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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Aries | Pitbull | Pasadena, CA | In-Training

Meet Aries! She is an eight month old Pitbull who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Aries is here for basic obedience, leash pulling, jumping to greet, and crate training. She gets along very well with people and other dogs, but she can sometimes jump on people when she is a little excited. She likes to do what she wants during her walks, and it is one of the behaviors that she needs to work on. Aries is a playful pup who needs structure in her obedience, and will also be working on a better recall. Over the next fourteen days, we will work on building a foundation for Aries, in order to have her become the best pup that she can be. Check in to see her progress!


Aries and I took a walk around the park to get to know each other and establish a bond. Unlike her brother Apollo, Aries has more energy and tends to pull on her leash a little more. The same approach I used with Apollo walking in the opposite direction, is the same one I applied towards Aries. She does not fall behind as much, but she always wants to be a little ahead of me. I am working on correcting her behavior and have a much more structured walk. She is understanding what I am asking, and with more practice, I have hopes of having her improve her Heel. They both did well on the car ride home with no whining or crying. They are adjusting to their new home for the next two weeks, and they enjoy being close to each other.


Aries and I began working on her recall today which is known as Come to Sit. I used the same approach as I did Apollo when teaching Aries this technique, but the difference will be the direction she will take. She will be coming towards my right, go around behind me, and Sit on my left. Aries was also having trouble when going behind me, as she would stop, try to go in between my legs, or jump on my back. To avoid this behavior, I would take two steps forward when she sat behind me, but if she tried going in between my legs or jump, I would move and repeat the recall so she can work through it. After a few reps, Aries had a better understanding and was responding well to leash tension. She does tire out a little quicker than Apollo, so I keep her sessions a little shorter and make sure she has her water breaks.


Aries and I began working on some confidence building today by introducing her to Place. This is a technique that consists of having Aries getting onto an elevated object and remaining there in a Sit or a Down. To teach Aries, I began by introducing her to a low level object such as a cot, to boost her confidence a little. She was very hesitant about getting on when we initially approached the object, but with guidance and verbal encouragement, Aries was able to place her front paws onto the object. Once she had her front paws on it, I then released her with a “Break,” and rewarded her with praise. Our next attempt consisted of getting her back legs on the cot, which also needed guidance. It was less difficult for Aries to follow through as she already had an idea of what I was asking. While making the approach towards the object with leash tension, Aries was successful, and although she immediately came off the object, I rewarded her with lots of praise. It is important to keep in mind when teaching new behaviors, that any successful intent from a pup, no matter how big or small, should be rewarded. The more positive experiences your dog has, the more eager it will become to keep performing these behaviors.


Aries and I worked on Down today. To work on this technique I had to earn her trust considering that it makes a dog vulnerable being down on all fours. To teach Aries, I asked her to Sit, and with leash tension, I began to guide her towards the ground. During our initial sessions, she would stiffen up her paws and would almost immediately come out of her Sit. Anytime that happened, I would reset Aries and repeat the process. After a few reps, she began to make an intent, in which I released tension and rewarded her with praise. Any small sign of following through is a big win for behaviors like this. The key is to remain patient, and to always take breaks in between to avoid frustration. Aries still needs a little practice, but she did very well with an added distraction, and only sat up after another pup had already passed her by.


Aries and I worked on what she has been learning so far. She is doing well with her Down as well as her Come to Sit. With her Come to Sit, Aries did need a little reconditioning, as she would Sit a little ahead of me rather than next to me. I was able to get her back into position with short slack on her leash as she came around. Also, during our Heel, as Aries was walking next to me, she would lean into my leg and almost tried to cut in front of me. To correct her behavior and keep her from leaning in, I redirected her by making left turns anytime she leaned in on me. After a few repetitions, Aries worked through it, and stopped leaning on me.


Aries and I worked in a public setting with minimal distractions. We began with a walk around the area to have her adjust to the environment around her. She did very well and maintained her Heel throughout our walk. She is doing very well and progressing with her recall. Our morning and evening walks have also helped tremendously, as Aries and I are walking with a loose leash. She did really good with her stationary positions, as she did not come out of them despite what was going on around her. I will continue to expose her into public environments and gradually increase the level of distractions, as we move onto distance and duration.


Aries and I worked in a much more public environment with people distractions. She adjusted very well to her surroundings as we walked throughout the area. We began working on distance and duration with a fifteen foot long line. She did well with her Sit and Down, but had a little trouble when it came to Place. She became a little hesitant, and would try to come out of it as I stepped away. I worked her through it by resetting her and repeating the exercise as needed, until she began to understand the concept. We worked in five second increments, which means that for one foot back is five seconds, two feet back is ten seconds, three feet back is fifteen, and so on. Aries is learning to follow through, and we will continue to work on this, with the goal consisting of me reaching the end of the long line without her getting up.


Aries and I worked on some leash dragging exercises today by going for a walk around the neighborhood. She is doing better with her Heel and is not leaning in on me like she used to. She was having trouble with her recall and her Sit, which is understandable, considering it being her first time working on her behaviors without leash tension. With the use of the E-Collar and using hand gestures, I am helping Aries follow through. She still needs more practice, and I will continue to work with her, in order to prepare her for her off leash experience.


Aries and I worked on some Place conditioning today. She does very well getting onto objects with the use of her leash, but with her leash dragging, Aries was having a little trouble. It was not the fact that she could not perform the behavior, she can do it, the only issue was her being used to the leash tension as guidance to help her up. Similar as Apollo, I worked on it with her a few more times and only added leash tension when needed. Since she does tire out a little quicker, we took a few water breaks in between her sessions, and let her rest before trying again. Once rested, I reinitiated the exercise with Aries, and she began to work through it on her own. Aries is just about ready to begin working off leash, but we just need to work on some minor adjustments before doing so.


Aries and I have been working on her Door Manners since day one of training. When I would open a door, Aries would try and be the first one to go inside or outside. To condition her behavior  and keep her from doing so, anytime we approached a door, I made sure to ask her to Sit. If she came out of it, the door would close, I would reset her, and repeat the process. It took her some time to understand the concept, but by remaining consistent, Aries has reached her two minute goal.


Aries and I worked on some off leash conditioning today and she did well. She remains at my side throughout our Heel, but became distracted a few times when dogs would pass us by. She would try to come out of her Heel and try to interact with the pups in a playful manner. To correct her behavior, I verbally ask her to “Heel,” and ask her to “Off,” to get her back on track. Like her brother Apollo, Aries also did well with her Greeting Manners and has learned to be in a calm relaxed state anytime someone approaches to greet her. Aries is just about ready to begin her Final, and it will be the main focus for the rest of her Program.


Aries and I worked on her recall with her brother Apollo. This was one of the main focus points in their training, as they would only perform the behavior if there was a treat present. Throughout her Program, Aries has learned to be on the inside when going around behind me. As for Apollo, he has learned to be on the outside when going around behind me. I worked on it with them one on one, and once they were performing the behavior on a consistent basis, I then brought both of them together, and began putting it all together. It was a little difficult for them initially, as they would bump into each other at times. But by giving them leash guidance, Apollo and Aries made progress, and they improve everyday with their Come to Sit without the use of a treat.


Aries and I spent the day at home and had some playtime with Apollo in my front yard. I also had guests over, and she did very well with my son, nephews, and niece as they threw a ball and played with her. There were a few instances that Aries would be very excited and try to jump on them. I quickly corrected her with a verbal “off,” and she was able to refrain from doing it again. It is important to keep an eye out on your pup and correct unwanted behaviors at the precise moment. Whenever I correct with an “off,” I am preventing the behavior and not punishing for it. Always remember to stay consistent and be aware by supervising them. Aries really enjoyed running around and we ended with a nice dinner in my backyard.


Aries has completed her Two Week Board and Train Program and is ready to come home. I want to thank you for trusting me with your pups while they were under my care, and I appreciate the opportunity in being their trainer. Aries and I became great friends, and I will miss her playful ways. She is very bright and is capable of learning so much more. Always remember to stay consistent with their training, as it is one of the keys to making them the best pups that they can be. Thank you Aries!

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