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  • Writer's pictureScott Hansen

Mars | Goldendoodle | Claremont, CA | In-Training


Meet Mars! Mars is a 16-month-old Goldendoodle from Claremont, CA. Mars joins Off Leash for our Two-Week-Board and Train Program. Mars comes to us as an energetic and highly sociable pup. Mars is gentle, loving, and caring in his nature; however, Mars needs some structure in his life. Mars is going to learn obedience, manners, and structure over the next two weeks through consistent and balanced training. Stay tuned for Mars' 14-day transformation!

 

Pupdate 6/4/23


Today I brought Mr. Mars home. Mr. Mars was well-behaved on the way home in the vehicle. We stopped at my local park to see what Mr. Mars knew. He was a little bit all over the place but he wasn't pulling too hard, he wasn't jumping on anyone or barking too much. Overall, he just doesn't know what he's supposed to do. That's fine because a nice blank slate is easier to work with. Today was his day to get acclimated to the house and the family. Mr. Mars was fine with everyone and he got introduced to Ms. Toji, my German Shorthaired Pointer, and my other board and train. They did great together. Mr. Mars ate about half of his food on the first presentation, I'll leave the rest overnight so that he can finish it when he's more calm and adjusted to the new environment.

 

Pupdate 6/5/23


Today I introduced Mr. Mars to the e-collar and his first few commands, "sit" and "heel". Mr. Mars is very loving and attentive. We say he has human-like eyes the way they are shaped. He was willing to allow me to put the e-collar on without any resistance. Also, Mr. Mars was able to tolerate a level higher than Dior but that's ok because every dog is different. Once I figured out where his range was, we practiced "heel" and "sit" and also having Mr. Mars stop and "sit" whenever I stopped. Mr. Mars did well responding to the training. I even had my 8-year-old run around with him in the "heel" and besides getting tangled up a few times, Mr. Mars wasn't trying to run away or pull him over but was trying to do the right thing. He did try to eat the leash once but I used that to introduce "off" to him. Overall, Mr. Mars is a pretty good pup and he's getting along with Ms. Toji and Mr. Bumi, my other board and train.


 

Pupdate 6/6/23

Today Mars and I hit the "Lab" again today. I introduced the last few commands that Mr. Mars is going to need to be successful over the next two weeks. We introduced "place", "down", extended "sit" and "down", and come to "sit". We also practiced the "heel" and "sit" more. I even had my mini-trainers helping out. Mr. Mars is amazing with the little ones. I look forward to getting Mr. Mars out and about and seeing how well he does in public spaces.

There are always days with a little bit of regression and when those happen, even after you get him back, remember a few things:

1) Be consistent and persistent. Do not ask Mr. Mars to do something such as "sit" or "down" and allow him to not complete the task. Sometimes all it takes is that one time for him to realize that mom won't make me do it so do I have to do it? Dogs take the path of least resistance just like us and all it takes it takes is once or twice and you have made a lot of work for yourself. We discussed this with Dior when I was there and I will go over how to repair this when you receive Mr. Mars back.

2) If you don't use it, you lose it. It's important to practice a few minutes a day and to positively reinforce as much as possible. Mr. Mars responds well to positive feedback and we should take advantage of that as much as possible. Do we really need much of a reason to love and praise Mr. Mars? Not really, so when he does something we want him to do, it just gives us another chance to praise him for being a good pup.

3) Lastly, if there is any regression, maybe something else is going on and we should take a break or stop the training. He is your pup for his entire pup life and you'll have plenty of chances to try again if it's not going well or he's overwhelmed. So give him a break, let him be a pup, and try again another time. No big deal.

Great work today Mr. Mars!


 

Pupdate 6/7/23

Today Mr. Mars and I took a walk over to my local park, Mayfair Park in Lakewood, CA. To my surprise, there was a giant summer camp going on. Kids were everywhere playing on the playground, basketball, badminton, and so on. Mr. Mars was excited by all the activities going on but was willing to listen. He has come really far down on his ecollar stimulation. This is good and bad. It's good because we are able to work in the lower levels and he is responsive. It's bad because it can easily overstimulate him if it is too high and too much outside stimulation is going on. He will get anxious and a little panicky in trying to do the correct thing. I normally just do a full reset with him when it gets like this. I give him a "sit", then get the stimulation levels back to normal, adjust my leash, give Mr. Mars a little bit of loving, and then resume. This way he's back to being calm and he knows he's doing well. If you continue to apply stimulation when he's already over-stimulated is a quick recipe for disaster and that's how you get your dog to run away from you which is the complete opposite of what we are doing here. His come to "sit" is still a little off when he's too close but when he's about 5' or more away, he looks a lot better.

 

Pupdate 6/8/23

Today Mr. Mars and I loaded up and headed over to Rynerson Park in Lakewood, CA. This was another chance to see what Mr. Mars could do out in public spaces and on a variety of surfaces. Overall, Mr. Mars looked like a pup in training. He was able to do a few things but struggled with others. He mostly did ok with the introduction to the leash dragging "heel" and "sit". He does well with the extended "sit" and "down"(once he is in the "down"). He doesn't seem to understand the "down" the same way he was doing it in my backyard which is fine. He has no problem with the "place" and jumping up onto things which is awesome. Today he exhibited a lot of puppy behavior and a little lack of impulse control. Those are things to be expected as I am changing the rules of what he is used to. He does try to go in between my legs on the come to "sit". He does know and understand the come to "sit" command but he's trying to do what he wants and not what I am asking him to do. Also, when I tried to work on the "down", he didn't like the treats I had as emergency backups so next time I'll make sure to have something with more value to him. We just need to practice the "down" specifically and that will also help with his obedience everywhere else. Everything is coming along nicely for some off-leash work starting early next week.


 

Pupdate 6/9/23





Today Mr. Mars and I headed over to Los Cerritos Center in Cerritos, CA. This was a good chance to see where Mr. Mars is with his training. Overall, he's right where he should be. I had already mentioned that he can get a little panicky when he is overwhelmed with stimulation. This happened again today when there were some loud noises from a juice shop. The pans droppings and the chopping of fruit were enough to make him a little skittish. Add into it the stimulation of all the people and having to be obedient, he can be a little jumpy and starts to look to run away or go between my legs. Running away is an avoidance behavior. He is trying to avoid whatever is causing him discomfort. This is very common. We just have to be reassuring and positive and help him work through it. I have some ideas on how to work on this before we put him in a high-stress situation like that again. His down was ok but I forgot the treats. On the slippery floor, it was a little bit easier to get him to do it. We just keep doing the repetitions and he will continue to grow and understand. I did attempt some leash dragging but it seemed like he looked back at me not holding the leash and he was like "Adios!" and then went to go say hi to Mr. Bumi. We need to work on clarifying the tasks for Mr. Mars but he does know everything at this point which is great, we just have to make it crystal clear for him.

 

Pupdate 6/10/23


Today Mr. Mars and I worked on his door manners and car manners. Car manners were a breeze as he enjoys going in and out of the vehicle. No issues with that one. Then we worked on his door manners. Door manners are waiting politely at the door before we open it or let them in or out. I have been practicing this part already every time we approach a door. This helps reinforce the "sit" and manages impulse control. As you can see, I use a dog cot near the door so that Mr. Mars can be comfortable while we put him in a situation where he has to remain in the "down" despite the temptation of the great outdoors or a little kid running around in front of him. Mr. Mars did well with these tasks today. Keep up the good work Mr. Mars!

 

Pupdate 6/11/23


Today I introduced Mr. Mars to off-leash work. It didn't go too well but we worked through it. He did ok on his "place", and "heel" once he was in the correct position, his extended "down". He struggles with the "come to sit" by either not doing the task all the way, not going all the way around, or stopping in front of or behind me. These are all signs of a pup that is highly confused or overstimulated. For some reason, he still wants to go through my legs. I am trying to block him with my body position so that he doesn't do it. This could also be due to insecurity on the part of Mr. Mars. You mentioned that he did that a lot already and that might be like a safe place for him that he's built up with your family. I kind of ran a cram session at the end of the video today which was focused on trying to clear it up for him. This is just something we are going to have to focus on this week.

Mr. Mars only ate about half of his breakfast this morning. I think he likes being out and about with the other pups as I let them out for their morning breaks and then bring them back in for breakfast. My other board and train is kind of acting the same way. They want to be outside playing. I'll keep an eye on his food intake and weight.


 

Pupdate 6/12/23


Today Mr. Mars and I headed over to Liberty Park in Cerritos, CA. Mr. Mars got to meet Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Mars got Mr. Lincoln caught up on all the major political news. I worked with Mr. Mars today with the leash-dragging around a small number of distractors such as kids on the playground, pickleball, the number one fastest growing sport in America, a few people taking their early morning walks and jogs around the track, and luckily even some loud noises from the ride-on mower. Overall, Mr. Mars did much better than in the last few trials. I was happy with his "heel" and his extended "sit" and "down". Mr. Mars was reluctant to go up on the benches at first but I worked on that with him by running up and over with him. Once he was on there, he was fine. I worked on his "down" with a little treat for getting into the proper position. He's not the biggest treat guy when he's frustrated but when he's in a good mood he'll take one. Once again, we focused a lot on his come to "sit". The problem I am having is that Mr. Mars is anticipating the command based on how I hold the leash. I am trying to use the leash pressure to guide him into position because without the leash pressure, he kind of veers off a little bit. It's a catch-22 at this point. I'll keep reinforcing the come to "sit" multiple times a day. He can get overwhelmed and anxious so sometimes it's best to switch up the task and then come back to it. Sometimes, we have to be persistent and not let the dog take a break, because he knows it. A lot of dogs are visual and will alert to my hand signals or movement of my hands but it is difficult to get Mr. Mars' attention sometimes so I have to rely on the e-collar, leash pressure, and my voice more with him. We will get there with more and more repetitions. You will have to continue his work when you get him back. I am setting the foundation but it is up to you to conduct those 10-15 minute-a-day sessions with him to make sure he is staying on task.

 

Pupdate 6/13/23

Mr. Mars is staring at the one tiny orange peel on the floor!

Today Mr. Mars and I headed back to Rynerson Park in Lakewood, CA. Today I focused on all of his commands with my lightest leash dragging behind him. I was pretty happy with his progress today. As I have mentioned several times before, he is a little anxious and can get overwhelmed. This happens when he starts guessing or isn't sure what to do. Mr. Mars is going to need a lot of consistency when you get him back or he is going to revert back quickly. He tries to take the "easy" way out or the way that keeps him out of trouble instead of doing what I am asking him to do. Once he does what I ask him to do, he nails it! So we just have to be consistent as possible with Mr. Mars. Sit means sit. Down means down. There is no in-between despite what Mr. Mars would say about it. Overall, I think it was a good day and I am ready to give him a chance at off-leash work in public places.

 

Pupdate 6/14/23


Today Mr. Mars and I headed over to Los Cerritos Center in Cerritos, CA for a run-through of all his commands off leash around people and different sights and sounds. It wasn't perfect but dogs are not perfect. He did get a little confused here and there but the best part is that he isn't really going anywhere which is what we love to see. I am super proud of how well he did today. Great job Mr. Mars!


 

Pupdate 6/15/23


Today Mr. Mars headed over to the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, CA. Mr. Mars did well today! He is ready to come home and show you everything he has learned! As a reminder, consistency, consistency, and consistency is going to be the key with Mr. Mars. He responds well to the training so you only need a few minutes a day with focused, intentional training. Other than that, if you keep up with basic obedience such as having him sit and wait for his food, sit and wait to go through doors, etc., then that should keep up Mr. Mars as a well behaved-pup!

 

Pupdate 6/16/23


Today Mr. Mars worked on his door manners, car manners, and food manners. Door manners require him to sit or down by the door and wait until you let him get up from there. Car manners are the same. You will have him sit, open up the vehicle and then allow him to enter with the command "load up". Lastly, food manners are the same thing where he has to sit and wait for his food to be served, or a treat, and then you release him with the command "Break!". Mr. Mars is highly responsive once he understands that he can't do what he wants all the time. Once he understands that he needs to behave he is highly responsive to the commands and willing to please and avoid being in trouble. Overall, another good day for Mr. Mars. We can't wait to show you in two more days!


 

Pupdate 6/17/23

Today Mr. Mars and I headed to Mayfair Park in Lakewood, CA for a review of his commands. Mr. Mars was excited to roll around in the grass for a bit. There were what appeared to be either opening or closing day ceremonies being set up at the park so there was a bit of noise and several families milling about. Mr. Mars did well overall. He can be a bit of what we call a velcro dog where he leans right up against your leg in a "heel" because he thinks that's what I want when he knows that he can be next to me just walking. As I have said before, we just have to be highly consistent with Mr. Mars as he still kind of has a puppy brain at times. Below is a list of commands that Mr. Mars has learned while with me:

  1. Sit/Extended Sit

  2. Down/Extended Down

  3. Place/Extended Place

  4. Come to Sit

  5. Off!

  6. Break!

  7. Door Manners - sit and wait for the door to open

  8. Car Manners "Load Up!"

  9. Food Manners - sit, wait for "Break!"

  10. Greeting Manners - sit, allowed to be pet

We will be going over all this with you and your family tomorrow!


 








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