While some find training dogs rather difficult, there are always those who are rumored to be the “Dog Whisperer.” Such is the case with Megan Kueser of Chanute High School.
The sophomore filmed herself doing numerous tricks with her two dogs for the school’s online talent show last week.
The way she described the situation was she “watched a few YouTube videos on obedience and agility.” But for those who have seen the videos, it’s easy to see the CHS student has a greater understanding of animals than the normal dog owner.
“The first thing you have to figure out is if they are motivated by food or if it is toy-based,” Kueser said. “Then you train them off what they are motivated by. My larger dog (April) is motivated by food, while my smaller dog (Journey) is motivated by his toys, though it will do anything based on food rewards as well.”
Some people spend multiple years trying to train pets, while Kueser creates the Barnum and Bailey Circus in her backyard. She has a knack about how to speak to animals and how to get them to do what she wants.
She has always wanted to put her dogs in a talent show, but the quarantine provided a controlled environment.
“I don’t think the dogs feel so much pressure, because they know what they want, but I had a lot of pressure on me,” she said. “Sometimes I will take the dogs to Cleaver’s or my brother’s cross-country meets. Nearly every single time, I have people come up asking me how I get them to do what I want them to do. It takes a lot of patience; that is the best advice I can give. Find out what their motivation is and work on simple tricks.”
Kueser said after basic obedience training — such as come, sit, lie down, etc. — she then moves on to leading her dogs in circles in one direction then the other. Then she gets the dogs to walk underneath her legs using a treat or toy.
“It all started around four or five years ago, when I got my bigger dog,” she said. “I started an Instagram account for her and I asked a lot of questions. People responded and I figured out how to train her.”
While she clearly has a touch for animals, the CHS student does not see a life as a veterinarian in her future.
“I cannot see myself doing anything in the medical field. I still have not figured out what I want to do, but I can see myself training dogs part time,” she said.
She said her motivation to do what she’s doing is that dogs that learn tricks have longer and healthier lives.
“If you do some research, you will learn that if dogs are active in ways of learning tricks or their owners are just willing to spend time with them and play, they have longer, healthier lives,” she noted. “As far as teaching them tricks, it’s just having patience and having a reward-based system in place.”
To watch Kueser and her dogs in action, visit the CHS Facebook page and scroll to May 4, when the talent show video was posted. It doesn’t take long to see the sophomore’s talent.