Category Archives: Funny Stories

I Love Schnauzers!

Well, especially when they are accompanied by one of my all time favorite clients. Aren’t these two Handsome Guys.

I’ve had schnauzers around my whole life until the last year and can’t wait until I find the next one. Great dogs and I just love their personalities. Jake here is a very good match for Greg his owner.

Montessori school, Expectations, Dog Training and the CGC test

What on earth do all of those components in the title have in common.

My oldest daughter is going to Montessori school in a few weeks and last night we had our first meeting with all of the teachers and staff who will be working with her classroom. It was a wonderful gathering, and once people started finding out I was a dog trainer and not a cube dweller and that I trained dogs for a living they started coming up to me to ask questions about their pups. That’s not unusual for me at all, but one of the interactions was precious to me and made me start thinking about my clients.

The founder of the school and I started talking about life in general and once he asked what I did for a living he asked “how long does it take to train an owner?” Ahh, the crux of the matter and the hard part about spending all day with dogs.

That owner issue is always on the radar with us and one that no decent dog trainer can dismiss in any level of detail. Finding the right words, visuals, motor skills drill…to get an owner to understand what you are saying is a constant ever changing effort. When you get a bunch of dog trainers together one topic will ALWAYS come up; “Dogs are easy, people are hard.” Evidently it’s the same with Montessori parents. The kids are easily trained in the ways of Montessori but this gentleman said that the parents were quite difficult to bring into the fold, even when they wanted to adapt to the ways of the school. It’s a matter of adjusting habits, managing routines differently, and Expectations. It was a wonderful conversation with this gentleman and I hope to dive into more depth on it with him in the future.

That word Expectations is a slippery thing though. I ran into a problem with it this week as a matter of fact. We had a client who signed up for a number of classes to help her get a Canine Good Citizen certification on her dog. My associate trainer went out for the first session, evaluated where the dog was in regards to the test and started assigning homework for the owner and dog to work on. As with all of my clients, I checked in a day later to find out how things were going and the questions started rolling in from the owner.

“If the dog sits and accepts a pat; but moves, stands, licks, etc will it be breaking the exercise??

ETC is a big word there.

“How is she scored if an aggressive dog approaches her?”

The same as if another dog were to approach. Under control.

And a few others

All of these are clearly outlined in the CGC requirements and we do our best to help people get through the test as quickly as they can. But, as things turned out when I stared answering her questions, her Expectations of what we would do were quite different than what we actually do. What I do not do is just hand out CGC passing test willy nilly as some other trainers do here in Austin. I take the test seriously as I believe it is an excellent tool for determining basic temperament and level of obedience that dogs possess.

We administer the CGC test in a real life environment with real life distractions in order to make it as accurate as possible. And, if you don’t pass all 10 items on the test you need to go back and do some remedial work. I have high Expectations for dogs and owners who take the CGC test and I should hope that the owners would respect what even a minor title like CGC means in the world of dogs. It not a gimmie test by any means, but it is doable by everyone I’ve ever worked with. Like life it takes effort, practice and patience to get through it. It’s not something you should Expect to acquire just by signing up for 3 lessons.

Training the owners, training the dogs, and training kids all comes back to the same place. Patience and practice. None of this stuff comes to you in a box from Best Buy, you’ve got to work for it.

Steve Haynes

What you see if you work and practice

What you see if you work and practice

Dog Summertime!

O.K. I just had to put this photo up of my Nanny’s dog Bailey. This is the epitome of how a dog should be spending it’s time this summer in the heat. Shades, Pool, and life jacket for continuous floating in the pool. I’m jealous!

This is truly a dog's life

This is truly a dog's life

Make the dog trainer happy :-))

I’ve had a lot of people pay me a lot of ways over the years, but one of today’s clients did it up right!

Here’s the setup:

A great golden retriever puppy that is 14 weeks old.
A very cool client family with 2 kids which are fantastic and work a lot with the puppy.
A lot of hard work done over the last three weeks training with the puppy.

So, after the lesson today the Mrs. says “hey, we need to pay you for the lessons, let me get the checkbook” and walks inside the house. When she comes back outside Stella (the puppy) runs over to her on the front porch and waits while she writes the check. After she finishes signing everything she rips the check out, hands it to the puppy and yells at me to call Stella over. One quick “Here” command and Stella flashes across the yard to bring me the check! No chewing, no slobber, no running off with a multi-hundred dollar check, just straight to me in that wonderful Golden Retriever “I’m doing the right thing” way. Amazing.

Now, I ask you, is that a well trained puppy or not?

So, if I can have a wonderful ending to any Monday I think this would be it. A Golden puppy running across the yard bringing me a check. That makes today a VERY good day indeed.

Steve Haynes
A very PROUD Austin dog trainer
Fidelio Dog Works

Oh my goodness, dog training brings peaceful coexistence.

Proof of the power of Place command

Well, this is proof of what can happen.

This puppy, a full bore border collie was chasing the poor cats around like crazy in the house before he learned the place command. The cats were getting a bit fed up, the people were getting a bit fed up and well, the puppy was just doing what puppies do…. which is wreak havoc.

After working on the command for about 30 minutes, this little bit of peaceful coexistence came about. Can you say happy dog/cat owner or what?!

And, just to toot my own horn a bit, here is the email I got from the owners a couple of days after the lesson.


Thank you SOOOO much!!!! I think Monty had a great time with the lessons (yay treats!). He is certainly having fun practicing with us!

We were so impressed with you that we are telling all of our friends who have dogs about you. Thank you for being so helpful and friendly…we are eternally grateful! We’ll keep you updated on his progress!

Brittany, Scott, and Monty


Once again, Place command saves the day!

Steve Haynes
Austin Dog Trainer