Decide WHAT you want to Accomplish BEFORE you Grab your DOG!

Before you begin to train,
consider exactly what you want to train.
What do you want to accomplish during your training session?

For example if you are training or reviewing a sit with your dog, consider the following questions:

  • How will you cue the command?  Will you give your dog a verbal or physical cue or both?
  • How long should your dog sit?  Should he just sit and then stand up, or should he remain in the sit until given a release word?
  • What does the command “sit” mean to you?  Does it mean a rock or tuck sit?  Should your dog remain in the position until told differently?
  • Do you want the dog to sit in front of you?  Sit next to you?  Or should your dog just sit where he is, no matter where you are, or what you are doing?
  • What will you do if your dog sits slowly or not at all?  Will you mark and correct?  Or will you give another command?
  • Will you be sequencing the sit with other skills?  Which ones if so?
  • How will you reward the sit if done well?  Go to your dog and give a reward?  Toss a toy or treat to your dog?  Will you break into a game to reward?
  • Are you going to start proofing the sit with your dog?  If so, what will you do?  Will you add distractions to the training environment?  Will you go to a new location?  How distracting do you want the session?

All these questions are important, because you need to be able to be pro-active in your training with consequences as well as rewards.
Being able to respond quickly and be prepared for what might happen, will give you the upper hand with your training and help you become consistent with your cues and criteria.


Please leave comments or email me with future article ideas at Ask DebbyQ. 

Visit my Youtube and watch training videos at


Do you want to be successful when showing?

When starting to establish goals, one of the first items on your agenda will be to set goals for both you and your dog.

The old adage, “there are only so many hours in a day” holds true when you are making both short and long term goals.  You will have to decide exactly how much time and effort you are willing to devote to training.  The results of your efforts and time spent will be reflected in your dog’s ability to learn and execute skills consistently.

Goal-setting is a powerful method for achievement as it provides a way to view objectives and changes. Goals can be set for daily, weekly, monthly or yearly target dates. Setting goals focuses attention to the important aspects of the mission. The key to setting effective goals is to create objective goals that can be measured and give direction.

The following will help you set YOUR goals:

  • Ask yourself what you want to work toward and achieve. Goals need to be in your control, challenging yet realistic and positive. Positive goals direct what to do rather than what not to do!
  • Effective goals are very specific.  The clearer the objective the easier to imagine and obtain.
  • Use short-term goals to help reach long-term goals. Short-term goals can provide more motivation since they are more readily achievable and make great stepping stones.
  • Effective goals are limited in number and important to you. Setting a limited number of goals requires that you decide what is the most useful for your continued development. Establishing a few, carefully selected goals also allow you to keep accurate records without becoming overwhelmed.
  • Set specific Time Lines. Target dates have a tendency to remove lighthearted ideas and clarify what goals are realistic and which are not.
  • Create action steps. These steps are going to help you achieve your goal and will define the actions you need to take to reach your goals. The number of action steps depends on the goals you set.
  • Write down your goals and post them in places where they will be seen throughout the day. Place a sticky note on the fridge or your bathroom mirror or an index card in your training bag or car. Visual cues will increase the likelihood you will achieve your goal.
  • Track your progress. Use a notebook, calendar, or anything you can log information so you can monitor your progress. Writing down and reviewing your progress will help you stay motivated and repeatedly remind you of where you were and how far you have come.
  • When asked to set goals, many people typically focus on the learning of new skills or performances in competitions. Goals can cover many aspects of your training, showing or life. Some goal examples might include, improve fitness, increase mental toughness, or establish better timing and consistency.

When carefully thought out and written, goals give direction and tell us what we need in order to accomplish our dreams.  Establishing goals also helps obtain information and ways for how to achieve the goals.


Please leave comments or email me with future article ideas at Ask DebbyQ. 

Visit my Youtube and watch training videos at

Watch POE Grow – The life and training of a competition puppy.

Now is your chance! “WATCH POE GROW” will give you that opportunity to watch me train my new puppy, Poe.

poeIn the upcoming videos, Poe and I will be showing you everything I like to do with a puppy or dog to build a great competition partner and a wonderful family member.

Poe will be learning skills that will help create a great foundation needed for future competitions as well as learning how to be a well-adjusted partner and pet.

You will get to spend time with Poe as he experiences new locations, and socializes with new people and dogs. In addition, you’ll learn how I teach various skills, while we build confidence, focus, and enthusiasm.

More importantly, Poe and I will show you how to build desire for focus and engagement through great skills like recalls, tug, bringing back toys, self-control, and much more.

Don’t miss out! While a new puppy offers you a clean slate to build solid foundations, confidence, focus and desire, it is never too late to address issues and clean up foundations with your current dog.

This is the opportunity to teach your new puppy or your current dog everything you want your dog to know.

Poe says to Click LIKE, SUBSCRIBE (to get updates) and SHARE as we “WATCH POE GROW”.


Many times, I hear, “my dog works great as long as I have treats” or “my dog knows when I have treats and will not work with the same enthusiasm.”

One of my SECRETS, and a skill that is a must for all trainers, is the ability to play one on one with your dog.  Play in this context means, interacting with your dog WITHOUT any toys or treats present.

The one-on-one connection and fun are one of the best ways to reward your dog.  Examples can be anything from petting and praising your dog, or running around laughing, or using transition games that your dog loves, or clapping your hands and praising your dog, or getting down on the floor and rolling around with your dog.  Hahahaha.  Actually, I do get on the ground to play with my puppies, not so much with my older dogs, BUT I do often interact with my older dogs, so they are used to having fun with me without toys or treats present.  Use one or any combination.  Have FUN with your dog!

The key to having a dog that will work for you, and not the reward, is as simple as playing with your dog!

Follow US on YouTube for more training videos.

Check out Poe’s YouTube Channel for more training videos!

The Great Sport of Obedience


History – The first obedience trial was created in 1933 by Helen Whitehouse Walker of New York. By 1936, the AKC had adopted standards for obedience trials and trials were being held across the United States.

For many years, competition obedience was the only “dog sport” available to people. As a result, it developed a strong following and providing an outlet for dog people to do advanced training, and compete outside the conformation ring. Today, there are many different obedience levels and classes you can enter. Obedience classes range from heeling patterns, recalls, and stays to more advanced classes where dogs, are retrieving, jumping or performing by signal commands only.

Obedience is a test of how well a dog is trained. In order to qualify a dog must accomplish a number of exercises. Competitive obedience is far more difficult than typical household training. When the handler issues any of a number of commands in a competition, the dog must immediately perform the skill without hesitation. Delay or stopping to look at something or someone might result in point deductions. Indeed, Competition Obedience is a fascinating sport. The bond built between the handler and their dog is wonderful to watch. The best thing about obedience is that anyone of any age and with a dog of any breed can train and participate.

Start puppies young. Puppies as young as 6- 8 weeks old are like a spongepoe and ready to absorb skills and behaviors. Most young puppies also have not formed many if any bad habits. While puppies make great students, a dog of any age may be trained and will enjoy training and learning.

Why Do Obedience?
By nature, dogs are pack animals and will look to you for guidance. Providing your dog with structure and boundaries, will help your dog understand how to abide by the rules in your household and to become a companion you will really enjoy.

Obedience training doesn’t solve all behavior problems, but it is the foundation for solving just about any problem. Training opens up a line of communication between you and your dog. Effective communication is necessary to teach your dog how you want him to behave. You can teach your dog anything from sit, come, and walk on a loose leash to heeling at your side and competing at dog shows.

Aside from allowing your dog to live happily as a companion, training helps bring out the best in your dog. Through training, your dog will become more self-confident and able to cope with the everyday stresses of life. While you work with your dog, you will also build rapport between your dog and you. The increased rapport will help establish a good foundation for training in most competition venues such as agility, obedience, and rally. Training your dog increases the possibility that he will be successful in whatever venue you decide to pursue!

▪ He sits when told to and will not jump on guests.
▪ He stays so he will not bolt out the door when it is opened.
▪ He knows you are in charge and will not try to take over the house.
▪ He comes when called and does not bark incessantly.
▪ He does not pull on the leash and walks with you!
▪ He only chews on items that are his.
▪ He will not chase other dogs, cats, cars or people.
▪ He will be able to successfully participate in competitive events such as obedience, agility, rally, and other activities!

Obedience training is fun and rewarding for you and your dog. It can and will enrich your relationship with your dog and make living together more enjoyable. A well-trained dog is more confident and as a result is a pleasure to be around.

Thinking about taking online classes?

Here is what you need to know and look for in online classes?

Online dog training or e-learning has become a hot trend. Today your options are limitless on how and where to gather information about dog training, behavior modification, and competition training. Online classes are growing in popularity and are great way to continue to learn and gather information.

E-learning is a convenient and valuable concept for dog trainers everywhere because it is web-based, easy to use, and accessible 24/7 from your own home! Many dog trainers are logging in to online classes and learning valuable concepts, techniques and philosophies that will enhance their training program with their dogs. Better yet you can learn from those who have been in your shoes and have a vast wealth of experience. With their help you can better prepare your training sessions and avoid mistakes.

Online courses offer a lot of flexibility for busy people. It’s convenient and can save you time and money. This is an ‘easy way of training with top trainers that are not in your area. Dog trainers often drive long distances and pay big bucks to attend seminars by the best of the best. Now many of these trainers offer their knowledge via online classes. Some offer consultations of training or showing videos giving ways to improve. Costs will vary, but when you consider the savings in travel time and gas money, convenience pays.

Taking online classes allows you to work toward your goals at your own pace. It is fun having the flexibility of the online classes. If you are busy a few days a week no problem, just do what you can when you can. It is sometimes better than classes where you get 1 hour each week. Online classes also offer much more personalized attention and feedback.