Ellie | Manchester Terrier | Glendale, CA | In-Training
Meet Ellie! A Three year old Manchester Terrier has joined us for our Two-Week Board and Train Program. Ellie was a stray for quite some time, and has come to us to work on a few behaviors such as pulling on the leash, reactivity to small animals as well as other dogs, often having a mind of her own. Over these next two weeks Ellie and I will be working on building a solid foundation for her obedience as we visit new places, providing plenty of structure, proper socialization and clear communication with the ultimate goal of being Off Leash! Stay tuned for her Two-Week Transformation!
Ellie and I strolled around the park together, becoming more familiar with each other as we tested what she knew. After our walk, she opened up to me more, appearing more comfortable, seeking affection from me. After our walk, she explored her new temporary home as we got her all settled in. Now we will begin to introduce her to new commands tomorrow!
Ellie and I started our day by introducing her to a few communication tools such as the slip lead and e collar. The slip lead is used to guide Ellie with directional changes of the leash. I apply leash pressure in the direction I want her to go and the second she follows the path created for her, I turn that pressure off. Any time I apply leash pressure, I apply stimulation from the e collar as well. Ellie at first resisted the leash pressure. She had a tantrum, alligator rolling in protest of the pressure she felt. I gave her a minute to decompress, then began to guide her during the Heel again with slight leash pressure upwards to have her Sit, and pops of the leash when we turned to help her turn with me. I attempted to mark and reward the few steps she took in the direction I wanted her to go, but she was too overstimulated to be interested in any treats.
After we Heeled for quite some time, she improved with staying by my side, not stopping nearly as much.
I utilized hand signals with pressure of the leash upwards to help Ellie Sit. She ignored the visual cues, so I helped her Sit by applying leash pressure on her rear end. She was very resistant to this, licking her lips, trying to avoid me. It is important to have her follow through with what is requested of her each time, to build fluency with these commands. As we repeatedly practice this, she will then learn that the only way to turn off any sort of pressure is by following through. Once she follows through I praise her with some affection and a quick break before trying it over again.
Ellie and I took a trip to the park today to work on her Heel, and Extended Sit. Ellie has improved significantly with her Heel, staying by my left hand side and following my lead much more frequently. She is learning to follow the guidance of the leash when we walk paired with stimulation of the e collar. If I turn with her I pop the leash in the direction we are going.
If I stop walking she is expected to Sit on my Side during the Heel. We worked more on her Sit today, having her practice this repeatedly. Ellie is very strong minded, resisting to Sit for the first handful of repetitions. As we practiced more and more, she took less time to Sit, yet there is still much more work to do. She has a pattern of being able to do as she pleases for so long, we are gradually breaking that pattern and teaching her to work through it. Since she is not food motivated, I have been utilizing frequent breaks and lots of affection as a reward for her. As we increase the fluency of her commands, we will also begin to build duration for her Sit, having her hold position until released with the cue Break.
Today Ellie and I emphasized our work on building fluency with her commands. Prior to today, she would only Sit with the help of me applying pressure on her rear end until she sat. After plenty of repetitions, along with stimulation of the e collar, she began to understand how to turn the pressure off. Towards the end of the session she was able to Sit on cue. When she sat I marked it with a Yes and rewarded her. Today was the first day she felt comfortable enough with taking a treat. This is a great start for building her motivation to work!
I then introduced Ellie to Come to Sit which is the action of Ellie coming around from behind me to Sit on my left hand side. She followed leash pressure as I guided her where to go during our Heel and her recall. Now that she is performing her Extended Sit, and Come to Sit fluently, we can begin to build duration for everything she knows as we introduce her to new commands as well.
Today Ellie and I took a trip to the park where we further proofed her commands near distractions such as squirrels, birds, and other dogs. This gave me the opportunity to assess how severe her reactivity is towards other dogs. Ellie struggled at first with Heeling near my other board and train pup Buster, often stopping and refusing to walk. After a few minutes of walking different directions and applying constant leash pressure towards the direction I wanted her to go, she began to follow mine and Buster’s lead.
We practiced our Heel, having them both sit by my left hand side when I stopped walking. Ellie has improved significantly with her Sit, holding it for up to a minute and a half, taking less time to offer the behavior. She is responding to her name when I call her, and her body language is appearing more confident while training.
I did notice while we were near the other trainers dogs, whenever another dog would become excitable, Ellie would feed off that energy. She began to bark at the other dogs when they were vocal. I cued Off to Ellie, stimulating her with the e collar if she did not stop barking. After a few taps of stimulation, Ellie did great, not lunging or barking at any of the several dogs that were present. She came when called, as I guided her to come around me to Sit on my left hand side and next to Buster.
Ellie and I took a trip to the beach today! We explored our surroundings as we Heeled together making frequent turns, having her Sit whenever I stop walking. We emphasized our work on her Extended Sit, and Come to Sit. After many repetitions she demonstrated consistency with holding his Sit for up to a minute and a half long, which is almost at our goal!
After working on what she has already learned, I then introduced her to a new command, Place. Place is great to use to help create a calm state of mind, builds confidence in a dog, prevents unwanted behaviors, and can essentially be practiced on top of any elevated surface. Dogs are naturally more confident while on elevated surfaces. I recommend purchasing an elevated dog cot to practice with both inside and outside the house. Having something familiar for Ellie to Place on while adapting to an unfamiliar environment helps bridge the transition much more quickly.
When practicing Place with Ellie, I chain the commands Place and Down together to help her voluntarily offer the behavior without much guidance needed from me. Ellie enjoyed this and fluently performed this behavior repetitively without any hesitation, even taking treats which she was not able to do prior to this. We then built duration with this as she held it for a minute long. Now we will begin to build distance between us for her commands as we improve her commands near daily distractions.
Ellie and I focused our training session on working towards our Off Leash goal today, as we began to utilize less leash pressure. Since we are not using the leash as much, we will be depending more on footwork, and visual cues along with stimulation of the e collar. The e collar is used as a communication tool. I simultaneously stimulate her whenever I give cues, until she follows through with the command. By not depending on the leash as much, she is left to problem solve. I am there to help Ellie along the way if she is not sure how to perform a Come to Sit without following the guidance of the leash for example. By starting our sessions with leash guidance, I set her up for success as I begin to drop the leash and test what she knows once she gains consistency.
Ellie did well with all of her commands while utilizing the leash, yet when I dropped the leash, she began to freeze before trying to run back into her kennel to avoid working. We worked through this, as I encouraged Ellie to Come to me, picking up the leash and popping the leash towards me. Once she worked through this first episode, she stopped resisting nearly as much and became comfortable enough to accept rewards. This is definitely a work in progress for Ellie, as she is learning that her tantrums will not be reinforced by avoiding the work.
Ellie and I focused our work today on increasing distance, and duration between us for all of her commands utilizing a 15 ft leash. Ellie has improved significantly with following the guidance of the leash, however when I begin to drop the leash or utilize less leash pressure, she freezes up, not following the stimulation of the e collar or my footwork. Once I begin to guide her with the leash, she follows through much more quickly. I walked away from Ellie while she held her Extended Sit or Place. At first she struggled with this, wanting to stay glued to my leg. I redirected her back to Place or Sit, to help her gain more confidence with being on her own, since she does suffer from separation anxiety. After working on Addie distance between us repetitively, she eventually held her Down and Sit for two minutes while I was at a distance. Good job Ellie!
Ellie and I worked on proofing all of the commands she has learned so far at the park, working near the other trainers and their pups. She Heeled next to Buster and I, sitting when I stop walking and turning when I turn. At times she has has her moments where she does not want to work. We have been working on building up her tolerance for training daily. Frequent breaks helps keep her engaged, as well as helps her to work for longer periods of time.
Ellie has improved with her dog/small animal reactivity. She no longer lunges or barks towards any dogs, as long as they are respectful of her space. If they come on too strong, or bark excessively at her, she will feed off that energy. It is important to always interrupt this by positioning yourself in between her and whatever the trigger is so Ellie does not feel like she has to fend for herself in these scenarios. Picking her up in these scenarios does not help teach her how to regulate her emotions or work through it. If we don’t make it a big deal, and guide her by showing her what to do, she works through it and stops reacting. I practice calming circles with Ellie whenever this may happen, which has only needed to be done once. By Heeling with her making frequent turns, the situation is diffused much quicker. With all of the dogs present today, Ellie did great! She was not concerned with what they were doing at all.
After we went to the park , we made a trip to the mall where we were able to train in a nice and cool environment with plenty of distractions. Now that Ellie has shown she is consistent with her commands, we will begin to film for her final video.
Today Ellie and I began filming content for her final video. We practiced everything that she has learned near plenty of distractions. Ellie held her Extended Sit, Down and Place for a minimum of two minutes, Heeled by my left hand side consistently, and Came to Sit by my left hand side. She checks in with me frequently and waits for my release with the cue Break.
Once we got home, she socialized with the rest of the pack, running around playing chase. When I cue Off then Place, she does well with this, not testing it nearly as much as she did before. Good job Ellie!
Ellie and I spent the day working on her socialization skills as she interacted with the pack. She now responds to Off quickly, not testing it nearly as much as she did before. When I call her name she checks in with me, yet needs a little help every so often to follow through when playing with the other dogs. I help her out with following through by tapping the stimulator button on the e collar remote. The tapping stops when she follows through with offering me her attention.
Ellie has improved greatly with her Greeting Manners, sitting politely for petting upon meeting someone new. I always recommend advising whoever is greeting her to have a calm energy, only petting her if all four paws are on the floor.
Ellie has learned boundaries, not jumping on the door to open it anymore. She has learned that when she sits and waits patiently, the door will open. If she released herself, the door closes on her. The door is an important threshold to remain consistent with so Ellie won’t have a habit of being the first one out. It is a great way of maintaining mutual respect in your relationship, as she now understands everything is on her handler terms, not her own.
After Heeling together around the neighborhood and working on her Manners, we played together in the backyard with the other pups. Playtime is a great outlet for Ellie to release her energy.
Ellie and I took a stroll to the local park as we worked on her Heel, Come to Sit, Place, Extended Down & Sit. Ellie is a very attached pup, so we continue to focus our work on distance away from each other. She asks to be cuddled a lot, which may be what she is accustomed to receiving upon request. I recommend limiting the cuddling, or carrying especially. In order for Ellie to continue to want to work through her tantrum episodes that she has every so often, it is imperative to show her how to work through it by guiding her with the leash pressure along with stimulation of the e collar. The pressure turns off when she follows through. She has learned that she is in charge of when the stimulation occurs, but still challenges this from time to time as she has a very strong & willful personality.
Since Ellie is an older pup, breaking the patterns that she has formed over the years by counterconditioning her mindset on how she views her relationship with her handler is how we will improve her willingness to work everyday. By working for everything she receives, from toys, to food, to door thresholds, her obedience will continue to improve, as she will no longer take everything for granted.
Ellie and I worked on all of her commands as we Heeled together to the park, passing by plenty of distractions. Her impulse control has improved, as she now understands to check in with me before being released. If I see something grab Ellie’s attention, I cue her name. She does great with looking at me on cue while we play the name game. If there are an overwhelming amount of distractions near us while training, I offer extra communication along with extra taps of stimulation to make sure I grab her attention quickly. It is our duty as her handler, to offer extra help when needed to set her up for succcess along the way.
Ellie is a sweet, strong willed girl. She loves affection as rewards, and can at times be overly attached. Giving Ellie the most love while training is the best way to further improve her drive to work since that is what she values most. If we overload her with affection when we are not training, she will not value it as much while working. She is now comfortable enough to take treats while out and about, as long as they’re freeze dried which is her favorite!
We emphasize our work on distance away from each other, which I recommend keeping up with to prevent her separation anxiety from escalating. It is best to never make it a big deal when you come and go so Ellie doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Ellie. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare her for time apart. Ellie has overall become more confident, can hold her Place and Extended Sit for a minimum of two minutes, and can Come to Sit from about 15 ft away. I recommend constantly taking Ellie to new environments. Since she can be a nervous girl at times, desensitization to new places will only further improve her training. She is a loving girl who needs a lot of guidance, structure and leadership to thrive and follow instructions. She has come a long way and we can not wait to show you what she has learned. Thank you for trusting me with Ellie!