Kyia | French Bulldog | Pasadena, CA | In-Training
Meet Kyia, a nine-month-old French Bulldog from Pasadena, California! She's here with us for our Two Week Board and Train Program to learn basic obedience and potty training. Kyia is a very friendly and energetic pup, but she is easily distracted by her surroundings and often struggles to maintain the focus needed to reliably listen to what is asked of her. She also likes to pull on the leash and dart around in different directions while walking, which can make it difficult to walk with her. She also has some bad habits such as jumping on people, behaving stubbornly, and trying to run away. Over the next fourteen days, we will be working to improve Kyia's obedience, manners, and overall listening skills to set her on the right track to becoming a well-behaved pup both on and off leash! Stay tuned for her transformation!
Today Kyia and I spent the day bonding, getting to know each other, and testing her knowledge of commands. After her pickup, we headed over to a local park where we could assess her behavior while in a public environment around common distractions. Such distractions included groups of people, other dogs, fields of grass, and small animals like birds and squirrels. Overall Kyia seemed happy and excited to be out and about with me, however, she was highly distracted by anything and everything in the area. This caused her focus to bounce between distractions, rarely allowing for the opportunity to focus on me. She was also keen on eating grass and other objects on the ground, and pulled on the leash often trying to move towards people, dogs, or other things she found interesting. I worked to build a bond with her by talking to her, getting her attention, and giving her praise and affection anytime she focused on me or displayed calm behavior. She did sometimes jump on me when she got too excited while I gave her attention, though this is something we will be working to eliminate as she progresses in her training.
While at the park we began testing her knowledge of commands, to get an idea of her starting point and what areas of her training might need some extra work. She was sometimes able to perform the Sit command, however it was very inconsistent and she rarely followed through with the command when asked. Usually, she would ignore it and walk away, or sometimes she would plop down and begin rolling around in the grass, which was very cute, but certainly not the desired outcome for the command. When she did listen and Sit when asked, she was only able to hold the position for a few moments before getting back up or walking away again. She didn't seem to understand the Down command, and was not able to lie down when asked to. She did however choose to lie down frequently in her own time, as it seems to be a comfortable position for her. This may come in handy for when we begin teaching her the Down command in a few days! She didn't seem to have any understanding of the Heel command, and was constantly veering off in different directions or trying to pull on the leash. Kyia didn't appear to have any understanding of recall either, and was typically uninterested in coming to me when asked. Though with enough encouragement and excitement, she was sometimes able to come over to me when called, though it was not consistent or reliable. When she did come to me, she rarely came all the way to me, and was quick to wander back off immediately after approaching. She didn't seem to have much understanding of leash pressure either, and would often completely ignore or try to resist the pressure when it was used to guide her.
When it was time to head home from the park, I tested to see if she could jump into the back of my car, though she seems to be a bit too small to do it by herself and was not interested in attempting the jump. Thankfully, she was comfortable being picked up, and was calm and happy while I placed her into the car. She wasn't quite sure about going into the kennel, but didn't put up a fight or try to resist at all when guided into it, and was happy to settle down quietly in the kennel for the drive home. Once home with me, we played with some toys and I gave her some time to acclimate and explore the new environment. She seems to be settling in quickly, and is not showing any signs of stress or anxiety which is great to see! She ate most of her dinner, and was able to go potty outside shortly after. During her first few days with me, I will be taking her out to potty every couple of hours to help her develop good habits about where to go potty and reduce the chances of accidents as she gets settled into my home. Once a good routine is set, we will begin gradually increasing the duration between potty breaks, which will help her develop the ability to hold it for extended periods throughout the day without having accidents. When it was time to settle into the kennel for bed, she was happy to enter it when prompted, and was calm and quiet until she fell asleep.
Today Kyia and I worked around different areas of my neighborhood, where we introduced her to leash pressure and the e-collar, as well as the Come to Sit command. Since she is easily distracted, working in a calm and quiet environment at first can help give her the best opportunity to learn and succeed in the early stages of her training. There were still some minor distractions around which Kyia found herself distracted by, though she did seem a bit more calm and focused than while we were at the park yesterday. We also kept our training sessions to the morning and evening hours, since Kyia doesn't do well in the heat and is quick to suffer from its effects due to her breed. The goal is to keep her happy, healthy, and comfortable so she can enjoy her time with me and be in a good environment to learn and grow!
Pressure is a fundamental tool used in teaching basic obedience commands. The idea is that whenever pressure is applied, be it from a leash or an e-collar, it is paired with a command. The pressure then remains present until Kyia follows the pressure and the command being given. The moment she follows through, the pressure immediately turns off and a reward is given. Kyia loves verbal praise and physical affection, so this is a great way to mark good behavior and reward her! Yesterday whenever the leash was used to apply pressure, she would resist it and try to pull in the opposite direction, so it was clear she didn't quite understand the concept of leash pressure just yet. In order to properly introduce the e-collar, it's very helpful for Kyia to first have a solid understanding of leash pressure, as leash pressure is the most simple form of pressure due to the directional guidance it provides. We spent this morning focusing on teaching her what leash pressure means, and how to turn off the pressure once it's applied. She learned that trying to resist it was not successful or rewarding, and that simply following the directional pressure provided by the leash and paying attention to what I was asking of her was very rewarding! During our evening session, she did much better and showed a good understanding of leash pressure, so we introduced the e-collar as an additional form of pressure. By pairing these two forms of pressure simultaneously, she will come to understand that each pressure has the same meaning. This will allow the leash and e-collar to be used interchangeably, and eventually open the opportunity to begin training with the e-collar only, without the need for any leash pressure! The command introduced today is the Come to Sit command, which is our main form of recall. The goal for this command is for Kyia to come directly to me when called, and perform a Sit on my left side. Before today, Kyia had very little recall ability, and was very prone to wandering back off shortly after approaching. Teaching her to always Sit next to me after being recalled will ensure she stays close by after the recall, as well as set her up in the proper positioning to begin walking in the Heel position once that command is introduced. We began introducing this command by teaching her the concept of "Come" by giving the verbal command and pairing it with pressure to guide her towards me. With her understanding of leash pressure, she was able to follow its guidance and come to me for a reward! With successful repetition, she showed progress in understanding the command and became more reliable with listening. Once she understood she was to come to me when called, we introduced the second part of the command, which is the maneuver to my left side for a sit. Once she got to me after being called, pressure was used to guide her around to my left side, where I then asked her for a sit. She was sometimes stubborn about this, but the more we practiced the easier time she had performing the command in its entirety. More work will need to be done before she is reliable and consistent with this command, though she is off to a great start today!
Today Kyia and I visited a local park, where we continued working on the Come to Sit command from yesterday, as well as introducing the Heel command. The park was on the quieter side when we visited, which was a great environment for Kyia to learn in. There were some low-level distractions to practice around and begin familiarizing her with, such as the grass, sounds of cars from the nearby street, and other people and dogs in the general area. Overall she did a pretty good job of focusing and paying attention, and is starting to show some level of self-control and ability to ignore distractions when asked! We will continue visiting gradually more distracting environments, to continue socializing her and getting her used to the various types of distractions commonly found when in public places. We continued practicing some more with the Come to Sit command while at the park. At first she didn't seem to remember the command at all, though after we spent some time working on it, she began to pick up on it again and was happy to continue learning and improving. She still needed consistent and clear leash pressure to guide her towards me and around to my left side for a sit, though she is beginning to show some understanding of the e-collar which is a good sign! She was sometimes stubborn about performing a Sit when asked, though by being consistent and not giving up, she began to understand that protesting or behaving stubbornly would not yield the result she was hoping for. She seemed to realize that simply following through with the simple and familiar command of Sit was much more rewarding, as the pressure would turn off and lots of praise and rewards would be received!
While walking around the park, we also began introducing the concept of Heel. The goal for the Heel command is for Kyia to remain directly beside me on my left side, with her feet at my heels. This precise positioning takes a lot of practice to master, but it will eventually decrease and eliminate the chances of her pulling on the leash or veering off in different directions, and allow her handler to take the lead on walks. To introduce this command, I kept the leash short but loose, and ensured she stayed on my left side in roughly the Heel position as we walked. If she began to veer off or pull ahead, leash and e-collar pressure were applied, and the verbal command was repeated. She eventually began to grasp the concept, and stopped trying to pull every which way, instead learning to follow the guidance of the leash. She also began to associate the verbal command with pressure and fixing her position, and became quicker to respond and follow my guidance when the command was given. When walking in the correct Heel position, the leash was rather loose, no pressure was applied, and lots of praise and reward were given to communicate that this was the desired position! Moments of loose leash walking weren't very common or long-lasting today, though when they were present I rewarded her a lot to tell her she's doing a great job! As she gets better with this command, she will have an easier time staying in the Heel position without as much guidance, and need to be reminded less and less!
Today Kyia and I visited a local park, where we continued practicing Heel and Come to Sit, as well as introduced the Place command. This park was moderately low on the scale of potential distractions, providing Kyia with good chances of success in learning and focusing on her training. Overall she did a pretty solid job of keeping her attention on task and away from the distractions, and is beginning to show some understanding of the "Off" command. The goal for the Off command is for Kyia to stop whatever she is doing, and redirect her focus back onto me. This command is similar to "no" or "leave it" and can be used in a wide variety of situations, such as when she is distracted by something, trying to eat something off the floor, jumping on someone, etc. This command allows for clear communication with Kyia, allowing us to interrupt and discourage bad behaviors. This combined with reinforcing and praising good behaviors makes learning right from wrong very clear and easy for Kyia to understand. When she is calm, focused, and listening, she is rewarded with lots of praise, and if she becomes distracted while being asked to do something, she is getting better about responding to the Off command to regain her focus. We began our session by continuing with our work on the Come to Sit and Heel commands. She has shown good improvement with both of these commands, though did still have a few stubborn moments. When she doesn't feel like doing something, she will jump around, bite at the leash, try to pull away, etc. This behavior might have worked in the past in getting her out of having to do what is asked of her, but she is coming to realize that behaving like this is no longer effective or rewarding in the way she may have hoped. We worked her through these moments by remaining calm and consistent with the commands, not giving in to her stubborn behavior, and ensuring she followed through with what was asked of her. She would eventually give up on trying to throw a mini tantrum, and would quickly go right back to her happy self the moment she followed the command, as she quickly realized praise and rewards would be given! With more practice and training, we should begin to see a dramatic decrease in her level of stubbornness, as she will come to understand that it's never effective or appropriate, and that the best way to get what she wants is to instead display good listening skills and obedience. Stubborn moments aside, she seemed to have an easier time sticking beside me in roughly the correct position for Heel, and wasn't trying to pull on the leash or veer off nearly as much as yesterday. Her Come to Sit was also slightly better, and she didn't need quite as much leash pressure to get her attention or to guide her over to my left side for a sit, and seemed to be a bit more familiar with the maneuver overall.
Kyia was also introduced to the Place command today. The goal for the Place command is for Kyia to jump or climb onto an object, and hold a stationary position, such as Sit or Down. Objects used for Place can be just about anything that Kyia can reasonably reach onto, such as low benches, platforms, beds, and more. Kyia is not a particularly large or athletic pup, so her options are somewhat limited due to this, but there are still a wide variety of potential objects commonly found that she can easily access to practice Place with. Today, we began by introducing the command on a low, comfortable dog cot. This is an object she has seen before around the house and is something she is familiar with climbing onto and relaxing on in her free time, so it was a great choice to introduce this command with. By using pairing the verbal command with leash pressure to guide her onto it, she was able to climb onto it with ease and began to associate the verbal phrase with the movement. Once on the object, I asked her to perform a Sit, which she was usually very happy to do since the cot was comfortable for her. After a few repetitions, she needed less and less leash pressure to guide her onto the cot, and seemed to understand what was being asked when the command was given. We then introduced her to a few different place objects, including a step on a playground and a small bench. The playground step was a bit challenging for her at first, though with a bit of leash pressure, encouragement, and a bit of a running start, she was able to jump the small distance needed to get up onto it. The bench was a different story however, and Kyia seemed to lack the confidence needed to even attempt the jump onto it. After several tries, she was finally able to jump onto the object when given a running start and lots of excitement to encourage her. However, she was also very reluctant about getting back down, and once again needed lots of reassurance and excitement to encourage her to jump down. With each successful repetition, she was rewarded with lots of praise which seemed to help boost her confidence, which was great to see!
Kyia and I visited a park today, where we introduced the Down command and practiced each of her other commands, including Heel, Sit, Come to Sit, and Place. This park had some common distractions around, such as other dogs, people walking around, and of course lots of interesting things to smell and try to eat off the ground. Kyia did become distracted quite often, however, she seemed to have an easier time leaving them alone and refocusing once given the Off command, and would refrain from returning to the same distraction again for a good amount of time after being asked to ignore it. She also had some stubborn moments today, but we were able to work through them each time, and as the training session progressed these moments of stubbornness became much less frequent.
While walking around the park we continued practicing the Heel command, and she has progressed a lot with this! She seems to be developing a good understanding of the position she is expected to be in, and is less prone to trying to leave that position by pulling on the leash or veering off. The periods for which she could walk with a completely loose leash have increased in duration and frequency, and she seems to now understand the verbal command and e-collar stimulation used to communicate with her. She did sometimes still need some light leash pressure to help her find the correct positioning again when she became distracted, though when she was focused she was often able to find and remain in the proper Heel position without needing the leash for guidance, which is great progress! Her Come to Sit has also improved a lot, and she is becoming more attentive and quick to respond when being called. Today she was able to come to me when called without needing any leash pressure to guide her over to me, which is great to see! She did sometimes need some light leash pressure for the maneuver around to my left side for a Sit, though she seems to be becoming more familiar with it and is sometimes able to perform the maneuver and Sit without the leash constantly guiding her. She did pretty well with Place today, though more work will need to be done to help her become more confident and reliable with performing the command when asked. We attempted Place with some of the benches at the park, however they seemed to be a bit out of her reach and she lacked the confidence and endurance to attempt more than a couple of times. So instead, we utilized the dog cot as our main Place object today. When she was focused and calm, she was able to climb onto it with ease which was great, however when she was slightly distracted or feeling stubborn, she did sometimes need some leash pressure and extra encouragement to guide her onto it.
The command introduced today is the Down position, where the goal is for Kyia to lie down completely and remain in that position until released or a new command. Thankfully, Kyia seems comfortable and confident with lying down on her own to relax, even while in distracting or public places! However, she has no knowledge of the position as a specific command, so today we began working to help her associate the Down position with a verbal command, hand signal, and pressure. By using pressure along with some physical guidance, I was able to guide her into the position while giving the verbal command. Once she followed through with the guidance and laid all the way down, she was promptly rewarded! She picked up on this pretty quickly and was happy to lie down when asked most of the time, with little to no guidance needed. However when she wasn't quite as focused or relaxed, she did sometimes become stubborn about following the command, and some physical guidance was needed to reinforce what was being asked of her. We practiced performing Down on various surfaces and areas around the park, such as on the pathways, on the grass, as well as on the dog cot. She wasn't able to hold the Down position for very long today, and was not comfortable with me creating distance of more than a few feet, though with more practice we will gradually work to improve on these aspects!
Today Kyia and I visited the Santa Monica Pier, where we practiced each of her commands around the numerous distractions present! We also met up with some other OffLeash SoCal trainers and their pups, which was a great way to test out Kyia's ability to focus and follow commands when in close proximity to other dogs. The pier is a popular destination, and has an abundance of distractions such as crowds of people, birds, music, other dogs, and much more! Overall Kyia did a pretty good job of listening, though she understandably did become distracted quite frequently due to the busy environment around her. She was however able to perform each of her commands, and knew to focus back on me when asked! She was very friendly and neutral with the other dogs as well, and didn't seem to mind them being nearby as we trained. The biggest challenge for Kyia today was the afternoon heat, but thankfully there were lots of cool shady spots around to train at, and we made sure to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun to help keep her comfortable.
While walking around the pier, we continued to practice with the Heel command. Kyia did pretty well with Heel today considering the challenging environment, though her walking speed was inconsistent much of the time, and she seemed to have some difficulty focusing on me to find the proper positioning, so leash pressure was frequently needed to guide her. She often lagged behind or tried to pull ahead of me, especially if there were interesting distractions catching her attention. When given the Heel command, she was usually able to pay attention and walk alongside me nicely for a time, though would quickly lose focus, fall out of position, and need to be reminded again. Her Come to Sit was pretty solid today, and she rarely needed leash pressure to guide her to me when called, even when distractions were present nearby. She also did well with maneuvering around to my left side for a Sit, and was sometimes able to perform the entire command without any leash pressure needed! She showed good understanding of the verbal command, and even when loud music was playing nearby, she was able to pay attention to my hand signals and stimulation from the e-collar for guidance.
During the beginning of our visit here, she also struggled to hold stationary positions for very long, and was prone to quickly standing back up and trying to wander off due to her excitement and eagerness to explore the area. Though as she became more familiar with the area and the initial excitement wore off, she was much better about holding stationary positions for longer periods, especially when in cool shady areas around the pier. When calm, comfortable, and focused, she was consistently able to hold stationary positions for about one minute, which is great progress! When distracted, she would sometimes break position before she was asked to, though was quick to correct herself and return to the position when reminded. She was able to perform Sit with ease, and didn't need any leash pressure to guide her into the position. Her Down was a bit less consistent, as she sometimes needed light guidance from the leash to communicate what was being asked of her when she wasn't quite focused enough, though a majority of the time she was happy to plop into the Down position when asked without any extra help. Place was one of the more challenging commands for Kyia today, as most of the objects were too high up for her to reasonably access. There were a few objects, such as stairs and similar low platforms, that were within her reach, though it took quite a bit of extra encouragement, motivation, and some leash pressure for her to attempt the small jump to get onto or off of them. With each object we practiced with, she showed an increased amount of confidence after several successful repetitions, and she became more comfortable holding Sit and Down while on them as well.
Today Kyia and I visited a shopping mall, where we practiced each of her commands around a variety of distractions. The mall had various distractions around, such as groups of people, other dogs, and even some birds in the outdoor section. Kyia overall did a fantastic job of staying focused today, and was much more reliable with listening and following commands the first time she was asked, and I rarely had to work very hard to grab her attention. She did still lose focus here and there, but it was less frequent than it has been previously, and she did a great job regaining focus when asked. For the majority of the training session today, we focused on improving her consistency with stationary commands, though we did practice with each of her other commands as well to continue the progress we have been making.
The goal for each stationary command of Sit, Down, and Place, is for Kyia to be able to perform them on command, and hold the position for at least two minutes while I am at a distance away from her of about fifteen feet. To reach these goals, Kyia must learn the patience, confidence, and obedience needed to become consistent and reliable each time a command is given. She has been doing great with performing Sit when asked without any leash pressure, and is learning to hold it for longer periods of time, however she will sometimes get a bit lazy after a while and want to switch positions to lie down. Kyia has gotten much better about performing the Down command when asked, and didn't need any leash pressure or physical guidance to help her into the position today, which shows a great understanding of the command! She did good with Place today as well and was willing to attempt to jump onto any low object that I asked her to. Some objects were a bit more challenging and needed a few tries, but she was eventually able to overcome her hesitation and have success! We also used the dog cot today as a place object, and Kyia did fantastic with it and was always happy to climb onto it and hold Sit or Down when asked. Today, she was able to hold each stationary command for about a minute and a half consistently, which is already a great improvement from when she first joined me for training a few days ago, when she could barely sit still for more than a few seconds! By utilizing a long leash, we were also able to practice with some added distance, and get her comfortable with holding positions even when I am not directly beside her. Today she seemed comfortable with me stepping away to about ten feet away, though if I stepped any further back she was prone to breaking position to get up and follow me. Anytime she broke a position for any reason, she was immediately brought back to the same spot and asked to return to the position, which holds her accountable and teaches her that she cannot successfully get away with breaking commands when she feels like it.
I'd also like to touch on another topic of Kyia's training, her potty training! She's been doing fairly well with this so far, and has only had a couple of minor accidents within the home so far while we've been working to extend the duration between breaks. At night time, she can hold it for about seven hours while inside the kennel, which is great! Though during the day time, she does need still to go out more frequently, about every three to four hours. By keeping an eye on her food and water consumption throughout the day, we can gather a good estimate of when she may need to go potty as well, as after consuming these she often will need to go within thirty minutes or so. We've been gradually increasing the time between potty breaks each day, to help her learn to hold it for longer periods of time. When it's getting close to about three hours since the last break, a close eye is kept on her to reduce the chances of accidents. While indoors, if she begins sniffing around, searches for a place to potty, or begins having an accident, she is immediately interrupted, brought outside, and prompted to go potty there instead. By doing this, we build up good habits, teach her where the designated place to go potty is, and discourage indoor potty. We have a good routine set now, and she appears to be comfortable and familiar with going potty in the yard, as well as while out on walks. We've been using the queue "go potty" to encourage her, and she usually understands and will begin searching for a spot if she has to go. When she successfully goes potty outside, lots of praise and reward are given to communicate the job well done and to encourage the good behavior!
Today Kyia and I visited an outdoor shopping strip, where we continued working on each of her commands around distractions. This location provided a great amount of distractions, including a large number of people walking along the sidewalks, other dogs out for walks, and sounds from the busy street nearby. Overall Kyia did a great job with listening to commands today, and was able to maintain good focus despite the busy environment. She was able to ignore most distractions with ease, and remained quite neutral to her surroundings without letting anything in particular fully take her attention away from her training. She was a bit unsure about the sounds coming from the nearby street at first, such as loud cars and car horns honking, though with some reassurance she was able to settle back into a relaxed state and didn't seem to mind the noise as much.
During our session here, we focused on weaning out leash pressure from each of her commands, which is an important step in preparing her for training off-leash in the near future. The goal is for Kyia to no longer rely on leash pressure for guidance or reinforcement, and have her be able to perform each command using the e-collar only, with verbal commands and hand signals to guide her instead of a physical leash. Making this transition requires her to think, problem-solve, and use her knowledge of each command, as eventually the leash will no longer be present to provide physical guidance. She's not quite ready to be completely off leash just yet, though we can begin to simulate the absence of a leash by utilizing a long leash, and practicing commands with very minimal to no leash pressure. This way, she can still safely be tethered in the event the leash is truly needed, which is a good backup safety measure. We have spent this past week teaching Kyia the commands, and helping her to become familiar and proficient with performing each of them, so she's on the right track! By this point, she has developed a clear understanding of each command along with the e-collar, so going forward we will progress by testing her ability to perform each of them without the leash being used for guidance when in different kinds of environments.
While walking along the sidewalk and through various shopping areas, we continued our work with the Heel position, this time keeping the leash completely loose and allowing her to find the position on her own without the leash pressure for guidance. Kyia has shown excellent progress with this command! Today, she was able to walk along the sidewalk right beside me with ease, only occasionally needing reminders to return to the Heel position if she happened to stray off slightly out of position. When reminders were given, she was quick to correct her positioning as soon as the command was given alongside the e-collar stimulation, and she didn't need the leash to guide her! Despite having physical freedom from the loose leash, she chose to remain in the Heel position when asked, which was great to see! She was even able to walk through crowds of people, past other dogs and other distractions, without seeming tempted to break the position. She also did great with each of her stationary commands, and was able to perform Sit and Down without any leash pressure whatsoever! When using place objects that were low and easily accessible, she didn't need any leash pressure to guide her onto them either, and she seemed eager to follow the command. The command she struggled with the most today with the absence of leash pressure was Come to Sit. She did great with always coming right to me when called, which is definitely important and a great sign of solid recall habits being built! However, she sometimes got a bit confused about where to Sit once she got to me, and would struggle to find the proper positioning at my left side when the leash wasn't being used to physically show her where to go. Going forward, we will be spending some extra time focusing on Come to Sit, to help her adjust to the lack of leash pressure and improve her consistency with positioning each time.
Today Kyia and I visited a busy mall, where we practiced each of her commands around a high amount of distractions, focusing on using minimal to no leash pressure. The mall was quite busy today, with large crowds of people, other dogs, music, and many other distractions around to test her focus and concentration. Overall Kyia did a great job today, didn't seem too overwhelmed or distracted, and did a good job of staying neutral and calm despite the busy environment. She did sometimes lose focus momentarily or become stubborn when she was a bit distracted, though she was typically very quick to regain focus and follow through with what was asked of her.
She did very well with Heel, and was able to maintain the proper positioning beside me with a loose leash as we walked through crowds of people, past other dogs, and around highly distracting areas. She did sometimes lag behind slightly or fall out of position momentarily, though she did a good job with catching back up to me and finding the proper position when asked, and didn't need the leash to help guide her. She also did well with her Come to Sit today and had a very solid recall, though she would sometimes need to attempt the maneuver a few times before finding the proper position for the Sit. We spent some extra time practicing with this command, and after several repetitions, she seemed to have an easier time performing it, even when leash pressure was absent. She did great with Sit and was able to perform the command easily when asked, and she held it for about a minute and a half consistently. She also did good with Place, and was happy to perform the command any time she was asked. We mainly stuck to easy-to-reach objects, such as low flat benches and platforms to improve her chances of success and continue to build her confidence. She did okay with Down today, but sometimes would hesitate to perform the command if there was an abundance of distractions directly around her, such as a large crowd of people nearby. By staying consistent and ensuring she followed through with the command, she eventually was able to settle into the Down position even without leash pressure to guide her, which was good! Once in the Down position, she was typically able to hold it for about a minute and a half when in highly distracting areas, though she did sometimes stand back up if people walked by directly next to her. She was however much more comfortable performing and holding Down for longer periods of time when she was somewhere comfortable without people stepping right next to her.
We also had some great opportunities to work some more on Kyia's greeting manners today! This is something we have been practicing little by little any time we have the opportunity, either while out in public or while at home. While at the mall, lots of nice people complimented on how well behaved she was, and wanted to come say hello and pet her! The goal for greeting manners is for Kyia to hold a stationary command, such as Sit or Down, and hold that position calmly as people approach her to pet her and say hello. We want to discourage any impolite behaviors, such as jumping on people, as it can lead to her accidentally hurting people if she scratches them. If people give her praise and affection by petting her while she is exhibiting a bad behavior, they can unintentionally reinforce that behavior, which would be counterintuitive to her progress. To prevent this, I always let people know that Kyia is in training before they approach to greet her, and inform them that we are teaching her to stay calm and polite when greeting people. Most people are more than happy to help with her training, and understand to only pet her and give her attention when she is doing what is asked of her, which encourages her to behave politely and calmly! She did a great job today, and didn't try to jump on anyone during greetings, which was great to see! She was able to hold positions nicely as people came over to pet her, and she expressed her excitement and joy in adorable and polite ways rather than losing control and jumping up. We also happened to run into some people who had a friendly Fluffy French Bulldog with them, so we said hello to them and Kyia had so much fun greeting all of them! When we allowed the dogs to greet each other, I gave Kyia a break and didn't ask for any specific command from her, to allow her to socialize naturally. She did great with the other pup, though she was definitely more interested in the people since they gave great belly rubs!
Kyia and I visited a park today, where we met up with some other OffLeash SoCal trainers and their pups! This was another great opportunity to practice each of Kyia's commands around distractions such as other dogs, people, and scents in the grass. Overall Kyia did a very good job today, was able to stay focused and on task, and didn't seem very tempted by any of the distractions around her. We also practiced some more with her greeting manners, and she did a great job staying polite and calm, and didn't try to jump on anyone! We continued focusing on practicing each command without leash pressure, and also practiced dragging the leash along the ground to prepare her for the transition to being off leash. Despite the complete lack of leash pressure, she did quite well with each of her commands, and seemed to understand what to do when given a command even when no physical guidance was present. Her Heel was very solid for the most part, and she was able to follow along in the proper position on my left side as we walked along the pathways and through the grass. While walking near the grass, she would sometimes stop briefly to smell something, though she was able to leave it alone and quickly catch back up to me to return to the Heel position when asked. We also practiced walking by the other dogs and trainers, and despite the distractions they created, Kyia was able to ignore them and walk past without veering off or trying to approach. She did exceptional with her stationary commands today, and was able to perform Sit, Down, and Place with ease. She even had the confidence to jump onto some higher Place objects than she is used to, and was much less hesitant about jumping down from them than she has been in the past. She was able to hold each position for extended periods of time of at least two minutes, and seemed comfortable and confident about holding position even if I created distance between us of about fifteen feet. This is great to see, and means she has reached the duration and distance goals we have set! Going forward, we will continue practicing these commands around various distractions to ensure she can reliably perform and hold them regardless of her surroundings.
We also spent a good amount of time practicing Come to Sit, and while more work will be needed until she is fully consistent and reliable, she has made a lot of progress and more often than not was able to perform the entire command on the first try without having to be repositioned or asked again. She did sometimes get confused or lazy about where to sit, and would end up sitting a bit too far behind me, though she was happy to take another step or two forward to fix her positioning when asked. Since she has a solid understanding of the command now, we can be a bit more strict on the positioning and only reward her when she sits exactly where we want her to be. This will encourage her to perform it correctly the first time, as it teaches her that sitting out of the desired position is not a successful way to receive reward for this command. Also, she overall did great with her recall and knew to come right to me when called, though when she was a bit tired and resting in a comfortable spot, she was sometimes a bit stubborn about getting up and needed to be asked again. As always, we worked her through these stubborn moments and made sure to give her lots of praise when she made good choices and followed through with her commands, which will reduce her desire to protest or delay when asked to do something.
Today Kyia and I visited a park, where we continued to practice each of her commands around distractions with no leash pressure. The distractions we practiced around today included groups of people, small children, scooters, other dogs, and grass. She easily ignored all major distractions that were around, though she did sometimes become a bit distracted when working in the grassy areas, as she loves to roll around in the grass. Every now and then she would break a command when she felt like it to plop down and play in the grass, which was not okay for her to do when she is being asked to perform a command. Whenever this happened, she was immediately interrupted with the Off command, and reminded to return to the task she was given, which helped her understand that she needed to listen despite the temptation of the grass. Then, once given a break with the release command, she would be rewarded and allowed to roll around and play in the grass if she wished. After a few repetitions of this, she came to understand when the appropriate time to play was, and became much less likely to break commands or become distracted by the grass while actively training.
Since this location was free of any major risks, such as busy streets or other hazards nearby, we were also able to begin testing her ability to perform commands while completely off-leash! She has been doing very well with the leash simply dragging along the ground while performing commands, and has gotten to the point where she no longer relies on leash pressure to assist her with any command. Using her newfound level of focus, obedience, and understanding of the e-collar and commands, she was able to do a fantastic job today with everything that was asked of her with no leash on! Even with complete physical freedom, she made very good choices and never tried to wander off on her own or get into any mischief. She didn't seem to notice or mind the absence of the leash, and was able to perform each command as usual. She always paid close attention to me and where I was at all times, ready to listen and follow any command that was given, which shows a great level of engagement and obedience!
She did very well with Heel today, and had no trouble finding the proper position at my left side as soon as the command was given and we began walking. She needed occasional reminders every now and then to return to position if she began to lag behind a bit, though she was quick to respond and catch up once asked. She did a great job of not veering off, walking ahead of me, or leaving my side which was fantastic! Kyia did great with her stationary commands as well, and was able to hold Sit, Down, and Place each for extended periods of time, regardless of the distance I was from her or what distractions were present around us. She also did good with Come to Sit, and was very consistent and reliable with her recall and coming straight to me when called, even from large distances or while around various distractions. She did sometimes make small errors in positioning by sitting behind me instead of next to me, though she was quick to correct herself when prompted. As we practiced more these mistakes became much less frequent, and she seemed to have an easier time performing the entire maneuver including proper positioning on her first try each time. Going forward, we will continue practicing each of her commands around distractions while off-leash in safe and appropriate locations to continue building her skills!
Today Kyia and I visited an outdoor mall, where we continued practicing each of her commands off-leash around distractions. The mall had various distractions such as lots of people walking around, other dogs, and yummy smells from nearby restaurants. Despite the busy and interesting environment, Kyia did a fantastic job with keeping her focus and following every command that was asked of her! She also did great off-leash, and once again didn't seem to notice or mind the absence of the leash, and behaved the same way she would if a leash was attached. She was always very engaged with me, eager to listen to me and follow commands, and didn't have any stubborn moments today, which was great! Moments of stubbornness and protest have decreased significantly so far during our time together. With continued consistency, this challenging aspect of her personality and breed will diminish further as she progresses in her training and obedience. Kyia did excellent with Heel, and was able to walk alongside me in the proper positioning with very few reminders needed, even while walking through groups of people or past other kinds of distractions. She was very confident and patient while practicing her stationary commands of Extended Sit, Extended Down, and Extended Place. She was able to perform each command quickly when asked, and had no trouble holding the position for as long that was asked of her, regardless of the distance I was away from her, or the distractions present around her. She also did very well with Place specifically today, and was able to jump onto a decently tall bench all by herself without any physical guidance to assist her! She did need a bit of a running start, but she was very brave and determined to get up onto the place object which was great to see! She also showed a lot of confidence in jumping back down from the bench when recalled, and didn't seem to feel anxious or hesitant about the height. Kyia also did a great job with Come to Sit, and was always very reliable with her recall no matter the circumstances. She also did much better with her positioning for this command, and only rarely needed to be repositioned for her Sit.
I'd also like to touch back on her potty training journey, as it has been going very smoothly! She hasn't had any accidents in the house recently, and has been doing a great job with going potty on command while outdoors. She does seem to be more comfortable and consistent with going potty in my yard, but is also able to go potty when she needs to while out on walks or at outdoor spaces like parks. She's also learned to wait patiently in between potty breaks at home, and can now wait extended periods of time in between without having any accidents indoors. She also is getting better about giving me a clear signal when she does need to go, where she'll sit in front of me to get my attention, and then look towards the door to outside and begin walking to the door to get me to follow and let her out. This is a very polite way for her to communicate her needs, and is much better than her just picking a spot suddenly and having an accident inside as soon as the urge arises! She does sometimes need a bit of help cleaning up after she goes potty so she doesn't bring any messes indoors, but she is very calm and understanding while being cleaned up and doesn't mind being wiped down or touched anywhere on her body.
Today Kyia and I visited the Santa Monica Pier, where we practiced all of her commands off-leash around a high amount of distractions. There were large crowds of people, many other dogs, flocks of birds, and other distractions such as loud music and smells of food nearby. Despite the busy and bustling environment, Kyia did a fantastic job of staying focused and on task. She didn't let any of the distractions around her get the best of her, and she was able to stay calm and neutral to her surroundings for the entirety of our session here. She performed each of her commands excellently, and had no trouble listening and following instructions even while completely off-leash!
Due to her breed, Kyia has rather low stamina and energy for exercise and training activities, especially during these summer months when the heat can contribute a lot towards tiring her out. Keeping training sessions short and providing frequent breaks is a major key to keeping Kyia happy, healthy, and in the best condition to learn and progress in her training! We mainly stuck to the shady areas near buildings on the pier to help keep Kyia cool, which seemed to help her conserve her energy a bit. Though she was quick to begin feeling a bit tired and hot as the afternoon heat rolled around. She became a bit less quick and accurate with her commands due to this and was more prone to becoming stubborn, making mistakes, and breaking commands. Nice breaks with shade and water helped her get back to her normal self, and after a few minutes of rest she was always eager for more fun and training! She did very well with Heel, and had no trouble following alongside me in the proper position even as we walked around high amounts of major distractions. She did still need the occasional verbal reminder if she began lagging behind or stepping slightly out of position, though she was quick to correct herself and return to position each time even without the leash for guidance. I'm noticing improvements in her Heel every day, and she needs to be reminded less and less frequently, as she has a very solid understanding of where she needs to be and understands not to leave that position until told otherwise. Her stationary commands were all very good for the majority of our time here, and she especially loved performing and holding Down in comfortable spots like in the shade or on the dog cot. At one point while practicing Down, there was a person nearby making silly noises at her trying to get her attention, and while she did turn her head to look at the person, she was able to hold her position and not let it distract her from her training! She did well with Sit too, though when she began to get tired she would struggle to hold Sit for extended periods of time, and was prone to breaking the command by laying down. Apart from this, she was able to perform each stationary command with ease, and had no trouble holding each command for the goal duration of at least two minutes, even while I was at a distance and numerous distractions were around her. Kyia did great with Come to Sit also, and was very consistent and reliable with both the recall and positioning each time the command was given. She was always able to locate me when called even from a distance, and ignored any distractions around us to come straight to me. She also sat directly on my left side each time, which is a great sign of the improvement she has made!
Today Kyia and I visited a mall, where we practiced all of her commands off-leash around various distractions. She did a great job staying focused, and didn't pay much mind to any distractions in the area, be it crowds of people, smells along the ground, or other dogs in the area. We visited both the indoor and outdoor sections of the mall, to continue testing her abilities in various environments. No matter where we went or what was around us, Kyia did a great job listening and following through with everything that was asked of her! We also had some more great opportunities to practice her Greeting Manners here, as lots of nice people were super impressed by her skills and wanted to come to say hello to her! Her Heel was rock solid today, and no matter where we walked around at the mall, she was always right beside me following along with ease. Very rarely did she ever fall out of position or need to be reminded, and she was always focused on her positioning and engaging with me regularly. Her Come to Sit was also fantastic, and she had no trouble coming straight to me and performing a Sit on my left side every single time she was called. Her stationary commands were also great, and she had no trouble performing Sit, Down, or Place wherever I asked her to. We brought along the dog cot as a convenient Place object, though there were also a few low benches that Kyia managed to jump onto when asked. She was always very happy to hold Place and Down for extended periods of time, and could hold them just about indefinitely regardless of her surroundings or the distance I was from her. At the beginning of our session, she could hold Sit for over two minutes as well, however towards the end of our session she did sometimes get a bit lazy with holding Sit, and would sometimes plop into the down position when she decided she was done sitting. Whenever this happened, I would ask her to return to the sitting position again to stay consistent with the rules we have set for her training, as we never want her to break commands on her own accord even if she's getting a bit tired. Once she followed through and held the sit for at least a few seconds, she was given a nice break to relax and lie down all she wanted. This is just something to keep in mind with Kyia, as it's important to uphold consistency with her training, but also be mindful and respectful of her limitations by giving her breaks when she needs them. While at the mall there were lots of opportunities to get some more practice in with Greeting Manners as well. Lots of people stopped and smiled when they saw her performing commands, and complimented her great manners and attitude. Some people also came over and asked to say hello to and pet her, which is a great way to help Kyia learn to be calm and polite when saying hello to all kinds of nice people. Before allowing anyone to fully approach and greet her, I always ask Kyia to hold Sit or Down, and inform them that she's in training and to only pet her when she is calm and listening to what I asked of her. This way, Kyia is not tempted to rush into someone's space, jump on them, or do anything else impolite in an effort to receive attention from them. Instead, she is focused on holding the position asked of her, and understands that the best way to get what she wants is to be calm and polite no matter how happy and excited she may feel when saying hello to someone or getting pet by them. She did excellent with her Greeting Manners today, and behaved very politely anytime she met someone new!
Today was Kyia's last full day with me, so we spent the day putting all of her learned skills to use to have a great day together! We visited lots of fun places, like a park, a pet store, and even a dog-friendly café! Each location provided its own unique set of distractions and environmental factors, though Kyia was focused, confident, and showed great enthusiasm while practicing each of her commands no matter where we were. She was happy to join in on all of our adventures together, and did fantastic with listening and following instructions whether she was on or off leash. While at the park we walked around the trails practicing Heel, and as usual she did a fantastic job of ignoring any passing distractions and knew to stick right beside me as we walked. We also had a fun time playing a game of fetch at the park, which was also a great opportunity to organically add in some extra training with recall and stationary commands by using the ball as a reward! The pet store was a fun place to explore and continue with her training around different kinds of distractions, and despite the temptations such as the other dogs and the treat and toy aisles, Kyia had no trouble keeping her focus and following commands. She also earned a yummy snack and some belly rubs from the nice cashier after impressing them with her obedience skills! Our final stop of the day was at a dog-friendly café, where Kyia did a wonderful job of staying calm and quiet by holding a Down by my feet at our table on the patio. There were lots of other dogs at nearby tables also, and despite some of them barking and trying to get her attention, Kyia was able to ignore them and was content to relax in the Down position, and hang out beside me calmly the entire time we were there.
Kyia has not only mastered her obedience skills and manners while out in public, but she has also made a huge transformation in her behavior inside the home as well! House manners are something we have been working on little by little each day since day one, to get an early start on helping her to develop good habits and practices within the home. Even seemingly mundane day-to-day tasks can provide excellent opportunities for training! These manners include Food Manners, Door Manners, and Car Manners. The goal for Food Manners is for Kyia to be able to hold a stationary command while her food is prepared and set in front of her. She is then asked to remain in that position until she is released before she can get up and eat her food. Kyia loves meal times, though during her first few days with me, she would sometimes get a bit too excited and behave in impolite ways such as jumping on me when getting her food ready, or rushing to the bowl the moment it was within reach. Teaching her to wait for her food in a polite manner improves her patience and obedience, and is a great way to reward her for a job well done once she is released from the stationary command! The goal of Door Manners is for Kyia to hold a stationary position while near a door and remain there until released or given a new command such as Come or Heel. She is asked to hold the position at the location asked of her, and not get up or walk through the doorway even if the door is left open or people come in and out of it. This practice teaches important boundaries, and prevents impolite and possibly dangerous behaviors such as trying to escape through open doors, shoving past people when walking through doors, and rushing up to jump on people who enter through the door. The goal for Car Manners is for Kyia to be calm and comfortable with being picked up and placed into a car, or if the car is low enough for her to be able to jump or climb in on her own. Once in the car, the goal is for her to willingly enter the kennel on command, without needing to be lured inside with treats or physically guided inside. This practice may seem simple, but in the long run, it makes transporting her easy and hassle-free. With all these manners in place, home life with Kyia will be easier, safer, and more enjoyable for both her and anyone in the home with her!
Over these past two weeks, Kyia has learned and grown so much, and I am so proud of her! When she first came to me, she was a very stubborn and easily distracted pup with lots of bad habits like pulling on the leash, jumping on people, and running away. Since then, she has made such amazing progress in her training and has transformed into a disciplined, well-behaved pup who can listen and follow instructions in any environment or situation! She has also gained so much confidence in herself and has overcome a lot of fears and hesitations that she once struggled with. She has mastered the skills needed to safely enjoy the fun and freedom that comes with being allowed off-leash. She can walk beautifully in the Heel position, always comes when called, and can remain in a stationary position with ease! She has learned to ignore distractions of all kinds, and understands the appropriate time for play and fun versus when time for focus and work. She has also developed fantastic manners both inside and outside of the home, and is now fully potty trained as well! I'm so grateful to have been a part of helping Kyia learn and develop into the best version of herself, and I am positive that this little bundle of joy will have a very bright and happy future ahead with her family as a loving, well-behaved canine companion! Great job Kyia!