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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Birdie | Pitbull | Manhattan Beach, CA | In-Training

Meet Birdie! She is an eighteen month old Pitbull who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Birdie is here for basic obedience, jumping to greet, and potty training. She gets along with other dogs, and can be timid around new people. Birdie also jumps and takes food from people's hands. Over the next fourteen days, this sweet lady will work on her behavior and be set up for success, with the hopes of becoming a well behaved pup. Check in to see her progress!


Birdie and I spent the afternoon getting to know each other by going for a walk to establish a bond. She would pull ahead of me a few times so I introduced her to Heel. Heel is a technique that consists of having Birdie walk with me on my left side. Whenever she pulled away, I turned around and walked in the opposite direction. She did fall behind a couple of times and would not want to continue walking. To help her work through it, I used leash tension as guidance to have her walk towards me. It took some time, but Birdie began to follow through. She still needs more practice, but Heel will now be implied on every walk we go on from here on out.


Birdie and I continued to work on Heel today and she is progressing really well. We went out for a walk this morning and was pulling a lot less. Birdie still falls a little behind during our turns, but she is not coming to a complete stop the way she was before. I introduced her to the E-Collar and she responds very well to it at a low level. She was very distracted during our walk by the grass, but by reminding her to Heel, Birdie stayed on track with me. She is adjusting to her new environment here with me, slept very well in her crate overnight, and does not whine or cry while in the car.


Birdie was introduced to Place today. It is a technique that consists of having Birdie getting onto an elevated object and remaining there in a Sit or a Down. It builds confidence in a dog, and can be of great use whenever guests are over or if there is a knock on your door. Birdie was having trouble whenever we approached an object, as she would only place her front paws on the object. I assisted her by giving her back legs a boost to help her fully get on, and she began to understand the concept. After a few more attempts, Birdie caught on and is building her confidence by following through.


Birdie was introduced to her recall today which is also known as Come to Sit. It consists of having Birdie come towards my right side, going around behind me, and sitting on my left. To teach Birdie, I used leash tension to have her come towards me. In order to have her go around behind me, I used some of her kibble to lure her all the way around, and rewarding her when she sat on my left. She was having some trouble when coming towards my right side, as she would stop and not go around during our first few practice runs, but with consistency, Birdie is doing much better.


Birdie was introduced to Down today. It is a technique that can be difficult to teach a dog considering it being a submissive position. It can also make them feel vulnerable being down on all fours. To teach Birdie, I had her Place on an elevated object, and began to use leash tension and her kibble to guide her down. Although she took the kibble and managed to go down, her backside did come up, so I placed my hand on top of her back and gave her slight pressure whenever she made an intent to sit up. With time, patience, and breaks in between to avoid frustration, Birdie managed to accomplish her Down.


Birdie and I took a trip to a local beach and worked her around different distractions such as people, other dogs, bicycles, and a few gophers. She did react towards the gophers, but by telling Birdie “Off,” and reminding her to Heel, she learned to ignore them as we continued our walk down the pedestrian path. Her Heel is showing more improvement the more we work on it, as she is not pulling as much as she used to. Birdie is doing great with her Down, and now that she knows all of her stationary positions, I will be working on her distance and duration as we move further along with her training.


Birdie and I are practicing her Extended Sit and she has a little trouble maintaining it whenever I would start increasing distance. She does better when she is on “Place” rather than on the ground. Birdie would almost immediately come out of it as soon as I stepped away. To help her with that, I moved back one foot at a time with five second increments. One foot back is five seconds, two feet back is ten seconds, three feet back is fifteen and so on. Birdie is still working on it and she is showing better results. She is almost up to one minute, and we will continue to practice in order to have Birdie reach her goal. 


Birdie and I drove out to a local shopping center to work on what she knows in a more public setting. We began with a walk throughout the shopping center, and although she was unsure and nervous, she did adjust to the environment around her. We worked on what she knows and also practiced with short distance and duration considering it being a new surrounding with more distractions. She was having a little trouble with Down, but with slight leash tension and praise, Birdie was able to follow through. With week one coming to a close, Birdie has learned all of her commands, and will soon begin to work with her leash dragging to prepare her for her off leash experience.


Birdie and I took a trip to a local park today and worked on Place with her leash dragging. She did really well on one of the objects that we worked on, but still needed guidance placing on one of the tables. She would initially hop onto the bench part of the table, but I was asking her to Place on top of the table. I used leash tension to help her up a few times, and once she was consistent, I loosened the leash, used less tension, until I was able to eventually drop the leash and have Birdie do it on her own.


Birdie continues to work with her leash dragging, and today she practiced Heel in a low distracting environment. She did pretty well with minimal distractions around her, and although Birdie was walking with me, she was still at a distance, but I am working on it to have it cleaned up. I was also able to keep a short distance without holding on to her leash, and she did really well remaining in her Sit. Once we work on a few other techniques that need a little adjustment, Birdie will begin to work with no leash on.   


Birdie and I worked on some confidence building today by having her practice Place on different surfaces with different textures. She did really well after being introduced to most of the objects, and needed little to no assistance during our session. The object she did have trouble with was a small cot. Birdie was afraid of getting onto it due to the size and texture, but with treats and some verbal encouragement, Birdie was able to follow through.


Birdie and I worked on some final leash dragging exercises and she did really well. Her Heel and Place are coming along great, and she is ready to begin working off leash. We met with other trainers, and one of them assisted us by serving as a distraction for Birdie with his dog. She did really well and did not react in any manner towards the dog. Birdie continues to thrive in her training, and will now begin to work on her Final video for the remainder of her program.


Birdie and I have been working on her Greeting Manners. She has learned that she is to remain in a Sit whenever she is approached by someone that wants to say hello. It was difficult for her to do so in the beginning of her training, since she would come out of her Sit whenever I stepped away and she would occasionally get nervous and try to cower behind me. With repetition and consistency, Birdie has managed to successfully be greeted without coming out of her Sit.


Birdie has completed her Two Week Board and Train Program and is ready to come home. She has done a great job and has learned so much throughout her training. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to be her trainer, and for also trusting me while having her under my care. She was a great co-pilot and I am going to miss her sweet companionship. I am looking forward to showing you what she has learned these past two weeks. Her Final video will be uploaded in the coming days, but in the meantime here is a sneak peek at Birdie working on her Door Manners. Thank you Birdie!


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