Meet Biggie! He's an eleven-month-old Cane Corso from Downey, California here for our Two-Week Board and Train Program! He can be very loving, especially with his family, however, he loves to bark and lunge at those he is unfamiliar with. He is nearly one hundred pounds of muscle and can pull his parents all over the place if he wants to! He is skeptical of everything new, and lacks the confidence to approach unfamiliar scenarios by putting his best paw forward. Over the next fourteen days, I want to build his confidence as much as possible, teach him his manners in and out of the house, work on his basic commands, and hopefully show him that the world isn't as scary as he thinks it is! After all is said and done, I want him to work towards becoming the best pup he can possibly be! Stay tuned for Biggie's two week transformation!
When I first picked up Biggie, he growled and barked at me. Very soon after that, he sniffed me and started getting comfortable! He's very strong and a huge leash puller, but I think his underlying issue is his confidence level. Ideally, I want Biggie to gain the confidence to not feel the need to bark or growl at people. He's been very sweet once he got to know me, but hopefully throughout his training, we can show him that he rarely needs to be worried in the first place!
In today's video, I ask for some basic commands, at which point, he mostly just looks at me. He was able to sit with a little help, but his nerves were getting the best of him most of the time we were at the park.
When we got home, I let him sniff around my home, and he even got to sniff around with my personal dog, who is also a Cane Corso, through her crate walls. He didn't bark at her or cause any issues.
His stool was pretty loose at the park today. That could very easily be from nerves, but if it continues, I'll add some pumpkin to his kibble.
Biggie and I went to Almansor Park today for training! He was on edge all day, but he started leaning on me, and treating me as though he trusts me. This park is fairly well populated, and Biggie did a great job walking around the other patrons without barking. When we crossed paths with a dog, however, he alerted immediately, pulled toward them, and only stopped when I ignored his advances and started walking in a different direction with zero acknowledgement of the other dog, or Biggie's actions. One thing we have to be aware of is how our actions are perceived by our dogs. If Biggie barks and lunges at a dog and I say, "oh no, it's okay!" and pet him, he immediately thinks he did the best possible thing in that position. If I ignore him, what I found was that Biggie looked at me, realized I didn't care, and started walking with me away from the distraction. It seems to me that this approach is going to be the best thing for Biggie. I'm not inadvertently praising his mistakes, but I'm also not making a big deal about him barking. I'm simply showing him that I have zero reaction to the distractions he thinks are dangers, which I believe he will start to trust and understand.
Biggie and I went to the park today! He threw his temper tantrum a couple times, but he did a really good job behaving for the most part! Just like before, his major distractions seem to be the other dogs. While we're alone, Biggie is walking politely, sitting when asked, and focusing on me! As soon as a distraction is introduced, however, he only wants to pay attention to that. Each time we go out, he seems to be developing a bit more!
Biggie and I walked to the park today for his training session! On the way, there were a few places where dogs would run up to their fences and bark at us, which Biggie didn't like very much. He tried to pull toward them, but we continued walking, and he calmed down after several steps.
At the park, there were tons of dogs around today! We kept our distance, but Biggie did well and only looked at the dogs if they got too close.
We started working on a new command today, also! The Place command. For Place, I want Biggie to hop onto a raised object, such as a bench or the rocks pictured above. He seemed skeptical at first, but after some repetition, he started hopping up on the rock with a little more enthusiasm!
This command is great to use at home, when you want your pup to hold his position on his bed or on a blanket! He has a lot of work to do on this command, but he's picking it up fairly well!
Biggie and I spent most of the day trying to avoid the rain! This gave us a good opportunity to practice his Place command on a cot inside.
While he's on the cot, I want him to remain there until I either release him from command or ask him to perform a different command.
Biggie was a lot more playful today and seemed less nervous. Most of our day was spent in and around the house, so that is to be expected.
Biggie and I went to Santa Monica Pier today! There were plenty of other dogs and people around, including a few other trainers and their dogs! He growled at one dog, and nearly went to lunge at one other dog. What I noticed is that the well behaved dogs around us got very little acknowledgement from Biggie, as long as I stayed on top of him with his E collar and his commands. The dogs that bothered him were ones that wanted to play, or were pulling their owners around. Unfortunately, most dogs we come across in real life will not be as well behaved as our trained comrades, but will usually be the unruly type that seem to bother Biggie.
With the sheer number of distractions, specifically dogs, around him today, for him to only act out two or three times is a very good day for him! He did incredibly well for his first time in Santa Monica! Hopefully we can keep him progressing!
In addition to his pictures today, I'm adding an e collar tutorial video to his blog. I'd like you to watch it at some point prior to him going home so that you're familiar with the technology and how to use it!
Biggie and I went to Almansor Park today for training! The weather ended up being nice, and Biggie got tons of time at the park! He has started to open up a lot while in most portions of the park, however, he didn't like all the bouncing balls around the basketball courts, and wanted to cuddle up right next to me whenever we were walking by them.
With his commands, Biggie did a great job today! I'd like him to be able to hold his positions for a bit longer, but he made good progress today nonetheless.
Another thing I'd like to point out in today's video, is at the end, when I release him and give him love, he tries jumping on me. I'm very glad he loves me now, but I still want to set some boundaries when it comes to that behavior! When he jumps, I stand up and ask him to sit and calm back down. Once he does that, he can receive more affection!
Biggie and I went to Santa Anita Mall today for training! In the morning, the rain was on and off, so we got some time in the outside areas as well as inside!
There weren't any dogs around, but the people there still served as good distractions. Biggie wanted to get up from his Sit and Down positions sometimes to try to sniff passersby, try to get closer to me. His Heel command was very good, but whenever ask him to remain in any specific position, he finds that difficult. With enough repetition, he's starting to get it!
By the time we left the mall, it was heavily raining, so Biggie took a nice nap and we're waiting patiently for the rain to subside.
Biggie worked through some tough distractions today! He was a little put off by the pouring rain, and having to potty outside. It even seemed to have him a little on edge while we were working inside! Eventually, he calmed down a little bit and we got some great work done!
I wanted to show one of his household manners we've been working on. His food manners! For this exercise, I want Biggie to be able to hold a sit or down while food is placed in front of him. This impulse control will help not only with his feeding times, but also in the case that someone drops something while cooking that Biggie shouldn't eat. He struggled a lot with this impulse, but he's doing a great job now!
Biggie was not a huge fan of the sheets of rain! He did, however, do well working through his commands. We spent a lot of time going through his commands with his leash dragging throughout my garage. Working with the leash dragging gives me some idea of how he might perform off leash while still having access to the leash should I need it. In the enclosed, safe environment of our garage, Biggie did a very good job with his commands. Around other distractions, especially dogs, we probably will need to be extremely careful with where and when Biggie goes off leash! With that in mind, he's doing great!
Biggie went to a dog park today! We stayed outside. He spent the first ten minutes growling at everyone through the fence, but eventually, we got through each of his commands!
He even got to do his commands with his leash dragging, albeit on the other side of the park. He will be great off leash at certain places eventually, but it will be extremely important to identify when and where he can be off leash leash safely!
Biggie and I took advantage of the decent weather today! We took our time walking to the park. Our normal friends came to greet us at their fences, and Biggie did a much better job of ignoring them without growling. I did have to stay on top of him with our commands and our E collar, but Biggie did an amazing job! I forget if I've mentioned this before, but Biggie doesn't seem to have a huge prey drive when it comes to smaller animals. Biggie seems to be the most reactive towards dogs who are not very well behaved. Unfortunately, this means his behavior can be very unpredictable, because it's impossible for us to know how an incoming canine will behave. That means it is the most safe for Biggie to remain on leash in most situations, however, he has shown himself to be very well behaved and attentive in enclosed environments where the differences are limited! For example, he did some great work leash dragging at the park today, however, I would never allow him to leash drag or go off leash anywhere near a road, nor near other dogs. He's been such an amazing boy, though, and with time, he can be great with other dogs and people!
Biggie and I went to Hollywood Boulevard today! It took a lot of warm up time, but he was able to safely perform his commands off leash. When we first got there, he wanted to play around and not listen to his commands. After a few minutes, however, he started performing and behaving remarkably well. He was even willing to hold his Sit command for two full minutes, and allowed some people to say hi to him with zero issues. I'm extremely proud of his improvements each day, and I will miss working with him when he goes home tomorrow!