General Information FAQ

Do you have a minimum and a maximum age for a dog to compete?
6 months minimum; there is no maximum age.

How long will it take to train for each level?
Time will vary depending on the foundations you have already trained.   You should plan to spend several months preparing your dog for each title.

Do I need to join a membership organization?
No, however you must register your dog with TEAM.  You can do that here.

My dog is trained past the first level. Can I enter at a higher level?
No – each level must be completed in order to be eligible for the next level.

Will I need special equipment?
The required equipment is listed for each exercise at each level. These are fairly common dog training aids and it is likely that you already have most of these objects. Please see our “Definitions” FAQ for more assistance.

Can my friend hold the video camera or is a tripod required?
You have options!  Do what works best for you.

Is there a minimum space (square footage) required?
No.  Just make sure that the area clearly allows the judge to visualize all the elements at the required distances.

Can I use praise or talk to my dog during the test?
Praise and play is allowed between exercises. Each exercise states when the judging begins and ends. During that time the handler must be quiet except for any verbal cues. Exceptions may be listed in individual exercises.

Can I use food or toys to reward my dog during the test?
Each level has different allowances for quantity of reinforcement. Please see your specific test.

Can I wear a bait bag during the test?
No.  There should be no external cues to your dog that you are carrying reinforcement, even at the first level where carrying reinforcement is allowed.

Can I use a remote food dispenser (like a Treat and Train) instead of a food toss?  
Yes, you can.  Make sure that the remote is only in your hand when you are at the point of food toss.  For example, your dog is called to front position while the remote is in your pocket.  Take the remote from your pocket, dispense a treat, and put the remote back in your pocket.

Can I hold food in my hand for exercises allowing a food toss for a reset?  

No.  Please take the food out of your pocket as needed for food tosses.

Can I hold food in my mouth?

No.  Please take the food out of your pocket as needed, or store nearby if preferred.

Do I have to be a Fenzi student to compete in TEAM?  

NO. Fenzi TEAM Titles is a separate organization from FDSA.  Everyone is welcome!

Can differently-abled dogs compete?
Any dog can compete, however, we are not structured to provide special accommodations for dogs with special needs, so if your dog is differently-abled he/she will still need to perform the exercises as written.  However, you can choose to omit one skill per level. For example, if your dog cannot jump due to a physical challenge, you have the option of omitting the jumping skill.  Normally the dog must “attempt” all exercises, so if you are omitting an exercise because of your dog’s specific health-related reason,  please mention this clearly in your video.

Can differently-abled handlers compete?
Yes; however you must be able to perform the critical portions of each exercise. Please contact us to discuss specific modifications as needed.

My dog has a short coat. Can my dog wear a jacket for warmth during the test?
Yes. Your dog can be “dressed” if that makes him or her more comfortable.

Can I call you on the phone to discuss?
No – we don’t have a phone number.

Where are you located?
As an internet based company, we are “everywhere.”  Our judges are international. Our server is in the US. Our administrator is in Canada.

Can I compete if I live outside of the US?
Yes. There are no restrictions based on geography.

Does TEAM include stays?
Yes. All of our stays are integrated into the work as a whole. For example, you may be asked to leave your dog on a stay to set up for an exercise, or to demonstrate your dog’s self control in the presence of distractions.

Does TEAM include group stays?
No.

Where should I hold my hands and arms during the exercises?
You can have your arms straight down at your side or behind your back for stationary exercises – you may NOT have your hands in front of your thighs or closer to create a “target” for fronts.

In heeling you have the option of the left arm at your waist, centered over your middle (bellybutton).  You may NOT hold your hand as a heeling target (straight up from left side) unless the test that you are working on specifies that a hand target is ok. Once an exercise begins, your hand/arm position should remain stable, unless giving a hand signal.

Can I perform my heeling on the right hand side?
Yes, you may choose either the right or left hand side for both heeling and finishes but you must remain consistent within a single test.  For example, if you choose the right side, then the pivots, finishes and heeling in movement must all be demonstrated on that side for that test.  Please note that the rules are written up with an assumption of left hand side heeling, so the handler will be responsible for determining the equivalent on the right hand side.  For example, if a level instructs you to perform a pivot “counterclockwise” in heel position, then a person who chooses the right side will need to modify that to “clockwise” in order to demonstrate the equivalent behavior.

How many levels would I have to complete to be ready for an AKC/FCI/UK, etc. obedience title?
We do not see our program as a “training ground” for other organizations, so you will not find our program helpful if your goal is to train for other organization’s obedience titles “in order.” However, if your dog is titled through TEAM6, you should be very well prepared for the essential portions of  the exercises in almost all venues, except for the group stays.

Can I compete if I do not have access to YouTube?
No – you’ll need to find access to YouTube in order to submit videos.  We do not allow Vimeo or other platforms because  these videos cannot be read on all devices.

Where I can learn more about training the exercises in the levels?
You have options!
You can take classes at FDSA.
You can watch YouTube videos – all of the skills will be covered somewhere!
You can follow Denise Fenzi’s blog.
You can find a local instructor to help you.