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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Diesel | Doberman | San Clemente, CA | In-Training

Meet Diesel! He is a four month old Doberman who has joined us for our Three Week Puppy Board and Train Program. Diesel is here for basic obedience, leash pulling, jumping to greet, and potty training. He also has a tendency of nipping in a playful manner when he is excited, and will also try to make an approach with anyone passing by during his walks. Over the next twenty one days, Diesel will be working on his behavior, and begin building a solid foundation, to help him become the best pup that he can be. Check in to see his progress.


Diesel and I spent the day getting to know each other. We drove out to a local park and began to establish a bond by going on a walk. During our walk, Diesel would pull ahead on his leash, and try to veer off into smelling the grass. He would also fall behind, and move from my left side, to my right side as we continued on our walk. To keep Diesel from these behaviors, I introduced him to Heel. This technique consists of having Diesel walk next to me on my left side. Whenever he pulled away from me, I would stop, turn in the opposite direction, and guide him back towards my left side with leash tension. If he fell behind, I would start moving a little faster and have him catch up with some verbal encouragement. Diesel still needs more practice, but he is beginning to understand what is being asked of him. To help him make progress with Heel, I will now apply it to every walk we go on from here on out.


Diesel and I worked on his recall today which is known as Come to Sit. It consists of having Diesel coming towards my right, going around behind me, and sitting on my left. I had him come towards me by using leash tension which was a little difficult to do with Diesel. During our initial part of the exercise, Diesel would remain still and not move. To work him through that, I applied leash tension towards me, and released the tension anytime Diesel made the slightest intent to get to me. Slowly but surely, Diesel began to understand the concept of leash pressure and how to turn it off. It took some time, but with patience, which is a big key when it comes to training, Diesel would follow through. The same approach was done to have him go around behind me, as he would occasionally stop behind me, and I would also take one or two steps forward while guiding him towards my left. Diesel is catching on to what I am asking, and the more we practice, the more he improves. He is adjusting well to his new surroundings, and did great overnight in his crate with no accidents.


Diesel was introduced to Place today. This technique consists of having Diesel getting onto an elevated object, and remaining there in a Sit or a Down. It is a behavior that builds confidence in a dog, and can be of great use whenever guests are over. To teach Diesel, I began by introducing him to a low level object that he can easily get onto by walking him towards it, and using leash tension as guidance. He did very well, and after a few reps, I introduced the word “Place.” By introducing the word, Diesel can now begin to pair the behavior that I am asking with my verbal cue. Once he understood the concept, I then followed “Place” with a “Sit,” to keep him on the object. Diesel is following through, and as we continue to work on Place, I will gradually begin to increase the height of the object, as well as trying different surfaces and textures, to help build more confidence in Diesel.


Diesel was introduced to Down today. This technique can be one of the most difficult to teach a dog considering it being a submissive position, which can also make a dog feel vulnerable being down on all fours. To teach Diesel, I used his kibble to lure him towards the ground, along with leash tension to assist him in following through. I began by asking Diesel to Sit as I put his kibble near his nose, moved it towards his chest, and then towards the floor. Diesel did come out of his Sit a few times while trying to get him towards the floor, so I reset him and repeated the process as needed. I placed my hand over his back end to keep him from getting up, and kept the kibble in my other hand while giving him leash tension towards the ground at the same time. It took a few reps, but by remaining patient, I was able to have Diesel go into a Down, and rewarded him with his kibble and lots of praise for completing the behavior. Remember to always take breaks in between sessions to avoid frustration, and to always remain patient and consistent.


Diesel and I drove out to a public setting today and worked on what he knows in a low level distraction area. Throughout our walk, Diesel did very well adjusting to his surroundings, and was walking very well alongside me. There were a few instances in which he tried to veer off and try to interact with people, but with leash guidance and a verbal “Off,” and “Heel,” Diesel was back on track as our walk continued. We also worked on his Place behavior, and he is gaining more confidence the more we practice. He was having a little trouble with his recall and would either Sit in front of me or behind me. He was being a little stubborn and did not want to follow through. By remaining repetitive and continuously using leash guidance, I was able to work Diesel through it. When stumbling upon a situation like this, anytime he gets stubborn, try to work him through it until he is able to follow through. If it gets to a point in which he is still not completing the behavior, and frustration starts to become a factor, end the session with a behavior that your pup knows and will follow through with. Once he follows through, release him with a “Break,” give him some praise and take a breather. Remember to always finish a session with a win, and to always keep it positive.


Diesel is doing very well with his Training Program. He enjoys our walks in the morning and loves spending time around the house. He is doing great in his crate overnight, and has not had an accident so far. Diesel is doing well with his commands, and he is doing well around people. He has made such an improvement with his Heel, that we are now loose leash walking anywhere that we go. His Down is still a work in progress, as he tends to get a little hesitant given the distractions around him, but I work him through it, and he eventually follows through. Now that he has learned all of his behaviors, in the coming days, I will begin working with the fifteen foot long line with Diesel, to practice his distance and duration with his stationary positions.


Diesel and I have been working on distance and duration with a long leash. We began with short distance exercises and gradually increased distance as he caught on to what I was asking. To start, I would ask Diesel to Sit, followed by me taking a foot back, waiting five seconds, and releasing him with a “Break.” We worked in five second increments for every foot that I stepped back. Two feet back is ten seconds, three feet back is fifteen seconds, and so forth. It did not take Diesel long to understand what I was asking, as he looked like a natural following through with his behaviors.


Diesel and I spent the day at home today as I had guests over for a Sunday cookout. He spent some time running around in my backyard while I did a little maintenance to it. He really enjoys playing with a ball as I kick it around and have him chase it. When my guests arrived, Diesel did become a little excited and proceeded to try and jump on my nephews. I corrected his behavior with a verbal “Off,” and a little leash tug to keep him from jumping. Anytime guests are over, it is convenient to have Diesel on a leash for better control and handling to correct and avoid unwanted behaviors like jumping. The more consistent the conditioning becomes, the better the results. We ended the day with some playtime in the front yard, and a great dinner outdoors.


Diesel and I drove out to a local park and worked around different distractions such as kids in the playground, people playing tennis, and a few balls being kicked around the area. He was a little distracted by the kids in the playground, but he did really well at not making an approach and wanting to interact with them. We also worked around the tennis court area, and he was fine throughout our walk there as tennis balls would hit the fence. What Diesel did try to go after, was a ball that was kicked heading in our direction. He came out of his Heel, but before he made a run for it, I was able to correct him with a verbal “Off,” and by redirecting him in the opposite direction. In the next day or so, Diesel and I will be working on his stationary positions more, with the distraction of dogs around him. Diesel's ears have been retaped, and he did well throughout the process.


Diesel and I met with other trainers and their pups today who assisted us by serving as a distraction. In the beginning of our walk, Diesel wanted to make an approach to one of the pups, but with a little leash tug and a verbal “Heel,” Diesel then ignored the pup and continued with his walk. I was also able to work on his stationary positions while the trainers walked around us with their dogs. Diesel had trouble with his Down, and would come out of it a few times during our session. It took a couple of resets, but I was able to work him through it. He was able to do much better with Place considering he was in a Sit, which goes back to my explanation of Down, and how it can make a dog uncomfortable being in a vulnerable position. As long as the consistency is there, the more progress Diesel will make, which will help him follow through and make him much more comfortable.


Diesel and I continued to work on his conditioning around other pups. We mainly focused on his Down, since it was the position that he was having trouble with the most. He did a lot better this time and maintained his Down for a good minute without getting up. I also noticed throughout our walk that he was a little afraid of strollers. Anytime a stroller was passing us by, Diesel would try and move to my right side and try to avoid it. To work him through it, I walked him from a distance by a stroller and moved in closer when I did not get a hesitant reaction from him. As you can see in the picture, we were able to get pretty close, and I will continue to work with him and also figure out if it is just strollers, or anything on wheels in general.


Diesel and I worked around a few strollers and he is doing better around them. Throughout our session, I noticed it was not just strollers that he was a little wary about, but it was objects on wheels in general. As you can see in the video, Diesel was a little hesitant passing by one of the children’s carts, but he is not trying to completely move to the other side of me, and although he was a little hesitant, Diesel was still curious and not fearful about it. In the coming days, I will expose him to other objects on wheels such as shopping carts, to continue to work him through it. We also worked on his duration down with added distance and distraction, and he did very well remaining in his position. He is also doing great in his kennel with no accidents, and his ears will be re-taped this Friday.


Diesel and I drove out to a local Home Depot today and did some shopping cart conditioning. As previously stated, Diesel was nervous around objects on wheels, and would try to steer clear from them. This time around, he did much better and has made a big improvement. He was able to walk next to me while I was pushing a shopping cart, and he was also able to remain in a Sit, as I moved it around him at close range. He was also able to Place on a flatbed cart and have me push him around with him on it. His ears were also re-taped again, and it will be the final taping.


Diesel and I have been working on his socialization with other pups. He is adapting well at not reacting to dogs around him, and is doing well at not approaching them. Today we went for a walk around the neighborhood, and I decided to walk him alongside my dog Thanos. Initially, Diesel would try to jump on Thanos and try to initiate play during our walk. I corrected his behavior with a verbal “Off,” followed by a “Heel,” and a slight tug on his leash. Once I made the correction, Diesel followed through and continued his walk in a much more calm relaxed state. Socializing puppies with other dogs at a young age is important for several reasons. It helps them develop proper social skills and learn how to interact appropriately with other dogs. It also helps them understand and interpret body language, which is crucial for communication. It can also reduce fear, anxiety, and aggression towards other dogs in the future. By exposing puppies to a variety of dogs, they become more adaptable and confident, making them happier and better adult dogs.


Diesel and I spent the day at home today and worked on socialization around kids. I had my son and nephew assist me by serving as a distraction to Diesel, while they played with his favorite ball. Initially, Diesel was very distracted and wanted to interact with them. By redirecting him and asking to him Down, I was able to correct Diesel’s behavior. After a few repetitions, he began to understand the concept, and was in a much more calm relaxed state. In the second clip, you can see Diesel behaving very well and letting the boys play without any puppy interference. There was one instance where the ball did come towards him, but with a verbal “Off,” Diesel left it alone. He had a great session, and we ended it by having Diesel join the boys in playtime. Socializing puppies around children at a young age is important as it can build positive associations with children, reducing the likelihood of fear or aggression towards them later in life. It also teaches puppies to be gentle and tolerant around kids, which promotes good behavior.


Diesel and I drove out to a local park today and worked on distance and duration with his stationary positions. He is doing very well, and I can now get to the end of the fifteen foot long line without Diesel coming out of his position. He did have a little trouble with his Down, but it was only when I asked him to, in which he would almost immediately get up and go into a Sit. To correct this behavior, anytime he sat up, I asked him to Down, and used leash tension to get him to the ground. I then stood next to him for a few seconds before walking away, and once I began moving, I verbally reminded him to “Down,” which was followed by a verbal “Good Down,” praise. Now in his final week of training, I am happy to report that Diesel has had no accidents in his kennel, nor inside of the house. He is enjoying his time here and does well sleeping in his kennel overnight.


Diesel and I have been working on his Door Manners. Anytime I would open a door, Diesel would always want to be the first one in or out. He would pull on his leash and try to run. Throughout his Program, we focused on conditioning his behavior once he learned his Sit and Down positions. Anytime I approached a door, I would ask Diesel to Sit or Down before opening it. If I opened it and he came out of position, I would then reset Diesel, and repeat the process as needed. By remaining patient and practicing everyday, I was able to gradually increase distance every time we worked on it. Although there were a few times in which Diesel did come out of position, I was able to work him through it, and he can now wait patiently by a door until I let him know it is ok to come out.


Diesel and I spent the day at home working on some finishing touches with his behaviors as he prepares to begin working on his Final. His Come to Sit needed the most practice as he would perform the behavior, but he would complete it by sitting off to the side. To assist him into not doing so, I used myself and a wall as a barrier to keep him in a much straighter Sit. We have also been going on morning and evening walks throughout his Program and he has done very well at not reacting to other dogs barking at him from a short or long distance. He is doing great with his Down, and he also continues to progress with Place. Diesel’s ears are also looking good as the final taping has now been removed.


Diesel and I have been working on his Food Manners. Getting him to remain in a stationary position for his food was quite the task with Diesel. It was a bit challenging having him wait, as he would immediately come out of his Sit or Down as soon as I placed his kibble down. Anytime that happened, I would pick his bowl up and try to reset him to repeat the process. There were a few instances where he would get up and start running in circles and then Sit. To correct his puppy behavior, I worked him through it by increasing distance one foot at a time from close range, and have better handling anytime he tried to get up. Diesel is now following through, and can patiently wait for my cue to eat his food.


Diesel and I worked on his Greeting Manners. Throughout his Program, I have been teaching Diesel that he is to remain in a Sit anytime someone wants to approach him to say hello. It was a bit challenging in the beginning, as he would come out of his Sit and begin to jump on any person that would try to greet him. Whenever that situation occurred, I would ask that person to take a step back while I reset him and we would try again. Once he understood what I was asking, he was then greeted while he remained in a Sit, and I would then release him with a “Break,” followed by lots of praise for a job well done.


Diesel has completed his Three Week Puppy Board and Train Program and is ready to come home. I want to thank you for trusting me with Diesel while he was under my care, and for giving me the opportunity in being his trainer. I really enjoyed my time with him and it is sad to see him go. He has come a long way and I am going to miss his companionship. We became great friends and I am proud of the results in his training. Remember to always remain consistent and patient as they are major keys in training. Diesel’s Final video will be up in the coming weeks, but in the meantime here is a sneak peek at Diesel showing what he can do. Thank you Diesel!

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