The Play Way with Dr. Amy Cook

The Play Way: Using Social Play to Help Stressed and Fearful Dogs

A Workshop with Dr. Amy Cook

Amy CookThe​ ​Play​ ​Way​ is Amy Cook’s method of helping shy and fearful dogs overcome these issues to live a happier, less-stressed life. Rather than focusing on food, as many do when working with these dogs, Amy has established a more nuanced rehabilitation process that revolves around personal, social play. She believes play is a much more reliable method of judging a dog’s true behavioral thresholds, while being equally effective at supporting a dog to make emotional change. Play is both an indicator of stress and an intervention for stress!

Amy is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), a longstanding professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and was one of the first trainers nationally to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through independent evaluation. Amy returned to school in 2006 to get her Ph.D. in Psychology from UC Berkeley. Her research focused on the dog-human relationship and its effect on the problem-solving strategies dogs employ. To learn more about Dr. Cook, please visit


In this seminar you will learn:

  • How to identify stress in dogs
  • About threshold management
  • How to read a dog so you know what to do when
  • About relaxed play, and its important role in the rehabilitation of stress & anxiety
  • Personal play, food or toys: which one should you use and when?
  • How to help a dog "Look and Dismiss" and take challenges in stride.


Join us for this exciting educational weekend at the SF SPCA!



  • Saturday, March 2 & Sunday, March 3, 2019, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.
    • Saturday is lecture only, Sunday is lecture and working.


  • The San Francisco SPCA's Geraldi Building and Multi-Purpose Room


  • 16 CCPDT CEUs
  • 14 IAABC CEUs


  • Auditing Spot (attend without your dog): $175 -  Register Now
  • Working Spot (attend with your dog): $250  - SOLD OUT


If you are interested in a working spot, please read the below:

There are 10 working spots for dogs to work one-on-one with Amy on Sunday. Working dogs are welcome to attend the lecture-only day on Saturday as long as they are comfortable. Please keep in mind that this is a workshop environment - it will be crowded, and not all dogs will be appropriate for work in this situation. Working dogs must be comfortable with strangers and new environments and not overly reactive. Consider your own dog and his/her needs. No refunds will be given for a dog that is too uncomfortable to relax. Auditing for this type of workshop is incredibly valuable to owners/trainers who can then take the information home to work with dogs who may find a crowded workshop an overwhelming learning environment.


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