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  • Writer's pictureAlexx Rodriguez

Friendo | Rottweiler Mix | los Angeles, CA, | In Training

 

Meet Friendo, an affectionate Rottweiler and Pit Bull mix. She's a friendly, sociable, and kind-hearted pup. Currently, she's enrolled in our two-week board and train program to refine her cues, leash manners, and long-term focus. Friendo does have some resource guarding tendencies when it comes to toys and food with other dogs. She tends to be a bit of a "bully" with toys but means no harm.

Friendo is incredibly eager to make new human friends. Due to her strength, her excitement can sometimes be overwhelming. While her enthusiasm is adorable, she can benefit from learning to be calmer when meeting new people. Presently, she tends to lean bodyweight onto people and occasionally even playfully "tailwhips" them with her excitement. Join us in witnessing her transformative journey!

 

Pupdate 10/1/23

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On Friendo's first day with me, my priority was to establish new rules and foster her confidence in our bond. To achieve this, I opted for a lengthy, meandering walk, aiming to encourage her to look up to me as a dependable source of safety, companionship, and guidance. Given her existing grasp of basic concepts, we introduced the e-collar once she felt secure. It proved to be a valuable tool, helping us communicate when to focus and when not to get distracted by sniffing the grass. This marks the beginning of her journey with us, and I couldn't be more thrilled!


 

Pupdate 10/02/23

Today, we kicked off our day bright and early, taking Friendo for a delightful morning walk. She tends to tire out quite quickly or sometimes lags behind. While we're still figuring out the reason behind this, but we saw it as a perfect opportunity to expend some energy for obedience training. Specifically, we worked on her extended "sit" and "down" cues in a calm, distraction-free environment at home.

Last night, friendo was quite restless and barked throughout the night in her kennel, but during the day, she seemed perfectly fine. These adjustment periods are entirely normal. Moreover, she's starting to warm up to me instead of growling. Although she initially greeted a few strangers with growls, we swiftly reinforced good manners, and she adapted quickly, even enjoying some well-deserved pets.


Note: because friendo already knows her place cue, I want to make sure she becomes comfortable perfomimg "place" on any given item. Today we practiced on booths, stairs, boxes, and benches.

 

Pupdate 10/03/23

(Please hear audio)

 

Pupdate 10/04/24

Today, we brought Friendo to the park with the goal of building her confidence around me and addressing her barking behavior, which tends to happen when my work dog is nearby. We want to work on this behavior due to the stigma associated with her breed. To start, we chose the early evening for our park visit to minimize distractions. As Friendo becomes more comfortable, we plan to gradually go later when more people are around. While she does well with heeling, we recognize the need for improvement in her "come to sit" command. It's essential for us to start with a slow approach, as she doesn't respond well to leash pressure.

 

Pupdate 10/5/23

Today, I took my friend, Friendo, to Santa Monica Pier to focus on exposure training and improving the duration of her cues. My goal is to ensure that Friendo encounters as many people as possible, as this is the most effective way to desensitize her and reduce barking when meeting new people. Although her barking is situational, rare, and typically occurs when she feels startled or defensive, today provided an ideal opportunity to refine her manners and teach her to sit before receiving attention. She performed admirably overall, but there's room for improvement, particularly when it comes to her response to "come to sit." We'll continue working on this throughout the week, so stay tuned for updates.

 

Pupdate 10/06/23

Today, we took Friendo on a fairly long walk, being mindful of her slow pace and tendency to tire quickly. Along the way, we encountered several neighbors with barking dogs, providing excellent opportunities to reinforce good behavior. Remarkably, Friendo paid no attention to them and frequently checked in with me, a crucial part of our training. I want her to remain attentive to my movements, and she did so admirably.

While she occasionally paused to sniff the grass, we gently reminded her of her manners, and she promptly refocused on the walk. We relished the early morning scenery.

Anticipating a hot day, we decided to beat the sun and engaged in duration training at home. Friendo easily reached the two-minute mark, so we increased the challenge to three minutes, and she performed admirably. We plan to test her in a busier area over the weekend to further assess her progress.

 

Pupdate 10/7/23

Today, I took my friend Friendo to the park bright and early in the morning. I aimed to introduce leash dragging exercises in a moderately busy environment with some other dogs around. I was cautious not to choose a time when it was too crowded, as I didn't want to overwhelm her. To my surprise, she performed admirably. There were a few instances when I called "come," and she initially headed in the opposite direction, but she quickly grasped my intent with just a gentle reminder and obediently followed my command. Following that, I focused on extending the duration of all her cues and enjoyed a leisurely, extended heeling walk. Throughout the week, we'll gradually transition to off-leash training to enhance her reliability in that regard.


 

Pupdate 10/08/23



Today, Friendo and I went to Cerritos Mall, and we spent the entire day together. We focused on heel training and practiced all her cues and manners. During our outing, we also enjoyed a lunch break at a restaurant, where she behaved impeccably on the patio. While she occasionally showed curiosity about the food, she was promptly reminded of proper manners. All in all, Friendo performed admirably today.

 

10/09/23

This video captures yesterday's adventures with my dear Friendo. She had an exhausting day, but I wanted to maximize our Sunday for exposure opportunities. Although we don't usually film or train at night, the chance was too good to pass up. My goal for this final week with Friendo is to enhance her current training and acclimate her to people. Despite initial fear from some, Friendo displayed remarkable courage and indifference toward people and their pets. These were significant strides, and I aimed to make today even better.

Our plan for today includes a trip to the dog park to work on obedience amidst high-level distractions. I held off on this exposure until I felt she was ready, given her impressive ability to stay focused and composed. Today, I want to put her to the test.

This morning didn't lack training either. I'm determined to send Friendo home as a superstar. She relaxed in her cot in my living room, and I tested her multiple times by leaving the room. I even placed her kibble in front of her and asked her to wait before allowing her to eat. She couldn't resist sneaking a few kibbles when she thought I wasn't looking, but I promptly reminded her of her expectations. After leaving again, she patiently waited for me to return for a couple of minutes. Her reward was well-deserved, including treats, because she's such a good girl.

We also practiced door manners, and I tossed toys to distract her, but she remained patient, awaiting my permission. I'm excited to see her performance today and will share photos of her journey tonight. Stay tuned for updates!

 

Pupdate 10/10/23

Last night, Friendo excelled at the dog park, displaying remarkable focus amidst distractions, even when other dogs barked. While we didn't enter the dog area, we used the outside as a useful distractor. We conducted various tests to ensure she maintained her cues, achieving a success rate of approximately 90%, with occasional breaks to play. Today, we continued working on duration cues at home, successfully addressing door manners, food etiquette, and her behavior around my working dog. She has made significant progress in curbing growling and barking. She's always preferring her personal space and expecting respect, which is entirely reasonable. Friendo is not fond of high-energy dogs in her face, but she doesn't exhibit aggressive behavior. I can tell when I walk her people fear her so I keep the leash for decoration however she is great at heeling beside me! Stay tuned for more.

 

Pupdate 10/11/23

Today's outing with Friendo included a trip to Home Depot, where we focused on extending her cues and improving her heel without distractions. Friendo tends to be jumpy and nervous about sounds from behind her, so this was an excellent opportunity to help her become more comfortable with forklifts and workers' noises.

I also tested her by walking farther away when she performed sit and down cues. Even when I called her name and praised her, she stayed in her position without thinking it was a "come" cue. Friendo did an amazing job.

Despite people's fears and reactions based on her breed, Friendo remained poised, calm, and the sweet, gentle dog I've grown to love. When we got home, we took a break from obedience training and just enjoyed each other's company. Even when a small dog barked at her, she remained unfazed. Friendo truly is a superstar!

 

Pupdate 10/12/23

Today, Friendo focused on improving her manners, both indoors and outdoors. I want her to be as pleasant inside as she is outside. To achieve this, we worked on indoor etiquette, which includes not going in or out of the house without permission, respecting doorways, and heeling indoors.

During our training, she faced a few distractions when my chihuahua zoomed by or when my birds acted silly. I gently reminded her to stay polite, and she quickly refocused.

She also had some well-deserved nap time in the living room.

Later, we tackled food manners, making sure she didn't grab treats until given permission. She did so well that she received her treats after I entered the room.

Then, we moved on to car manners, where she focused on not to jump in or out of the car without permission. She performed admirably, and I even took her to Starbucks where she impressively displayed good behavior in front of all the customers. Perfect opportunity to refine her greeting manners.


All in all, Friendo had a relatively relaxed day, but it underscores how even the smallest tasks provide opportunities to reinforce good behavior and discourage unwanted ones

 

Pupdate 10/13/23

Today, Friendo had an excellent day. I brought her along as I went grocery shopping to assess her behavior inside the store. She performed admirably. I'm consistently impressed by her behavior. Afterwards, we headed to the park where I intended to work on her long-distance cues. I wanted her to stay on cue and either "sit" or "down" when prompted, even when I walked away. Typically, other dogs approach me when asked to sit, but Friendo excels even when I'm at a distance.

Although I anticipated more dogs in the park at 4:30 pm, it was surprisingly quiet, and she didn't have many chances to practice distraction training as I had hoped. However, she paid no attention to the few barking dogs around.

There were a couple of moments when she momentarily strayed from heeling to explore the grass, but a quick reminder of expectations had her back to her remarkable performance. Later, at home, she relaxed in my living room and shared a peaceful moment with my Chihuahua. She truly embodies a kind and gentle spirit.

 

Pupdate 10/14/23

On Friendo's last day with me, we visited Home Depot to pick up some items and have some fun. Friendo's excitement got the better of her, and she playfully jumped on me, reminding me that training never fully ends. Although she knows not to jump, her enthusiasm sometimes gets the best of her, requiring a gentle reminder. Throughout our trip, she had the chance to meet many people, receive lots of love, and enjoy pets. We also worked on extending her obedience cues beyond the two-minute mark, and she performed admirably, as expected. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and strengthening our bond, with Friendo indulging in plenty of treats. There was a minor incident where she barked at my dog, but a quick reminder about her manners promptly restored her politeness.



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