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happy dog

Shouldn’t My Dog Know This Already?  (And a Tribute to Roo)

Shouldn’t My Dog Know This Already? (And a Tribute to Roo)

Blog post by Amber Quann KPA-CTP CPDT-KSA

I get asked these questions a lot – 

“What age will my dog finally turn into a good dog?”

“How long do we have to train before he gets it?”

“How old was your dog when he was fully trained?”

I love getting these questions from my students in group classes and private lessons. It gives us a great opportunity to discuss setting good expectations, measurable goals, and realistic timelines for the training process.  

My answer to these questions is usually something like this:

Your dog already is a good dog, and is doing great for his age! Different dogs mature at different rates, and we each have different definitions of a ‘good dog’ so I can’t put an exact age number on when your dog will meet your criteria. What I can tell you is that it takes time, consistency, and practice to help your dog learn the skills you want him to learn, and that’s what I’m here to help you with!


The truth is, the best training with your dog is an on-going, daily/weekly/monthly process.  To have the best relationship with your dog, learning should be part of your relationship for the long-term.

Taking a 6-week class and then checking “Train The Dog” off of your to-do list is the equivalent of eating healthy for that same 6 weeks and then going back to a daily diet of fast-food. The progress you made during those 6 weeks isn’t going to stick around unless you keep up those good habits!  

An upper-level training class is a great way to stay motivated, but you don’t need to stay in training classes to keep working with your dog. There are several different ways you can keep practicing at home. Go over your old class homework and find things you missed the first time around. Check out a trick dog or brewery dog title and work towards those training goals. Teach a fun trick!

I’ve been asked how long it took to get my dog “fully trained.” The question is funny to me, because I never considered him “fully trained.” Heck, I don’t even consider myself “fully trained.” 

We were always learning new things together.  We started training when he was 8 weeks old. Check out this ADORABLE clip of a puppy training session with baby Roo. 

And we were still working on new things in his last year of life. Here we are working on a cute new combo trick of paw + chin offered together.

And if you aren’t tired of Roo videos yet, one more unedited training session where we are working on his toy carrying skills that had gotten a little rusty.  

We even did a training session together on the day we knew was our last day together – that session focused on reviewing some of his favorite, easy skills.  I don’t have a video for you. I was falling to pieces enough as it was. But he loved it so much even though he couldn’t do much. We practiced his left/right foot targets, nose and chin targets, and one of his party favorites “Go to Sleep / Wake Up.” 

All this to say – training is a journey, not a destination.  There is always more to teach your dog, always more to learn together.  

The best relationships are built on consistent investment, not one-time training. (This goes for our human friends as well our dogs.)

So, if you find yourself tempted to ask “When will this dog finally be trained??” . . . remember we are all works in progress.

Perhaps a better question is “What can we work on together today?”


February is the Month of LOVE

February is the Month of LOVE

Our dogs are a huge part of our lives, and they shower us with love all year long.  Here are three ideas for how to show your special four-legged someone how much they mean to you this month!  

  1. Go on a "Micro-Adventure" together.  These mini adventures are one of our favorite things to build a positive relationship with our dogs.  They don't have to be long or elaborate, just simple things that you can do together, like running errands, taking an extra walk to the park, or just riding around in the car.  I just did this with my dog today - he got to ride with me to the grocery store, stop by Kriser's Natural Pet, drop by the training facility, and then end it with lots of attention at the bank.  He loved it, and he's sound asleep now!  We wrote more about micro-adventures in this blog; check it out for more ideas!
  2. Get them a new toy!  But not just any toy - one that will challenge them mentally as well as physically!  One of our favorite categories of toys are food puzzles.  We wrote all about them in this blog post; check it out to see which option your pup might light best!
  3. Teach them a new trick!  Our dogs get so excited to learn new things with us!  And their "trick" skills are often the most exciting and reinforcing to our dogs, because we get so excited about them too!  Teaching your dog something new can be as simple or elaborate as you want, but either way it's sure to be a fun time for both of you!  I just taught my dog Roo some new tricks and he loved it!

These are just a few ideas for making this month a great month for you and your dog!  If you come up with other great ideas, we want to hear about them!  Tag us in your adventures on Facebook or Instagram and use #SDTmonthoflove so we can share in your excitement!

Create, Then Consume

Create, Then Consume

I recently read an article by The Everygirl on a photographer who has made a name for herself in her industry through creative branding and successful leveraging of social media.  Although I’m not a photographer, or even as artistic and trendy as Jenna Kutcher, I haven’t stopped thinking about one of the things she said about staying inspired in your business:

“Create, then consume.”

She describes the world of social media as a shouting match, one that can block our own creativity from flowing freely.  You can read the article for some great practical suggestions about how to change your focus from consuming to creating; it’s good stuff. 

I’ve been pondering on this a lot as it relates to our dogs and training.  How many times do I think “man, I wish I had time to teach my dog x, y, and z” and it never seems to make it to the top of the list; but yet I find the time to check Facebook for five minutes (*cough* or more *cough*) every morning and night.  If I spent just as much time teaching my dog something new every day, he might be qualified to run for president four years from now. 

I have initiated a little challenge for myself.  I’m working up to the goal behavior of lots of training, little bit of social media, so to start out, my objective is to spend at least half as much time on training as I do checking SM platforms.  So if I spend 30 minutes on Facebook, I will do a 15-minute (or 3 5-minute) training session(s) with my own dog each day. 

Roo has loved the extra attention this week!  He's already fine-tuned his pivoting skills (getting ready for his Intermediate Parkour Dog Title!) and practiced backing up onto high objects.  

Roo has loved the extra attention this week!  He's already fine-tuned his pivoting skills (getting ready for his Intermediate Parkour Dog Title!) and practiced backing up onto high objects.  

If you want to join me on this challenge, I’d love to have company!  Even if you don’t have a dog to train, find something else to start working on.  Pick up an instrument you haven’t practiced in years, find a language-learning application, start an educational book, or a writing project.  15 minutes doesn’t seem that long, especially compared to how much time I often spend consuming online. 

If you and your dog accomplish something great during these sessions, I want to see it!  Share you progress on Facebook or Instagram so that we can encourage each other!