2020 Goal: All About the Dogs

*Note: This is a long post but it is full of lots of adorable pictures of my dogs. 🙂


It’s true, much of my life the past 6 years since I adopted Rusty has been all about the dogs but this year is much different.

As a professional dog trainer I will quite literally be all about dogs. I am so excited to take this step and immerse myself in everything I possibly can to learn about different training techniques and dog behavior. I want to grow my client list and become the best dog trainer I can be.

But along with that comes the goals I have for my own pack. I am finally going to have the time and opportunity to get my dogs to the level that I want them to be at. I am beyond excited to be able to do more intensive training with them on a daily basis.



Rusty is my wild child. He is a mix of Chocolate Lab, Kuvasz, Border Collie, Pointer, Beagle and Unknown Terrier Mix. He is wicked smart and even at 7 years old he has energy to spare. In the past we have done LOTS of obedience classes and have dabbled in Tricks, Agility and Nosework. His capacity for learning astounds me.


This year I want to finally hone his obedience focus enough to achieve his AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) title. At the end of 2019 he achieved his AKC TKN (Tricks Novice) Title. I love teaching tricks and plan to expand his arsenol this year to achieve his TKI (Tricks Intermediate) Title. Long Term I would love to work up to the highest level of Tricks Performer with him – I have even started choreographing our routine in my head! The fun thing is that this is really something that he and I can do around the house.



In 2016 I started training Rusty in Agility. He loved it so much that I bought him some outdoor obstacles to practice on. My schedule prevented us from doing much beyond the beginner Agility class we took but I have done some seminars and bought a book to build my own obstacles so that we can practice more. Our backyard now is a little hillier than our last one but I’m confident we can make it work for now. I would love to start entering him in trials by 2021. Especially since he is starting to age. I want to have as much fun with him as I can!



Scentwork has been a great activity for me and Rusty. It lets the dog take the lead and my hard-headed boy has no problem doing that! We still need to work on our alert but that will come with more and more practice of us as a team. I have all the necessary equipment and now will have the time to devote to helping us gel as a scentwork team better.

Stopping to smell the flowers on a hike.

Dock Diving

Quite some time ago I took Rusty for a hike with my brother where we got lost. Hopelessly lost. We ended up inadvertently crossing water several times in our attempt to get our bearings. When Rusty saw me taking off my shoes and socks and going into the water he was happy to bound in after me. I feel like dock diving would be a great sport for the retriever in him (especially since his DNA test has him pegged as mostly lab).

We started last year getting used to a kiddie pool and this year I plan to graduate him to a bigger pool and hopefully entering some contests by mid summer! I admit that this is mainly due to my own interest in the sport and if he ends up not liking it I won’t make him compete, but I have a hard time believing that my fun loving mutt wouldn’t enjoy leaping into water!



Comet is a mama’s boy through and through. I physically rescued Comet from a less than stellar situation and ever since that first night when he laid down in my backseat and sighed, I knew he was mine. Our bond is one of the strongest I have ever had with a dog. He follows me everywhere and is just naturally a really good boy.

The Yin and the Yang

Therapy Dog/CGC

Comet craves attention so naturally I pictured him as a Therapy Dog. Becoming a Therapy Dog team is something I had always wanted to try but I knew that it wasn’t going to be possible with jumpy, hyper Rusty. Comet is calm and easy to please so getting certified for us was a breeze. We started at the beginning of January as an officially certified Therapy Dog team and I will be working Comet towards his AKC Therapy Dog titles. Along with those titles will come an automatic CGC due to the training expectations of a therapy dog being set higher than those of a regular house pet.

Rally Obedience

Comet’s natural “good boy” personality and eagerness to be near me ALL THE TIME (he learned how to open the bathroom door so I don’t even get to pee in peace anymore…) makes him a good candidate for Rally Obedience competitions. He lives to please me and I think this would be a fun way to build his confidence. He tends to be a little on the nervous/anxious side due to his rough start in life so I want to put him in situations that are fun but challenge him to use his anxious brain.


Dock Diving

Comet is also a purebred Golden Retriever and when I introduced the kiddie pool last summer he was happy to step in and sit down. I want to try dock diving with him as well but he is my least athletic dog and doesn’t generally fetch anything so this might be a tall order. I’m hoping the retriever instinct comes out in him a little more.

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Liam is my baby. A bit of a spoiled brat sometimes but he’s a Husky so it comes with the territory! His tantrums can be pretty epic. Liam is also incredibly sweet, loves people and loves to play.  I plan to make Liam my “demonstration dog” for obedience classes that I teach.


Running/Sled Dog

Liam has proven to be a fantastic running partner! He learned the waist leash quickly and accompanies me on runs constantly and last year even ran 5 races with me! I plan to keep running races with him as he loves the atmosphere and the finish line bananas!

I also want to tap into some of his primal instinct and see how he would do at being a sled dog. I would love for him to eventually be able to pull just me on a toboggan in the snowy winter. We will work up to this. First I will get him a proper pulling harness and then get him used to dragging light objects before building up more weight.


Agility/Disc Dog/Flyball

For Liam, ball is life. He has great drive when it comes to playing fetch and I’d love to harness some of his athletic energy into agility, disc dog and/or flyball. I think any of these could be an excellent outlet for Liam’s energy and I’m excited to explore some different activities with him!

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Dock Diving

I’m not sure if Liam will like Dock Diving or not. Since I’m trying his retriever brothers at it I’m going to give him the opportunity as well. He doesn’t go in the kiddie pool much but he will dip his face in there to retrieve a ball so there’s  hope for him yet!

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Rally Obedience

This was never an original plan of mine for Liam but through working with him to make him into a demo dog I have noticed he has such a strong drive to WORK for me. He really enjoys the commands and enthusiastically connects with me and works with me. I think he would do fantastic at Rally Obedience and since I’m going to try with Comet anyway, why not give him a shot?



And just because I said there would be a lot…here’s a collage of even more doggo pictures for your viewing pleasure!



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