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Buster | Goldendoodle | Castaic, CA | In-Training

Meet Buster! A five month old Goldendoodle who has joined us for our Two-Week Board and Train Program. Buster has come to us to work on a few behaviors such as jumping whenever overly excited, confidence building, socialization around other dogs, and overall consistency with commands.

Over these next two weeks Buster and I will introduce him to new commands, implementing plenty of structure along with clear communication, to build a solid foundation for his training with the ultimate goal of being Off Leash! Stay tuned for his Two-Week transformation!

 

Buster and I had the opportunity to become familiar with each other as we strolled around the neighborhood together, exploring his new environment. He responds to his name every now and then, and is quite well at sitting on cue. Buster is very food motivated, which is great! He went straight into the crate without any resistance. I rewarded him in the crate to keep building a positive association. Now we will be able to apply his motivation to work towards training, as we begin to introduce him to new commands tomorrow. 

 

Buster and I started our day by introducing him to a few communication tools such as the slip lead and e collar. The slip lead is used to guide Buster with directional changes of the leash. I apply leash pressure in the direction I want him to go and the second he follows the path created for him, I turn that pressure off. Any time I apply leash pressure, I apply stimulation from the e collar as well. Buster at first resisted the leash pressure, putting his paw on the leash as a form of protest. Once I marked and rewarded the few steps he took in the direction I wanted him to go, he began to understand how to turn the pressure off. He still resists every now and then but is learning to follow my lead. 

I introduced him to Come to Sit which is the action of Buster coming around behind me to Sit on my left hand side ready to Heel. He was a natural at this and learned quickly that all of the good stuff came to him when he Sat on my left side. This is how I begin to build value with Buster in a specific position. I Cued Buster’s name frequently, rewarding him when he offered me his attention. This is called the name game and is a great game to practice around distractions to build engagement during training. He was very focused, ready to respond to the next cue! 


 

Buster and I took a trip to the park today where we had the opportunity to work on his Heel, Extended Sit, Come to Sit, and Car Manners. Buster’s Heel has began to improve. Every now and then when distractions are near, he will want to veer off before he is released. When he does this it is important to correct it with a pop of the leash towards me, along with stimulation of the e collar as I remind him to Heel. I cue Heel before moving forward from a stationary position, and anytime there is a change of pace of direction. Our left leg leads the way, which is how he knows which direction to follow. Clear communication during a structured walk is important for Buster to understand what is expected of him. When he is on a break, he is free to sniff around as he pleases, whereas Heel means stay by my left hand side, checking in frequently with his handler. 

Buster can hold his Extended Sit for up to a minute and fifteen seconds now which is an improvement! We are almost at our two minute goal! He waits for my release with the cue Break to do as he pleases. His Come to Sit is improving, as he follows the leash to come around me and Sit on my left hand side, ready to Heel. Before we move forward, I always cue his name to condition him to check in with me before performing any commands. After our training session at the park, we then worked on his Car Manners. Buster at first was only comfortable putting his front paws up on the car. After some encouragement, and multiple repetitions, he worked up the courage to jump up into the car on his own. We will continue to work on building his confidence as we introduce him to more commands moving forward. 

 

Buster and I spent the beginning of our training session brushing up what he has already learned such as hit Come to Sit, Heel and Extended Sit which he is improving with and getting closer to our two minute goal.  After working on what he has already learned, I then introduced him to a new command, Place. Place is great to use to help create a calm state of mind, builds confidence in a dog, prevents unwanted behaviors, and can essentially be practiced on top of any elevated surface. Dogs are naturally more confident while on elevated surfaces. I recommend purchasing an elevated dog cot to practice with both inside and outside the house. Having something familiar for Buster to Place on while adapting to an unfamiliar environment helps bridge the transition much more quickly. 


When practicing Place with Buster, I chain the commands Place and Down together to help him voluntarily offer the behavior without much guidance needed from me. Buster enjoyed this and fluently performed this behavior repetitively. We then built duration with this as he held it for a minute long. Now we will begin to build distance between us for his commands as we improve his commands near daily distractions. 


 

Today Buster and I took a trip to the park where we further proofed his commands near distractions such as squirrels, birds, and other dogs. Buster struggled at first with focusing during his Heel near my other board and train pup Ellie, often trying to initiate play or pick up items from the floor. After a few minutes of walking different directions and applying constant leash pressure towards the direction I wanted him to go, he began to follow my lead, focusing on where we were headed next. 

We practiced our Heel, having them both sit by my left hand side when I stopped walking. Buster has improved significantly with his Sit, holding it for up to a minute and a half, taking less time to offer the behavior. He is responding to his name when I call him, and is improving with his Off command. When I call Buster to Come he is now quickly coming around me to Sit on my left hand side, offering plenty of eye contact. 

 

Buster and I ventured out to the beach where there were plenty of distractions to further proof his commands near. Buster’s biggest distractions were the small kids running around the playground, and other dogs. If there are big distractions near, I cue his name, requesting his attention. If he needs help with checking in I apply light stimulation of the e collar to grab his attention. If he pulls in one direction, I walk the opposite way, stimulating him with the e collar. Buster is now responding to the e collar more, relying less on the leash as he follows my lead. We will now begin to utilize a 15 ft leash as we drag it, working towards our Off Leash goal!


 

Buster and I spent the day working towards our Off Leash goal as we began to drag the leash while I cued him to perform all of his commands such as Come to Sit, Heel, Extended Sit, Down and Place. I set him up for success by starting our session first utilizing leash pressure. Then when he gains consistency, I begin to drop the leash and cue Heel, changing directions as he follows where my left leg leads. 

Since we are utilizing less leash pressure, he is left to problem solve and figure out how to follow through with his commands, without much guidance from me. If needed, I help him out with footwork, visual cues and a few leash pops in the direction I want him to go.

When I left it to Buster to figure out how to follow through with his commands, he quickly caught on to what was asked of him. If he took his time, I helped him out by guiding him with the leash, to keep him fluent with his commands. We then dragged the leash the remainder of the session as he Heeled with me on my left hand side, matching my speed while Heeling now, automatically sitting when I stop walking. Excellent work Buster!


 

Buster and I started our day with working on his Food Manners. He is expected to hold his Sit or Down while being fed. After the food bowl is placed on the floor, that is not his cue to get up. His cue to eat is when I release him with the Cue Break. Although tempted, Buster was able to hold his sit while I eventually went out of sight. 

We then went on a walk around the neighborhood today shortly after where we proofed his commands some more.  Buster is now able to perform his commands with or without a leash. We will focus our work moving forward on proofing his commands with more distractions, distance and duration. 


 

Buster and I had the opportunity to further proof his commands near other trainers and their pups while dragging the leash. Every now and then Buster will try to lean up against me during his Sit which can be a needy/pushy behavior. I correct this by pushing back with my leg until he fully supports himself during the Sit. Buster is a big puppy, who is learning boundaries everyday. I keep the e collar on him whenever I am with him to correct any nipping and jumping that he has a tendency to do whenever he is first released from the crate. As long as these boundaries are reinforced at all times, he will begin to learn that he does not get away with this behavior at all. 

Buster did great with all of his commands while dragging the leash, which demonstrates to me he is ready for some Off Leash work in new environments! Great job Buster!


 

Buster and I worked on building a solid foundation for his Off Leash work before filming for his Final video. He did great with this as he fluently Came to Sit by my side, Heeled, and held his Extended Sit, Place & Down for a minimum of two minutes. Since Buster can be a big puppy at times, attempting to nip while being pet, we worked on body handling, making sure there was no nipping as I pet different areas of his body. We proofed his impulse control, using the flirt pole as a distraction while he was in Place. He has improved with his Off command, stopping the play on command and going straight to Place on cue. 


 

Buster and I spent the day at the beach together, filming for his final video. There was an event going on which gave us quite a lot of distractions to proof his off leash commands near. We practiced plenty of repetitions to keep him consistent with his Come to Sit, Heel, Extended Sit, Down and Place.

 At first Buster was unsure of Placing on top of the water fountain, but after some encouragement he was able to jump onto the ledge, holding his Extended Down while in Place. Buster received a lot of attention while training, and had the had the chance to practice his Greeting Manners. He was in Place while greeting the friendly people, which is a great way to help prevent him from jumping. I asked the gentleman to pet him with a calm energy and to stop petting him if he released himself. They both did great with this, as Buster held his Down the entire time while being pet. 

Buster followed my lead quite well even in this busy environment, following through with his commands fluently. Excellent work Buster! 


 

Buster and I have been practicing all of his commands as we venture out to different places, proofing everything he has learned over these past two weeks. He has improved significantly with his manners during playtime, learning how to be respectful of Ellie’s space. He Comes to Sit on my left hand side, even when in the middle of playtime or on break. 

At times he can Sit behind me instead of next to me when he is called to Come. When Buster does this, I immediately create space between us, requesting him to perform it over again until he succeeds. He is very quick to correct himself, and is very attentive during training. I included a video from our trip to the beach yesterday! 


 

Buster and I spent time together today working on his body handling skills and solidifying a strong Off command while he played with the flirt pole and the other dogs as well. Buster’s biggest challenge has been his impulse control, which he lacked a lot of upon arriving. He would excessively mount the other dogs, which is something that can potentially cause negative interactions with other pups, leading to fights. I stimulate him whenever I see him trying to mount. If he doesn’t respond to a certain level, I raise the level by 3 or 4 levels. Buster will tell us when a certain level works for him, if he stops the behavior and gives us his attention. 

He can be quite demanding of attention, so it is imperative to only give Buster attention when we request it, not when he demands it. If we pet him whenever he demands it, we are reinforcing unwanted behaviors. When Buster demands attention by barking or shoving his face by my hand, I cue Off and point to Place. Place is a great command to use to redirect unwanted behaviors, and also allows Buster time to settle down. He has greatly improved with this, going straight to Place even when over stimulated. 


 

Buster and I spent our day together working on all of his commands as we strolled around the neighborhood. We emphasize our work on properly socializing, as at times he struggles to read social cues when playing with Ellie. I cue Off to Buster if he becomes overbearing, which you can see he needed some reminding of when Ellie was avoiding him in the corner. Buster responds well to this, and will run to Place on cue in the middle of playtime. 

Buster at times can suffer separation anxiety. It is best to never make it a big deal when you come and go so he doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Buster. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare him for time apart. 

Buster has overall become more confident, can hold his Place and Extended Sit for a minimum of two minutes, and can Come to Sit from about 15 ft away. I recommend constantly taking Buster to new environments. Since he can be a nervous boy at times, desensitization to new places will only further improve his training. He is a loving boy who needs a lot of guidance, structure and leadership to thrive and follow instructions. He has come a long way and we can not wait to show you what he has learned. Thank you for trusting me with Buster! 



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