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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Offline copy: 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.


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