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  • Writer's pictureOffLeash SoCal

Miniature Australian Shepherd Training | Apollo | Long Beach, CA

Apollo, a Miniature Australian Shepherd from Long Beach, CA went through the Balanced Canine Training SoCal Board and Train Program. Apollo was trained by Jose Ayala in Compton, CA.


Meet Apollo! He is a six month old Australian Shepherd who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Apollo is here for basic obedience, potty training, leash pulling, jumping to greet, and counter surfing. While on walks, Apollo likes to walk ahead, bark at other dogs, but has been improving on not doing so since he has been a little more socialized. He does well with people but will jump to greet when wanting attention. He can also become easily distracted which can make it difficult for him to respond to commands. Over the next fourteen days, Apollo will be working on his behavior and be given the structure that is needed, with hopes of having him become a well mannered pup. Check in to see his progress!


Apollo and I spent the day getting to know each other. After pickup, we drove out to a local park and went for a walk to establish a bond. After a few laps around the area, I began to introduce Apollo to his recall which is known as Come to Sit. This consists of having Apollo come towards my right side, going around behind me, and sitting on my left. To teach Apollo, I used leash pressure to guide him towards me. Once he came towards my right side, I then took a step forward, continued to guide him with leash tension to have him go around me, and having him Sit as soon as I had him on my left. He did pretty well and caught on to the concept quick. While working on it, as you can see in the clip, someone passes by, and Apollo did get up to try and interact, but with a little leash tension, I was able to keep him from doing so. Apollo and I will continue to practice his recall in low distraction environments, and gradually increase distraction levels once he has more consistency performing it. He is adjusting to his new home for the next two weeks, and I am looking forward to helping Apollo progress with his training.


Apollo and I took a drive to a local shopping center today and worked on Heel. Heel consists of having Apollo walk next to me on my left side. Before we began, we took a lap around the area so that he may adapt to the environment, and he adjusted very well. I also began working with the E-Collar on him and he responds to it at a low level. Throughout our walk, anytime Apollo would pull ahead of me, I would stop, walk in the opposite direction, and guide him back towards my left with leash tension. As we were walking, Apollo did want to approach people passing by, but as soon as he tried to make an intent, I paired a verbal “Off” with the E-Collar stimulation, and he responded well by coming back towards his Heel position as we continued our walk. We also met with other trainers and their pups, whom assisted us by serving as a distraction. Apollo did very good walking alongside another pup, and although he was a little nervous walking around him, Apollo did not react, nor did he show any kind of aggression. I will continue to socialize him around other dogs throughout his Program, as well as practicing his Heel by applying it on every walk we go on. He did very well overnight, and has not had any potty accidents since training began.


Apollo and I worked on Place today. Place consists of having Apollo getting onto an elevated object and remaining there in a Sit or a Down. Teaching a dog to Place is important as it helps them learn self-control, boundary respect, and obedience. It provides a designated spot for a dog to go to, promoting calmness and reducing unwanted behaviors like jumping or begging. It is a useful tool for managing your pup's behavior in various situations, and can improve overall obedience and manners. To teach Apollo, we began with small objects that are not as challenging for him considering his size. I introduced him to the object by walking up to it, then stepping onto it myself, and had him follow me. During our first attempt, Apollo stopped and was hesitant about the object. To help him work through it, I used leash tension and verbal encouragement to assist him. Patience is key, so while giving him leash tension, any step he made towards the object was rewarded with praise and tension release. It took some time, but Apollo was able to follow through. The first few reps consisted of Apollo getting on and off the object to make him comfortable. Once I saw consistency and did not have to get onto the object myself, I would follow his placing with a Sit. He did very well, and although Apollo does not hold his Sit for long, he is understanding the concept.


Apollo and I drove out to a local park today and worked on some recall conditioning around people and dog distractions. Although Apollo still gets distracted around pups, he has made an improvement when being around them, as he does not pull or try to lunge at any of them. He had a little trouble following through on some occasions during our session, but by resetting him, and with the use of the E-Collar, I was able to work Apollo through it. I was also able to practice Place with him, as a few dogs passed by, and he did very well remaining in his position. Now that he is understanding his commands and what they mean, I will keep remaining consistent with Apollo, as I will be introducing him to a longer leash and begin working on distance and duration with him. I am happy to report that Apollo remains accident free inside the house and in his kennel. Like I mentioned on day of pickup, I am always monitoring Apollo, and the schedule we discussed, which will be explained in more depth during his turnover, seems to be working pretty well.


Apollo and I have been working on Down. This can be the most difficult command to teach considering it being a submissive position, which can make a dog feel vulnerable being down on all fours. Apollo came into his Program having an understanding of what it means, but as soon as he went into a Down, he would roll off to the side and ask for belly rubs at times. To keep him from doing so, anytime he went into a Down, I would release him immediately and praise him for a job well done. I then proceeded to have him hold it for about three seconds after seeing consistency. If he rolled off to the side or get on his back, I would reset him and repeat the exercise. It took some time and patience, and although there are still times that Apollo wants to revert back to his old behavior, I continue to make the correction as needed. He is making good progress and has learned all of his commands.


Apollo and I worked on distance and duration with a long line. Whenever I would ask him to Sit or Down, he would almost immediately try to get up and follow me. By working with a long line I was able to condition Apollo into not doing so. For every foot I stepped back while he was in a stationary position, I waited five seconds before releasing him with a “Break.” Two feet back is ten seconds, three feet back is fifteen, and so on. Apollo is a bright pup and he picked up on the concept pretty quick. What he does have trouble with at times is his recall from a distance but I am working on having it cleaned up. We have been practicing at home and at a local park with little to no distractions. In the next day or two, I will gradually begin exposing him to more distractions and work him through any challenges, as I continue to turn Apollo into the best pup that he can be. He continues to remain accident free and enjoys being around the house.


Apollo and I worked on some more distance and duration but with added distractions. He did very well and has continued to build his confidence by improving his Place. Our morning and evening walks have also helped tremendously as we are now loose leash walking without Apollo pulling. With his stationary positions, I am able to step back about eight to ten feet without him getting up. Apollo was a little hesitant about his Down in the beginning of our session due to the distraction of people passing by, but I worked him through it and rewarded him with verbal praise. Entering his final week of training, Apollo and I will begin working on leash dragging exercises, as he prepares for his off leash experience.


Apollo and I worked on leash dragging exercises today. We practiced in my backyard since it is an enclosed area, and once I was comfortable enough, we went for a walk around the neighborhood. Apollo did get a little distracted during our walk, but with the use of the E-Collar and a verbal Heel, I was able to get Apollo back on track. One of the challenges he was facing, was walking away and wanting to sniff the grass. Anytime he tried to make an intent, I gave him a little stim to remind him that it is not ok to do so. This was also his first time practicing his recall without the guidance of a leash. He was having some trouble with it, so I will be working on it with him so that he may improve and continue to progress.


Apollo and I worked on his recall a little more today at a local park around people serving as a distraction. I began by using leash guidance, and slowly faded it out by still holding onto it, but not applying pressure. He did very well as he is understanding the concept, and improving the more we work on it. Due to the distractions around him, Apollo had some trouble with his Sit as a runner happened to run by a little too close, so I reset him back into position, and had him follow through. Apollo is just about ready to be working fully off leash, which will be the main focus to prepare him for his Final. He also remains accident free, as he continues to thrive in his potty training.


Apollo and I worked on his off leash conditioning today in which he did very well in. We drove out to a local park and took a lap while other dogs and people served as a distraction. Apollo was good maintaining his stationary positions as pups passed us by in the area. Although he did try to get ahead of me during our initial walk, I was able to keep him on my side with E-Collar stimulation and a verbal Heel. I also worked on building his confidence more by having him Place on different objects with a different surface. Apollo is just about ready to film his Final, which will be our main focus from here on out.


Apollo and I have been working on his Door Manners. During the initial phase of his Program, Apollo would want to be the first one through the door. To keep him from doing so, I approached the door, asked him to Sit or Down, and I proceeded to open the door. If Apollo sat up, I would close the door, reset him, and repeat the process as needed. When he followed through, I would then remind him to Sit or Down as I took a step out. If I was able to take a step out without Apollo getting up, I released him with a Break, and continued to gradually increase distance and duration. He has done very well, and can now wait for my cue to come through a door.


Apollo and I have been working on his Greeting Manners. He receives a lot of attention anyplace we go, which can cause Apollo to become overly excited and jump to greet. Throughout his Program, I have been working with him to keep him from jumping when being approached. By asking him to Sit, I would make the approach towards Apollo to greet him. If he sat up, I would take a step back, reset him, and restart the exercise. After a few attempts, Apollo began to follow through. When working with people directly, I made the same approach and would ask the other person to take a step back if he sat up. Although we had a few setbacks when working with the public, I continued to remain consistent, which helped Apollo understand the concept, and he can now be greeted while being in a calm relaxed state.


Apollo and I have been working on his Food Manners. Throughout his program, I have been conditioning Apollo into waiting for my cue to eat his breakfast and dinner. Initially, he would make a run towards his bowl as soon as I placed it down. Anytime that occurred, I would pick the bowl up, ask him to Sit or Down, and repeat the process. On some occasions, Apollo would remain in a Down but would begin to crawl slowly to get closer. When that would happen, I would reset him back into position and restart. With time and consistency, Apollo began to understand what I was asking, and he can now wait for release to eat, as he has reached his two minute goal.


Apollo has completed his two week board and train program. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity in being Apollo’s trainer, and for trusting me with him while he was under my care. He has made great progress in the short time he was with me, and I am excited to show you what he can do. Remember to always stay consistent and patient with his training. He is very bright and can be capable of much more. It was a pleasure to have him, and he will be missed. Thank you Apollo!


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