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  • Writer's pictureMcKenna Caskey

Bear | Mini Aussie | Los Angeles, CA | In-Training

Meet Bear! He is a 6-month-old miniature Australian Shepherd from Los Angeles, CA. Bear has joined OffLeash SoCal's Three-Week Board & Train Program to work on his general obedience, as well as a myriad of issues within the home.


Bear will bark for attention, jump all over people, nip at children who come to the home for play dates, chew on the owners' daughter's toys, jump & pee on furniture, cause tripping-hazards on stairs, and is overall hyper-stimulated to changes in environments. He is also liable to try and escape his property in efforts to check out new things.


Bear came to OLSC knowing a few basic obedience cues, however he is not reliable with them in public, and is commonly overaroused by his environment. He is very smart, and has used this ability to train his family, instead of himself.


Bear is a sweet, young, working-breed dog who needs direction and structure in order to achieve his greatest potential. Stay tuned for his 21-day transformation!

 

6/25/2023

Bear was picked up from his home in Los Angeles, CA, where I got the opportunity to speak with his family regarding his training. He has many household issues that need to be addressed, as well as a solid foundation in his obedience.


Bear threw a bit of a tantrum upon leaving his home, and barked/cried/tried to dig out of his crate for the first half of our journey. Although he quieted down, he still drooled incessantly out of nerves and whined intermittently.


Bear was introduced to my home/yard upon arrival to give him the opportunity for a potty/water break. He elected to hide under my bench for 20 minutes before taking his first exploratory steps into the yard.

My dogs were introduced to him, as they too needed a potty break. They sniffed Bear, but they were respectful of the fact that he was ‘going through a lot right now’ and gave him space to acclimate. My puppy was eventually able to help Bear open up by doing 'zoomies' and 'play bows' around him, and the two chased each other around the yard in play shortly after. My dogs have a way of helping newcomers feel comfortable while visiting their home.


Bear & I strolled to the park near my house to see what obedience cues he already knows and to get a baseline for his current knowledge and behavior. We like to take 'before videos' of our dogs to show the improvement they've made and how much they accomplished in our program. On the way there, Bear proved to be a tripping hazard. This was a behavior his owners were weary about— particularly around stairs— as he seems to intentionally get under-foot. I took a bit of a fall, but only sustained a few scrapes.


Bear was introduced to leash-pressure on a slip lead in my backyard and on a brief walk around my neighborhood. Bear is not used to this type of reinforcement, or being told that he must follow-through with what is asked of him— even something as small as a ‘sit’. Bear fought the leash-pressure considerably, and vomited water & undigested food while fighting it. The leash-pressure was similar to what I showed his family in their home, but in a new environment he fought it even harder. As soon as Bear relaxed, tension on the leash would relax, especially after he was guided into a sit. Leash-pressure, in line with positive reinforcement, is a cornerstone for obedience, and it is important that he learns this early in his program. Bear did attempt to climb-the-leash and nip at me, but I was able to control the situation.


Due to Bear’s nervous energy, introduction to leash-pressure in a very low-distraction-environment around my neighborhood, my home, and his new friends, was enough for Bear today. He will spend the rest of the day resting and acclimating to his new surroundings.

 

6/26/2023

Bear and I went to Boisseranc Park in Buena Park to meet up with fellow OLSC trainers and their dogs. Bruno was fitted with a prong collar for his training today, which aids in evenly distributing leash-pressure instead of it being localized to a single area as with a flat collar. In addition to safety, this tool also increases the efficiency of teaching Bear the ‘heel’ behavior.


Heel where Bear must maintain pace and positioning while walking, and he is taught to remain on my left-side, in line with my knee, and not zig-zag, pull ahead, or fall behind. To teach this behavior, I would hold the leash at a short length, but still with a small amount of slack. Whenever Bear would leave position, pressure would be applied via the prong collar, and I would re-cue him to “heel”. If Bear decided to bolt ahead and leave me, I would abruptly change directions and walk in the opposite direction. If Bear did not focus on me, he would self-correct upon reaching the end of the leash. Whenever Bear was in the correct position and walking nicely beside me, I would lavish him in praise and tell him how good he was being. 


Bear was also introduced to extended sit. This cue requires Bear to remain in a sit until instructed otherwise. At OLSC, we do not teach the command “stay”, as remaining in position (whether sit, down, place, or heel) is implied when we ask for the cue. Bear can be instructed for a new cue, or given his release word (“break!”) to let him know that the training is momentarily over, and he can do what he chooses. We started off with short durations of sit before being cued for break, and slowly added more time each subsequent cue after being successful. If Bear broke cue early, I would use leash-pressure to guide him back to the appropriate place/position, decrease the duration, and then ‘break’ him on my terms. If Bear did not respond to visual or verbal cues for sit, I would gently apply leash-pressure upwards— this triggers oppositional reflex, and as the head goes up, the bottom will typically go down into a sit. 


Bear has a tendency to challenge leash pressure, and would often throw a bit of a tantrum. The leash pressure does not hurt the pups, but it can take a bit of time for them to adjust to the requirement of following-through with behaviors. Some dogs do not like being told what to do, and will be oppositional. Since Bear is used to getting ‘his way’ at home, he will need a bit of time to understand that this is the new normal for him. In the long run, this change in dynamics will be incredibly beneficial for Bear, as it puts him into a following-role vs. a leading-role. A following-role means there is less responsibility he needs to carry, and can relax while his handler is in charge. 


Although a bit stubborn & defiant, Bear proves to be a fast learner. As he gains understanding and experience of what is expected of him, he will continue to become more confident in both his training and his everyday life. 


Bear is still adjusting to the new environment of my home and being away from his family. This is totally normal for some dogs, and the first few days are all about decompressing and acclimation for the dogs. He has had a bit of loose stool, and a decrease in appetite, but these typically resolve themselves as the pups begin to feel more comfortable. 

 

6/27/2023

Bear is gaining his appetite back, and throwing less tantrums when put into his kennel for breaks/sleep. He greeted me with a full-on butt-wiggle this morning, and our relationship continues to grow. 


Bear & I went to Huntington Beach Boardwalk & Main St. for our training today. This is a very-high-distraction environment, and can be a challenge for dogs this early in their program. Bear did surprisingly well, and heeled very nicely next to me. He did need some leash-pressure corrections, but shows understanding of where the “sweet spot" is, next to my leg on my left side. Bear was fitted with both a prong collar and his ecollar during the first portion of our session. However, he quickly showed me that the prong collar was not necessary, and it was taken off with the leash attached to a regular flat-collar. 


Bear worked on his heel and extended sit. With all of the bustle, he had a tendency to break extended-sit early when I began to add increased distance to the behavior. This can be due to simple confusion, or because he felt a little overwhelmed and wanted to get closer to something familiar. When Bear would start to break cue, I would give a verbal correction “ah-ah!” and recue for sit. If he continued to move towards me, I would body-block him and guide him back the the original location. I would decrease duration and distance for the subsequent cues before releasing him with the word “break!”  


Bear was introduced to the behavior ‘down’. Although he may ‘know’ this cue at home, he has been very reluctant to offer it to me— especially out in public. Since Bear is not interested in food when he’s in a stimulating environment, I used leash pressure to guide him through the process. I would hold onto the leash just below his collar and apply a gentle, consistent pressure down towards the ground. As soon as Bear got into the correct position, the pressure would be released as I provided him the marker word “yes!” and gave him praise and affection. He was resistant to leash pressure initially, similarly to sit and heel, but improved greatly after he figured out what was expected. 


Bear was also introduced to “place”. This behavior requires him to go to a definable object (elevated surface, dog cot/bed, something with a different texture, or even a post-it-note). We prefer elevated surfaces/platforms as these are very easy for the dogs to distinguish. Once on the object, Bear can choose whatever position he would like to remain in unless otherwise instructed. I will typically ask for sit or down. Bear was hesitant to jump onto things, despite hopping up onto tables, chairs, and counters at his home. I would use leash-pressure to guide him onto the object, and slowly increase the duration he remained there before releasing him. 


Bear was introduced to the ecollar. This is a very important tool and the cornerstone for offleash obedience. We stayed on very small levels while introducing this tool, and I would implement a small stimulation while asking for behaviors “sit” and “heel”. The idea is for Bear to associate the tingle with working and performing a given cue. Later, once his training and commands are better established, we will increase the ecollar stim by 2-3 levels for each time he does not follow-through with what he is told. For now, keeping it at a low level to build an association to the device is what we focused on.

 

Bear attended lunch with me on Main St. and was introduced to the cue “under”. This behavior requires him to go underneath something and remain there until instructed otherwise. There were other dogs on the patio, people eating in close proximity to us, and the usual distractions present while dining. Bear was pretty tired after our training session and was a very good boy for the 1.5 hours we were seated. 


Bear is a very smart boy who needs to build on his direction and confidence in new environments, but I am VERY pleased with how quickly he has progressed. After his exciting day, Bear spent the remainder of it hanging out with me and my dogs in the yard, and napping in his kennel. 

 

6/28/2023

Bear and I went for a morning walk around the neighborhood, prior to being let outside in the yard. The idea was for him to do his ‘business’ in public on the walk. It took him a while when he first arrived in Program to even use the bathroom in my yard. If Bear found a spot he wanted to sniff, I would let him, while repeating the phrase “go potty”. Bear heeled well during the walk, and we took the opportunity to practice other obedience cues (extended sit/down) intermittently. He is getting better about going into down without fussing so much.  He was not successful during the walk, however when we got back home I kept him on-leash in my yard and took him to the place he’s been peeing. I repeated “go potty” until he peed there. As soon as he finished peeing, I marked with “yes” and gave him praise and affection. The goal is to get Bear to potty on-cue. Once he has that established, telling him to ‘go’ in different areas should become easier. 


Later in the day, we returned to HB Boardwalk & Main St. to work on his obedience around distractions. Bear did even better, as he was more familiar to this environment and all of the things going on around him. Bear is still more reluctant to offer the down position when there is a lot of stimuli, however he was easy to guide into position with either visual cue or gentle leash pressure. 


In quieter areas, Bear was put on a longline (15ft leash) to practice adding distance to his extended cues. He was better about maintaining them, but did break cue here and there. I would corrective-mark “ah-ah” to continue letting him know what he was doing was incorrect as soon as it happened, and he showed improvement in understanding by stopping more quickly. 


In busier areas on the boardwalk, I would switch over to a slip-lead. This tool helps aid in the understanding of leash-pressure combined with ecollar stimulation. When Bear is out of position during a heel, I will press and hold the remote (at a low level) until Bear moves towards the pressure and back into position. As soon as he does, I mark with ‘yes’ so he knows that’s the correct behavior, and the ecollar stim immediately stops. 


Some place-platforms needed leash-pressure to guide Bear onto them. I was a bit pickier about where he placed. In the video, you can see me re-cuing place behavior until Bear is fully on the concrete ledge vs in the grass. The concrete ledge is definable enough for Bear to know the difference, and it’s just a matter of showing him what I want. This is an example of how to teach Bear follow-through. 


Bear is feeling much more comfortable and is getting his appetite back. I have noticed he tries to mount my adult dog frequently now that he’s not so “scary”. Although this is a play-behavior that stems out of insecurity or an attempt to instigate play, some dogs may view it as dominance and respond negatively. My dog is very patient, however he’s a bit tired today and was less enthusiastic about Bear’s behavior. I would mark the behavior with a clap, retrieve Bear, and put him in an extended sit by me. Bear would attempt to lay down and rollover; each time he did this I would guide him back into a sit position. After Bear held the position for a short amount of time I would ‘break’ him to go off and play again. 

 

6/29/2023

Bear and I walked to TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa to work on his obedience training today. He heeled very well both on the way there and during our training session, but did need a couple reminders on correct positioning.


We worked on a longline and worked on increasing distance and duration for extended cues. He is showing improvement and I was able to build up to him remaining in position at the end of the 15ft leash. Bear also practiced “placing” on new objects. He needed leash pressure to help facilitate the behavior on some of the platforms, but volunteered the behavior with verbal/visual cues some of the time.


Bear was introduced to come-to-sit today. This behavior requires him to recall to me, loop around my back from my right side, and end in a sit at the heel position. This is a complex behavior, and I used leash pressure to help guide him through the motions. Bear caught on quickly considering this cue can be a bit of a challenge. What a smart boy!

 

6/30/2023

Bear and I returned to HB Pier/ Boardwalk/ Main St today to work on his obedience and help a fellow OLSC trainer & his dog with their final video which showcases our training.


For the first half of our session, Bear had to heel closely next to me while I filmed. His leash was attached to my belt loop, and Bear did phenomenal about keeping pace with me and maintaining extended sit for 2+ minutes at a time.


After filming, Bear worked on a longline to practice his extended positions at a distance with high-distraction, and also worked on his come to sit. Bear is becoming much more confident in high-distraction environments, and has been less inclined to break cue to come over towards me. I was able to go to the end of the 15ft leash while Bear sat/downed.


After our training session, Bear accompanied me, the other OLSC trainer and his dog to lunch where we practiced calm behavior in public and under.

 

7/1/2023

Bear and I went for a walk around my neighborhood in the morning to practice heel with leash-dragging and attempt to get him to go potty in public. While crossing the street, I would hold onto the leash (just in case), but Bear was good about staying with me. We practiced extended cues with increased duration and distance— he did much better since it is a very low-distraction environment. At the end of his extended cues, we would either ‘break’ or ‘come to sit’ to work on its positioning. Bear will sometimes sit a little askew, or slightly ahead or behind me. When this would happen, I would simply re-cue for the command until he got it correct. On the occasions he would perform his behaviors well, I would mark with ‘yes’ and make a big deal about it. 

Bear almost didn’t go potty during the walk, but was enticed by a tree/grassy area in my front yard where my two pups go frequently. I was very enthusiastic about letting him know how good that was! 


Later in the day, Bear and I worked on some of his home-manners. We have been working on entering and exiting the kennel, waiting politely at thresholds before being granted permission to cross them, waiting to be given the ‘okay’ before eating his meals, and attempts to load up into the transport kennel in my car.


 We worked on ‘door manners’ at the front door to work on his impulse control. I put Bear into a ‘place’ on the cot by the door and instruct him to maintain down. I would gradually increase how far I went from the front door, and worked up to moving out of sight. If Bear struggled to keep his composure and position, I would cut back on the complexity of what was being asked until he was successful. 


Bear has had a difficult time for ‘car manners’, particularly jumping up into the hatchback. Usually the furthest we would get was Bear offering to put his front paws on the trunk so I could lift him up. We spent time working through this, and I would add gentle leash pressure upwards to the car. I would reset Bear to start at a greater distance so that he could build momentum for the leap.  With encouragement and leash-pressure guiding him, Bear was able to use his front paws to hoist himself onto the tailgate. From there, it was easy to gradually work up to Bear fully leaping on his own! 


Bear has become very well-mannered in his kennel when he is resting (particularly before/after meals) and at night. He does not bark or whine, unless intermittently. He has also become more comfortable in the car, and does not bark or whine there either. He still will not lay down for the entire trip, but has been drooling less. 

 

7/2/2023

Now that he has become a bit more confident in his new environment, he is acting more like his usual self, and a bit more squirrelly. This is usual during their start of program, and some dogs take a little longer to act themselves. He has been attention-barking more today, but I am sure to ignore him. If he continues, he is guided to his crate for some ‘time-out’. 


Bear and I walked around the neighborhood and to TeWinkle park to practice heel and other obedience cues. We worked on extended sit/down/place in the less-distracting environment. We did find areas with more stimuli, such as soccer games, parties, & the playground when we wanted a bit more of a challenge. 


Bear also practiced placing on new objects, such as large boulders and playground equipment. Bear maintained an extended place & down for 10 minutes while I chatted with a park friend. He continues to be non-reactive and neutral the the majority of stimuli. 

 

7/3/2023

Bear was not let out in the morning with the other dogs to potty in the yard. Instead, we went for a brief walk up and down my street. This was a ‘sniff’ walk where Bear is allowed to maintain a ‘loose’ heel, while having the opportunity to sniff. I do not use the cue “heel”, as that means he must maintain position and pace without putting his nose to the ground. If he finds an interesting place, I say “go potty”. If he doesn’t do his thing, we will continue on. Bear did not go potty on the walk, so he was kenneled before being loaded up to head out for training with the hopes he might potty there.


We went to Brookhurst Park in Anaheim to meet with a couple of other OLSC trainers and their dogs. Bear was on a 15ft leash, which I held on to initially. We practiced extended sit/down/place and come to sit.


After Bear seemed to be following through with his obedience, I let the longline drag on the ground. At one point while instructing come-to-sit, Bear decided to dart off in response to a slight boost in ecollar stimulation. Bear only moved about 8 feet before he focused back on me. Should this ever happen, make it sound like there is a party where you are and your pup is invited. Since Bear seems sensitive to the ecollar, we have moved him to a “comfort pad” which decreases intensity while allowing for a wider variation in stimulation levels. Being able to adjust levels on the ecollar is important, as we use a small boost to teach the dogs follow-through on behaviors they know. At this phase in his Program, Bear is being weaned off the guidance of leash-pressure, however we will still use it if he needs a hint about how to be successful. This is a phase of problem-solving, and can take a bit of time.


Once Bear and I had a bit more practice, we moved back to ‘longline-dragging’ intermittently through our session. Bear was able to reliably be longline-dragging towards the end of our session.


We paid special attention to “down”. This can be a difficult cue for the dogs, and Bear has a habit of fidgeting before offering the behavior. I would use my leg to block him from moving in front of me while cueing down to prevent him from moving ahead of me. Ideally, I would like Bear to lay down from a sit position without moving location.


Bear was introduced to send-to-place. This behavior is very similar to place, however instead of walking directly up to the object and cueing, we gradually increase the distance between the handler and canine. This is a perfect example of problem-solving. I would add a bit of distance for each successful attempt, and decrease distance if it was too challenging. Bear is used to many of his cues being stationary or directly next to his handler, so it can be a little tricky in the beginning. Bear would offer many different cues while piecing together that place can be from a distance. His initial response would be come-to-sit, so I would simply take a step forward each time he offered that behavior to make the goal-behavior more attainable.


Bear did not go potty at the park or in my front yard upon arriving back. He was put into his kennel with some water for a rest after our outing, and taken back to the front yard to “go potty”. He was unsuccessful, and was kenneled again for a short while. Our third attempt in the front yard did yield small success, which was celebrated, and Bear was able to spend some time in the backyard playing with the other dogs. He did not pee a lot while out front, and finished while in the yard. Baby steps towards him gaining confidence peeing in public.

 

7/4/2023

Happy 4th of July!

Bear and I returned to the local park to work on his obedience with longline dragging. We went earlier in the day before it was overrun with celebrating crowds and fireworks. Since Bear is in the process of problem solving and transitioning to ecollar-only, I wanted to keep the environment less distracting for him.

Bear worked on his obedience cues, focusing on extended-cue distance, placing on new objects, and send to place. He is getting better about differentiating send-to-place & come-to-sit, however he still needs some guidance to prevent confusion.

Bear was introduced to a new behavior, come to heel. This is much like come-to-sit, but instead of sitting in the heel position when Bear is called, we continue forward in an active heel. Bear caught onto this new cue easily, as come-to-sit is his best behavior so far, and always ends in the correct position. As Bear gets to me, I will simply tap my left thigh, give the verbal cue ‘heel’ and continue forward.


Luckily, Bear has been quite comfortable with the intermittent fireworks that have been going off in my neighborhood since he arrived last Sunday. He has been fine with the loud noises and reverberations, and continues about his business fine. Last night there was a big show in the park the next street over, but Bear was unphased.


Bear has a bit of an upset stomach today with loose stool. He is being offered slightly more to his usual food rations in the morning & afternoon to keep up with his metabolism.


 

Pupdate 7/5/23


Bear and I went to Home Depot in Costa Mesa to work on his obedience on a longline, both held and dragging. We started out in the garden center, where things are a bit more quiet and less distracting. Since this is a totally new environment for Bear, we wanted to start off easy with something he could handle. Being outdoors is familiar to Bear, and it doesn’t quite have the bustle of indoors.


We walked around between the aisles practicing heel, and would stop intermittently to practice extended sit/down/place, come to sit, & come to heel. Bear did well for the most part, but did need verbal encouragement/ correction, along with ecollar stim to associate my asking a behavior with follow-through. I began implementing more occasions where I was out of sight, weaving from where he was positioned.


We worked with me holding the longline initially, and graduated to leash dragging. At one point in the session, Bear decided to preemptively leave his ‘place’. He did not respond to me, and had to step on the leash to regain control of Bear. This is not a desirable behavior, and the specific reason we put a lot of time into longline-dragging while adjusting to the ecollar and new environments.


Bear is getting better about placing onto new objects, going into down in the appropriate position without fidgeting, and maintaining extended positions for increased duration & distance (including line of sight). Bear still needs improvement on being trustworthy OfffLeash & his newly introduced cues.



 

Pupdate 7/6/23

Today, Bear took his skills to the bustling scene of Santa Monica Pier, showing off just how far he's come in his training journey. With the vibrant energy of street performers, excited tourists, and salty sea air, Bear was put to the test...


Bear struggled on the send away to place command, but after a few attempts at it he started to get the hang of it. One thing we noticed during our outing was that when Bear is in a stationary command, he tends to break when the trainer moves. This could be due to a bit of anxiety, which is not unusual for dogs in high-stimulation environments. We'll be focusing on helping Bear build more confidence in his commands, no matter what his trainer is doing.


Then we started to work on the command under which was also a struggle from the start but bear started to get way better overtime. With other dogs and swarms of humans, Bear showed progress by not breaking command but by staying in command.

Almost every day at the pier is packed and today was no different. When working on the heel command we walked through crowds and crowds of people and Bear seemed unfazed by every one and held his tight heel command.


Stay tuned for more updates on Bear's journey. Remember, training is not just about perfection; it's about progress. And Bear is making pawsome progress.


 

Pupdate 7/7/23

We are excited to provide you with an update on Bear's training progress. Today was a work packed day, filled with a variety of activities aimed at enhancing his obedience skills and conditioning him to perform commands accurately, even in the presence of distractions.


Early in the day, we embarked on a 4-mile walk during which Bear's on-leash 'heel' command was our primary focus. I am pleased to report that Bear demonstrated impressive adherence to the command, maintaining a consistent pace and position close to the trainer. We also began introducing the off-leash 'heel', where Bear showed promising initial results.


Later in the day, we visited Lowe's and Home Depot to work on his commands within a more challenging environment. This location provided a backdrop of activity and potential distractions, which are crucial for reinforcing Bear's training. Here, we practiced 'place', 'send away to place', 'under', and 'extended sits and downs'. In addition, we worked on his 'off leash heel' command in this new setting.


Bear's progress in executing these commands amidst distractions was commendable. However, we noticed that he still exhibits anxiety when separated from the trainer during certain commands. Please be assured that we are working diligently to help Bear build confidence and reduce his anxiety. We believe that with consistent training and exposure to a variety of situations, Bear will continue to make progress in this area.


During our 'heel' practice, special attention was given to enhancing Bear's responsiveness to the trainer's movements. We focused on the importance of Bear adjusting his speed and direction to match the trainer's turns and stops. The goal is for Bear to follow smoothly, mirroring the trainer's movements closely, without needing direct instruction for each change.


We look forward to sharing more updates about Bear's progress. Your support and belief in our training program are deeply appreciated as we work together to help Bear reach his full potential.


 

Pupdate 7/8/23

We are delighted to provide an update on the training progress of our four-legged friend, Bear. In our commitment to foster his skills, we've been focusing recently on refining specific off-leash commands around the home environment, namely 'send away to place' and 'come to heel'.


During our training session, Bear demonstrated promising progress in executing these off-leash commands around the home. His response to the 'send away to place' command was rocky at the beginning. He would break command or not fully place on the object or just completely blow it off. But slowly got better with more repetition, showing an understanding of the instruction and acting accordingly. It is important to keep in mind when starting Bear on a new 'place' object we need to start close. Then we are able to fully execute the 'send away to place' command. Furthermore, Bear displayed a good grasp of the 'come to heel' command off-leash, indicating his willingness and ability to learn new commands.


Later in the day, we took Bear out again for a follow-up practice focusing on the same commands. At the start, he was a little rocky, similar to how he was in the morning. But after that, he responded well to both the 'send away to place' and 'come to heel' commands, indicating that the repeated exposure and practice are aiding in his learning process. Please stay tuned for future 'pupdates' as we guide Bear to becoming an even more well-behaved companion!


Sincerely,

Offleash SoCal Team


 

Pupdate 7/9/2023

Today we ventured out to the Brea Mall, a bustling setting rich in stimuli, and a perfect environment for Bear to learn and grow. At the beginning of our visit, Bear was quite curious towards his surroundings. Keenly observing other dogs and showcasing a natural desire to engage. However, amidst these distractions, Bear's composure wavered at times, causing him to lag behind or veer from the trainer while walking. He oddly displayed unease notably around a wall banner and an orange tile wall. This led to a refusal to wanting to perform any command near these walls. Yet, these moments offer invaluable insights into the areas where Bear needs additional support. As such, we initiated a targeted desensitization regimen to ease Bear's specific anxieties. Gradually, Bear was introduced to the triggers causing his discomfort. Over time, this tactic yielded positive results, with Bear successfully performing commands adjacent to the previously intimidating objects! His progress serves as a testament to the effectiveness of gradual exposure and consistent, patient training. Despite the challenging aspects of the day, it was marked by significant growth and advancement in Bear's training. We're deeply committed to supporting Bear as he navigates his fears, transforming them into confidence and composure. Bear also had a scuffle with a bee today. The bee happened to win this battle. We swiftly provided Bear with some children’s Benadryl to help with any reaction. He is doing quite well and spending time relaxing at home.


Potty note: Bear has been successful at going potty in the front yard, but not fully out in public.





 

Pupdate 7/10/23

Bear adorable little face is all better today after his bee scuffle yesterday! Today, we ventured to a couple different parks and put Bear's full range of skills to the test, evaluating both on-leash and off-leash commands. Working more on his Send Away to Place at greater distances, Come to Heel, Come to Sit, and duration commands while being around plenty of dog distractions. It was a constructive session, though not without its challenges, offering us a clearer perspective of areas we need to focus on moving forward.


Despite his evident progress, Bear still exhibits a level of anxiety that detracted from his full command performance. Notably, while in Place, he would occasionally attempt to or fully break the command if the distance between him and the trainer increased. Similarly, any sudden movements from the trainer during his Sit or Down command would sometimes disrupt Bear's focus. You can see in the video we frequently move around or make ‘odd’ movements to continue to improve Bears abilities.


When around his boarding buddies he has quite the hard time focusing and holding his duration positions. Around other canines he is still distracted, just ever so slightly less than with his buddies. As he comes within close quarters of other canines (1-2 ft) he initiates a play bow. In these moments we must be quick to tell him Off and get his attention back on us and the task at hand. As we give the Off command the tone changes to be slightly more firm. The Off command is quite important as it can prevent any unwanted behavior preemptively.


Bear too feeds off of the energy we give him. While providing Bear with an ordinary task such as Heel, we keep our tone soft and encouraging. The issue with being overzealous is Bear will become crazy excited and run around the park. This could potentially be towards the parking area or street. While we are enthusiastic there is definitely a balance.


Bear has not had any issues with excited peeing, nipping at any children so far, or vomiting/defecating in the car. He in fact hops in/out with no issues and goes into his crate with more ease!


 

Pupdate 7/11/23




Bear embarked on many long walks around the community today. Naturally, we take walks around the neighborhood daily and make frequent trips to Starbucks with one of his buddies Oso. Our neighborhood trips have become a ‘walk in the park’ for Bear! This smart cookie has learned our routine and takes joy in participating in all of the simple ordinary tasks.


The previous separation anxiety and FOMO inside the home only has fully subsided! Bear is happy to spend time with us around the house and inside the crate at random points during the day. Providing Bear with appropriate mental and physical exercise has tremendously assisted with these previous issues. Every part of Baby Bears’ life should consist of structure. Whether relaxing in the home, inside the crate, daily walks, playtime, or adventures out in the world. Canines are a lot like children, if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. The picture of what is and isn’t allowed should be very clear to Bear and consistency will be key! Keeping his brain busy will aid in any boredom behavior.


During our trip to In-N-Out Bear was very respectful and did not attempt to steal, beg, or lick things off the ground. Bear remained in his Extended Down and Under command throughout the duration of our meal.


 

Pupdate 7/12/23

Our day began with a comprehensive command review in the driveway. Bear has shown improvement in most commands, but the Come-to-Sit at times is a hit or miss if he places himself in the correct position. During these times Bear likes to try and take short cuts.


Our training then took us to the bustling environment of Fashion Island where we could work on Bear's commands amidst new distractions. Bear displayed a tendency to play-bow when within 1 ft other dogs. However, with focused attention before, during, and after passing another dog, his behavior improved significantly! Maintaining this level of concentration will be crucial to his continued success in such situations.


We also worked on the Send-Away-to-Place, Come-to-Heel, and Come-to-Sit commands. Bear executed these commands well, with the occasional hiccup. During the Send-Away-to-Place exercise, his enthusiasm sometimes caused him to overshoot the target, or alternatively, hesitation led him to not fully reach the object.


An area of development we noticed is related to Bear's anxiety, which can sometimes interrupt his duration commands. It's clear that his focus can sometimes waver when distance is involved, so we will continue to reinforce these behaviors to increase his comfort level.


We look forward to sharing more of his improvements with you in the future. Stay tuned for more pupdates!


 

Pupdate 7/13/23




Our training session took us to the bustling environment of the Santa Monica Pier, where we focused on all of his commands amidst the plentiful distractions. He and Lambo were pooped after our trip! Bear's duration commands when working with the trainer one on one were commendable. He is showing more and more reliability in these areas and has furthered his ability to stay focused with our guidance. When he was with his buddy Lambo, he did feel more comfortable in his durations to where he wanted to roll around. As other dogs are present Bear finds it difficult to respond accurately to commands. But, as long as we are diligent in keeping Bear’s focus and attention, he will prevail!

Nonetheless, Bear was a great training buddy and teacher today. He assisted in showing Lambo where the proper Heel position was and how to keep the pace of the human. Might we add, he did this all without any additional input from the e-collar!


 

Pupdate 7/14/2023






We kept our work today light for Baby Bear. Upon our arrival at Home Depot, we allowed Bear to acclimatize to the new environment, immersing himself in the novel sights, sounds, and smells. As we do in any atmosphere when first arriving to be fair to Bear. We initiated the session with essential command drills, particularly focusing on Heeling, as well as implementing a few duration commands. Bear performed commendably, maintaining his commands despite the presence of other shoppers and loud noises. There was one incident where the distance between us exceeded his comfort zone during a Sit command, leading him to break it and come towards me. We proceeded to a more engaging activity—photo sessions at various spots around the Lowe’s. A notable moment was when Bear flawlessly held his command in front of a bustling flower display, despite the heavy foot traffic and passing carts. His ability to remain focused and poised is a testament to his training progress. This valuable experience in Lowe's offered Bear further opportunities to enhance his work in real-world environments.


 

Pupdate 7/15/2023


Today we reviewed all of the house manners with Bear. These include Greeting Manners, Car Manners, Door Manners and Food Manners. It also applies to general good in-home behavior such as no demand barking, jumping, begging for food, counter surfing or getting onto furniture. Greeting manners Bear is to remain in a sit/down while someone says ‘hi’ to him. If he gets up then the petting should cease, then have him sit/down again. It then should be up to the human if he is to be greeted again or not. For Car Manners we would like Bear to go in/out of the crate and car on command. Don’t let Bear fool you pretending like he can’t jump into the car! Sometimes all he needs is some extra encouragement and a bit of a running start. Door Manners, we want Bear to sit/down and wait before going in/out of any doorway. Even if the door is left open. This will also prevent Bear rushing out to the door and into the street. Food Manners we simply want Bear to hold a Sit/Down while his food is being prepared and served. Then he must wait for Break! To go and eat the food. The same rule applies for treats too! These are all very necessary in our off-leash training program. It conditions the pups for how they should act when they are taken out in public too! All of the commands are transferable from person to person and in different environments.

Bear enjoyed a bath today and is ready to go home tomorrow!


 

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