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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Chief | Cane Corso Mix | Simi Valley, CA | In-Training

Meet Chief! He is a two year old Cane Corso mix who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. He is here for basic obedience, leash pulling, door manners, and greeting manners. Chief does not do well when meeting new people, and will often bark at them. He can play a little rough and does not know his own strength. Over the next fourteen days, this big guy will be working on his behavior and be set up for success, with the hopes of becoming a well mannered pup. Check in to see his progress!


Chief and I spent the afternoon getting to know each other by going on a walk around my neighborhood to establish a bond. He was pulling heavily on his leash so I introduced him to Heel. It is a technique that consists of having Chief walk next to me on my left side. Anytime he would pull away, I would make a turn, walk in the opposite direction, and use leash tension to guide him back towards me. It is a work in progress, but he is catching on. Heel will now be implied on every walk that we go on from here on out.


Chief and I drove out to a local park to continue working on his Heel. Our morning and evening walks have helped Chief make an improvement, and he is now following through with his behavior. Throughout our walk, we had different distractions such as joggers, bicyclists, strollers, and other dogs. He did very well at not reacting in any manner, and he is working with his muzzle off. We also met up with other trainers, and worked on Chief’s socialization. The same approach I used with you at the time of pickup, is the same approach I used for his training. He was still nervous and would sometimes try and cower behind me, but he did really well by not reacting. Chief did great over night in his crate and and is adjusting to his surroundings in his new home for the next two weeks.


Chief was introduced to Place today. It is a technique that consists of having Chief getting onto an elevated object and remaining there in a Sit or a Down. It can be of great use whenever guests are over, and it can also help build confidence in a dog. To teach Chief, I introduced him to the object by walking him up to it, and then guiding him onto it with leash tension. He did really well and had no trouble getting onto the objects. There are some instances in which Chief will climb on rather than hop on, but considering it being a new behavior, I reward Chief for any way that he follows through when learning. I will continue to work on Place with Chief and also build his confidence by challenging him onto different surfaces and textures as we move along in training.


Chief and I have been working on his recall which is known as Come to Sit. It consists of having Chief come towards my right side, going around behind me, and sitting on my left. I worked on it with leash tension to guide Chief towards my right. Once on my right side, I then proceeded to take two steps forward, and once again guide Chief with leash tension to have him go around me and Sit on my left. He does well in my backyard when working in a low distracting environment, but he was having some trouble in an environment with distractions. It takes Chief some time to adjust to his surroundings, but I will continue to work on that by exposing him to more public settings in order to help him reach a calm relaxed state.


Chief and I have been working on Down. It is a technique that can be difficult to teach a dog considering it being a submissive position. It can also make a dog feel vulnerable being down on all fours. To teach Chief, I had to earn his trust, which I did by bonding, going out on walks with him, and rewarding him with lots of praise when he performed a good behavior. I began by asking him to Sit, and by using leash tension, I began guiding him towards the ground. During our first attempts, he would stiffen up his paws or come out of his sit. I would then reset him, ask him to Sit again, and repeat the process. Anytime Chief made an intent to go down, I would release tension, and reward him with praise for working through it. It took some time and patience, with breaks in between to avoid frustration, but Chief is following through with his Down. He was also able to work with another handler and he did really well walking alongside him. When it comes to feeding Chief, he will not eat when I place his food out, but once I place it inside of his kennel, he will eat it there.


Chief and I drove out to a local shopping center and continued his exposure to public settings. He did good throughout our walk in the mall, and he adjusted very well to the environment around him. We worked a little more on his recall since there are a few times that Chief will Sit a little more in front of me rather than next to me. We also practiced on his Down with people passing by serving as distractions. He did come out of his Down a few times, but by resetting him and repeating the behavior, Chief was able to work through it. He now knows all of his commands, and in the coming days, we will be working his stationary commands by increasing his duration while adding distance.


Chief and I began working on distance and duration today with a fifteen foot long line. We worked on it in increments of five, meaning one foot back is five seconds, two feet back is ten seconds, three feet is fifteen and so on. During our initial session, Chief would come out of his Sit immediately and begin to follow me whenever I walked away. I reset him and put him back in his position and restarted the process. He understood the concept the second time, I released him with a “Break,” and rewarded him with lots of praise. Chief is following through very well, and I am very close to walking towards the end of the lead without him getting up.


Chief and I went out for a walk around the neighborhood today and we worked on loose leash walking. Our morning and evening walks have helped Chief improve his Heel and he continues to make great progress. We also worked a little more on his distance and duration in which he does very well, as I can now get to the end of the long line while he remains in his stationary position. With week one in the books, week two will consist of having Chief work with his leash dragging in order to prepare him for his off leash experience.


Chief and I drove out to a local park today and worked on some leash dragging exercises. He fell a little behind during our walk throughout the park, but with a verbal “Heel,” Chief was able to follow through walking next to me. He was having a little trouble with his recall, so we worked on it a little more with leash guidance. He would either stop at my right side, or he would sit behind me. He still needs a little more conditioning, but he is working through it. Chief also worked on his Extended Down around other dogs and he did really well. I can also walk in a full circle around him while he remains in his position. I will focus a little more on his Heel and Come to Sit as he prepares for his Final.


Happy Fourth of July! Chief and I took a drive to a local park and began to work on some off leash exercises in a low distracting environment. He was a little anxious throughout our walk and it took him some time to adjust to his surroundings. He was having trouble with his recall but after a few repetitions, Chief began to follow through. He did very well with his Place and with his duration Down. Chief will now be working mostly off leash as I continue to expose him to more distractions in public settings.


Chief and I continue to work in public settings and he adjusted very well to his surroundings today. We worked all of his commands with people passing by as a distraction and is doing better maintaining his stationary positions. He was getting a little ahead of me during our Heel, but with a few u-turns and by asking him to Heel, Chief was back on track. He is just about ready to begin filming for his Final, and it will be the main focus for the remainder of his Program.


Chief and I worked on his Final today. He was quite nervous and it took him some time to adjust to his surroundings. He was having some trouble with his Come to Sit, and did come out of his Down during our practice runs. He would also walk ahead of me during our Heel, but I was able to work Chief through it, and he was able to follow through. He did pretty well, and here is a clip of Chief showing what he can do.


Chief and I have been working on Door Manners since day one of his training. He would always want to go ahead of me and be the first through the door, so I worked on it with Chief by asking him to Sit or Down anytime a door was approached. Once in position, whenever I opened the door and Chief made an intent to come out of his stationary position, I would close the door and restart the process. It took some time, but by remaining consistent with repetitions everyday, Chief was able to accomplish his Door Manner goal.


Chief has completed his Two Week Board and Train Program and is ready to come home. It was a real pleasure to be given the opportunity to work with Chief, and I want to thank you for trusting me with him while he was under my care. He is such a gentle giant and he will be missed. We became great friends and I really enjoyed his companionship. Thank you Chief!

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