Meet the Canine Cast!

My goal with this course was to, whenever possible, use dogs that have never done/practiced the particular behavior we are training before, so that you could truly see what training a novice dog looks like. This poses a bit of a logistical challenge when my own personal dogs were already trained in some of these behaviors. I needed dogs that had some foundation skills (familiar with a clicker, some history of rewards-based training) so that they were ready to undertake this style of training. Time constraints also posed a challenge. We always want to keep training sessions short, working with the dogs for short 3-10 minute intervals.

To solve this problem, what I did for the bulk of the actual nose boop portion of the training is headed to a friend's place in Iowa and stayed over there for a few nights, training her novice pup throughout the day, over the course of a few days. I made that trip twice. So, when you see our friend Cork the Aussie, know that he had never done any training like this before and his sessions were done about 5 months apart.

I also borrowed friends and client's dogs for other components of this course. Because of this, you'll see multiple dogs used as examples throughout this course, sometimes showing you more than one dog at different steps of learning the behavior.

Finally, to ensure the course could be completed successfully with just the written portion of the course, I had a client and friend of mine take the full course prior to release. This means that you'll also see lots of video of Byxbee the Golden Retriever and his handler, Eve, working on various exercises throughout the course.

Having a variety of dogs demonstrate the skills outlined in the course will allow you to see how different dogs learn, as well as how to troubleshoot with different personalities and learning styles.

For some of the proofing of the behavior, you'll see my own dogs, as I needed a baseline of history of behavior before I could proof that behavior/task. Note that you and your service dog will always be in proofing mode for the rest of your dog's career. Throughout the life of the dog, you'll encounter new challenges that your dog has never had to work around or through. Much of what you'll see with my own dogs is new situations that I'm training in, or applying skills to new situations, like closing a new fridge instead of a drawer.

So, without further ado, I wanted to introduce the cast of dogs you'll see throughout this course, along with a little background on each.

I am very grateful for each one of these pups. Every dog I work with teaches me a little something, and I hope they teach you a little something in their own individual way too!


Cork is a 2 year old Australian Shepherd who lives as a pet and sport dog. Herding his giant sport ball and eating snacks are his two favorite activities.


Fig is an 8 month old Labrador Retriever, service dog in training. He's a smart and gentle soul that loves to run off-leash in the woods with his friends!

Eve & Byxbee

Throughout this course you'll see my client, Eve, and her 7 month old SDiT field-line Golden Retriever working through the training exercises. Eve trained through this entire course to make sure the instructions were beginner-friendly and replicable at home. I am very grateful for her help!

Byxbee the Golden was born for his role as a service dog, but also loves to play agility, tussle with his sister, and hike in the PNW with friends. He lives up to his retriever bloodlines and will fetch you anything you ask for!


CoolWhip is my 7.5 year old Australian Koolie and current service dog. She's a smart, sensitive, and independent soul who loves a good romp in the woods. Most days she's more cat-lemur than dog. She was not purchased to be a service dog, but I was lucky that she was able to fill the role when the need arose. She will be retiring soon, and I'll be getting a more traditional service dog breed. (And no, I would not recommend a Koolie as a service dog ;)


Jake (the OG!) is my 14+ year old Australian Cattle Dog mix. We rescued him as an adult (about 2 years old) from being tied to a deck for the first few years of his life. He was afraid of many things and had never lived in a house. Clicker training, and specifically trick training built his confidence, which is why I'm such a proponent of this style of training. He went from peeing whenever a man looked at him, to performing trick shows in front of hundreds of people. Building a positive relationship with your dog through training can be transformative!

Now that you've met the canine cast, just a couple of vocabulary words and then we're ready to get started!

Complete and Continue