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  • Writer's pictureScott Hansen

Daffodil | German Shepherd Mix| Cypress, CA | In-Training

Meet Daffodil! Daffodil is a nine-month-old German Shepherd Mix from Artesia, CA who is joining us for our Two-Week Board and Train Program. Daffodil is a friendly pup who joins us to work on being more consistent with her obedience. Daffodil comes to us knowing a few commands but is inconsistent. Daffodil pulls hard on the leash, sometimes barks at strangers, does not recall consistently, and loves to search for food all over the house. Stay tuned for Daffodil's 14-Day Transformation!


Pupdate 2/26/23

Today I spent the day letting Daffodil get familiar with the new environment at my house. I introduced Ms. Daffy to the Hansen pack. Daffy was friendly to the little humans. I took Daffy on a walk around the neighborhood. Daffy does pull hard on the leash. She is definitely a candidate for using the pinch collar and one of my heavier leashes until she learns to not pull on the leash so hard. My lighter leash, like the ones you received today, does not pull on the collar or give a lot of input to the dog so they are good for maintaining control of your pup but letting the pup demonstrate what they know. Daffy was really shy, hesitant, and skeptical about a lot of the environment. She definitely took her time around the block. I also introduced the e-collar by having her wear it on our walk without giving any stimulation. This is so she can get familiar with the snug fit of the ecollar.

Lastly, Daffy got to Ms. Toji, and no issues there. Daffy and Hurley were too busy playing with each other to mind her any real business.


Pupdate 2/27/23

Today Daffodil and I loaded up and headed over to Haster Basin Recreational Park in Garden Grove, CA. We met up with some of our fellow Off-Leash Trainers and their pups. Overall, Daffodil did ok. Daffodil is a little more shy and timid than her brother. There were plenty of distractors at this park including an outdoor Zumba class with music, people running, other pups, and a lot of birds. Ms. Daffy, as I like to call her, shows typical German Shepherd behavior. Protective at home or in her crate but shy and unsure out in the world. I spent a lot more time with Ms. Daffy at the park as her "heel" is unconfident. I used the prong collar on her to control some of the pullings and she did fantastic with this tool. I introduced the stimulation of the ecollar and she was receptive at about a level 15. We worked on the "off" as needed. Sometimes Ms. Daffy lags behind in the "heel". She even did this on her one "free" walk around my neighborhood yesterday. She is going to benefit from a lot of positive reinforcement and praise - physical and/or verbal. She did not bark at anything at the park and was well-behaved around the other pups. We will focus on building up her confidence by exposing her to different environments. Also, as our bond grows over the next two weeks, she should trust me more and more which will make my praise more and more valuable to her. After today, she will be expected to "heel", "sit", "place", and "off" as requested. Tomorrow we will introduce come to "sit" while building on the other commands.

We have been working on her door manners at every door and it's going to go a long way in her positive reinforcement and confidence. It was helpful that she knew "sit" before coming to us and we can keep building on it.

A note on her food, she ate her dinner overnight in the crate but didn't eat anything this morning. I am going to hold off on giving her food until this evening for dinner. She should be hungry enough to eat it and we can start putting her on a more consistent twice-a-day schedule. I don't mind that they eat overnight as she is potty trained but I'd prefer to see her eat her food when presented so that she can get a nice consistent schedule for eating and going to the restroom.

Great start Ms. Daffy!


Pupdate 2/28/23

Today Ms. Daffy and I worked on her come to "sit". Ms. Daffy is really smart! She picked up on the task quickly. I used the prong collar again today in combination with the ecollar and stimulation. Ms. Daffy showed no issues with the ecollar at about 15 again. As a note and per our conversation when I picked up Ms. Daffy, a pinch or prong collar should be positioned high up on the neck and snug fitting. Also, when used appropriately, it is a temporary tool. I like to start off with it and ensure the pup has learned the command and understands the pressure of the collar being paired with the commands. Once it seems like they have it figured out, I'll leave the prong collar on and then switch to the flat collar with the ecollar. If that goes well, then we take off the prong collar altogether and switch to the flat collar and ecollar. Once the pup shows me that they understand the command with minimal input from me, then we start to let them work with leash dragging and off-leash work. This will vary depending on the pup but we will definitely get there. Ms. Daffy is smart and picks up on commands and pressure. I gave her a few chances to try the come to "sit" without holding the leash and she seems to be doing ok at this point. She enjoyed the "Break!" command and the fun that comes with that.

On the food note, Ms. Daffy ate all her food last night and this morning. She and Mr. Hurley seem to want to eat when no one is around or basically when they are ready. Her weight is fine and she loves the little biscuits that you sent. Her energy is good and her stool looks fine. If her eating habits get too out of sync, I'll let you know but it looks and sounds like this is their usual way of doing things.


Pupdate 3/1/23

Today Ms. Daffy and I loaded up and headed over to Mayfair Park in Lakewood, CA. Ms. Daffy is so amazing! Apparently, all the rain scared away everyone so we had the park to ourselves! This is great because she can focus on the task at hand without too many distractions. The bad is that there weren't any distractions. It's all good, we have plenty of time and hopefully more sunshine in the next few days to work around distractors. The awesome thing about the tools I introduce to the pups is that they work and the transformation happens quickly. It is amazing how little Ms. Daffy pulls on the leash when the prong collar is on. She is showing signs of the ecollar working too. I worked on her "place" and "down" while at the park. As of today, she has learned all the commands she needs before you get her back. Now we have to practice them over and over again in a variety of environments for it to be set in her mind. She loves the command "break" and is so fun and loves her belly rubbed. She even allowed me to try some leash-dragging "heel". This went really well considering I was using my heavier leash so that my hands don't burn up with all her strength and it was attached to the prong. Tomorrow, I'll leave the prong collar on while conducting training but I won't be attaching the leash to it. I'll keep the leash on the flat collar and see how receptive she is to that. Overall, great training!

Food note: She didn't eat her breakfast but she did eat all her dinner. Once again, stool, energy, and alertness are all there. Even though her eating is erratic, she's still healthy and on weight.


Pupdate 3/2/23

Today Ms. Daffy and I headed over to Liberty Park in Cerritos, CA. Looks like the sunshine brought everyone back to the park. Today there were people running, people walking their pups, sand volleyball practice, pickleball games, kids all over the playground, and kids riding their bikes all around. What a great day and location for some distraction training. Today was an ok day for Ms. Daffy. Ms. Daffy is very strong and can be stubborn. This can be an issue as we transition to flat-collar and off-leash work. I tried to start with the flat collar with the prong/pinch collar on but she was doing her own thing so we went back to the prong collar until she was on board. I did transition over to the flat collar eventually. Tomorrow, I will start on the pinch again but try to transition away from it quickly once I have her attention. Once again, when used properly this is a temporary tool. I think I will also start switching to the longer contact points for her to make sure the ecollar is working effectively. She has been receptive but sometimes the numbers go higher than I would like and she is sensitive to the stimulation so it leads me to believe I do not have the correct contact points on. I will update you and let you know how it goes. Ms. Daffy took a little more time than Mr. Hurley due to her being a little more confused about the tasks. It's ok. I'll make sure that Ms. Daffy has plenty of learning opportunities and time to figure everything out.

Food note: Ms. Daffy is eating all her food and getting plenty of activity every day running around with her little brother Mr. Hurley and their new friend Ms. Toji.


Pupdate 3/3/23

Today Ms. Daffy and I loaded up and headed over to Huntington Beach Pier and Main Street in Huntington Beach, CA. We met up with some of our fellow Off-Leash trainers and their pups in training. Ms. Daffy had a much better day today than her previous days which indicates to me that she is starting to download the information. We started on the prong collar and after she performed a "place" and "extended down", I made the switch over to the flat collar. She was on the flat collar for about 50% of our training. She performed most of the tasks with the flat collar and ecollar stimulation only but the prong collar was still on. I switched over to the longer contact points and she was much more receptive to these. Her levels were between 5-15 today. As we tested it out when I picked up the pups, these levels are really low. The other good part is that we were able to do leash dragging "heel" on the flat collar and Ms. Daffy was perfectly fine. She wasn't too distracted by all the things going on around her.

One of the issues with Ms. Daffy's "down" which I like to do after a "place" is that she does not have a lot of room to perform this task. She's usually bigger than the thing she is "placed" on. I can get her to perform the task but you guys will have to decide that if you need her to "down" somewhere is it better to have her do it on a small bench or just "down" on the ground. I think for the sake of her training, I'll mostly have her "place" and "sit" on the object unless I can find something big enough for her to practice on. The good news is that it is not fear or anxiety based that she won't do the "down", its really just a matter of she doesn't have enough room to do it. The last 25% of the time we were out, I had to put her back on the prong because she was getting overwhelmed and was breaking off for other things. Once I put her back on the prong, she performed great again. If you have one, please feel free to bring it to the turnover so that we can go over how and when to use it if she has any regression in her training.


Pupdate 3/4/23

Today Ms. Daffy and I worked on her door manners and car manners. Ms. Daffy did fantastic with the door manners once she was on the large, comfortable dog cot. As mentioned yesterday, as long as she has the room, Ms. Daffy does a good job with the "down". She was a little more anxious while performing this task. As a rescue and a puppy, she is like a spring all loaded up. The smallest things can unleash the tension or in her case the anxious energy. But Ms. Daffy is a good pup and is able to push through this anxiety for some positive feedback. I had my mini-me help out by running in and out of the door as a distraction. Ms. Daffy was anxious but stayed true to the command. The car manners were a little more confusing as well. You can see in the video that she didn't want to come out of the vehicle as she probably thought we were going somewhere. But by the 3rd time of going in and out, she came out without me pressing the stimulation or having any leash pressure. All this today without using the prong collar! Yah! What a quick learner! Good job Ms. Daffy!

Food note for Ms. Daffy: The only issue with her is the growling every once in a while when I feed Hurley and Ms. Daffy at the same time. I just give an "off" and Ms. Daffy does fine. My pup, Ms. Toji, does this every once in a while a simple off is fine and they move on.


Pupdate 3/5/23

Today we worked on all Ms. Daffy's commands in the backyard. My intention was to work off-leash but Ms. Daffy was having a tough time. I wound up having to use the leash on the flat collar to get her to understand the commands and be on point. Ms. Daffy is strong when she pulls The tough part with her being so large is that I am trying to use my lighter leashes to not give a lot of input to her but they are not as grippy as a leather or biothane leash. The grippier leashes are heavy and give a lot of input. So putting on the brakes on Ms. Daffy is a little more challenging. Combine that with her occasional sensitivity to the ecollar and she gets really confused. I say occasionally because today, she did the same thing that Mr. Hurley did, break off the "heel" to go say to Ms. Toji. Ms. Daffy made it up to about a 35/40 before she came back. Remember, we aren't yelling at the dog in anger or frustration, we want to be excited, happy, and enticing to get them to come back. Also, we take our time escalating the stimulation. Ms. Daffy was being vocal about her discomfort but still wasn't returning. Once she did make it back, she was obedient and happy to be petted. I kept the leash on for the training session but would let it drag as much as I could. As long as she was performing the tasks, I refrained from using the leash. As you stated you wanted to go camping and enjoy the outdoors with her, it would be a good idea to do a review session with her before taking her to high distractor areas so that she understands she is in "work" or "obedience" mode. Once the ecollar comes off or when they are in their yard, they get to be puppies. I let them have their puppy time so when it comes time for "obedience" time, I am not asking them to do this for the entire day. The pups aren't robots and they need their play time, relaxing time, and potty breaks without us hovering over them and having them perform our every request.


Pupdate 3/6/23

Today Ms. Daffy and I loaded up and headed over to Rynerson Park in Lakewood, CA. What a great day for Ms. Daffy! I gave her a chance to show me what she has learned. Ms. Daffy surpassed all my expectations and performed off-leash work the entire time! There was a fun run of some kind going on, kids running everywhere, playing on the playground, lawn maintenance going on, and horses! Ms. Daffy performed really well regardless of the distractions. I used my bungee leash and wrapped it around her when I wasn't using it and Ms. Daffy did great. Today was definitely her best day of training thus far. Great job Daffy!


Pupdate 3/7/23

Today Ms. Daffodil and I loaded up and headed back to Rynerson Park in Lakewood, CA. There were not as many distractors as yesterday but I wanted to review everything we practiced yesterday. Ms. Daffy did great once again! I am so happy with Ms. Daffy's progress. When I picked her up and we went on our first walk, she was lagging behind and not keeping up to pulling on the leash when we would try to leave to go train and now she can walk politely in the "heel" off-leash! Great work Ms. Daffy! We will just continue doing repetitions with her to make sure she has a solid understanding of all the commands.

Hopefully, I'll get my shipment of new ecollars this week. I am hoping to do at least one training day with both Ms. Daffy and Mr. Hurley. I think they will be fine together. Just like how I started this training, I'll likely introduce everything on a leash and then give them a chance to try off-leash. Otherwise, it is more and more repetitions to keep Ms. Daffy on track. Please keep in mind that all these obedience skills and lessons are perishable if not maintained and practiced. As I mentioned previously, I am laying the foundation for you and you will have to continue building the house.


Pupdate 3/8/23

Today Ms. Daffy and I worked on her house manners. Specifically, we worked on her door manners and vehicle manners. Ms. Daffy has been on fire with all her commands. She was a little hesitant like last time to come right back out of the vehicle but she figured it out and was going in and out like a pro! The only challenge with Ms. Daffy, as I have stated before, is that she is so strong. A well-timed "off" or a different command seems to mitigate that but she is strong so she might win a few times along the way. It is important that we just stay consistent and persistent in our obedience requests for her. Don't give up because she knows what to do, we just have to follow through and ensure that she does it.



Today Ms. Daffy and I loaded up and headed over to El Dorado Park in Long Beach, CA. We went there to work on her reactivity towards squirrels and hopefully some skateboarders. We found plenty of both! I have some great news for you guys, as you can see in one of the pictures, Ms. Daffy is willing to ignore the squirrels when the ecollar is properly utilized! Yah! That isn't to say she won't try to go after them due to her instincts and desire to chase after them. It is all about timing and being cognizant of your environment. I deliberately went to this park due to the number of squirrels that are frequently out. I knew what we were there for so I was prepared. Finger on the remote ready to respond. I had it at 20 since Ms. Daffy was showing no real signs of discomfort or nuisance at level 15. The first squirrel we talked towards, sure enough, she went after it. I gave her an "off" with a quick stimulation, then as she came towards me, I went down to 15 and asked her to "heel" and then gave her lots of verbal praise for being a good pup. We walked around and did our thing for a while and then we went down a row of trees where I saw at least 5 squirrels mosying about. We strolled right through without any issues. Great job Ms. Daffy!


Pupdate 3/10/23

Rain, rain, go away! Mr. Scott would like to train! Well, indoor training it is! Today I worked on some joint training with Hurley and Daffy. My extra ecollars came in so I broke one open so I could train both of them. I worked on their food manners in the morning. They don't love their food as much as other pups so that only resulted in them sitting in place and then coming to me when I gave them the "break!" command. They gobbled up their food when they were back in their crates.

For the next training, I placed them on their cots by the door and worked on what they could do while together. I can tell you for sure that when the ecollar is on Mr. Hurley does not bark when I'm around. When Mr. Hurley barks it certainly gets Ms. Daffy going as well. I think getting Mr. Hurley's barking under control definitely helped Ms. Daffy be more obedient in that aspect. When they are outside playing, I'll hear the leader, Mr. Hurley, barking the most, and then shortly afterward Ms. Toji and Ms. Daffy join in. When Mr. Hurley is behaving, the other two are as well. There was a little confusion at first for the joint training which was to be expected. I had asked them to "come" but I kind of expected it to be awkward and it definitely was. They went back to their cots which is where they are "safe". I observed that they came to me but didn't know what to do next. So I allowed them to reset and then asked them again to "come" and this time, I gave them a "sit" when they got close. Then they both sat and that became the game today. "Place" to "down" then "come" to "sit". I then worked on using distractors like me playing with a soccer ball, opening the door, and going outside, and finally, I might have spilled some popcorn on the floor. They both did great ignoring the popcorn and coming to me. Even at the end when I gave them a "break!" they came to me and didn't even bother with the popcorn (Ms. Toji loves popcorn so it didn't go to waste). I am happy with how well they behaved together. Hopefully, I'll get a little more sunshine tomorrow and we can practice in the backyard with them. I'll start on the leash and then see how they do off-leash.



Last night Ms. Daffy and I headed over to Los Cerritos Center in Cerritos, CA. Nothing like being off-leash around a ton of strangers! Ms. Daffy was pretty amazing. She messed up a little bit on her come to "sit" but the best part is that she wasn't breaking off. She was just a little out of position. I might of contributed to that when we did the joint training earlier in the day. She did great with her "come to sit" when some people wanted to say hi. I let Ms. Daffy perform a "come to sit" and she did amazing on the first one. She was patient and let the two gentlemen say hi to her without any issues. It's hard to miss Ms. Daffy relaxing on a bench in the mall. She and I can't wait to show you everything she has learned!

The joint training today went well. The two were a little confused as they have not really trained together much since we started. They were in different stages of their training at various times throughout. My main goal was to get them to "heel" together on the same side. And for one to perform a task while the other waited. It is a lot to ask of them as I don't really use a preparatory command such as their name before asking for an obedience task.



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