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  • Writer's picturecristianoffleash

Harley | Golden Retriever | Harbor City, CA | In - Training

Meet Harley! Harley is a 3 year old Golden Retriever from Harbor City, CA who has joined us for our 2 Week Board & Train Program. Harley does have good moments with his family but things Harley does while he's with them is leash pulling, barking at other dogs, and just has an overall lack of basic obedience. His barking is our main concern since this is something others can find as alarming. Inside the home Harley also has a habit of marking. So he will also be working on potty training. Harley is a genuine sweet boy but is old enough to know better inside the home, outside, and when socializing. Over the next two weeks, Harley and I will be working on his obedience and social manners. Come check out his progress with me as his trainer!


Pupdate 6/17/2024

Today I got to meet Harley and he was very energetic upon his family leaving. Harley had every idea to run and smell things in front of us so I only gave him some time to get his energy out before trying to do some training. I switched his collar and put a proper prong collar to get him used to leash pressure for today. Once we switched his collars Harley was able to heel with me and slowly pick up his engagement with me.

Once we headed back home I put his belongings away and took more time to train him in the front of my house. By continuing training every hour or every few hours he's able to remember and maintain his structure when it comes to asking him for his obedience. When practicing in the front we stayed consistent just with heeling to maintain a better walk. After this training session I walked Harley inside and he did well walking around and searching around his new environment. He met my dog through his crate and this encounter went well with both of them being neutral. Later on we introduced his e-collar which went well getting him used to the stimulation.

Our car ride went well with no issues or Harley getting car sick. Harley had some moments barking in his crate but was able to settle and stayed silent. One thing about Harley which seems noticeable is he foams at the mouth when he's stressed or really tired. I will monitor him to see if there is something more serious going on but he seems to be doing fine overall.


Pupdate 6/18/2024

Today we headed over to Whittier Narrows park in El Monte, CA to work on Harley's obedience training and to socialize amongst other team members and their dogs. When we first arrived Harley was doing well walking but the closer we got Harley started to overstimulate and began to bark towards them.

I set up the camera and begin to train Harley at a distance to work on his impulses making sure he can keep himself from lunging or pulling towards the dogs. Once we started to use the e-collar his barking and pulling started to diminish. If he could listen I would run back and say break for him to be rewarded. Break is a free/release word that gives Harley the privilege to finish training and be followed up with praise or a treat. When walking back and forth on the pavement I don't allow Harley on the grass unless I ask him if he needs to potty. I consistently walk back and forth until Harley is able to keep a better structure when turning and when he does I'm able to praise him and mark these behaviors to help him remember for the long run. When we walked around one of the other trainer's dogs Harley had every intention to pull towards the shepherd. Using the e-collar and saying off at the same time I was able to get Harley's attention but he had many moments where he wanted to break position or have small outbursts since he wasn't able to simply go see another dog. Throughout moments like this I stay calm and neutral until Harley can settle and once he does I can follow up with some praise.

Our second video clip we are working away from the dogs to learn our place obedience command. Once we were away from the dogs Harley was more settled and could practice with ease performing his sit and down on the seat part of the table. I would use no leash pressure and be on low level settings of the remote to help get Harley into the two commands. During this moment there were some of the trainers dogs barking and an ambulance going on and all these noises never bothered Harley. Each time Harley got off the bench I would say break and have him come to me for praise and restart the practice.

Few things noticeable today was Harley didn't bark after being redirected the first time. I had him pee on solid grass rather than anything that seems vertical to him such as tree's, corners of objects, poles, etc. I have prevented him each time from approach anything in that structure or form. Once we are on a plain field of grass I give him the opportunity to go and he seems to go for about 2 - 3 seconds now but very noticeable he's holding more. I praise him each time he goes on grass only and to do so I say good job or I will praise him by petting him heavily. Harley has also been doing well with greeting the trainer not jumping on anyone today. Harley didn't eat in the morning but ate later in the day so I will monitor him to see his eating patterns.


Pupdate 6/19/2024

Harley had diarrhea just before taking him out for his walk with Hunter. He got himself dirty so I showered him first and let him go for a walk to see if he still had more to go which he did. Once we were back home I cleaned his mess and we continued with the day but monitoring him to see how he is, also will be providing rice and pumpkin to help with his stomach.

We stayed home and focused on some home training to condition Harley when it comes roaming around the house. I took my dog Hunter and Harley together for a walk and they did really well. Harley takes his time to try to smell Hunter on our walks but I redirect him to maintain a pace rather than thinking we are playing just because he see's Hunter with us on the walk. Once we got home I gave them time to hang out in the backyard but Harley didn't make any action towards Hunter nor did it seem like he wanted to play.

Later on once Harley was ready to train we focused on our door manners practice. Every time I have opened a door Harley has the idea he's allowed to enter every setting first. Each time I opened a door I always asked him to sit but he would ignore me every time so each time we had the e-collar on and we were near a door I was consistently redirecting for passing an entrance without my permission. I have a place pad set for each time we have practiced in the backyard and now Harley seems more confident about waiting behind the door after 4 days of consistent training around doors. If Harley was to get up from the place pad and pass the door I would use the remote to e-collar to have him stop right before passing the door. If he comes to his own stop when walking up to the door I'll recall him and praise him which helped him figure out the difference on what to do.

We practiced many times with assistance from the remote on low level settings which was needed at times if Harley was not able to place himself. Each time I leave and come back towards Harley I close the door and immediately break Harley for his praise. I repeat this as much as I need to everyday to help with Harley having a better mindset when getting ready for the day.


Pupdate 6/20/2024

Today Harley didn't have any accident and once we were up early in the morning I took Harley and Hunter for a walk which they do well with. Harley isn't playing with Hunter but they often lay in front of each other in the backyard when I have them out. Hunter tries many times to persuade Harley into playing but Harley would rather lay down next to me.

We made our way to Santa Monica Pier today for some exposure and obedience training. When we arrived, being in a new environment had Harley wanting to pull. We were able to work through this as we made our way down to the pier. Once we found an open area to train we focused on sit and down since this was a lot for Harley to take in and focus on. When working around people passing by and with the trainers with their dogs, Harley had no intention to stay in obedience. As we worked on down, Harley would get up and try to follow me every time I stepped away. Once he is able to hold his down I am able to walk around more freely. Giving him the ability to just wait and be patient. He held his positions from 45 seconds - 1 minute before I released him to come to me to be rewarded.

Harley still needs more exposure to places like this to help with his confidence and his ability to do his obedience around heavy distractions. His confidence is there but his ability to remain in an obedience command is a non existent idea to him still when outside and always comes up to me. Once we break this habit Harley should be able to train with more ease. One last thing to note is he never barked today at any dog he saw!


Pupdate 6/21/2024

Harley and I came to Anaheim Pet & Feed Supply for more obedience training. As we made our way inside the store I took my time trying to walk in as slowly as possible to have Harley match the pace I'm walking at. He did really well and the longer we stayed I saw more of an improvement with his obedience. Seeming more calm and confident when asked for it. We had two people greet Harley which went well with no jumping. Obedience commands we worked on today were sit, down, recall and off. When being compared to every visit we've done, Harley seemed more engaged and aware of his obedience commands. We had two dogs near us when training and Harley had no ambition to bark. The only thing we had an issue with was his marking which he did right when we left passing by bully sticks, products, and etc. It's obvious that his nose is an indicator for when he needs to pee even indoors. He has been going on grass each time we've been outside but has the innate nature to still mark, even as an unneutered dog.

I've been giving the dogs more time to play and socialize in the backyard but Harley is still independent and distant from Hunter at times. This morning they did chase each other for a short moment but both came to an immediate stop then roamed around after.


Pupdate 6/22/2024

Today Hunter and Harley went on another walk together in the morning which has been going well. They have been playing somewhat in the backyard but what Harley is consistent with is running away and barking for Hunter attention and nothing more. After they have their short play I'll ask them to down which they both do.

Later on I took Harley with me to Cerritos Mall with some of my family members to go shopping. When we first arrived I made sure Harley went potty before going in. Once we were inside Harley showed a lot of confidence holding his sit or down when going into stores. I made sure to keep an eye on him when passing items in the store since he likes to mark his territory still. With every store we went into Harley did good and as we stayed inside multiple stores many people passed by us making comments such as good dog or what a behaved golden retriever. We passed by two small dogs who barked at Harley who showed no reaction towards them. After spending time walking around I separated from my family members and took Harley to an area to train.

In the video above we went into an open area for Harley to focus on his extended down which was going well but for one moment he got up just to come to me. Harley can manage himself at home when training but outside it still seems like a challenge for him but we will continue to make more visits in social environments to show Harley being outside with tons of people is normal.


Pupdate 6/23/2024

Today's focus was exercise going up and down stairs at Hillcrest Park in Downtown Fullerton and more obedience training around the park. When we first arrived Harley didn't seem too excited upon arrival but rather calm and mellow. We made our way around the park practicing our loose leash heeling which Harley did well with but at times if he didn't want to listen when being distracted by a smell he would scratch at his e-collar. This is what most dogs do when having to work on the e-collar alone when wanting it just off in general. When he scratches his e-collar without stopping I would apply small leash pressure to get him to stop in the moment but needs to be followed up with his obedience. When performing most of his obedience commands he didn't need assistance as much besides with his place command.

When making our second lap around the park Harley was tired but the moment we saw a squirrel he became very energetic and started to bark. I redirected him once with the e-collar and he stopped and was confused momentarily on what to do. I kept asking for his heel to walk with me and after a few seconds he turned away looking at the squirrel back to me. As we made our way back towards the baseball field I had Harley practice his place obedience command which he was doing with more ease. When heeling him with the leash dragging he had moments trying to create space but I used the e-collar to assist him back closer to me which was working at times but we will take more time to practice this for a better walk together.


Pupdate 6/24/2024

Today we focused on some home training conditioning Harley up to offleash obedience. We started off with our usual walk in the morning with Hunter which has been going very well with no issue asking him to potty when Hunter goes as well. Harley isn't playing or messing with Hunter on the walks but maintains his obedience with him.

Our first practice today is door manners. Which has been going well as each day goes by. Sometimes, with the front door early in the morning, Harley can get overly excited. But keeping him in obedience with Hunter always helps seeing him do it as well. During this practice I won't use a place pad just to see if Harley would act on impulse getting up from the floor rather than the platform we always train with. Harley stays in the backyard until I get back and once I close the door I break him for his praise. Our second practice is recall, which Harley has trouble performing offleash. I keep working with him on leash for conditioning and to see his reactions once I let go of the leash to ask for his recall.After a few tries he performs one of his recalls with ease but we need to keep working on this in different areas around distractions. For our last practice I had Harley place himself into a down while I walk around the house and open the door. He used to follow me around when I would try to create distance from him. After many tries I'm able to ask him to down in the house while brushing my teeth or going into the kitchen to get something. Throughout the clip I go through every side of the house to see if Harley would follow me but he remains in the middle as I asked. Once I'm done I say break and Harley comes to me for his praise. 


Pupdate 6/25/2024

Today we headed back to Whittier Narrows Park to train around the Offleash team and practice more of our obedience training. When we first arrived and more dogs started to show up with their trainers, Harley slowly started to get overstimulated and would try to mess around when training which is seen in the beginning of the video,

After some time I took Harley away from everyone just to work one on one with him. When working away from the dogs and trainers Harley is more consistent and had the confidence to work on his obedience. Our new practice today was greeting manners which most of the other trainers helped participate in. Harley has always been good when being approached even if some people don't know how to approach Harley. Harley just wants to be petted and loved each time he has interaction with people and everyone who came up to him spoke to him nice and genuinely. The last video clip is Harley training with my younger brother who is aware of how to train dogs. I have him work with him on leash to get used to these patterns as well when Harley goes back to his human siblings. Keeping Harley obedient when working with kids is crucial when socializing around more kids and understanding right from wrong. When my brother walks behind Harley he gets up as he would with me when training so Nick immediately grabs the leash to redirect Harley. Once Nick is done he gets to Harley's eye level and says break so Harley can be praised.

One thing to note about today is if Harley see's dogs he can get overly excited in the beginning if obedience training isn't implemented. Once he is being asked for his obedience it helps settle him with his environment and everything coming his way.


Pupdate 6/26/2024

Today Hunter and Harley had their walk early in the morning before having some bonding time in the backyard. I recorded their behaviors of what they typically display with each other. They have some ambition to try to play but Harley seems to be more confused on what to do when Hunter tries to initiate his play. Harley would rather lay next to me or be by my side and watch Hunter roam around which isn't a bad thing either since they want their own space.

After we focused on some offleash obedience in the backyard focusing on recall and place since these are the only obedience commands Harley can take his time with. It's obvious he wants to take initiative of our practice when he knows he offleash but the consistency of using the remote when Harley doesn't listen helps. In the video above he shown more of a understanding and was able to work more without the remote. We trained throughout the morning working offleash throughout the bark yard making sure Harley understands to stay next to me until he's given his break. Our last practice was with my younger brother focusing on Harley's recall. Once my brother has the leash and remote I ignore Harley completely and let the two work together. If Harley makes a mistake my brother will correct it or redirect Harley into his proper obedience. They practice recall but Harley was tired at this point of the day so I had Nick ask Harley to go into his down after being recalled. Once they are done I break Harley to come to me for training with someone else, even in a situation like these Harley should be rewarded since he's being asked for something!


Pupdate 6/27/2024

Today we went to Santa Monica Pier again to work on our obedience training but we had some issues today with Harley's ability to not care once his leash can be taken off. When working around the Pier on leash we had no problems working or attempting our obedience. When working offleash Harley is very aware and since he was outside with very heavy distractions, Harley's training was non-existent. Harley tried to travel distant from me or proceed to run when heeling and nearly went into a group of people's feet to lay down on them. At this point he needed to be back on leash and we spent the remainder of the day working on the pier and the shopping center nearby. We focused on all obedience commands while on leash and Harley was more motivated to perform.

We spent the rest of the day conditioning Harley's offleash obedience to keep it consistent and help build his confidence overall. If Harley can't keep his offleash obedience consistent when outside I will attach his leash back on to continue to work through this threshold to help with his engagement.


Pupdate 6/28/2024

Today we headed over to Brea Mall for some exposure and to practice our offleash obedience training. When we first entered I had dropped the leash to act as if I was holding onto it so Harley wouldn't notice. We were having many moments of success being able to perform most of our obedience without issue. Once we made our way around the mall I had my brother record part of our training. We couldn't practice place near a fountain since security told us we couldn't have Harley on the platform next to it so we continued to walk again throughout the mall which is seen in the video above. Harley walks with me and we are able to have Harley perform his extended down while people walk around us. He shows much confidence with less distractions and is frequently checking for me for confirmation. As we make our second walk through the mall Harley doesn't try to let his nose distract him and keeps his head more straight rather than looking around.

We spent the remainder of the day again focusing on Harley's offleash obedience throughout the house making sure he can stay close to me until he's given his break to do as he pleases in my house. He is doing very well but only in the morning he gets excited to try to break his obedience to go for our walks which he can always be redirected.


Pupdate 6/29/2024

Today we headed over to the Outlets of Orange in Orange, CA to work offleash as we have a few days left into Harley's board & train. Once we got to the outlets we stayed in cool areas to train only and as we made our way around people. Harley was more engaged with staying closer to me but he needed low level stimulations from the e-collar to get his attention back onto me. In these moments Harley could easily be motivated by the e-collar as long as it's used in the correct moment.

In the video above after some time of walking around I record to show Harley's progression with his offleash obedience with him. He will always have an interest in things he knows he can mark but when I tell him "off" he understands to ignore the many objects he wants to pee on. We make our way into some shade to have him hold his sit which he does so I stay close to him to prevent him from going into a down. As long I'm at face value he seems to be more confident offleash in this moment. After I ask for his recall which he does and he is rewarded as always for being a good boy.

Our last practice was conditioning with the gentle leader to show many variations of Harley and how he works with different "equipment". The gentle leader does well with him for a decent amount of time but he has small moments to try and take it off, even seen in the video above. He does this once today during the last video clip but overall this is Harley's behavior with things he doesn't like or know so he has the willingness to try and overcome it. If he gets used to this and tries more training equipment later on that has a different feeling to it, Harley could react to these things or moments. It's not out of aggression but more of a stubborn attitude of someone who doesn't want to do anything or know the feeling of attempting something new.

Harley spent the rest of the day lounging with Hunter since it was a family member's birthday so he got to spend time around people who came over to my house today. Harley was very respectful and always has been when greeting people since day one of his boarding.


Pupdate 6/30/2024

Today is Harley's last day of his board & train so we had our last walk with Hunter in the morning. I gave them time to play as always and they did the bare minimum as before but lay next to each other regardless if it's inside or out in the backyard. We practiced our obedience after with door manners, food manners, and car manners which went well.

In the videos above Harleys is seen doing all of his house manners with ease. He is offleash able to wait or listen in every area of the house now, even if he is excited or has zoomies. In the video above I circle in the backyard before leaving towards the front. Once I return I ask Harley to heel once I'm placed next to him. He walks with me at a slow pace and we make our way to the front. Our food manners practice went well with the tv being on and my mother cooking in the kitchen. I make my way around the house and Harley waits patiently until he is given his break to eat. Our last practice is our car manner which is short with Harley waiting to go inside the car's crate.

Later on before the heat set in we went to a park near my house to spend some more one on one time running in the grass or playing with a toy. Harley was offleash and all he wanted to do was lay down with his toy or lay next to it. We spent about thirty minutes here to give him a chance to just hang out and relax which he did. I ran around more to motivate him but he doesn't seem as motivated compared to other energetic dogs. We had one dog pass by us and as soon as I asked for his off he gave me his attention and settled.

Harley's board and train has been fun and exciting to see him improve daily. He has been a joy to my family and respectful each time he has been around another human. For most places he has visited he has done well besides an area with overwhelming amounts of people. For Harley most shopping centers, parks, and outlets he has shown much confidence in. Each time he has met a stranger outside he has shown the same respect regardless of who they are, young or old. It's going to be exciting for Harley now since he gets to go home back to his family and bring them happiness! I will miss Harley's aura of happiness each time I look at his face since it's not so common to see a golden retriever as handsome as Harley. He is ready to go back and will be missed!



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