Cali | American Pit Bull Terrier Mix | Long Beach, CA | In-Training
Meet Cali! A sweet one year old American Pit Bull Terrier Mix from Long Beach, CA has joined us for our Two-Week Board and Train program. Cali comes to us to work on a few behaviors such as reactivity towards other dogs, pulling on the leash, jumping when overly excited, and overall obedience as she often has a mind of her own. Over these next two weeks, Cali and I will work on building a solid foundation for her obedience, providing plenty of structure with clear communication, to help her be the best pup she can possibly be! Stay tuned for her Two-Week transformation.
Cali and I had the chance to become more familiar with each other today as we strolled around the park together to test what she already knew. She was very interested in her surroundings, specifically towards dogs, lunging and trying to approach. As we began to see what behaviors she knew, she checked in with me when I called her name which is a good start! After strolling around the park we loaded her up into the kennel. Cali will go into the kennel quite easily, yet is very vocal once inside. She cries excessively, so we will work on building a more positive association with the kennel by feeding her inside, and rewarding her when she enters the first time I request it. We will work on introducing her to some new obedience tomorrow!
Today was Cali and I’s first time training together, at a park with the other trainer’s and their pups. It allowed me to assess how she responded to training while other dogs were present. She was very interested in the other dogs, but did quite well with following my lead after practicing some repetitions of Heel, and Extended Sit.
I introduced her to a few communication tools such as the slip lead and e collar. The slip lead is used to guide Cali with directional changes of the leash. I apply leash pressure in the direction I want her to go and the second he follows the path created for her, I turn that pressure off. Any time I apply leash pressure, I apply stimulation from the e collar as well. Cali at first resisted the leash pressure. Once I marked and rewarded the few steps she took in the direction I wanted her to go, she began to understand how to turn the pressure off. She still resists every now and then but is learning to follow my lead. Cali loves to sniff the floor, seeking to find anything to eat. I cued Off with her frequently, which after testing it a few times, she learned she was expected to leave it alone and check in with me as she sat. She was able to hold her Extended Sit for a whole minute today which is a great start!
Cali and I began to work on building a solid foundation for her training at home today, introducing her to Come to Sit, Place & Down. When calling Cali to Come, she is expected to come around my left hand side to Sit on my right. Having her on my right hand side will help her balance herself better as we Heel together. I helped guide her with the leash as she repetitively Came to Sit when I called her. Towards the end of the session, she began to follow my guidance much more smoothly.
After working on her recall I introduced Cali to Place paired with Down. 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 Cali to Place on while adapting to an unfamiliar environment helps bridge the transition much more quickly.
When practicing Place with Cali, I chain the commands Place and Down together to help her voluntarily offer the behavior without much guidance needed from me. Cali enjoyed this and fluently performed this behavior repetitively. We then built duration with this as she held it for a minute long. Now we will begin to build distance between us for her commands as we improve her commands near daily distractions.
Today Cali and I visited Home Depot! This was a great opportunity to see how she would do in a noisy environment, with crowds of people and large forklifts moving around us. She did well with this, and couldn’t care less about the noise going on, which is great!
Her Heel has significantly improved, as we walked around the store together. She turned when I turned and is now automatically offering a Sit whenever I stop walking , as she checks in with me frequently. We then worked on adding duration to her Place paired with Down on top of one of the rolling carts. She can now hold her Down for up to two minutes in a moderately distracting area. At times she will take her time to offer Down when I cue it. Once we practice plenty of repetitions, she begins to offer it more fluently. We will keep building fluency as we begin to add distance between us while working in different environments.
Cali and I took a trip to the beach where we had the opportunity to train near plenty of distractions. There were bicycles passing us constantly as we Heeled near the skate park and basketball courts. We passed by several dogs that were off leash which Cali was unbothered by. She has significantly improved with her reactivity, checking in with me before having the chance to react upon seeing another dog. It is important to cue her name frequently, to make sure she maintains eye contact when near her triggers. The stimulation of the e collar helps remind her to check in, as it helps interrupt her from fixating on anything she shouldn’t. We then had her work on her Extended Sit, Down and Place. Cali did well with holding position, even while plenty of distractions were passing us in a crowded area.
Cali and I went on a trip to the beach again where we worked closer to all of the distractions, as she held her Extended Sit in the middle of the crowded area. She did great with this, checking in with me frequently, not reacting to dogs that were very close to us. We practiced Place, as she held her Down for up to two minutes which is the goal! Upon first arriving somewhere new, she may take a minute to offer the Down. Once we practice a few repetitions, she is very fluent!
Cali and I went on a trip to Home Depot yet again to further desensitize her to loud noises, crowds of people, and large machines passing by us. Not much scares Cali, as she does well with loud noises and crowds of people. Her biggest challenge has been working near other pups, which she has significantly improved in! She definitely shows signs of overstimulation when near dogs, but she checks in with me now instead of reacting. If she does fixate, I always interrupt by calling her name, requesting eye contact. Low level stimulation from the e collar helps grab her attention as well if needed. Now that she has shown consistency in different environments, we will begin to drag the leash to prepare her for some Off Leash work! I also included a picture of her eventful beach day from the other day.
Cali & I began to work towards her off leash goal today. We began our session by using a bit of leash pressure to gain consistency as we worked on her Come to Sit, Heel, Extended Sit, Place & Down. Once I saw that Cali was consistent, I began to wean her off leash pressure, rewarding the best Come to Sits by my right hand side.
Since we are not using the leash as much, we will be utilizing more hand signals and footwork along with stimulation of the e collar to help her figure out what is requested of her. We will emphasize our work these next few days having her problem solve, as I guide her into position only using the leash when she needs that extra help along the way. Good work Cali!
Cali and I ventured out to the park where we had the chance to work on all of her commands as we proofed her Come to Sit, Heel, Extended Down & Place near plenty of distractions, especially other dogs. Initially she struggled with remaining consistent when there was a reactive dog near us. As we worked through this, she became more consistent, holding her Extended Down even while another pup tried to initiate play with her. Whenever a dog is nearby, I evaluate her to see if she will check in with me all on her own. If she does, I mark it with a Yes and reward her. If she begins to fixate, I cue her name and stimulate her with the e collar if needed to help grab her attention. When dogs fixate, they are loading up to react. We want to be proactive instead of reactive, to prevent unwanted behaviors.
Cali and I have been emphasizing our work on her recall and obedience near distractions such as other pups. By consistently working near these distractions, she will gradually become more desensitized to working while her triggers are present. Engagement during training is key, as she knows to respond to her name when called.
Whenever Cali veers off track, it is important to redirect her back into the Heel position on my right hand side. By remaining consistent, she will consistently stay in position until released with the cue Break.
Cali and I had the opportunity to work on proofing all of her commands as we dragged the leash around the park, focusing our work on her engagement and recall. In order to have a reliable Off Leash dog, the recall must be practiced regularly to remain consistent. She is now at the point where she automatically corrects herself when she wanders off away from my left hand side before I release her. This demonstrates to me that she understands what is expected of her.
Cali does great with distractions present, yet her biggest challenge is remaining consistent when there are reactive dogs nearby. She tends to feed off their energy, wanting to approach if they are close enough to her, lunging and barking at her. However she will work through this, on a higher level of stimulation to grab her attention more quickly. Due to this, Off Leash training is better to practice when there are less chances of encountering dogs, such as a hiking trail or a large park with enough space to have added distance.
Overall, she is much more engaged during training, not needing much guidance from me or the leash to follow through with her commands. She checks in with me frequently which I always mark with a Yes as distractions are present, especially dogs! If the dogs are well mannered, not reacting towards her, she does great with staying by my side remaining unbothered. We will begin filming for her Final video very soon!
Cali and I started our day with working on her Food Manners. She is expected to hold her Sit or Down while being fed. After the food bowl is placed on the floor, that is not her cue to get up. Her cue to eat is when I release her with the Cue Break. Although tempted, Cali was able to hold her sit while I eventually went out of sight.
We then went on a trip to the beach today shortly after where we proofed her commands some more. It was very windy which was great exposure for Cali to work through the changes of the weather. Initially she was unsure of it but after about 5 minutes of Heeling she was fluently performing everything she has learned! Now we will begin to film for her final video tomorrow!
Cali & I ventured out to the mall where we had the opportunity to train near plenty of distractions as we filmed her final video. She absolutely killed it as she was very fluently performing everything requested of her. We Heeled off & on leash around the mall, practicing her Extended Sit, Down & Place for two whole minutes. Cali receives a lot of attention, so we have been working on her not seeking attention from everyone we pass until we release her to say hi.
We then practiced her Greeting Manners as we explored the mall. I remind Cali to Sit as she is being pet, communicating to whoever is petting her to only say hi if she has all four paws on the floor. When she begins to break her Sit, the petting stops. Cali did well with this, holding her Sit as she was checking in with me while she was being pet. Calm energy always helps create a calm state of mind for any pup. Great job Cali!
Cali and I spent our day together working on all of her commands off leash. We emphasize our work on distance away from each other, which I recommend keeping up with to prevent her separation anxiety from escalating. It is best to never make it a big deal when you come and go so Cali doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Cali. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare her for time apart.
She can be very vocal upon initially sending her to the crate. Having the e collar on her and holding the vibration button when she vocalizes helps stop her excessive whining/barking.
Cali has overall become more confident, can hold her Place and Extended Sit for a minimum of two minutes, and can Come to Sit from about 15 ft away. I recommend constantly taking Cali to new environments. Desensitization to new places will only further improve her training. She is a loving girl who needs a lot of guidance, structure and leadership to thrive and follow instructions. She no longer reacts to other dogs, and checks in whenever her name is called. Cali has come a long way and we can not wait to show you what she has learned. Thank you for trusting me with Cali!