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  • Writer's pictureAlexx Rodriguez

Dorothy | Yorkshire Mix | Santa Monica, Ca |

Meet Dorothy, an adorable Yorkie mix coming  all the way from sunny Santa Monica, California.

Dorothy is an affectionate and cuddly pup who adores people, playtime, and her loving parents. Occasionally, she can be quite insistent, barking for attention even after an hour of play. This sometimes disrupts her parents' work, and she dislikes being alone. To refine her basic obedience and manners, this little princess is starting  a two-week board and training program. Our aim is to make her reliably off-leash, with excellent recall, and eliminate her toy possessiveness. Witness her incredible transformation over the next two weeks!

 

Pupdate 9/17/23

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Pupdate 9/18

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(*Note: I kept saying "jumbo treats" which just means I give her treats in a repetitive succession to prolong the state of reinforcement and to maximize the reward output. This is ensure that I shape the behavior and create a fun experience for her because she initially hated the gentle leash pressure)


(**Note: she only ate half her kibble and refused her dinner kibble. This is normal behavior when dogs first settle in)

 

Pupdate 9/19

Today, Dorothy and I enjoyed a wonderful day at the park, focusing on refining her heel and basic cues. Occasionally, Dorothy displays moments of resistance, refusing to heel or follow though cues, which can lead to some distress. During such instances, I remain resolute in my stance, assuring her of her safety. I balance firmness with leadership and reassurance, guiding her until she eventually cooperates and follows through. However, we still encounter challenges with the "come" cue. Dorothy is being showered with love and praise once the task has been accomplished. I try to strike a fun balance between work and praise. She loves to cuddle and watch tv with me so we try to do that as much as possible.

 

Pupdate 9/20/23

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Pupdate 9/21/23

Dorothy and I had a wonderful day today. Her heel is much improved, and I can confidently turn without worrying about her stepping on me. She's grown used to walking by my side. I successfully transitioned her from treat dependence to relying on positive reinforcement for cues. She responds enthusiastically to praise and affection. Treats now serve as a post-cue-session reward, not a requirement for following commands. We're making great strides, so stay tuned for more updates!

 

Pupdate 9/22/23

Dorothy had a great day today. Her heel work has improved remarkably. Almost too well, as she's now firmly attached to my foot (soemtimes making me walk cautiously due to her size.)

Her "sit" and "down" cues have also seen significant progress. She can maintain those positions for about a minute, though she occasionally breaks them randomly, especially if my movements unintentionally signal her.

During obedience training, I've noticed that she tends to approach other people, hoping for a pass from following cue. It's crucial that when she returns home, no one allows her any shortcuts, and everyone ensures she follows through with what's asked of her.

She's become much more comfortable with the leash and can even walk off-leash. However, during training sessions, she does have occasional tantrums. While she can heel off-leash for now, some cues still require the leash. Stay tuned for more updates.

 

Pupdate 9/23/23

Dorothy and I had a fantastic day. We visited the library during a small city event, which provided enough diversion for us to work with, without distracting her from her tasks. She performed admirably on all her cues, but we still need to fine-tune the "come to sit" command. Occasionally, when there are too many distractions, she's eager to run off and play. Dorothy is a delightful girl, but our training relies on her ability to maintain focus. We gently remind her of the game's objective and, afterward, we offer praise and find a compromise that satisfies her desires. Although she occasionally displays tantrums and attempts to evade training, we strive to make it an enjoyable experience for her.

 

Pupdate 9/24/23

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9/25/23

Dorothy had an exciting and spooky-filled day. Alongside her training, she had the chance to meet some new eerie companions. Our trip to Home Depot allowed her to roam off-leash throughout the visit. While she occasionally broke from the "sit" command, a gentle reminder quickly got her back on track. To ensure she enjoyed the experience, we focused on quality time and long walks, circling the store multiple times. Dorothy received warm greetings from many people, although she sometimes chose to sit next to strangers when called instead of by my side. It's a minor behavior we're currently addressing, but overall, it was a fun day.

 

Pupdate 9/26/23

Dorothy and I recently went to the mall, where she performed exceptionally well. During our outing, we practiced essential cues like "down," "heel," "sit," and "place," and we worked on extending her duration. When she's alone, she excels, but when my friends join us (especially the camera-person), she tends to get easily distracted. However, this situation provides an excellent opportunity to enhance her focus when she's around people she's excited to be with.

The main challenge we're currently facing is that when I call her name or make any fidgeting movements, Dorothy interprets it as a cue to come to me. To address this issue, I've been repeatedly saying her name during our training sessions, so she learns that her name doesn't always mean "come"; only the command "come" itself signifies that she should come to me.


 

Pupdate 9/27/23

Today's training primarily centered on Dorothy's refinement of her cues. Dorothy demonstrates a strong comprehension of her expected behaviors, with the only occasional issue being her excitement leading to cue-breaking incidents. Our training session covered diverse environments, ranging from busy to calm settings, to assess her performance across various scenarios. Additionally, we've begun incorporating name-calling practice to reinforce the distinction between "break," indicating freedom of movement, and her name being called, which serves solely to capture her attention.

 

Pupdate 9/28/23

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Pupdate 9/29/23

Dorothy and I had an enjoyable day today. As her time with me draws to a close, I want to make these moments special and thrilling. Knowing her favorite game is fetch, we spent some quality time at the park playing it. We also practiced her "come" and "place" commands. It's clear that she benefits from sufficient exercise before tackling obedience training, as her excessive excitement often leads her to run all over the place. Proper exercise is crucial for her to excel in following commands. Dorothy is a delightful companion, and I thoroughly enjoy playing fetch with her, which I know she loves too.

I've noticed that Dorothy has been carried her whole life, and it's her default behavior to request being picked up. This sometimes conflicts with the manners we've been working on, like not jumping on people and waiting calmly for pets. To address this, I've turned picking her up into a reward system rather than a default response when she asks during obedience. I ignore her request and only pick her up when she least expects it. This approach strikes the perfect balance between reinforcing good manners and maintaining the excitement of a reward.

 

Pupdate 9/30/23


Today, Dorothy and I dedicated our time to refining her manners, ensuring she's well-prepared to return home tomorrow. We ventured to the mall, where we encountered many friendly faces and savored an extended stroll. Our journey is nearing its end, and I can sense Dorothy's eagerness to reunite with her family. Until then, we'll keep playing fetch, enjoying our time, and unwinding until the day draws to a close.


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