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Mudd | Labrador Retriever | Los Angeles, CA | In-Training

Meet Mudd! A sweet and energetic one year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever from Los Angeles, CA has joined us for our One-Week Board and Train Program along with a few added boarding days. Mudd comes to us with a lack of socialization to new environments, as he will often bark at people he is unfamiliar with. If overly excited he will jump to initiate play, often nipping while demanding attention. Mudd loves to pick up things he shouldn't off the floor, not responding to leave it or off.

Over this next week Mudd and I will focus our work on desensitizing him to new environments, people and dogs, as we build his confidence utilizing plenty of structure with clear communication to help him follow through with what is asked of him. We will build his motivation to work as we build a solid foundation for his training, helping him be the best pup he can possibly be. Stay tuned for his One-Week transformation!


Mudd and I ventured around the park together as we became more familiar with each other. I tested what he knew as I cued his name along with other verbal cues. Mudd was much more interested in smelling around the grass, trying to pick up anything he could find. After walking around together for some time, I guided him up into the car to head to his new temporary home and get settled in. Mudd explored the house, and walked right into the kennel with ease as he ate his dinner. Good job Mudd! 


Mudd and I spent our afternoon playing a bunch in the backyard. We first began with the flirt pole which caught his attention at first. After a few chases, he grew more interested in the rope toy, playing tug. At times he would try and keep it away,  which we are working on counter conditioning so he can come when called as soon as he gets the toy. We also worked on him Sitting before being thrown the toy, which he gained consistency with.


Mudd and I took a stroll around the neighborhood utilizing a slip lead. I began to introduce him to leash pressure whenever we changed direction. He followed my lead quite well but we still have a lot work to do as we introduce him to a few new communication tools this weekend. He is very food motivated which is great! We can channel that motivation towards training. 


Mudd and I had a lot of playtime this morning as we played tug of war and had him chase the flirt pole. He is improving with his Sit command, holding it much longer than he did before, even during playtime. I introduced him to the e collar today which is a communication tool. I am conditioning him to check in with me when he feels the stimulation of the e collar. Once he checks in with me I reward him, which builds a positive response to the stimulation that he feels. Mudd caught on to this quickly, checking in with me more, also jumping on me less. Now I will begin to pair the stimulation of the e collar with commands such as Sit or Come. 

After some playtime and e collar work, he was introduced to the other pups through the fence. Mudd is quite energetic, so we are working on building a solid foundation for his obedience before he interacts with them. His energy can potentially be overbearing for a dog that can’t match that energy, which is why paring him with a dog that can keep up with him is essential in creating positive experiences. As for now, training while near other dogs, greeting them through the fence,  and walking as a pack with them is a great slow introduction to set them up for success.


Mudd and I started our day by introducing him to a few communication tools such as the 3.25 mm Herm Sprenger Prong Collar and e collar. The prong collar is used to guide Mudd 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. Mudd at first resisted the leash pressure. Once I marked and rewarded the few steps he took in the direction I wanted him to go, he began to understand how to turn the pressure off. He still resists every now and then but is learning to follow my lead and has significantly improved with his jumping, as he knows I will cue Off as soon as he jumps along with a pop of the leash which corrects unwanted behaviors. I recommend purchasing a 3.25 mm herm Sprenger prong collar to use when walking with Mudd. This will consistently give you control when walking a powerful dog like Mudd.

I introduced him to Come to Sit which is the action of Mudd 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 Mudd in a specific position. I Cued Mudd’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! 


Mudd and I had the opportunity to train around plenty of different distractions today. There were children running around in the playground, as other dogs were being trained near us. Other dogs seemed to peak Mudd’s interest the most. Mudd would often fixate on the other dogs, which I would then interrupt by calling his name while giving a visual cue pointing upwards towards my eyes . I would then mark it with a yes paired with a treat,  after he offered me his attention. This is how we begin to build value in our relationship, teaching Mudd to check in with his handler before having an opportunity to react towards other dogs. 

It is important to only allow Mudd to interact with dogs that you know and trust. He should only be allowed to say hi when released to say hi with the cue Break. I don’t recommend on leash interactions as the leash creates tension, which can cause negative interactions between dogs. It will also create a very overstimulated dog who expects to say hi whenever a dog is present. 

We worked on Mudd’s Heel, popping the leash in an upwards motion if he began to bark at the other dogs. This addresses the unwanted behavior, stopping him in his tracks. After he stops barking or lunging, I then ask for his attention, to break his fixation. 

After some desensitization, his Heel and Sit was very consistent. Staying my side during his Heel and holding his Sit for about a minute long or more fluently. We will continue to work near his triggers, as we build fluency with his Heel, Extended Sit, and  Come to Sit. 


Mudd and I ventured out to the park where we began to work on all of the behaviors he has learned so far such as Come to Sit, Heel, and Extended Sit. Mudd has significantly improved with his Come to Sit, coming when called consistently, even while dogs were near us! He is now checking in with me much more often, as we worked on his Heel making frequent turns. We have now reached our duration goal of one and a half minutes for his Extended Sit.

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 Mudd to Place on while adapting to an unfamiliar environment helps bridge the transition much more quickly. When practicing Place with Mudd, I chain the commands Place and Down together to help him voluntarily offer the behavior without much guidance needed from me. Mudd enjoyed this and fluently performed this behavior repetitively. We then built duration with this as he held it for a minute long. Now we will begin to build distance between us for his commands as we improve his commands near daily distractions. 


Mudd and I have been emphasizing our work near other dogs, as we build his impulse control, which will help  prevent his reactivity. Mudd has significantly improved with his Heel, not needing to rely on a prong collar much unlike before. As soon as his head begins to lower to the ground during his Heel, I stimulate him with the e collar and cue off. This interrupts the behavior and deters it from repeating. Every time we Heel, he is less tempted to pick things up off the floor. The timing of cuing off is very important, and consistency is key. If he can get away with it even one time out of ten times in a day, he will seek the one opportunity where he can get away with it. Since he is a puppy, monitoring him is important. The crate is great to use when he can not be supervised, as it prevents him from being able to get into anything he shouldn’t. 

Mudd can now hold his Place, Down and Sit for a minute and a half which is our goal! He is much more engaged, fighting the impulse to go after wildlife, dogs, or seeking attention from everyone else. Now that we have a strong foundation, we will begin to film for his final video soon! 


Mudd and I had the opportunity to train at the mall today, where we further proofed his commands utilizing a 15ft leash. We added distance between us, as he held his Extended Sit, Down, and Place for a minimum of a minute and a half. Mudd now Comes to sit on my left hand side without much guidance from me. 

We filmed his final video today as we worked on all of his commands, Heeling throughout the mall together. He is checking in with me much more frequently during his Heel. I cue Heel before we move forward from a stationary position, as well as whenever we change direction. It is important to communicate to Mudd while walking, so he is in sync with his handler. Making frequent turns helps keep him engaged, and is a great tool to redirect him whenever he tries to pull in one direction.  Wherever our left foot leads, his body should follow. If I stop walking, he is expected to Sit by my side. Mudd is now voluntarily sitting next to me whenever I stop walking as he offers me his attention. Great job Mudd! 


Mudd and I ventured out to the mall where we began to prepare him for his final video. We worked him through all of his commands, as I added distance between us for his Extended Sit, Down and Place. Mudd can be quite hyper vigilant when out in public places. It is important to ask for his attention frequently so he does not fixate on anything. 

While we were out in the crowded mall together, he was unsure of certain people whenever they would stare at him. Extensive eye contact can be provoking for an unsure pup like Mudd.  At one point, an older man wanted to say hi to Mudd which he was uncomfortable with. He barked as he avoided the man. 

 Mudd may need a very slow introduction to people, more so when he appears comfortable to create positive interactions. He can approach when he is ready, as we mark it with a Yes, rewarding him. After he approaches a few time to sniff, we can try having him take a treat from whoever we want him to become familiar with. If is important to not rush the introduction process, keeping introductions short and sweet. 


Mudd and I spent our day together working on all of his commands as we strolled around the outlets. We emphasize our work on his Heel which he has greatly improved on, not trying to pick things up off the floor anymore. We practice body handling every day, as he often has the puppy tendency to be very mouthy, especially when pet near his rear end.  I pet him in a calm demeanor when he is over excited, cuing Off as soon as he turns his head towards me. Timing is essential in cuing off to prevent any kind of nipping. He has improved with this yet definitely needs reminding when he is overly excited, he is a very energetic boy! It is important to not pet him if he is being pushy, so we don’t reinforce unwanted behaviors. Mudd is learning boundaries which needs to always be reinforced to continue to maintain his manners daily.

As we work on his commands,  we add distance away from each other, which I recommend keeping up with to prevent separation anxiety from escalating. It is best to never make it a big deal when you come and go so Mudd doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Mudd. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare him for time apart. He can now enter the crate by pointing to it and cuing Crate. I mark it with a Yes and reward him with a treat inside the crate after he enters. It is important to reward after not before, so he does not need to visually see the treat every time to enter.

Mudd 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 Mudd to new environments. Since he can be a nervous boy in crowded environments 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. Thank you for trusting me with Mudd!

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