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Chicago | French Bulldog | Santa Monica, CA | In - Training

Meet Chicago! A 10 month old French Bulldog from Santa Monica, has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program to work on a few behaviors. She is very friendly which causes her to jump and pull while on walks, seeking attention. She doesn't respond to being called, and has a mind of her own. Over these next two weeks we will be working on proper socialization in new environments, as well as teach her how to be a well mannered pup. Stay tuned for her Two Week Transformation!


Chicago and I spent the day becoming more familiar with each other as we strolled around the neighborhood together, allowing her to soak in her new surroundings and explore. She is quite the friendly and confident pup with a lot of energy. We will channel that energy towards playtime and training as we introduce her to new commands tomorrow. 


Chicago and I started our day by introducing her to a few communication tools such as the slip lead and e collar. The slip lead is used to guide Chicago with directional changes of the leash. I apply leash pressure in the direction I want her to go and the second she 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. Chicago responded well to this and only resisted a few times, which was at the end of her training session when she appeared to be more tired. 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. 

I introduced her to Come to Sit which is the action of Chicago coming around behind me to Sit on my left hand side ready to Heel. She was a natural at this and learned quickly that all of the good stuff came to her when she Sat on my left side. This is how I begin to build value with Chicago in a specific position. I Cued her name frequently, rewarding her when she offered me her 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! 


Chicago and I spent the day working on building fluency with all of her commands while out a busier than usual park. There were dogs of all sizes, ducks, packs of squirrels and construction workers near us as we practiced her Come to Sit, and Heel around the entire park. After we exercised a bit, we began to work on introducing her to the Place command. 

Place is a great command to use to build confidence in a dog, create a calm state of mind, as well as prevent unwanted behaviors from happening. It can be used essentially on any elevated surface. I recommend purchasing a dog cot to be able to send her to Place at home and work on house training. It can also be transported wherever you take her for added safety. Having something familiar to her in an unfamiliar place helps her acclimate to her surroundings much quicker. 


Chicago and I worked on introducing her to the Down command today as well as brushed up on her Come to Sit, Place, and Heel. Her Come to Sit has improved significantly, no longer needing much guidance from the leash. Once we Heeled to Place, she resisted jumping onto the bench at first. I reset her and requested it again, with extra encouragement. After she jumped up I praised her, she loves affection! We then practiced this repetitively. She absolutely killed it and jumped onto Place excitedly the remainder of the training session. 

We then worked on her Down command, chained together with Place. By pairing these two commands together, she will begin to voluntarily offer Down when sent to Place. Promoting calmness whenever possible is great to prevent many unwanted behaviors moving forward. Great work Chicago! 


Chicago and I ventured out to the beach today! This was a great opportunity to expose her to a busy environment with plenty of distractions to proof her commands near. Chicago received plenty of attention which helped us practice her Greeting Manners with friendly new people. I reminded her a few times to Sit when she appeared excited, which she responded to as she held her Sit to be pet. It is important to communicate to whoever is petting her, to only offer attention if all four paws are on the floor. If Chicago continues to receive love when jumping or breaking position, she will not know what is expected of her since she is essentially still being rewarded for unwanted behaviors. If she gets up the petting stops, if she is holding position, then the petting continues. 

Chicago has done great with holding her Extended Sit and Down, holding it for up to a minute and a half in a highly distracting environment. 

At times Chicago will stop walking while training. We work through this by providing frequent breaks  and only releasing leash pressure when she is right by my left hand side. Multiple short but effective training sessions are best for Chicago. 


Chicago and I ventured out to Venice Beach today. We Heeled around the beach passing by scooters, skateboards, bicyclists, and loud music with plenty of performers. At first Chicago can be unsure of performing Place on top of new surfaces in new environments. We work through this by Heeling towards Place to build momentum. She then began to fluently jump onto Place and jump off as well. Her Come to Sit has remained consistent, not needing much leash pressure to guide her. We utilized a 15ft leash to build distance between us as she held her Extended Sit, Down, and Place. Now that she has demonstrated she is ready, we will begin to work towards our Off Leash goal by dragging the leash, only using guidance of the leash when necessary. 


Chicago and I took a stroll together to the park where there were plenty of distractions to work near as it was a busy Saturday afternoon. The park was filled with children running wild, dogs playing with each other off leash, squirrels and other wild life nearby. Chicago is very playful and loves other dogs, which tends to be her biggest distraction. She becomes quite stimulated when seeing other dogs for the first time but is now working through that and learning that she does not need to interact with every dog she sees. If she does interact with every dog she sees, she will always be overstimulated when near other dogs. 

We then worked on all of her commands with the leash dragging while on the outskirts of the park. She was very consistent with this and only needed help with the leash when guided onto Place initially. After a few repetitions, she worked up the motivation to perform without help from me. We will keep working towards our Off Leash goal as we continue to proof her commands!


Chicago and I worked towards our Off Leash goal today as we emphasized our work on her Heel, Come to Sit, and Place with the leash dragging. Chicago’s Come to Sit is very consistent, from a distance of atleast 6ft or more. We have been working on weaning her off leash pressure for her Heel. If she veers off track, I stop walking and then call her to Come and Sit by my side to help position her back into the correct position, which is by my left hand side. After repetitively practicing this, she will automatically correct herself into position when I stimulate her during her Heel. Since it is Mother’s Day, she also had the opportunity to practice her Greeting Manners while she received all the attention from friendly moms who absolutely fell in love with her! 

We then worked on her Duration in Place with added distance between us. I have noticed that at times Chicago tries to follow me when I walk away from her which is due to separation anxiety. If she is in her kennel and I walk away, she begins to cry as well. We are working on this by minimizing affection when she seeks it, and not making it a big deal whenever I come and go. If we make our entrances a big deal, so will our pups which adds fuel to their separation anxiety. Sending her in the crate periodically throughout the day is recommended to help her acclimate to being alone when needed.


Today Chicago and I proofed her commands some more while at the park, Heeling around together as we explored our surroundings with the leash dragging.  When Chicago is on Break, she is free to do her thing, as long as she is nearby. As soon as I call her to Come she has an opportunity to come all on her own without any stimulation from the e collar or guidance of the leash. If she comes the first time I call her, I praise her and often release her as a reward which helps increase her fluency with Come to Sit. She is a very engaged pup, checking in with me frequently during her Heel. If there are times she veers off far away from me during the Heel, I change direction and stimulate her with the e collar to grab her attention until she repositions herself back into the Heel. 

We then worked on proofing her Extended Place and Sit command while I approach her excitedly. At first she became excited and wanted to get up. I repeatedly practiced this with her until she remained calm the entire time while petting her. By practicing this frequently, she will always be prepared for Greeting Manners with friendly, excited people who want to say hi. 


Chicago and I had an eventful beach day today as we strolled around Mother’s Beach , working on everything she has learned over this past week, with the leash dragging. When Chicago is feeling a bit overwhelmed in a crowd of people, she at times resists the stimulation of the e collar. I work her through this by reeling her in with the leash, to help guide her and teach her that stress is something she can work through. 

She then remained fluent with all of her commands, Coming when called the first time I gave her the cue, and checking in with me frequently. The distance between us has gradually increased, while she holds her Extended Sit, Down and Place for a minimum of two minutes. Great work Chicago! 


Chicago and I had the opportunity to proof all of her commands Off Leash while at Huntington beach today! She received plenty of love as usual.

We practiced her Greeting manners which she did excellent with, holding her Down the entire time. She checks in with me frequently which I always mark with a Yes. 

Chicago encountered plenty of distractions such as other pups, birds, bicyclists, skateboards, cars, crowds of people, etc. She stuck by my side, remaining consistent with her Heel and Extended Sit as we practiced repetitions of everything she has learned. Since we no longer are using a leash, we rely more on visual cues paired with verbal cues to guide her along the way. We will now begin to film content for her final video next! 


Chicago and I began to film content for her final video as we trained at the pier together. There was a large volleyball tournament going on that attracted crowds of people which was a great opportunity to further proof her commands. 

We worked on her Extended Sit, Place, Down, Heel, and Come to Sit. Her Extended Sit, Place and Down has remained consistent Off Leash, even while receiving attention. Chicago’s biggest challenge has been working near dogs, which she has improved significantly with, no longer approaching any dog she sees until I release her to do so. Excellent job Chicago! 


Chicago absolutely killed it while filming her Final video near a ton of distractions at the beach! She held her Sit, Down and Place for a minimum of two minutes but has a record of holding it for up to 3 minutes. She has improved with her reactivity towards other pups, exhibiting a more neutral response. I do recommend giving her periods of time without being around other pups, as her reactivity may stem from spending too much time with other pups. Periodically sending her to decompress in the kennel, helps teach her how to settle down. It also shows her that time apart from other dogs or people is not such a bad thing. Which will prepare her for time alone in the future. Amazing work Chicago! 


Chicago and I spent our day together working on all of her commands as we strolled around the neighborhood. 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 Chicago doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Chicago. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare him for time apart. 

Chicago 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 Chicago to new environments. Desensitization  to new places will only further improve her training. She  is such a loving girl who needs a lot of guidance, structure and leadership to thrive and follow instructions. She has come a long way and we can not wait to show you what she has learned. Thank you for trusting me with Chicago! 


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