Every Music Teacher Needs Their Own Personal “JoDog”…


This post is for dog lovers. Some of you I know are not. I take no responsibility for those of you who are not dog lovers and who read it anyway. Or who find it cheesy or juvenile. But, I will accept the compliment.

Everyone should have their own personal JoDog. Honestly, I never really liked dogs before we got ours. But, when I realized that when I saw a baby and I actually wanted to hold it, I realized it was time for me to get a dog (because I certainly wasn’t going to have another baby, as MUCH as I love and adore children in general and my son specifically, and would go through it all over again to have him). So, we got a beagle.

If anyone has a beagle, maybe they can relate to how great these dogs can be. My son wanted to name the dog “Dave” even though it is a girl dog. But he then decided that that was too masculine, so he named her “Jo”. Go figure. Still confuses people. They still call her “he”. And, since you can’t shorten “Jo”, we’ve lengthened it and call her “JoDog”. There are plenty of other things we call her, too…

JoDogThis dog (like many other dogs, I am sure) believes that she is the center of the universe and that I have piano lessons in my home just for her and her alone. When a student arrives, her butt wags back and forth so far that you think she will fling herself against the wall. Often, with her most “favorite” people (I don’t know what designates them as such, but it is usually those who have cared for her in the past when we leave town), she rolls on her side and whines and cries and is just plain pitiful. (In fact, I have also put a tag on her that says “Pitiful”.) When I interview students, often times they want me to be their teacher because, not only do I give out candy, I also have “this dog.”

I’ve found this little beagle has been a HUGE help when I teach piano lessons. When I’ve worked the kids pretty hard on a section of music, or if I can sense that they are a bit frustrated, I always give “doggy breaks”. I’ll just say, “Doggy break!” and here scurries JoDog and jumps up on the piano bench. She digs the attention.

Sometimes, just to lighten everything up, I put JoDog’s ears in a pony tail. She tolerates it, but it gives the kids a good laugh. Then, after a few minutes of them petting and oogling and googling the dog, and JoDog drinking it all in, I say, “OK JoDog, time to get down”, and she jumps off the bench and heads back to her bed, or the top of the stairs, which is her perch. She’s been loved on, had some good attention, had her endorphines stimulated to her satisfaction and can now rest.

And, the kids, once they return to their music, are refreshed and will actually play the part of the piece we were working on with major improvement. The kids have had a chance to calm down and let their subconscious brain do the work on the piece while they get their therapy from the small furry hound.

And they feel so proud. And I feel so proud. And they have a smile on their faces.

Every piano teacher should get themselves a JoDog. If you are new to the dog thing, I can help and have something called “Technical Support For Your JoDog”. Maybe I’ll post that sometime.

I think I’ll go hug my dog.

TK Goforth

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Leave A Reply (18 comments so far)

  1. Abby Connors
    6 years ago

    I’m a cat person, but I loved this article! The world would be a better place if we all took more “doggy breaks” or “kitty breaks”!

    • T.K. Goforth
      6 years ago

      Hi Abby! Thanks for the comment! I agree — those little animals sure do bring a lot of goodness…

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Jessica
    6 years ago

    Aaawwwww, that is soooooo cute!!! I don’t have a dog but I love animals in general, and I believe in their ability to help us in so many ways!

    • T.K. Goforth
      6 years ago

      Hi Jessica! I totally agree with you…animals are amazing. God knew what he was doing when he created them! I’m glad you stopped by! I’m going to swing by your blog!

  3. Steve Falter
    6 years ago

    Great post, TK. I’m also very impressed with your approach in Chord Piano Is Fun! This is actually how I teach my students, right from the start. Get them “in the groove” and feeling the music! I will definitely recommend your book to anyone I know who is interested in piano.


    • T.K. Goforth
      6 years ago

      Hi Steve! Thanks for stopping by! Isn’t that the truth? And thank you for the recommendation forward!

      God bless,


  4. Miss Leslie
    6 years ago

    LOL – love it. Maybe I’ll have to take my new dog to the studio with me. He seems to like kids, but he might be too big and scary for some of them. I also worry about allergies because when I taught at home I lost a student who was very allergic to cats. I don’t think dog allergies are as big a problem. JoDog looks so cute, and I love her pony ears. Have a great day with JoDog!

    Wishing you a song in your heart,
    Miss Leslie @ Music with Miss Leslie.com

    • T.K. Goforth
      6 years ago

      Hey, Leslie! You should try taking Bubba over there! I haven’t had any issues with allergies, yet. A few scaredies…but they got used to her pretty quick. I love the poney dog ears, too…

      See you soon and enjoy your new “boy”!

  5. Andy Nathan
    6 years ago

    I am a dog fan with 4 cats. We have many unusual names for our cats as well, including one which we alternatively name Schweinie, Whiney, and The Dog. Another one we call Z, Georgina, and The Panda. Plus two other cats with a various list of names.

    • T.K. Goforth
      6 years ago

      Hey, Andy — that’s hilarious. Sometimes more is more when it comes to animal names. We call JoDog, “Body Wagger”, “Jacknife Jo”, “Pickle Dog”, “Stink Dog”, “Getoutathekitchen Dog”, “Snack Dog”, “Pitiful”, amongst others. She’ll come to anything as long as you have a snack.

      P.S. Why “The Panda?”

  6. Bob Woody
    6 years ago

    TK – What a fun read this was for me. I literally laughed out loud at the picture of JoDog’s ears in a ponytail! And I really think that this can contribute positively to the learning that goes on in your lessons. I’m not especially familiar with it, but I believe there is a growing body of research supporting the efficacy of animal-assisted therapy (aka pet therapy). I’m a dog lover so I’m biased, but I love the idea!

    • T.K. Goforth
      6 years ago

      Haha! Thanks, Bob! She cracks me up everytime I do that to her. I have to agree regarding the animal therapy — I know that with my students, the little dog sure calms them down. Thanks again for visiting!

  7. I love that story and I would love for you to write a guest post on From Pup to Dog

    Just let me know when it’s ready!

    • T.K. Goforth
      6 years ago

      Would love to, Carolee! Just let me know what I need to do!

  8. This is soooooooo cute. I have 2 cats but now i think i should have a dog too. very nice blog. This is really interesting.

I’m glad you came to visit!

My name is T.K. Goforth, also known as the "Chord Piano Chick." I am a musician, song-writer, music teacher and author of "Chord Piano Is Fun!" I am also a wife, mom, and a chick who enjoys life.

I also LOVE teaching others. To see my students embrace music through the keyboard gives me great satisfaction. Music is God's greatest gift to mankind, and through it we can find humor, relaxation, healing, and connection with God and others. And, I believe it should be fun!

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