Certified Dog Trainer Annie Phenix, CPDT-KA®, helps your dog to learn how to behave and enjoy life with its human companions. After being heavily involved for more than 15 years in rescuing and retraining hundreds of dogs from every Central Texas animal shelter, Annie has seen just about every behavior — good and bad — that a dog can offer. She’s worked with puppies and senior dogs and everything in between. She’s also worked with just about every breed (and, yes, she is happy to work with your “bully breed” dog) and as well as every combination imaginable of mixed breed dogs. She’s achieved a high level of training with her once semi-feral Border Collie siblings, Radar (CGC, CGCA, B.A. and Canine Masters with Honors, Birch, Anise and Clove ORT) and Echo (CGC, CGCA, B.A.,Canine Masters with Honors and a Certified Therapy Dog).
Phenix is a graduate of an intensive, Schutzhund-based canine training academy where she was taught how to use the shock collar in punishment-based canine training over several months. After learning the ins and outs of a shock collar and after witnessing all kinds of dogs endure this kind of training, Annie never again put a shock collar on a dog. She is a positive reinforcement clicker trainer by choice and by design. Annie stands with the countless professionals in the dog training industry who oppose the use of shock collars, including Dr. Karen Overall. She is a member of the select group of trainers in the The Pet Professional Guild, The Association for Force Free Professionals. She routinely works with over-anxious dogs, putting to use the up-to-date knowledge she has learned from the industry’s leading professionals. She has attended workshops and seminars by Karen Pryor and Clicker Expo, Sarah Kalnajs, Emma Parsons, Kathy Sdao and more. She is an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator and has achieved the advanced CGC Title for her own dogs and countless client dogs.
Annie is a highly sought-after writer and author. She is the Trainer in Residence for the world’s largest on-line dog community, Dogster.com, as well as the author of a training column called SPEAK! in the nationally syndicated Dogster Magazine (replaced Dog Fancy). She writes monthly training articles for The Lucky Puppy, a new online and print publication written just for owners of rescue dogs. Phenix is also a columnist for BARKS Magazine, the official publication of The Pet Professional Guild. Phenix has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin. Annie has a Spring 2016 book coming out about living with and training troubled dogs. She is the author of the Spring 2016 book, The Midnight Dog Walkers: Positive Training and Practical Advice for Living with a Reactive or Aggressive Dog (Lumina Media). The book sold out on Amazon from early pre-orders and was named the #1 best book in its category on Amazon.
A new area of interest for Annie is the fast-growing sport of canine nose work. She is a recent graduate of two Train the Trainer Courses with Andrew Ramsey — one of the world’s top nose work trainers. She competes in nose work with her dogs as well as trains clients who are competitors or enthusiasts of nose work. Phenix is a member of the National Association of Canine Scent Work. She is an active competitor in the sport and her 10-year-old Border Collie Radar passed all three odors in the Odor Recognition Tests (ORT).
“Thanks again for taking such good care of Sweetie! I am telling everyone I know about your great care!” — Dr. Michelle Hemingway
“Savannah saw a small dog outside last night within close proximity and didn’t bark at all! Yeah! We’re so happy to have found you as a trainer to help her and us though all of her trauma.” — Faith E.
Shelter Dog Zeke
December 23, 2014
The volunteer who handled Zeke during your class reported he made significant progress in being comfortable with strange dogs, a problem it is difficult to deal with effectively in the shelter environment. We appreciate you lending your expertise to the shelter and look forward to working with you in the future.
Anna Anderson, Executive Director
Help for an aggressive dog
“The lessons my dog, Indy, and I took with Annie at the Durango Dog College have helped more than I could have imagined! For 4 years I have struggled with Indy’s dog on dog aggression – something that effected my everyday life. Annie went above and beyond to help my dog – AND to help me help my dog! The classes were extremely informative, and Annie provided me with the tools I needed to continue the lessons outside of the classroom. Moreover, she (still) is available for questions and discussions over the phone, e-mail, etc. which has been really helpful. I have already seen such an improvement! I have spoken with many trainers regarding aggression, and from the first phone call I could tell Annie was the trainer for us – she has a genuine interest in each dog progressing, as well as the desire to help the owners cope with and redirect the behavior they are experiencing. I most certainly recommend Annie!”
— Ursula Squire
A knowledgeable and considerate dog trainer
“You are truly a knowledgeable and considerate dog trainer. It’s remarkable how few in your line of work understand how to manage fearful dog. I am always heartened to meet a trainer who, like you, embraces the individual needs of dogs. Punishment is rarely useful; harsh treatment should never be a consideration.”
Growly Dog Class Reviews Are In!
“Annie is an exceptional instructor. My dog is so much calmer!!” — C.W.
“Now I have hope that this little “Cherrier,” — whom a friend once termed “The Devil Dog” — can actually learn, little by little, that the world is not always a terrifying place which requires a show of reactive anger. Thanks Annie and Sam!!” — Judy H.
“Before I took this class, I didn’t know how to be safely and comfortably outside with my dog. Now I have so many skills for us to enjoy being outside together. It has made our life together more fun!” — Joan
“My dog is much better behaved on leash after taking the class. I feel comfortable and relaxed walking him.” — Beth B.
“My dog is so much calmer now that we have taken the Growly Dog Class. I feel I can walk down the street with my dog now and have the skills to deflect ‘growly’ behavior. Thank you so much Annie for all of your help!” — Carol W.
Reactive Rottweilers No More
“Thanks for everything Annie. You taught us so much. Tim and I were just talking about how glad we are that we found your class. I had talked to two other trainers before you and I knew you were the one to choose when we talked.”
Thanks again, Suzanna Valdez and Tim White
What a great session today. Beau and I both learned so much. You are by far the best and most knowledgable person we have worked with. I’m writing notes when we leave because so much happens and I’m afraid I’ll forget something important if I don’t. We both went home and took a nap.
Can’t wait until next Wednesday!
Shy Dogs Learns to Trust Humans
I especially want to thank you for the time you spent with Bubba and me. He has made tremendous progress and is a much happier dog. Also, if you ever need a reference, please feel free to give them my name and number. You’re the best!
Rylee the German Wirehaired Pointer Pup
We started working with Annie when Rylee was 12 weeks old. He is our first dog, and we needed some guidance on how to train him. Annie introduced us to the clicker in our first meeting, and by the end of the hour we had a clicker-trained puppy who was sitting and lying down on command. Annie showed us how to “load the clicker”, use the clicker to reward Rylee’s positive behavior, fade the clicker out, and eventually fade out treating good behavior.
After four 1-hour sessions, Rylee is the model 5-month old puppy. He knows what good behavior is, and how to earn praise or a treat from us, he also knows to be attentive to us and listen when he is being spoken to. He now knows many commands and has become much calmer. He is a happier dog because we know how to effectively communicate with him. He has learned to be a gentleman, even when new people are around and he gets oh-so-excited. Rylee loves working with Annie and my husband and I have learned so much from her.
Allison & Casey Hall
Black Shelter Dog Happily Greets 20 Strangers at Party
I just wanted to write to let you know that Emmy is a completely different dog! After our sessions, we have continued to work with her, desensitizing her to folk who enter her yard, and I couldn’t be happier. She still is hesitant at first but after a few treats from the guests and she warms up and cohabitates. Thanks for your advice and training tips.
The real test came this weekend. We were having a party, with about 20 guests, and there were zero issues. I fully expected to kennel her in a bedroom but she prooved us wrong! Even my guests who have met her when we first got her, noticed Emmy as a different dog.
YAY for success. I really cannot thank you enough!
Dogs Now Sticking Close To Owners
Oh, Annie, I’m so thrilled to share.
I took each dog out separately this morning. I put the short fabric leash on Dexter and took him first. Naturally, I took lots of treats. I made him wait at the front door like always and I made him stand in the driveway then released him to start walking after I laid the leash over his back. We walked all around the back yard with no issues. He came when called, got a treat, then resumed his walk. Once, we were far apart and Dexter realized I didn’t have ahold on his leash. He literally did a double-take, but he came on the run when I said, “Here.” We stayed out about 15 minutes, sat on the back porch for a while, then came in the house. He got a nugget-sized piece of fried chicken when we came back in. This is a treat they don’t normally get. I saved it from Sunday’s supper in hopes we’d get a chance for an extra special treat.
Then I took Newton with the same pattern. He needs to sprint and run fast then stop and investigate so I gave him that leeway, trying hard not to sound panicked when I called him back for a treat. He came on a dead run every time I called. It was a pure joy to have him out.
When Jerry got home, we took a deep breath, put the leashes on, and opened the door. The neighbor two dogs came over and I was afraid Newton would take off toward their house. Thankfully, our dogs ignored them. There were a couple of breath-sucking moments when Dexter went into the bushes to the creek. He stayed a few seconds then was back with us. We did have to clap to get their attention a couple of times, but their inattentiveness was not trying to ignore us as it has been in the past.
Well, enough bragging on the boys! I hope your doggie doings are going well.
Linda Farmer Harris
Formerly Aloof Rottie on His Way to Becoming a Therapy Dog
Annie has made enormous improvements in our dog Black Bean. Before, he ignored everything we said to him and refused to make eye contact. Now we are able to give him signals to listen and make eye contact. He has become very obedient and is much more fun to take on walks and play with. He is so well-behaved that he is going to be a reading assistance dog for children.
(Formerly) Reactive Border Terrier
Our Gracie, a border terrier, has been dog-reactive and bicycle and jogger-reactive challenge for a couple of years. I’ve worked with three trainers and had little success; in fact, I was walking Gracie only when I was pretty sure I could avoid other dogs by a city block – and often I came home in tears. I had about decided she just wasn’t going to get to go any place with us, and that would really be hard because we enjoy her so much and want to include her in our lives. Then I attended an agility event here in Grand Junction and thoughtful people told me about Leslie’s book Control Unleashed. I read it through several times and started pondering and using much of what I learned with Gracie. I found this group. I started feeling hopeful. With LAT I was able to get within a half a block of other dogs and then turn and go the other way. That doesn’t sound like much, but it was a big deal for me! And it was about that time that I found Annie’s posts here in CU_Dogs and contacted her.
Last week Gracie and I met with Annie and her beautiful BC Echo in the mountains of southwestern Colorado. Annie coached me and encouraged me before we even attempted to come together with the dogs. She encouraged patience. Using LAT, I let Gracie see Echo from a distance, and then very slowly we brought them together – with a pickup truck separating them. Gracie was relaxed and happy. She was within 15 feet of Echo and wasn’t screaming. After glimpses of Echo, we were able to walk parallel. Annie coached me in letting the dogs smell each other’s behinds. After a while, Annie took Echo’s leash off. No screaming or lunging! After a while, I dropped Gracie’s leash. No screaming or lunging! Through this entire time I read Gracie’s body language and could see that she was relaxed and happy! Both dogs walked with us, ran with us, played in a ditch and a lake – the time together was as Good As It Gets! It was a dream come true for me! And for Gracie too! Control Unleashed!
Annie Phenix is terrific! Well-informed, skilled, kind, patient, encouraging! Later in the week, Gracie and I met with her and her precious dog Monster – and we had a very similar experience. AND, then to top this all off, we met in Durango at the public library and walked the river trail where dozens of bicycles zoomed towards us and came up behind us, joggers met us, women running with strollers met us – and – using LAT, Gracie and I had a wonderful walk with Annie and Echo. We didn’t meet any other dogs head on while walking the trail, and I think that’s good – because we need a lot more relationship building/bonding/learning – But we’re on our way!
It may only be behavior but it makes a big difference in our lives!
Gracie and Judy
Rescued Lab Completes Clicker 101 Class
Thanks for everything.
Sam loves his toy.
(Editor’s Note: Samson was kept outdoors alone in a kennel before two years before Franne rescued him. They graduated from the Clicker 101 class, winning this great duck!)
Canine Good Citizen Success Story
I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done for Jessie and me. There has been such a huge difference in her demeanor over the past several months since we have been working with you. She is so much more comfortable in our home and the bond we share has been strengthened immensely.
Before I started our training sessions, I had no idea how much fun I would have working with Jessie. Now, it is something that I look forward to doing every day. I hope that Jessie and I can continue our training sessions with you in the future. I also plan to bring some of my other dogs to you for training as well.
I am so proud that Jessie earned the AKC Canine Good Citizen designation! If you would have told me two months ago that Jessie would be a Canine Good Citizen, I would have thought you were crazy! I am very thankful that you worked with us so that she could earn this designation. You truly have an amazing talent!
I will (and already have) recommended you to several of my family members, friends, and co-workers. I look forward to working with you again in the very near future. Thanks again for all that you have done for us.
With sincere appreciation,
Leash-Pulling Shepherd Pulls No More
Thank you for the great advice and training tools you gave us regarding Travis. You advised us to exercise him more and spend more time with him inside the house. You were honest enough to tell us without these two essentials in his life he would have a hard time changing his behavior if he’d be able to do it at all. Well, we listened to you and took your advice. What a change.
We practically walk everyday and I look forward to it as much as he does. The clicker helped us to get him walking along side us, ok a little bit ahead of us but that’s a shepherd. The point is there is no more dragging or pulling when you want to take a walk which makes it enjoyable for all parties.
And Travis is now a member of the household. He is inside the house more than outside which has made such a charming improvement. Travis is calmer and more at ease. He’s like a protector and big brother to our indoor cats Sydney and Harry. Everything just feels so comfortable and cozy when we are at home and he is inside with us. We also got a place for him to lay like you suggested and he loves it. It’s like his special place in the home. His personal space.
Jim and I both thank you for a life changing experience and a happier home for us all. I’d recommend you to anyone and have told my story many times.
Jim and Stephenie Fowler
Travis, Sydney and Harry
Extremely Shy Schnauzer Learns to Love People
[Note: Jack is a rescue dog who was terrified of new people, especially men]
Annie: Dear Jack continues to amaze us … not only us, but also our friends! He is eating every bite from Robert’s hand without backing away … very willingly! He leaves when Robert tells him, “That’s all,” and then remembers there is always a bonus and quickly turns around and comes bounding back. I really can’t tell who is more thrilled, Robert or Jack. Life seems so much easier for him and he has more energy and interests now. What a blessing for all of us!
Robert is SO HAPPY with the results. Jack is willingly coming to him
Jack amazed my friend Barbara this morning. She comes for coffee every week and we always sit out on the patio and Jack joins us. Today, he instantly accepted her and wanted to play.using the play stance and joined a great play session. Poor Barbara has felt so badly that Jack had not been friendlier to her. She even brought treats and that didn’t do the job either. Today was special! He took a treat from her hand and even touched her shoe … true friendship at last! He even let out a whine when Barbara got in her car to leave..delicious icing on the cake!
With true amazement and appreciation!
Glynda Noland, Bertram, Texas
Biting Chiweenies Quit Their Biting Ways
I want it to be known by everyone what a wonderful dog trainer you are. My two dogs were biters and not socialized to visitors who came to our home. I felt I had no option but to get rid of these dogs I had grown so fond of. My veterinarian recommended I call you for behavior training (for me AND my dogs)!
Within just moments, you had my dogs under control and gave me immediate tools to achieve the alpha role as leader of my pack. You showed me by example which made it easy for me to follow suit. Your lessons were simple in theory and made sense to me. I diligently worked with my dogs just as you recommended and I was amazed at the obedience I received from them. My dogs now sit at the front door quietly and patiently with little prompting. Our guests now feel welcomed instead of frightened by two little ankle biters!!! Much more has been accomplished by our training lessons. We can now take our dogs for walks on leash and off (where appropriate) without incidence. Our family truly feels in harmony since the hierarchy has been established.
I cannot say enough about your talent and dedication to our four-legged family members. I feel so good about the decision to contact you.
Thank you again for giving me and my family the tools to redirect our unruly critters, who are now a permanent part of our family.
I called Annie Phenix for some help when she started chewing everything in my apartment, and Annie made some great suggestions that changed our lives almost literally overnight. Yay for clicker training and soothing toys! Also, she suggested the exercise pen, since getting Bowie to go into a crate was impossible-but she doesn’t mind the pen one bit. Annie was wonderful and I’d encourage any new dog owners to contact her-although we didn’t end up using her services because of the distance, her suggestions gave us back our home and control over our pup, and she was wonderful and open and understanding.
Biting Frisbee Dog Now Competes Bite-Free
Thought I would let you know how Zipper did at a Frisbee tournament we went to in Dallas las weekend. I was very pleased with his behavior. What an improvement! It’s easier to notice when he’s around 50-60 strange dogs.
We had to meet in the center of the field to go over rules, and draw our order to compete. I did not bring a collapsible kennel to put him in. So I asked the photographer if I could hitch him to his chair and if he’d watch him. He did, but I forgot to mention Zipper’s issues. 15 minutes later I look over and there are 5 dogs surrounding zipper and sniffing him. I almost had a stroke, but to my surprise he did not make a sound and there was no confrontation, he just wagged his tail.
Overall every dog there had to pass him where I was sitting with him, I did that on purpose, and he only had a reaction to 2 dogs out of the 50 or so that were there. His reaction was mainly whining and trying to tug, but he was easily corrected.
I’m pretty happy with how that turned out. And he finished 6th out of 20 in his division and about 18th out of 50 I think overall. He did good. We’ve been working on sitting every 3-4 steps now, and some on the obedience.”
— Owner Krista Havecker
[Note: Zipper came to Phenix Dogs to help with dog aggression issues. He’s doing GREAT! His owner did her homework with him and Zipper is on his way to being a great canine citizen.]
Reactive Shiloh Shepherd Now Loves His Neighbors
Annie: I have been meaning to write to you about Sophie and Bear. They are doing great and Sophie is becoming more social to the point that she now greets Jack and licks him when he comes over. He socialized with Jack and Carolyn at their house and played appropriately with Jack’s dog, to the point that Jack’s wife Carolyn, who would not come over because of fear of Sophie, came over last night and Sophie was a perfect lady.
I have been walking them by myself and they are doing fine, even when other dogs bark at them or when cars go by.
I will continue to work with them and if I get stumped by a problem I can’t solve I will call you.
Thank you again for the help you gave us and I have recommended you to some people in the neighborhood.
30-Day Training Success
Annie, I gotta tell you that your training probably saved Sassie’s life today!
I took her to the vet to get spayed. when we got to the door, she said, NO WAY and pulled out of her collar. she made a beeline for the road — a very busy 4 lane highway. I freaked but quickly got it together ,remembering what you taught us….I knelt down and in my sweetest (scared) voice I called to her…she was almost to the road but turned and came to me and sat down. I was able to pick her up then! whew! thanks a million!
— Nickie Johnson and Sassy, a Catahoula puppy
Lotsa Pit Bulls
Thank you so much for all your help with my babies and for giving me more confidence in my ability to help them grow into happy, well behaved family members. You have been an incredibly valuable resource for me and I would recommend you to anyone looking for a trainer!
— Bonnie Parnell, Pit Bull Rescue
Cutest. Rescue. EVER.
Hello everyone, I just wanted to send you a website in case you or you know of someone who might need a wonderful dog trainer or help finding that perfect new family member (dog). Check it out and send it out. Also I met Annie a couple years ago when we were looking for a new family member (dog). Last year we brought Poncho (Annie rescued him from a bad situation) home and have been so happy w/him. Some of you have met him and know how much fun that little guy is. Well, Annie can help you w/Training or finding that perfect new family member.
— Dianna Wallace and Poncho, a very CUTE terrier mix.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am the Executive Director for Austin Dog Rescue, a non-profit, mixed-breed rescue organization that saves dogs from Central Texas shelters, retrains them to be good canine companions and then rehomes them into loving homes.I had the good fortune of meeting Leann “Annie” Phenix a few years ago when we both were volunteering to help a local German Shepherd rescue group, since that breed is deeply loved by both of us. When I started Austin Dog Rescue so that I could help mixed breed dogs as well as purebreds, I was put in touch with Leann again by a director from the German Shepherd rescue and I was told she would be an asset to any dog organization.I am happy to report that after working closely with Leann for the two years, I can attest to her skills as a dog handler (she is also an expert marketing professional and she has been instrumental in helping us re-home almost 400 dogs in the past two years through her marketing efforts). She knows a lot about specific breeds as well as temperament issues that can crop up in any rescued dog, regardless of the breed. I know that Leann has fostered more than 100 dogs in her home over the past 10 years. For our organization alone, she has fostered at least 50 dogs.The dogs she fosters for us quickly become acclimated to Leann’s own pack of 5, well-behaved rescued dogs. Her foster dogs are always well behaved and she has often been told by the adopting families that her fosters are better behaved than their own current dog(s). Leann has achieved the AKC Canine Good Citizen ranking for three of her 5 dogs. She also is active in Agility and Herding with her three herding breed dogs. She has years of experience in evaluating the temperaments of dogs in shelter and we trust her to choose her own foster dogs directly from shelters.Annie truly is an asset and she cares deeply about the well being of all dogs, but in particular about shelter dogs.Joyce Martin, Executive Director
Austin Dog Rescue