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Max | Cockapoo | Warner Springs, CA | In-Training

Meet Max! A very friendly and playful Two year old Cockapoo has joined us for our Two-Week Board & Train program. Max has come to us knowing a few commands, yet often has a mind of his own. Over these next two weeks we will be emphasizing our work on building a solid foundation for his leash manners, greeting manners, impulse control and proper socialization, especially around larger dogs as he tends to be reactive upon seeing them. When Max meets someone new or becomes excited, he submissively urinates. We will be working on building his confidence, as we expose him to new environments, implementing clear communication with plenty of structure to help him be the best pup he can possibly be. Stay tuned for his Two-Week Transformation!


Max and I had the chance to become more familiar with each other today as we strolled around the park, exploring our surroundings. We tested what he knew, then got him settled in at his new temporary home. Max did great with the kennel, entering in at his own will. We will begin to introduce him to some new commands tomorrow! 


Max 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 Max 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. Max quickly caught on to this and followed my lead!

I introduced him to Here which is the action of Max 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 Max in a specific position. I Cued Max’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! 


Max and I spent the day working on teaching him how to follow leash pressure more to my left hand side. We Heeled together making frequent turns. I cue Heel before we change direction, change pace or move forward from a stationary position. Max is expected to check in frequently and Sit whenever I stop walking.

After working on what he has already learned, I then introduced him to a new command, Place. Place is great to use to help create a calm state of mind, builds confidence in a dog, prevents unwanted behaviors, and can essentially be practiced on top of any elevated surface. Dogs are naturally more confident while on elevated surfaces. I recommend purchasing an elevated dog cot to practice with both inside and outside the house. Having something familiar for Max to Place on while adapting to an unfamiliar environment helps bridge the transition much more quickly.


Today Max & I took a stroll around the park where we worked on everything he has learned so far such as Here to Sit on my left hand side, the name game, Place, Extended Sit and Heel. Max has significantly improved his Heel, very aware of the direction my left leg is headed. We always lead with our left leg during the Heel, cuing Heel before any chance of pace or direction is made.

 Max is much more confident with jumping onto Place as we try this on different elevated surfaces. I mark any voluntarily eye contact he offers with a Yes, rewarding him with a treat or affection. This helps build his engagement during training, especially when in new environments! I also cue his name when distractions are present, to encourage Max to check in with me if he hasn’t for quite some time. 

After working on proofing everything he has learned, we then worked on a new command which is Down. I often chain Down with the Place command, as it helps dogs become more comfortable with offering Down, especially on something comfy & familiar to them, for example the elevated dog cot. I positioned my palms towards the floor, cuing Down. He offered the Down position in no time, holding it for up to two whole minutes already which is great! Two minutes was our goal, so now we will build distance between us for all of his commands utilizing a 15 ft leash, as we begin to gradually drag the leash more and more each time we work together. 


Max and I worked on all of his commands as we walked around the neighborhood, exposing him to many distractions such as loud car/truck noises from the freeway entrance, reactive dogs barking at him from behind the gates of their house, and friendly people that wanted to say hi. Max can be quite overstimulated upon greeting someone. He often seeks attention, trying to jump to initiate play. Whenever I sit next to him, I cue him to Sit before he tries to jump on my lap. 

It is recommended to form a healthy relationship with Max where he is not codependent, seeking attention constantly. A dog that constantly needs comfort, affection and attention, tends to lack a significant amount of confidence. By giving him alone time in the crate periodically , and attention when we request it, (instead of on his terms) he will begin to have more confidence in himself. If he jumps on me seeking attention, I cue Off and redirect him to perform a different command such as Come to Sit, or Heel. I then offer him affection during training, which motivates him to work more. 

Approaching Max in a calm manner is best to prevent submissive urination. If we approach him excitedly, that is when he pees. It also happens when he intially says hi to someone he doesn’t know. To prevent this, I recommend having whoever is saying hi to him, to not pet him right away. Allow Max to become comfortable/relaxed  first with the person being near him. Then Max will show he is ready to say hi, by appearing more calm. If we keep promoting calmness, the excitable peeing will happen less and less. 


Max and I took a trip to the mall, allowing us the opportunity to train in a busier than usual environment. Upon arriving, Max was anxious, shaking the first 15 minutes we were there. After we walked around the mall together, he appeared more calm. We proofed his Extended Sit, Down, and Place on different elevated surfaces as he held it for up to two whole minutes. 

Max’s biggest challenge has been allowing distance between us. Since he is quite attached, he likes to follow me, often attempting to stay glued to my leg. We begin with a small amount of distance between us, gradually adding more distance when he has become consistent. 

After working on everything he has learned, he said hi to a friendly person who wanted to say hi to him. I communicated to them to approach him calmly, and pet him as he sits. If he gets up, the petting stops. Max remained calm while receiving attention and did not pee! Excellent job Max! 


Max and I spent some time at the mall together, where we worked on proofing his Extended Sit, Down, Place, Heel, and Here to Sit on my left hand side. Max and I have been focusing on overcoming his separation anxiety, and need for constant affection. He does not seek affection as much as he did before, but at times when he is feeling overwhelmed, he jumps on me seeking comfort. It is imperative to work Max through this scenario. Petting him when he demands it, creates an unhealthy relationship with Max. It is recommended to offer him affection more so on our terms, and when he is being a good boy. 

Overall Max did great with these distractions present, staying focused on me when I called his name. At times he struggles with jumping onto a new elevated surface to practice Place, but after some warming up he gains fluency with this, as his confidence improves each and everyday! 


Max and I ventured out to the store together as we did some shopping while we were out and about, working on all of his commands. We began to drag the leash while working on his Here to Sit on my left hand side. Max is becoming more confident, taking less time to acclimate to his surroundings. After about 15 minutes arriving somewhere new, he stops shaking and begins to check in with me voluntarily much more often. Max is improving significantly with allowing distance between us, not following me whenever I walk away from him. 

Once we returned home, he made a new friend! Max ran around the backyard, playing chase. When he becomes overstimulated he tries to hump, which is a behavior I interrupted with the cue off. After a couple of reminders, he understood how to properly initiate play. 


Max and I ventured out to the park today to work on adding distance between us for his Here to Sit & Place paired with Down. He was very consistent with his recall, as he came from a distance of 15 ft or more. We then emphasized our work on his Place command. At times he needs a few taps of stimulation along with extra encouragement to jump onto Place. After a few repetitions, he gained fluency as I Cued him to Place. 

While we Heeled around the park exploring our surroundings, the leash was dragging the entire time. If Max ever veered off track, I stopped walking and cued him to Here to Sit. He was very attentive, paying attention to where my left leg led, checking in with me frequently. 


Max and I went on a trip to The Home Depot today as we proofed all of his commands with the leash dragging. Max did great with this, even with all of the loud distractions present. His biggest challenge is Heeling through a crowd. Since he’s used to receiving a lot of attention, he often seeks it when people stare at him. I cue Off and stimulate him as I tap my left hand side reminding him to Heel. 

We then trained near other trainer’s dogs which Max has improved with, no longer trying to initiate contact without permission. He was able to Place on top of the stairs, and other elevated surfaces without hesitation for two whole minutes. Since Max demonstrated he is ready, we will begin filming for his final video very soon! 


Max and I spent the day working on filming content for his final video as we proofed his commands at the mall. Since Max receives a lot of attention, his biggest challenge has been Heeling while we walk through a busy crowd. Despite the numerous people calling and whistling at him, he stayed by my side knowing not to approach until I release him to. 

Max held his Extended Sit, Down and Place for two whole minutes while all the distractions passed right by him. He checks in with me when I call his name, now jumping onto Place without any hesitation. 

Once we got home, I brought Max out to run around the backyard with the other pup I have, Chip. Since Chip is bigger than him, Max was a bit hesitant to approach. I made sure Chip respected his personal space, so that Max can approach when he feels ready. After some time Max approached, initiating play. Excellent job Max! 


Max and I ventured out to The Santa Monica Pier today as we filmed more content for his final video. This was a very busy environment to proof his commands near, as we Heeled off leash around the pier practicing everything he has learned throughout these past two weeks. He held his Extended Sit in the middle of the pier as rolling carts passed by him, reactive dogs barked at him, and crowds of people were trying to get his attention. 

He Placed on top of new elevated surfaces for a minimum of two minutes, and practiced his Greeting Manners with friendly new people, without submissively urinating! I communicated to them that calm energy is the best approach, and to only pet him if he is holding his Sit. If he breaks his Sit, the petting stops. Max has learned this, which motivates him to keep Sitting so the loving he receives continues. Amazing progress Max! 


Max and I have focused our work this week on all of his off leash commands, with added duration and distance between us. Adding distance between us for his commands was difficult for Max initially, but is something he overcame. He no longer seeks attention from others, yet at times needs extra communication to encourage  him to stay by my side when he is offered attention. 

If Max is approached calmly, he no longer submissively urinates while being pet. He is expected to hold his Sit or Down while being pet, until he is released with the cue Break. Max now offers me his attention all on his own, without much guidance from me. It is important to mark it with a Yes whenever he offers his attention, for a job well done! 


Max 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 Max doesn’t see it as a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Max. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare him for time apart. 

Max 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 Max 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. I have attached a few pictures from different places we have visited over these last two weeks. Thank you for trusting me with Max! 

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