Intro to Fitness & Tricks

***New on-line class for winter 2017-18***


Intro to Fitness & Tricks!

Stay warm, have fun, train your dog!

Brrr! November is here! I don’t know about you, but my desire to be outside training takes a nosedive with the mercury in my window thermometer. For me, winter means hot chocolate and novels by the wood stove, the occasional fair-weather hike, and hibernation.

But my dogs… well, they have a different idea. There’s no slowing down because of cold when you’re a dog. At least not my dogs! Despite my reluctance to bundle up and head out, I still need to keep them busy and tired.

Fortunately, I have a secret to keeping them happy without ever poking my nose outside! And that secret is… Fitness and trick training!

What better way to have fun, work on your foundation skills, and tire out your dog, all the while staying home, warm and snug, throughout the dark months? Well, other than venturing out to stock up on treats. And hot chocolate.

What is the class all about?

Brand new for Winter 2017-18, Intro to Fitness & Tricks is a practical 8-week class that will give you and your dog the foundation skills you to teach tricks, fitness training, and most dog sports!

Course mission: 

To learn fun new ways to exercise your dog’s mind and body through tricks and fitness training!

[OK, full disclosure: My real mission is to give you the skills and strategies you need to train your dog to do just about anything. While having fun and strengthening your relationship in the process. And ending up with a tired, happy dog without ever having to go out in the cold!]

The course material will be taught in layers, starting with simple behaviours that build each week into the more complex. What you’ll learn:

  • The critical core behaviours for teaching most tricks… and dog sports!
  • Key foundation behaviours for canine fitness training
  • An introductory understanding of canine structure and function
  • 4-5 new behaviours every week, that all fit together by the end of the course
  • The skills to carry on teaching new tricks and behaviours after the course as ended
  • Strong handler mechanics and understanding of reinforcement-based training!

Exercises include: Targeting, mat work, perch work, platform work, body awareness, sit/down/stand, backup, directionals, and more!


Who is this for?

Your dog: Any age, any size, any breed!

This class is appropriate for dogs and puppies of any age, from 8 weeks through 18 years! No prior training is necessary. Exercises can easily be modified for dogs with restrictions due to age (young or old) or medical conditions, and taught with both toys and treats.

You: You don’t need to be experienced either! This class will be appropriate for novice and advanced trainers alike. All you need is curiosity to learn, and a desire to use positive reinforcement-based methods.

Note: Having some interest in dog training theory is helpful, but not necessary. Be forewarned, however: There will be dog training theory! In this and in all my classes.

The Details

Structure: The course will be rolled out in 8 modules, presented through written class lessons and instructional videos. A new lesson will be rolled out every Saturday as follows:

Part I: Foundation skills – Nov. 25, Dec. 02, 09, 16

*** Two week holiday break Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 05, 2018***

Part II: Building on foundation skills – January 06, 13, 20, 27.

Classroom: I will post class notes, instructional videos, and supplementary materials in our dedicated Facebook group. This group will be the place to go to ask questions; to share videos, ideas, and successes; to get feedback; and to get to know your classmates as well!

Feedback and guidance: I will be in the class group daily (Mon-Fri) to provide feedback on your videos, and to answer your questions during the working weeks of the course. While I won’t be around daily during the break, I will check in periodically to see how things are going!

Do I need special equipment for this class? Nope! We will be using various props but you should be able to use things around the house that you already have, or that are very inexpensive to purchase. Details will be provided in advance of each class.

What you’ll need for the course:

  • A learner (the class is set up for dogs but you could train your cat or your parakeet or even your pot bellied pig!)
  • A clicker is recommended, but you can use a verbal marker (like the word yes!)
  • Treats (if your learner is not food motivated this might present a challenge)
  • A mat, preferably something that can be easily folded. A piece of yoga mat or a bath mat, for example. But any kind of mat will do!
  • A 3-4 inch high platform large enough for your dog to stand on (easy to make! Details will be sent with registration)
  • A pivot disk (a pot, food bowl, etc. again, details to be sent with registration)
  • A box large enough for your dog to stand in, with sides cut down to 2-4 inches
  • A traffic cone or some kind of upright object (suggestion offered in the course notes)

Note: You don’t need all of the above right at the start; you’ll have plenty of time to collect what you need as the class progresses.


Bonus! Upon completion of the course, you will be migrated to my Sport Dog Fundamental Alumni group, where you will retain access to the course material and be able to discuss and review with others who have taken the course, for as long as I maintain the group!

Full video participant – $197CND

  • Full access to all course materials
  • You can post unlimited videos (max 2 minutes each) of you training your dog for detailed feedback
  • You can post any questions you have, and engage in all discussions
  • Downloadable lesson notes

Discussion only participant – $97CND

  • Full access to all course materials
  • You can post any questions you have, and engage in all discussions
  • Downloadable lesson notes



One last note: This course will be taught using 100% positive reinforcement-based methods, without the use of any corrections whatsoever. Dogs are to come to class on a flat collar or harness; no prongs, chokes, martingales permitted. Thank you!

 To register or ask questions, please email me, Hélène: