Julie Symons has been involved in dog sports for 25 years. Starting with her mix Dreyfus in flyball, she went on to train and compete in conformation, agility, obedience, herding and tracking with her first Belgian Tervuren Rival. Rival was the first CH OTCH MACH Belgian Tervuren and they competed and placed in many regional and national events, winning Ultimate Dog (High Combined in Utility and Agility) at the All Star tournament in 2002.Julie’s current Belgian Tervuren Savvy has earned a CH, MACH2, UD, TDX, VCD3 and the following Nose/Scent Work titles: NW3 Elite, ELT1, SWN, SCA, SIE, SEA, SHDN, SHDA, L1C, L1V, L2I.  Earning their TDX and competing in Nosework has intensified their love for scent sports! Julie is an approved AKC Scent Work judge, owning the first Belgian Tervuren to earn the AKC Scent Work Novice level title (SWN) and Advanced Interior, Exterior and Container element titles.  Her young Belgian Malinois is well on his way as another versatile teammate, earning his NW2, SWN and SHDN titles and actively training in tracking, obedience, and agility. 

One of Julie’s favorite things is a versatile team!  She truly believes that participating in multiple sports is enriching to both person and dog and builds on that mutual partnership and trust. Nosework is an ideal sport to compliment your other activities. It’s intrinsically motivating for the dog and it’s also pretty cool to have a pet detection dog!

Julie is a consummate learner and energetic instructor, immersing herself in everything dog training!  While teaching agility in the early 2000s, she found how rewarding it was to teach and help others. The simple truth? People just really love their dogs and enjoy doing activities with them. Knowing this helps set the tone for how she runs her classes; giving students ample working time, staying positive when things get challenging, and giving more than 100% of her efforts toward their development. In her other life, she is married with a 14 year old son. As a family they enjoy skiing, participating in kid sports and staying home with the dogs! It goes to show that you can “do it all” with just a little bit of planning and smart training. 

Julie is also owner of Savvy Dog Sports - a local dog school covering many sports including Nosework, Obedience, Agility and more!  More information can be found at : 

Julie's Current and Upcoming Courses

Contact Information

Have a question about an upcoming course taught by Julie?  Not sure if your dog is suitable for a specific class?   We welcome you to contact instructors by email to make sure the course is suitable for you and your dog.

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Student Testimonials

NW101 Introduction to Nosework

One of the best online courses I have taken. The material provided was helpful, but best of all was looked after by the teacher. She provided feedback really fast and comprehensive. Thanks a lot, looking forward to the next course, you got me and my dog hooked on Nosework!

This class was excellent! Julie is a great instructor and very knowledgeable. My dogs have developed good, independent hunting skills as well as value to stay at source. They are confidently completing container and interior searches. Now we are working on transitioning to ORT boxes. I look forward to the next level of nosework classes!

I had a great experience introducing my dog to Nosework via FDSA NW101 class taught by Julie Symons. The progression was logical and systematic, but with the flexibility to tailor to the strengths and preferences of each dog. Feedback was timely and very supportive. It was educational to see the variety of breeds of dogs in the class mature in their skills during the course. As someone who has a non-traditional work schedule, finding a quality on-line class is the perfect fit! Thanks FDSA! Kyla S

We throughly enjoyed Nosework with Julie. She was a patient and kind instructor who really cared about how we did. The lectures were interesting and easy to understand and Julie was quick to respond with encouraging and helpful replies. Thanks Julie :) Sherri R

This was a great course. The written material was excellent as were the videos. Shortly after the course began, I found myself unable to continue due to illness in the family. However, knowing that the material would be available after the course finished, allowed me to relax & focus on the crisis at hand, without stressing about missing out on the course. During this time, I read the lectures & viewed the videos & am confident that I will be able to pick up where I left off, as the lectures & videos were so well done. Having access to the lecture material for a full year, strongly influenced me to sign up for the course when I did, as I knew this would give me time to work through it with my 3 dogs. I also knew that even if I was unable to give a constant 6 weeks to it, I would be able to do it as time was available. I look forward to finishing this course & progressing onto the next level with my dogs. If your other courses are as well done as this one, I will be taking many more. Thanks, for making it possible for us to have top-notch instruction online. Karen H.

NW120 Introduction to Search Elements

Julie is a gifted and extremely caring teacher, both for dogs and humans           

Lecture notes are clear and very helpful. Video's are always very pertinent and show good examples of lecture topic           

You are a great instructor and very patient with all of us students! Your lectures are well written and you were very prompt to answer questions and comment on videos. I appreciate everything you did for me in this class!           

Learning should be fun, and I have had a great time with your class!

NW101 and NW120 have both been great classes. 

NW130 Advanced Nosework Skills  

NW130 was one of the best classes Ive taken yet. It was so perfect for our skill level and Julie gave us SO much help. I hope she teaches many more classes at FDSA. She's not only an awesome trainer but she's also an awesome individual.

Julie is a phenomenal instructor, meeting each student where she is and helping us to move forward. Initially I signed up for this class at Bronze, as I didn't feel we were quite ready. I upgraded to Gold. Am I glad I did! I learned so much from Julie's clear, concise instructions and examples. And even though we didn't get through all of the lessons, we have a clear path for moving ahead. Thanks, Julie! And thank you, Denise, for having the vision to bring forth the Academy. Cannot imagine where I'd be today without it. Probably one very unhappy, uncertain partner for my dog. The Fenzi Academy has helped me to bring the joy to our training. Jolynn W.

Julie provided prompt, detailed analysis and well reasoned and tailored recommendations for each student. She definitely wanted to see her students succeed in whatever phase of nosework they were doing - so she provided very helpful suggestions for preparing for various upcoming trials.

Julie was so awesome and supportive.... She was one of the main reasons why Judd and I passed NW2!! She always had an encouraging word and comstructive help.

Julie is the best instructor I have had at FDSA. She is an amazing woman, and is truly passionate about nose work.  Every time I take a nose work class my dog and myself come out ahead. The instructors are awesome, they make you want to work your dog to the best they can. 5 stars from me. Nancy Steinbrecher             

OB330 Obedience Games

Julie's Obedience Games includes a wealth of videos and information on how to train numerous obedience exercises using games that keep training fun (and effective) for both canines and humans. She is a highly dedicated instructor who provides detailed feedback for each gold team including additional suggestions if complications arise. This is a great addition to any FDSA obedience library and is a terrific class!!! Clarissa B            

This class absolutely crushed my expectations!! Julie is an amazing and caring instructor who invests herself heavily into each student's success, and she has tons of brilliant games and ideas. One of the things I absolutely LOVE about these games is exactly what I had hoped for in signing up - there are so many things to train in dog sports, and we covered so many exercises in really fun and efficient ways!! And it really shows how much learning occurs even when working through new behaviors and chains...something that has been especially fantastic for me is sequencing things together in various ways. My comfort zone as a trainer is to just do parts and pieces. I don't do a lot of sequencing or chaining on my own, and obviously we have to that in order to get into the ring :-) To watch my dog put things together while learning new things is SO fun!! Julie is really creative with various exercises. This class was a blast, and I will absolutely look for it again in the future :-)           

Talk about expanding your toolbox. So many great ideas here to fix things and create greater precision without actually focusing on a specific area. Everything involved doing things with joy, so the dog never even recognized that he was being "fixed." Loved this course! Mary Ann              

As with all of the FDSA courses, this one is focused on you and your dog having a great time while achieving what you need to in the obedience ring. The lectures are super clear with great videos which is fantastic if you are following along at Bronze. All the lecturers at FDSA are enthusiastic and supportive and Julie is no exception. Louise R         

This class was full of great ideas to make obedience more and more enjoyable for our dogs. Obedience has a lot of precise skills we need to work into chains, which can be challenging for many teams to progress their foundation skills to formal exercises. The ideas presented in the class provide creative and thoughtful steps to take known skill pieces closer to a ring routine. Games build momentum on known behaviours, increase what we are able to ask before a reward, and allow us to train several skills efficiently, all while making every session enjoyable without losing precision.