Blitz | German Shorthair Pointer | Torrance, CA | In-Training
Meet Blitz! This seven-month-old German Shorthair Pointer from Torrance, California is here with us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Blitz is a friendly and very energetic pup, but he is very easily distracted by his surroundings and often struggles to maintain the focus needed to reliably listen to what is asked of him. He also likes to use his strength to pull heavily on the leash while walking, and has a bad habit of trying to jump on people when he's excited. Blitz also struggles with some dog reactivity and separation anxiety as well. Over the next fourteen days, we will be working to improve his obedience, manners, and overall listening skills to set him on the right track to becoming a well-behaved pup both on and off leash! Stay tuned for his transformation!
Today Blitz and I spent the day bonding and getting to know each other after his pickup! We walked around and explored the park a bit, and I worked to develop a positive relationship with him to help him feel comfortable and happy training with me going forward. While he warmed up to me very quickly, overall he seemed to be much more interested in his surroundings and struggled to maintain focus for any period of time while we were at the park together. Whenever people were around he often tried to pull towards them or jump on them if they got close, though his body language seemed playful and excited. He seemed to react similarly when he saw other dogs in the area, and he often became overexcited and overstimulated upon seeing another dog, and reacted by whining, vocalizing, and trying to rush toward them. He also seemed to completely ignore leash pressure, and often became frustrated by his inability to pull towards the distractions he wanted to approach, causing him to continue pulling harder on the leash in an attempt to move forward. After taking some time to explore the park and assess his general behavior while in public, I began testing his knowledge of basic commands to help me get an idea of his starting point and what areas of his training may need some extra attention. Blitz didn't seem to have any understanding of the Heel command, and regardless of leash pressure or verbal commands given, he was determined to pull on the leash as hard as he could to get where he wanted to go. He was also unable to perform a Sit or Down when asked, and didn't seem to have any knowledge of either command. He was also very hesitant and nervous about jumping onto any object for the Place command, and was unwilling to climb or jump even onto low and easy to reach objects when prompted. His recall was generally unreliable too, though he did seem to have some concept of the command. When called, he would often ignore his name, leash pressure, and the Come command completely, especially if he was focused on something else. Sometimes he would come my general direction when called, however he did not stick around for more than a moment or two before immediately rushing back off in a different direction. He doesn't appear to have any knowledge or understanding of leash pressure either, and consistently chose to pull against the directional pressure whenever it was applied using a standard flat collar and leash, or with a slip lead. To allow me to safely handle him as well as begin teaching him the meaning of leash pressure, we have implemented a prong collar, which is a great tool to reduce and eliminate pulling behaviors for heavy-pulling pups like Blitz.
After we had a chance to get to know each other at the park, it was time to head home and get settled in! Blitz was very hesitant about jumping into the back of my car, but was eventually able to climb in with a bit of help. Once in the car, he was also very hesitant about entering the kennel, and protested the guidance used to direct him into it. Using a small piece of his kibble to motivate him, he was eventually able to enter it willingly, which was great! Although, the goal is to not need any food motivators for Blitz to perform any commands or manners, so we will need to practice more with this to help him feel more comfortable and develop a positive association with the kennel. At home, he seemed a bit anxious and unsure of the new environment at first, but after spending some time together and playing with some toys, he calmed down and was able to explore the new environment and become familiar with it! He did vocalize and howl a bit once I left the room, though he has since found a nice cozy place to rest and look out the window, and seems to be settling in nicely!
Today Blitz and I spent the day working in various areas around my neighborhood. He was introduced to the Heel command today, along with the concept of leash pressure and e-collar pressure. We began the day in a quiet, distraction-free area along my neighborhood streets to provide Blitz the best opportunity to learn and focus as we begin his training journey. He was a bit unfocused at first, but once he began to understand that training could be fun and rewarding for him, he began to pay closer attention to me and became more willing to learn and practice. Once he began to show progress in understanding the new command introduced, we took a walk to a local park where we could work around a slightly higher level of distractions. This park wasn't super busy today, though common distractions were present such as small animals, grassy fields, and the occasional dog or person in the surrounding area. Blitz showed some progress today in maintaining focus for short periods, though he still frequently became distracted if something interesting caught his attention. He didn't seem to mind the dogs or people so long as they were at a comfortable distance away, though he often became focused on smelling the grass or staring at small animals or birds around the area.
Pressure is a fundamental tool used in teaching basic obedience commands. The idea is that whenever pressure is applied, be it from a leash or an e-collar, it is paired with a command. The pressure then remains present until Blitz follows the pressure and the command being given. The moment he follows through, the pressure immediately turns off and a reward is given. Blitz seems to enjoy verbal praise and physical affection, so these are both great ways to reward him and encourage the behavior we want from him. Yesterday whenever the leash was used to apply pressure, he would firmly resist it, try to pull in the opposite direction, and made no attempt to turn the pressure off, so it was clear he didn't quite understand the concept of leash pressure just yet. He also seemed to completely ignore pressure from a normal collar, so we practiced with a prong collar today which is a very helpful tool to both discourage pulling and help him develop a clear understanding of pressure. We spent a good amount of time focusing on teaching him what leash pressure means, and how to turn off the pressure once it's applied. He learned that trying to resist it was not successful or rewarding, and that simply following the directional pressure and paying attention to what I was asking of him was very simple and rewarding! After a while of practicing with this, he did much better and began showing a good understanding of leash pressure! In order to properly introduce the e-collar, it's very helpful for Blitz to first have a solid understanding of leash pressure, as leash pressure is the most simple form of pressure due to the clear directional guidance it provides. Once he understood the leash pressure, we began adding in a new form of pressure from the e-collar. By pairing these two forms of pressure simultaneously, he will come to understand that each pressure has the same meaning. With time and practice, this will allow the leash and e-collar to be used interchangeably, and eventually allow the opportunity to begin training with the e-collar only, without the need for a leash!
The Heel command is an important concept for Blitz to begin developing early on in his training, as his strong pulling while on the leash can pose dangers to his handler, himself, or others in the area if it is allowed to continue. The goal for the Heel command is for Blitz to be able to follow directly alongside his handler on their left side at their heels, and maintain that position while walking unless released or given a new command. This precise positioning takes a lot of practice to master, but it will reduce and eventually eliminate pulling on the leash or veering off in different directions, and allow his handler to take the lead on walks instead of him trying to pull them around wherever he pleases. To introduce this command, I kept the leash short but loose, and ensured he stayed on my left side in roughly the Heel position as we walked. If he began to veer off or pull ahead, leash and e-collar pressure were applied, and the verbal command Heel was given. He eventually began to grasp the concept, stopped trying to pull as much, and instead learned to follow the guidance of the leash. When walking in the correct Heel position, the leash was loose, no pressure was applied, and lots of praise and reward were given to communicate that he was in the desired position. As he gets better with this command, he will have an easier time staying in the Heel position without as much guidance or pressure needed, and will need to be reminded less and less to return to position.
Blitz and I took a walk to a local park today, where we introduced the Off and Come to Sit commands, as well as continued to practice with his Heel. We found a relatively distraction-free area of the park, and began the training session there where Blitz could have a good environment to focus and learn in. Once he was in a good mindset for training and began catching onto the new commands introduced, we began moving around to different areas of the park to practice around a slightly increased amount of distractions. This park was on the quieter side today, with only a few people and other dogs in the area which he mostly ignored, however, Blitz often found himself very distracted by interesting smells in the grass and small animals in the area such as birds and squirrels.
Blitz will often become hyper-fixated on distractions, which makes it difficult for him to regain his focus or listen to any instructions being given to him. Moments like this are a great opportunity to implement the Off command. The goal for the Off command is for Blitz to stop whatever he is doing, and focus on his handler. This is a very versatile command, similar to "no" or "leave it", and can be used in various situations, such as to interrupt hyper-fixation, jumping on people, or any other behaviors that are undesirable or inappropriate at that time. The Off command when paired with leash and e-collar pressures allows me to quickly grab his attention and get him to focus on me so that he is in a better mindset to listen for upcoming instructions. Once the Off command is given, it's beneficial to immediately follow it with another command such as Sit, Heel, Come, etc. Once his focus is regained, asking him to then focus on a task will help keep his attention away from what initially distracted him or caused the undesirable behavior. Blitz has shown great progress in understanding the Off command so far, and with each repetition, he seems to be quicker to respond and refocus when prompted.
Come to Sit is another important command to begin practicing early on in Blitz's training journey, as it will be our main form of recall. Having a solid recall is important for any pup's obedience training, though this will be especially crucial for him to master if he is to be allowed off-leash. The goal for Come to Sit is for Blitz to come directly to me when called, and circle around to perform a Sit on my left side. While Blitz has some general understanding of the Come command already, he is largely unreliable and often chooses to ignore what is being asked of him, and is quick to run back off if he does come when called. The Come to Sit command when performed in its entirety, ensures that he not only comes when called, but also requires him to sit beside his handler and not leave that spot unless released or given a new command such as Heel. By having him sit on the left side facing forward, we are setting him up for success to begin walking in Heel as he is already in the desired position for it. We introduced this concept today by combining the verbal command with leash and e-collar pressure to grab his attention and guide him towards me. Once he followed the guidance and approached me, the leash was used to then guide him around to my left side, where he was then asked to perform a Sit. As we practiced more, he began to rely less on the leash pressure to grab his attention and guide him, which is a good sign of progress! He would sometimes sit slightly out of the desired position once he got to me, though for his first day, he did a great job overall! With each successful repetition, I made sure to reward him with lots of praise and affection, to build up a positive association with the command and coming to me when called.
Blitz is doing quite well with Heel so far, and is quickly learning the desired position to be in when the command is given. His pulling behaviors have reduced significantly, and he can often follow along directly beside me with minimal to no leash pressure needed for good chunks of time! He does sometimes lose focus and occasionally try to veer off or step out of position temporarily, however he is beginning to show a good understanding of the verbal command and e-collar, and is often able to correct his positioning on his own when asked with minimal physical guidance needed which is great to see! We also practiced making lots of sudden turns and stops today, which helps to encourage engagement with his handler, and ensures he is paying close attention to both his own positioning and the position of his handler so that he can accurately follow along even when unpredictable movements and directional changes are made. Going forward, we will continue practicing this command around gradually increasing levels of distractions, to further develop his focus and continue to build his understanding of the command.
Today Blitz and I began our training session at home, where we introduced two new commands, Place and Down. Once he made some progress with these commands, we visited a park to continue his training for each command he has learned thus far. While at home Blitz was able to show an increased level of focus, due to the environment's familiarity and low distraction levels. However, when at the park Blitz was as usual very excited and energetic, which caused him to quickly lose focus at the sight of any distraction. We continued practicing with the Off command, to help improve his self-control and ability to regain focus and ignore distractions when asked. He has shown some good progress with the Off command, however when he is very focused on something else he sometimes needs to be asked a few times before he snaps out of it and returns his attention to me.
Since Blitz is often very distracted and excited while in public, we first introduced the Place and Down commands while at home, where there are virtually no distractions to take his focus away from learning. The goal for the Place command is for Blitz to be able to jump or climb onto an object, such as a bench, bed, or other platform, and hold a stationary position such as Sit or Down. We introduced Place using a comfortable bed in his room that Blitz is already familiar with jumping onto and relaxing on in his own time, which helped to promote confidence and learning. By using leash pressure paired with the verbal command and a hand signal, he was able to follow my guidance and jump onto the bed when asked. He also seemed comfortable with sitting on the bed when asked as well, which was great to see! After practicing with this for a while, he seemed to understand what was being asked of him, and he no longer needed the leash pressure to jump up on the Place object. He became quick to follow instructions, knowing that praise and reward would follow for his good behavior! Using the comfortable place object again, we then introduced the Down command. Down can be a tricky position for some dogs to perform on command, especially for dogs who often feel anxious or over-excited and struggle to relax. While on the bed, I used leash pressure and some physical guidance to help Blitz into the Down position, and the moment he followed the guidance and laid all the way down, lots of praise and reward was given! He seemed to catch on to this pretty quickly, and soon was able to perform Down while on the bed with minimal physical guidance needed. We then practiced Down on a few different surfaces around the home, such as on the floor or on the grass in the yard, to help him become familiar with performing the command in a variety of places apart from the bed. While he did struggle with this at first, he was eventually able to lie down anywhere around the house that I asked him to, though he did need some physical guidance to help him follow through with the command.
Once he got the hang of both Place and Down while at home, we made a visit to a park to continue his training out in public where more distractions would be present. There were lots of suitable Place objects at this park, such as a variety of benches and other low platforms. Despite Blitz's confidence with performing Place on the bed at home, he was very hesitant about attempting the jump onto any object at the park, and needed a lot of reassurance and guidance to direct him. With sufficient motivation, he was able to make the small jump needed to get onto a low bench we were practicing with, though he was a bit unsure of his footing and was hesitant to perform Sit or Down during the first several attempts. With some more practice, he eventually became a bit more comfortable with jumping onto the bench when asked, and only needed light leash pressure to show him where I wanted him to go. He also became more confident with performing a Sit, however he protested heavily against performing Down while on the place object, and needed consistent guidance to lower him into the position. We also practiced Down around some other areas of the park, such as on the grass, pathways, or other surfaces, though Blitz showed the same hesitation and protest towards the command each time. When he did finally follow through with it, he was very quick to pop back up out of position, and struggled to stay still due to his excitement from simply being outside. Wearing out some of his energy by playing in the grass and working on Heel and Come to Sit seemed to help him become a bit less hesitant about lying down. Once he was tired and the excess energy had dissipated he would sometimes choose to lie down in the grass on his own accord, however, he was still rather uncomfortable with performing the command when asked and could not hold the position for longer than a couple of seconds. Lots more practice will be needed for Blitz to master all of his commands, though he is on the right track and is making good progress!
Blitz and I visited the Santa Monica Promenade, where we continued practicing each of his commands. He has now been introduced to all the commands in this program, so the next step in his training journey is to improve his focus levels while around distractions. Helping him become familiar with and learn to ignore common distractions will encourage him to feel calm, confident, and focused so that he can listen and follow through with commands regardless of his surroundings. The Promenade is a quite popular location full of people, other dogs, and other distractions commonly found in public places, which provided a great opportunity to test his skills in a busy environment.
Overall Blitz was very excited, distracted, and a bit stressed while training at this location, and the overall amount of distractions around seemed to be a lot for Blitz to handle. His focus was constantly bouncing around from distraction to distraction, only leaving enough attention to focus on me for short periods of time. While practicing commands, Blitz often became frustrated when he was prevented from approaching or fixating on a nearby distraction, and he expressed his displeasure by jumping in the air, jumping on me, or biting at the leash, which were all interrupted by the Off command. He seems to always feel the need to approach, greet, or investigate everything he sees, whether it be a person, a dog, some foliage, etc. This is not a good habit for him to have, as it leads to him being unpredictable and unreliable in following commands when distractions are present. We will be working to break this habit, and help him come to understand that just because something interesting is nearby, he has to accept that he cannot run off to approach something or someone on his own accord, especially if he is being asked to do something else such as perform a command.
While training today, we focused on improving his ability to perform and hold stationary commands, such as Sit, Down, and Place. The goal for each stationary command is for Blitz to not only perform the command when asked, but also hold that command for at least two minutes, regardless of any distractions present. Today we started off with easy goals, and worked to gradually improve his skills with performing and holding stationary positions. He did well with Place today, and seemed a lot more confident about jumping or climbing onto objects than he was yesterday. He needed minimal to no physical guidance to perform Place on easily accessible objects today, which was great to see! Blitz was also comfortable with performing Sit on command, either on Place objects or on the ground, though he was quick to become impatient and was easily distracted by his surroundings. Blitz was able to perform down while on a Place object today, however, he needed consistent physical guidance and was unable to lie down on command due to his lack of focus.
While he was able to perform each stationary command today, he struggled to find the patience and attention level needed to hold the position for longer than a couple of seconds. Any time that Blitz broke a command by getting up, trying to wander off, or otherwise changing positions, he was immediately asked to return to the position asked of him again, and was reminded to stay there until released or given a new command. Consistently doing this every time prevents him from successfully getting away with breaking commands whenever he feels like it, and will reinforce an implied stay. Over time, he will learn that trying to break commands will not be successful or rewarding for him, and is not worth attempting. He will instead come to understand that the only way to achieve a positive and rewarding outcome is to follow through with what is being asked of him and hold the position until told otherwise. After practicing this for a while, Blitz showed some progress with holding positions, and was consistently able to stay still for about thirty seconds at a time. While this is great progress for him, much more work will need to be done before he can reliably remain in the position asked of him for the goal duration of two minutes.
Blitz and I visited a local shopping strip today, where we continued practicing each of his commands around distractions. This location provided a variety of distractions to work around, such as people and dogs along the sidewalks and noises from the nearby street. Overall Blitz was quite excited and distracted by his surroundings, though he was able to maintain focus more reliably today, and seemed to have an easier time ignoring distractions when asked with the Off command. He still did get frustrated on occasion, such as if a dog walked by and he was prevented from approaching them, though he seemed to get over it fairly quickly and returned to a more calm and focused state once some distance had been created between him and the dog. Some dogs he seemed to ignore for the most part and was able to have them walk by without much notice apart from a glance in their direction, however some dogs he took an interest in and would whine and try to pull towards them, which caused frustration because he couldn't get to them.
We continued focusing on improving Blitz's stationary commands, and working to improve his reliability with performing and remaining in each position. He did well with Sit and Place today, and seemed comfortable performing both commands with minimal to no leash pressure. He was also able to hold Sit for about one minute today, even while distractions were present, which shows great progress in his self-control and patience skills! We spent some extra time focusing on the Down position, as this is the command he has been struggling with the most lately. When in slightly quieter areas of the shopping strip, Blitz seemed a bit more relaxed and willing to perform the command, and needed minimal to no leash pressure to guide him into the position. He also seemed to prefer performing down while on raised Place objects, such as benches and other platforms, though he was able to perform it while on the sidewalk areas as well. He was able to hold the position for about one minute consistently, which is good! However when around increased distractions, such as if people or dogs were walking past or loud noises could be heard from nearby cars, Blitz was less reliable with performing the command when asked, and was prone to breaking position more frequently, averaging about thirty seconds before sitting or standing back up. Each time this happened, I consistently ensured he returned to position, and with each repetition he seemed to become less inclined to break position even if a distraction caught his attention.
While at the shopping strip, we also continued working on his Heel and Come to Sit, both of which he has improved a lot with over the past few days! Blitz is developing a good idea of where he needs to be when the Heel command is given, and he can often correct his positioning with only minimal leash pressure needed. He is starting to pay more attention to the position of my legs, my hand signals, and the e-collar for guidance and communication. When in less distracting areas, Blitz can remain in the Heel position with relative ease, only needing occasional reminders if he happens to step slightly out of position. When in places with a higher volume of distractions, he usually does quite well with Heel, and can often ignore most passing distractions as he focuses on his positioning and following my lead. However, he still struggles with other dogs and small animals, and if he takes an interest in them he sometimes will try to pull on the leash momentarily before snapping out of it and refocusing on his position beside me. Blitz's Come to Sit has also seen a lot of improvement, and we have been working to improve his consistency with recall as well as his positioning for the Sit on my left side. Even when moderate distractions are present in the immediate surroundings, Blitz seems to be pretty solid with always coming to me when recalled the first time the command is given, which is great! He is learning that coming when I call him will always be the best option, as it leads to a more rewarding and positive experience rather than trying to ignore the command, which will never be successful. Typically, he needs very minimal or no leash pressure needed at all to get his attention or guide him toward me, however he could use some more work on his positioning once he gets to me. Blitz sometimes gets confused about the maneuver to my left side, and isn't sure where to Sit, so consistent leash pressure is often needed to guide him to where I want him before I ask for the Sit. When he is very focused, he's sometimes able to perform the command without this guidance, though his focus while around distractions will need to improve before he can consistently perform the command without guidance from the leash.
Today Blitz and I visited an outdoor mall, where we continued practicing each of his commands around distractions. The mall was full of commonly found distractions, such as groups of people, other dogs, and interesting sounds and smells all around. Overall Blitz did a pretty good job of staying focused, and was able to follow through with everything I asked of him. He was able to ignore most distractions when asked, even when groups of people walked nearby, or when small animals such as birds landed in the area. His biggest challenge today was performing commands while other dogs were around, as he often became excited upon seeing them, and frustrated when prevented from approaching them. When feeling frustrated or anxious, Blitz will default to behaviors such as whining, pacing, jumping, biting at the leash, or scratching himself, all of which is able to be interrupted by giving the Off command. Despite these moments of heightened emotions, Blitz was still able to regain focus to listen to instructions, which was great to see! He is showing good progress with becoming more neutral and being able to listen while in the presence of other dogs, though much more work will need to be done before he is able to reliably ignore them without becoming hyper and distracted when they're around.
While at the mall, there were lots of nice people who wanted to come say hello to Blitz, which provided great opportunities to practice with his Greeting Manners. The goal for Greeting Manners is for Blitz to remain calm, collected, and polite while being introduced to or being pet by other people. Before allowing someone to approach him, we first ask Blitz to focus on holding a stationary command, such as Sit or Down, which helps to prevent over-excitement, jumping, or other impolite behaviors from occurring, as his focus is instead directed to holding the position. If he breaks position or begins behaving impolitely, he is immediately asked to refocus and return to the position asked of him. Before the greeting takes place, it's important to inform the person or people that Blitz is in training, and that they can help him learn by only petting him when he is listening and calm. Giving him attention or praise when he is over-excited, jumping up, or otherwise behaving impolitely will result in those behaviors becoming encouraged, which would be detrimental to his progress. By ensuring all praise and affection are reserved strictly for when he is holding the position asked of him and behaving calmly, we can work to encourage this good behavior. Over time, Blitz will come to understand that impolite behavior will not be rewarding for him, and that the only way to get what he wants and say hello to people is to listen and remain calm. The first few people we greeted today Blitz did try to jump up on several times, though he quickly realized that doing this would lead to him being ignored and given the Off command, which wasn't very rewarding for him. Once he calmed down, the people were able to pet him and give him lots of attention, which he loved! The next few greetings he was definitely excited about, and sometimes broke position momentarily, though he was much better about not jumping up, and was able to express his excitement in more polite ways such as tail wags and kisses. With more consistent practice, Blitz will continue to improve with his and learn to replace his bad habits with good manners! We also practiced each of Blitz's commands while at the mall today, and continued working to improve his focus level when around distractions. He did well with Heel today, and needed very minimal leash pressure to guide him when he began to lose focus on his positioning. Overall he did a great job of following my lead, rarely tried to pull ahead or veer off, and was happy to stick right beside me as we walked around. When distractions were present nearby he would sometimes fall out of position momentarily, though he was typically quick to realize his mistake and return to position once reminded. His Come to Sit was also good today, and we practiced adding some additional distance between us by utilizing a long leash. The goal is for Blitz to have a solid recall, regardless of distractions present or how far away he is from his handler. Today we worked with a distance of about ten feet, and despite the extra distance Blitz seemed very attentive and was able to come right to me when called. He did sometimes need a bit of extra guidance with the leash for the maneuver to my left side for a Sit, though when he was focused he was often able to simply follow my hand signals and body positioning for guidance. We also practiced adding some distance between us as he holds stationary positions such as Sit, Down, and Place. Blitz is definitely a "velcro" dog and loves to be right beside his handler, though we can work to improve his confidence and independence by getting him comfortable with holding stationary positions even if his handler is not directly beside him. We began by taking small steps back to test his ability, and gradually increasing the distance to find and improve upon his current limits. Today he seemed comfortable with me stepping away to a distance of about seven to ten feet, which is a great start! However, if I created more distance than that he was prone to becoming clingy and breaking position to come over to me.
Today Blitz and I visited another outdoor mall, where we continued working on each of his commands around distractions. The mall had lots of distractions present, such as groups of people, many other dogs, and small children running around playing. Overall Blitz did a fantastic job maintaining focus today, and seemed to have a much easier time remaining relaxed and neutral to his surroundings despite the presence of nearby distractions. He also did a great job of staying calm when around other dogs, and was able to follow through with commands even when other dogs walked by. He would still look at them and sometimes whine for a few seconds upon first seeing them, though he didn't break positions or try to approach them, which is great progress for him! He also showed no signs of anxiety, over-excitement, or frustration today, which I'm so proud of him for! These are all important steps in the right direction for his obedience transformation!
We practiced a lot on Heel today as we walked around the mall, and worked to improve his engagement with me so that he has an easier time focusing on me while in the Heel position. A higher level of engagement will help Blitz always keep an eye on where his handler is, so he can actively follow their lead and not fall out of position. By giving him lots of praise and reward for eye contact and other forms of intentional engagement with me, he became very enthusiastic and happy to perform and remain in the Heel position. This exercise was very helpful for Blitz, and he seemed to have an easier time than ever with ignoring any distractions around us, as his attention was glued to me instead of his surroundings! We also continued practicing with each of his stationary commands of Place, Sit, and Down. He has shown massive improvement with these commands as well, and was able to perform each command whenever and wherever he was asked, with no leash pressure needed! He seems to understand each hand signal and verbal command very well now, and was able to follow instructions without any hesitation, protest, or delay. He was able to hold these stationary positions consistently for over a minute and thirty seconds, which is very close to the duration goal we have set. We also continued working on getting him comfortable with holding positions while I'm at a distance from him, and he was consistently able to remain in position while I was over ten feet away, which is great to see! He was much more reliable with holding these positions, even as distractions such as groups of people or dogs walked by within close proximity. Whenever he began to lose focus due to a distraction or begin staring at something intensely, the Off command was given and he understood to ignore the distraction and look back at me! The command he struggled with the most today was Come to Sit. He did great about always coming directly to me when called, even if I was at a distance or distractions were nearby, which is very important and great to see! However, once he got to me he would sometimes sit in front of me, behind me, or too far away from me instead of directly beside me on the left. He would struggle to find the proper positioning based off hand signals or my body position on its own, so he often needed a bit of leash pressure to help guide him. To help him master this command and the maneuver to my left side, we did many repetitions of Come to Sit to familiarize him with the desired result. Each time he successfully performed the command, I made sure to reward him with lots of praise and affection, which helped to reinforce the behavior. If he sat out of position, the reward would be withheld until he corrected himself and made his way to the proper position, at which point the reward would be given! This encourages him to perform the command correctly on the first attempt, as performing it incorrectly will only delay the reward and not be productive for him. We also encouraged him to focus more on my hand signals for guidance. Hand signals will be a big part in eventually replacing the leash, so it's important for him to come to become familiar with them and understand their meaning. After a while of practicing with this, he showed a lot of improvement and relied less and less on the leash pressure for guidance, though he would occasionally need it if he got confused about where to go. He showed great progress today, though more work will need to be done before he is consistent with his positioning each time without the need for the leash's guidance.
Today Blitz and I visited a local park, where we continued practicing each of his commands around distractions. Blitz has made so much progress in learning to remain calm and focused when around most distractions found in public places such as shopping areas and malls, however other dogs still remain a major distraction for him if they are in close proximity. Parks are a great place to work on desensitizing and properly socializing him around other dogs, which will be key in helping him overcome his tendency to become over-excited and consequently reactive in the presence of dogs. He has shown a lot of improvement already, and rarely does he lunge at or try to stubbornly pull in their direction, however he still tends to stare, whine, and otherwise become distracted which is something we will work to improve.
We continued practicing commands as usual, and looking for areas of the park where other dogs were nearby. We kept a good distance from them at first to encourage Blitz to ignore them and focus on training, which helped him warm up and get in a good mindset to learn. Once he was able to reliably follow commands while the other dogs were in the distance, we gradually moved closer to increase the distraction intensity. We eventually were able to practice commands within quite close proximity to other dogs, about fifteen to twenty feet away. Blitz seemed to understand and accept that we were focusing on training, and that he wasn't going to be playing with or greeting the other dogs. Whenever he began to lose focus, stare at, or whine towards the other dogs, he was given the Off command, and reminded of the command we were practicing. He was usually quick to snap out of it and regain focus once asked, which was great to see! Anytime he successfully ignored another dog and was able to stay calm and listen to commands, he was given lots of praise which encouraged the good behavior! He still has a long way to go, but he's making great progress and is on the road to success!
Blitz did very well with Heel today, and understood where to position himself as we walked. He did great with not pulling ahead or falling behind, and was happy to follow my lead. He did sometimes veer off slightly out of position, though he seems to have a good understanding of the e-collar, verbal command, and hand signals used, so he was typically able to correct his positioning when asked without the leash needed to guide him. He was able to walk past all kinds of distractions, including other dogs, and consistently made the right decision to stay by my side rather than attempt to approach or wander off on his own. We utilized the long leash to allow him some additional freedom, and practiced Heel with minimal to no leash pressure. Working without leash pressure for any command is a great way to improve his problem-solving skills and test his understanding of the commands, as he has to really think about what to do when there is no physical guidance provided. We applied this practice to Come to Sit as well, and he seemed to do much better today with performing the command overall, and only occasionally needed light leash pressure to guide him when he truly couldn't quite figure it out. Most of the time, he was attentive, focused, and able to come right to me and sit on my left side without relying on the leash! We've already weaned out leash pressure for each of his stationary positions of Sit, Down, and Place, so we focused on improving his reliability of holding said positions for extended periods of time while I'm at a distance from him. He was able to hold each stationary position consistently for almost two minutes today, which is fantastic! He was able to show patience and confidence in holding these positions, even when I stepped away to create distance or if distractions were present around him. If another dog got a bit too close or within about ten feet of him, he would sometimes break position and get up momentarily, however he was quick to correct himself and return to position once he was asked, and understood not to chase after the dog.
Today Blitz and I visited a park, where we continued to practice each of his commands with minimal leash pressure while around distractions. We also had a great opportunity to work on reducing his excitement while around other dogs, as we met up with some other OffLeash SoCal trainers and their pups! Overall he was very distracted by the other dogs at first, and often whined, stared, and struggled to follow through with commands properly when asked. However, with consistency and using the Off command when needed, he was eventually able to calm down and seemed to understand that he was not allowed to approach or play with the other dogs, and was able to pay closer attention to me as we trained around them. We worked up to the point where he was able to walk past and be in close proximity to other dogs without becoming distracted by them, which was great to see! Apart from the dogs in the beginning of the session, Blitz seemed to have no trouble ignoring other types of distractions and maintained an excellent level of focus. I'd also like to note that due to his breed and personality, Blitz has very high physical and mental exercise needs. If these needs are not met daily, the chances of success in his training and obedience lower significantly, as his pent-up energy causes a noticeable lack of focus and ability to relax. Daily training and constant structure to his routine are essential for his success, as otherwise he is prone to stress, boredom, and frustration which lead to undesirable behaviors both at home and in public. To help meet his requirements, plenty of physical exercise is needed, along with mentally stimulating activities, such as practicing obedience commands. Typically before beginning a training session or visiting distracting public places, we spend a good amount of time first working to fulfill his physical exercise needs by walking, running, or playing with toys. Once his energy levels have lowered to a more manageable level, he has a much easier time staying calm, still, and focused as we begin his training, which then fulfills his mental activity needs. His behavior changes significantly once his needs have been met, and he transforms into a much more calm, easygoing, and focused pup who is eager to please and follow commands!
While at the park today, we focused on working to improve his reliability and consistency with each command using very minimal or no pressure. We reserved the use of leash pressure for only when he truly needed it, and otherwise encouraged him to focus on other indicators for guidance, such as the e-collar stimulation, hand signals, and verbal commands. He overall did very well with Heel today, though during the beginning of the session, he struggled to pay enough attention to me to remain in the proper position without leash pressure due to the other dogs being nearby. Though once he began to lose interest in the other dogs, he began showing increased engagement with me, and was able to follow alongside me with a completely loose leash! Whenever he happened to begin veering off or falling out of position, he was often able to correct his positioning without any need for the leash to guide him. His performance was similar when it came to stationary positions of Sit, Down, and Place, as he was very distracted at the beginning of the session but eventually settled down and was able to perform and remain in any position asked of him for about two minutes! His Come to Sit was also good, though again he struggled at first and would sometimes try to ignore the command or would end up running straight past me when called due to his over-excitement. Once he calmed down a bit, he was able to follow directions and managed to consistently perform the command and maneuver correctly when called the first time the command was given.
Today Blitz and I visited a park, where we continued working on each of his commands around distractions. We continued focusing on practicing commands around other dogs, and worked to encourage calm, polite behavior when in the presence of other dogs. Overall he has shown a ton of improvement with this, and seemed to have an easier time focusing on me and following through with commands even when other dogs were nearby! Upon first seeing other dogs he was rather excited and whined a bit, though he was able to calm down rather quickly and was able to listen to what was being asked of him. He seemed much more relaxed today after having adequate exercise, and was able to settle into stationary positions such as Down for extended periods of time, even while in close proximity to other dogs. Whenever a distraction did catch his attention, be it a dog, a small animal, or an interesting smell in the grass, he was able to refocus once given the Off command, and understood not to chase, approach, or otherwise break commands even when tempting distractions were around him.
Blitz has a solid understanding of each of his commands along with the e-collar, and has been doing well with performing each command using very minimal leash pressure during our training. In order for him to be reliable and consistent with commands while completely off-leash, he needs to first master his performance with no leash pressure available for guidance and reinforcement. To help prepare him for the transition to off-leash training, we began practicing with having the long leash drag along the floor as we trained. This is a great way to simulate him being off-leash and provide additional freedom for him to problem solve and make his own decisions, while still having a safety backup to grab onto in the event the leash is needed for any reason. We began this training in a big, open area of the park, where the environment was safe and free of any major risks such as busy streets or intense distractions. Blitz is not known to run off on his own, but due to his high prey drive and tendency to become excited by other dogs, it's best to test and develop his off-leash abilities while in a controlled and safe environment.
Blitz did make a few mistakes here and there, but overall I am so impressed with his performance today! He did a great job with listening, following instructions, and making good decisions despite his newfound freedom with the leash dragging! With no leash pressure used at all, Blitz is instead encouraged to use his knowledge of the commands, and focus on other guiding factors such as hand signals, verbal commands, and other cues to indicate what is being asked of him. While working on Heel, Blitz was able to maintain great focus and engagement with me, and was happy to follow along beside me as we walked around. He did sometimes temporarily lose focus and step slightly out of position, but he was always quick to correct himself and find the proper positioning again once asked. He did a solid job with each stationary command of Sit, Down, and Place, and was able to perform each command with ease without any leash pressure. He was consistent in being able to maintain each position for at least two minutes, though he would sometimes become a bit impatient or clingy if I was at a greater distance than about ten feet away from him. As always, we remained consistent on our end by holding him accountable, and returned him to the position asked of him whenever he got up or broke position. He also did great with Come to Sit and was reliable with his recall, even with some distractions present around. He did make mistakes now and then with his positioning for the Sit on my left side after getting to me, though mainly minor position issues such as sitting a bit crooked or too far to one side, which is something we can work to improve by spending some additional time practicing repetitions of this to fine-tune the desired results.
Blitz and I visited another park today, where we continued working on each of his commands around distractions. We focused on practicing all commands with the leash dragging along the floor, and preparing him for the transition to off-leash training. We also spent more time training while around other dogs, to continue encouraging dog neutrality and improve his focus level while around the distractions caused by other dogs. Overall Blitz did a great job today, and was able to show excellent levels of focus, obedience, and ability to remain calm when in different situations including while other dogs were nearby. As usual, he was full of energy and excitement upon arriving at the park, though after some physical and mental exercise, he was able to regulate himself and switch into a good mindset for learning and training! We also had some more opportunities to practice Blitz's Greeting Manners today, by allowing him to say hello to and be greeted by various people, and he did a great job today! As always, we never want to allow Blitz to jump on people or otherwise behave impolitely, especially when greeting people, no matter how excited or happy he may be. We've been practicing this often during our time together, and Blitz seems to have developed a good understanding of the expectations and boundaries set for greeting scenarios. He's able to show a great level of self-control by expressing his happiness in appropriate ways such as tail wagging, instead of becoming over-excited and jumping onto people. He can now remain calm, collected, and polite during greetings, whether it be during introductions to new people while out in public, or when greeting me or guests at home. This has been achieved by setting clear boundaries and structure for him to follow by asking for a specific stationary position before and during greetings, and always holding him accountable for his actions. It has also been beneficial to practice greetings only with people who are willing to help set him up for success by staying consistent with his training and reserving praise and attention for when he is following instructions. Over time, Blitz has learned that jumping and behaving crazily is never fun or rewarding for him, and that following instructions and remaining calm is a much better option. Blitz is very eager to please and loves working for rewards, so this came naturally to him and he was quick to catch onto what behaviors were desirable and successful for him!
During our training session, we continued practicing each of his commands using no leash pressure and having a leash drag along the floor as we trained. At no point did I ever need to grab hold of the leash to restrain or guide him, and he did a fantastic job with listening and following through with everything that was asked of him! He's become very well accustomed to the e-collar and understands what behaviors are expected for each command that is given. He did great with Heel today, and understood to stick directly beside me as we walked around the park, and didn't seem to notice or mind the absence of the leash being used. We even walked around past groups of people, other dogs, and various other distractions, and Blitz was able to maintain position with relative ease, and only occasional reminders were needed. He did sometimes wander off slightly out of position when his focus began to falter, though once reminded of the command he was quick to adjust himself and fall back into position. He did great with Come to Sit as well, and was always reliable with coming right to me every time I called him, even from a distance or while around distractions. He has shown good improvement with his positioning as well, and was more consistent with sitting in the correct position on the first try, though when small mistakes were made he was able to adjust himself to where he needed to be once asked. His stationary positions were solid as well, and he was able to perform each command of Sit, Down, and Place quickly once asked. He overall was quite consistent with holding each position, though during the first few repetitions he would sometimes become impatient or clingy and break commands to get up or move closer to me once distance was created. As such, we spent some extra time focusing on improving his consistency and ability to hold positions. With more repetitions and holding him accountable, he was much better about staying where he was asked to until released or given a new command.
Today Blitz and I visited a park and a shopping mall, where we continued practicing each of his commands around distractions, and worked on all commands while off leash! The distractions at the park included small animals, other dogs, and lots of interesting sights, sounds, and smells commonly found in outdoor locations. Overall Blitz did a great job here and after warming up to training he was very focused and showed great listening skills! The mall was busy with other types of distractions as well, such as crowds of people and children, music, and tempting smells from nearby restaurants and food courts. He was a bit overwhelmed by all the commotion found at this location, however he was still able to follow through with everything that was asked of him and eventually seemed to feel more comfortable and neutral about his environment.
The park was a great location to begin our session this morning, as the wide open space was a perfect place to get Blitz some exercise and release some extra energy so that he could focus on the training. We played some fetch as well as walked and ran around a bit while on leash, and began practicing his obedience commands. After some time passed, he was able to shift gears from play mode to training mode, and became very eager to listen and follow any commands given to him. We began practicing with dropping the leash, and similar to previous days, he did a fantastic job despite the complete lack of leash pressure! He has proven able to perform each command without the leash needed at all, so we went ahead and took it off and continued the training session while off-leash. Despite the leash being absent, Blitz did a great job with all of his commands, and was able to listen to everything that was asked of him. His Heel, Come to Sit, and all stationary commands were solid and reliable each time he was asked to perform them. Before we left the park, we played another game of fetch while off-leash, and Blitz had a great time and seemed to really enjoy his newfound freedom! Despite his excitement and eagerness to play and run around, he knew never to stray too far from me and was always reliable about coming right back to me each time he was recalled.
After our successful session at the park, we headed over to a dog-friendly indoor mall, where we could continue training in a different environment while also staying out of the afternoon heat. Upon first arriving to the mall, he was excited and a bit overwhelmed, as there was a high amount of distractions present all around us. Though despite this, he knew to listen to instructions and not become too distracted by anything around him so that he could pay attention to me and follow through with anything I asked of him. After some time to adjust, he seemed to have an easier time paying attention, and was able to concentrate and behave in a more calm manner. We began with the leash on as we gave him time to become familiar with his surroundings, but after warming up to training and calming down he proved it to be unnecessary, so we went ahead and removed it to continue his training while off-leash. He was able to follow along in the Heel position as we walked around, and was happy to perform Sit, Down, and Place anywhere I asked him to. He was also very reliable with Come to Sit and was eager to come right to me any time he was recalled. We also got some great footage of him performing commands at this location, which will be used in putting together his final video, so be sure to check out the sneak peek in today's video!
Today is Blitz's last full day with me, so we spent the day putting all of his learned skills to use to have a fun final day together! We visited a local park and a pet store, and had a fun time exploring, playing, and practicing commands around various types of distractions. Each location provided its own unique set of distractions and environmental factors, though Blitz was able to stay focused and confident, and showed great enthusiasm while practicing each of his commands no matter where we were. He was happy to join in on all of our adventures together, and did fantastic with listening and following instructions whether he was on or off leash. While at the park we walked around the trails practicing Heel, and he did a good job of ignoring any passing distractions and knew to stick right beside me as we walked. We had a fun time playing a game of fetch off-leash, which was also a great opportunity to organically add in some extra training with recall and stationary commands by using the ball as a distraction and reward! The pet store was a fun place to explore and continue with his training around different kinds of distractions, and despite the temptations such as the other dogs and the treat and toy aisles, Blitz was able to show great self-control and discipline. He also got to say hello to some friendly workers there, and did a great job with greeting them calmly and politely.
Blitz has not only made amazing progress with his obedience skills and manners while out in public, but he has also made a huge transformation in his behavior inside the home as well! House manners are something we have been working on each and every day since day one, to get an early start on helping him develop good habits and practices within the home. Even seemingly mundane day-to-day tasks can provide excellent opportunities for training. These manners include Food Manners, Door Manners, and Car Manners. The goal for Food Manners is for Blitz to be able to hold a stationary command while his food is prepared and set in front of him. He is then asked to remain in that position until he is released before he can get up and eat his food. Blitz loves meal times, though during his first few days with me, he would often become way too excited and behave in impolite ways such as jumping on me when getting his food ready, trying to grab food from my hands, or rushing to his food the moment it was within reach, even if it meant pushing past me or through my legs to get to it. Teaching him to wait for his food in a polite manner improves his patience and obedience, and is a great way to reward him for a job well done once he is released! Blitz had similar struggles with Door Manners, as his tendency to become over-excited often resulted in undesirable behaviors related to doors. The goal for Door Manners is for Blitz to hold a stationary position while near a door and remain there until released or given a new command such as Come or Heel. He is asked to hold the position at the location asked of him, and not get up or walk through the doorway even if the door is left open or people come in and out of it. This practice teaches important boundaries and thresholds, and discourages impolite and possibly dangerous behaviors he once displayed, such as trying to escape through open doors, shoving past people when walking through doors, and rushing up to jump on people who enter through the door. Car Manners was another area that needed a lot of attention, as Blitz came to me very hesitant about jumping onto objects or into cars, and had a negative association with the kennel. The goal for Car Manners is for Blitz to be confident and able to jump into the car without physical assistance, then willingly enter the kennel when asked. It took a lot of practice and consistent structure with Blitz to get him to reach these goals, but he now has a solid understanding of the expectations we have set for him and is able to display all of these manners consistently! He has also developed a more positive association with the kennel, and is much more comfortable entering it and spending time within it either while at home or in the car. With all these manners in place and consistently upheld, home life with Blitz will be easier, safer, and more enjoyable for both him and anyone in the home with him!
Blitz has come such a long way during our short time together, and he has made so much progress on his training journey! He came to me as easily distracted, overly excited, anxious, and almost unmanageable in daily life. By setting up structure, consistency, and clear expectations for him, we have provided solutions to issues he once had such as pulling on the leash, ignoring commands, chasing after animals, and jumping on people. With socialization, desensitization, and confidence building, we have also helped him become more neutral toward other dogs and other major distractions, and greatly reduced his separation anxiety. He has learned to be well-behaved and polite both inside and outside of the home, and has learned the skills necessary to safely enjoy the freedom that comes with being off-leash. Consistent training and daily exercise are a must for this pup, as Blitz is still the same energetic, goofy, and friendly pup he has always been, though these new skills he has acquired open the door for so much more fun and possibilities! We now have a clear line of communication open with him, which can be used to continue teaching him right from wrong as he grows into adulthood. With his intelligence, loyalty, and eagerness to please, the sky's the limit for this pup, and I know he will have a bright future ahead of him with his family!