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  • Writer's pictureAdrienne Lascari

Harbour | Husky Mix | Seal Beach, CA | In-Training

Meet Harbour, a one year old Husky Mix from Seal Beach, CA. She has joined OffLeashSoCal for our Three Week Board and Train Program. Harbour is a great companion who loves people and dogs. Although she gets along with everyone, her excitement can be hard to control. Harbour tends to jump to greet, pull on the leash during walks, and does not come when recalled. She becomes distracted out in public and has a hard time holding her commands. Over the next three weeks Harbour will be working on her off leash obedience and manners. Tune in to see Harbour's transformation!


Pupdate 1/14/2024

Harbour did great settling into our home! She was very excited to explore and was friendly to all our pups. She was ready to play and run around right away. Harbour's excitement made her want to jump on everyone she met, including me when I would give her attention. Her jumping to greet will be something we will work on during her training. I am happy to see Habrour fitting in with the pack and we can't wait to get started on her training!


Pupdate 1/15/2024

Today for Harbour's first day of training, she learned the command 'place'. This is a command where I ask Harbour to place on an object other than the floor. This could be like the place cot I am using in the video, a blanket, dog bed, or a chair. When first teaching Harbour place, I started with luring her on the cot with treats. Once she is fully on the cot, I either ask her to sit or down. Once she does the command I tell her to 'break' which is her release word. Break is like a reward where we release Harbour from the command and give her attention and get her excited for doing a great job. The only time Harbour should get up from her command is when we say 'break'.


Harbour did great learning a new command! She was nervous to get on the place cot at first, but after some repetition, she had no trouble jumping on the cot. Harbour already knows sit and down, so we were able to implement those commands into place. Harbour showed she can be a little stubborn when asking her to do a command, but I held her accountable to follow through. She also gets very distracted and tries to either get up from her sit or down, and tries to step off the place cot. When this happens, I make sure to put Harbour back into the command she was in, and have her hold it until I release her with a break. Harbour can only hold her commands for a few seconds and she tries to get up if I create any distance. This is normal for her first day. I practiced on her holding the command longer and longer each repetition and with more practice we will be able to move around while Harbour holds the command.


 Place can be used in many ways. It's a great place for dogs to relax, which means it can be used to help bring your pup's energy down. For instance, since Harbour gets very excited to meet people and tends to jump on them when saying hello, I would put Harbour in a place before opening the door to let guests in. This helps prevent Harbour from being right in front of the door and rushing into your guests. You can also use place at the vet when putting Harbour on the scale, or even when out in public and want to take a cute picture of Harbour on a bench!


Today we also got to introduce the E-collar and teaching Harbour what the stimulation means. I have attached a video providing information on the e-collar. Harbour's collar will have titanium contact points. When teaching Harbour any new command, I do not start off using the e-collar. This is because she has no understanding of the command and will make mistakes, which is great for learning! The e-collar will be used once she knows the command and if she does make a mistake, we can correct her by giving the stimulation. Since Harbour knows sit and down, I used it when asking her those commands.


After a long day of training, Harbour got to play with her sister and new friends. For her first day, Harbour did great and was quick to learn new commands!


Pupdate 1/16/2024

Today Harbour and I worked at Hacienda park on her heel and duration sit and down. We also got to practice more of the command place but on different objects around the park. We practiced around little to no distractions and away from Doozie to have Harbour's full attention during training. 

When teaching Harbour heel I started off with treats to guide her in the right position and to also keep her engaged. With a heel I want Harbour to be on my left side, her ears lined up with my leg, and she is not too far ahead of me nor falling behind. Also, we should be close together where there is no gap in-between us. She also should not be distracted whether thats her sniffing the ground or fixating on other dogs or people. It is okay for dogs to look around during a heel, but the main goal is to have them focused on where we are walking and not breaking the heel because of any distractions. 

Overall, heel is a structured walk. Although, it is understandable that pups either want to run around at the park or need to go potty during that walk. During these instances, you can heel Harbour to the grass and say 'break!'. This allows us to decide when she can be released from a command rather than her running off herself.

Harbour was a little stubborn at times when learning heel. When she does not want to walk, she will lay on the ground and not move. When this happened, I gave her a correction with the e-collar and she got up and started to walk with me again. She engaged with the treats at first and was doing great staying by my side, but she soon got over them and plopped herself on the ground again. I continued to work Harbour through her stubbornness. She does great not pulling on the leash, although at times she does start to get ahead of me. When this happens, doing a sharp left turn can help. At any point I noticed her ears getting ahead of my leg, I would say heel first, then turn left, causing Harbour to bump into my leg. After a few times of her bumping into me, she won't want to lead and realize she should stay focused on where I’m going. If she is falling behind, then a right turn will cause tension on the leash causing Harbour to catch up. Adding turns when first teaching heel will help keep Harbour engaged during the walk. 

We also got to work on Harbour’s duration with sit and down. She is starting to hold the commands longer and I can start adding more distance between us! She is a little more stubborn when asking her to go into a down, but that is normal for any pup in the beginning of training. Down is a more vulnerable position, so going into a down in an unfamiliar place can be uncomfortable. Although it took a few times of asking and holding Harbour accountable, she went into a down. Since she is struggling a little with this command, I had her go into a down during place, which helps her feel more comfortable than just being on the floor. With more practice and exposing Harbour to new environments, her confidence will grow and she will easily go into a down wherever she is. 

Overall, Harbour did great learning heel and is already showing improvements! I'm happy to see her not pulling on the leash like she did day one. She also is holding her commands longer and is showing she understands 'place' by jumping on different objects, other than the cot.


Pupdate 1/17/2024

Today Harbour and I trained at Lowe's. She learned a new command, come to sit. We also continued to work on all the other commands Harbour now knows. With come to sit, I want Harbour to come around my right side to my left and sit. This way, Harbour is already on my left side ready to either heel or go into the next command we give her. Her sit should be structured like heel where she is sitting with her ears lined up to my left leg, facing the same way as me, and there's not a gap in between us.

Harbour caught on to learning the command pretty quickly. To keep her engaged and having fun, each time she followed through with the command, I would break her and throw the treat for her to chase. This also helps teach Harbour to come even if she is distracted. After a while Harbour didn't feel like training anymore and she would lay down and not move once again. I made sure to work her through her stubbornness. Once Harbour started to follow through again, she showed she was understanding the new commands.

We also practiced more on her duration sit, place, and down. She is doing great and I am even confident enough in her to drop the leash and walk around her in low distraction areas. Her heel is getting a lot better, although she saw Amanda working with Doozie across the way and she wanted to go with her. I gave her a correction to get her focus back on me and we continued to walk around. She doesn't lead at much anymore, only when she wanted to be with Doozie.


Pupdate 1/18/2024

Harbour and I worked at home today on all the commands she has learned. She shows she understands all the commands, so we are working on her holding them longer. We also want Harbour to follow through with the commands quicker. It tends to take a few times of asking Harbor a command with e-collar corrections until she follows through. We did lots of repetition and after a while of practice Harbour was getting better at following through with commands. We are still working on her position when going into a sit. At times she will turn away from me or turn towards something she is focused on which shows she is distracted. On her heel, she is doing great and I am able to have a loose grip without her causing any tension. Overall I see Harbour still showing improvements each day and we will continue to work on each command.


Pupdate 1/19/2024

Today Harbour learned a new command, 'under'. This is a command where I ask Harbour to go under an object whether that is a park bench, table, or chair. Under is great for having Harbour lay under a table or chair when you go out to eat. It gets her out of the walkway and it can be a place for her to relax. When first teaching Harbour I did not use the e-collar and also lured her with treats. Sometimes under can be confused with place so when making a gesture, place your hand under the object. For place you can gesture on top of the object or tap the top as well. Harbour was very quick to learn this command, like all the others. She also was more willing to follow through with each command. We worked a little on Harbour's leash dragging skills during heel. She stayed focused throughout training, but sometimes Harbour would stop to smell things around us. I gave her a correction to bring her back to focus, but after we were done working, I told Harbour break and let her explore. Harbour had a great day of training today!


Pupdate 1/20/2024

Today Harbour and I worked at the Brea Mall. It was busy, so Harbour was able to be exposed to lots of distractions. At first she was overwhelmed with everything going on around her. She was scared to walk past the escalator and loud noises would cause her to lose focus. I headed to an area in the mall that was not as busy and we got to practice on all the commands. Harbour is still struggling to follow through with come to sit, but I held her accountable and did lots of repetition till she was doing it correctly. She understands the command but at times she just doesn't feel like doing it. After giving her a correction, she would follow through right away. Once I saw she was not as distracted, we continued to walk around the mall. Harbour did great heeling past everyone, but she couldn't resist wanting to play with little kids that ran by. I gave a correction when she wasn't focused during the heel which brought back her attention. For Harbour's first time being out in a busy environment, she did great, and we will continue to work around more distractions.


Pupdate 1/21/2024

Today Harbour and I headed to the Cerritos Mall which was very busy. Harbour got to practice working with Amanda today. Harbour was a little overwhelmed by the environment and loud noise but she did well working through it. She did great holding her commands when we practiced duration down. She had a little trouble holding her sit because her paws were sliding from the smooth floor. We also got to work on under which she had a little trouble with at first, but with practice she started to follow through with the command. Harbour did great working around lots of distractions and can easily heel even when I have a loose grip on the leash!


Pupdate 1/22/2024

Today Harbour and I headed back to the Brea Mall but this time Doozie and Amanda joined us for some training together. I wanted to see how well Harbour could keep her focus around Doozie, so we heeled around the entire mall on leash first. She was doing well so I decided to practice with Harbour off leash! She had no problem following through with sit, down, and place, but in the video you can see a few times where Harbour was looking for Doozie. She even tried to head her way after breaking place. I gave her a correction and guided her back onto the place. She was falling behind on her heel as well, but I gave her a correction which caused her to catch up with me. We practiced some more after correcting those few mistakes and Harbour started to do each command smoothly! She even stopped worrying about Doozie. We will continue to practice Harbour being off leash and also working with her and Doozie together.


Pupdate 1/23/2024

Today Harbour and Doozie trained together at the park. Amanda was able to work with both the girls off leash. We hooked their collars together so they don't get too far from each other while heeling. The girls did great working together with only a few mistakes! When Amanda put them on a place, Doozie got excited and started to roll around, tangling up the clip connecting them. She adjusted the girls and got back to cleaning up their commands together. Their biggest struggle was doing a come to sit. When one would do the command correctly, the other would fall behind. We focused more on come to sit and did lots of repetition to fix their mistakes. We will continue to practice with the girls working together and working towards them being off leash around more distractions!


Pupdate 1/24/2024

Today Harbour and Doozie trained at the Block of Orange. They don't allow pups off leash here, so we worked on leash dragging. The girls are working better together and are showing lots of improvement. They struggled a little with doing under together, but once we took off the clip hooking them together, they were able to follow through. They're still learning how to position themselves correctly when following through with a command together. Overall the girls are doing great and were able to work around more distractions today.


Pupdate 1/25/2024

Today Harbour and I worked at home on her food and door manners. Before feeding Harbour, I make her either sit or down and wait until I say break for her to get her food. It teaches pups to wait patiently and prevents them from eating things off the floor that they should not be eating. Harbour did get excited a few times and broke command. When this happened, I would pick up the bowl and put her back where she was sitting. With some practice, Harbour was able to wait till I told her break.

We also worked on her door manners. This is great for preventing pups from running out the door right when it opens. We practiced with me opening the door, walking out, and having distractions like Doozie running around. At first when Harbour saw Doozie she wanted to run out and play, so I gave her a correction and placed her back where she was laying for reinforcement. Again, with more practice Harbour was able to wait patiently till I came back in and heeled her out.


Pupdate 1/26/2024

Today Harbour and I trained at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She did great walking through the crowds and holding her commands as I walked away. She also practiced working with Doozie, which they are showing lots of improvements! Harbour was calm and ignored all distractions, even other pups walking by. She did stop to sniff the ground during a heel, but I corrected her which caused her to bring her focus back on me. Today was a great day of training for Harbour around lots of distractions!


Pupdate 1/27/2024

Today Harbour and I stayed home to work on her send away to place. We started off close to the place cot, then each time I would break Harbour, I would take a step back. When she had trouble at a certain distance, we moved forward again and practiced a little more at the shortened distance. With lots of repetition, we were able to create more distance between us and the place cot. Harbour even had her friend join us to be a good distraction while we trained. Harbour did great going onto a place without me having to be next to the cot. If we were out in public and I would want to practice send away to place on a bench, I would first introduce her to the object by having her place with me close by, then start creating distance each time she would follow through.



Today the girls, Amanda, and I headed to The Shoppes at Chino Hills. Harbour and Doozie practiced their commands with me today. We didn't clip their collars together to see how well they can follow through without one pulling the other. They struggled a little with their come to sit as you can see in the video one would do it correctly but the other would circle around again. All the other commands they did great with! When putting them in an under, they would lay halfway under the bench, so we practiced on adjusting their position for a correct under. They did great heeling past distractions and even stayed in command as other dogs walked by.


Pupdate 1/29/2024

Today Harbour and Doozie worked together at La Mirada Regional Park. We focused more on cleaning up their positioning with come to sit and heel. They have been doing great working together and learning from their mistakes. Harbour and Doozie have gotten a lot better at distinguishing between under and place. They were able to work around more dog distractions today which they did great ignoring! Harbour has been working so hard that each day she comes home from training, she takes a long nap in the sun.


Pupdate 1/30/2024

Today Harbour and Doozie trained together at the Citadel outlets. The girls did great working together today! Their only struggle was going into an under. So after we went through all the commands, we spent a little more time focusing on under. We first practiced with the girls individually, then once they got it down, we brought them together for some more practice. They were able to go into an under together smoothly without one confusing the other!


Pupdate 1/31/2024

Today Harbour and Doozie worked on their food manners, door manners, and load up. The girls did great not breaking command when temptations were put in front of them. Doozie was more excited about her food than Harbour, but they were able to both wait patiently until I said break. Even with door manners, the girls stayed in command as I opened the door and even walked around with the other pups outside. Harbour will always take advantage of holding a down since she'd rather be relaxing anyways. We also got to work on their send away to load up. We first started off close to the car, but I saw the girls were doing great at a short distance, so I put them to the test and created lots of distance between us and the car. The distance was no challenge for the girls because they were able to follow through with the command on the first try!


Pupdate 2/1/2024

To stay out of the rain, we all headed to Lowe’s for training today. The girls are doing great working together with little to no mistakes made. Amanda and I wanted to practice where the girls work with both of us at the same time. We worked on heeling altogether and alternating who puts them into a command. For example, I would have the girls go into a down, then Amanda would jump in and have them come to sit with her. The girls have been working so hard and are doing amazing with everything they have learned!


Pupdate 2/2/2024

Today Harbour and Doozie headed to Santa Monica Pier for some training. They were very excited to be out by the beach. Amanda and I worked on walking the girls together. They did great working past all the distractions! There was one time where Harbour got distracted by some people running by, but I gave her a correction and she went back into a down. Harbour and Doozie can't wait to go home and show you all that they have learned!


Pupdate 2/3/2024

After three weeks of working hard, Harbour had the day off to play. She ran around with her friends and explored. She has learned so much and has improved on all her obedience and manners. The rest of the day Harbour spent napping in the sun. 


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