Dog Training

I’m more than halfway through the KPA Dog Trainer Professional course. Training takes observation, persistence, consistency, empathy and creativity.

Lily is a very good trainer.

She observed that Steve leaves his slippers by the back door when he goes out in the morning to care for the chickens and goats.



Lily takes a slipper.

taking slipper


She is patient and has very good timing (two more traits that need mention.) When Steve comes back inside, there is only one slipper to put on. Lily has trained him to come into the kitchen and say Where’s my slipper? Only then does she bring the slipper back.

holding slipper


She has positioned him right next to the treat jar. As I said, Lily is a very good trainer.

treat jar


She hands over the slipper and Steve gives her a treat.


Good boy!

Lily thought up this trick all by herself. I never taught her to fetch slippers. Lily came up with this genius idea and carefully trained Steve to do each step. She managed to do it all with positive reinforcement so that Steve enjoys the trick as much as she does. I’m taking training lessons from Lily.


  1. I’m going to try this! Of my three dogs I have one that “hides” any shoes (always takes one, never both) I leave by any exit door in the house. I’m always limping around the house in one shoe frantically searching for the other one, often making me late for one appointment or another – grrrr.

    It would be great to have it found and brought right to me by the doggie culprit .

  2. Animals are amazing. What a clever dog Lily is. I know that some people think that chickens are not intelligent, but I really beg to differ. My two have got me wrapped around their little dinosaur toes. They know exactly what time they play out, what time treat time is and even know the sound of the car driving onto the path (they must think “oh they are home” and start calling (probably wanting attention, or more likely more treats or to play out). Yes animals are truely amazing and enrich our lives so very much.

  3. Love this. Dogs are so smart. I am currently being trained by a Tibetan Terrier puppy. She is also very patient with me.

  4. When my Alaskan Malamute (some people say they are not very bright; I can say for certain that is NOT TRUE) was about 8 months old, I decided to train him on a paw pad (a paw-shaped device that the dog presses when he wants to go out; it basically sends a signal to a receiver, which then makes a barking sound). For weeks I tried, unsuccessfully (or so I thought), to get him to use it. I finally gave up. One day when I was really busy trying to get some work done, he decided that would be the perfect day to show me that he was paying attention. He pressed that thing to go out at least once every hour. He would go outside, wander around for a few minutes, then come back in and do it again an hour later. After about the fifth time, I ignored it. Well, that wasn’t going to work. He would press it down and hold it so the thing would bark until I went to the door. I took the paw pad away. Six years later, when we got a second dog (a puppy) and attempted to train him on the paw pad, the Malamute taught him the same trick! My husband says it was me who got trained. I must admit he was right. :)

  5. Oh my gosh, this is so true. My late Jack Russell trained me to immediately spring up from a chair to open a door outside when she simply cocked her head– the tiniest of movement that communicated a whole wish list of demands. I learned to stop what I was doing, turn off all the house lights and go immediately to bed when she would wander in from being in my bed herself, blinking in the lamp light, wondering where the heck I was and when I was I joining her. I learned to drive one handed when she would simply stand on the front console between the car seats and ‘ask’ to climb into my lap. I learned to pull any nearby blanket completely over her when she simply nosed it and looked at me. And I learned to immediately warm chicken broth and pour a bit over her food if she merely backed away from the dish, sat down and looked at me.

    I was a very, very good student and she was a brilliant, minimalist trainer. They’re geniuses, those Jack Russells.

  6. I wonder if that was my cat’s intention when she insisted on relocating my flip flops into the bathroom and leaving them behind the toilet. Of course she took other things there too. Then the other things started turning up in the bathtub in my bathroom, but the flip flops were always in the hall bathroom. Maybe she wanted the litter box cleaned!

  7. Yes this made my day too. I wish I could have filmed my girls all talking together the other day. by he time I went to get the camera and came back the chat had ended. 5 of them found my favorite toads new fall home. And they were standing there all moving heads back and forth looking at each other and having a conversation. I have seen them murmur to each and one or anther talk to anther flock member but never seen a full group “chat” lol it’s something I would imagine from a cartoon. I think they were all wondering why he was in the spot he was in lol

  8. Way to go Lily! :^)

    We had a cat that trained us to lift it up to it’s food dish, on top of the washing machine. For a while I was convinced he’d lost his ability to jump that high…but he had no trouble jumping to the top of the backyard fence!

  9. Two of my hens have charmed me into providing what I call their “elevator up” on a daily basis. One of them (who was named “Amelia” because she was the first and youngest of the flock to fly), likes to lay her eggs up on the highest spot in the coop. Every day, she waits patiently for me to go out there to open up the coop so she can jump up onto my shoulders and get a lift onto that shelf. Fortunately, she uses her own abilities to get back down again. The other one waits every night for me to come in to button up the coop so she can get a lift up onto their perch. She can get up there by herself as she does it all the time. But at night, she waits by the door and when I come in, she comes over and steps into my hands for her lift up. Yes, they are chickens, but each of them has their own personality. :)

  10. My dog Choe is trained to clean up the cat dishes. She takes them to her bed then brings them back in exchange for a treat. Funny thing is she’s starting to pick up anything and bring it looking for a treat!

  11. Lily sounds like our husky, Dakota. Dakota will find a sock or wash cloth laying around (often in the hamper) and proceed to take it to her kennel. She will then stay in her kennel with her find, all day if necessary, and wait for us to find her. When we do, she proceeds to chew us out and refuses to give it back until we apologize for leaving it where she could find it, ( by giving her a treat to trade for it).