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Section F

Fabric Muzzle

A type of muzzle that fits over the whole of the dog’s muzzle, including the nose.  They allow panting, but not eating or drinking.

Grooming muzzles are similar and often made of the same material, but they do not fit over the nose.

Fading the Lure

Luring is a kind of prompting used by some positive reinforcement-based trainers.  In order to make sure that the dog is learning that his behavior is causing the reinforcement to happen, the trainer should start to switch to a different kind of prompting as soon as possible, which is called fading the lure.

This is because the presence of food can overshadow other salient things, like what the dog is doing with his body to get that food, and make the process of learning slower.

Fear Aggression

A term for defensive aggression. Many trainers claim that a large proportion of the aggressive behavior shown by dogs towards other dogs and humans is rooted in fear rather than anger, protectiveness or malice.

Fear Period

During the first few months of life, puppies go through different phases of neurological and emotional development.  Some of those phases are associated with an increased sensitivity and impressionability and so are referred to as fear periods – puppies who seem solid in temperament can start to show anxiety or startle more easily than before.

There are still some questions over exactly how many fear periods a young dog will go through and at what time in their lives, but they come to an end when the dog reaches full maturity.


A temperamental characteristic of some dogs, characterized by having a strong startle reflex, a lack of affiliation, being unwilling to investigate novel objects and a propensity towards developing anxiety, phobias and OCD behaviors.

Fence Fighting

When a dog repeatedly runs up and down a barrier, showing behaviors such as:

  • Barking
  • Snapping
  • Growling
  • Lunging at the barrier

Some fence fighting behavior is due to frustration – the dog wants to play with the dog or person on the other side of the barrier.  Aggression is another possible cause; either offensive or defensive, depending on whether the dog is scared of people approaching the barrier.  If the fence is in the dog’s backyard or a dog park he visits often, territorial aggression can also be a factor.

Fenzi Dog Sports Academy

Denise Fenzi’s Academy offers a wide range of online courses primarily aimed at people who compete in dog sports, although many of the Foundation classes can also be useful for pet owners.

Fight or Flight

A phrase describing strategies a dog can take when faced with a potential conflict. The two are not mutually exclusive – a dog who is denied the chance to run away may become defensively aggressive.

Fixed Action Pattern

A series of movements that the dog cannot stop once he has started to perform the first one.  An example is humping.

Flight Distance

A term to describe the distance at which an animal will move away from something that scares or concerns it.  The term comes from the study of birds.

Flirt Pole

A toy for dogs, consisting of a thin pole ending in a piece of braided rope, with a small fluffy toy attached to the end.


A relay sport for teams of four dogs.  Each dog runs in a straight line down a 51-foot course, over four hurdles.  When he reaches the end of the course, he presses a pad that launches a tennis ball, which the dog then catches and runs back down the course to his handler.

The winning team is the one who finishes the fastest.

Force-free Training

A philosophy of dog training that involves using as close to zero compulsion and aversives as possible.  Many force-free trainers claim that all dogs can be trained without the use of any punishment or unpleasant experiences at all.

The term “force free” has also been used by some trainers who exclusively use e-collars, to indicate that none of the techniques they use involve physically making contact with the dog.

Forward Conditioning

A type of counter-conditioning, which is used to change the emotion a dog associates with something from fearful to pleasant by pairing the appearance of the scary thing (the trigger) with a reward, usually food.

In forward conditioning, the trainer gives the dog the food soon after the dog sees (or hears, or smells) the trigger, and continues giving the food until a short amount of time after the trigger has gone.


Free Feeding

The practice of leaving food out for a dog to eat whenever he chooses. Can be either a set amount of food in the morning that is not replenished throughout the day, or a constant amount of food that is not measured.

Free Shaping

A kind of shaping used by mark and reward trainers, with the aim of encouraging independent and creative thought. In a free shaping session, the trainer has no desired behavior in mind and does not prompt the dog to do anything. The dog offers behaviors by himself that the trainer can choose to reinforce and then take as the basis for further shaping.

Freedom Harness

A type of back-clip harness designed to discourage pulling, made by 2Hounds.  The Freedom Harness has a martingale loop at the back of the dog’s neck that tightens when he pulls.  It has two attachment points located at the back and the front, which can be used individually or both together with a double leash.

Front Clip Harness

Harnesses where the leash is attached to the front, at the chest. They are usually marketed as a tool to discourage pulling on the leash, as the dog is moved in a lateral direction when he tries to pull forward. Examples of front-clip harnesses include Easy-Walk harness and Sense-ation harness.


When a dog is prevented from getting closer to something he wants, he can become frustrated and show some of these behaviors:

Although dogs with frustration issues may not be anxious or aggressive, they can be scary for other dogs and people. Furthermore, frustrated dogs can sometimes redirect onto their handlers, mouthing or biting them.

Functional Behavior Assessment

A Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is a way to understand behavior in terms of the function it has for the dog, so that interventions can be better designed.

A dog behaviorist performing an FBA will start by trying to get as detailed a picture as possible of the undesirable behavior, including the antecedents and the consequences that the behavior has.  The behaviorist will gather data on when, where, and what kinds of behavior is going on, and use this data to work out what the function of the behavior is for the dog.

Once the behaviorist has a good idea about what the function of the behavior is, she can design an intervention that matches that function.  That means, she can either work on changing the dog’s emotional state so that he no longer feels the need to behave in a way that fulfills that function, or she can give the dog an alternative behavior that fulfills the same function but is more desirable for the owner.

The Four Fs

A more complete description of different strategies for conflict resolution in dogs than the cliché “fight or flight“, the four F’s are Fight, Flight, Freeze and Flirt. When a dog freezes, it stiffens completely and remains as still as possible until the perceived danger is passed. Behaviors classed as “flirt” appeasement and play behaviors.

The precise definition of the four F’s varies – fight and flight are always listed, but the latter two can be any out of Freeze, Faint, Flirt, and Fuck.