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  • Writer's pictureScott Hansen

Jemma | German Shepherd | Long Beach, CA | In-Training

Meet Jemma! Jemma is a four-month-old German Shepherd from Long Beach, CA who joins us for our Two Week Board and Train Program! Jemma is full of puppy energy and is fresh off of her puppy shots ready to explore the world. Jemma needs help with learning how to be a good pup. Currently, Jemma jumps on people with her sharp puppy claws, nips at her parents, counter surfs, digs holes in the backyard, and barks at strangers and other pups. Jemma needs structure and obedience so that she can go camping and hang out at the beach with her parents. Stay tuned for Jemma's 14-day transformation!


Pupdate 3/26/23

Today I picked up Ms. Jemma! We stopped at my local park on the way home to see what she knows or doesn't know. Ms. Jemma is a puppy who has not had a chance to experience too much in the world. She is in need of learning a lot and that's what she's going to get with me!

After stopping at the park, we came back to my house so that Jemma can meet the other pups and the family. Unfortunately, Ms. Jemma threw up in the back of the car. Also, she didn't get along too well with my oversized board and train. I'll see how she gets along with just Ms. Toji and her.

Tonight, I'll take her for a walk around the neighborhood so that she can learn the sights and sounds and this is her one free walk as I observe how she behaves and determine the best way forward for Ms. Jemma. I'll also give her the ear drops and see how she does with that. She does have sharp nails. Hopefully, the concrete backyard and walking around will help dull them a little bit as well combined with the training will slow down her jumping and scratching.


Pupdate 3/27/23

Well if you wanted to look up the definition of "puppy in training", Ms. Jemma would certainly be near the top of those search results! It has been quite an interesting last 24 hours! Last night, we had a small incident where she scratched my son when I was bringing her in. She had got me also earlier in the day but it's part of my job so I wasn't too worried about it until she got my guy. That's something we could fix and work on so I decided I would take her to get her nails filed and trimmed, especially that pesky dew claw. I was able to administer the ear wash last night, followed by the medicine. Due to her car sickness earlier, I am suspecting it might have something to do with her ears and equilibrium so I am going to ensure we address her ears appropriately so that we can go to places without incidents every time. Otherwise, she's going to either love or hate baths after two weeks.

I chose not to feed her this morning because she threw up in the vehicle yesterday on the way home so I was trying to mitigate that possibility. Well, that didn't work! She threw up all the water she had ingested and whatever food was left in her tummy. I am not sure if this is car sickness or related to her ear infection possibly interfering with her equilibrium. I was already at Petco so we just rolled with it. Unfortunately, I was unable to get them trimmed today because I didn't have her updated rabies vaccine! I should have taken the picture of them yesterday when you offered (I have them now and will take her tomorrow). Well, I figured she had expelled everything out of her system so I put her in the other crate on the way home. She threw up again! So when we got home, it was time to clean out the crates and bath time! I gave Ms. Jemma a bath and then gave her breakfast. I let her finish drying and let her food settle before we conducted today's training. I'll have to come up with a creative way to mitigate the messes in the vehicle because we have a lot on the agenda for the next two weeks and we will be out and about! As far as her training goes, due to some of her puppy behavior, I introduced the e-collar last night. I exchanged the standard contact points for the 3/4" titanium ones and you will receive those when you get Ms. Jemma back. I introduced the pinch collar to Ms. Jemma today. A pinch collar is a temporary tool I use to introduce and teach the commands to a puppy like Ms. Jemma who is a little more excitable. The pinch collar is used to transfer the feeling of the neck pressure to the flat collar and then those will be replaced by the pairing of the pressure of wearing the e-collar as well as the stimulation. This whole process will take about a week or so depending on how quickly Ms. Jemma picks up on it. Once I put those tools on Ms. Jemma, she was a much better-behaved pup! We worked on the "heel", "sit" and "Off!" today. We took a walk over to my local park while practicing the "heel" and "sit". These are the foundations of the training going forward and she seemed to pick up on them well. Tomorrow, we will continue to introduce more commands as well as take another trip to Petco to get her nails filed and trimmed.

Lastly, as you can see in some of the pictures above, Ms. Jemma has some white in her left eye. I can't tell if it's cloudy or if her eye is naturally turning that color. I'll keep an eye on the eye!


Pupdate 3/28/23

Today Ms. Jemma and I picked up where we left off yesterday. I started off by taking a trip over to Petco to get the nails trimmed. I threw in one of the blankets you sent to hopefully help with her car sickness. She was drooling a lot but we did make it to my local Petco before she got too sick. She did great while at Petco and getting her nails trimmed. Much better and much more smooth. Especially that pesky dew claw. But we also have a better-behaved pup so those two things combined are going to be great overall for her behavior.

We then loaded up and headed over to Rhynerson Park in Lakewood, CA. Ms. Jemma did fine with the car ride over and I took her out for training so that she could get some fresh air. Ms. Jemma did well with her training today. She is picking up on things quickly. Today, I was able to introduce every command that she is needing for her training. We will start to hit those repetitions. I did not use the pinch collar and she's doing fine without it now that the e-collar is communicating with her. I enjoy training with her as she's learning quickly.

I have been able to administer her ear drops every day and she is doing ok with these. I hope she will be better soon and that I am administering them properly. I'm doing my best!


Pupdate 3/29/23

Ms. Jemma and I focused on her door manners today. We use "place", "sit" and "down" to reinforce the door manners. You can see in the video today that she was a little confused at first and kept getting up. Eventually, by staying persistent and consistent with what we are asking of her, she was able to catch on. I even had my little ones help with her training and love her up. She's not jumping on them anymore or behaving wildly. She has learned to be more polite. I am also not too worried about her jumping on the little ones since her nails were trimmed and even if she does decide to jump on them or me, her dew claw is nice and smooth and less likely to do much damage. I have noticed that Ms. Jemma does drool a lot when she is anxious such as in the vehicle or during training sessions. This is her physical response to being anxious. It isn't detrimental to the training and she is still performing her tasks. Her stamina is a little low but hopefully through the training sessions and hanging out with Ms. Toji, it will continue to grow.


Pupdate 3/30/23

Today Ms. Jemma and I had plans to go to a park and work on some more of her obedience out and about but the rain came and washed that all away. I decided to work on her car manners. As you can see, I started with going up and down on my patio. This is a good height for the pup to work on their agility. I go with them so they know they can do it and be confident in conducting the task. Then I'll run up with her and stop before going up because she thinks I am going to go with her. Now she understands that she can go up on her own. Then I capitalized on that behavior to work on "place", "sit" and "down". Now while she's up there, I can work on her staying, and then I can have her perform a "break!" or a "come" to sit task. That's exactly what I had her do. Once I was confident with her going up and down on her own, we switched over to the vehicle. Now that she has shown me she knows how to go up onto something higher than her on her own, I just now use the words "load up" and stimulation and were off to the races. Great work today Ms. Jemma!

I also gave Ms. Jemma another chance to socialize with my other board and train and it went a lot better today! Ms. Jemma has been hanging out with Ms. Toji on the girls' side and the young boy has been left to his side. I see that Mr. Ozzy, the other board and train, is quite fond of Ms. Jemma but Ms. Jemma doesn't share the same love that he does and I could understand why! As long as I supervise them I'll keep giving them chances to hang out as a trio.


Pupdate 3/31/23

Today Ms. Jemma and I headed out to Venice Beach, CA for some fun in the sun! Let's talk about her car ride first and foremost. I prepared by putting down potty pads to help myself out in case of any vomiting. I also skipped her breakfast to help myself out as well. The good news is that she didn't throw up but she was excessively drooling. She drooled to the point that she did get the pee pads and her front paws and chest soaked. I would be curious if it's a result of her ear infection and the medication that's exacerbating the car sickness or if she's just not quite used to it. She is only 4 months old and she has lots of time to grow out of it. Ms. Jemma has not been out much and has much to learn about the world.

As far as the training went for today, what a great day of training! Ms. Jemma was doing leash drag "heels", and performed a great extended "sit" on the basketball courts and a few extended "down". She was performing "place" on different surfaces such as concrete or wooden benches. Her "come" to sit is pretty good on the leash but still shaky with the leash dragging. We will keep working on that skill. I was quite pleased with Ms. Jemma and how well she behaved. I used my lightest and smallest lead with her all day today to simulate being off-leash as much as possible. Overall, she did well and I'm glad to see how far she has come in such a short time. As a reminder, this is purely her foundation and consistent reinforcement and practice are going to be paramount with her. You picked a great time for her training but if you don't follow through with it, it will extinct (as we call it), and she could easily go back to her old ways.

Medicine Note: I am applying her ear drops and medication but her ears are still looking pretty pink and red. I would follow up with the vet when you get her back to make sure that I was able to adequately apply the medication and that the issue has been resolved.


Pupdate 4/1/23

Today Ms. Jemma and I headed over to Rynerson Park in Lakewood, CA. We reviewed all of Ms. Jemma's commands and are getting ready to transition to being off-leash. As you can see in today's video, she is doing well with the leash dragging and her only major hiccup is the "come" to sit although she is kind of cheating over to the left and turning around instead of going all the way around me. If she gives me this behavior a few more times, I might let her do the recall that way but I'll see if she's just trying to get one over on me or if she's actually figured out the "shortcut". Either way, we get a pup who recalls into the heel position and sits. Great work today Ms. Jemma!

Car note: She threw up in the car on the way back from the park. Looks like it's going to be no food before we jump in the ride to go anywhere.


Pupdate 4/2/23

Today Jemma and I worked in the backyard on her off-leash work. My backyard is a great controlled environment where the pup can't get away and we can focus on the off-leash training. Overall, Ms. Jemma is doing well with understanding everything. As you can see in today's video, at one point she broke off. This is what's possible with off-leash training and why I start it in my backyard and not out in the open. Once I was able to get her to recall me using the stimulation, then we were back on track. One of her struggles is getting into the "heel" from the start but once I guide her into place, she does fantastic. We worked on her recall and her "place" and "down". She's still drooling excessively from the stress of the training. Keep in mind that most of what you ask of your pup won't be like this backyard session. I am asking a lot out of the pup in a back-to-back sequence. Although it seemed like she was regressing a little today, this is about the point where the pups try their luck with me again and see if I'll let them get away with taking shortcuts. No shortcuts around here! We stay persistent and consistent with our obedience and we get good results. Keep in mind that you too can practice like how I have in my yard. This will be important the first week you get back and going forward to play with her and get her to understand that the new rules transfer back home. Failure to practice and follow up could result in regression and extinction of the training. I am not sure if you can tell in the video but she comes up to jump on me a few times but only goes up a few inches so as not to go too high. This shows me that even in an excited state after "Break!" she knows not to jump on people. If you start letting her jump on you to pet her or anything like that, it's very likely she will go right back to doing it.

Lastly, I gave her some time to play with Mr. Ozzy and Ms. Toji all together. They enjoy each other's company and had a good time running around as a trio.


Pupdate 4/3/23

Today Jemma and I headed over to Mayfair Park in Lakewood, CA. There were a few things going on today such as kids playing in the park, a pickup basketball game, and a heated rivalry softball game between Lakewood High and Millikan. We stopped by the game and ran into a large pup that has clearly not been an Off-Leash student. Ms. Jemma was a perfect pup and ignored the pup that was barking and pulling at the leash. She stayed by my side and carried out her obedience like the great pup she is! Overall, we reviewed her commands with the leash dragging throughout the park due to the added distractions going on. She gets confused or anxious sometimes when performing her extended "sit" and "down" but she is really trying her best to please and do the right thing to make me happy. I just have to stay persistent and consistent. Also, today I noticed that she didn't give me excessive slobbering which could be related to her understanding of the training and that the car ride was short. Great job today, Jemma!

Ear note: Her ears looked really good today. A nice pink color that is displaying that it is healthy and normal looking. She might need one good clean out at a groomer with some cotton balls to get her all dolled up and looking like the strong german shepherd she is!


Pupdate 4/4/23

Today Ms. Jemma and I worked on cleaning up her house manners. As you can see in the video, it is important to be persistent and consistent with her training and obedience. I have done my best to teach her everything and she knows it but her anxiety and willingness to please are causing her to break every once in a while. The great news is that she isn't breaking to run away but rather to come to me. I don't mind that. Furthermore, when she doesn't want to participate and walks away, a few raises of the stimulation are enough to get her attention to come back. If your pup does wander away, do not yell at them angrily but rather use an encouraging voice while stimulating so that we are overpowering the other stimulus. We don't want to combine a negative with a negative because then we get more negative. We need to mix in some positive and encouraging recall. Then we praise them when they actually make it back so they know they did the right thing. Ms. Jemma just needs a few reminders of what we actually want her to do and then she's pretty good about carrying out the commands. I think you guys are going to have a good pup as long as you continue reinforcing the training and behavior.


Pupdate 4/5/23

Today Ms. Jemma and I headed over to Liberty Park in Cerritos, CA. The training went well. Ms. Jemma is intelligent and demonstrates a lot of really nice German Shepherd behavior. She picks up on things pretty quickly and can probably be taught all kinds of fun tricks. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to teach her anything else but you guys can teach her fun stuff as well as reinforce what I taught her which helps the relationship with you on your training journey. Ms. Jemma's training has worked and I know this because today when she went up and over a bench and kept on trucking along as if I wasn't there, I stayed calm, and kept saying "come" while raising the stimulus. As soon as she saw me again, I ceased the stimulus and opened my arms like a "Break!" command. She came back to me and I rewarded her for returning for me. We don't want to yell and scream and make the situation worse. Just stay patient and keep escalating the stimulus while repeating "come" loud enough for her to hear but not yelling at her. I was glad to see her recall and we did a few more commands before heading out for the day. Great work Ms. Jemma!

Lastly, she did throw up again in the car on the way back. She comes out full of energy and stable. I think maybe my crate is too big for her and she moves around enough to instigate the sickness. But I did try putting her blanket in there early on to stabilize her and that didn't work either. Maybe you will need to check with the vet for anti-nausea pills for car rides until she grows out of it.


Pupdate 4/6/23

Today Ms. Jemma and I did a pre-test study session. Tomorrow we are headed to the beach and I wanted to do a low-stimulus run of all her commands off-leash to make sure we were on the same page. She did amazing! Her only issue continues to be her anxiety and trying to break the "sit", "place" or "down" command to come to me. This shouldn't be a problem for any of the activities that you have planned for her because who doesn't love a pup that comes running back to our arms even when not recalled? This is much better than some pups who have avoidance behavior and head for the hills the first chance they get. I also had a chance to work on her "Off!" as she tried to eat Mr. Ozzy's food. Worked like a charm so you will have to implement things like that with her counter-surfing or attempting to eat food off the ground. This could also be a sign that she's hungry or not getting enough calories from the puppy kibble (or she's a food hound) but we should always try to control what we can control and set them up for success. If we know she's nice and full then we know she's just being a foodie and we can apply a well-timed "Off!".

Great job Ms. Jemma!


Pupdate 4/7/23

Today Jemma and I headed over to Main Street Huntington Beach, CA. As you can see, it went fantastic! Ms. Jemma is ready for her future being a well behaved pup! She has also had a reduction in her drooling when out working. She still isn't thrilled about the vehicle. She drooled all over the pee pad on the way there and then threw up on the way back.

See you in two days!


Pupdate 4/8/23

Today Jemma and I went over to Los Cerritos Center in Cerritos, CA. We practiced all her manners off-leash in a very crowded mall. She did wonderful as usual these days. Her only issue is car sickness which only manifested itself in the form of excessive drooling.

As a reminder these are all the commands and manners Ms. Jemma has been taught while here at Off Leash with me:

  1. Sit/Extended Sit

  2. Down/Extended Down

  3. Place/Extended Place

  4. Heel

  5. Come to Sit

  6. Break!

  7. Off!

  8. Car Manners "Load Up!"

  9. Door Manners

  10. Food Manners

  11. Greeting Manners

We will review all of these tomorrow with you taking the wheel and driving from here on out!



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