Sue Pearson


Sue Pearson received a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Iowa in 1983 and a beagle named Jessie in 1986. Academia and the world of dogs collided in 1987, when Sue began teaching puppy classes and dog obedience for beginners with the local obedience club.

From 1989 to 1994, Sue developed and taught classes for pet dog owners through the local community college and in 1994, created SPOT & CO. Dog Training. SPOT & CO. promotes dog-friendly training through the use of positive reinforcement, food rewards and games.

Sue is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) and is a charter member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). She participated on an international task force charged with the development of humane training standards, and from 2001 - 2004, served as Treasurer for the APDT Board of Directors. During her tenure on the Board, she was involved in the creation of a separate Council for Certification and directed activities for the Scientific Task Force.

Sue is actively involved with training activities for dogs and volunteers at the local animal shelter in her community. She seeks to educate the public about positive training for dogs and provides demonstrations and seminars throughout the year for a variety of groups and organizations. Sue is a contributing author for “Animal Tracks” in The Iowa Source magazine and lives in Iowa City, IA with her beagle, Alex and her nearly beagle, Listenmissy.

Blog posts by Sue Pearson

Breed Haiku Challenge!

Stubborn little nose
Finds its way without a map
GPS on paws

Tri-colored and keen
Pleading eyes and happy soul
The hound of my heart

Several years ago, Jessie Beagle and I visited a veterinary specialist two hundred miles away in the Windy City. Jess was fifteen at the time, which is old by anyone’s canine standard, but she was still active and spry, and I wanted to get to the bottom of some health issues she was having. I was fortunate to find a young veterinarian in Chicago, trained at Iowa State Veterinary College. She was a spitfire from Scotland and was a good sport about her Scottish accent, amidst so many Midwesterners. She quite clearly loved animals, and had a special penchant for my old, very white beagle. For the purposes of this article, we’ll refer to her as McTavish.


Training Songs for the Musical Trainer (Sung to the The Wizard of Oz tune, "If I Only Had a Brain")

If I’d gone to puppy classes, I’d not have chewed your glasses

Or caused you such great pain

Oh I woulda been a good dog, and I coulda been a good dog

If I only had been trained.

I would not be just a nothin’, my mouth all full of stuffin’

From your new couch and chair

I’d behave – you must believe me

Don’t you know you’re s’posed to leave me
 In my crate when you’re not there.


Oh gee, I’m running free – I slipped out of the door

You can chase me but you’ll never catch me cause


Great Expectations

A few years ago, I brought an adolescent dog home from the shelter. You know the type – part beagleshepherdspaniellabrador. A robin stalking, trail sniffing animal who liked to herd birds and paddle water out of her bowl as fast as I could put it in. She was a four-legged piece of imperfection with soulful eyes and poetic ears, and while furtively stealing my socks out of the laundry basket, she also stole my heart.


Those Who Play Together, Stay Together

My dog did not come with an owner’s manual and I suspect that yours didn’t either. It’s lamentable, since most of us would probably find it helpful to have instructions on how to operate a canine in four-paw drive. How do you make it go? Does it have more than one speed? Most important, how on earth do you make it stop?!


Kids and Dogs: Parental Guidance Required

My first puppy was a memorable and life-shaping experience. Although my parents never admitted it, I suspect they finally caved in to my pleas for a puppy, when the neighbors down the street called to let them know I was spending an inordinate amount of time sitting next to their beagle, on top of his dog house. I thought he looked lonely and sad, too young to realize that beagles look this way most of the time. His name was Blaze, and I thought he was the most handsome dog I had ever seen.


Your Dog is Barking -- Are You Listening?

Two years ago on a bitterly cold February night, the terrier across the street from my father’s home began to bark uncontrollably, much to the puzzlement and consternation of her owners. In an attempt to determine what was bothering Winnie, they opened the door and let her outside, where she promptly raced across the street to my father’s garage (something she had never done before). When her owners went to retrieve her, they found my father lying on the garage floor with a broken leg.


The Outermost House

You’ve flipped through all the magazines in the waiting room, and heard the stories of countless animals as they filtered through the veterinary clinic with their owners. They arrive and leave again, bidding you good luck, and yet breathing a silent breath of relief that it is you who remain. The hours of waiting grow long when your pal of fourteen years is in the throes of an uncertain surgery. And so, you find yourself wandering the hallways, reading the numerous memorials, awards, and diplomas that paper the walls – anything to take your thoughts somewhere else for a few minutes.


Dog Friendly Training: Please Try This at Home!

My affinity for dogs was strong, unwavering, and readily apparent, by the time I was five years old. This attraction was almost certainly genetically pre-determined by generations of ancestors (including my parents) smitten with canines.




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