Maui | Labrador Retriever | Rancho Palos Verdes | In - Training
Meet Maui! An energetic, sweet 6 month old Labrador Retriever from Rancho Palos Verdes. Maui has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program to work on his Greeting Manners, Leash Reactivity, and overall Impulse Control. Stay tuned for his 14 day transformation!
As soon as Maui and I got to my house I began to get him all settled in. He said hi to my dog Bear through the gate and they were a bit unsure of each other at first. I believe this is because they are both intact. I will continue to introduce them through the gate to acclimate them to each other. We then began to work on his Heel with the E collar. Initially Maui was very distracted, smelling everything. As we began to Heel more I conditioned Maui to look at me whenever I called his name. Every time he offered me his attention I marked it with a “Yes” and rewarded him. He began to offer me his attention more. If he didn’t look my way I then applied a leash pop to capture his attention and keep him by my side. I made frequent turns, and tapped on the E collar remote each time I turned to get his attention. Anytime we turned I also applied leash pressure in the direction we were turning. He began to turn with me more quickly. We then worked on his Extended Sit and Down. Maui was able to hold it for about 40 seconds which is a great start! We then had some playtime together, he enjoys playing tug of war! This is great for building our bond.
Today Maui and I took a field trip to The Wilderness Park! There were a lot of different things he was exposed to like ducks, bicyclists, and dogs. Maui tends to get over stimulated when seeing other dogs so we began to work on the name game while other distractions were present. During the name game I am looking for any eye contact he can give me while around these triggers. To help him out I added a little distance to set him up for success. I didn’t have to go too far away from the triggers for him to check in with me which was great! He did not get tunnel vision which is exactly what I am looking for. I then practiced the Down command with him while these triggers past right by him. He was able to hold his Down for about 45 seconds which is good for only his second day! Especially while being around all of those triggers. We then Heeled around the park. Maui stuck by my left side and anytime I turned I reminded him to Heel. He was engaged and since he is very playful I reward him with tug of war. We are also working on his crate manners since he has a habit of bulldozing his way out of the crate and demand barking when he knows he is going to be let out. I close the crate door on him as soon as he tries to push his way out. After a lot of repetition, he began to grasp the concept of waiting to be released. I only open the door if he is waiting quietly, not demand barking. We will continue to work on these manners!
Maui and I ventured out to the Rio San Gabriel Dog Park today. There were loud noises from construction workers and multiple dogs Maui was exposed to. At first he was very interested in the dogs that he saw. We began to practice at a distance then worked our way closer to the dogs. Anytime Maui looked at the other dogs for too long I added a leash pop and stimulation with the e collar telling him “Off”. He began to focus more on working. I introduced him to Place on new surfaces today like the benches at the park. At first he was skeptical with jumping on but after a lot of encouragement and guiding him with my body language toward it he hopped on more and more confidently! We are working on increasing his duration for his Extended Sits and Downs. We are almost at a minute with minor distractions. I added distance while he was in Place and was able to walk 15 ft away from him which is the most distance we have practiced with so far. During our second session I hand fed him his meal while training, and his drive definitely increased!
Maui and I took a trip to Cheviot Hills Park today. There were plenty of dogs for us to proof his commands around. At first he was excited to see the dogs but acclimated quickly and followed me by my left side during Heel. We practiced Heel while I changed my pace from fast to slow. He caught on to this and I offered him a lot of praise each time he changed pace with me. We then worked on his Extended Sits and Down. This was hard for him around numerous dogs. I noticed he was mostly consistent at around 35 seconds. We will keep building off of that, our goal is to get to 2 minutes! He is doing well with checking in with me every time I call his name. When we got home I practiced his “Off” command with food that I laid out on the floor around him while he was in the Down command. I was able to lay out 5 pieces of his kibble right next to him! Then I released him with “Break” to eat it. After eating he played with my other board and train dog Logan. They play so well together and Maui is learning to stop playing and Come to me when I say “Off”. Great work Maui!
Today Maui and I went to the local Petco Store. There were a lot of dogs to practice with Maui around. There were also a lot of smells, treats hanging, food bags laid out and even fish that were quite distracting at first! We took a stroll around the whole store before we began to work on everything. Maui did a good job with sticking by my side even while we were right next to a group of dogs! I tested him to see where he was at with his Extended Sits and Downs. He was able to reach a minute and a half today. We began with a minute then gradually worked our way to a minute and a half. We are almost at our goal! I only had to correct Maui a few times while walking, but for the most part he turned with me every time I said Heel and sat when I stopped. He was able to say hi to friendly workers and practice his Greeting Manners as well. He fought the urge to jump as I reminded him to Sit. I really focused on eye contact with him today, rewarding him whenever he looked to me for guidance and reassurance. I want him to know that looking at me gets him what he wants, not pulling.
Maui and I took a field trip to The Citadel Outlets today. We took a stroll around the outlets and came across all kinds of distractions! From food, to dogs, to friendly people, Maui did excellent around all of them. He stayed by my side and I hardly had to use any leash pressure to keep him there. If he saw a dog and got excited, I began to walk slower which helped him control his impulses of walking faster towards the dogs. A couple of turns during these moments helps him stay engaged as well. He was able to perform his Extended Sit for a whole minute and 45 seconds which is his new record with many distractions. We are almost at our goal! His Extended Down is more challenging for him. He was able to hold it for 1 minute and 15 seconds. This is still an improvement for him in a crowded area. Now we will continue to build off of that with distance and duration. Amazing work Maui!
Maui and I took a trip to the Santa Monica Pier today. This was a lot for him to soak initially. He was very excited and struggled to hold his Sits but after working him with repetitions he became more consistent and was able to hold it for one minute and 45 seconds. We then practiced Place. This command helps Maui stay calm and in position when in new, excitable environments. I am working on getting his attention on command when I say his name, always marking it with a Yes when he looks directly at me. There were plenty of dogs for us to work around. Maui stayed by my side, and fought the impulse to approach the dogs. Exposure is key now to proofing everything he knows.
Maui and I ventured out to Rosie’s Dog Beach today! Since it is a Sunday there was a lot going on. We worked on everything Maui has learned this far, with more expectations. I added more duration to all of his commands. We took a long power walk alI the way to the Pier. Once we got to the pier we started training. I started him off where he was consistent with which was about a minute and 30 seconds. As he showed me he was consistent with that, I added 10 more seconds at time, ultimately leading him to perform an Extended Sit for 2 minutes! We met our goal and now will keep building even more time on top of that to see how far we can push these goals. I then practiced the Extended Down with him. This is a more difficult task for him yet he was able to make it to a minute and 45 seconds. Considering all of the distractions around him he was attentive to me. The biggest distractions to him today were the birds flying around him. I began to ask for his attention and rewarded him anytime he looked my way around big distractions or while we were Heeling. If he engaged with a distraction then turned to look at me I made a big deal about it and marked it with a big yes, giving him breaks every now and then. I give him breaks after he has performed a command very well. We then walked by where all the dogs were playing off leash and practiced Come to Sits. He enjoys this command and comes to Sit by my Side frequently. Maui does have some separation anxiety so adding distance away from him while he has been in a stationary position has been difficult initially. I slowly have been adding distance away from him while he stays and he has been working through it. Every time I add more steps away from him I walk back over to him and reward him for staying there. I am now able to reach the end of the 15 ft. leash while he stays there with minor distractions. We are working our way closer to distractions while I am 15 ft away from him. His Heel has come along very nicely and he turns with me whenever I change direction, which leads me to believe that he is getting closer to our off leash goal!
Today Maui and I began our work at the La Mirada Regional Park. We began with a long walk to get his energy out then started to work on all of his commands with distance and longer duration. He is now at 2 minutes with his Extended Place and Extended Sit. His come to Sit is improving and he is offering it quicker. We are now working on his placement being closer to my side. After working on all of his commands at the park we went to another trainer’s house and began his off leash work! Maui did great with staying by the other trainer’s side. We did have to change his contact points on his E collar to the titanium size which he responded better to. Maui is a strong minded boy who loves doing what he wants and at times can test boundaries. Once we switched the contact points he was following us with a nice Heel. Now we will continue to proof his off leash work with more distractions.
Maui and I worked on proofing everything he has learned around distractions at a local park. He was completely off leash Heeling next to me as we passed by birds, ducks (which is a big distraction for him), and other dogs! He is great at performing Place even from a distance. We have successfully met our goal of 2 minutes for his Extended Sit and Extended Down. There was a reactive dog barking at him as we walked and Maui did not react. I gave him a lot of praise for working through that and we will continue to proof all of these commands. Amazing work Maui!
Maui and I took a field trip to Venice Beach today! We Heeled around the Pier before we began our work to help him acclimate to his new surroundings. We then practiced all of his commands around tons of distractions. At first Maui struggled with Place and Come to Sit. As you can see in the video he took his time to go to Place. When he came to sit by my side he sat far away. I immediately created distance and had him perform it again. I marked it with yes only when he did it correctly. It is important to have him perform the command again and correctly to help him differentiate what is expected of him. Once he corrected himself I gave him a break with a lot of praise!
Today Maui and I worked on proofing all of his commands at the shoreline villlage in Long Beach today. We worked on his Heel with changes of pace, from walking to running. He was able to stay by my side most of the way and the few times that he tried to get ahead I would press the stimulation button to remind him to stay by my side. The rule of thumb is to always give him a chance to listen on his own with any command. In this instance it was Heel. If I reminded him to Heel but he continued to run ahead, I would tap the stim button until he came back by my side and matched my pace. If there is ever an instance that I tap and he doesn’t respond, I go up in levels on the e collar remote until I find the number that he responds to. The number varies on how distracted he is by his environment. We are now at a point where I don’t have to tap the stim button too often because he is consistent with listening to me the first time I give him a cue. We then worked on place on smaller surfaces which helps him increase his rear end awareness. He needed help on the smaller surfaces at first, then got the hang of it quickly.
I have noticed that Maui has separation anxiety. He begins to bark when he is in the crate or whenever I leave him alone and go out of sight. If there is a barrier in between us he will anxiously bark as well. He has improved with his anxiety while he is in the crate and does not bang on the door anymore. The first week he was with me he would bang on the crate with his head, especially when I would open it. I taught him to wait for me to open the crate by closing it on him whenever he tried to bulldoze out of it. He had two scrapes on his nose that healed very quickly as I made sure to keep it clean. This may be due to him banging on the crate or playing in the backyard with his best friend Logan as they chase each other, and run into things at times . Maui’s separation anxiety is slowly improving and definitely won’t happen over night. Having alone time in his crate has helped him learn that being alone isn‘t so scary after all. I fed him in his crate most of his first week to teach him good things come from his crate. I also would reward him with a few treats when I would close the door as well. This is classical conditioning, which is associating two stimuli together to create a positive response. Maui now goes in the crate on cue. I will keep creating distance with his commands and practice going out of sight to keep helping him with his separation anxiety.
Maui and I worked on everything he has learned this far at Huntington Beach. Our main focus today was to create distance with all his commands. He is consistent with his duration which is at 2 minutes or even more. When I begin to create distance, he wants to follow me. As you can see in the video, when he does this, I redirect him back into position and try it again until he succeeds. If he gets up continuously, I stimulate him with the e collar. After a couple of tries, he worked through this, and I was able to create distance between us. He offers his Come to Sit quickly, now I make sure he offers it efficiently every time right by my side. I have him do it a few times to accomplish a clean Sit. Where there is hardly any distance between us, and his rear end is not completely sticking out. He stayed in Place while multiple dogs passed him. Constant exposure to dogs helps him become desensitized to seeing them and working around them. Excellent progress Maui!