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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Apollo | Pitbull | Pasadena, CA | In-Training

Meet Apollo! He is an eight month old Pitbull who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Apollo is here for basic obedience, jumping to greet, leash pulling, and crate training. He is a very mellow pup and is very friendly around people and other dogs. Apollo is bright, and he needs some structure to his obedience. He will not listen to his recall unless there are treats involved, and he has a tendency of jumping and nipping when he gets excited. Over the next fourteen days, Apollo will be working on his behavior and be set up for success, with the hopes of becoming a well behaved pup. Check in to see his progress!


Apollo and I spent the day getting to know each other at a local park. We went for a walk, and he automatically walked on my right side, so when I begin working on his recall, I will have him Sit on my right. Apollo does pull on his leash, and there were a few times in which he fell a little behind. By applying slight pressure on his leash, along with verbal encouragement, I was able to begin working on Heel. This technique consists of having Apollo walk next to me on my right side. Anytime he went ahead of me, I would turn and walk in the opposite direction, and guide him back towards me. He is understanding the concept, but he still needs a little more practice, so Heel will now be implied on every walk we go on from here on out.


Apollo and I worked on his recall today which is known as Come to Sit. This technique consists of having Apollo come towards my left, wrap around behind me, and Sit on my right. To teach Apollo, I used leash tension to guide him have towards me and to go behind me. Once he ended up behind me, there were a few times that he would stop there and go into a Sit. To keep Apollo from doing so, I switched the leash to my right hand, took two steps forward, and continued to help him follow through with a Sit on my right. I am also giving him more slack on his leash, in order to practice his recall with his sister Aries, as I will try and have both of them wrap around behind me, with Aries being on the inside of the turn. Apollo was having some trouble when it came down to his Sit, as he would Sit away from me and a little to the side. I will continue to work on it with him, by using walls in ninety degree angles to serve as barriers, so that he may have a better Sit.


Apollo and I worked on Place today. This technique can serve great purpose whenever guests are over, and it can be of great use anytime there is a knock on your door. Similar to Aries, Apollo was also hesitant when trying to get onto an object. To assist him into getting on, when I introduced Apollo to the object, I jumped onto the object myself, and gave him some verbal encouragement to build a little confidence in him. He then placed his front paws on the park bench we were working on, which was rewarded with praise. Apollo and I repeated the exercise a few more times, and he slowly began to climb up on the object, which boosted his confidence a little more. I will continue to practice with him, by introducing him to different textures and surfaces. By remaining consistent with repetition, and by keeping it positive, it will help Apollo overcome his hesitation and it will continue to build his confidence which is an important part of his training.


Apollo and I worked on Down today. This can be one of the most difficult techniques to teach a dog considering it being a submissive position to a dog. To teach Apollo, I used two different leash tension methods. The first one consisted of applying leash tension with my hand, and guiding him towards the floor. The second method consisted of placing my foot over the leash, and applying tension with my foot to guide him down as well. He did very well with both methods when there were no distractions around, so I gave him some exposure and practiced it around dog distractions. Apollo was hesitant and unsure due to the pups around him, but by remaining patient, he was able to work through it. I applied both methods while working on the exercise, and I will continue to gradually increase distractions as we move along to make him more comfortable.


Apollo and I went over what he has learned so far in his Program. He is doing well with his Heel as well as his Place. Where he is still having some trouble is with his Down and his Come to Sit. We have worked with barriers to have a closer Sit, and he has made an improvement at doing so. What he was having trouble with, was his ability to come all the way around and Sit on my right. Apollo would come towards my left and would then stop and Sit behind me. I worked on correcting his behavior by taking two steps forward, and guiding him towards me with leash tension. He was also being very stubborn with his Down and did not want to do it. I remained patient with him and kept resetting him anytime he sat up. I applied both hand and foot methods once again, and after a few attempts, Apollo then began to follow through. I will continue to work on these exercises a little more at home, as he will soon begin working in a more public setting.


Apollo and I worked on his Down a little more at home. He is making an improvement, and performs the behavior in a comfortable environment. I took him out to a public setting and it took him some time to adjust to his surroundings. He was a little nervous and hesitant, which led to Apollo not wanting to work. To get him to work, I had to motivate him by using verbal encouragement, and walking backwards at a faster pace to increase his energy as I call him towards me. Once I got Apollo going, he began to follow through with his behaviors. Always keep in mind to motivate your pup and bring that energy out when it feels like they are not going to want to work. It can make a big difference, and always be sure to reward them with lots of praise or even a treat here and there. Your affection and/or high value treats are their paycheck after a job well done.


Apollo and I worked in a more public setting around people distractions. Throughout our walk in the area, Apollo was a little nervous and it took him some time to adjust to his surroundings, but by remaining next to me on our walk, he began to get more comfortable. Once in a relaxed state, Apollo and I worked on his stationary positions by increasing distance and duration. Anytime I asked him to Sit, Place, or Down, as soon as I took a step back, he almost instantly came out of his position. To correct his behavior, whenever he made an intent to get up as I stepped away, I would immediately move forward in front of him and remind him to remain in the position that I asked him to. Once he understood what was being asked of him, anytime he followed through, I released him with a “Break,” and reward him with lots of praise. He is still a little nervous, but I will do my best to work him through it.


Apollo and I went out for a walk around the neighborhood and worked on his Heel and Down with his leash dragging. He did very well as he continues to make an improvement with his Down, which was much better today as Apollo worked on it without any leash tension. Like Aries, Apollo also has trouble with his recall but I am working on it with him to get it cleaned up. In the coming days, Apollo and I will be working on all of his behaviors this way to get him ready to be an off leash pup.


Apollo and I worked on his recall a little more today. I began with a couple of reps holding his leash, but not putting any tension on it, unless he needed some assistance, in which I would then guide him through it. A few times into the exercise, Apollo would stop behind me and not fully Sit on my right, and that is when I would use leash tension to assist him into his position. After a few more tries, he then began to work through it on his own, so I was comfortable enough to drop his leash. He did well, and although there were a few instances in which he sat in front of me, I took a few steps back and recalled him again until Apollo was able to follow through.


Apollo and I have been working on his Door Manners. Since the day of pickup, I would have Apollo wait in a Sit before I opened any door. Once a door was opened, he did remain in his Sit, but not for very long. He would come out of it before I let him know it was ok to do so. Anytime that would occur, I would ask him to Sit again and close the door. We worked on it everyday, and he can now wait patiently by the door, in a Sit or a Down.


Apollo and I have been working on his Greeting Manners. I have worked on this exercise for a few days now, where he is to remain in a Sit anytime someone wants to approach him and say hello. If he sat up, I would then reset him and try again. Initially, he would get very excited, begin to jump on me, and I would follow it with an “Off” correction. We continued to practice with repetition, and Apollo has made an improvement remaining in his position. He can now be approached and greeted without coming out of his Sit.


Apollo and I worked on walking together with his sister Aries. When we initially began to practice our walks, Apollo would try to switch to Aries side to initiate play or to be by her side. By guiding him back towards his side anytime that occurred, he began to work through it and eventually stopped. Other times, he would slow down and fall behind, but I gave him some verbal encouragement to motivate him and keep him going. After a few practice runs and by remaining consistent, Apollo and Aries continue to make very good progress on their walks together.


Apollo enjoyed some playtime with Aries today here at home. I had guests over, and Apollo did very well by not jumping on them. He is more of a mellow pup than Aries, and is mostly in a calm relaxed state. He played with my nephews and niece for a little bit, and then went to lay down and relax. Apollo can be very playful and he has shown that when playing with Aries, he is the submissive one. We enjoyed our dinner, and spent the rest of the evening lounging in the living room.


Apollo has completed his Two Week Board and Train Program and is ready to come home. It was a pleasure to have him here in my home and I am proud of the pup he has become. He was a great companion, and I will miss him following me around the house. We enjoyed our time together and I am looking forward to showing you what he can do. Thank you Apollo!


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