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  • Writer's pictureMcKenna Caskey

Cody | Labradoodle | Lomita, CA | In-Training

Meet Cody! He is a 4.5 month old Labradoodle from Lomita, California. He has joined OffLeash SoCal's Three-Week-Puppy-Board-&-Train Program. Cody needs help building his confidence socializing around other dogs and people. With new humans, Cody can be a little timid, however once he's familiar with them, he has a big issue with jumping up on them & play-biting. Cody has a tendency to bark at strangers, for attention, and when he is bored. He also needs work on basic obedience, as he only knows sit, and does not know how to hold that cue yet. He does not know how to heel, either, and zig-zags wherever he feels like.

He is a sweet puppy, and from first impression, a fast learner. Stay tuned for his 21-day transformation!


Pupdate 11/27/2022

Cody spent the day getting settled into my home after spending some time at the park during his drop-off. Cody was a little reluctant to get into the kennel for the car-ride home, however once he was inside, he settled down immediately. After we got to my house, we focused on building a relationship. Since he will be staying here for three week— a good bond and respect will be critical to his training.

After familiarizing himself to my home, we took a stroll to TeWinkle park, which is located right outside my neighborhood. I introduced the prong-collar to him, which took a bit of time and patience for him to adjust to, but he was walking like a champ shortly after. He will still protest from time-to-time, which can be common for pups that are used to harnesses.

Tomorrow we will start training, and begin introducing new cues!


Pupdate 11/28/2022

Cody has been doing excellent work in training.

Today we met up with other OLSC trainers to work our dogs at Whittier Narrows Recreation Park in El Monte. Cody was introduced to “heel”, “extended sit”, “extended down”, “off” (if he’s focused on a distraction, or has his nose to the ground), “place” (getting onto an elevated surface and holding either sit/down cue), and “break” (cue that the desired behavior is over & he has done a good job).

To teach “heel”, I used leash pressure to help guide him where he should be— walking close to me on my left side, with his ears lined up with my leg. He still seemed a bit iffy with the prong-collar, so I switched him to a slip-lead. He performed his cues well with the new equipment, and in lower-distraction-environments I will continue to use it.

I love Cody’s focus and engagement while training! He continues to be a very smart pup, and picks up on new material fast. He got some exposure to other dogs in a controlled environment, but is still rather scared of them and needs to build up his confidence. He also got to meet fellow trainers, and build his confidence and positive association with strangers.


Pupdate 11/29/2022

Today Cody and I worked on some of his manners in 

the home, such as not play-biting, and not jumping up when he’s too excited. We also worked on door manners, so that he does not try to bolt through them whenever they are opened, and waits for the “break” cue. 

After home manners, we headed back to TeWinkle park to practice his obedience cues we introduced yesterday. He was a bit distracted by the ducks, geese, and squirrels, so we put his prong collar back on. We expanded his “place” cue to more foreign objects, such as rocks and logs, instead of completely flat objects. We also worked on holding his sit and down in place for longer periods of time, regardless of the distracting critters. 

Cody was a bit confused regarding pottying in my yard the first day or so, but I have been out with him and giving him lots of praise and encouragement when he does his “business” in the appropriate place. He continues to give small “yips” when put in the crate initially, but has been voluntarily walking in when cued to. 


Pupdate 11/30/2022

Today Cody and I worked on training in the home.

I began introducing an “extracurricular” cue of “drop” while playing fetch in the yard. If I hold onto an item (ball, toy, etc) and say “drop”, he should take the cue as not playing tug-o-war with me, and release the object so that I may throw it again.

We worked more on not play-biting while excited, as well. I will “yelp” as if I were a hurt puppy whenever he puts his mouth on me. Dogs understand this language, and will even go as far as to apologize if they nip too hard. At OLSC, we prefer that dogs do not put their mouths on anyone, so whenever he makes contact, I will tell him it hurts (even if it doesn’t). I have begun to incite play with Cody in the same manner that another dog might, in hopes that this will familiarize him to the play-style when he interacts with other pups.

After home training, we went to Petco in Costa Mesa for a change in scenery and environment.

Cody was a little apprehensive to all the new stimuli, but was able to perform cues well once he adjusted.

Cody had decreased performance on a regular leash and flat collar. We worked on extended sit and extended down the most with the new distractions, and introduced stop-to-sit, where he should automatically sit while in heel when his handler stops.

I have noticed that Cody seems a bit itchy, and his Whistle Health + GPS tracker says that he is scratching and chewing occasionally. Areas along his side and his feet seem to be the most itchy. I will continue monitoring him to make sure it does not increase.

Cody is coming out of his shell more after being with me for several days, and his puppyhood antics are becoming more apparent. Pups are typically a bit more reserved when first joining board & train programs, and tend to have more gusto as they become more comfortable with their new surroundings.


Pupdate 12/1/2022

Today Cody and I went to Home Depot in Costa Mesa to work on his obedience cues and expose him to new surroundings and distractions. 

This was the most challenging location for him so far, and we will be coming back for future sessions to build on his focus during training in this type of environment. We practiced extended sit, extended down, place, & heel. Today was not his best day in terms of training, and part of that may be due to him becoming more comfortable and showing his puppy personality more, compounded by novel distractions.

Cody is becoming more curious about dogs, and will approach them— even if we are working on heel. He also seems more confident about approaching strangers as well, and broke heel to run up and stiff several strangers today.

Cody does not seem like he is housebroken, and has gone to the bathroom immediately after coming in from outside on several occasions. He will also go to the bathroom inside any establishment we go to, even after being offered a potty break before heading out and again once we’ve arrived to the destination. We will continue to work on going to the bathroom in the appropriate areas. When I am outside with him for a potty break after being in the kennel, I do not to acknowledge him until after he has done his "business"— then he gets praise and pets and playtime.

Cody also seems to be less itchy than previous days.


Pupdate 12/2/2022

Cody and I met up with fellow OLSC trainers at The Block of Orange Mall to work our board & train pups! Since Cody is more comfortable (and more distracted) I decided to use the prong collar today in order to keep him more focused. Cody did very well working on his previous cues, and I introduced a new cue, come-to-sit. For come-to-sit, the pup should approach their handler, then loop around behind from the handler’s right side to sit nicely in line with “heel” on the left. Leash pressure is used to guide the dogs into the appropriate position, before using the marker word “yes” to let the dog know the desired behavior has been completed.

Cody is heeling very well, and I have been increasing the duration of both his sit and down cues. I have also been adding small increments of distance to the cues, as well as movement. Cody was a bit thrown-off when I would circle behind him, but repeated the command “sit” or “down” as I move helps him to remember that I want him to stay in the given position.

I was VERY proud of Cody today, since he did not go to the bathroom on the premises of the mall, and waited until we got to a strip of grass to do his business.

Cody is confident jumping up on objects, and has been able to clear my tailgate in order to “load up” into his kennel for car rides to our destinations.

Overall, Cody is coming along well with his training, and performed well today.

Everyone mentions how cute he is :)


Pupdate 12/3/2022

Today Cody and I worked on manners in the home, and focused a lot on potty training, I tried housebreaking with him on a leash, repeating “go potty” “go potty” “go potty” until he did his business, marked the behavior with "yes!" and gave him praise and affection. Then, he was unleashed for free time and play.

Later in the day, we went to Petsmart in Costa Mesa to work on his obedience cues around tantalizingly distractions like treats, food, and other animals. 

We worked on tightening up his turns during heel—particularly left-turns where I walk in towards him, increasing duration of his sits and downs, and placing on various objects.

The large ladder with steep stairs was his biggest "place" challenge, but he did well after a food lure was added to entice the behavior. There was another ladder that had smaller steps and a smaller landing, however Cody lost footing trying to get on it the first time, and was hesitant to try it out again. If we return to this location, we will look for this ladder again so he can conquer his fear. 

Cody had a harder time increasing duration of down-place for lengthy periods of time, and would begin to whine in protest. If he broke his place, he was guided back onto the object and into down. I would wait for his puppy tantrum to subside before breaking him from his extended-down-place.

Cody met a 4 month old Labrador puppy, who he was interested in, and even offered play behavior towards. But, she was more fearful than Cody, and only interested in casual sniffing.

Cody has had no potty accidents today!


Pupdate 12/4/2022

Cody and I worked on puppy manners at home, teaching him to be cooperative during routine physical exams (eyes, ears, teeth, paws, etc), and to be still while he is getting looked over. He wanted to play bite at first, but would get reinforcement for staying calm.

Afterwards, we went to TeWinkle park to work on his behaviors. Today I introduced him to a long-line, in an area where he has been before, with limited distractions. There was a baseball game going on behind us, but nothing major that he hasn’t been exposed to before.

Long line helps to challenge a dog’s ability to perform cues and behaviors without leash pressure. There were several times he would break a cue, but on a long line, it is easy to grab the leash and help guide the pup into the appropriate behavior.

Cody did very well, and has not had an accident in the home today.


Pupdate 12/5/2022

Cody spent the day with me and all of the other OLSC trainers for a company meeting today at Whittier Narrows Recreation Park. During the first part of the meeting, Cody was asked for an extended-down-place for the entire time. With how lengthy it ran, and the fact that I was engaged listening rather than focused on him, Cody broke the cue several times, and needed to be guided into the correct position. Aside from breaking the cue and getting bored, Cody had wonderful manners during the meeting! 

After our company meeting was over, the trainers dispersed to work their board & train dogs in the park. Cody’s heel is coming along fabulously— his turns are improving, he is closing the gap between us better, and less distracted. I will cue “heel” before making a turn, to help give him a ‘heads-up’ opportunity to perform the task correctly. When we stop, I cue Cody to “sit” at my left side to reinforce stop-to-sit while in “heel”. From there, I would either cue for another “sit” to tell Cody I want to hold an extended-sit from a distance, or “heel” to tell Cody I want him to continue moving forward with me. 

Cody practiced his “extended place” on new objects today, including playground structures and a large rock. Cody was apprehensive about the height of the rock, so I would mark “yes!” and lavish with praise & affection whenever he made an attempt to jump up. This turned the blunders of slipping down less impactful (and even fun), and promoted Cody to have confidence when engaging with the object. He successfully cleared the small landing after a few attempts, and then we worked up the courage to walk to the top of the rock. 

I was careful not to offer a “break” cue until after Cody was guided to the lower landing— I didn’t want him to get excited and jump straight from the high-points. 



When taking a cow ear away from Cody after letting him chew on it for about 15 minutes, I noticed he was displaying some possessive body language (putting his face close to the chew, becoming very still). I decided to press the matter, and pet around his mouth area— which provoked a possessive growl from Cody. Resource guarding can happen with toys, treats, food, and even people. This is a behavior best nipped-in-the-bud, so Cody and I turned the incident into a training session.

I would offer Cody the ear to chew and then reach to either pet him or take the yummy ear. If Cody exhibited resource-guarding language, I would correct with a loud, short “HEY!”. After Cody would back away from (or forfeit) the item, I would mark with “yes!” and then either praise him or offer him the ear back. This method allows for both correction of the behavior, and reinforcement to change that behavior. This method also lets the dog know that although I may take something from you, you may get it back— sometimes a pet parent may need to inspect an item being chewed on.

This process repeated until I switched the correction “hey!” for “out”. “Out” is the verbal given if your pup has something in their mouth that you want them to drop, usually an item they shouldn’t have, or something that needs to be taken away. Cody would chew on the treat, I would reach for it cuing “out”, and Cody would get marker “yes” once he moved his face away from the ear and/or made

eye-contact. After the session, I let Cody chew on the ear for 10 minutes, before swapping it out for a liver and taking the ear away.

Although people should be taught not to interact with a dog chewing on an item, this is an important behavior to break—especially since Cody has children in his home. Ideally, if a human hand moves towards a dog chewing/eating, the dog should back away and allow access to the resource.

Later in the day, we returned to Home Depot to work on Cody’s obedience cues in the environment where he had the most difficulty. He did much better today, and was less distracted. We focused on “heel” “come-to-sit” & “extended sit/down”


Pupdate 12/7/2022

Cody and I practiced the home-manner, “door manners”, today. I had workers moving in and out of the front door while they were swapping some appliances. I used this opportunity as a training session, and help desensitize Cody against following humans outside, as well as reinforce staying inside— particularly when asked for an extended sit or down. Cody seemed much more concerned about the “strangers” in the home, rather than the door, and barked at them initially. I would praise Cody for being calm and for interacting with the strangers. This approach helps to increase confidence and engagement with new people.

The aforementioned engagement lead into another behavior, “greeting manners”. Greeting manners is where a pup should remain in the cued sit or down position, and politely receive pets & affection. Training for a behavior we like (sitting politely for petting) in replace of a behavior we want to decrease (jumping up on people), helps condition the dog towards a more appropriate response when in similar situations. If Cody was to break his cue, the human would cease petting him until he resumed the correct position.

We worked on extended-down -&-place on my cot in the living room. This behavior was beneficial for “door manners” as well, and it is important to weave Cody’s training into everyday situations

Training today was conducted on a long-line. The long-line ensured I was able to get a handle on Cody quickly.

With extended time in the home unkenneled, Cody was fantastic with his potty training. His “tell” is he fidgets, and becomes a little stubborn towards cues and holding a position. When he would offer those behaviors, I would take him outside for “go potty”. There was one instance where he almost popped a squat, but I was able to interrupt his #2 and he did the deed outside


Pupdate 12/8/2022

Cody had a socialization-spectacular today for his training. I met up with OLSC Trainer Christian at TeWinkle park today. Over previous trainer meet-ups, Cody had the opportunity to be around other dogs— one in particular that Christian was training. Over time, Cody warmed up to fellow OLSC pup, Madeline, and he was confident enough to play with her! The two of them got along very well, and had complimentary play-style.

This moment was pivotal for Cody’s socialization. I wanted him to experience a completely positive interaction with another dog, before I took steps further to introducing him to others. Confidence takes a lot to build up, but is easy to shatter.

Based off Cody’s stellar socialization earlier in the day, I decided to bring him along with me for my regular Thursday walk with Kona, a miniature labradoodle. I have known Kona for almost 6 years! Although she is friendly with other dogs, she can be a little grumpy if their energy is off (vocally corrective). The two of them were apprehensive at first, however they were heeling alongside me in no time and walking well together. Cody instigated play, however Kona was unreceptive and ignored his friendly advances. Since Cody was confident and playful, I would consider this interaction a “neutral-positive” interaction.

During TeWinkle Park, Cody practiced his “heel”, “extended sit/down”, & “come-to-sit”. During his walk with Kona, Cody practiced his “heel” without leash pressure, and “stop-to-sit” cues.


Pupdate 12/9/2022

Cody and I worked on separation anxiety in the home today. This has been a newer behavior that’s slowly been creeping up. Cody has started a trend of throwing a fuss when kept away from me— this can be while he’s in a sit/down at a distance and he’s decided it’s been too long (especially out-of-sight), if he’s kept in a gated area unable to get over to me, or here and there when first settling into his crate.

If he is not wearing a prong collar with a long-line on, it is important not to acknowledge Cody until he’s stopped his tantrum. Negative attention is still attention, and can reinforce the behavior. When he has settled down and is quiet, I will either give him a “break” from his position, enter the room, let him out of the kennel, etc (whatever circumstance he was fussing over).

Later in the day, Cody and I went to Fashion Island in Newport Beach to work on all of his obedience training cues! It was pretty busy on a Friday evening, so I introduced Cody to the new environment on a standard leash and prong collar. Although distracted, Cody seemed confident and curious vs. fearful. He met many strangers, and greeted them politely, and did not bark at anyone. He was distracted the most by other dogs, and occasionally needed help focusing with a bit of leash-pressure to follow through on his cues.


Pupdate 12/10/2022

Last night, Cody got to walk with my long-time client, Rascal, a 100lb bernadoodle! Cody was not intimidated by Rascal’s size, and walked by him confidently. Cody maintained “heel” very well sandwiched between me and Rascal, and seemed to be checking in with his position often. After the walk, the two got some time to play at Rascal’s house— Cody gave Rascal a run for his money. Now that Cody has built confidence with other dogs, it is important for him to learn that there are boundaries while playing with canines, just like there are when playing with humans.

Rascal will be staying at my home starting 12/13, so Cody will get the opportunity to be around dogs in a leisurely fashion and learn some manners towards appropriate interactions.

Today Cody and I focused on his separation tantrums. He was kept behind the baby gate and I would leave the room. He would cry and bark for a while, and I would not return until he settled down. As the process repeated, the length of the tantrums shortened. This behavior will be a key point of interest for the remainder of his time with me, and since his potty-training is coming along well, I have more freedom to work on it.

After work in the home, Cody and I returned to Petco in Costa Mesa to work on his long-line obedience cues, exposure to stimuli, and to pick up a cow ear. It took Cody a little bit of time to get adjusted, and he was very distracted. After some time, Cody was performing his cues well. Come-to-sit would be the training cue he needs the most practice with, as he sits a little lop-sided (we want the pups parallel with our legs), and there is always room to expand extended sit & down.


Pupdate 12/11/2022

We had a rainy morning and afternoon here, so Cody and & had a lot of time to  practice his manners and obedience in-home. Today we focused on come-to-sit (he’s really getting a handle on it), extended sit/down/place (with me going in and out of the room/home), and in tandem, separation anxiety/fussing. During “heel” in the home, Cody and I worked on making eye-contact while walking. This is preferred, as it’s a more solid way of ‘checking in’ and builds engagement with the handler. 

Later in the day, once the rain had stopped and everything had a chance to dry a bit, Cody and I returned to Fashion Island in Newport Beach. We worked on his obedience cues, and utilized the long-line over a 6ft leash so we could increase distance. It was not as busy as Friday on account of the poor weather, but this gave us the perfect opportunity to use minimal leash-pressure. He needed a couple corrections here and there, but performed his cues well! 

Potty training is coming along well, and he has not had an accident in a while. 

Cody seems itchier today than usual, which may be due to the rain or wind. 


Pupdate 12/12/2022

Today Cody and I went to Wilderness Park in Downey to work on his general obedience training. We focused on “heel”, “extended sit/ down/ place”, and “come-to-sit”. Cody threw a few of his tantrums during the extended cues, and although he complained, he was able to hold an "extended down & place” for 13 minutes! Today I implemented the technique of ‘whenever you whine or bark, I will take a step back & whenever you are quiet and have your head down, I will approach’ in order to help with his fussiness. Cody also had a bit of an issue when I tried to guide him into position, and would vocalize. Although leash pressure was minimal, Cody will “talk back” to protest. As he challenges the pressure, he causes more— accepting and listening to the pressure will be another thing we work on during his final week. His training is coming along well, and improving each day.

In the afternoon between the rain, Cody accompanied me on my walk with Kona, where we worked heavily on his “heel”. At this stage, I am becoming more choosy of Cody’s position, and encourage him walking with his ears in line with my leg. This prevents the pup from ‘leading’ on the walk, and makes sharp turns easier to see and maneuver.

In the evening, Cody accompanied me on my walk with Rascal. We continued to practice "heel". After our walk, Cody got a chance to have some play-time with his large friend. He is wiped out from a busy day!


Pupdate 12/13/2022

Today Cody and I worked on his long-line “heel” while on a walk to my local park and around my neighborhood. Afterwards, we practiced manners in the home, with emphasis on proper play with humans. Cody likes to have his mouth open during play, which is okay, but will sometimes get carried away and lightly put his mouth over my hand when he gets extra excited. Even if it doesn’t hurt, I will continue to “yelp” and then quit playtime. Separation fussing was also worked on today, and although he will still vocalize his discontentment, the severity and length of his tantrums has lessened. 

During potty breaks, Cody will sometimes forget that he needs to pee more, but when prompted “go potty” “go potty” “go potty” again, he will go again. 

Later in the day, Cody and I returned to Petsmart in Costa Mesa to work on long-line obedience. I let him walk around with me initially to get his jitters out before working on other cues. Cody has a tendency to veer a bit out of position when the long-line is dropped and dragging, so we worked extensively on that. His other cues are coming along very well, and we practiced “extended sit/down/place” with “come to sit” faux-breaks to polish that cue up more. I will re-cue “come-to-sit” if Cody sits too far behind, in front, or lopsided until he gets it correct. 


Pupdate 12/14/2022

Rascal came to my house for boarding last night, however he is a bit turned-off by Cody’s play-style (where he nips and is a bit too exuberant). I was hoping Rascal would correct Cody’s behavior— he has a solid temperament and will not over-correct— however, Rascal mostly just looked to me to remedy the situation. I had Cody practice his extended sit and down around Rascal, and Cody whined about the ordeal and broke cue several times before settling down. As Cody enters his “teenage” phase, protesting and stubbornness are pretty typical traits puppies need to work through. 

We will go on a “pack” walk together in the evening, and see if that helps the two of them get along better. 

Cody and I returned to Fashion Island after working on his training and manners at home and around the neighborhood. We focused on “heel”, as well as building confidence with new stimuli—mainly the spouting fountains that shoot water up high and make a lot of noise. It took him a while to gain confidence remaining at the edge of the fountain, but eventually he was able to maintain an extended down for the duration of the fountain’s show. 


Pupdate 12/15/2022

Cody has mellowed out when socializing with Rascal, and will contently lay down by him. However, he does still get on Rascal’s nerves from time to time— particularly when Cody messes with Rascal’s tail. Rascal has displayed a few verbal corrections towards Cody, which I like to see, as communications between dogs is more familial and easily understandable than the human stepping in. In the afternoon, Cody worked on long-line obedience in the home and yard. He needed a few corrections after getting distracted by Rascal during his “come-to-sits” and “heels”. 

After homework, we went to Huntington Beach Pier to mix it up with distractions and stimuli created by a totally new environment. I let Cody sniff around and adjust, as well an opportunity to “go potty” before beginning our training session. We walked on the pier and practiced long-line obedience training. For more distractions (walkers/runners, bikes/skateboards, dogs, even a RC car), Cody and I went to the boardwalk under the pier to continue our practice. I guided Cody through a confidence-building exercise of “placing” on a narrow wall. He did not want to jump up initially, so we moved to a lower ledge. As Cody built up the courage to jump over the ledge, I marked for when he was at the top, halfway through the jump. Eventually he understood that I wanted him to stay on the ledge. From there, I walked Cody along the ledge several times to get him familiar with balancing before asking him to hold a “sit” position. 

Cody was very distracted in this environment, however he focused on his training well. 


Pupdate 12/16/2022

Cody has done a lot of socializing! In addition to Rascal, Hazel (2 year old golden retriever) arrived yesterday evening, and Doja (7 month cane corso pup) arrived this afternoon for boarding. Cody really likes Hazel, and Hazel is fantastic about correcting over-excited and ‘rude’ pups. She is very social, but unlike Rascal, she doesn’t let dogs walk all over her. After teaching Cody some manners, the two got along fantastically! Rascal has also warmed up to Cody thanks to the manners Hazel instilled, and Rascal now loves chasing Cody around the yard.

Cody and I went to Santa Monica Pier and Promenade for his training today. We practiced all obedience cues on a long-line, and Cody did very well considering how busy the pier was, and all of the distractions. I was very proud of him! Cody had a bit of a fear response when bikes went by very close to him during an extended sit, and again when we walked passed a lady with a cane. He also let out a few small barks at someone with a beanie on. Aside from those things, Cody has become quite the confident pup.

After some play time in the yard, the 4 doggies and I went for a walk around my neighborhood and local park as a bonding exercise. When dogs travel together, they become a pack with a common directive. Cody was a little apprehensive about Doja, as she accidentally stepped on his paw while they were playing— the walk should help him realize it was just an accident and that she’s a friendly pup.


Pupdate 12/17/2022

For Cody’s last day of training, we polished up his obedience cues and manners, and he got ample time to play around with the other dogs! Cody’s training has come a long way, and behavioral issues like nipping, jumping, and fussing when separated have greatly improved. 

Cody has gained 6 lbs during his 3-week stay with me. He is so excited to go home to his family tomorrow, and show them how much he has grown— both physically and in his training. 

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