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Marley | Catahoula Mix | Los Angeles, CA | In - Training

Meet Marley! A sweet, one year old Catahoula Mix from Los Angeles, CA has joined our Three-Week Board and Train program. Marley has joined OffLeash SoCal to work on a few behaviors such as confidence building in new environments, as he tends to be very skittish near anything he is unfamiliar with. Proper socialization, especially around children! As well as crate training, and overall obedience with the ultimate goal of being off leash. Over these next three weeks, Marley and I will be exposing him to plenty of new environments, working on desensitization, to help build a strong foundation for his training. Stay tuned for his Three-Week Transformation! 


Pupdate 1/29/2023

Marley and I spent the day getting familiar with each other. We strolled around my block for a while letting him soak it all in then walked to the backyard to hang out together and begin building a bond. I put him on a 15 ft leash and practiced the name game with him. The name game is great for building engagement and drive in a dog. Whenever he offered me his attention while I cued his name, I marked it with a Yes and rewarded him.  He is very unsure of new environments and skeptical of being approached at times or coming to me. After rewarding him for coming near me he began to open up and show me some love. We then went to the room to work on crate training. I fed the leash through the kennel and applied leash pressure through the other side until he eventually followed it. After about 5 minutes of resisting, he learned that following the direction of the leash pressure will turn it off. I jackpot rewarded him in the kennel with treats then tried this multiple times until he began to take less time to go into the kennel. We will continue to work on his crate training and introduce him to new commands tomorrow! 


Pupdate 1/30/2023

Marley and I started our day by introducing him to a few communication tools such as the slip lead and e collar. The slip lead is used to guide Marley with directional changes of the leash. I apply leash pressure in the direction I want him to go and the second he follows the path created for him, I turn that pressure off. Any time I apply leash pressure, I apply stimulation from the e collar as well. Marley at first resisted the leash pressure. Once I marked and rewarded the few steps he took in the direction I wanted him to go, he began to understand how to turn the pressure off. He still resists every now and then but is learning to follow my lead. 

Marley is significantly improving with his crate training. My primary focus has been to show him that good things come from the crate and he should not be afraid of it. I feed him in his crate, and jackpot reward him when he goes in there on his own. Today was the first day he went in there without needing to see me throw a treat inside. He does well once inside of the kennel and does not whine. 

I introduced him to Come to Sit which is the action of Marley coming around behind me to Sit on my left hand side ready to Heel. He was a natural at this and learned quickly that all of the good stuff came to him when he Sat on my left side. This is how I begin to build value with Marley in a specific position. I Cued Marley’s name frequently, rewarding him when he offered me his attention. This is called the name game and is a great game to practice around distractions to build engagement during training. A focused dog is a dog that is ready to work! 


Pupdate 1/31/2023

Marley and I began our day by doing some more e collar and leash pressure conditioning along with working on his Extended Sit, Heel, and Come to Sit. There was construction happening at my neighbors house which will be going on for the next few days now. Marley was curious of the noises coming from next door, and hesitant to come near it. I used this as an opportunity to desensitize him to these loud noises.

We Heeled around the backyard together which is the action of Marley staying on my left hand side, matching my pace, sitting when I stop walking, and turning when I turn. He should be checking in frequently, not sniffing around. Once I release him with the cue Break, he is free to go and do as he pleases. After I guided Marley with a few leash pops in the direction I wanted him to go paired with stimulation of the e collar, he caught on to what was asked of him. 

I mark his behaviors with a Yes as soon as he performs what is asked. Following Yes is a reward which may be a treat, affection, playtime or freedom.  Marley is mostly food motivated which is great! I have began to build value with staying on my left hand side. 

At times Marley tries to Sit behind me which is often due to a lack of confidence. We worked on this while we went on a trip to the Outlets in Commerce to expose him to a new environment and see how he responded. He was anxious at first, but did well in the elevator which is great! I began to reward Marley often for his recall, and engagement during training. If he checked in with me after being unsure of any scenarios I marked it with a Yes and rewarded him. This teaches him to look to me for guidance. 


Pupdate 2/1/2023

Marley and I went on a trip to the park where we worked on his Extended Sit, Heel, Come to Sit, and introduced him to Place as well. Marley did well with holding his Extended Sit for up to a minute today which is an improvement for him. He is learning to follow my lead and check in more frequently. He tends to scoot his bottom out when Sitting on my left hand side so we will be working on cleaning that up as he improves. 

We then began to work on guiding him up onto a few new surfaces to Place on. Place is great for confidence building, prevents unwanted behaviors both inside and outside of the house, and is a very useful way to help Marley decompress on top of an elevated surface. It helps teach him how to have an Off switch, even when over stimulated. 

 Marley was very resistant to jump at first. We ran back and forth together a few times to build momentum as we got closer to the elevated surface. Once I jumped onto Place first, he gained enough confidence to follow me and jump up as well. I rewarded him on top of the surface and practiced this repetitively until we gained consistency. Once he was consistently Sitting in Place we tried this with a table at the park as well. This was more difficult for him as he was required to balance himself in order to climb up to the top. I helped him out with guidance of the leash, and even sat up at the top with him. He improved with this, learning rear end awareness as he eventually climbed up. We have some confidence building to continue to work on as he is learning to work through it! Good work Marley! 


Pupdate 2/2/2023

Marley and I took a trip together to the Outlets to work on his Heel, Come to Sit, Extended Sit, and Place. He improved with his Place command significantly today only resisting in the very beginning. He quickly overcame this with some encouragement and guidance of the leash towards Place, holding his Sit until released with the cue Break. 

When we first arrive somewhere new, we walk around together for a few laps before getting started on obedience. He tends to whine consistently whenever in a stationary position or feeling overwhelmed in new places. We have been working on helping him settle down, which is a difficult task for an anxious dog. I reward him in increments of 30 seconds as he holds his Extended Sit and Place. 

 Marley tends to fall behind me during the Heel initially, veering to the right at times. I popped the leash back towards my left hand side, rewarding him frequently when he stayed in position. Towards the end of the session he stayed on my left hand side, checking in with me on cue. 


Pupdate 2/3/2023

Today Marley and I ventured out to The Block where we worked on proofing his Place command while near plenty of distractions. He was anxious as we first arrived, whining whenever we were at a standstill. We kept walking around to expose him to his new environment as he began to whine less frequently. 

Once he appeared more relaxed, we worked on his Extended Sit, Heel, and Come to Sit. He did well with his Heel, checking in frequently when I cue his name. Whenever I called him to come, he came around behind me to Sit on my left hand side. We are working on getting him to Sit facing forward, with guidance of the leash and utilizing a barrier on the other side of him whenever possible. 

Marley is gaining confidence with his Place and Car manners. He gains much more confidence when he sees me put myself on the surface first. After he sees me go on a few times with him, I test him to perform the behavior all on his own. He is becoming more frequent with his Place without help from me, as we repeatedly practice this on different elevated surfaces. 


Pupdate 2/4/2023

Marley and I worked on introducing him to a new command today, Under. We initially worked on introducing him to Down, which he struggled with. I lured him with a treat along with utilizing leash pressure towards the floor which did not seem to help him. After some time passed, I figured I’d try a different method for him. I brought out a chair and gradually lured Marley underneath the chair. At first he was very skeptical of this, only slightly sticking his head underneath to sniff for the treat. Since he is easily startled, I let him work at his own pace. Every time he made a movement towards the chair, I marked it with a Yes and rewarded him, requiring a little more each step of the way. After some repetitions and plenty of patience, he worked up the courage to climb all the way through to the other side! Now that he has learned the visual cues and Under paired with Down, we will work on helping him generalize Down without the chair.


Pupdate 2/5/2023

Marley and I practiced proofing all of his commands while out on a stroll around the neighborhood together. We began our work utilizing some leash pressure, then once we gained consistency I let the leash drag as we worked on introducing him to Come to Heel. I cued Marley to Sit then walked ahead of him. I then cued Heel as I tapped my left hand side. He ran up to my side and matched my pace. We then created more distance between us while he held his Extended Sit, and Place. Marley has gained more confidence with his Under command as we have been working on generalizing his Down as well. 


Pupdate 2/6/2023

Marley and I took a trip to the outlets where we worked primarily on his Heel, Come to Sit, Down and Under. Marley has significantly improved with his Heel, staying by my left side turning when I turn. When Marley and I practice anywhere new, he is very anxious and skeptical of exploring new places. Due to this, it has been imperative to desensitize him with new surfaces, practicing Under and Place consistently.  He has gradually been gaining confidence, taking less time to rest his elbows and side as he performs Down. After plenty of repetitions of this, we worked on his Heel with the leash dragging which he did well with following my lead. 


Pupdate 2/7/2023

Marley and I spent the day at the outlets of Commerce, working on his Heel with the leash dragging, Extended Sit with distance, Place and Down without utilizing a bench. We are now using less leash pressure to have him perform Place. He prefers flat surfaces to perform Place on and is able to hold it for a minute and a half after properly exercised. He is a very energetic pup who requires a lot of exercise. After properly exercised he is much less whiney and more consistent with his commands. It takes him about 30 minutes to acclimate to his new surroundings which is an improvement compared to his first week, where he needed about an hour to appear more confident in a new setting. 

After training at the outlets, I let him run around the backyard as usual with the pack. Marley usually keeps to himself and prefers to stick by me, but today he interacted and even chased the other pup Kobee around. Great job Marley! 


Pupdate 2/8/2023

Marley and I ventured out to the park where we focused our work on dragging the leash for his Heel, Come to Sit, and are beginning to utilize less leash pressure for Place. The command Place has been a challenge for Marley to complete consistently without help of the leash due to his lack of confidence. When he is put under pressure, he begins to whine and nip as a form of resistance. It is important to work him through this tantrum so he learns the way to turn the pressure off is through compliance. Now that he knows all of the behaviors, we are raising the expectations of his fluency with completing them as well. When he completes the command the first time it is asked of him, he receives plenty of praise and is rewarded with affection, a treat every now and then, or freedom.


Pupdate 2/9/2023

Marley and I focused our work on his Down again, teaching him to perform it now without much guidance from the leash and more with stimulation of the e collar. I have been transitioning him to more e collar work so we can continue to drag the leash for all commands. Since Marley is very fearful, especially when under pressure for training,  I have been meeting him at his pace to help build confidence and layer in the e collar stimulation tactfully to help him succeed with minimal resistance. When he resists, it leads him to redirect nip at me due to frustration and shutting down. It has been a process that I have used specifically for him and where he is at with his training. Marley has now caught on to the Down without needing as much help from me which definitely was a breakthrough for him today! Now we can focus on proofing all of his commands in different environments,  with little to no leash pressure! 


Pupdate 2/10/2023

Marley and I ventured out to the Santa Monica Pier to further desensitize him to new environments. This was  a very high distraction level to expose him to. We walked around the pier to release some energy and help him acclimate to his surroundings. He Heeled consistently next to me, then struggled to perform Place. When asked to work through his anxiety, he resists at first then after some time, complies. His anxiety was very high today due to the crowds of people, unfamiliar dogs, smells and sounds. Although his anxiety level was very high, he was able to perform Down voluntarily and on cue when we were in a lower distracting environment on the pier.  With some  guidance of the leash and encouragement from me, he jumped up onto Place in the crowded areas. Marley has improved significantly with his Car manners, jumping in now on cue without much help from me! 


Pupdate 2/11/2023

Marley and I spent the morning Heeling around the neighborhood together working on his proper exposure and socialization skills. Marley needs a few laps to exercise and acclimate to his new environment then begins to work more consistently. His Come to Sit is improving, taking less time to Come and Sit by my side, not behind me. We’ve been adding more distance between us for his Extended Sit and Down. This was challenging for him as he initially lacked confidence when away from me. 

Although Marley does need help with leash pressure to go down, it is the slightest amount which is an improvement!  Now we are working on improving the duration of his Down command.

Marley then had an eventful day with the pups in my backyard, chasing them around and definitely showing interest in playing! He does not know how to engage in playtime yet, but is looking more comfortable with the pack! I included some pictures of Marley from our trip to the pier yesterday. 


Pupdate 2/12/2023

Marley and I worked on his obedience with our primary focus being reducing leash pressure and increasing fluency with commands. Although there were few distractions, the main distraction Marley had to work through was the constant helicopters above us. They were very loud along with traffic on the freeway next to us. Motorcycles seem to really frighten Marley. We worked on counter conditioning his negative perception on unfamiliar noises by teaching him to check in with me when unsure of something. If he offered me his attention and held his Down as I marked and rewarded him for working through that trigger. Marley was very engaged, and worked through it quite well even when nervous. As you can see in the video, he needed extra help with leash pressure to settle down when the motorcycles passed by on the freeway next to us. Extra guidance in these scenarios are very important to set him up for success. 


Pupdate 2/13/2023

Today Marley and I had the opportunity to train around dogs that Marley was not familiar with. When we first arrive anywhere new, I give him a few minutes to go on a potty break and sniff around. After he went and explored, we then Heeled around the park and went on a pack walk. Marley did great with holding his Extended Sit and Down today for two minutes as we made our own distractions, having another trainer walk around him with and without his dog at a threshold Marley would succeed in. By exposing and intentionally creating an experience with his triggers, it allows him to generalize good things to happen instead of negative things. I used a positive interrupter (his kibble) in the presence of his trigger as soon as he checked in with me. Once he began to do it with or without the reward, we then moved closer which increased his threshold. 

We then worked on Place. Although Marley needs guidance at first, he is taking much less time to jump onto big surfaces! When he got home, he ran around and played with the pack. Marley likes to nip at other pups when the energy level is high. We are working on correcting this by Cuing Off and stimulating him when he nips inappropriately which will deter him from doing it again. 


Pupdate 2/14/2023

Marley and I ventured out to the shopping outlets to work on proofing his commands some more while increasing distance between us , and utilizing less leash pressure. Marley has improved greatly with allowing distance between us and jumping onto Place with more confidence! He is much more fluent with his Down as we have been working on pairing his Place with Down frequently. He hardly whined today and did great during our trip on the elevator, walking in much more confidently. He can Come to Heel from a distance of about 8 ft away and checks in with me often. Excellent work Marley! 


Pupdate 2/15/2023

Marley & I went on a trip together to expose him to a new and very distracting environment, the beach! There were plenty of new sights for him to see like bicyclists, birds, packs of unfamiliar dogs, crowds of people, etc. He did great with this new environment and didn’t take much time to relax in a Down position while at the pier. He holds his Extended Down and sit consistently for two minutes, even while we were underneath the pier where all the action was. He demonstrated much more confidence while in a busy environment and jumped onto place happily! We will begin filming for his final video tomorrow! 


Pupdate 2/16/2023

Marley and I started our day with working on his Food Manners. He is expected to hold his Sit or Down while being fed. After the food bowl is placed on the floor, that is not his cue to get up. His cue to eat is when I release him with the Cue Break. Although tempted, Marley was able to hold his position while I eventually went out of sight. 

We then went on a trip to the outlets today shortly after where we proofed his commands some more. It was very windy which was great exposure for Marley to work through the changes of the weather. Initially he was unsure of it but after about 5 minutes of Heeling he was fluently performing everything he has learned! We got started on filming for his Final video today as well. Marley is able to fluently perform commands with moderate distractions. Loud noises and large objects make him very nervous. He did well with a janitors cart passing by him making noises, however struggled once he saw a kid running towards him. Constant exposure will help him have a more neutral response to these scenarios along with some classical conditioning.


Pupdate 2/17/2023

Marley and I went on a trip to the Del Amo Shopping Center. I  noticed Marley did not take much time to appear confident in this new environment! His tail was held high as He Heeled with me through the mall, passing by crowds of people and even reactive dogs. Marley checked in with me frequently and was able to hold his Extended Sit and Place with Down for two minutes. He is improving with added distance between us, which was the real test as we were in the middle of all the commotion in the mall. Constant exposure to busy places has really helped his confidence in these new environments. It is important to maintain this with him so he can keep building up his confidence.


Pupdate 2/18/2023

Marley and I spent our day together working on all of his commands as we strolled around the neighborhood. After about 10 minutes his anxiety gradually mellows down which is a very big improvement as before it took him up to an hour before he seemed somewhat relaxed in new environments. We emphasize our work on distance away from each other, which I recommend keeping up with to prevent his separation anxiety from escalating. It is best to never make it a big deal when you come and go so Marley doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Marley. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare him for time apart. 

Due to Marley’s separation anxiety, at times when he is in the kennel he rubs his nose against the door. I noticed irritation and slight bleeding underneath his nose. I applied topical treatment to speed up the healing process and will continue to monitor it.

Marley has overall become more confident, can hold his Place and Extended Sit for a minimum of two minutes, and can Come to Sit from about 15 ft away. I recommend constantly taking Marley to new environments. Since he can be a nervous boy at times, desensitization to new places will only further improve his training. He is a loving boy who needs a lot of guidance, structure and leadership to thrive and follow instructions. He has come a long way and we can not wait to show you what he has learned. Thank you for trusting me with Marley! 


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