TFDP's Fear Abatement Mastery (FAM) program is the most humane, comprehensive program for fearful dogs.

Begun in 2014, the program is continually expanded & refined. See below for latest information.


The FAM program offers powerful opportunities for those who are serious about achieving the most humane & effective

trust-building, behavior modification, and training skills to help fearful and other disadvantaged dogs. 

FAM's process is the Fear Abatement Cumulative Training (FACT) approach, created by TFDP's founder.

If you seek transformation, not just information, you're in the right place at The Fearful Dogs Project.

Beginning & Intermediate Levels of the program are for anyone not seeking certification.

Advanced Level of the program is for professionals seeking certification.


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The Fearful Dogs Project offers a comprehensive program of learning in order to equip you to best help fearful dogs, including feral dogs, puppy mill survivors, and others. We’ll cover the anti-aversives philosophy that underlies the program, as well as theory and activities that comprise the best practices for working or living with this population of dogs.

Who is the program for?

Professionals and non-pros welcome. Private dog owners and caregivers welcome, including anyone living with or working around one or more fearful dogs.  Canine behavior consultants, dog trainers, veterinary staff, rescue, sanctuary, and shelter staff, fosterers, & other volunteers, dog groomers, dog daycare owners, boarders or sitters, pet store staff, animal welfare & protection organizations, post office, UPS, FedEx, & other delivery workers, animal control officers, police officers, and of course pet parents.

Beginning Program

Private, one on one instruction via video conference:

Understanding Fear and Fear-Based Behavior

Misconceptions & Clarifications

Canine Body Language/Communication

Key Concepts & Practices of Emotion/Behavior Modification

Principles of Cooperative Care & Handling

Advocating for the Dog

     Investment: $ 100 per one hour session (three session minimum)

Note: You may also wish to inquire with our recommended fearful dogs professionals about one-on-one help outside this program.

Intermediate & Advanced Program Content

Live-delivered via video conference 

Introduction to Fearful Dogs 

Abridged Glossary Related to Work with Fearful Dogs

Anti-Aversives, "Fear-Free," and Force-Free Principles

Understanding Fear and Fear-Based Behavior

Misconceptions & Clarifications

Aggression to Learned Helplessness Continuum 

Canine Body Language/Communication

A Brief History of Domestic/Pet Dogs 

The Spaces between Training. Advocating for Fearful Dogs and their Caregivers

General Rules for Fearful Dog Caregivers

Behavior Modification versus “Training”

Classical Conditioning & Operant Conditioning

Cooperative Care & Handling

Clarifying Creations & Innovations

The Yeses and Nos of "Games"

Clarifying Cooperation, Control, Consent, & Coercion

Research Considerations

Applied Behavior Analysis for Canines

ABCDs, Assessment, and Prognosis 

BMPs and Pre-BMPs

Medical support of behavior modification

Working with Fearful Dogs & Their Caregivers: Detailed, Step-by-Step Instructions

Considerations for Special Needs Dogs

Preparing the Fearful Dog for Life as a Pet 

Fearful Dogs & Shelters

Fearful Dogs & Rescues

Fearful Dog Adoptions

Increasing the Likelihood of a Fearful Dog’s Survival in the Human World 

Fights and Bites

Equipment & Supply Considerations

Changing Futures

- Open to all.

- 8 hours of live virtual lectures and Q&A 

- Purpose: Provide depth and breadth of information crucial to working successfully, anti-aversively, with disadvantaged dogs.

- Investment: $750 per person, paid via PayPal no later than 30 days before start date (Discounts for large nonprofit groups enrolling together may be available. Contact us to inquire.)

The Fearful Dogs Project encourages anti-aversives professionals to apply for the FAM advanced, certification track program.

The FAM program is the path to expertise in fearful/anxious dog work, and to becoming one of the select few fearful dogs professionals recommended/referred to by TFDP:

Advanced Program - Professional Certification Track

Covers principles & practices covered in the intermediate program, along with application of principles/practices via 12 hours of one to one coaching, observation, evaluation, and feedback via Zoom (live video conference) as well as review and feedback of submitted session videos (recorded) from each candidate.  The certification program maintains a measure of fluidity to provide focus on the specifics needed to best prepare each candidate for success, while still ensuring every certificant's mastery in the program's principles and practices.

Details regarding certification track for qualified behavior consultants and trainers, veterinarians, vet techs, etc.:

- Private, one on one observation, coaching, evaluation, and feedback

- Written application (online here) is required, followed by a short phone conversation to ascertain a good match

- Limited number of certification-track applicants accepted at one time. When full, approved applicants may join the waitlist.

- TFDP Code of Conduct/Ethics agreement to be reviewed and verbally agreed to upon enrollment, to be signed upon or before course completion and before certification.

- Flexible start dates and schedules. Coaching focus may be adjusted based on student's technical needs, at TFDP's discretion.

- Breadth and depth of coverage in anti-aversives work with fearful / disadvantaged dogs.

- Homework completed successfully per TFDP criteria, including: Videos (created new for FAM) to demonstrate fluency in FAM/FACT practices; written &/or oral homework to ensure comprehension. Pass each assignment at minimum 90% (coach's discretion), but must show clear proficiency in all crucial elements.  Those who achieve 97 to 100% are eligible for graduation with distinction.

- Upon successful completion of all program requirements, certification awarded:

- CFDPs and CFDAs are added to the TFDP referral base and appear on the approved Behavior Consultants/Trainers section of The Fearful Dogs Project website.

-Investment: $2400 per person, paid via PayPal no later than 30 days before start of program 

- Purpose: Elevation of expertise, skills, outcomes, and reputation.

Expectation: Certificants should achieve expert-level comprehension and skills, enabling them to offer a high degree of positive outcomes for fearful dogs.

Certification titles:

CFDP (Certified Fearful Dogs Professional); CFDA (Certified Fearful Dogs Associate); CFDDVM or CFDVMD (Certified Fearful Dogs Veterinarian); CFDVT (Certified Fearful Dogs Vet Technician or Vet Technologist); CFDACO (Certified Fearful Dogs Animal Control Officer); CFDS (Certified Fearful Dogs Shelter employee in training / behavior); CFDLEO (Certified Fearful Dogs Law Enforcement Officer).

Prerequisites for the advanced program:

CFDP prerequisites: Anti-aversives behavior/training professionals holding the CBCC-KA, CDBC, CTC, KPA CTP, or equivalent.

CFDA prerequisites: Anti-aversives behavior/training professionals holding the CPDT-KA with proof of passing exam at 85% or more, or equivalent.

CFDDVM or CFDVMD prerequisites: Anti-aversives, licensed veterinarian who obtained the veterinary doctor degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a 3.0 or better GPA and has a history free from legitimate complaints of abuse, neglect, or other inhumane treatment of animals.

CFDVT prerequisites: Anti-aversives veterinary technicians and veterinary technologists who graduated from a regionally accredited college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or better.

CFDACO prerequisites: Anti-aversives animal control officers who at minimum enjoy admiration and good standing in the pet-owning community, prove competency in positive animal handling or are willing to take add-on coursework, have a record of prioritizing anti-aversives treatment of animals, and provide at least three references (details will be specified prior to acceptance).

CFDS prerequisites: Anti-aversives shelter behavior or training employees who at minimum prove competency in R+ and have a record of anti-aversives shelter training or behavior modification work, and three references from shelter directors or managers whom we may contact for details.

CFDLEO prerequisites: At minimum, a police officer who enjoys admiration and good standing in the pet-owning community, who is committed to becoming an anti-aversives officer, and who demonstrates a commitment to prioritizing positive handling and solutions for animals. 


We will consider equivalents. If none is mentioned in your category, feel free to inquire.  Other prerequisites for all candidates include approval of application and ratification of TFDP agreements.

At TFDP’s discretion, any/all candidates may be asked to submit additional work  in order to confirm program competencies if not evidenced in initial attempts. Certification is at the sole discretion of TFDP.

Time to completeThe 2021 certification track program’s official end-date shall be six months from start date but TFDP may extend, at its discretion on a case by case basis, the end date for up to one year to allow sufficient time for successful completion. 

CEUs as appropriate are available for advanced level graduates (2020: KPA, 16 CEUs. CCPDT, 8 CEUs. IAABC, 22 CEUs, PPAB, 18 CEUs; 2021 CEUs tba)


The advanced, certification program for professionals enrolls and proceeds on an as-accepted basis.

Professionals may apply here

I’m not a professional trainer or animal worker. Is there a program appropriate for me?

Yes! Because there are very few opportunities for serious, comprehensive learning about fearful dogs, we feel it is important to include everyone who has or might someday have contact with a disadvantaged dog. The beginning and/or intermediate programs are open to all.

When do classes run?

UPDATE: Due to COVID era challenges for the public, the group program has been postponed. However, if your group would like to schedule the program for its own staff and volunteers, contact us to discuss options. The private options (beginning, or certification/advanced levels), are currently available.

Are there in-person options?

Pre-COVID, physical in person programs were available. As of March 2020, physical in-person has been temporarily paused. Instead, live video-conference options are in place. We will begin physical in-person options again once there is no pandemic threat. 


Is there a payment plan?

Currently we are not able to offer payment plans.

TFDP programs are taught by fearful dog expert Rain Jordan, CBCC-KA, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA, for The Fearful Dogs Project.

Have a question?  Email us or her.





The Fearful Dogs Project: Advancing the Next Wave of Humane Heroes

Copyright © 2019, 2020  Rain Jordan / The Fearful Dogs Project®   All Rights Reserved

The Fearful Dogs Project  is a program licensed to the 501c3 charity, Protect Them All