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Millie | Aussie Mountain Doodle | Chino Hills, CA | In-Training


Meet Millie! An eleven month old Aussie Mountain Doodle from Chino Hills, CA has joined us for our Two-Week Board and Train Program to work on various issues that her owners are struggling with. Whenever Millie is out and about with her owners, her prey drive gets the best of her, as she loves to chase wildlife! She is not consistent with waiting at thresholds, often bolting out the door whenever possible.

Millie is a very friendly pup, which often leads her to jumping on new people, barking for attention. Since Millie spends plenty of time with her owners, she struggles with separation anxiety. If Millie becomes bored, she keeps herself occupied by digging holes in the backyard, or finding inappropriate items to chew on.

Over these next two weeks, Millie and I will be building impulse control, providing her healthy outlets to channel her prey drive into. We will venture out to new places, building confidence as we introduce her to new commands. Daily structure, boundaries and clear communication will be implemented to help Millie become the best pup she can possibly be, with the ultimate goal of being reliable Off Leash! Stay tuned for her Two-Week Transformation!

 

Millie and I started our day by introducing her to a few communication tools such as the slip lead and e collar. The slip lead is used to guide Millie with directional changes of the leash. I apply leash pressure in the direction I want her to go and the second she follows the path created for her, I turn that pressure off. Any time I apply leash pressure, I apply stimulation from the e collar as well. Millie was a natural at this, following my guidance without much hesitation. Once I marked and rewarded the few steps she took in the direction I wanted her to go, she began to understand how to turn the pressure off. 

I introduced her to Come to Sit which is the action of Millie coming around behind me to Sit on my left hand side, ready to Heel. She learned quickly that all of the good stuff came to her when she Sat or walked on my left side. This is how I begin to build value with Millie in a specific position. I Cued Millie’s name frequently, rewarding her when she offered me her 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! 

 

Millie and I ventured out to the park where we began to work on her Come to Sit, and Heel. I cue Heel whenever I move forward from a stationary position, change direction, or pace. If she tries to take the lead, I pop the leash in a backwards motion, turning into her so she may yield space for me. If she pulls in one direction, I turn the opposite direction. It is imperative to never go the direction she is pulling.  Millie follows my lead quite nicely, now understanding how to follow leash pressure paired with the e collar. Great job Millie! 


 

Millie and I took a trip to the park today! We explored our surroundings as we Heeled together making frequent turns, having her Sit whenever I stop walking. We emphasized our work on her Extended Sit, and Come to Sit. After many repetitions she demonstrated consistency with holding her Sit for up to a minute and a half long, which is almost at our goal! 


After working on what she has already learned, I then introduced her 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 Millie to Place on while adapting to an unfamiliar environment helps bridge the transition much more quickly. 


When practicing Place with Millie, I chain the commands Place and Down together to help her voluntarily offer the behavior without much guidance needed from me. Millie enjoyed this and fluently performed this behavior repetitively. She is quite the confident pup! We then built duration with this as she held it for a minute long. Now we will begin to build distance between us for her commands as we improve her commands near daily distractions. 

 

Millie and I had the opportunity to proof her Come to Sit on my left hand side, Heel, Extended Sit, Place & Down while near other trainers and their pups. She did great with following my lead, performing a very nice focused Heel! She is engaged, awaiting her next task to perform. When I call Millie to Come to Sit, she has about two seconds to perform. If she seems somewhat distracted and ignores me, I pop the leash towards me paired with stimulation of the e collar to reinforce the command. Millie has become much more consistent with her Come to Sit, not needing as many reminders as she did before. If we are near Trigger’s for her, such as wildlife, I cue her name before she has the chance to fixate. Once a dog fixates on a certain stimuli, they are loading up to react. In order to prevent the ultimate reaction, we break their fixation by cuing her name, paired with light stimulation of the e collar. Millie is learning to respond to this, as we build her impulse control each day.

 

Millie and I proofed all of the commands that she has learned so far, while out at a busy mall. She is quite the friendly pup, seeking attention whenever she gets the chance at first glance. I remind Millie to focus on the task at hand by cuing Off, which tells her to leave whatever has her attention. It is imperative to lead her with a follow up command, such as Heel which gives her an alternate job to perform. After a few reminders to Heel Millie stopped seeking attention elsewhere. Millie’s handler should be the most valuable thing to her, amidst all of the distractions. If she is allowed to say hi to everyone all the time, she will value everything else above her handler which is not what we want. This creates a more neutral response from Millie towards her environment, which is what we are looking for to have a well balanced, yet friendly pup. 

We have now began to drag the leash for all of her commands, utilizing the leash only when necessary.

 

Millie and I ventured out to the mall as we began to drag the leash for all of her commands. We started our session by practicing our Heel, exposing her to new smells, sounds, and crowds of people. Millie is becoming more neutral towards crowds of people, which is important to maintain as she goes home. 

She is consistent with her Come to Sit, as I tap my left hand side to cue her to Come, no longer needing much guidance from me or the leash. She is very engaged during her Heel and can hold all of her stationary commands for up to two minutes which is our goal! We will continue to build duration, distance and distractions for all of her commands as we work towards our Off Leash goal! 


 

Millie and I had the opportunity to continue to work towards our Off Leash goal at the park, as we dragged the leash exploring our environment. Millie’s recall has remained consistent, even while in a distracting environment where wildlife is near! Her prey drive will always remain, as that is her instinct, but giving her alternate behaviors to perform such as Heel, Come to Sit, or Extended Place helps her work through it. As long as she is given a job to do, we will set her up for success! When a dog lacks structure or leadership, they will make decisions all on their own, which is not what we want. Since I am consistent with my expectations of Millie, she knows what is allowed and what isn’t. As long as this structure is maintained when she goes back home, her transition will be smooth, as the rules that applied with me, apply wherever she goes! 

Once we got home, we took off the leash and practiced her commands in a controlled environment, the  backyard. Millie did great with this, Heeling by my side and Coming when called from distances of 15 ft or more. She loves to hop onto Place, jumping onto surfaces without any hesitation. We practiced her Place command as I sat down in the backyard with her. If she asks for attention when I sit down, I point to Place and stimulate her with light levels until she performs Place. This is great practice for her as it prevents her practicing unwanted behaviors such as begging for attention or jumping onto furniture. 

 

Millie and I took a trip to The Outlets as we proofed her commands in a busy environment. We dragged the leash while she Heeled by my side, Sitting while in motion. She is very fluent with her commands, and genuinely enjoys training! Millie is able to hold her Extended Sit, Down, and Place for up to two minutes, as I walk away from her. Since Millie has demonstrated fluency for all of her commands in new environments without leash pressure, we will now begin to work on all of her commands without a leash! 


 

Millie and I had the opportunity to work on her Off Leash as well as on leash obedience today while we strolled around the neighborhood.  She is very focused during her Heel, checking in with me as she walks with me, on my left hand side. Millie voluntarily sits whenever I stop walking, and voluntarily sits at the door before I open it as well. These voluntary behaviors occur due to consistency in our training. By remaining consistent no matter what the circumstances are in our environment, Millie knows that thresholds will remain a boundary. If a dog is given an inch they will often take a mile! Which is why it is important to always have her Sit for the door, and sit whenever we stop walking. She is expected to hold her Sit, Down or Place command until she is released with the cue Break. Once she is released, she is free to do as she pleases, as long as she stays in the same bubble as me, checking in with me when I call her name. 

If Millie performs her commands correctly, without any help from me, it is important to let her know she is doing great! Marking her good behavior with a Yes paired with affection or treats,  helps continue to motivate her as well as gives her confidence! 

As a side note, attached to this pupdate are fun pictures from our trip to the outlets yesterday!


 

Millie and I took a trip to the beach where we worked on all of her commands that she has learned over these past two weeks, Off Leash! She fluently performs her Extended Place on different surfaces, Come to Sit from a distance of 15ft or more, and performs a very nice focused Heel. Millie is gaining confidence everyday around loud noises, and fast moving distractions such as skateboards, bicyclists, joggers, etc. If she is unsure of her environment she checks in with me for guidance which is great. Now we will begin to film content for her Final video since she has demonstrated she is ready! 


 

Millie and I began to film content for her final video today! She absolutely killed it as she Heeled by my side consistently. Millie checks in frequently which I always mark with a Yes to let her know she’s doing a great job. She comes when called consistently, not needing any help from me to complete the task at hand. Millie enjoys jumping onto Place and can even perform a send away to Place from distances of 6 ft or more! She is always eager to please & ready to work. Excellent progress Millie! 

 

Millie has remained consistent with everything she has learned over these last two weeks, Off Leash! She no longer chases wildlife, and is very engaged during training. We frequently play the name which I recommend practicing with her daily to help maintain her training. Since Millie is a very friendly pup, I limit how many interactions she has with unfamiliar people to keep a more neutral approach, which helps prevent jumping. We then began to film content for her final video as she received tons of attention from friendly people that noticed her good behavior. She practiced her Greeting Manners and held her Extended Sit while being pet. It is important to communicate to whoever is petting her, that she should only be pet if all four paws are on the floor. Petting her while she is jumping is rewarding demanding behavior, which can lead to demand barking as well. Millie has done well with not demanding attention anymore, waiting for her cue to come and be pet. I included a sneak peek of her final video while out at the beach! 


 

Millie and I spent our day together working on all of her commands as we strolled around the neighborhood. We emphasize our work on distance away from each other, which I recommend keeping up with to prevent her separation anxiety from escalating. It is best to never make it a big deal when you come and go so Millie doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Millie. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare her for time apart. She can be quite whiney when first in the crate. Leaving the e collar on her while inside the crate helps her work through her separation anxiety, as I cue her to Down with light stimulation if needed.

Millie has overall become more confident, can hold her Place and Extended Sit for a minimum of two minutes, and can Come to Sit from about 15 ft away. I recommend constantly taking Millie to new environments to continue to proof her training around distractions. She is a loving girl who needs a lot of guidance, structure and leadership to thrive and follow instructions. She has come a long way and we can not wait to show you what she has learned. Thank you for trusting me with Millie! 



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