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  • Tanner Strong

Chopper | German Shepherd | Chatsworth, CA | In Training


Meet Chopper! He's a five month old German Shepherd from Chatsworth, California here for our Two-Week Board and Train Program. Chopper loves to jump on his friends and family, and barks and lunges at new people. He's is unsure about most other dogs. He likes to pull on his leash and has trouble following basic commands. Over the next fourteen days, we'll work on building Chopper's confidence, teach him his manners and basic obedience commands, and show him how to be the best pup he can possibly be! Stay tuned for Chopper's two week transformation.

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Pupdate: 9/24/2023


When picking up Chopper he barked his head off at me at first, but once he was calm I was able to touch him, take his leash and walk him around. We spent a great deal of time at the park just walking around and me petting him. We kept our distance from most of the other people at the park, but from that distance Chopper didn't lunge or bark, however he was very nervous and backed away if a person or dog got close at all. He was doing well up to that point, until we got into the car to go home. He got into his crate, then immediately lashed out and snapped at me. He then peed, and wouldn't let me take off his leash without snapping. Eventually I got it off of him and we drove home. I took a scenic route to give Chopper a little more time to cool down calm down in his crate before we got home. Once we were home, he still tried to bite as I put his leash on to take him out of the car. Once he was out, he was standoffish, but proceeded to walk with me. We walked out front for a little bit before going inside. Going into his inside crate was a bit easier, but he piddled before going in and he was still unhappy with me reaching in to take off his leash. Hopefully after a good night's rest we will have a better reintroduction to each other tomorrow!

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Pupdate: 9/25/2023


Chopper and I went to Whittier Narrows Park today for training! Waking Chopper up and taking him out was still challenging, as he didn't want to leave his crate. Getting him into and out of the car is also challenging for him. He likes to pull back, redirect at me, try to bite the leash, and anything else he can do to not get in or out of his crate and the car. That being said, while we were actually at the park working, Chopper did a good job with the commands we started working on. He is already pretty familiar with the Sit command, although I'd like him to be much more responsive. For his Heel command, I want him to walk politely at my left side with his ears at my knee. Come To Sit is another command where I ask Chopper to come to my right side, walk around my legs, then sit at my left side. For these commands, he's starting to get the basic motions. His main issue while we're out working is that he completely locks onto any passing person or dog that comes close to us, which means he stops paying attention to me and the commands we're working on. While out working, he didn't bark or lunge at anyone, however. He seems to mostly do that when we are near the car or the crate. He did much better today than he did yesterday though, and there were even times when it seemed like Chopper is starting to like me! Additionally, Chopper did end up eating all of his food last night, and he did have a small piddle accident in his crate on the way to the park.

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Pupdate: 9/26/2023


Chopper and I went to Almansor Park today for training! The day started off much better than yesterday, as he got up, went potty outside, and got into my car without much issue. He snapped at my leg once today when he pulled toward a pigeon and applied pressure to his prong collar, but other than that, we took everything nice and slow and he did a pretty good job. There weren't any other dogs at the park today, but there were people and lots of birds. He's still extremely unsure of the people, and he definitely wanted to chase the birds and squirrels, but he did a good job with the commands we're working on. While we were in the more secluded areas of the park, he paid attention to me and mostly stayed close while Heeling, and his Come To Sit command is becoming very good. It seems to me his training is going to be a very slow, deliberate process, but he's also progressing well each day!

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Pupdate: 9/28/2023


Chopper and I went to Almansor Park today for training! It seems he is really starting to like me now, because instead of snapping and growling, most of his mistakes with me were him jumping, licking and nibbling. These are still things I want to adjust, but I far prefer this to his snapping at me. That being said, he still barked and lunged at a few people at the park who got too close to us, and stared down several dogs from quite a distance away. We worked on his Place command today. For this command, I want Chop to hop onto a raised object, such as a bench, and hold his position there. We started off easy, with the place cot shown in the video. He was a little hesitant at first, but then got much more comfortable! He even started laying down on the cot as you can see in the video! I want him to be able to jump onto slightly more difficult objects, like benches, but we're taking it slow. This command is great for confidence building, which I believe is the root of a lot of Chopper's issues. No potty accidents so far today!

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Pupdate: 9/28/2023


Chopper went to the Santa Monica Promenade today for training! This was by far the most difficult area he's been to. He didn't lunge or snap at me or anyone else, but I think that's because he spent most of his time trying to hide behind me and pull away from anything in his line of sight. We were with a couple other trainers and their dogs, and, while he didn't bark or lunge at them, he refused to sit within about eight feet of them, pulling hard away if I tried to ask him to sit anywhere close to them. He also seemed to be scared of the water in the fountains. When I tried to place him on the ledges close to the water, he would not, however, he would place on that same ledge further away from the water. Just like the last few days, when we had moments to ourselves, away from distractions, he performed his commands very reliably! He just needs a lot more confidence to be able to do so around distractions.

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Pupdate: 9/29/2023


Chopper and I went to Almansor Park today! We spent the day mostly working on his Place command and doing some confidence building exercises.


In today's video you'll see the basic process for Chopper to begin placing on more difficult objects. The bench in the video is fairly thin, so he was very nervous about getting on and walking across it. To start, I simply apply a little pressure on his leash and ask him to Place. He refuses, but I still want to make some progress when I ask, so I have him just hop over the bench so he hopefully get a little more comfortable with it. After that, I try to get at least his front paws on the bench, and when he puts up those front paws, I give him verbal and physical praise so he knows this is the right thing to do and that he'll get love for it! Since he's very nervous, next time I ask for him to Place, I help his back legs up, and then give him a little help balancing on the bench. Since Chopper has been known to redirect when pressured to do something he doesn't want to, I hold a little pressure on the leash away from my face when helping him up. Once he is fully on the bench, I let him just sit there for a second to get used to being on this object. Technically this is the main part of the command, and all I'm asking for, but to further Chopper's confidence and balance, I want him to also walk across this narrow bench. He takes a few steps and falls off a few times, but clearly this technique is working for him, because after a couple tries, Chopper ends up jumping up on the bench by himself. Then, after a few more tries, he jumps up and walks all the way across the bench, with only a little apprehension. After he does the whole exercise by himself three times, I release him from command and give him a lot of praise to let him know he's doing a great job!


We did this and similar exercises throughout the day, as well as walking around the park where there were a few distractions. He peed a little bit in his crate this morning, and he snapped once when I was putting on his E-collar and prong collar, but not nearly as bad as some other times. Generally speaking, he did a great job today!

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Pupdate: 9/30/2023


Chopper and I went to Garfield Park today for training! We were inside and outside today, because it was raining on and off here. We mostly practiced his Place command, since that is the one he struggles the most with, and also the one that will help the most with his confidence! He did a much better job placing today, and did so on several different objects, such as benches and planters. I can tell his confidence is slowly growing, because he didn't need nearly as much of a warm up to place on each object as he did yesterday. Because of the weather, there weren't very many distractions around the park, but he still seemed a little on edge in the new area. That being said, he seemed much happier than at other locations, and even got a little playful once he got comfortable with the park!

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Pupdate: 10/1/2023


Chopper and I went to Almansor Park today for training! As usual, he nailed most of his commands, and is becoming very responsive in low distraction areas. In the video, for example, a few people stopped to watch Chopper and one even got very close. He still did a good job with his commands, but he had just a little trouble focusing with those people around. Still a great job today, Chopper!

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Pupdate: 10/2/2022


Chopper and I went to Maple Park today for training! He piddled a little bit in his crate on the way there, but there was a new dog in the car so he might have gotten a little excited. While we were at the park, he did a very good job with all of his commands. He's doing a great job following through with his Come To Sit command with little to no leash tension, and same with his Heel! He also had very little issue hopping on new benches and other place objects without needing too much encouragement. There were a few other trainers and their dogs around, as well as some strangers with their children and dogs. Chopper wanted to break his commands early for the first few minutes of training, but after some warm-up time, he started doing a great job of staying put when asked, even when some of the other dogs got excited and started barking!

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Pupdate: 10/3/2023


Chopper went to Home Depot today for training! Due to the narrow aisles, Chopper had to maintain composure while walking very close to other people. He generally did a really good job with this! A few times, he wanted to lean over and sniff someone walking by, but he never barked or lunged. He didn't like some of the noises in the lumber section, particularly the beeping forklifts, but he eventually settled down and nailed his commands.


At home, Chopper got a bath! At first, he wanted out and seemed to hate the water, but after a minute or two he calmed down and behaved quite well in the tub. No potty accidents today!

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Pupdate: 10/4/2023


Chopper went to Santa Anita Mall today! This mall has a nice outdoor area as well as an indoor area. Chopper was a little skeptical while initially walking up, as he could hear the music playing, and wasn't a huge fan. Once we got to the main area of the outdoor section, he pretty quickly relaxed and did very well with his behavior and all of his commands. He was interested in the turtles around the fountain, but he merely perked up his ears and sniffed them, rather than trying to pull or jump towards them. While inside, there were far more people around, and Chopper struggled slightly more. That being said, he was still relatively calm and performed his commands, he simply walked a little slower and wanted to look around quite a bit more. He was able to relax enough to lay on the floor and remain there for several minutes, without breaking.

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Pupdate: 10/5/2023


Chopper and I went to Santa Monica Pier today for training! I think this is the most people he's been around while with me, but he ended up doing very well. He's still not the biggest fan of being around so many strangers, but he's at least become good at tolerating it and behaving himself while out! As far as his commands, he had very little trouble performing each of them, even around the crowds. He did much better at the pier than I thought he would for his first time there, but that just goes to show the amount of progress he's making!

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Pupdate: 10/6/2023


Chopper went to Almansor Park today! We continued working on all of his commands at the park with few distractions. With those few distractions, his engagement with me is extremely good and he responds to his commands with no leash pressure. He becomes a very playful, happy pup, who is more than willing to work and behave himself. When more distractions are introduced, for example, yesterday at the pier, he will behave and perform his commands, but in a much less engaged, and nervous way. Both of these environments are needed for Chopper to progress to his eventual goal of being a fully off leash dog. The progress he's made is brilliant, but his safety needs to come first, and his exposure to these environments while on leash is fully necessary and great for his training. His more relaxed, isolated training at parks, where he gets to be more "himself" and goof off a little while we train, is also completely necessary for his training and confidence building.

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Pupdate: 10/7/2023


Chopper and I went to Almansor Park today for the majority of our training! We also spent a lot of time working on his household manners. For today's video, I wanted to show Chopper's food manners! For food manners, I want to be able to place his food in front of him, without him immediately trying to gobble it up. This one has been quite tough for him, as it requires a lot of impulse control, but we've worked on it a little each day and he's gotten quite good at it!

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