Dog Graduate #1

Meet some of my 4-legged students helping me become certified in dog training. Lovable nine month old Boonaoom graduated this week with flying colors, literally. In the beginning, she would climb up on a chair and use it as a doggie diving board to sail over the training area’s four foot high corral. This sweet-sixty-pounds-of-fun taught me the importance of communicating in ways an audience can understand. Under the guidance of Carrie (the Yoda of all dog trainers) I’ve found the job of dog trainer to be more of a translator between the dog and pet parents. When they learn each other’s language, both walk away feeling closer, which leads to a better relationship. So, since I relate everything to writing (or Star Wars…or Seinfeld…or Harry Potter), I have to share the similarities I’ve noticed between dog training and writing for young people:

  • Don’t just say they are a “good dog.” SHOW it with action. Rub their chest. Scratch their ears (the dogs, not the readers). For a character, don’t just say “Josh is a nice guy.” Have him give half of his favorite sandwich to a new kid who forgot his/her lunch.
  • Be clear. If you mean “sit” then say “sit.” Don’t sayrest on one’s behind.”
  • If you want your dog (or reader) to walk with you— don’t get sidetracked. Keep moving. Stay on the path (plot). Sure, those trees need sniffing, but save that for play time (random thoughts that don’t need to go on the walk, I mean, in the story).
  • Treats must be earned. They (dogs or characters) cannot have all they want given to them; they need to work for it.
  • Establish trust. If you promise treats (answers) in the end, you’d better follow through.

Other works-in-progress (dogs who are revising their behavior: cutting out parts that do not show their sweet character while adding ones that do):

Audacious Aubrey

Rock-em sock-em Rocky

Lovable Lady Gaga


Cuddle Me Cali

Back-up-off-me Bandit

Written on August 1st, 2012 , Uncategorized Tags: , ,
Debbie Emory

Writing humorous fiction infused with death, dysfunction, and dads.