Sue’s Dogs

About Scuba

Turnabout Scuba at Dragonair

About Scuba


Canadian Kennel Club

Champion, Companion Dog, Draft Dog, Herding Started (sheep), Canine Good Neighbour

Portuguese Water Dog Club of America

Working Water Dog

Canadian Association of Rally Obedience

Rally Advanced cum laude

American Kennel Club

Novice Agility Jumpers, Canine Good Citizen

Temperament Testing Associates

Temperament Tested

Scuba was a black and white wavy-coated Portuguese Water Dog.

Heart Dog.

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
— Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Scuba. What an amazing person she was. She introduced me to the wonders of force-free training and the amazing communication that is possible using a clicker. Literally changed the direction of my life. So many amazing things she told me, fascinating questions she asked me, facts beyond my imagination she explained to me. I was afraid of the day when I would lose her, but terrified that I would never have another dog whose brain came close to hers. Was it all her? Or all the training? Turns out it was both, thank goodness! I thank her every day for the insights she gave me into the minds and lives of all the dogs who have followed her.

“I’ll never forget Scuba and her wonderful problem-solving at a seminar in WA state.

Sue had cued her to pick up items on the floor and put them into a large-sized paper grocery bag sitting near the objects. Scuba dutifully picked up each item and put it in the bag. While putting in one of the items, one side of the bag became folded into the bag. Scuba next tried to put in an empty plastic water bottle but she couldn’t because the opening was totally covered by the folded-over side of the bag. She tried several times but the bottle just rolled back to the floor. Finally she picked up the bottle and took it to Sue. Amazing!! Problem solved. Let Sue deal with it. 🙂 The audience loved it and I tell that story often to illustrate the fun of living with a thinking dog.”

— Helix Fairweather


“Scuba and I were filling in for another speaker at a Service Dog conference. The question was “how would you train a dog to go and get another person if, say, you needed help?’ 

Wo. I have no idea! Never did that! Scuba certainly doesn’t know that!

Thinking on the fly, I set up a helper on the other side of the room and sent Scuba to touch her hand. Every time Scuba touched her hand, the helper took a step or two towards me and then stopped. Every time the helper stopped, I cued Scuba to touch her hand again. When the helper finally got close enough to me, I got VERY excited, shook her hand, gave Scoob a dozen treats and petted her exuberantly.

Set it up again and did the same thing.

The third time, Scuba went and touched the helper’s hand and started back toward me. When the helper stopped, Scuba turned without another cue, glared at her, poked her hand, and pointedly walked toward me, staring at the helper and obviously expecting her to follow.

‘Timmy’s in the well, dumbo! Follow me!’

The third time I sent her, she knew the job. What an amazing person she was!”

“One of my favorite memories of Scuba is of an event that occurred when Sue was giving private lessons at my house after a weekend clinic here in Butte, Montana. Sue was downstairs in the training room with a student, closed off by a baby gate at the top of the stairs. Scuba was upstairs with me. I came around the corner into the entry hall to see Scuba very carefully carrying a brand new loaf of bread, which she had liberated from the kitchen counter, from the kitchen into the living room. She was tiptoeing, if dogs can be said to tiptoe, and hadn’t even harmed the wrapper. Of course, she willingly returned the loaf of bread to me, unscathed, although she did give me a last hopeful look before doing so.”

— Pam Kaye, Montana

Hi Sue, I am so sorry your friend Scuba has crossed the bridge. The only bad thing about dogs is they can’t stay with us long enough.

I met you and Scuba maybe 10 years ago at a service dog training seminar in Orlando FL. I was completely new to dog training and had no idea about clickers, or much of anything else actually. I was totally amazed at Scuba, her willingness to work, her ability to stay in the game and her sense of humor. You were trying to get her to do something with a chair. For some reason, it was turned over on the floor. Silly Scuba jumped it and got us laughing. You could see by her expression, she knew she had us. What ever you were training went out the window. She jumped back and forth, looking expectantly for laughs every time. I have always had dogs and loved dogs, but until then, I didn’t know dogs could be trained in a way that cultivated their intelligence. I totally underestimated them and their ability to expand their minds to interact with us.

That seminar and most specifically those moments watching Scuba changed how I viewed dogs and dog training. New to the business/sport, I was moldable. I hated punishment but didn’t know about clickers and motivation. I do now! I try to show everyone that dogs can work for fun and pleasure, not simply to avoid pain. All dogs should have a chance to work like Scuba worked for you, with sheer joy!” 

— Cissy Sumner, CPDT-KA