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  • Writer's pictureSheena Chavez

Beacon | Pit Bull Mix | Camarillo, CA | In-Training

Miss Beacon is a 5 1/2-year-old Pit Bull Mix who has come back to OffLeash SoCal to complete her 2 Week Board and Train Program. Beacon previously trained with us for a few days but went home early due to medical reasons. But she is back and as spry as ever to complete her training program! Beacon still has some issues with jumping on people to greet them, not always completing her recall when asked, and being unable to hold her stationary positions such as sit, down, or place. She also needs to work on her focus while out in public with distractions as she feels listening time is over. Throughout her time with us we will work on all her basic cues not only inside the home but in a variety of distraction filled environments. Beacon seems to have retained some knowledge regarding her training a few months ago, which is great! We can't wait to get started!


Pupdate 11/19/2023

After picking up Beacon we did a small evaluation on her knowledge while at the park. She seems to still have a pretty good understanding of her commands but her excitement in the environment was getting the best of her. Nonetheless she managed to sit, down, and place on a relatively good cue.

Beacon immediately made herself at home upon arriving at my residence. She knew exactly where her crate space was and the backyard. We gave her time to let her zoomies out as you can see at the end of her video. Beacon instantly tried to run out the side gate which is not ideal as it can be a safety concern. So, we began working on her Door Manners to help refresh her memory. After a few entrances and exits from the backyard and front door she started to do much better.

Ended up eating about a 1/2 cup total


Pupdate 11/20/2023

Today we reviewed all of Beacon’s commands such as Come to Sit, Extended Sit, Extended Down, Extended Place, and Heel. We also had some family members going in/out of the house and Oso (her play pal) as a distraction. You can see at times she broke positioning to go engage and play, but with swift reminders Beacon was able to regain focus on the task at hand. She also has the knowledge to go into a Sit, Down, and Place position without me standing right next to her! This is a dive into some extra advanced commands that we will continue to build upon.

During our trip to the mall Beacon had a few moments of becoming a bit startled. She would move away from the sounds and remain on high alert. With her ears up and eyes constantly looking around. This happened when we encountered delivery trucks, janitorial materials, and maintenance workers. When we were in areas where there weren’t these sounds and just people out and about shopping, she did well.

While out for our daily walks we noticed Beacon periodically walks at a slower pace and falls behind. When this happens, we provide her with verbal encouragement, saying Heel in a very happy tone, then she will begin to match our pace again. It is a balance as sometimes she becomes too excited and walks too far ahead.


Pupdate 11/21/2023

We ventured out to a park in Los Angeles to meet with other trainers and their board and train canines. Beacon did generally well with her commands in the new environment. There were moments here and there when she wanted to interact with the other dogs or simply got bored from holding her position. Regardless she did quite well overall! While at the park there were lawnmowers operating in a close proximity to us and she didn’t mind the loud noises coming from them.

Beacon successfully completed all of her commands with no leash tension, in fact the leash dragging!


Pupdate 11/22/2023

This morning Beacon ventured on a 2 mile (one way) walk to our local Starbucks. On this journey she would tire out and begin to fall behind, but the verbal encouragement helps her keep my pace. Beacon had a few moments of being startled when cars would drive over sewer/drain covers then was able to quickly regain her focus. While in Starbucks she did well lying down and relaxing while people came and went.

Later in the evening we made a trip out to the mall and worked on her off-leash skills. Both inside the mall and Starbucks we noticed a weakness she has is with little children and people who make kissy noises to her. Beacon does well in not jumping but this does get her to gravitate towards them to receive love and affection. Regardless of what Beacon is distracted by (people, noises, etc.) we keep consistent verbal communication with her to keep her focused and follow through with the ask. As you may see in the video you can see the moments where this happens and how quickly we can regain her focus.


Pupdate 11/23/2023

Happy Thanksgiving! Beacon enjoyed her day by journeying out to Starbucks in the morning, walking around the neighborhood, and accompanying the small family members who came over for Thanksgiving. She did really well playing and engaging with everyone who came over, including the littles. Beacon sometimes lingers while we are eating hoping something drops to the floor, but once she is asked to break her focus she follows through well. She doesn’t make any attempt to take any food from us.

Beacon ended her day with turkey breast and white rice for dinner, which she absolutley loved!


Pupdate 11/24/2023

Today Beacon had a big adventure at the Santa Monica Pier and boy oh boy was it busy! Typically, the pier is a great location to go to work in many distractions like people, canines, street performers, vendors, etc. Given it is a holiday weekend the distraction level was much higher than usual. Nonetheless Beacon did quite well walking around, observing all the commotion and completing her commands. She was off leash for about 90% of the time. The only period a leash was placed on her was when there was a car driving on the pier.

She enjoyed her breaks in the shade where she was able to relax, and people watch. During our time there Beacon has people say hi to her successfully without any jumping and posed while they took photos of her. She did extremely well and we are so proud of her!


Pupdate 11/25/2023

This morning we took a trip back out to Santa Monica and tested Beacon’s consistency with being off leash in such a high traffic area. She has been consistently off leash around town, but these environments always pose a different distraction each day. You can see in the video Ms. Beacon did well and was able to hold her cues without me being next to her.

We’ve noticed when some people approach to say hi she seems a tad bit uncomfortable and moves her head away. This tends to happen when someone bends over to the point where they are essentially hovering over her. We never want Beacon to feel intimidated, so it is okay to not have every person who wants to say hi greet her. Regardless of the other person’s age. The best rule of thumb to have when someone greets her is to ensure you are comfortable with that person, they understand that she needs to remain in a sit throughout the duration of her greeting, and they recognize that Beacon (and all dogs) do not appreciate a hovered greeting.


Pupdate 11/26/2023

Today we had some last visits from family members before they returned home. While Beacon is just roaming around the house, she does well in not getting on furniture, not going up stairs, and not bugging for attention. She does however like to bug Oso just a bit to play or just give him kisses nonstop. He is quite patient and lets her know when he is over the attention. To which Beacon understands he doesn’t want to be bothered any more and will leave him alone. An important note is Oso is a well-balanced canine who knows how to properly interact and communicate with other canines. Not all dogs are like that, and Beacon can also tell the difference herself. Just because she is friendly does not mean she should interact with every canine she sees. When Beacon encounters an unbalanced/unfriendly canine the best practice is to keep her in a command such as sit, down, etc.

Signs to look out for in Beacon are hyper focusing (staring), ears very firmly perked forward, her mouth closing (if it was open), and very stiff body posture.


Pupdate 11/27/2023

Beacon had the opportunity to work with other people to see how she would respond to commands from someone else other than myself and Mike. As you watch the video you can see small moments here and there where she tried to see what she could get away with. These little things included breaking command to move closer to the human, rolling around in the grass, or taking her time to go into a down. While these are not big issues, consistency and reinforcement needs to stay there so Beacon understands that the rules don’t change based on the human. Beacon had not interacted with this person before and overall transferred her commands to the new human quite well!


Pupdate 11/28/2023

Beacon ventured out to a park to work around other trainers and their canines. A couple of the canines today have some sort of reactivity to other pups. Ms. Beacon did so well keeping her composure while the other pups were trying to get her attention. She knew how to keep her distance and not try to interact with them. If she happened to stare, we tell her “Off” to break her focus. The expectation is to have Beacon immediately stop looking at/doing whatever is undesired. The moment she follows through we want to follow up with praise, so she knows she did the right thing.

Even when Beacon was on a break and had the freedom to roam around the park, she was respectful of the other canine’s space. If you feel she has traveled too far for comfort, simply call her name and she will make her way back to you. Another option is for her to complete the Come to Sit command. In either case, Beacon is stopping where she is going and getting back to you.


Pupdate 11/29/2023

We worked on Beacon’s house manners. These include crate manners, car manners, door manners and food manners. For car manners we would like Beacon to go in/out of the car on command. Beacon has done well with waiting to exit the car once it was time, but she frequently would push her way into the car. While this may not seem like a huge concern, we still want to reinforce non-pushy behaviors. So, we would simply have her sit and wait before being invited into the car. These rules apply to the crate manners as well, but she has done well with this from day 1!

As for Door manners we want Beacon to sit/down and wait before going in/out of any doorway. Even if it is left open! Beacon again had a tendency to push her way in and out of any doorway. After the consistency of having her sit and wait she no longer does this with a simple reminder. Once we do invite her through the doorway, we still don’t want to have her bolt though. We keep our release fairly calm and mellow to have her understand that calm a demeanor around these areas is a must, regardless of what is going on.

Food manners work similar to door manners where Beacon must sit/down and wait to be released to get her food. She generally has no issues with this but once she was given something of higher value like turkey, she moved around like she has ants in her pants! All we have to do is simply remind her of the sit/down and she will wait patiently to be released.


Pupdate 11/30/2023

For Beacon’s last day we took her out to an outdoor shopping center and had a nice time walking around and people watching. She has done so well during her training program and can work in any environment comfortably. While we sat for a snack, she opted for lying underneath the table. This is great because it shows we can move her out of the way of other patrons or servers (if applicable). Beacon would be a great buddy to take out to lunch or dinner as she has such great manners. We may suggest having a sweater on her on colder days as she likes to stay warm and bundled up. She has been a great companion for Oso to run around the backyard or take long naps on the plushy dog bed. Everyone in the household will miss her dearly!


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