Featured Student

Our students are the future of dog training and the heart of our school.

That’s why we regularly take a moment to recognize one of our top aspiring trainers here.


Our Featured Student this month is Susan Rubright of Gladstone, New Jersey. At the time of this posting, Susan is studying Phase D of Basics Pro, and she is doing an impressive job with her studies!

A Word from Susan

Susan and Callen, her 7 year old Jack Russell Terrier student dog.

My Favorite Recent Study Topics:

1. What “calming signals” are and how dogs use them with other dogs and with humans, and how humans can use them with dogs. Knowing and paying attention to them and using them has helped me understand my dog and what is affecting him.
2. Learning the differences in the barks. My dog, as many dogs, barks and whines at deer, squirrels, cars and noises. I never knew the differences between the “guard” bark and the other forms and why sometimes he sounds as though he is “singing”.
3. The whole topic of dog-to-dog greetings was the most fascinating topic. It has also been the most practical one so far, so I can watch when I introduce my dog to others and know when it’s time to cut the introduction short.

My Favorite Recent Hands-On Activity:

I really liked them all; the one that I liked a lot was one of the first ones where i just had to write down my observations of what a dog was doing, what his attention was focused on, and what I thought he might do next. It got me to focus on and watch all kinds of behaviors I had never really taken note of before.

Dog kisses are great rewards for trainers!

How My Studies Have Changed the Way I See Dogs:

I have been watching all dogs I see on the street and at my dog park with a different and new eye. I watch tails, gaits, commisures (my husband’s favorite new word!), ears and stances — one body part at a time and then the whole dog. I have been trying to adjust the way I greet dogs to try to “speak their language”- approach in a curve not straight in, arms in for example. I have also had a lot of success getting my dog to stop jumping by simply turning my back to him with my arms folded in. I have been watching how my dog interacts with his pack friends and how he reacts to new dogs. He has a “short hand” greeting for his tried and true friends where he does a little play bow and head nod and off they run. The other dog at that same time comes over to him in a curve and nods. It’s subtle but so interesting (and cute) to watch! As to new dogs – the greetings are still a little tense for me as my dog is small but mighty. I watch him and the other dog closely; there was one time when the new dog – a puppy- sniffed a bit too long and my guy corrected her and then walked away.

What I’m Most Excited About:

The readings and practice questions are difficult but the reinforcement they offer on the topics is great. I have learned so much in just the 3 phases and am very excited about continuing. The support from my Program Director has been on target, supportive and encouraging. This course is opening a completely new world for me!

Way to go, Susan, we’re so proud of you!


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