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  • Writer's pictureScott Hansen

Dumbo | Mini Daschund | La Crescenta, CA | In-Training

Meet Dumbo! Dumbo is a 25-month-old Mini-Daschund from La Crescenta, CA. Dumbo has joined us for our One Week Board and Train Program. Dumbo is here because he is hard to take on walks as he barks at humans and other pups, he can be nippy or attempt to bite when scared or intimidated. Dumbo knows a few commands but is inconsistent with his commands. He may be small but in his mind he is mighty! Dumbo is going to receive training in obedience and we are going to build a lot of structure and boundaries for Dumbo. Stay tuned for Dumbo's 7-day transformation!


Today Mr. Dumbo and I got started on his training. We started off by stopping at my local park and seeing what Mr. Dumbo knows. And then we had a small photo shoot for his profile picture for his blog. He is not very camera friendly so it took a few tries. It gave us time to bond a little bit as I had to lie down on the grass with him to get a good one. When we got home, I introduced him to my house, family, and other pups. All of this was a lot for Mr. Dumbo. He did bark at my littlest trainer when he first met her, he didn't bark or act weird around my wife. He had no reaction when he met my son. That's going pretty well. It's important for us as the puppy parent to stay calm, ask the pup to sit or calm them down and then have them introduced. Mr. Dumbo does like to bark at strange noises and people but once he gets used to them, he will quiet down. Lastly, I introduced him to the other pups. He wasn't really into that. He was on a leash and I was monitoring the interactions between him, Ms. Toji, and Ms. Stella. After Ms. Toji was able to give him a once over, he was fine as we walked around in the dog run area. He's probably not ready to be out there by himself but we will keep giving them chances to get familiarized with each other.

I gave Mr. Dumbo a break and a chance to relax in his crate for a little bit and then it was time for some more training. I brought him out and introduced the e-collar, "sit", "heel", and "Break!" commands. He did well on the regular e-collar. Interestingly enough, the vibrate feature was plenty to get his attention. The unfortunate part is that it got too much of his attention and we don't want that. We just want enough stimulation to communicate with the pup. I also had the little ones come out and say hi to Mr. Dumbo again after our training session.

I will say that Mr. Dumbo is definitely food/treat motivated. I'll be using this to my advantage when teaching "place" and "down". Tonight we will head over to my son's soccer practice and introduce "Come to sit".


Pupdate 5/2/23

Last night Mr. Dumbo and I headed over to Norwalk Park in Norwalk, CA to work outside with some distractions. Also, so I could see how Mr. Dumbo would perform around a few of those distractions while performing his "heel" as you stated this is one of his biggest issues. My goal was to also introduce the come to "sit". I used my slip lead to kind of shape the behavior more since his collar is a little big the slip lead gives me a nice snug fit on him. Mr. Dumbo did not enjoy the slip lead very much. He gave a tantrum and fit the whole way over to where I recorded the video. I did have the e-collar on him but he was more fighting me with the slip lead than the e-collar. Once we got to that patch of grass, he calmed down. I just simply stayed at it with the "heel" and asked him to be in the correct position until he gave in. He was trying to be at the end of his leash and avoiding me as much as possible but I did not give up and was persistent about asking him to be in the proper "heel". Eventually, he figured it out and was in the correct position.

Today, we focused more on the "place" and come to "sit" in my backyard. The great part is that Mr. Dumbo will work for food! I can capitalize on this and it keeps him motivated to work. It is kind of difficult to tell when he is performing "sit" or "down" since he is so low to the ground and long that there are only a few inches separating the two.

Lastly, my tiny trainer is obsessed with Mr. Dumbo and he seems to not mind her very much. She is exactly how you would imagine a four-year-old to be acting with a tiny dog, overly excited, in his face with happiness, wanting to hold him, etc. and Mr. Dumbo is doing well by not getting mad or lashing out with barking or nipping.


Pupdate 5/3/23

Today Mr. Dumbo and I loaded up and headed over to Rynerson Park in Lakewood, CA. Mr. Dumbo did well overall. I was able to switch out his e-collar to the micro version today and it worked a lot better in communicating with him. He was a lot more willing to work and perform the tasks. We have retired the slip lead as he is doing well on the flat collar and e-collar. Before we conducted the training you see in the video I took Mr. Dumbo on a long walk around the park practicing the "heel" and the "sit" when I stop. Mr. Dumbo picked up on the "heel" much more consistently when it's me in the middle of the sidewalk or near the edge, then Mr. Dumbo, and then the grass. I use the grass/concrete line as a guide for him. In open spaces, he kind of drifts too far away. I will keep using the lines for reinforcement as needed. We then worked on "place", come to "sit" and his extended "down". As you see, he made it two minutes today. Overall, a pretty good day for Mr. Dumbo!


Pupdate 5/4/23

Last night Mr. Dumbo and I went back to Norwalk Park in Norwalk, CA for some more training. Mr. Dumbo is doing well with the "heel" which you said was your biggest concern. He's walking politely next to me, not barking at other pups or distractions. In the car, he will still bark when someone walks by but we're working on that. He was extra-loving and hung out next to me while I hung out. I focused on the down because he has been resistant to performing the "down" other than on the dog cot. I'll keep at it.

Today we went to Del Amo Fashion Center in Carson, CA. This went well again. His only struggles today were going up to a "place" because he is short. He would go up and put his paws up to try but some things are too big for Mr. Dumbo. Once again, I tried to reinforce the "down" from the training we performed last night and he was still being a little stubborn about it. I'll keep working with him to see if I can convince him to do it more consistently.


Pupdate 5/5/23

Today Mr. Dumbo and I stayed inside and worked on his door manners, "place", "come to sit" and "down". His door manners went well. It only takes a few tries for them to figure out the door manners game and that you aren't going anywhere. Good job on that Mr. Dumbo! Mr. Dumbo is doing well with his "place" on my dog cot and is showing excitement and willingness to perform the "come to sit". His "down" on the other hand is proving to be a little tricky. When he does his "sit" he kind of locks his legs like _| |_ and his tummy is so close to the ground that it's hard to tell when he transfers his weight down instead of to his bum. Also, he is not very excited about the "down" even with increased stimulation so I think he is still confused about what "down" is. I'll try to make it easier for him to understand over the next few days.

Note: Dumbo does have a little scratch on his nose, likely from the crate as he doesn't spend too much time with the other pups because he gets overwhelmed and very vocal about being outside with them. He's well-behaved inside and minds his manners plus my mini-trainer is obsessed with him so she takes care of him when he's inside.


Pupdate 5/6/23

A Christmas Miracle in the afternoon of May! Mr. Dumbo and I have finally come to an almost agreement that he will perform the "down". Honestly, he has been very reluctant to perform the "down" or show that it has stuck. I had tried every trick in the book up until today, treats, leash pressure, pinch collar, and increased stimulation. None of my tried and true measures were working with Mr. Dumbo. As I mentioned before, he had his legs under him _| like that. If it wasn't his right paw, it was his left paw. And I had to keep moving the leg to have him complete the "down". Coercion wasn't working for him. I tried giving him treats when I wanted him to do the down, and believe me, Mr. Dumbo loves his food. When it came time to perform the "down", I would hold the treat in front of him and he would straight up ignore it anticipating the "down" was coming. It's like he knew not to fall for the treat trick into the "down". So I was almost defeated by Mr. Dumbo. I then sat and thought about it for a really long time. I remembered you mentioning he was a rescue from Korea, he was bit or got into a scuffle with a bigger dog, he is little and then it dawned on me that the "down" is one of the most vulnerable positions there is. Mr. Dumbo has plenty of reasons to not want to perform the "down". I decided to give it one last shot using his own food as a reward, something I know he gets excited about every day and when we trained today, it was close to dinner time so I knew he would be hungry. I was able to use this to my advantage and FINALLY get him to do the "down" with leash pressure. Still isn't pretty but we were able to get him to do it. I must say that I am super happy for Mr. Dumbo because I think now the training and his future are going to be a lot better. We kind of made it past that last wall he had standing. Don't get me wrong, any sort of trauma might cause it to regress but hopefully, I was able to show him that it's ok and there are still positives for being a well-behaved pup.

Food note: Mr. Dumbo ran out of fresh food last night. I have him for 2 more days until you get him back. I upped his dry kibble by 1/4 to fill in the gap and he had no issue with that.


Pupdate 5/7/23

Today was Mr. Dumbo's last day with us. Mr. Dumbo and I had a busy day today. We started off by heading over to Discovery Park in Downey, CA to walk around while softball practice was going on, other pups were walking around, and even some soccer. Mr. Dumbo is so good on his walks. No barking, no lunging, and no nipping at anyone along the way. I know this was your primary concern and that has been practiced quite a bit while with me.

If that wasn't impressive enough, we then headed to Los Cerritos Center in Cerritos, CA to practice all his commands in a high-stress, high distraction and stimulus environment. He did amazing! He didn't bark, he didn't lunge, he didn't pull on the leash, he was just doing his thing and listening to me. I couldn't have asked for any more out of him. His "down" is a little rough around the edges but I'll show you how to get him into the "down" in the most positive way I could figure out.

A few reminders for his last post. First, remember that there has to be a consequence for wanted or unwanted behavior if you want the training to be reinforced. This means that if he does wanted behavior such as performing the task, then we give him praise with our voice and/or physically by petting him or rubbing his belly. If he performs unwanted behavior, then we withdraw our attention or have to perform an aversive leash or e-collar maneuver. I have a simple formula:

stimulation+ response = consequnce

For this example, the stimulation is you say "sit" + a low-level e-collar stimulation + Mr. Dumbo performs a proper "sit" = we say "good boy!" Now if we say "sit" + a low-level E-collar stimulation + Mr. Dumbo does not "sit" = leash pressure upwards(negative consequence) and then we start again with asking him to "sit+low level stimulation + him performing the "sit" = no more leash pressure (positive) and then we can say "good boy!"

Lastly, here are the commands that Mr. Dumbo learned while with me:

  1. Sit/Extended Sit

  2. Down/Extended Down

  3. Place/Extended Place

  4. Heel

  5. Come to Sit

  6. Off!

  7. Break!

  8. Door Manners

  9. Food Manners

We can't wait to show you everything Mr. Dumbo learned this week!



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