Coco | Labrador Retriever | Corona, CA | In-Training
Meet Coco! She’s a two-year old Labrador Retriever from Corona, California here for our Three-Week Board and Train Program. Coco is a sweet girl, but her family brought her to us because she doesn’t know her basic commands, won’t come when called and cannot be trusted off-leash, and is more of an outdoor dog because when allowed inside, she chews on anything and everything that isn’t hers (from furniture to pillows to doorstops). Even playing with her stopped being fun due to her nibbles and mouthiness on their arms. Her family would love to include her in normal family life and reached out to us for help. Stay tuned for her twenty-one day transformation!
Coco with the Halloween decorations at Lowe’s
Practicing door manners.
Working on “under” at the park.
Today we went to the mall and worked on our commands around distractions. Coco is very sensitive to pressure and responds well to praise and affection. On the property we worked on recall. I push the button on the remote at the lowest level that Coco responds to, and say “Coco, come,” releasing the button when she turns in my direction. Then I use praise to get her to come all the way to me, and reward with a beef liver treat when she sits in front of me. After training, Coco rested on “place” inside the house until it was time to go back out and socialize.
This morning we trained at the Harbor working on our heeling, place work, sits, and break. Coco really slowed down due to the heat so we’ll work on getting out earlier or working inside when it’s warmer out. She can hold a duration down pretty well outdoors as well as inside the house. I’ve had no issues with her chewing anything inside that she shouldn’t, and she’s generally settled down quickly once indoors.
We trained at a park in Temecula and worked on off-leash heeling, confidence building using the playground equipment, come to heel, duration downs, and under. Coco didn't want to go up the stairs on the playground equipment, but finally did it with a little encouragement and some beef liver treats. She's getting better about the "under" command and understands that she's supposed to lay down until released. In the house she's getting more freedom, and hasn't tried to chew anything she shouldn't. I think she's tired after a day of training and enjoys laying in the dog bed and just hanging out.
This morning we practiced our recall on my property, and added sits, downs, and come to sit. I brought Juno out to see if having her around would get Coco to move away from me, but Coco stayed pretty close. Her sits turn out to the side so I'm going back to cleaning this up on leash with leash pressure and gentle pressure from my hand helping her rear end go to the ground. Coco wears the e-collar when she's loose in the house, and I make sure to move the receiver every two to three hours. This helps prevent any kind of reaction to having the metal contact points in one spot for too long. She chewed on a Benebone and played with a green toy for a while and then settled on the dog bed when asked to "place" there. When Juno lured her off the bed I said "no" and held down the button on the collar. She immediately went back to the bed and laid down.
In the afternoon we went to an outdoor shopping area and practiced off-leash walking, downs, sits, and under. Coco did so well we received two compliments! She's staying closer in the heel position and going into the down much quicker. She's still uncomfortable about going underneath tables, but we'll continue to work on it.
Coco and I walked around a park in Irvine today. We worked on off-leash heeling and all of her commands, making use of the various tables and benches to practice under. She's really starting to get that verbal cue and doesn't hesitate to go underneath a table or bench. It took a while but Coco has become more alive and playful. Praise and inviting body language goes a long way, but so do those beef liver treats when it comes to recall and teaching new behaviors. In the afternoon she socialized with the other dogs, which she seems to really enjoy, then we worked more on our come to sit and place commands. She's doing great inside the house! No chewing on anything she shouldn't, but she's also tired after training and socializing. When she tried to chew on bark in the dog run I used the "off" command with a tap from the e-collar and that got her to spit out the bark. When she did that I followed up with a "good" so she understood that's what I wanted from her.
This morning we trained recall on the property using Coco's breakfast. She socialized with the dogs an hour after eating, and then we worked on off-leash heeling, sits, downs, come to heel, and break. Coco's doing well with all of her commands, and is recalling even better! With recall I start by holding down the button, then I call her name, and if she doesn't turn within a second or two I start rolling up on the knob to create motivation. She usually responds enthusiastically within a couple of points. I do the same if she starts lagging behind while heeling. Start at the lowest number where she feels it, say "heel," and if she doesn't pick up her pace start rolling up on the knob to create motivation. It's made a big difference in her speed! I used Juno and Teddy the white fluffy dog as distractions, but Coco did everything that was asked of her!
Today we worked on recall at a local park with a lot of activity. I tossed food on the field to make her go away from me, then I would call Coco, and if she didn’t turn within a second or two, I would hold down the button. If she doesn’t acknowledge the stimulation I slowly start dialing up on the knob until she turns in my direction, that’s when I mark and start praising. We did some off-leash heeling on a dirt trail that goes around the park and Coco did a good job of staying close to my side. I asked for duration downs while I talked with two ladies who had dogs, and put her in a down stay while the games were going on. She’s progressing quite nicely!
Coco did amazing today at the mall! She completed all of her commands on cue with enthusiasm! We've been playing with interactive toys more and it's really changed our relationship. I'm able to ask more of her, get eye contact, and speed with her commands. She's doing great with her "look" command, which is where I ask for eye contact. We practiced under, off-leash heeling, sit, down, did a two minute down stay with kids running around, come to sit, come to heel, and break. She's really understanding how to control the collar, but a lot of it is relationship based, and then layering the tap from the collar if she doesn't do the command. In the afternoon she socialized with the other dogs. Coco did try to pickup a sock that I left on the floor, but she had the collar on so I said, "Coco, out" and tapped her with the collar and rolled the knob up. She immediately dropped the sock and was praised for it.
Preview of Coco’s Final Video!
Today we went to an outdoor mall to do Coco's final video where she demonstrates everything she learned over the past three weeks. We off-leash heeled past crowds of people, dogs, and various distractions, all while keeping a happy demeanor. Coco did great! She was even able to hold a sit when someone unexpectedly came over to pet her, showcasing her greeting manners!