Children Ask the Trainer

All About Dogs:  Kids Ask the Darndest Things.

Is anyone old enough to remember the Art Linkletter television show, called “Kids Ask the Darndest Things?”  Some of those moments were truly precious — and some, rather embarrassing (especially for the poor parents watching).  I’m happy to say that the questions we have received will not embarrass anyone, but they do reflect the charm and wonder of children.  They are answered by our training expert and the director of All About Obedience, Pat Brown-John.

Dear dog trainer,
I am 9 years old and want to ask an important question.  I have a dachshund doggie I love very much.  Her name is Twinkles.  We got her from the shelter near our house.  She was very tiny when we got her.  I have had her 4 months and really love her.  But there is a really big problem.  She hates the rain.  When I put on her leash and we take a walk she is very happy to go outside and do her things, like pee and stuff.  But if there is rain she shivers like she sees a ghost and won’t do it outside.  When I give up and we go back to our apartment, she does pee and poop on our carpet.  My mom says that has to stop or we have to get rid of her.  I don’t want to give up Twinkles.  I love her very much.  Except for the rain, she is a really good dog.  She sleeps with me.  Thank you and please help.

Maddie R.
Portland, Oregon

p.s.  It rains a lot here so I need an answer quick please.


Dear Maddie,

Twinkles is a very lucky dog to have such a thoughtful and loving owner.

Here is what I would do.  Every time you take Twinkles outside tell her “go pee”.  When she pees or poops give her a treat.  It needs to be something she really likes.  Tell her she’s a good girl.

Do this in any weather.  She will soon see that she gets a treat every time she does her business outside. If she doesn’t do her business outside, bring her back into the apartment and put her into a crate.  Dogs don’t like to mess in their own crates.  Take her out again in an hour.

Note: She only gets a treat when she does her business outside.  One treat for pee and one for poop.

Don’t expect this problem to be fixed in a day but if you keep working on it every day you should see a big difference in a week.

Good luck,
Pat Brown-John


Dear Ms. Dog Trainer,

After lots of begging, I finally got a dog.  He is a husky.  He is real smart and already does all kinds of things like sit and stay.  Everyone is very impressed because he is still a puppy.  He is really smart. Although he is a real good dog, sometimes he does not listen to me or does something bad.  Like he ate a pillow that was on my dad’s chair.  My dad was mad.  Sometimes he does not come back to me when I call Come, Come, Come.  When he is bad I take a newspaper, roll it up and smack him.  But my friend says that is wrong.  He says I must never use a newspaper.  He says I must hit him with my hand.  Will you please tell who is right?  This is a good dog and I want to do the right thing.

Thank you very much.

Donald S., 8 years old
Cleveland, Ohio

Hello Donald,

Thank you for writing a very important question.  I’m sure you are not the only person who has had the same problems with their dog.

The Husky is a beautiful dog who was bred to run.  He will require a lot of exercise or he will become more and more naughty.  A dog that doesn’t get exercise will find another way to release energy, chewing, digging, barking etc.

I don’t believe we should hit our dogs with a paper or with our hands.  I don’t like to see a dog that cowers when the owner raises his hand. If you are calling your dog and he doesn’t come back for some minutes, and then he comes back and you get mad at him, for sure the next time he will stay away longer.  Instead, when you are walking with him on leash tell him, “Come.” When he gets to you be very happy with him–rub him and scratch his back and tell him how good he is.

Do this a few times on leash before trying it off leash in the house or in the yard.  Even if it takes him a little while to remember, when he comes to you be very happy.

It might be good for you and your dad to take your dog to an obedience class.  Even though your dog already knows how to do some obedience exercises, doing them around other dogs will be a challenge for him.  Go without the dog the first time to see if they are doing the kind of training you want to do. If your dog is getting lots of exercise and he is using his brain by learning, he probably won’t be so destructive.

Good luck Donald,
Pat Brown-John (Ms. Dog Trainer)

Dear Trainer,
I have a question. My mom says she will agree to what you say.  We are going to have a new baby brother or sister.  But I would like to have a dog instead.  My mom says a dog could hurt the baby because it would get jealous.  Babies need a lot of attention. So that’s why the dog would be jealous and hurt the baby.  Is that true?  Would a dog hurt a baby?

Nicolas B. – Age 9
Bakersfield, CA


Dear Nicolas,

First of all congratulations on your new brother or sister.  As a big brother you will have a lot of responsibilities, helping your mom and making sure the new baby has someone to talk to and you will have to share the ways of the world. It’s a big job but who better than you to take it on?

For your mom, the baby will be a lot of work and she will be tired.  Adding a new dog to the mix might just be a bit too much at this time.  I do believe that you should have a dog but if you could wait, perhaps for a year, you would be in a better position to take on the extra work needed to properly take care of a dog.

Believe me, it is a lot of work looking after a dog if you’re going to do a good job.  Here is a list of some of the things you will need to take care of for a dog:

  • He must be fed twice a day
  • He has to have fresh water in his bucket outside
  • He’ll need brushing every day if he is going to live in the house
  • A bath every six weeks will keep him smelling good
  • Nails will need trimming
  • A good walk at least twice a day
  • Pick up poop from the yard, along walk route
  • Fix damage that he does (dog do damage!)
  • Teach him manners: come, down,sit, stay,walk on the leash without pulling, and more . . .

I’m not trying to discourage you from getting a dog Nicholas; I just want you to understand that dogs need care too, and with school, big brother duties and a dog, you might get too tired to do a good job with the dog.  A dog will give you so much love and companionship that you don’t want it to be a chore looking after him.

When you are ready for a dog I would suggest looking at the ASPCA for a mid-size, calm, well balanced dog with good temperament.  That means when you see him he isn’t hiding or peeing or putting his tail between his legs but also not being so excited that he can’t settle down.  The dog that is sitting at the fence looking at you while wagging his tail is one I would look at.  Take him for a little walk to see if he is going to fit in with your family.

Best of luck, Nicholas,
Pat Brown-John

Our training expert, Pat Brown-John, is a five-time Canadian Schutzhund champion, with multiple national and international titles, spanning a dog-training career of more than 30 years.  We are extremely fortunate that a trainer of this caliber has joined our blog. Periodically, we will post some of her thoughts and tips to help people with pets as well as service dog owners.  She is an invaluable resource.     

To contact us:  If you have a child or student who wishes to ask our expert dog trainer, write to us at:  Include the full name of the child and age, city and state.  (The last name of the child will not be published.) reserves the right to edit questions or comments for clarity, context and length.

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3 Responses to Children Ask the Trainer

  1. Patti Cole January 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pat’s replies to the children. Her words were gentle and her message was clear and concise.

  2. Samm January 31, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    I loved the stories. Brings back memories from my childhood. And yes, I remember
    Art Linkletter. Am I really that “old”.

  3. Dirk Peterson January 31, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Hi Dr. B

    Great stuff you are doing and very good tips on dog care from the trainer. Have a great upcoming trip. Marty gets up early and it is fun to see him at the gym.


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