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Success With Sensitive Dogs

May 23

2:00 pm PT


Do you have a sensitive dog? One who shuts down, quits, goes sniffing, gets the zoomies, reacts to everything and anything, or just plain wilts like an unwatered plant at the slightest perceived pressure?

Does your sensitive dog’s behaviour slow down your training? Prevent you from doing the things you want to do together? Or maybe is so extreme that it affects her ability to fully enjoy life?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, then you definitely have a sensitive dog.

I have a house full of sensitive dogs and know all too well how tricky they can be to work with sometimes. But don’t despair! While challenging, sensitive dogs can also be some of the most wonderful and exciting to both train and live with. You just have to understand how to adjust your approach to bring out their best. And, perhaps most importantly, how to open yourself up to what they have to offer.

Join me in this discussion as I share my five-pronged approach to working with sensitive dogs. Specifically, in our hour together, we will be exploring:

  • Arousal issues and the sensitive dog
  • The critical importance of handler mindset when working with these dogs
  • Identifying and curing poisoned cues
  • Building consent and control into your dog’s training, and life in general
  • Management strategies for those times when training isn’t possible

In this talk, I will give you key strategies and tools you can implement right away that will give you immediate results. Practiced regularly, you’ll continue to see improvement over the weeks, months, and years to come.

Even better, as you learn how to more effectively work with your sensitive dog, you’ll discover that these dogs can be some of the most delightful to work with. They are the most amazing teachers, and offer us the opportunity to grow, learn, and dramatically improve our skills as trainers. Your sensitive dog can even become the partner of your dreams!

I hope you’ll join me and learn how to bring out the best in your sensitive dog, and grow that partnership with her that you’ve always hoped was possible.

Presented By:

Hélène Lawler

Hélène got her first dog, a border collie named Jake, in 1989 and has been training dogs ever since. Over the years, she has explored obedience, search and rescue, protection sports, rally, tricks, and freestyle, among others. She discovered agility in 2004, and herding in 2005. Herding quickly became her passion; she was so excited about it that she took lessons for a whole year without a dog!

In 2006, Hélène bought her first herding dog — a border collie named Hannah. Hannah was an amazing partner and teacher, and together had a very successful career in both agility and herding. They won the Ontario novice herding championship in their first year of competition. They proceeded to go all the way to Open in USBCHA herding while simultaneously competing at the Masters level in agility.

Hélène has also been very active in rescue over the years, giving her the opportunity to work with a wide variety of dogs and challenges. It was through working with rescue dogs that she discovered and became committed to using positive reinforcement-based training methods.

Her passion today is finding practical, hands-on ways of applying the science of learning to training working and sport dogs. Specifically, she specializes in establishing optimal arousal for optimal performance in sport and work; bringing out the best in sensitive dogs; training herding dogs using positive reinforcement-based methods; and all things border collie.

Hélène is also deeply committed to natural rearing and health as a critical component of dog training, believing that a clear, sound mind and a strong, healthy body are integral to a calm, confident, eager-to-learn animal partner.

Today, Hélène lives on a mixed livestock farm in rural eastern Ontario with her team of Border Collies, two Maremma guardian dogs, and an Australian Kelpie. She teaches on-line at the Fenzi Dog Sport Academy, as well as private virtual coaching on handler mindset for success, herding, and dog sport foundations.

You can find a complete list of Hélène’s classes and workshops on her personal website:; she can be reached at