Frequently Asked QuestionsGot questions? We've got answers!
general rules & Information for all levels
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?
My dog is trained past the first level. Can I enter at a higher 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” page for more assistance.
Can my friend hold the video camera or is a tripod required?
Is there a minimum space (square footage) required?
Can I use praise or talk to my dog during the test?
Can I use food or toys to reward my dog during the test?
Do both my dog and I have to be fully visible at all times during the 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 levels where carrying reinforcement is allowed.
Can I use a mechanical clicker during the test?
No. A mechanical clicker, like a bait bag, should not be used during your test submission. However, feel free to use one while teaching your dog the behaviors!
Can I use a remote food dispenser (like a Treat and Train) instead of a food toss?
Can I hold food in my hand for exercises allowing a food toss for a reset?
Can I hold food in my mouth?
Do I have to be a Fenzi student to compete in TEAM?
NO. The Fenzi TEAM program is a separate organization from Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. Everyone is welcome!
Can differently-abled dogs compete?
Any dog can compete, but 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?
My dog has a short coat. Can my dog wear a jacket for warmth during the test?
Can I call you on the phone to discuss?
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?
Does TEAM include stays?
Does TEAM include group stays?
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, in addition to hanging down normally at your side, 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?
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 organizations’ obedience titles in the order specified by those organizations. 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?
Where I can learn more about training the exercises in the levels?
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.
Judging & scoring
Who are your judges?
How will judges be selected for each video?
Will I know which judge I have been assigned?
How long does it take to get my video judged and receive the results?
Do you score the performances?
Will I receive feedback on my video?
I submitted a video that is not quite there yet. Will I receive a chance to re-submit without an additional fee?
No. Please review criteria for each skill and level carefully BEFORE submitting. Only submit videos that meet criteria so that you will earn a passing score! Each video submission is judged; that is what the fee covers. If you choose to submit a new video, you will also submit another entry fee.
Can I appeal a non-qualifying attempt?
How many times may I attempt a level?
If I pass may I submit another video and attempt to pass multiple times?
No. There is only one pass per title. In order to ensure that we can review as many videos as possible, only submit a video when you have a passing evaluation. Then train for the next level or work towards your Plus or Honors titles!
What are the criteria for passing a level?
Our program is designed to measure the handler’s ability to achieve excellence in training, not a minimum level of acceptability. All exercises in all levels must be performed correctly and according to criteria, and all exercises must be attempted. One non-qualifying exercise per submission is allowed. (Please see the General FAQs for information regarding dogs and handlers who are differently-abled.) Criteria are stated in the detailed exercise pages for each level. In levels 1–3, accurate heeling and pivots and straight sits will be judged as part of the criteria — in other words, behaviors that would be judged as minor deductions in other organizations will be evaluated. From level 4 and above, the emphasis is on behavior chains. Here the same level of precision is not required, and the handler can decide whether or not to maintain their own personal criteria.
The pre-Levels are an exception. The exercises are the same as for TEAM1, 2 and 3, but the competitors may attempt as few as six of the exercises and must pass five. Criteria for a pass for each exercise remains the same.
What if it’s so close the judge can’t decide?
When it comes to criteria, we try to be as black and white as possible but realistically, that won’t always happen. Was that a 2-foot backup or 1.5 feet? Was that sit within 30 degrees or closer to 45 degrees? Did the handler make a minor error that did not affect the exercise? Because we recognize that criteria can be hard to judge, we allow judges to consider an exercise as “questionable.” Two “questionables” is the same as one “not yet.” So if you get two “questionables” and everything else is a clear pass, then you’ll earn your title! If you have three “questionables,” or a “questionable” and a “not yet,” then your video will be judged as “not yet” for the title.
I want to do an exercise differently than the sample video demonstrates, and I’m not sure from the written description if it’s ok. What should I do?
When in doubt, don’t make the judge think! If you follow the sample video, then you will know that you have performed correctly according to the spirit intended for that exercise. Each judge will decide for him or herself if an exercise is correct and meets passing criteria. The exception is a legitimate reason for being unable to do the exercise as demonstrated in the video. For example, the handler has a specific disability which needs to be accommodated. In that instance, please contact us in advance for an acceptable alternative arrangement.
Is it possible to fall short on an exercise even if that specific error is not mentioned in the “non-qualifiers” description?
Titling with TEAM
Do you offer certificates for titles?
After submitting a passing video, you will earn a title for that level. A printable certificate in .pdf format will be emailed to you acknowledging your accomplishment.
Will my dog’s registered name or call name be listed on the certificate?
Can I add a TEAM title to my dog’s registered name? What would that look like?
Yes, you can. If you qualify, you may add “TEAM” (with the correct level number) after your dog’s name. For example, “Brito TEAM2, TEAM1+.”
Can I search your database to see who has earned titles?
Yes, if the dog’s guardian has opted to include his or her name in the open search function.
Competition submission information
How do I earn a title?
Register your dog, study the requirements for the first level title (TEAM 1 or the optional Pre-level 1), and start training! When you feel that your dog is fluent on all of the exercises required for a level, set up the videocamera so that a judge can clearly judge your performance, and take your video!
The Fenzi TEAM program was designed to provide goals for handlers to achieve excellence in training. We believe that once skills have been developed (original levels) that it is important to generalize those skills by training in other locations (plus levels) as well as work towards reducing reinforcement (honors levels).
Here are the details for earning titles.
Pre-Level 1 (optional)
This is an optional title for those who want to get their feet wet before they have all of the behaviors to qualify at Level 1. To qualify for a Pre-level 1 title, the team must pass at least five of the ten exercises for Level 1.
Levels 1–3: (TEAM1, 2, and 3)
The first three levels were designed to test important foundation skills for teams who wish to pursue many types of dog sports including obedience, rally obedience, tricks, freestyle and more. Dogs that can demonstrate these core skills will be in an excellent position to learn advanced exercises and prepare for competition. Details for Levels 1, 2 and 3 may be found on the individual level pages. All levels may be completed in the same, familiar location.
Levels 4–6: (TEAM4, 5, and 6)
These advanced levels apply the basic skills from Levels 1, 2 and 3 and create challenging, unique behavior chains that emphasize reduction of reinforcement, use of novel locations, cue discrimination, and greater formality. Each of these levels must be tested in a new location that has not been used before.
The Plus title series requires the original levels skills to be completed in a novel location not used in a prior passing video submission and must be different for each of the Plus levels. Details for Levels 1-6 are located on the individual level pages.
The Honors title series requires the skills of the original Levels 1-6 to be completed in a novel location not used in a prior passing video submission and must be different for each of the honors levels. The exception is that teams that have a Plus title for that level may reuse that location. The Honors track also requires the team to reduce food/toy reinforcement. The only rewards allowed for Honors levels are those that are specified within the individual exercises as reset rewards or distraction rewards. Details for the original Levels 1-6 are located on the individual level pages.
How do I submit a video?
Upload your video to YouTube, then include a link to your video with your submission. If you’re unsure of how to upload a video to YouTube, please search Google for assistance or visit the YouTube website. We cannot provide technical assistance on how to use YouTube.
How long should the video be?
An average video should be about 5–7 minutes, depending on how you choose to set up your testing area and how quickly your dog works through the tests. Maximum length of video is stated for each level.
May I read from a “cheat sheet” to follow the order of exercises?
Yes, but the less reading you do, the more connection you will maintain with your dog! We would suggest familiarizing yourself with the exercises and their order in advance so that a quick glance is enough to move you to the next exercise.
Must I perform the exercises in the order as listed on the level rules page?
Can I do each exercise separately and edit the video together?
Special video rules apply for levels 1 & 2 and 1+ & 2+. Please review these rules under the level overview information.
All other levels require the video to be one continuous process from the start of the first exercise until the end of the last one. Your dog should be sufficiently well-trained through that level that he/she is capable of doing all of the exercises correctly, meeting specified criteria, continuously and in order. If you find that you need to attempt the test several times, then your dog may not be ready! Go back to training, and fill in any gaps that you find!
Can I use an assistant to call out the exercises or to move equipment for me?
Yes, although some of the higher levels might specify that your dog hold a stay while the handler arranges equipment, in which case you would be required to move equipment yourself. If a physical disability prevents you from moving equipment, please contact us to discuss an alternative arrangement.
Can I use an assistant to help me place objects and take them away?
I’m not good at counting. What happens if I’m supposed to keep my dog in a position for a given period of time, say two seconds, and it’s really only one?
What do I do with my dog between exercises?
It’s the handler’s choice what to do between exercises. You may place your dog on a mat, on a stay near you, or simply allow your dog to hang out. The dog should remain in camera view for the entire test.
How should I structure my session to be most efficient?
Each level offers a sample passing video. Take note of where the equipment, camera, dog and handler are located throughout the test. If you set up a similar plan, you will find that the exercises flow efficiently. You are not required to set up according to the sample, unless the level specifies a specific pattern.
I don’t want all of my props down during my entire video. Can I pick up objects and only put them on the ground when I am using them?
Yes, that’s generally fine. Our sample video is just that — a sample. As long as you go in order and maintain reasonable speed and flow, alternatives are fine. At the higher levels, you will be told if equipment must remain down during the entire test.
Which hand positions are allowed for heeling?
Acceptable hand position for heeling includes the traditional AKC/CKC positions (left arm may be centered over your waist or held down at your side, moving naturally in motion), or the FCI/ IPO position (hand down or held somewhat over the outside of your dog’s head). Please note that a target hand position is allowed in some early levels — please read the heeling description for each level with care.
Which hand/arm positions are allowed while the dog performs the exercises?
With the exception of heeling, your hands should be down naturally at your sides. Your hands should not move during an exercise except as necessary to offer hand signals. You may not hold your hand as a target together in front of your thighs to aid the dog in front position.
Do you have sample videos that will help me perform each level and exercise correctly?
Yes. We have provided video examples of each exercise, including variations where appropriate. You can find those by selecting the level that you are interested in, and then scrolling down to the specific exercise. From there you will find a sample video.
Will my videos be made public?
Do I need other people to train with or to create test videos?
No. You can train and videotape your tests alone. At some point, you will be testing in public, and you may find it easier to have an assistant.
How do I ask questions about each level?
Please take the time to read all of these FAQs and the criteria for each level with care. Your questions are extremely likely to be covered in one of those places. If you cannot find the answers, then the next best option is to join the Fenzi Team Titles Facebook group, where other experienced participants can guide you.
Registration & payment information
How do I register my dog?
If I have multiple dogs, can I receive a registration discount?
What do I need to do to compete for Fenzi TEAM titles?
1. Register your dog here.
2. Train your dog to criteria!
3. After you receive registration confirmation and a registration number, you’re ready to go! Submit your trial application using the link provided in your dog’s profile.
4. Your video will be assigned to one of our judges for review. You should be notified by email within one to two weeks about whether you have passed or if you need more training.
Can I pay by check?
What is the cost to register a dog?
$20 per dog. Once your dog is registered, you will receive an email with the registration number. Please take the time to spell your dog’s name and your personal information with care!
Does the dog’s registration ever expire?
What is the cost to enter a video?
$29 per video submission.