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Raising and Training a Wiz Kid: Performance Puppy 101

February 11

7:00 am PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: CCPDT - Behavior, CCPDT - Training, IAABC, KPA


You have a new puppy and high hopes for the future. What’s the best approach to help your new baby become a fabulous training partner? Every new puppy brings hope that this time we will do it all “right’”. We will avoid any mistakes we’ve made with previous puppies and give this pup the best start possible. In reality, we will always make mistakes raising and training our puppies. Shocker, but nobody’s perfect. Even so, having a plan and seeing the big picture, as well as the small steps along the way, is the best chance for success.

In this presentation Deb will lay out her general training plan for 2-6 month old puppies. Whether you are planning a possible performance career or just want a stable happy companion, or ideally both, this approach will help you reach your goals. It’s enticing to skip over some basic, yet very important fundamentals in order to get to the “fun” stuff. Sadly, that haste often comes back to haunt you later with struggles and recurring training issues. Making sure you’ve covered all your training bases and have a solid foundation matters so much! These often invisible early skills can easily be overlooked, but they are crucial to future success.

Deb will present her step by step training approach that is based on proper order for introducing and practicing skills, focusing on a puppy appropriate level of challenge each step of the way. Establishing the use of reinforcers, a marker system, recalls, and zen work makes up the bulk of this early work. Then we focus on a ‘learning to learn’ stage by introducing the techniques of shaping, luring, and targeting before we begin using them to teach specific behaviors and skills. We round things out with cooperative care work and an introduction to props for specific behaviors.

There’s so much to teach in a short time frame! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed. However, if you focus on the proper order, things will flow smoothly from one concept to the next, and your puppy will pick up the necessary skills as you go along. Come join Deb in this presentation to learn all the details!

Presented By:

Deborah Jones, Ph.D.

Deborah Jones, PhD. (she/her) is a retired psychology professor who now trains animals full-time. She has been training for 25+ years and focuses on positive reinforcement based methods. Deb has written 12 books on dog training and has helped develop several DVD series. She has also trained and shown multiple breeds to high level titles in agility, rally, and obedience. She is currently teaching online training classes and webinars at Her newest project is the Cooperative Care Certificate program in partnership with Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. You can learn more about this at Visit her website at for her blog and more information.