My Dog Buddy, May Hold the Key to Better Staff Development.

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We have had our new dog for a little more than a week. Actually, truth be told, I am pretty sure I am now living in Buddy’s house (I am actually supposed to address him as Mr. Buddy… so I am glad he isn.t much of a blog reader).

His standard of living is quite remarkable for a year and a half old unemployed Beagle.

He has been a relatively gracious host so far. More impressive is how fast he has risen to the top of the family pecking order.

It took me years of stalking to win over my wife.

Buddy shows up and in 2 minutes she is smooching on him. I don’t want to get into the sordid details of my first kiss with her, but it didn’t come in 2 minutes.

I am not as jealous of him as I am impressed.

Say what you want, but the dog has skills.

He likes the ladies and the ladies like him.

It seems like he has been part of our family for much longer than a few days. Maybe that’s because I have to get up at 5:00 am to walk him.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. Soon I will be in the best shape of my life thanks to dragging this dog around town for approximately 18 miles a day.

For the most part he has been the perfect pet. He barks about once every 2 days. He doesn’t like human food. He won’t jump on the furniture. And he walks over to the door that goes to the garage around 9:30 every night as a clear indication that he is ready for bed in his crate.

The aforementioned makes him a better housemate than my daughter. You have to force her to bed. Often times by using some sort of wrestling maneuver or headlock to drag her dead weight body towards the bedroom.

The kicking and screaming almost wakes the dog up. Notice I said almost. Buddy can literally be walking along and pass out. He is asleep before his head hits his brand new L.L. Bean bed with his name stitched on it (in his favorite color I am told).img_1404

She thinks 9:30 is way too early to go to bed. Actually, she thinks 2:00 am is too early. I have already suggested that she stay away from the early morning classes in college.

Of course, she doesn’t get up at 5 to walk her dog, so what does she care about going to bed early.

I have run into one small problem when I walk him. He won’t “turn in his homework.”

Not page #1 or page #2.

I walked him 4 miles once and he wouldn’t squat on a bet.

Originally, I thought the dog had some sort of gift.

Or 2 bladders.

Turns out neither is true.

After spending 3 days thinking about this riddle wrapped up in an enigma, I finally came to a conclusion.

He is a show dog. Actually former show dog.

They say he got kicked out of the ring because he got too big. If you ask me that is code for “dogroids”, but as always I’m not here to judge.

Although it would explain his mood swings and the ability to exercise for hours on end. Not to mention the fact that he has two shrunken… well, you get the point (if you don’t, email me).

This could be from his surgery, but who really knows in this day and age.

Training a dog can be a challenge. Untraining one is even harder.

It reminds me of teachers and staff members (the PrincipalsPage.com legal department wants it noted that I am in no way comparing teachers to dogs… or vice versa as I don’t want to insult either group).

We all have a tendency to get stuck in our ways. I include myself in this group.

Once we are trained, we stay trained.

That is why it is so important to get new employees started off on the right foot.

Part of this training should be teaching new staff members that flexibility is the key to success.

As a teacher, administrator, janitor, or secretary who works with students, we have to be willing to adjust throughout our careers.

Each new group of students (every 4 years or so) has different needs and ways of learning. We can’t expect them to respond to our methods that we may have first learned during student teaching 20 years ago.

We can’t always fight change. We have to seek it out and embrace it.

Sure it makes us nervous. And it makes our belly hurt (especially Buddy’s). And it makes it hard to get comfortable for a nap (Buddy and I).

If someone shows us a better way, our students deserve the opportunity to learn under a new progressive system that better fits their style of learning.

Sooner or later, we are all asked to try new methods. Instead of fighting it, maybe we should just “turn in our homework” the first time.

It might just help kids.

And it might save me 18 miles of walking a dog (I really wish Buddy… I mean Mr. Buddy could read this).

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9 Responses to “My Dog Buddy, May Hold the Key to Better Staff Development.”


  1. Diane
    on Apr 20th, 2009
    @ 4:19 am

    Our dog also lets us know when it’s time for him to go to bed. He goes halfway up the stairs and and stands there, looking at us and wagging his tail until someone tells him to go to bed. Which is a pile of blankets on the floor of our bedroom. He’s eaten every bed we’ve gotten for him.

    He’s an “A” student on walks. Goes #1 every three feet on average, and goes #2 at least twice. Our walks are long on time, short on distance.

    My kids are in 5th and 7th grades. They way they are taught in school is so different from the way I was taught. Except by the teachers who are old enough to have been my teachers. Change is hard for a lot of people.


  2. Dog days of staff development - HOPE Foundation
    on Apr 26th, 2009
    @ 5:21 pm

    [...] Here is one of his blog posts comparing the aspects of training his new puppy to conducting staff development.  All in good fun. [...] Click here for more about this comment… http://tinyurl.com/cs5dmr


  3. Alicia
    on May 3rd, 2009
    @ 6:55 pm

    I would be honored to be compared to the Terrier/Poodle of my youth.

    We had a hard time “training” her, but if we responded to the ways she had trained us, it was blissful!

    Would that make her a reflective learner? Knowing her strengths and needs and letting others around her know what best helped her to grow?

    I miss her terribly – always the happy wag, but not until I was off the bus and in plain view. I could learn loyalty from her !


  4. Brandi Caldwell
    on May 8th, 2009
    @ 9:46 am

    I love this article. My job involves going around and training teachers and administrators how to use new technologies and methods. I tell folks that often a room of high school teachers and administrators are a worse and less receptive audience than kindergarten kids after cupcakes. First, many teachers don’t want to be there because they have “so many other better things to do with their time”. Second, many feel that their methods are good enough, so why fix it (especially in high school where we love our content!). Speaking as a high school English teacher who is leaving the classroom after 12 years to do this full time. I have been in worthless PD workshops. My goal is to make the “Buddy’s” of the school world see two things- Change is good (and inevitable) AND The new classroom/student involves learning together and not teachers being the only keepers of information. Heck if the kids can Google the answer on their Smartphone, what do we have to offer. I hope you don’t mind if I use your article to introduce some sessions. I think it is very relevant. It make sense… at least to the “dog walker”. Thanks so much. I recommend your site often. Great job.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Brandi Caldwell, Love is a strong word.

    Especially since we don’t know each other.

    Good luck with your “new” job. And by all means use any and all of my blogs – good or bad. No charge.

    I am glad it made sense to you. Sometimes I actually read what I have written and go “What?”.

    Thanks for recommending the site. I need all the help I can get. :)


  5. Time For My Dog’s First Evaluation. | PrincipalsPage The Blog
    on May 28th, 2009
    @ 6:15 pm

    [...] We have a new dog. [...]


  6. Swine Flu. Just When Schools Thought They Had Heard of Everything. | PrincipalsPage The Blog
    on Jun 22nd, 2009
    @ 9:39 am

    [...] much scarier when it comes from an animal… I am dreading the Dog Flu next winter because all Buddy the Dog wants to do is lick me and [...]


  7. Mo Hurley
    on Jul 31st, 2009
    @ 3:00 pm

    I can’t believe this – I also have a beagle named Buddy, and he is EXACTLY the same way! How strange!


  8. Two Things That Won’t Bite: The Internet and Buddy the Dog. | PrincipalsPage The Blog
    on Sep 30th, 2009
    @ 6:52 am

    [...] Buddy the Dog (formerly owned by my evil spawn until she got tired of walking him) doesn’t bite. [...]

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