Gwynnie | Border Collie | Santa Clarita, CA | In-Training
Meet Gwynnie! An energetic, six month old Border Collie from Santa Clarita, CA has joined us for our Two-Week Board & Train Program. Gwynnie has come to us to work on behaviors such as pulling on the leash, nipping ankles, running away in a playful manner, and excessively jumping when over excited. She has a strong prey drive so we will be emphasizing our work on impulse control, as well as confidence building in new environments. Gwynnie has a tendency of practicing avoidance when near reactive dogs, and will often seek to hide somewhere nearby. Over these next two week Gwynnie and I will build a solid foundation for her training, implementing plenty of structure, boundaries, and clear communication to help her be the best pup she can possibly be. Stay tuned for her Two-Week Transformation!
Gwynnie and I had the opportunity to become more familiar with each other as we took a stroll around the park to see her response to her new environment. She was extremely energetic, lunging at basketballs, dogs, and children. After testing what she knew, I put on her slip lead and began to teach her what side to walk on so she does not cross over, which can be dangerous. After she explored her surroundings, we loaded her up back into the kennel. Gwynnie was very anxious at first, whining once inside. After some time she began to settle down and acclimate to her surroundings. We will begin to introduce her to new commands tomorrow!
Gwynnie 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 Gwynnie 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. Gwynnie at first resisted the leash pressure. Once I marked and rewarded the few steps she took in the direction I wanted her to go, she began to understand how to turn the pressure off. She still resists every now and then but is learning to follow my lead.
I introduced her to Come to Sit which is the action of Gwynnie coming around behind me to Sit on my left hand side ready to Heel. She was a natural at this and learned quickly that all of the good stuff came to her when she Sat on my left side. This is how I begin to build value with Gwynnie in a specific position. I Cued Gwynnie’s name frequently, rewarding her when she offered me her attention. This is called the name game and is a great game to practice around distractions to build engagement during training. A focused dog is a dog that is ready to work!
Once we got home, Gwynnie saw my dog Bear on the other side of the fence. She began to react and excessively bark as she backed away from him. Her body language looked fearful since she avoided him. We will now begin to work on socialization to counter condition this.
Gwynnie and I introduced her to some new commands today while training in my backyard, a familiar space to her. We worked on her Come to Sit, Heel, as well as introduced her to the Place command. Since Gwynnie is a very energetic and anxious pup, having her Sit in Place for an extended period of time is not an easy task. As soon as we started training, there was a loud noise coming from the neighbors speaker. This continued throughout the whole session and frightened Gwynnie. She was very focused on the noise initially trying to run from it. We worked through this with patience, and guidance of the leash along with stimulation of the e collar. Having her hold Place on the elevated dog cot really helped her work through her anxiety eventually. Place is great to use to help create a calm state of mind for Gwynnie, builds confidence, 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 Gwynnie to Place on while adapting to an unfamiliar environment helps bridge the transition much more quickly.
Gwynnie and I ventured out to the mall today. This was our first time training in a busier than usual environment. Our main emphasis while training has been to improve her Heel, as well as our expectations for the Heel. We start off with small increments of Heeling before she is released with the cue Break. After a few repetitions we build consistency and ask her to Heel by my left hand side for longer periods of time. If I stop walking she is expected to Sit.
We then worked on her Place command paired with Down. Gwynnie can be very hesitant to jump onto new elevated surfaces at first. I encourage her to jump as I jump on it with her a few times to help build her confidence. She then began to have fun with this and had no issue jumping up the remainder of the session. I then signaled Down with my palms facing the floor which she followed rather quickly, offering a Down and holding position as I rewarded her in increments of 20 seconds to build her duration for the Down. Now we will begin to add distance between us for all of her commands. Excellent job Gwynnie!
Gwynnie and I ventured out to the mall today where we further proofed her Heel, as well as her Extended Place paired with Down. By chaining together Place with Down consistently, Gwynnie will effortlessly enter a calm state of mind without much guidance needed from me, which is the goal! She has greatly improved with her Place, not hesitating to jump onto new surfaces nearly as much as she did before.
Once she became consistent with few distractions present, we practiced inside the mall where she needed more communication/guidance to help her succeed.
Gwynnie is an excitable pup who lacks confidence. If there are loud noises present, she becomes frightened and tries to hide. With consistent exposure to new places, and building a solid foundation without the distractions first, she will be better prepared to perform when big distractions are present. Desensitization is our main goal, as we explore new environments this weekend as well!
Gwynnie and I started our training session this morning building a solid foundation for all of her commands at home. I switched her from a slip lead to a 2.25 mm Herm Sprenger Prong collar which I highly recommend purchasing to use with her for the future when she is on leash. The Herm Sprenger prong collar is very similar to a slip lead. It protects her trachea when she pulls, and also stops her right in her tracks when she attempts to pull, applying pressure all around her neck instead of just one side. This was a game changer for Gwynnie, and discouraged her from pulling completely. I applied very little pressure when she pulled and walked the opposite direction repetitively. She quickly understood that if she follows the direction I am going with the leash, the pressure shuts off.
While we were training today, loud music was being tested on the speakers again. Gwynnie was very fearful of this as she ran to the shed to hide from the noise. I encouraged her to come out and work through it with me, which eventually after some time, she was able to.
Now that her Heel has greatly improved, and we have built that solid foundation for her training with minor distractions, I will gradually bring her near bigger distractions to evaluate her response to stimuli that frightens her, such as loud noises, and reactive dogs. This may be our biggest challenge to overcome to reach that Off Leash goal that we are working towards each and every day as we continue to build her confidence.
Today Gwynnie and I took a trip to the local park where we worked on proofing her commands near plenty of distractions. There were volleyball games happening which definitely caught Gwynnie’s attention, and kids running wild, screaming which at first Gwynnie was unsure of. I worked her through this with plenty of communication and guidance, reminding her to Heel as I tap the stimulation of the e collar, turning frequently to grab her attention. It was a challenge for her to maintain eye contact initially. Once she became acclimated to her environment, she then was checking in with me much more frequently.
There were off leash dogs, none of which were reactive. Due to their calm demeanor, Gwynnie was comfortable with this and maintained her Heel quite well. We will be taking a trip to the dog park soon, which will allow me to assess how she responds now to reactive, energetic dogs, as I know that is a main trigger for her.
After practicing in the middle of all the action at the park, we went to a more quiet side where I was able to begin dragging the leash with her, weaning her off leash pressure. Whenever Gwynnie veered too far off track, I created distance between us as she repositioned herself by my left side again. A loud cart passed by us during her Heel which you can see in the video, she tried to avoid. I popped the leash back towards me, as we worked her through this.
Gwynnie was very adamant about wanting a chip that was on the ground, so I used this as a training opportunity to practice Off. Gwynnie ignored the e collar stimulation until I adjusted the level of the stimulation to one that she should respond to. She began to throw a tantrum attack, as she rolled around the floor in protest. I stepped on the leash, then called her to Come which she eventually did. We will emphasize our work on her Off command moving forward, as she can be a bit pushy when she really wants something
Rosie 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 gets up, the door closes on her. The door is an important threshold to remain consistent with so Rosie won’t have a habit of being the first one out.
After working on all of her manners and taking a trip to the park, we played together in the backyard with the other pups. Playtime is a great outlet for Rosie to release her energy. Since she is a very energetic pup, this is highly recommended.
After about 10 minutes her anxiety gradually mellows down which is a very big improvement as before it took her up to an hour before she seemed somewhat relaxed in new environments. 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 Rosie doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Rosie. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare her for time apart.
Rosie 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 Rosie 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 Rosie!
Gwynnie and I took a trip to the park today as we worked on exposing her to more distractions. Since it is a Sunday, the park was quite busy. After I gave her a few minutes to explore her surroundings and have a potty break, we began to train with many distractions present, which Gwynnie did well with. I have noticed Gwynnie’s body language is appearing more confident. The first week she was with me, her ears were always pinned back as her tail was very stiff, unsure of her environment. Today however, her tail was held high while wagging continuously. Her ears are no longer pinned back, as she happily jumps onto new surfaces without hesitation. She even learned how to strike a pose next to the sign!
Gwynnie now offers plenty of eye contact, waiting to hear her next cue to perform. When she veers off track during her Heel, she now repositions herself back by my side which is exactly what I am looking for.
If there is an instance where I see a trigger for Gwynnie approaching, we begin to work on classical conditioning. By constantly exposing and intentionally creating an experience with her trigger, this will allow her to generalize good experiences to happen instead of negative experiences. I use a positive interrupter at a threshold she is comfortable with, to create a positive association in the presence of this trigger (such as loud noises, or reactive dogs) until she starts checking in with me on her own without the reward, then we begin to move closer.
After a productive day of training at the park, we came back home where she enjoyed the rest of her day playing with her furry friends. This is a great outlet for her to release her energy, as they run around the backyard, hopping around playing chase. Great job Gwynnie!
Today Gwynnie and I had the opportunity to train near the other trainers and their pups while out at a park together. We worked on proofing her commands, as she Heeled by my left side, coming when called and jumping onto Place. Gwynnie has become much more fluent with her commands, performing the first time I request a cue.
She does have a lot of energy, especially when near other dogs and at times can still protest when initially working, yet always follows through as her fluency improves. Exposure to other dogs and new places will be our main priority moving forward as we train for the remainder of this week. Good work Gwynnie!
Gwynnie and I worked some more on all of her obedience as we made a trip to the park, brushing up her Come to Sit with added distance, as well as her Place command with added distance. She has done well with holding all of her commands for a minimum of two minutes, even when dogs are near! We have yet to encounter reactive dogs in quite some time, which is something we are preparing for everyday.
I have been making loud noises any chance I get with her, to help desensitize her as well as work her through anything she is uncertain of. Tomorrow we will be making a trip to Home Depot, in hopes of desensitizing her even more to loud noises, new smells and crowds!
Today Gwynnie and I ventured out to Home Depot! This was a lot for her at first, as loud noises from forklifts, machines, and pallets being thrown around were at every corner. Whenever there were loud noises that caught her attention, I asked her to check in with me before she released herself trying to stay behind me. After we worked through this, she was able to hold her Extended Sit for a longer period of time as the machine went off in the next aisle over. We then emphasized our work on trust building & confidence building exercises. When we initially practiced Place with the stairs, she was very hesitant to go down up. I climbed the first step with her, encouraging her and guiding her with the leash upwards. She eventually followed it which I marked with a Yes.
Once we built consistency with Place, we worked on another confidence building exercise where she placed on top of one the carts as I pushed her. As we repetitively practiced this she became comfortable enough to lay down eventually while we walked around the store. Great job Gwynnie!
Gwynnie and I ventured out to the beach today as we explored our new environment. There were plenty of distractions to further proof her commands near, as we passed by the basketball courts, skatepark, off leash dogs, and crowds of people. Gwynnie was very overstimulated upon arriving, fixating on the bouncing balls and birds. We practiced Place which helped her calm down as she held position. Once she wasn’t whining as much, appearing more relaxed, we then Heeled towards the skatepark which was a big challenge for Gwynnie. She was nervous whenever a skateboard passed by her, but we worked through this. I stood in between her and the skateboards, to help her feel more comfortable. She released herself from the Sit position the first few times, which I corrected with a pop of the leash upwards. She then slowly began to check in with me as I stimulated her at low levels to grab her attention. If she checked in with me, I rewarded her while the loud skateboards passed by her. We have some counter conditioning to continue to work on in these environments, but this is a great start to gradually overcoming her thresholds!
Gwynnie and I went on a trip to the beach again where we exposed her some more to her triggers, as we worked through it. She does great with working in a crowd, passing by dogs, and has improved walking by the basketball courts. Her biggest challenge was working near the skateboards which we used as another training opportunity. As time went on, she began to check in with me much more frequently while they passed right by her. By adding those positive interrupters after she checks in with me near stimuli, she began to naturally offer it without me requesting it. There is still work to do near these triggers, but it’s a big step in the right direction!
Gwynnie and I spent our day together working on all of her commands as we strolled around the neighborhood. After about 10 minutes her anxiety gradually mellows down which is a very big improvement as before it took her up to an hour before she seemed somewhat relaxed in new environments. 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 Gwynnie doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Gwynnie. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare her for time apart.
Having a consistent schedule for her meal times, and removing the bowl when she is done eating is essential in being able to predict when she will need to go on a potty break. She eats at 8 a.m and 5 p.m. after each meal she goes into the kennel, until I bring her out to walk her to the grass as I tell her to “go potty”. If she has gone, then she gets free roam. If Gwynnie has not gone potty, she should not have free roam of the house. Accidents often happen when a dog has too much freedom. The kennel helps greatly with creating a consistent potty schedule, as dogs do not soil where they sleep.
Gwynnie 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 Gwynnie 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 he has learned. Thank you for trusting me with Gwynnie!