Arizona, taught by Bob Bailey.

Amy has worked for the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society, the San Francisco Animal Care and Control, and has provided behavioral evaluations for shelters and rescues throughout the Bay Area of California. She has worked with the anti-cruelty team at the ASPCA doing behavioral evaluations and psychological enrichment of dogs seized in dog fighting, puppy mill, and hoarding cases.

Amy returned to school in 2006 to get her PhD in psychology from UC Berkeley. Her research focused on the dog-human relationship and its effect on the problem solving strategies dogs employ. She has also studied causal inference in dogs and toddlers and olfactory navigation. She has extensive experience as a graduate student instructor, having taught sections of Introductory Psychology (both in person and online), Human Emotion, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Stigma and Prejudice, Statistics, Animal Cognition, and has taught Fundamentals of Psychology and Developmental Psychology as a full instructor.