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  • Tanner Strong

Luna | Australian Cattle Dog | Highland, CA | In Training

Meet Luna! She's a four-month-old Australian Cattle Dog from Highland, California. She's here for our Three-Week Puppy Board and Train program! Luna is playful little sweetheart, but she has issues with nipping, leash pulling and following basic commands. Stay tuned to see Luna's transformation over the next twenty one days!


Pupdate: Sunday, March 13th 2022

Luna is an absolute sweetie pie! After picking her up today, we drove home to relax for a bit. She was remarkably quiet on the drive, which I enjoyed. I let her get used to my house for a while, then scratched her and brushed her to try to bond with her a little before taking her out into the world.

When we left to go to the park down the street she decided she likes my house too much and didn't want to go! She pulled back, chirped and cried for about a block before finally settling into an okay walking pace.

While walking to the park, I held the leash taut with her in Heel Position. Even though she was pulling around and not staying in position by herself, I want to hold her there for the early stages of teaching her the Heel command.

Eventually she wore herself out and proceeded to walk quite nicely for the rest of the journey! She still pulled ahead a little, but she quit crying and jumping around! Progress is progress!

At the park, we continued to work on Heel, and I introduced her to the Sit command. To teach this, I ask her to sit, then use one hand to push her butt to the ground and give a gentle tug upward with the leash using the other hand. As soon as her bottom touches the ground, I give her verbal praise and a pat on the head to cement this moment in her mind. She wasn't a huge fan of sitting at first, but as you can see in the above pictures, she's getting the hang of it!


Pupdate: Monday, March 14th 2022

Luna and I went to Sequoia Park and Petco today!

Luna's Heel is already much better than yesterday. She was calm while walking and didn't whine or cry at all! She is still pulling forward and drifting away from me, but she's definitely starting to understand where she needs to be while Heeling. I'm even able to relax the tension on the leash a bit when she really gets into her groove!

I introduced Luna to the Come To Sit command today. For this command, I want her to come toward my left side, walk behind my legs and sit at my right side with her ears at my knee.

In the above video, you'll see me demonstrate her Heel, Sit, and Come To Sit. If she doesn't come when asked, I give a little tug on the leash to get her moving in the right direction. She is already pretty good at this, but she tends to stop and sit either when she gets to me, or behind me. When this happens, I pass the leash to my other hand and keep her moving by creating leash tension. She also tends to sit with her butt sticking out as if she's trying to face me. I slide her into the correct position, then give her verbal praise and a scratch on the head to mark this spot. While she's holding her Sit, Luna seems to think she's done after about thirty seconds to a minute and wants to lay down. This isn't horrible for her second day, but I give her a leash correction, reiterate the command verbally to remind her what she's doing and pull her back into a Sit.

I thought Luna was going to misbehave at Petco, seeing as it's full of other animals, food and toys, but she actually performed above and beyond my expectations! She did each of her commands up and down the aisles and she only alerted to the other dogs a small amount, but snapped out of it when we started moving!


Pupdate: Tuesday, March 15th 2022

Luna went to La Mirada Community Regional Park today. We worked on her Heel, Come To Sit and Extended Sit, which she is starting to get the hang of! I also showed her a new command: the Place command! With Place, I walk Luna up to a raised object, such as a bench, and have her jump up onto it. At first, her confidence was so low I had to help her by physically lifting her body onto the bench, however after she proved to herself she is capable of the leap, she started hopping right up! I believe I will still need to help her up when asking her to Place on new objects in the future, but with enough practice and repetition, I think she'll get this one fairly quickly. As you can see in the second and third photos above, once she's up, she glows with confidence! Luna did bark at a couple of dogs who were playing nearby. It's possible she saw the animals running around and naturally wanted to herd them. After that, she growled at someone! This is obviously inappropriate behavior. She stopped after being corrected, but I'd like to get her to the point where she might show some passing interest in the people and dogs around her, but doesn't react, bark or growl at them. This should come to fruition with the exposure she gets while training in populated areas. Luna's sister, Stormy, was also at the park today! I thought for sure Luna would be so excited to see her that she would forget her training and pull toward Stormy relentlessly. However, I was pleasantly surprised that Luna, through her excitement, was able to keep her longing to play down to a manageable level! In the first photo above, you can see they sat nicely next to each other without too many shenanigans taking place.


Pupdate: Wednesday, March 16th 2022

Today Luna and I went to Legg Lake! We worked on all the commands she knows so far, as well as the Down command.

Down simply has Luna go from a standing or sitting position to laying down flat on her belly. At first Luna was reluctant, and kept trying to brace herself with her front legs. If she does this, I gently create downward tension with the leash and apply light pressure to her back between her shoulder blades until her belly and her elbows are on the ground. The second she assumes this position I mark it with lots of verbal praise! Another issue she is having with Down is rolling over for belly rubs instead of laying flat. If she does this, we reset. I stand her back up and try again. She gets plenty of belly rubs during play time, but not when we're working! Other than that, it seems like she's getting it!

In the above video, I demonstrate her Place, Come To Sit, and then Down. Notice how she's already confidently jumping up onto the picnic table. A great improvement since yesterday!


Pupdate: Thursday, March 17th 2022

Luna and I went to Cheviot Hills today for training. It was quite a bit more populated than the park yesterday; Luna started a little anxiously. She was very interested in squirrels, pigeons and other dogs. After a few minutes of Heeling, however, she got back into her groove and began responding well to commands.

It's clear that Luna is learning the commands and knows what I expect. I now need her to be as responsive in a populated area as she is when we're in a quiet park or at home. To achieve this, I'll begin to increase the difficulty by taking her to more crowded areas with plenty of noises, people and animals! She'll still get plenty of practice in the quiet locations and plenty of playtime, but I want her to be exposed to as many distractions as possible in the coming days!


Pupdate: Friday, March 18th 2022

Luna went to Citadel outlets today! This was the busiest place we've been so far, and Luna did very well. I started by Heeling her around the outlets but she got tired fairly quickly. I then took to sitting on various benches with Luna holding a Sit or Down while people and dogs pass all around her.

In the above video, you'll see Luna Heeling around several strangers. She does a good job at paying attention to me, although there are a few moments where she strays. When she does, she's pretty quick to turn her attention back t me!


Pupdate: Saturday, March 19th 2022

Luna and I went to a local park, then a local strip mall for training today! We warmed up with the relative quiet of the park then raised the difficulty by moving to the noisy and crowded strip mall down the road.

The park was good for Luna to get lots of repetitions of her commands! There are also plenty of shady spots for water breaks, which Luna and I both need tons of on a hot California day!

At the strip mall, Luna Heeled past all the open store doors. The ones she had the most trouble with were the restaurants and bakeries. The allure of the aromas nearly got to us, but we stayed strong! I had her hold a Sit right outside the entrance of a grocery store. She got up a few times, but typically only when someone would stop to compliment her and say, "Aw! What a good puppy!" At a certain point, a fire truck pulled up! Luna didn't have a huge reaction to it, although I'm curious if she would have if its lights and sirens were on.


Pupdate: Sunday, March 20th 2022

Luna and I went to a local park to train today. We followed our normal routine here; Practicing all of Luna's commands. The highlight of her day, however, was surely getting to play with another dog!

Luna barked upon first seeing him, and even tried to nip him when he first approached her. We had him lay down, and I Heeled Luna around him a few times to get her used to him. Once she was walking by without paying attention to him, I let her off the leash and they began to play!

It's important to note that this was not some random dog. This dog was already trained. Luna likes to try to correct some dogs when they get in her face, and while that wasn't a problem for this dog, random dogs in the street, or at a dog park might not like that.


Pupdate: Monday, March 21st 2022

Luna had her first accident today! I've been very impressed that a four-month-old puppy has gone over a week without an accident inside. I changed up our morning routine a little which I think confused her, so we'll be going back to the norm tomorrow! Other than that, her potty training has been going well! Whenever I take her out I ask her to go potty, then celebrate when she does. She starts to realize when she goes when and where I ask, she gets rewards. Having her pee on command can be extremely useful for taking your pup to public places you don't want them peeing inside. I can have her go before we go into a store or restaurant rather than just hoping she won't go while we're there!

For training today we went to Virginia Avenue Park! Stormy was also there, and they behaved well together. I started using a fifteen-foot leash, which allows me to create more distance and test just how well Luna can hold her Sit, Down and Place!


Pupdate: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

Luna and I went to a local park for training, and we are finishing the day with a puppy playdate!

Luna's Heel and Place commands are getting very good! Her Come To Sit is what she needs the most work on.

I have her hold her Down at the end of the first clip, however, it's hard to see her in the shade so I added another clip of her Down! Her Extended Down is coming along nicely!

We finished the day with a puppy playdate with Stormy and a few other pups!


Pupdate: Wednesday, March 23rd 2022

Today, Luna and I went to Pan Pacific Park for training. Her commands are coming along well. Her biggest issue at the moment is she sometimes pays more attention to the grass around her than she pays to me. She loves to chew on grass anytime she gets the opportunity, so I need to be on top of her whenever she starts munchin'.

She's also still a bit more reactive to other dogs than I'd like. It seems like she's fine if she's allowed to go up to another dog, but if she has to hold a sit and the other dog approaches her, it bothers her.

Overall, Luna is still doing very well!


Pupdate: Thursday, March 24th 2022

Luna and I went to Almansor Park for training today! The pond in the park was home to tons of geese, turtles and squirrels which served as great distractions during Luna's workouts.

Luna's biggest distraction still seems to be grass! In today's video, Luna performs her normal commands, but you'll see I'm staying on top of her to try to keep her attention. Every time she tries to chew the grass, a stick, or anything else she finds on the ground, I give a light leash correction and say, "Off."

Don't worry, Luna gets plenty of time to sniff around, play and be a puppy when we're not working. When were training or going somewhere, however, I want all of her attention on the task at hand instead of every leaf and blade of grass!


Pupdate: Friday, March 25th 2022

Luna went to the Santa Monica Pier today! She handled the busy area fairly well and got acclimated to the pier as time went on. A few kids were skateboarding on the pier and Luna had a big reaction. I'm going to try to take Luna to a skate park sometime this week to expose her to more skateboards. Luna also loved to stare at the seagulls around the pier, much like she loved the geese and turtles at the park yesterday!

Luna knows all her commands by now. The focus of this upcoming week is getting her used to being around small animals and skateboards so that she performs the commands without paying too much attention to all those distractions!


Pupdate: Saturday, March 26th 2022

Today I wanted to showcase how I practice playing with Luna. My general rule of thumb for playing, and anytime the dog isn't under command, is: Do not touch me or my stuff with your paws or your teeth.

In the above video, you'll see me release Luna from command and initiate play. I continue to scratch her and give her love until she puts her feet or teeth on me. I then cease play and have her Sit or Down. Once she is calm again, I'll release her and continue this cycle.


Pupdate: Sunday, March 27th 2022

Luna went to Hollydale Park today! There was a dog park and plenty of animals to work around, so Luna had tons of distractions. She's getting better with such distractions every day. She will turn to look at something then quickly turn back to me because she knows her attention should be on me but can't help herself. This is an improvement, however she still has a lot of room for improvement! The most notable instance was when she barked at a couple of frolicking bulldogs, for which I corrected her. Overall I'm still proud of the progress she's made thus far!


Pupdate: Monday, March 28th 2022

Luna and I went to Home Depot to train today! The loud noises, close quarters and patrons served as excellent distractions for her!

In the above video, you'll see she does a pretty good job going through Home Depot. I walked her with the leash attached to her flat collar instead or her prong collar to see how she would do without that extra help. She veers off and pulls ahead a few times, and when I ask her to Down I have to apply leash tension to get her started, but overall not bad!


Pupdate: Tuesday, March 29th 2022

Luna and I went to Pawsadena Dog Park today! She didn't have too hard a time performing her commands around the dog park and the other dogs. She got curious some of the time but quickly managed to snap out of it and turn her attention back to me.

Where Luna had more trouble was around the skatepark next to the dog park! There were about a dozen skateboarders and Luna didn't like any of them. She started off unable to even stand still. She tried to hide behind me and run away. Eventually she was able to sit still and we spent a long time just sitting near the skatepark letting her get used to it. After letting her take in the ruckus, she got to the point where she could Heel around in an orderly manner!


Pupdate: Wednesday, March 30th 2022

Luna and I went to Cheviot Hills today for training! We spent most of the day working without her prong collar, only using her flat collar, and she did well. She can tell when she isn't on the prong collar and tries harder to push her boundaries. That being said, she's still doing pretty well with all her commands!


Pupdate: Thursday, March 31st 2022

We went to Citadel Outlets today for training! I'm pleased to report Luna made it all day without her prong collar! She exhibited similar struggles as yesterday when we first got to the outlets. However, after having her hold a Place and a Down a few times around slightly crowded areas, she acclimated pretty well!


Pupdate: Friday, April 1st 2022

Luna and I went to Santa Monica Pier today for training! However, for today's pupdate I wanted to focus on a few of the manners Luna has been learning over the last few weeks.

In the above video, you'll see us demonstrate Luna's food manners, door manners and car manners. For food manners, I want to be able to place food in front of Luna without her immediately trying to gobble it up. She should be able to wait until I give her the okay to eat! I also want Luna to wait when I open a door! She should wait nicely by the door for me to allow her to pass, without rushing out ahead of me. Finally, for car Manners, I want Luna to get into the car when I request, and walk right into her kennel!


Pupdate: Saturday, April 2nd 2022

Today is my last day with Luna! We went back to Santa Monica Pier one last time to get her ready to go home. Luna is a sweetheart and I really enjoyed my time working with her. She has made great progress over the last three weeks! I'll definitely miss working with her every day!

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