Katsu | Mixed Breed | Torrance, CA | In - Training
Meet Katsu! A one and a half year old mixed breed from Torrance, CA who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Over these next two weeks Katsu and I will be working on her leash reactivity towards other dogs, cats and squirrels. She is a very playful pup with a lot of energy which is why we will be putting an emphasis on her Greeting Manners, and Heel command as well, working towards the ultimate goal of being Off Leash! Stay tuned for her two week transformation!
Katsu and I spent the day today warming her up to her new temporary home. After getting her settling in, we hung out in the backyard together. She saw my other pups through the fence and became very excited. I will introduce her to them when she gets some foundational obedience in due to her reactivity. We will begin working on introducing her to new commands tomorrow!
Katsu and I started our day by introducing her to the Heel command while out on a walk. Heel is the action of her walking by my left hand side, turning when I turn and sitting when I stop walking. She shouldn’t be distracted sniffing around. The more she checks in with me during the Heel the better. Whenever I call Katsu’s name she is expected to offer me eye contact. Once she does I mark it with a Yes and reward. To teach Heel, I utilized a slip lead and the E collar together, pairing leash pressure with stimulation from the E collar. Initially Katsu was very excited to be out and tried to pull. Every time she pulled, I turned the opposite way with her cuing her to Heel. If she turned with me, I marked it with a Yes and rewarded her. If she kept pulling, I popped the leash in the direction I wanted her to go. After a few leash pops Katsu began to understand to follow the directional changes of the leash. Following the leash pressure is how the pressure turns off. Anytime I popped the leash I stimulated her with the E collar. The E collar has 100 different levels to it which are finely tuned to every dogs sensitivity level. The level that works for Katsu fluctuates according to her environment. While we were out on a walk we passed by reactive dogs. Katsu was alert and began to react. I never let Katsu fixate on another dog or person. She can look but not fixate as fixating leads to reactivity. When she began to fixate I created distance, popped the leash and Cued Heel. If she didn’t Heel with me I cued off then stimulated her with the E collar. Off means to leave whatever the distraction is alone. Katsu then Heeled with me and offered me her attention again as we walked in the opposite direction. We will continue to work on her Heel around dogs specifically to build consistency. I then introduced Katsu to Come to Sit. Since she quickly understood how to follow the leash pressure, it took her no time to learn how to follow the leash to Come to Sit by my left hand side ready to Heel. Towards the end of the session Katsu was very attentive, ready to work. Good job Katsu !
Today Katsu and I emphasized our work on her Heel command as we took a stroll around the neighborhood together towards the local school. We made frequent turns to redirect Katsu every time she pulled forward. It is important to turn away from whatever she tends to pull towards. Before I turn I give Katsu a heads up we are changing direction by cuing Heel. After a few turns and leash pops combined with the stimulation from the e collar, she turned with me quickly.
While out on a walk we passed by reactive dogs barking from inside their house. Katsu immediately began to lunge. I popped the leash upwards and made a 180 turn towards the opposite direction quickly along with e collar stimulation. We kept making calming circles at a threshold she was comfortable with, a little further away from the reactive dogs.Creating distance and keeping it moving with her helps diffuse the situation. When she displayed calmer body language, I had her Sit closer and closer towards the dogs which showed me where her threshold of consistency is. I then rewarded her whenever she offered me eye contact. She began to look at the dogs, then look at me. This is called a level 2 check in. Rewarding her for engagement in the scenario where she wants to react helps release dopamine which is a feel good chemical for her. That feel good chemical helps counter condition the negative/ anxious perception she has towards seeing other dogs while on leash. It also teaches her to focus on me and not the other dogs. Katsu checked in me with a numerous amount of times and stopped lunging. We then walked past the reactive dogs when she showed me she was ready. Working her near other dogs, especially reactive ones is a process that we will continue to expose her to. Working her closer and closer to her triggers, only when she is ready. Which is very important so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed and become even more reactive. We then worked on her Extended Sits. Katsu can now hold her Sit for a total of 45 seconds consistently. This is pretty impressive considering it’s early on in her training! I reward her in increments of 20 seconds while she holds her Sit. Her Come to Sit is improving, she does not resist leash pressure and follows my lead quite well! We will be weaning her off leash pressure soon for her Come to Sit.
Katsu and I spent the day Heeling together around the neighborhood. I switched her to a Herm Sprenger prong collar which she did great with! The prong collar along with guidance from me really helped improve her Heel. We passed by a reactive dog that was in their house again. I called her name and rewarded her for offering me her attention. If she fixated on the pup I pooped the leash and cued off which immediately took her attention off the dog. When I popped the leash I turned the opposite way as she followed me. Creating distance is important to diffuse any reactivity. Towards the end of the session we were able to walk past the reactive dog several times without her lunging! This is a big step in the right direction for Katsu. The next step is passing by other dogs that are not behind a barrier like a door which is more challenging.
We then worked on her Down which she learned rather quickly. She followed the leash pressure downwards as I cued down with my palms facing the floor. Excellent work Katsu! On a side note I noticed Katsu wasn’t eating all of her food so I added freeze fried toppers with a little pumpkin to her diet and she loved it!
Katsu and I emphasized our work today on her reactivity. She had her first pack walk with the other board and train pup Teagan. We started with Heeling behind the other pup which was a challenge at first. After a few leash pops and playing the name game, she began to offer me her attention and stopped lunging at Teagan. We began to work closer and closer to Teagan, until we were able to walk right by her side. Katsu held her Heel as we walked together and took turns taking the lead. Amazing progress Katsu!
Katsu Pupdate 10/7/2022
Today Katsu had the opportunity to work with a new handler. When the handler got the leash Katsu immediately began to test her new handler. As a result the handler corrected with the prong and ecollar to get her attention back on the handler. Once her and the handler started to work, her focus was on the handler. The handler would also reward the engagement that Katsu gave as well. Katsu worked on all of her extended commands with the new handler and was able to hold it as another dog was near her and working. Katsu‘s reactivity isn’t only towards animals, it’s also towards foreign objects that she is not familiar with or confident being around. Overall Katsu did great and was able to work through it, eventually being able to relax and hold a Down next to her triggers.
Katsu and I took a trip to the local Petco today. Since it was a Saturday there was a lot going on. We began by Heeling together in front of the store as dogs passed by us. Katsu was interested at first then checked in with me as soon as I cued Heel, always pairing her commands with her name first to get her attention. After she showed me she was consistent in front of the store we Heeled inside the store together where there were dogs in close proximity. Katsu did great with checking in with me as we made frequent turns together. With extra guidance around other dogs and remaining at about a distance of 10 ft or more Katsu performs her commands fluently.
Today Katsu and I worked on her reactivity around other dogs while working towards her being Off Leash. As you can see in the first part of the video, we began by using the leash to guide her through her commands. As soon as she demonstrated consistency, I dropped the leash and utilized hand signals along with stimulation from the e collar. She did great and did not react at all while we working! I then released her to play with my other pup Houey, interrupting them frequently, cuing Off so they can go quickly from play mode back to work mode. Great work Katsu!
Today Katsu and I ventured out to the park where we had the opportunity to work on all of her commands, around new pups. When we initially arrived I walked her around the park, working her at a distance. She showed consistency and checked in with me frequently. This demonstrated to me she was ready to work closer to the pack of pups. I then tested her and we walked towards the other pups. We made 180 turns every time she tried to fixate on another dog as I called her name. I marked it with a Yes whenever she responded to her name. If she didn’t offer eye contact when I Cued her name I then cued Off with stimulation from the e collar.
We emphasized our work on Place as well. Place is the action of Katsu jumping onto a new surface I point to and staying there until released. Place is great to use to build confidence and create a calm state of mind for a pup. It can be used inside the house and outside as well to prevent unwanted behaviors like reactivity and jumping. Dogs are visual learners. It helps them to have a visual target to work with. She then worked on this with another trainer to help her generalize working with whoever her handler is.
Katsu and I worked on proofing all of her commands at the local park today as well as worked on her exposure to other dogs and triggers like ducks/ squirrels! We worked on adding distance between us with her commands as well as faded out leash pressure, focusing more on stimulation from the e collar paired with visual cues. Katsu has improved with her impulse control greatly. She is obviously interested in all of her triggers, but has built the habit of checking in with me after viewing these triggers. We have been working near other trainer’s dogs as I cue her name which means to look at me. I reward frequently near her triggers but am beginning to make the reinforcement I give her more random so she doesn’t know when to expect a treat and is kept engaged. Katsu was able to hold her Extended Sit today as a small pup passed right by her! She also stayed in the Heel position as we passed by several ducks. She is demonstrating improvement near other dogs. We will continue to test her to see where her threshold lies. Although she showed she is okay with a single dog passing by her we will keep testing her near more and more dogs, as well as see how she reacts to a reactive dog while on a 15 ft leash next.
Katsu and I took a trip to the Citadel Outlets today! We had the opportunity to work on all of her commands she has learned so far around a highly distracting environment where we passed by crowds of people and even came across a reactive dog! I put Katsu to the test and Heeled with her past this dog. Right when she looked at the pup her ears pinned back and I called her name. She immediately looked at me as I said her name and I marked it right away, making a few 180 turns right next to the pup. She followed my lead and stayed engaged without reacting at all. This took great impulse control for Katsu as I can tell she was overstimulated yet working through it as this was a big milestone for her!
Katsu and I worked on proofing all of her commands near another trainer’s dog today at the park. She was able to hold her Extended Sit and Down as the dog circled around her. We then were able to Heel with the leash dragging around the other pup as well. I have noticed her main trigger is small dogs due to her strong prey drive. Her impulse control is improving every day!
Katsu and I had a fun day of training at The Block of Orange! We strolled around the outlets together and worked on greeting manners with friendly workers from the Vans store. When I say “Go say hi” to Katsu she knows exactly what it means and turns into the happiest pup! We then worked on her Place command on different surfaces to keep building confidence together. As we were working we passed by other pups and had a pack walk with another trainer’s dog. I recommend keeping up with pack walks with dogs that you trust when Katsu goes home to keep up with her impulse control when dogs are present. Excellent work Katsu!
Katsu and I started our day with a stroll around the neighborhood in the morning before we got to work on her manners. Before Katsu is fed, she is cued to Sit or Down before I bring the food over to her so she can already be in a calm state of mind. I then place the food in front of her as I go out of sight. Once I come back I release her with the cue Break! She has learned to control the impulse of wanting to go after her food right away when I am gone.
Katsu has also improved with her Greeting Manners. Even when not in the Sit position, she is rather gentle whenever approaching someone new. We have had so much fun together these past few weeks, and can’t wait to show you what she has learned! Thank you for trusting me with your pup!