Let’s Play: Find it!

Find it! is Tank’s favorite game in the.entire.world. It turns out that it is a great training exercise as well! In find it, dog’s use their nose to locate a hidden toy or treat. It’s an excellent way to begin nosework and can build confidence in dogs!  This is another great idea for a game to play with kids and dogs. Here’s how to start:

Step 1: Which hand? Find it
Start with a treat in one fist, but not the other. Offer both fists to your dog and say “Find it”.When he nudges the fist with the treat, reward him with another treat! Try practicing by switching hands. When your dog catches on, you’re ready to play the next part of this game.
Step 2: Basic Find it
With your dog nearby, “hide” a treat in plain sight. Say “Find it!” If your dog runs to you, show him your open hands. If you spent enough time on the first step, your dog should start looking for the treat right away! If not, go ahead and practice the first step again. Once you are confident that your dog understands the cue “find it”, you can start to make the game more challenging. Try hiding a treat or toy in a single room. Let your dog watch you “hide” the item at first. Always try to set your dog up for success. If they are struggling to find the item after looking, help point them in the right direction!
Continue reading

Kids & Dogs: Keep It Safe! – Part 2

In my previous post, Kids & Dogs: Keep It Safe! – Part 1, I discussed a number of things kids (and adults!) should never do for the happiness and safety of our entire families. It’s time to take a positive spin and discuss fun activities that give kids an opportunity to safely play with pets.
Kids constantly astound me with their brilliance, patience, and almost natural knack for dog training. I’ve seen it develop confidence in even the shyest of children. With adult supervision, kids can help teach their best friend basic obedience cues and even tricks! “Sit” is a great place to start, especially if your dog already knows how to sit.
If your dog doesn’t know sit:
First, demonstrate these steps for your child. Children often learn best by doing!
1) Put a treat in your right hand. Let your dog smell your hand.
2) Slowly move your hand upwards so that your dog’s head follows. As your dog’s head goes up, his bottom will go down!
3) Do not worry about saying “sit”. After your dog reliably responds to this hand signal, you can add the word “sit” but remember – only say “sit” once.
Tips to remember:
  •  Make sure treats are held in closed fists held against the body to prevent treat snatching and remind children to give treats with flat, open hands.
  • Show children that they need to practice with slow movements.
  • Be patient with your child and dog and offer both lots of praise!

Kids and dogs know that training is really a game! Children in particular are amazed at their new found skills! Try other basic cues such as down or paw next!

Kids can do an awesome job teaching dogs to come when called as long as they remember one rule: Never chase your dog. Have your child call your dog while running the opposite direction for a few feet. Your dog will undoubtedly follow! Have your children deliver a treat (with a flat, open hand) as soon as the dog comes to them! Later, this can even be used to help teach your dog to fetch!
Hide and Seek
In this game, your child is the “hider” and your dog is the “seeker”. Instruct your child to find a hiding place. After a few seconds, let your child call the dog. They will giggle with delight when the dog finds them!
Find it
Find it is Tank’s favorite game. We play by hiding a treat or toy and then telling Tank to “Find it!”. I start by telling him to “stay” for this but you could easily keep your dog busy while the child hides the item. After your child has hidden the item, tell your dog “Find it” and off he will run in search of good things! If you need more help playing find it, check out my post here.

Kids & Dogs: Keep It Safe! – Part 1

It’s 1986.  My parents (who don’t even like dogs) let me “play doggie” and share a drink with this big ol’ dog! They tell me it happened so fast yet someone had the time to get out a camera… Fishy… Cute photo? Sure looks cute. You can’t help but assume it’s where I started my career as a dog trainer. Except…

Except it wasn’t and dangerous isn’t cute. Our job as parents is to keep those we love safe. Once you learn the rules and how to tell if your dog is stressed, you can do everything in your power to prevent dog bites!
The first in my list of rules for child & dog safety starts here. It will be easy for you to implement and follow these new rules once you learn a few tips.

Continue reading

Finding the Right Dog Trainer for YOU

Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 8.14.31 AMChoosing a dog trainer can seem like a daunting task! What’s with the alphabet soup after my name? How do I know which trainer is the right fit for me? How will they treat my dog? Just a few of the questions to ask before hiring a professional dog training. Read on to learn what other questions to ask!

I’ve been there guys. I’ve been delighted to have met some wonderful trainers along the way. I’ve also been taken for a ride, with well known trainers, that definitely set back my dog’s progress. If I could do it all over again, here’s exactly what I’d do!

I’d start with some alphabet soup. You’ll notice I list CPDT-KA after my name. That means I have been awarded the Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed ccpdt-logo-stacked-web-lgcertificate by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Choosing an independently certified trainer like myself means you are choosing a trainer who was evaluated by an independent body – not a school that may profit from “certifying” students. Finding a certified trainer is easy!

Visit CCPDT.ORG to find a certified trainer near you!

The next part can be a little trickier. Ask a lot of questions and use your gut. Here’s the first 3 questions you should ask a trainer. I’ll post my answers below for comparison.

1) What happens when my dog gets it right?

A positive reinforcement, science based trainer like me will reinforce good behavior. That may mean handing out yummy treats, playing with a favorite tug toy, or praise and petting. I have a number of positive reinforcers in my toolbox! I focus on teaching our dogs behaviors we want them to do (using positive reinforcement) so they learn manners. 

2) What happens when my dog gets it wrong?

Absolutely nothing! When our dogs make mistakes, it likely means we made a mistake. Next time around, we may work harder to set our dogs up for success by reducing distractions in the environment or using better reinforcers like yummier treats! Try exercising your dog before training sessions to prevent bad behavior!Again, my toolbox is full of ways to help your dog get it right the first time around!
A note: Some trainers may respond to this question by suggesting the use of punishment. If so, run for the hills. There is no need for punishment if you set your dog up for success.

3) Is there a less aversive method?

This would be a question to ask if you were speaking with a trainer that uses force and punishment to train. If a trainer uses these techniques, there is always a less aversive way! Be extra cautious if the trainer uses words like “alpha” or “dominant” in their answers. These theories were debunked many years ago and may be a sign that they are not up to date.

Check Online Reviews like Google

google reviews

By taking the time to read reviews from different trainers, you have the opportunity to get to know a trainer before even talking with them. Be sure to read both the positive and negative reviews. Sometimes the positive reviews are so vague that they aren’t helpful. Sometimes the negative reviews aren’t bad at all, sometimes they are truly terrible. Know that business owners simply can not edit, delete, or change comments in any way. All a business owner can do is reply. Look for a trainer that replies to comments and communicates well. 

You can view my reviews on Google by visiting Andrea Kutzko Dog Training on Google.

Grill the Trainer

Keep asking questions! Here’s a few examples, with my quick responses.

Be sure you ask about the following:

Certification: I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). I have been certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. I have been certified since 2015.

Experience: I worked with a number of professional trainers prior to opening Andrea Kutzko Dog Training. In 2014, I began training professionally. I have earned

Ask about pricing!


  • Single Hour Session ($75): One hour of time tailored to your dog’s training needs and goals in your home. Includes 15 minute pre-session phone consultation and follow up e-mail with instructions, additional resources, and email support.
  • Package of Four Single Hour Sessions ($250):  Purchase this package and save $50! Stay committed with private one hour lessons in your home. Families can learn so much in 4 lessons! It’s what I highly recommend. With that said, there’s never any pressure to buy a package and you can start a package whenever works best for your life! Includes a 15 minute pre-session phone consultation, follow up e-mail with further instructions, additional resources, and email support.

Don’t expect a trainer to spend more than 10 minutes or so on the phone before scheduling your appointment. Take that time to ask as many questions as you can!

So you’ve done a little research and think you’ve found a great trainer.Wonderful! The trainer answered all the questions right. Does that mean that you’ve found “the one”? Hopefully so!  There’s still a few more things you should discuss. First, does the trainer 11060469-give-me-fiveoffer a guarantee? That’s a big no-no. There are too many variables to offer guarantees in dog training!  Consider if the trainer was patient and thorough when answering your questions. Make sure that they have availability that works with your schedule. You need to feel comfortable with this person and I would leave that last detail up to your gut!

Leave a comment! Tell us how this article helped you find the right dog trainer for you and your family!