Chip | Golden Retriever | Los Angeles, CA | In-Training
Meet Chip! A sweet and playful seven month old Golden Retriever has joined us for our Two-Week Board & Train program, along with a day of boarding as well. Chip has come to us to work on his excessive barking, greeting manners, pulling on the leash, and impulse control as he often thinks the kids toys are his own toys. Whenever Chip has the chance, he enjoys jumping on tables. Over these next two weeks Chip and I will work on building a solid foundation for his training, implementing structure and clear communication as we expose him to a variety of new environments, to help him be the best pup he can possibly be. Stay tuned for his Two-Week transformation!
Chip and I had the chance to become more familiar with each other as we walked around the park together exploring our surroundings. I tested out what he knew, calling his name to see if he would respond when called. Chip was very interested in his surroundings, especially other pups. Once it was time to load him up, he was hesitant with jumping into the car all on his own. I helped him up into the kennel, which he is not a fan of but he will allow me to guide him into it. As we arrived to his new temporary home to get him settled in, he was unsure of his new environment, not wanting to exit the kennel. I helped guide him out of the kennel with some leash pressure, which after some time, he followed the path I created for him. Moving forward, we will work on building his confidence to help him overcome these challenges.
Chip and I had the chance to work on proper socialization with friendly family members that came over and wanted to say hi. We worked on his Extended Sit while he received plenty of love from everyone. Chip was excited initially, but after some work he held his Sit the entire time. Chip loves kids! Which we used as a training opportunity to work on his impulse control. We played fetch, as we worked on him dropping the toy on command, utilizing the cue Off. Good job Chip!
Chip and I started our day by introducing him to a few communication tools such as the slip lead and e collar. The slip lead is used to guide Chip 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. Chip 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 Chip 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 good stuff came to him when he Sat on my left side. This is how I begin to build value with Chip in a desired position. I Cued Chip’s name frequently, rewarding him when 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!
Chip and I went on a trip to Home Depot where we exposed him to plenty of new sounds from large machines, different smells, other dogs, and crowds of people. Chip was very excited to be there, initially trying to pull to enter the store. I gave him a potty break before we spent some time in front of the store, as we began to work on his Heel.
Once his Heel significantly improved, we met with the other trainers as we had a pack walk around the store. Chip was excited to be near the other dogs, trying to initiate play. It is important for Chip to remain next to me until released with the cue Break. Anytime he pulled one direction, I turned the opposite way to redirect him as I cued Heel. After some time, Chip understood what was expected of him, checking in with me more often. We will keep spending these next few days working on impulse control, desensitization to other dogs and engagement as we build his confidence, since Chip can be quite nervous in new environments.
Chip and I spent the day adding duration & distance between us for all his commands utilizing a 15 ft leash. After he improved with his duration, holding his Sit for up to a minute and a half, which is almost at our two minute goal! We then began to introduce him to a few commands, Extended Place paired with Down.
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 Chip to Place on while adapting to an unfamiliar environment helps bridge the transition much more quickly.
Chip and I ventured out to Santa Monica Pier as we worked on proofing the commands he is already fluent with such as Come to Sit, Heel, and Extended Sit.
Once we initially arrive, it takes about 15 minutes for him to acclimate to his surroundings. I give him a potty break upon arriving, to allow him to soak in his new environment and prepare him to work after he has done his business. After a few laps, he becomes more engaged, working through his excitable energy. Since he is still very much a puppy, he has that spunky puppy energy! It is important to channel that energy to positive outlets, such as power walks, playtime, and training. It is important to match his energy during training so he stays engaged as well, awaiting his next cue to perform.
We then began to emphasize our work on building fluency with his Down command paired with Place. This was our first time practicing Down in a busy environment. After a few repetitions, and help with added leash pressure downwards, he was able to perform down consistently. I praised him for this as we practiced place on different elevated surfaces.
Chip and I are one step closer towards his off leash goal as we began to drag the leash in an environment he is familiar with first. At times when Chip feels stimulation, he defaults to running in the opposite direction. We worked through this by keeping light stimulation there, while I stepped on the leash. The stimulation turns off when he follows through with his Come to Sit on my left hand side. After many repetitions, Chip stopped running in the opposite direction, following my Cue to Come. We then Heeled together with the leash dragging as we walked around together making frequent turns and stops.
After working towards our off leash goal, we then worked on adding duration & distance for his Down command. Chip now allows me to walk more than 15 ft away from him as he holds his Down for up to two minutes. Now that we have a solid foundation for all of his commands with the leash dragging, we can apply that strong foundation in a more distracting environment while Chip works through his overstimulation .
Chip and I ventured out to the Outlets where we had the chance to work on his commands with the leash dragging whenever we had the proper space to do so. When we first arrive somewhere, I give him some time to Heel and let out some energy with a long walk. Once we’ve heeled to explore our surroundings as well, we get to work.
Chip has significantly improved with his Heel, Come to Sit and Extended Sit. Holding his Sit, or Down has been his biggest challenge yet. Since he has a lot of energy, I make sure he has a proper outlet to release his energy, which helps him during his training! I recommend lots of exercise for Chip. He really enjoys the flirt pole I have at home, where he gets the chance to endlessly chase it! It taps into his prey drive, which releases energy, as well as helps with impulse control. I often have him Sit while I move it around. He isn’t allowed to chase it until I release him with the cue break. If Chip's needs are met, he is much more capable of being a great pup. Working him while he is excited greatly helps too, as he is improving with this each day. Great job Chip!
Chip 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 eat is when I release him with the Cue Break. Although tempted, Chip was able to hold his sit 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. It was quite busy, while a baseball game went on with plenty of families watching. Initially he was very excited to be there. After about 5 mins of Heeling and exploring his surroundings, he was fluently performing everything he has learned with the leash dragging. We will continue to proof his commands, adding distance and duration.
Chip and I took a trip to the park today where we had the chance to proof his commands while near distractions, such as other dogs. This was his first time encountering these pups, which triggered him to become very excitable. Although excited, Chip did well with staying by my side during the Heel as we had a pack walk with the other trainers and their pups. Once we began to work on his Extended Sit or Down while the other dogs walked around him, he needed a few corrections to maintain position. After a few reminders to Sit paired with stimulation from the e collar, he was able to hold position for a longer period of time. When working him over his threshold, I cue his name more frequently to grab his attention whenever he fixates on other dogs. It is okay for him to glance at other dogs however fixating is not. Fixation is often what causes him to load up & react. This is why it is important to be proactive and call his attention before he releases himself.
At this point in his training I will be primarily focusing on his engagement in training while near other dogs, conditioning him to check in with me right after he encounters another dog. By rewarding his engagement when near these triggers, and correcting any unwanted behaviors, he will improve with his impulse control, offering me eye contact before making any decisions on his own.
Chip and I ventured out to the beach today where we proofed his commands further, near plenty of distractions. There were joggers, bicyclists, other dogs, birds, and skateboarders passing by us as we Heeled down the pier. We started our training session with a long walk working on our Heel. When we gained consistency with all of his commands, I dragged the leash as I called him to Come to Sit from distances of 6 ft or more. We made frequent turns, as he checked in with me much more often than before.
Despite all of the distractions Chip did well with staying by my left hand side. He did need some help to jump onto Place and at times struggles with this. Small jumps is what Chip is most comfortable with, he also seems quite uncomfortable when he needs to jump and would much rather climb. We are working on building up his confidence with jumping onto more elevated surfaces.
Chip and I spent our morning working on all of his commands as we Heeled around the outlets together. We emphasized our work on his Come to Sit from distances of 10 ft or more, Place on different elevated surfaces, and Extended Sit as I added distance between us with the leash dragging.
Chip is able to hold his Extended Sit for two whole minutes as I walk away from him. If there are added distractions closer to him than I am, I remind him to Sit and as well as tell him he’s doing a good job to keep him engaged with me.
We had the opportunity to work on his Place command, where I marked and rewarded the higher than usual jumps he would perform on top of the benches and islands. Today he held his Place for an average of three minutes which is great! Now that we have built a solid foundation for his impulse control, we will begin to film content for his final video!
Chip and I spent the day at the beach working on all of the commands he has learned so far, off leash. He fluently performed his Come to Sit from distances of 8 ft or more, held his Extended Sit for up to two minutes as plenty of distractions passed by us, and Placed on top of an elevated bench to hold his Down for two minutes as well.
We had the opportunity to work on his Greeting Manners as he received plenty of attention from friendly people who wanted to say hi to him. Chip has improved with maintaining his impulse control, especially when excited. Checking in with me voluntarily. Great job Chip!
Chip and I ventured out to the mall again where we had the chance to embark on a pack walk with the other trainers and their pups. Chip has done well with maintaining his Heel, Extended Sit, Place on different surfaces, and Down. We have emphasized a lot of our work around other dogs this week, to help build impulse control. Since he can be quite excitable, it is important to only let him interact with other people and dogs when he is released with break. If he is able to interact whenever he wants to, he will keep finding other distractions more valuable than being with his handler. Chip now checks in with me before interacting with anyone, allowing me to create distance between us for his commands. Great job Chip!
Chip has learned boundaries, not jumping on the door to open it anymore. He has learned that when he sits and waits patiently, the door will open. If he gets up, the door closes on him. The door is an important threshold to remain consistent with so Chip won’t have a habit of being the first one out. Chip 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. I recommend constantly taking Chip 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 Chip!