Concha | German Shepherd | Alhambra, CA | In Training
Meet Concha! She's a nine-month-old German Shepherd from Alhambra, CA, here for our Two-Week Board and Train Program. Concha is facing some issues with resource guarding, excessive barking, chewing on objects, and jumping on people. She also tends to nip when overly excited. While she is better with people, her interactions with other dogs need improvement. During her stay, our main focus will be addressing these tendencies and building up her obedience. We will implement structure into her routine to help with her anxieth and work towards achieving off-leash control. Moreover, we will enhance her basic obedience skills. Stay tuned for the amazing journey she'll embark on during these two weeks!
Upon picking up Concha, we first assessed her current understanding and capabilities. It was apparent that she had a partial grasp of certain commands with guidance. However, in the absence of guidance, she would easily become distracted and wouldn't follow through.
With patient guidance and the appropriate use of leash pressure, we were successful in getting her to "sit" and "down." Given her anxious demeanor, we dedicated some time to acquainting her with our presence and gradually desensitizing her to us. There were a few times she tried redirected on us, but we were able to get her to calm down.
Upon arriving home, we immediately delved into our training regimen. Our walk included the introduction of basic commands such as "heel," "sit," and "down." Concha required leash pressure, especially during moments of distraction by her surroundings. Following the walk, I had her stay close while I tended to household chores. After a while, I attempted hand-feeding her. Since she wasn't taking food, I tried again with the food near me, but she was still apprehensive. I decided to allow her some downtime in her crate for relaxation and decompression. We repeated the same process again later in the day and she was willing to go up to me and take a few pieces, but would spit them back out.
In the morning, she began to accept food from my hand. She was a lot more comfortable with me touching and handling her. Our midday session took place at a park in the outskirts of LA. Initially, she seemed overwhelmed and refused food. The park was alive with the blaring sirens of fire trucks, people strolling about, children at play, and dogs walking around. After approximately 40 minutes, she started to relax and accepting her food. She even went up to one of the trainers to greet them. During this time, we focused on working on commands such as heel, sit, and down. Additionally, we introduced the commands for coming to sit and finding her designated place.
Our "come to sit" command required the dog to circle around us and sit on our heeling side. This not only ensured that the dog returned to us without running off but also positioned her correctly for heeling. She responded well to these commands, requiring less leash pressure for proper execution. This resulted in a more controlled heel and sit, maintaining a loose leash for an extended duration.
Following our park session, we allowed her some decompression time. Later, we resumed training her heel in the neighborhood. During this training, I had her settle beside me as I ran house errands, and I was able to hand-fed her dinner.
This morning, Concha and I did a session around the neighborhood and at the park. We continued to focus on refining her fundamental obedience commands, including sits, downs, heel, place, and coming to sit. While she still requires some guidance for her downs, place, and coming to sit, there's noticeable improvement, particularly in her heel command. Concha is now maintaining a loose leash with fewer reminders. We were also able to build up some duration in her other commands. I'm also starting to introduce the e collar to several of her commands.
Throughout the day, we diligently worked on addressing her crate reactivity issue, and there have been some strides. She's no longer reacting when I'm just walking by. However, a challenge arose when a package was delivered today, and Concha reacted upon hearing the doorbell. To tackle this issue, I've been simulating doorbell scenarios by approaching the door and ringing it myself. While she still exhibits some reaction, the duration of these responses is progressively decreasing. We were also able to work heavily on her house manners, particularly her door manners. She immediately tries to bolt out the door as soon as it's open. When this happens, I close the door again, get her to go into a sit and calm down a bit before opening the door again. If she tries again, I put her back into that sit and close the door again and repeat the same process.
Today, we focused on reinforcing basic obedience, refining house and crate manners, and even ventured to a local park where we got to work at a playground. This experience served as a confidence builder, exposing her to various unfamiliar elements like grates, padded flooring, sand, and more, which aren't typically part of their daily routine. We diligently practiced commands such as sit, heel, down, place, and come to sit during our park visit, although she showed some initial unease following commands on the playground structures. With leash guidance, she successfully maintained these commands. She does need more work with her downs. She's getting into it with some pressure, but as soon as it's off, she gets up.
In regards to crate manners, we encountered a barking issue when my dog and I passed by. To address this, I employed the "off" command and rewarded her when she remained calm. Gradually, I incorporated my dog into the training process, starting at a distance and gradually reducing it. Throughout her crate time, we periodically passed by, and she demonstrated improvement.
We also dedicated time to enhancing her house manners. This included practicing her "place" command while I engaged in various activities and refining her door manners. Although she's started to offer a sit at the door, she tends to get up as soon as it opens, so I continued to guide her back into position and repeated the door process as needed.
Today's primary focus was observing Concha's behavior in a more distracting environment while also making progress with her house manners. We decided to visit a dog park in the morning. I wouldn't recommend going inside, but outside of one is a good place to train. Since it does offer exposure to dogs in a less tranquil environment.
Upon our arrival, Concha initially displayed some distraction, prompting a brief tuning-up session by the parking lot. Once she was refocused on me, we gradually approached the dog park. Given the new and highly stimulating surroundings, I concentrated primarily on reinforcing commands she was familiar with, such as "sit," "heel," and "place." I also incorporated a bit of "come to sit" and our "down" command. However, Concha began to exhibit signs of overarousal upon sighting the dog park. Swiftly recognizing this, I redirected her focus towards me, aiming to reengage her attention.
There were moments when she fixated on other dogs, but I promptly issued an "off" cue, an effective command for diverting her from undesirable behavior. In this instance, I aimed to prevent her from fixating on other dogs, as I knew this could heighten her arousal levels, potentially leading to reactive behavior.
Regarding our house manners training, we continued working on her crate manners, where she has made notable progress. She responded well to a doorbell desensitization playlist and remained relatively calm when I walked my dog in her presence. We also dedicated time to improving her door manners and the "place" command within the house, gradually introducing longer durations and increased distance. While she occasionally became excited and attempted to leave her designated spot, I promptly guided her back onto it.
Today's training session had a focus on enhancing both duration and distance in Concha's commands. We also had the chance to have someone handle her.
Concha excelled in maintaining her position with extended durations, yet she displayed a tendency to break her stance when we introduced increased distances. To address this, I promptly corrected her each time she attempted to leave her designated spot. It's important to note that all our commands inherently imply a "stay" unless she receives a different command or her release cue, "break." Concha does better in the "sit" command compared to the "down" command.
During our training session, I also allowed someone else to handle Concha. We initiated this by having them walk in front of her crate, which she handled without reacting. However, when they walked their dog in front of her, Concha started barking. In response, I issued the command "off" and repeated the process until she stopped barking when the dog walked by. After a brief rest period, we proceeded to have them walk Concha, and despite some initial pulling, she was good. She even allowed them to pet her.
Overall, today's training session provided valuable insights into Concha's behavior and progress in various situations.
Today, we continued focusing on duration and distance both at home and in our neighborhood. Additionally, we worked Concha around the dog park. Understanding that the level of distraction plays a significant role in a dog's training, I adjusted my expectations accordingly. Given the high distraction level at the dog park, I didn't focus duration or distance but instead concentrated on managing her distractions. I followed a similar approach as the previous day, beginning with a brief training session at a distance from the park and gradually moving closer.
Back at home, I worked on improving her ability to maintain duration and distance during commands. Her sitting commands are showing promising progress, as she held the position for nearly a minute. However, her down commands still require some work. She tends to stand up as soon as I start moving away from her, so I've been holding her leash and taking a step back. If she attempts to stand, I would then use the leash to guide her back into the down position.
Today, we had the opportunity to work with fellow trainers and their dogs, providing Concha with a valuable chance to interact with a controlled environment with dogs and people. Concha was able to work with two of the trainers. Initially, Concha displayed a touch of timidity, but it didn't take long for her to get into the groove of it.
Our session encompassed various commands, including "sits," "downs," "place," "heel," and "come to sit." We concentrated on improving the duration and distance of her "sits" and "downs." Although she occasionally stood up, she exhibited improvement in maintaining these positions for longer durations, even when confronted with added distractions.
During interactions with other dogs, Concha displayed a tendency to fixate on them. However, I intervened by issuing the "off" command, ensuring that her attention remained on our training objectives.
Following a substantial break, we continued our training session by still focusing on Concha's duration in her commands. We also had some time to work on house manners. She still needs work on other dogs passing by her crate.
We practiced in various environments, including a park and a small shopping plaza, focusing on fundamental commands such as "sit," "down," "heel," "come to sit," and "place." Concha showed notable progress in maintaining commands like "sit" and "down" for up to 3 minutes. She is generally more comfortable around people than dogs. We also worked on leash dragging around the house and neighborhood, she does drift when she gets distracted. Our ongoing efforts include refining her house manners, with a focus on her response to dogs passing by her crate. I continue to use the "off" cue to manage her reactions and reward her for remaining calm
Today, Concha had the opportunity to interact with other dogs and people at work. While she still tends to fixate on dogs and can become easily distracted around them, there is progress. Notably, when she's in her crate, she's better at managing her distractions when other dogs pass by. We also dedicated some time to leash dragging, where Concha needed extra motivation due to her tendency to get distracted. Her "sits," "downs," and "place" commands have improved in terms of duration. We also got to work in a pet store, she was distracted in the beginning so we worked in the front for a bit before going in.
Our primary focus for the day centered on refining her "heel" and "come to sit" commands, as these areas appear to require more attention.
Concha did better around dogs today. She showed improved behavior when they passed by. Although she occasionally needs a reminder to "off" them. We focused on refining her leash dragging during heel and her come to sit command. During the heel exercise, she progressed well enough that we could eventually drop the leash. While Concha requires some motivation to maintain the correct pace, she showed significant improvement in staying on track and not drifting to the side. Her come to sit still needs guidance since she tends to stop midway when she's behind me. Additionally, she demonstrated the ability to maintain her sits and downs for extended durations even with distractions present.
Today, we did our first practice run for our final. Our chosen training location was an indoor shopping mall located on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Here, she had the opportunity to immerse herself in bustling crowds, assorted scents, and an array of sounds. Concha demonstrated admirable behavior throughout our session. Nevertheless, there were instances when she momentarily veered off course due to the presence of other dogs, and she was distracted by the smell of the food court. Her leash remained loosely trailing as we practiced her commands for heel, sit, down, and place. In these commands, she was able to maintain her positions. However, her "come to sit" command still requires some fine-tuning, particularly when she reaches the rear section, as distractions sometimes hinder her progress. Aside from this minor challenge, she adapted impressively to the new environment and was able to settle at the end.
Today, Concha encountered a minor mishap with a bee while we were out on a hike. Unfortunately, she got stung, resulting in some initial swelling, but it significantly subsided after administering antihistamines. Her energy level is just the same, but we decided to take it easy today.
Although it was primarily a day of relaxation, we managed to incorporate some light training and reinforced her house manners. Her progress with the "come to sit" command is notable. She can maintain her basic commands even amidst various noise distractions. Additionally, we dedicated time to refine her crate and boundary etiquette. To top it off, Concha enjoyed some relaxation at the park today.
Concha has been good today. Her swelling has gone down. Today, we made progress on our final project. Although we started filming at a local outdoor mall, we had to relocate to a packing house in downtown Claremont to complete it. During the final, we focused on commands such as sit, come to sit, heel, down, and place. While she occasionally drifts during the heel, a gentle reminder and some ecollar pressure swiftly correct her position. Additionally, Concha displayed excellent house manners when guests and house maintenance personnel were present, whether she was in her crate or out of it.