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  • Writer's pictureMcKenna Caskey

Cheyenne | American Akita | Azusa, CA | In-Training

Meet Cheyenne! She is a 4 month old American Akita from Azusa, CA. Cheyenne has joined OffLeash SoCal's Three Week Board & Train Puppy Program, along with her sister, Sheeba!

During her training, Cheyenne will work on her general obedience, socialization, and manners. She comes to OLSC not reliably performing any cues, has only been on a leash during trips to the vet, and has very limited experience to the outside-world. Cheyenne also has the typical puppy issues of jumping up on people, playbiting & nipping, chewing, barking at strangers & for attention, and potty training. Although she is super sweet and lovable, Cheyenne is also stubborn with a more dominant personality. She can also be fearful of new things.

Over the next 21 days, Cheyenne will be molded into a well-behaved, confident canine who is a pleasure to have in the home and the community.

Stay tuned for her three week transformation!


Pupdate 4/19/2023

Cheyenne and I spent some time at Chapman Park in Fullerton after her pet-parents dropped her off for her board & train program. In addition to seeing what behaviors she knows, or doesn’t know, I wanted to begin working with her to help form a relationship. I began by introducing her to leash pressure— following tension on the leash instead of pulling away from it.

Cheyenne is a pretty stubborn girl, and didn’t respond much to leash pressure on the flat collar, so we moved up to the prong collar. The prong collar will naturally apply pressure evenly around the neck when the pups pull forward, veer off to the side, or lags behind. When they are in the heel position, the leash is loose and no pressure is present. When Cheyenne was walking in pace with me, I would give her verbal praise and encouragement to increase the frequency of the behavior. We will work on positioning later, today I just wanted to introduce the idea of keeping up with me and not doing whatever she wanted while on a leash. 

We also worked briefly on stop-to-sit, where Cheyenne will eventually offer a sit position whenever we stop walking. To encourage sit, I would apply leash pressure upwards— as the head goes up, the bottom goes down. 

As soon as Cheyenne performs a desired behavior, I will mark it with “yes!” and provide her with a reinforcement. The reinforcement can be anything that Cheyenne enjoys— treats, praise, affection, playtime. Offering positive reinforcement increases the targeted behavior, and helps the pups feel confident about working. 

Cheyenne was quiet during the drive to my home, however she did drool a bit which could mean she had a mild case of carsickness or was a bit nervous. When we arrived home, I stood in one place with her on the leash in my front yard saying "go potty, go potty, go potty..." until she popped a squat and peed. As soon as she peed, I marked the behavior with 'yes!' and gave her lots of praise and affection. I brought her inside and put her in the kennel so she could settle in an decompress a bit in a quiet area while I got the other dogs situated.

After everyone got their jitters and a potty break, I brought Cheyenne out to the yard to meet my personal dog, Krüger. Since Cheyenne hadn't been around many unfamiliar dogs, I was surprised by her confidence around one that weighs 100lbs! She was unphased, so I introduced the next 95lb dog, and finally the last 80lb dog. She was confident around all of them, and even made a few play gestures, however they did not full-on play yet.

Cheyenne seems to be adjusting well to her temporary home, and is very quiet and polite in her kennel. She doesn't have as big of an appetite, but I'm sure she will regain it within the next couple days. She has been getting some treats for performing good behaviors. After being kenneled, I will take her out to the yard on a leash (with the other dogs inside the house) and repeat the same process as when she first arrived to my home to reinforce potty-training.


Pupdate 4/20/2023

Cheyenne still didn’t have much of an appetite this morning, however she did nibble at her food in the afternoon. In the evening I mixed more turkey-topper in with it, and moistened it a little with water. This enticed her to eat a bit more. We decided to take training slow and started with some solid foundational training in the quiet comfort of home while Cheyenne is still adjusting to her new environment.

Throughout the day, Cheyenne and I worked on manners and obedience training, starting off slowly since she’s a blank slate. We worked on crate/door manners where she is starting to learn that she cannot bolt through thresholds, and should wait patiently. I will release her to come out of the crate or go through the door with the verbal cue “break!” when she is waiting and makes eye-contact with me— this helps to increase her focus on me. “Break” is the verbal cue Cheyenne will be offered once her training behavior is complete and allows her some ‘time-off’ to relax and receive affection after a job-well-done!

Cheyenne was also introduced to ‘extended sit’. I began to increase the amount of time Cheyenne remained in a sit by continuing to give her affection as long as she held the cue. If she popped up from position, I would stop petting her. Fun things don’t happen if she breaks her cue. I would put her back into a sit using leash pressure aided by slight pressure on her haunches to bring her back into a sit position. Typically, food lures work well for shaping sit, however Cheyenne has been unenthusiastic about what I’ve been offering her. Practicing only receiving pets while in a sit will also help Cheyenne with ‘greeting manners’ in the future, as she is being taught a positive alternative to her jumping-up behavior.

Cheyenne was introduced to name-game and recall after her potty breaks while she was still amped up from receiving praise and affection for “doing her business”. Since she can be a bit more aloof and headstrong, times where she is already engaged with me are great for our shorter training sessions. Cheyenne would run to the sliding door where the other dogs were waiting inside, and I would call her name and make repetitive noises (pup-pup-pup or smooching). As soon as Cheyenne turned her head to look at me while she was moving towards the door, I would mark with “yes!” and crouch down with open-arms. This posture is very alluring for dogs, as it usually means there is fun and love awaiting them so they run over! Every time Cheyenne got to me, I would lavish her in affection.

Cheyenne and I practiced leash-walking around my neighborhood later in the day. I switched Cheyenne over to a sliplead for her walk today, in lieu of the prong collar. However she pulled way too much while wearing it and was gagging herself, so we switched back to the prong collar. She performed much better than yesterday, and really likes to work for affection.


Pupdate 4/21/2023

Cheyenne and I worked on her training in the home to practice sit/extended sit & name/recall. She is getting better about holding her sit for longer durations, however she will still break cue often. If she breaks cue and gets up from her sit, I will re-cue for sit and decrease the duration before providing her with her release-word “break” and giving reinforcement. It is important to set Cheyenne up for success while she is still learning. 

Cheyenne was also introduced to down/extended down. To teach this behavior, I would either use a food-lure, leash-pressure, or guiding her by sliding her front paws forward until her elbows touched the ground. As soon as she was in the correct position, I would give her marker-word “yes” followed by a reinforcement. 

Later in the day we practiced heel on a walk to TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa. With the great number of distractions, Cheyenne found it difficult to focus on her training and cues, and was reluctant to offer “down”. This is to be expected, as Cheyenne hasn’t had much opportunity to explore the great outdoors in her young life. She was overstimulated by the ducks, geese, squirrels, dogs, people, smells, and sounds. When this happens, we will hang out in one spot so that she can acclimate to her environment and settle down some. 


Pupdate 4/22/2023

Cheyenne and I worked on her sit, down, name, and recall today. She has been getting better about offering sit when prompted with a visual and/or verbal cue and she is showing some improvement with down. Down still needs some work, however she has been quicker about getting into position when prompted— sometimes certain behaviors take time and patience.

Cheyenne was introduced to “place”— where she is told to go to a definable object and hold a position there until given her release word. A definable object could be a dog bed, a bench, a platform, or even something as simple as a post-it note; as long as she can tell it apart from the rest of her surroundings. Elevated objects usually accomplish this more easily, so we started out slow with going onto a dog bed or a scale. I would lure her to the object with a food-reward, sometimes this would work and she would get ‘yes!’ and a reinforcement for making contact with the object. Eventually I would ask for her to get completely on the object before marking and reinforcement. If the lure does not work, I will also use leash pressure to guide her to the object.

Later in the day, we went to Petco in Costa Mesa for a quick stop to grab some goodies for my animals at home. I took the opportunity to bring Cheyenne along so she could get exposure to new stimuli and distractions. She had a hard time focusing, but we practiced heel and extended sit until she was a little more settled. Since we spent time working on down earlier, she was able to do extended down in the store as well! I was very impressed. She is getting her appetite back, and this includes treats as well which makes training easier. Although we will work to phase treats and food rewards out later in her program, they are a wonderful way to help Cheyenne stay focused and engaged.


Pupdate 4/23/2023

Cheyenne worked on her obedience cues and manners in the home. We focused on increasing extended sit/down/place, sitting politely for petting, and door manners. Cheyenne is getting better at her cues, however she ran into the issue of going into a down when asked for extended sit. To correct this behavior, I would apply leash-pressure upwards to bring her back into a sit. We want the pups to remain in the position they’re instructed to until they are told otherwise. 

Later in the day, we went to Surrey Park in CDM. This is a small park, however it has a variety of low platforms to practice place— her newest cue. Cheyenne needed guidance to get into some objects, however after the initial try, she was usually willing to go up on her own the subsequent times. This helps to build her confidence when engaging with new objects. To increase duration, I would provide reinforcements at varying intervals throughout the cue, particularly when Cheyenne would look away and then being her attention back to me. 


Pupdate 4/24/2023

Cheyenne and I went to Boisseranc Park in Buena Park today to work on her obedience. Cheyenne was introduced to a longline (15-20ft leash) so that we could practice increasing distance during her extended sit/down/place. Cheyenne did not want to work for treats today (freeze-dried lamb liver— very high-value) so affection was her reinforcement of choice. Similarly to increasing duration, adding distance is done gradually— it is not uncommon for dogs and puppies to want to move with their handler. I would begin by taking a few steps away, then marking with ‘yes’ and returning to Cheyenne to provide affection-reinforcement. Take another couple steps beyond the last round, and repeat the process. If Cheyenne got up or broke her cue, I would give the verbal correction “ah-ah!” and take a swift step forward. Cheyenne did well about remaining in position and about responding appropriately to verbal correction by stopping and fixing her position. 

Cheyenne was a bit distracted, and more aloof than usual during her training. She did get the opportunity to say hello to a couple people to practice “greeting manners” (where she should remain in a cued sit or down and accept affection politely). She got a bit excited and wanted to lick hands (which can escalate to play-biting), so the humans were instructed to cease petting her until she was settled— like the red-light/green-light game. If Cheyenne gets too enthusiastic or excited or breaks cue, the people immediately stop petting her. Once she is calm, the people can resume loving the adorable puppy! 

Cheyenne did well responding to other dogs. She was curious and would attempt to approach at times, but did well maintaining her cues— even when a strange dog ran right next to us during extended place. Cheyenne also got to meet another trainer’s board & train doodle, and she remained calm and collected. 


Pupdate 4/25/2023

Cheyenne and I went to a local park to introduce come-to-sit cue and work on her obedience. Cheyenne had been working on her recall in the days leading up to today, so she has a good idea that “come” means to get to the handler. Come-to-sit is a complex behavior that not only demands recall of the pup, but also looping behind the handler from the right-side and ending with a sit in the heel position on their left. The complexity of this cue can cause it to be difficult to learn, so we help the pups out by using gentle leash-pressure, food-lures, or hand-targets. Cheyenne still thinks hands are only meant to be licked, and was unenthusiastic about high-value treats, so leash-pressure was used today to build the foundation of the behavior. 

Cheyenne continued work on increasing distance and duration for her extended sit/down/place, and needed less corrections than before. She was a bit stubborn with down and required some guidance via leash pressure. She was very distracted by the people playing tennis next to us. She wasn’t bothered by the noise, but certainly inquisitive. 

When we first arrived on-location for our session, Cheyenne didn’t heel very well. This is expected, and I gave her the opportunity to explore the new surroundings before diving into cues. It is important for her to explore and interact with the world around her while she is still young, however exploration should be structured in a way that Cheyenne must also be able to listen and pay attention. 

Cheyenne ate all of her breakfast this morning— she prefers two handfuls of topper mixed with extra warm water. The warm water helps add a more appetizing scent to the freeze-dried topper and entices her to eat more. 


Pupdate 4/26/2023

Cheyenne and I returned to TeWinkle Park to practice her obedience training. We walked there using a longleash that was cooked to help ensure she stayed in the correct position. If she broke her heel, I would turn around and walk the opposite direction or stop. She would have a brief amount of time to focus back on me before naturally hitting the end of the leash and correcting herself. She has a habit of falling behind and stopping, likely out of stubbornness.

She was incredibly distracted at the park— particularly with the ducks and geese. She would break her heel and extended cues whenever one would walk or fly by. This was a good opportunity to practice “off!” which means to leave the distraction or whatever she’s interested in alone. If she does not respond to the verbal cue, she will get a small leash-correction.

Cheyenne got to practice greeting manners with several people today, including my landscaper, a young girl & her nanny, and my park-friend Sasha!

She did well about maintaining her sit to be petted.


Pupdate 4/27/2023

Cheyenne and I met up with Jose & Sheeba, along with another OLSC trainer to work our pups at the Huntington Beach Pier and Boardwalk. This was a totally new experience for Cheyenne, and all the noises and distractions overwhelmed her in the beginning. We hung out with Jose and his dogs for a little while so the dogs had a chance to acclimate to the new environment before we began training. Cheyenne accepted treats today, so I kused some as rewards during the start of our session to build a positive attitude about all the commotion and completing following-through with her tasks. 

Cheyenne and Sheeba didn’t have a super-exciting reunion after not seeing each other for a week, and acted nonchalant like they didn’t know each other when they first got together. They got excited and  shared a face-licking-session when they shared a “place” bench later in the day, however, so I’m sure they appreciated the other’s company. 

Cheyenne did well with her heel today, and for the most part he extended cues are improving— although she did break cue occasionally if she saw a bird, there was a loud & unfamiliar noise, or someone getting too close to her on a bicycle. We practiced “place” on some higher objects, trying to get Cheyenne to figure out that she can leap onto them vs. trying to crawl up onto them. Learning to leap and building her confidence with higher objects will be pivotal for her “car manners” later on in her program. Even getting down from slightly-high objects is still a bit scary for her, so continuing to build her confidence should help a lot. Cheyenne is also tentative when going up or down stairs. Cheyenne’s come-to-sit is improving, but still requires leash-pressure to complete the loop-around. 

Jose and I switched dogs for a portion of our session to get the pups familiar to working with other handlers and to troubleshoot specific areas of training with the girls. Cheyenne was much more aloof with Jose, and didn’t want to work with him initially, but got into the groove eventually. 

Cheyenne accompanied us during lunch, and was a good girl! She sat or laid quietly by us for the duration of the meal. She had a BIG day, and is pooped. 


Pupdate 4/28/2023

Cheyenne got a bit of a ‘day off’ today after her big adventure yesterday. The amount of abrupt, increased exposure to a super busy environment might have been a bit overwhelming for her, and she was a lot more shaken by new stimuli than her sister. I wanted to give Cheyenne a bit of time to decompress and be a puppy. 

Although she had a ‘day off’, we still worked on training— it was just more mild and home-focused. We worked on crate-manners, door manners, extended positions sit/down/place, and food manners— where Cheyenne must maintain a sit or down while her food is presented, and will eventually work up to leaving the bowl for extended periods before being released to eat. Currently, I expect Cheyenne to ‘down’ before placing the food bowl (she is less inclined to offer this behavior without leash pressure, so mealtime is a great reward!), and I will immediately release her with ‘break’ upon setting it down. Gradually, I will work up the amount of time before she is given her release word. If Cheyenne breaks position or goes for the bowl prior to being released, I will give the verbal correction ‘ah-ah!’ and body-block her. 

Cheyenne has been excited/submissive peeing less, but I use caution when letting her out of the kennel before giving her attention until she does her business outside. Since she has limited control of her bladder in situations like these, I will use a slip lead which is fast and easy to put on once Cheyenne accomplishes a sit or down to be released from her crate. Cheyenne and I have been working on her crate-training by giving her reinforcements for going into it and waiting patiently to come out. She still isn’t a fan of the crate, so it is a work in progress, however she is beginning to voluntarily offer the behavior.  

Cheyenne accompanied me lat her in the day to check-in-on and water the plants at my parents’ house in CDM. We practiced her manners and obedience without the prong-collar to gain mastery of performing cues without leash-pressure. Although she will still wear her prong-collar for training (like putting on work-shoes), sometimes it is beneficial to work on her cues without it. She has been performing well for rewards (both food and affection) well, so it is a good time to emphasize positive reinforcement.  


Pupdate 4/29/2023

Cheyenne and I worked on obedience and manners in the home after breakfast, working on follow-through of cues with minimal leash pressure. I would still use leash pressure if necessary, but I want Cheyenne to get used to performing behaviors without it’s aid. 

Later in the day, Cheyenne and I went to Armstrong Garden Center in Costa Mesa for a change in scenery and new distractions. Cheyenne is definitely a “stop and smell the roses” kind of gal, and was very curious about all the neat plants. We practiced heel so she got the opportunity to check everything out and acclimate before practicing her other obedience. We practiced with limited leash pressure similarly to what we had done previously earlier in the day. Her heel is looking good, however she sometimes loses focus and veers off course. 

Down is coming along with the aid of visual cues, but she is beginning to not require such obvious gestures, and is picking up on verbal cues as well. She is better about holding her extended positions, and listening to corrective ‘ah-ah!’ cues when she starts to break them. This is fantastic, as she get the opportunity to save the cue once corrected. I will reinforce when Cheyenne responds corrections to help build communication and emphasize what I want from her. 

Cheyenne still needs leash-pressure guidance some of the time with come-to-sit, as she will get ‘puppy brain’ when she is behind me and forget she’s supposed to be doing something. 

Cheyenne is getting better about place without leash pressure, although sometimes it takes a bit of patience. We worked on her leaping abilities and car manners before leaving for Armstrong’s, however she isn’t quite there yet, and needed a boost. She was making a solid effort at trying, and I made sure to make a big deal when she would try, but fail, to amp up encouragement and build a desire to keep trying even though it’s frustrating and seems like a daunting task for her. 

Cheyenne has a bit of an upset stomach today with some diarrhea :( 

Cheyenne has been doing well with potty-training (aside from the excited/submissive peeing and the tummy troubles). 



Cheyenne worked on her visual and verbal cues in the home to further phase out the necessity of leash-pressure to perform her cues. She is understanding ‘down’ verbal well, but it still may take some time for her to piece things together. She is working on problem-solving skills in the process, and building confidence when she does the correct behavior on her own to get positive reinforcements!

Now that Cheyenne is halfway through her training, treats will be used minimally, and our focus will be on verbal praise and physical affection as rewards.

We went to Home Depot in Costa Mesa to work on Cheyenne’s longline training, and practice her obedience in a new environment and around new distractions. Unfortunately, the lumber area where I like to have the dogs practice ‘place’ was blocked off today. I prefer this area since it provides a variety of different heights to gradually work up to higher platforms.

We started out in the garden section, since it yields similarity to Armstrong’s, it was a good place to start off as Cheyenne acclimated to the new venue. Cheyenne broke her extended-distance cues a few times, but would stop walking towards me when cued ‘ah-ah!’ and I could get her back into the appropriate position. Once Cheyenne had settled in, we proceeded to inside the store, where we perused the aisles practicing ‘heel’, extended sit/down distance & duration, and come-to-sit.

Cheyenne needed less help with leash pressure for come-to-sit, and I made a big deal whenever she went through the motions on her own— although I will continue to offer visual hand motions/gestures throughout her training via targeting. Cheyenne seems to get ‘break’ and ‘come’ a little confused at times.

Cheyenne was pretty confident throughout the session, however she did get startled and mildly afraid of random things (such as a woman opening a refrigerator).


Pupdate 5/1/2023

Cheyenne and I went for a walk around my neighborhood using a longline to practice heel with minimal leash pressure & corrections— although I would be quick to utilize it if needed. She did well, but still gets a little nutty over birds. I have begun to put seed in my bird feeders again, and this should help her acclimate to them and allow me opportunities to correct behavior. 

We worked on come-to-sit as well as Cheyennes visual and verbal cues, which are improving a lot. We practiced ‘door manners’ at the front door where Cheyenne was instructed to hold an extended down/place on the cot while I went back and forth through the threshold. Typically when pups can’t see you, they want to find you. It took a few attempts of being out-of-sight and correcting the behavior before Cheyenne got the hang of it. 

Since Cheyenne has been doing better with her potty training, she is gaining more access to hanging around the home, which includes being in a baby-gated vs her kennel. Cheyenne has begun to whine and bark when in the gated area, so we have also been working on separation anxiety and her throwing tantrums over not getting her way. 


Pupdate 5/2/2023

Cheyenne and I returned to TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa for her training today. During our session, we primarily worked on ‘place’ with higher platforms to build her confidence (which will help with clearing my tailgate for car manners, which is still a struggle for her). She was less hesitant about placing on new objects, and was able to leap at closer distances vs needing a running start. She is still slow about coming down from objects— maybe a tad fearful of heights. 

Cheyenne did well around most distractions, but did attempt to go up to people who walked closely passed us, and one particular dog that was higher energy. When Cheyenne is fixated or goes towards something, I will give her the verbal correction “ah-ah, off!” She needed a few corrections for leaving me while in a heel. But, for the most part she was very good about maintaining pace and position, and made a ton of eye-contact which told me she was engaged with me. Whenever I catch a dog looking at me, I make sure to provide ample praise— I love the attention! 

Cheyenne continues to excel with her potty training, and had no accidents while free-ranging or in the gated area today and yesterday. My dog is warming up to Cheyenne and has been playing with her more. I think she is the first young puppy he has been around, and didn’t quite know what to think of her. Cheyenne’s friend, the bernadoodle who was here for 5 days the other week, joined us again for boarding today and Cheyenne is very happy. 


Pupdate 5/3/2023

Cheyenne and I went to Boysen Park in Anaheim for our training session today. We focused primarily on come-to-sit, and we “placed” on all feasible objects to build up her confidence. During her come-to-sit, Cheyenne still retained the tendency to get “puppy-brain” and become distracted while looping behind me (usually smelling the grass). To work through this, I would provide a small leash-pop as soon as she started veering off, and lavished her in praise when she got to the correct position. It took a couple corrections, but Cheyenne caught on quickly and she was able to begin reliably offering the behavior. 

To work on heel, I would make abrupt changes in direction while maintaining a loose leash. It was carried at a length where if she got too far away and didn’t follow my direction-changes, she would be self-corrected when she got to the end of the leash. To help cue Cheyenne so she could have a better chance of increasing behavior, I would say “heel” beforehand. This verbal helps the pup pay attention so they can get reinforcement. 

Cheyenne had a breakthrough with car manners today, and was finally able to jump up to my tailgate!  I usually give her a running start, and this seems to be the most successful. She doesn’t go straight to the transport-kennel yet, but I will be shaping that part of the behavior in as we practice. When working with puppies, it is important to go slow and celebrate small accomplishments. 


Cheyenne attended me on a walk-appointment with Kona in Quail Hill, Irvine today. Kona is tolerant of other dogs, but can be a bit snarky at times and vocalize if another dog is too amped-up in her personal space. Cheyenne was polite and displayed only a mild interest in Kona— this calmness created an environment that Kona was comfortable with, and the two of them got along well during our 1.5 mile walk and training session at their neighborhood park. Kona did not growl or bark at Cheyenne once.

Cheyenne heeled very well, and maintained a loose-leash for the vast majority of the walk. There were a couple times when I did need to provide a gentle leash-correction, typically when Kona would veer off and Cheyenne would attempt to follow. Cheyenne kept great position and pace, and would “check in” with me by making eye contact or glancing to her right at me. When she would offer either, I would reinforce with praise. She is getting tighter with her turns during heel— I find that walking with my board & train dogs sandwiched between another dog and myself is a great method to improve proximity to their handler.  

Asking a pup to not only heel next to a new dog, but perform obedience cues around them provides a nice challenge to the session. Cheyenne did well, and followed through with her training with little regard towards Kona’s presence. We practiced extended place and sit/down on many new objects in an effort to build Cheyenne’s confidence. One platform was particularly tricky, as it wobbled! Cheyenne was a bit startled initially and jumped down, I helped guide her back on the object, and she maintained a distance-down fine afterwards. 


Pupdate 5/5/2023

Cheyenne had a BIG day! Now that she’s reliable and with her obedience around everyday distractions and has been exposed to a variety of environments, it’s time to revisit high-distraction-scenarios. She was overwhelmed by her first occasion when at HB Pier and Boardwalk, so I wanted to make sure she had enough time, confidence, and coping skills before reintroducing them to her. For the rest of her program, we will be focusing on obedience in busy places, and polishing up her obedience and home-manners.

Cheyenne and I went to Del Amo Shopping Center in Torrance for her training. There were numerous novel distractions and foot-traffic all around. This was definitely a challenge for Cheyenne, and we took things slow. I gave her ample time to sit in hang out in a grassy area outside the parking structure for a break after the long car ride to stretch out and go potty. After we entered the mall, we remained near the entrance on the lower level (which wasn’t busy) and practiced her cues. Once she was acclimated, we proceeded to ride the elevator to the 2nd floor. Cheyenne heeled well through the stores and food-court, and was placed in a down on a bench to relax and take in the increased distractions and new sensations.

Cheyenne turns heads with her cute fact, fluffy body, and striking colors—everyone wanted to pet her. Although we have practiced greeting manners in our sessions, the constant attention and busy environment caused her to reach threshold. This is when a pup becomes too overstimulated in their environment. Cheyenne shied away, and when I saw that she had had enough with being pet, I refused when people asked. It is important to be your dog's advocate and look out for what they’re saying with their bodies.

I let Cheyenne settle down in a quiet area of the mall, played with her, and gave her some lovin’ while she decompressed.

Afterwards, we went to a moderately busy area of the mall to practice her cues. She wasn’t on her A-game, but after helping set her up for success she performed better. She still had a bit of trouble offering cues quickly or on the first cue, but this may be due to the environment. She sits a bit sloppy during come-to-sit and stop-to-sit since she tends to face me instead of being parallel with me. Her extended positions were pretty sharp, but she broke cue often during the beginning of the session.

Overall, I am very pleased with Cheyenne’s session, and it solidified what needs attention during the last leg of her program.


Cheyenne got a bit of a breather earlier in the day today. She had a bit of an upset stomach after the Del Amo Shopping Center, so I wanted to give her some time to decompress and just enjoy being a puppy. She was provided lots of affection, had a blast playing with the other dogs, and went for a walk with me around the neighborhood. 

In efforts of keeping the momentum going for socialization to busy environments, we went to Triangle Square Mall in Costa Mesa to walk around, see the sights, and practice all of her obedience. This mall is typically less crowded, and would be a good segway between hitting threshold yesterday and still gaining valuable exposure. Being an outdoor mall most likely helped as well, as Cheyenne loves the outdoors and it is more familiar to her. 

Cheyenne did well, and we repeated similar steps as yesterday, working on the fringes to build confidence before seeking out more distractions. So that she wouldn’t get overwhelmed during greeting manners, I would allow people to say ‘hello’, but cut the interactions short before Cheyenne could get uneasy. 

Cheyenne did better taking everything in stride, but back-tracked a bit in holding her cues. This can happen from time to time with pups, and when it does, we go back to basics and reintroduce the concept slowly. We practiced extended cues, working on duration before adding distance and gradually increasing difficulty. She was more confident about performing place on the objects asked, and maintained her heel well. 

She has been doing well about leaping up onto my tailgate, however she avoids the kennel. This will be another behavior we will continue work on. 


Cheyenne and I went to Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach. Since it’s the weekend, it was pretty packed! I gave Cheyenne a bit of time in a quiet, grassy area to go potty and familiarize herself to the change in the environment. Cheyenne did not heel very well today, which is odd since she’s usually been so good at it. I had to keep the longline shorter, and provide corrections frequently. She wouldn’t run to anything in particular, just wander around curious. 

She is a bit better about holding her extended cues compared to yesterday, and I was able to add more movement on my end without her breaking position to come over to me. When she did break cue, verbal corrections were typically enough to get her back in the groove, but sometimes she required leash-pressure. 

There were many dogs here today, and Cheyenne did well about remaining neutral towards them. She was also solid when strollers, children, people with bags, and people running were in close proximity to her. She seems to be adjusting to higher-distraction environments with the added exposure. 

Cheyenne still has an upset stomach today, but it seemed to be getting better as time passed. She has been a bit of a bully towards the very young, 9 week old puppy at my house. She doesn’t acknowledge his non-verbal cues that he’s scared, and instigates him further. If he reacts to her trying to get her to ‘back off’, Cheyenne will get snarky with him and try to dominate him. I have been proactive about nipping the behavior in the bud, and keep a keen eye on the two of them when Cheyenne approaches him. 


Cheyenne attended me on a walk with Kona this afternoon. She heeled well and we practiced sharper turns and stop-to-sit. Afterwards, we went to HB Pier and Boardwalk to work on her obedience around distractions. Cheyenne was hot and tired, so we began by practicing extended cues in the shade so she could cool off after the walk and car ride.

Cheyenne did very well remaining neutral to a variety of distractions, including dogs, bicycles (some of which rode very close to her), other dogs, noisy kids, and many people stopping to say how pretty is! She had many opportunities to practice greeting manners, and was more comfortable with the attention of strangers.

She was not quick about performing cues, so we worked on tightening those up as well. Admittedly, I should have left Cheyenne at home during the afternoon walk so she would be more energetic and focused, but we mustered through it. She would get come-to-sit and place confused if there was an elevated object too close to me, and we will work on cue differentiation further. 

Cheyenne still retains a bit of a stubborn streak at times, so becoming more animated to keep her focus and encourage her to engage more. 


Cheyenne and I returned to Fashion Island to work around distractions before she goes home tomorrow. We focused on performing cues quickly without being asked multiple times. We also worked on polishing up her positioning for come-to-sit. It was not as busy today since it was a weekday, but there were still plenty of distractions and plenty of people who wanted to say hi to super-cute Cheyenne. She had a bit of an issue breaking extended cues if people stopped to say hello in an impromptu fashion.

Later in the day we worked on Cheyenne’s home-manners, including food manners & door manners. Car manners have been practiced each time we travel to and from a location for training, and she has been good about leaping up and going to the crate.

Cheyenne and the 9 week old puppy have become good friends, and they enjoy wrestling with each other! She is his new favorite dog in the pack, and the two of them are very sweet to watch.

Cheyenne has learned a lot and shown some great progression. Her greatest difficulty has been her stubbornness. She knows her cues, and we will help show her owners how to enforce them in the home. She is so excited to see her family tomorrow!

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