Carl | Chihuahua Mix | Rancho Palo Verdes, CA | In-Training
Meet Carl! A two year old Chihuahua mix from Rancho Palo Verdes, CA has joined us for our Two-Week board and train program. Carl comes to us with a lack of confidence and socialization near new people as well as other dogs. When new people come into his house, he tends to be territorial, which triggers him to be quite aggressive. Carl is very attached to his owners struggling with separation anxiety, not enjoying anytime spent alone.
Over these next two weeks Carl and I will be working on potty training, exposure to new environments, people & dogs as we build up his confidence. He will learn boundaries, structure and clear communication as we work on helping him be the best pup he can possibly be! Stay tuned for his Two-Week transformation!
Carl and I had the chance to become familiar with each other as we took a stroll around the park together. He took a while to warm up to me, as I took things slow with him while I removed his harness and helped him jump into the car. After walking around together, we tested what he knew. He didn’t respond much to his name, but did have a little interest with jumping into the car. Once we got to his new temporary home, he got settled in. We will introduce him to new commands tomorrow!
Carl and I began our day by cleaning up an accident he had in his kennel overnight. Since it is his first full day with me, it may take some getting used to the slight change in his schedule. After cleaning up we went on a trip to the park, where we were about to begin training near other trainers and their dogs. Upon arriving, Carl went on a poop break. When he went poop, his stool appeared solid at first, then gradually became much more runny. I noticed a significant amount of blood in his stool. We decided to not continue with training for the day and give him some rest to prevent any added stress. I collected a sample of his stool to take to the vet immediately where they found traces of plant organelles, which may have been what caused the imbalance of his digestive tract. Carl was prescribed the Metronidazole antibiotic to help with his runny stool and any bacterial infections.
I added the medication to Carl’s food as well as a teaspoon of pumpkin to help soothe his upset stomach. We will await his lab results tomorrow and provide an update then to ensure there are no other abnormalities found.
Carl and I ventured out to the beach today where I had the chance to expose him to plenty of distractions and evaluate his response to it all. We Heeled in a pack with the other trainers and their pups, as we explored the pier. There were bicyclists, skateboarders, plenty of dogs, joggers, birds, etc. Carl was unbothered by most of the distractions, only slightly avoiding the loud motorized bikes that passed by us.
I then introduced him to a few communication tools such as the slip lead and e collar. The slip lead is used to guide Carl 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. Carl at first resisted the leash pressure. 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 Carl 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 love came to him when he Sat on my left side. This is how I begin to build value with Carl in a specific position. I Cued Carl’s name frequently, rewarding him with affection since he is not very food motivated, whenever 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. A focused dog is a dog that is ready to work!
Carl and I took a stroll to the park today where we had the opportunity to work on his Heel, Extended Sit, and Come to Sit. Carl’s Extended Sit is significantly improving, as he is now able to hold it for just over a minute long consistently. He Comes when called to Sit on my left hand side ready to Heel. I tap with stimulation of the e collar as I simultaneously cue verbal commands to help him become used to the sensation, since at times he can be a bit resistant. Carl now does not excessively mark while on a walk. He is learning that when he is the Heel position, his head must stay in an upright position, checking in with me frequently as I lead with my left leg. He should Sit when I stop walking, and turn when I turn frequently. We added distance between us for his commands, as I am now able to walk to the end of the leash while he maintains position.
After working on all of his commands we worked on socialization with other dogs. He has met two new pups, another trainer’s dog yesterday at the beach, and my family’s dog, which is a chihuahua. Both times Carl did really with the interaction. He did seem hesitant at first, but since the other dogs had a calm energy and slowly approached him, Carl felt comfortable enough to engage. I praised Carl for this positive interaction!
Today Carl and I built a longer duration with added distance between us for his commands. After many repetitions he demonstrated consistency with holding his Sit for up to a minute and a half long, which is almost at our 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 Carl to Place on while adapting to an unfamiliar environment helps bridge the transition much more quickly.
When practicing Place with Carl, I chain the commands Place and Down together to help him voluntarily offer the behavior without much guidance needed from me. Carl 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.
Carl and I ventured out to the mall where we had the chance to proof his commands near plenty of distractions. We Heeled through the busy crowd together as we embarked on a pack walk with the other trainers and their pups. Initially when Carl sees other dogs, he barks. I cue Off and call his name to grab his attention along with stimulation of the e collar. This stops him right in his tracks. It is important to not let Carl fixate on other dogs. Keeping him is engaged is important to prevent unwanted reactions. By rewarding his attention whenever he offers it voluntarily as well as on command.
Today was the first day Carl felt comfortable enough to take treats. This is great! He appeared to open up more, and maintained motivation. We practiced Place on top of different elevated surfaces. Carl has improved significantly with gaining confidence to consistently jump onto new places, no longer needing me to jump on first. Great progress Carl!
Carl and I ventured out to the mall again to continue proofing all of his commands in a busy environment. The more exposure he receives to these different, crowded settings, the more confidence he will gain as he builds fluency with all of his commands. He is now able to hold his Extended Sit, Place and Down for two whole minutes as distractions are near.
Carl appears much make engaged during his training, taking treats in unfamiliar environments, which was not possible before due to his anxiety. His tail is held high, wagging frequently, even while near dogs.
Now that we have reached our goal for the duration of all of his commands, we will continue to add distance between us as we begin to drag the leash while he performs his Heel, Come to Sit, Place, Extended Down and Sit.
Carl and I ventured out to the park where we proofed his commands near other trainer’s and their pups. We Heeled around the park together to help him acclimate to his surroundings. At times Carl tries to walk outwards with a little distance between us, I correct this by stopping in my tracks and having Carl correct himself by coming to Sit on my left hand side. Carl is becoming quicker with this, taking less time to think about what he will do next, which shows me he is problem solving!
He does well with bigger dogs present and doesn’t initiate any reactivity. However, when he sees a smaller dog, he tends to feel more confident, in a bully like manner. It’s important to correct this by cuing off with a pop of the leash upwards.
We then worked on his Place command paired with Down which he was able to hold for about two minutes, right next to the children’s playground where there was a lot going on. Good job Carl!
Carl and I ventured out to the park today where we worked on all of the commands he has learned so far with added duration and distance utilizing a 15 ft leash. Carl did well with following me while we Heeled around the park together, as a pack with the other trainer’s and their pups. Carl is very attentive while we train, checking in with me voluntarily.
His biggest challenge yet has been jumping onto unfamiliar places. With a little encouragement, he finds the motivation to jump onto new surfaces, building his confidence each day. We will now begin to film content for his final video soon!
Carl and I took a trip to the mall today, as we filmed his final video in a busy environment. He did great, staying by my left hand side the entire time we Heeled. He is very engaged, and at times can be too attached. Building distance between us has been a priority to improve his confidence even while we are apart. To prevent separation anxiety from escalating, I recommend sending Carl to his crate periodically, even when you are home with him. This prepares Carl for time apart.
He held his Extended Sit, Down and Place for an entire two minutes as I walked away from him. We saw multiple dogs during our trip, which Carl did not react to. A dog reacted when he saw Carl, barking at him as we passed by. I cued Heel to Carl, communicating to him to help him work through this. He did not bark back which was huge for him! Excellent job Carl!
Carl and I had the opportunity to proof his commands both on and off leash at the mall, where we also practiced his Greeting Manners with friendly people who wanted to say hi. Carl can be a bit hesitant upon initially meeting someone, which is why it is important to introduce him slowly if he seems unsure. I communicate to whoever says hi to him, to let him approach and sniff them first without reaching out to pet him right away. After he sniffs them and hangs out for a second next to them, I mark it with a Yes and reward Carl for this interaction. After Carl receives confirmation that he is doing well, he is less tense. Once he appears more comfortable, I have him Sit while the person approaches from Carl’s side, which is less intimidating for an unsure pup. Carl did well with this, allowing the person to pet him while he remained seated. He eventually even took a treat from the other person, which is great!
Carl 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 be free is when I release him with the Cue Break or if I give another cue, such as Come to Sit. Although tempted, Carl was able to hold his Sit or Down while I eventually went out of sight.
We then went on a trip to the park today shortly after where we proofed his commands some more. We practiced his Greeting Manners with friendly people which Carl seems more comfortable with lately, seeking my reassurance as I tell him he’s doing good.
Carl and I spent our day together working on all of his commands as we strolled around the park. We emphasize our work on distance away from each other, which I recommend keeping up with to prevent his separation anxiety from escalating. It is best to never make it a big deal when you come and go so Carl doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Carl. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare him for time apart. He is now able to enter the crate on cue by pointing at it and cuing Crate.
Carl 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. When introducing Carl to someone new, slow introductions are best for him in a neutral environment to prevent territorial behaviors. I recommend constantly taking Carl 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 Carl!