Training a Q-Tip

We received so many terrific questions and story ideas after our New Year’s post and have promised to address those questions over the coming weeks. One of those questions related to our comment about Qannik getting into the wrong crate and what happened next. So let’s focus on training a Q-Tip.

Let's talk about me.
Me! Let’s talk about me!

Qannik is as lovable and cuddly as he looks – a strong muscular body wrapped in a thick layer of fluffy, soft fur. When Hu-dad curls up on the couch to read a book, Q-tip is the most likely dog to volunteer to be a pillow. He loves meeting new people and new dogs and has a sense of utter glee about every adventure of the day, even if that is as simple as a walk down our road like we do most every day.

When we kick off the Second Annual Valentines Hearts for the Herd next week (yes, you read that right – we’re back!), we will give you more background on all of the dogs, including Qannik. Long-time readers know that his early life was not great, but somehow he came through that with a happy-go-lucky spirit that just makes us smile.

Well, mostly. You see, one of Q-‘s challenges, is that he never learned dog language that is developed in the first several weeks from mom and litter mates, and throughout the formative puppy years with lots of socialization. Many dogs that don’t have that proper socialization become fearful or aggressive; Qannik just became bouncy and unaware of boundaries.

Q is in my space
Hu-dad! Qannik is in my space again!

The other challenge for the Q is that he, er, um, well, lacks a certain ability to solve logic issues. Ok, fine, he is not the brightest star in the sky. He isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. His antenna doesn’t pick up all of the channels. He is a few fruit loops shy of a bowl. Enough, already. You get the idea (but feel free to share your favorite similar expression in the comments below).

We caught him one day when a piece of food fell out of his bowl (Q believes firmly in eating everything – and we mean everything). Unfortunately, in his chase to eat the errant tidbit, he flipped his bowl on top of the missing food. He was totally perplexed how to find it. When Hu-dad lifted the bowl for him, he was ecstatic. Natasha just shook her head.

Another day, he stood on the outside of a partially opened door and couldn’t figure out how to push it further open.

Every night . . . every single night . . . Q and all of the rest of The Herd are turned out for final bathroom break before bedtime (everyone sleeps inside for safety). Every night . . . every single night . . . as all dogs are running inside, Hu-dad asks Q if he remembered to go to the bathroom. Every night . . . every single night . . . the light bulb comes on, Q-Tip turns around, races to the yard, and pees. Then he comes inside quite pleased with himself. Every night. Every single night.

So we mentioned the other day that Qannik is the only member of The Herd who gets into the wrong crate. A simple “wrong crate” from the Hu-dad and Q races to the right crate. Well, at least he races to another crate and sometimes it is the right one. Otherwise, we just repeat the process until he gets it right.

The rest of The Herd has long learned to just show a little patience, and our fluffy boy will eventually get it right.

There is a reason I am cute
There is a reason I am cute.

P.S. – Qannik’s best, most reliable “trick” is getting into the Jeep seat belt. Each member of The Herd has a spot in the Jeep and races for it when Hu-dad says Jeep. Q will sit in his spot with his right leg raised until Hu-dad slips on the first part of the seat belt – and then lift his left leg for the rest of the seat belt.


  1. Cheryl on December 3, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    He was just CUTE as a “puppy” and just got CUTER as he grew up!! I started following the herd when Qtip was a grown up, I never knew about the wrong cage!! Funniest thing I’ve seen today!!

  2. Shari on December 2, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Qannik will always, always have my heart. I miss him so much!

  3. Nicole Tester on December 2, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    I miss the old house and the girls. thanks for reposting.

  4. Karen on December 2, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    I just saw the part on the email where we can request a classic post… The one I would LOVE to read again is re Nikita. Where she was such an escape artist and all of the things you had to do to keep her in the fence. I STILL laugh when I think about her thanking you for the massage collar…such a typical, misbehaving, hardheaded husky.

    (…Well, the misbehaving and hardheaded doesn’t apply to Typhoon of course. He’s a little angel!)

    AND the story when you first got Cheoah. Loading her into the jeep. With all of the other dogs, including Kiska. And the ensuing, uhm, disagreement that followed.

    Any of the stories about Natasha and Typhoon. Her affection towards him.

    I will stop – for now.

  5. Karen on December 2, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Love this so much!!!

  6. HokiePack on December 2, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Oh cutie pie Q, love seeing his happy go lucky face. Can you imagine what he and Boom would be like together? Bouncy, Bouncy everywhere!

  7. Sally-Ann on December 2, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    A sandwich short of a picnic – loved Q-tip and loving the little insights

  8. JoCindy on December 2, 2020 at 10:13 am

    What a perfect story to kick off Way Back Wednesday! We participated in the Valentines Fund Raisers. This was my favorite story from that time. As someone said already, it is like Q-Tip was part of our family too. ❤️

  9. Ann Foose on December 2, 2020 at 9:18 am

    The blue eyes and the pink nose brought tears to my eyes. I loved that dog as if he were my own and I sure miss him. Enjoyed reading the comments from readers of years past. Please keep this as an occasional feature.

  10. Billie Borron on December 2, 2020 at 8:53 am

    I’ve come to realize that sometimes the happiest puppies have a screw missing somewhere. Miss the fluffy Q-tip and his antics. Thank you for this memory!

  11. Padma Bending on December 2, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Love this story. What lovely memories of a wonderful husky.

  12. Jeanee T on December 2, 2020 at 7:23 am

    I often think of the Q-Tip, Lady Kiska, & my favorite red-head. It’s funny how we get attached, like we know them. I really do miss their antics.

  13. Blueberry's human on January 8, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Bahahaha – sounds like he is quite the clown!

  14. Lori on January 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Perhaps Q is the “blonde” of your group! You can see the smile on his face every time you take his picture!

  15. Shari on January 6, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    I agree with Wild Dingo – Q is Einstein, and a time thief. He has you exactly where he wants you. He is just adorable and the rest of the herd just has to deal with it.

  16. Wild Dingo on January 6, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    I’m not buying his act. Sometimes a dog will act dumb as a rock just to get attention. I think Juno does that at times. For reals. I think he’s brilliant. We’re just too stupid to see his brilliance. 😉

  17. Murphy's Mom on January 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    You could have a lot of fun trying this with each dog! The Doggie IQ test…

  18. rottrover on January 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    “One taco short of a combination plate.” I really enjoy reading more about Mr. Q!

  19. Mom 'n Ice on January 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Maybe Q isn’t as “scatter-brained” as he’d like you to think. Maybe this is all part of his strategy to stay in your focus!

  20. Sam on January 6, 2015 at 9:44 am

    There has to be one in every crowd!

    Monty and Harlow

  21. holly on January 6, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I think you are just sweet and beautiful!

  22. houndstooth4 on January 6, 2015 at 8:58 am

    We just say that Morgan puts the nuts in fruitcake!

    I’ve been a fan of Q since I started reading your blog, eons ago, and part of me wonders if some of his antics aren’t just that he has you trained to let him stay up just a little past bedtime…

  23. Lisa on January 6, 2015 at 6:59 am

    What a sweet sweet boy! My Tillysue was what I referred to as my “special” child or my goofy chick! She gave me so many smiles with her quirkyness! Gotta love em!!

  24. Amy on January 6, 2015 at 6:46 am

    “Half a bubble off plumb.” What a sweet dude, though.

  25. Denise Pringle on January 6, 2015 at 6:39 am

    a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock

  26. jane on January 6, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Aww what a sweetheart. Who could resist that face? We all can’t be smart. If we were, there wouldn’t be smart. That’s ok because you don’t have to be, to be appreciated and make people happy and that’s all that matters. You just keep being your gorgeous self. Hugs and kisses to the herd.

  27. Zoe Draughon on January 6, 2015 at 5:27 am

    A few cards short of 52
    But seriously to be that beautiful you need some small flaw. I have a question which of the herd is he most likely to have issues with due to his poor doggie socialization and which member is most tolerant?

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