Name: Top Dog Trading Foundations Courses 1&2
Description: Trend-trading strategies and trend-reversal strategies for scalpers, day traders, swing traders and investors.
Price range: $295-$495
Ease of use
Barry Burns Top Dog Trading is an American company run by Barry Burns offering trading education for beginners and advanced. The ‘Foundations Courses’ are the starter courses and they can be bought separately or as a bundle. The system can be used in Forex, stocks and even the crypto market.
- Multiple strategies taught
- Clearly written course manuals
- In-depth explanation of the strategy
- No live strategy demonstration
- Course contents also in Barry Burns’ $15 book
- Not profitable in the test
The course and its contents
Top Dog Trading’s principle is that the market is moved by 5 basic energies, which can be measured with the standard indicators of the trading platform. These energies are called: trend, cycle, support & resistance, momentum and fractals. The Top Dog trading system is about patiently waiting for the moment till all these energies are all aligned, and then to enter the market with ‘Swiss clock precision’, as Burns calls it.
Upon purchase you will get access to a member portal where you can download the course material.
The first Foundations course has the subtitle ‘Precision trading: Cycle Tops & Bottoms‘, and it teaches about the 5 energies and how to measure them. You will learn 2-3 strategies to trade them.
Foundations course 2 is called ‘Momentum Trading, Catching the Big Moves‘ and it teaches an improved measuring method of the momentum-energy. You will learn a trend following strategy and a trend reversal strategy.
All course manuals are of good quality, and everything is well explained and in great detail. Below a distant view of some example pages to show how they are composed:
The videos are of good quality too.
There is a FAQ section on the portal, and for burning question not listed in the FAQ you can email Burns. For the test I have asked him a question once (‘Can the system be traded in the crypto market?’) And the answer came within 24 hours, which was quicker than expected (‘Some students do, and they report good results’).
I very much value live strategy demonstration (daily published videos or live trading rooms), like in the DTFL course. Live strategy demonstration helps building confidence in the strategy enormously. But the Top Dog trading course does not offer that service.
Another con is that the manuals about trading psychology, trading plans, journaling etc are very basic and do not offer much valuable. Their contents can be found for free online.
The discounted price for the course bundle was $295. The course material is rather old (first edition 2006, second edition 2011), and there is no live strategy demonstration. For these reasons the Top Dog Foundation courses are overpriced for what you get.
About the strategies
Barry Burns teaches a couple of strategies, and not just a singe one. Regarding their principle these strategies do not differ very much from each other. They are all based on the same set of 5 basic market energies.
Their main differences are found in their reward to risk ratios (RRR) and their strike rates. Some strategies have better RRR’s with relatively many losers, while others have worse RRR’s but a lot of winners.
The time you spend in front of the screen differs per strategy. Scalping and day trading is really eyes-glued-to-the screen-trading. Swing trading offers more time freedom.
There are no special trading hours for this system and it can be traded any time. But the day trading strategies are best traded when the markets are trending, and this is mainly during the mid-European and the mid-American sessions.
Burns recommends to trade the system on tick charts, and not on the standard time based charts. This is because the wave structure of trends are more clearly visible on tick charts, and so these charts offer more quality setups than time based charts.
If you don’t know what tick charts are: In a tick chart the bars are based on a fixed amount of changes in price (ticks) and not on a fixed amount of minutes in time, such as 5 or 15 minutes.
The popular MT4 trading platform does not offer tick charts. The Ctrader platform does provide tick charts, presently up to 1000 ticks. (if you want to practice with tick charts, the Australian broker IC Markets offers free Ctrader demo’s.)
As an example, below a screenshot of the 2-chart setup with tick charts using Top Dog’s Aggressive Cherry Picking strategy on Ctrader:
About the strategy’s ‘ease of use’
The strategy rule sets are very clearly explained in great detail and for this reason the system can be learned relatively quickly. Forward testing on demo will go very well, because of the good amount of setups (2-3 daily).
Papertesting in MT4 (backtesting by scrolling the charts back) is not easy, as the Top Dog strategies use more than 1 timeframe. Scrolling back multiple timeframes simultaneously is a pain in the butt in MT4.
The course & Barry Burns $15 book
I decided to purchase the course after reading Barry Burns’ book Trend Trading for Dummies which I had bought for about $15. The book teaches about the same 5 market energies as the course. What’s the difference?
Not much difference. The courses are more detailed than the book, teach some more strategies and an extra filter that you can apply to improve profitability (the so-called ‘second chance patterns’). And that’s basically it. So if you are going to buy the course after reading this book, then you may going to feel scammed.
TEST: Is the Barry Burns Top Dog Trading system profitable?
I had reserved 4 months for testing the strategies on 28 pairs. I consider a strategy consistently profitable if it meets the following criteria:
- At least 2% monthly return.
- Drawdown below 15%.
The results are shown in below and can be found on myfxbook.com.
I have tested all strategies from the Barry Burns’ Top Dog foundations arsenal together. The results are clear: the system did not work.
No, I don’t recommend the Barry Burns Top Dog Foundations system, despite the well written and detailed course manuals.
The system does not work and it is also very time consuming to trade. Furthermore, the course does not provide live strategy demonstration or live trading rooms, and for this reason the Top Dog Foundations courses are overpriced in my opinion.