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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Bear | German Shepherd | Canyon Country, CA | In-Training

Meet Bear! He is a six month old German Shepherd who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Bear is here for basic obedience, leash pulling, jumping to greet, playful nipping, and barking at other dogs. The goal for Bear is to walk properly on his leash, as he likes to pull heavily on walks. He also does not know his own strength, likes to jump on people, and can easily knock someone down. Bear does bark at other dogs but shows no signs of aggression, as he just wants to interact and play. Bear came to us knowing some commands, but will only listen when he wants to. Over the next fourteen days, this friendly pup will be working on his behavior and be set up for success, with the hopes of becoming a well mannered dog. Check in to see his progress!


Bear and I spent the evening getting to know each other. We drove to a local park and went for a walk to establish a bond. Throughout our walk, Bear was pulling heavily on his leash and wanted to walk ahead of me, and switch from left to right as he walked. To condition Bear into not doing so, I introduced him to Heel. This technique consists of having Bear walk with me on my left side. I worked on u-turns to keep him on my left side anytime he tried to switch to my right side. Whenever Bear would get ahead of me, I would turn, walk in the opposite direction, and guide him back towards me with leash tension. Bear is a fast learner and understood the concept of what I was asking. He still pulls a little, but not as much as he did at time of pickup. I will continue to work on it with him as it will now be applied on every walk we go on from here on out.


Bear and I worked on his recall today which is known as Come to Sit. This technique consists of having Bear come towards my right side, going around behind me, and sitting on my left. To teach Bear, I used leash tension to get him to come towards my right, in which he did very well with. What he had trouble with was going around behind me and sitting on my left. On many occasions throughout our session, Bear would stop and Sit behind me. To work him through it, anytime that happened, I would take two steps forward, and use leash tension to guide him all the way through. He is picking up on the concept, and working through it the more we practice it.


Bear and I worked on Place today. This technique consists of having Bear getting onto an elevated object and remaining there in a Sit or a Down. Place builds confidence in a dog, and can be of great use anytime there is a knock on your door, or if you have guests coming over. To teach Bear, I introduced him to the object, and gave him a little leash tension to assist him into getting on. Bear is a confident pup, but does need a little guidance at times when it comes to objects that are of a different texture or surface. He was having trouble getting onto a picnic table bench due to the bench being narrow, and considering his size, Bear was a little hesitant. To work him through it, I stood on the bench myself and had him follow. He was able to place his front paws on it, which I rewarded with praise, since it is the behavior that I want him to perform. After a couple of more reps, Bear eventually hopped onto the bench and followed through. Always remember to stay consistent with the training, as it will help you in achieving the results that you want with your pup.


Bear and I took a drive out to a local beach today and worked on some of his behaviors in a public setting. He was having trouble with his Come to Sit, so we have been working on it by using ninety degree angled walls as barriers to help him have a closer Sit. He has made an improvement, and continues to progress with consistency. His Heel is also doing much better thanks to our morning and evening walks, and we are close to being able to loose leash walk. Bear has also made a big improvement around people. On the day of pickup, he would react towards people near him and at a distance. As you can see in the clip, I was able to keep him in a Sit, and he did not react to people walking by. I will continue to gradually expose Bear to more public areas as he continues to progress in his training.


Bear and I have been working on his Down. This technique can be one of the most difficult to teach a dog considering it being a submissive position, and it can also make a dog feel vulnerable being down on all fours. Bear came into his Program having knowledge of the behavior, but needed some reconditioning. I worked on it by asking him to Sit, using his given hand signal, and by applying leash tension to guide him towards the ground. Initially, Bear would stiffen up his front paws when I would apply leash tension, and he would also come out of his Sit. To keep him from doing so, I would reset him back into position and repeat the leash tension process as needed. We took a few breaks in between to avoid frustration, and after a few sessions, Bear began to be more consistent with his Down.


Bear and I continue to work in public areas and he continues to do very well by not reacting or wanting to engage with people passing us by. Today, Bear was also able to make very good progress in the presence of another pup. Initially, he did try and pull on his leash trying to get to the pup and initiate play, but I corrected his behavior by redirecting him in the opposite direction, and only moved in closer until he was able to reach a calm state. Always keep in mind that not every dog is going to want to interact or play, so it is important to always keep a distance to avoid certain misbehaviors from happening.


Bear and I have been working on his stationary positions by adding distance and duration. We have been practicing on having him hold his position with five second increments for every foot. One foot back is five seconds, two feet back is ten seconds, three feet back is fifteen, and so on. There were a few instances initially where Bear would not hold his Down for five seconds, and would immediately come out of it and follow me. To work him through that, I went from five seconds down to three seconds, and Bear began to understand the concept. He is almost up to one minute holding his positions, as we continue to work up to our two minute goal.


Bear and I worked on some leash dragging exercises today and he did really well. We began in my backyard since it is an enclosed area, and once he remained consistent with following through we went out for a walk around the neighborhood. He did fall a little behind with his Heel, but with some verbal encouragement, Bear remained alongside me. He also did very well with his Sit, and although he had a little trouble with his Down, I was able to work him through it. This coming week will consist of gradually increasing the amount of distractions as he prepares for his off leash experience.


Bear and I drove out to a local park today and met with other trainers who assisted us by serving as a distraction as Bear continues to work on his leash dragging exercises. He did really well at not reacting or wanting to interact with the other pups that were around him as we walked around them, but he did want to interact and engage with them while he was in a stationary position. Anytime he sat up, I reset him and corrected his behavior by placing him back into position from the same spot he sat up from. It took a few corrections to have Bear follow through, but with repetition and by reminding him to Sit or Down, he was able to work through it.


Bear and I worked with a long line as we begin to clean up a few behaviors before he begins to work fully off leash. While working on his Sit with distance and duration, Bear did have a tendency of coming out of it quite a few times. Anytime that happened, I reset him and worked him through it by reminding him to Sit verbally as I move around, as well as verbally praising him with a “Good boy,” and “Good Sit,” as he followed through. His Come to Sit also needed a little cleaning up as he would still Sit a little off to the side of me, but with some reconditioning and leash guidance, he is doing much better.


Bear and I have been working on his Door Manners. Throughout his Program, I have been conditioning him to wait for my cue before going in and out of any door by asking him to remain in a Sit or a Down. Initially, Bear would almost immediately come out of his position as soon as I opened a door. To keep him from doing so, I would close the door, reset him, and repeat the process as needed. By remaining consistent with Bear and rewarding him for following through with our sessions, he has reached his two minute door manner goal.


Bear and I worked on some off leash behaviors at a local shopping center. Throughout our initial walk, Bear was a little over excited and would slightly try to walk ahead of me. To prevent him from doing so, there are two different approaches that I make. I either slow down and recall him with a “Come,” or I turn, walk in the opposite direction, and ask him to “Heel.” Bear does well and responds to both approaches, and he also adjusted very well to his surroundings. Bear will now be working off leash for the remainder of his Program, as he begins to film his Final.


Bear and I worked on his Final today at the pier in Santa Monica and he did well. Everything that he has learned was pieced together around people and dog distractions, in a busy public setting that he would normally react to when he first came to his Program. I am very proud of how far he has come along in just a short amount of time, and it is great to see that he is off leash capable even in such busy environments like the one we worked in today. Always remember to stay consistent with his training, make it fun, and keep it positive. This will encourage Bear to keep up the good work, and it will also keep him on the right track. Here is a clip of Bear showing what he can do. Enjoy!


Bear has completed his Two Week Board and Train Program and is ready to come home. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity in being his trainer, and for also trusting me with Bear while he was under my care. He was a great companion and I am going to miss having him around the house. He receives a lot of attention anywhere we go, and is also complimented on his good behavior. Like his Final, Bear was also able to work on his Greeting Manners as well. This was a big breakthrough for Bear considering his reactivity towards people and wanting to interact. Throughout his Program, he learned to remain in a calm relaxed state anytime someone wanted to approach and say hello. When greeting someone, always ensure that Bear is in a Sit or a Down. If he gets up, kindly ask that person to take a step back and reset Bear into his stationary position and remind him to Sit as he gets greeted. Remember to always remain consistent with this, as well as all of the behaviors he has learned these past two weeks. Make it fun and keep it positive, in order to have Bear continue being the best pup that he can be. Thank you Bear!


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