Hélène got her first dog, a Border Collie named Jake, in 1989 and has been training dogs ever since. Over the years, she has dabbled in obedience, search and rescue, protection sports, Rally, tricks, and freestyle, among others. She discovered agility in 2004, and herding in 2005. Herding quickly became her passion; she was so excited about it that she took lessons for a whole year without a dog!

In 2006, Hélène bought her first herding dog—a Border Collie named Hannah. Hannah was an amazing partner and teacher, and together they won the Ontario novice herding championship in their first year of competition. As a team, they went all the way to Open in USBCHA herding while simultaneously competing at the Masters level in agility.

Hélène has also been very active in rescue over the years, giving her the opportunity to work with a wide variety of dogs and challenges. It was through working with rescue dogs that she discovered and became committed to using positive reinforcement based training methods. She believes so strongly in this approach that she has been working hard to develop a positive reinforcement based method for herding. She is also deeply committed to natural rearing as a major component of dog training, believing that a clear, sound mind and a strong, healthy body are integral to a calm, confident, eager-to-learn animal partner.

Today, Hélène lives on a mixed livestock farm in rural eastern Ontario with her team of eight Border Collies, two Maremma guardian dogs, and a Kelpie. A professional editor and writer, she teaches private and occasional group lessons, workshops, and on-line classes in herding and dog sport foundations.

Hélène’s personal website:

Helene's Current and Upcoming Courses

Contact Information

Have a question about an upcoming course taught by Helene?  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

FDSA is thrilled to welcome Helene Lawler as a guest instructor beginning October, 2018.