Petra | Poodle Yorkie Mix | Santa Monica, CA | In - Training
Meet Petra! A 2 year old Poodle Yorkie Mix from Santa Monica, CA has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Petra has joined us to work on a few behaviors such as barking, pulling on the leash, testing boundaries, and bullying the other dog that she lives with at home. When in new environments, Petra can be quite skittish of loud noises (planes, bikes, skateboards, etc.)
Over these next two weeks Petra and I will be working on desensitizing her to new environments with a variety of noises and smells, to help build confidence. We will be implementing plenty of structure, proper socialization, clear boundaries, and a strong Off command to help her be the best pup she can possibly be. Stay tuned for her Two Week Transformation!
Petra and I got more familiar with each other today as we walked around the park together. She was very curious of her surroundings, soaking it all in. We then loaded her up and got her settled in at her new temporary home. She explored her new environment and began to warm me up to me as we spent more time together. We will begin to introduce her to some new commands tomorrow!
Petra and I started our day by working on some crate training. She is not fond of the crate, even while treats or her food is inside. I fed the leash through the other side of the kennel and applied leash pressure towards the crate. After some time, she followed it and went inside. We practiced this a few times until it required less time for her to enter. We still have some work to do but she is beginning to warm up to the kennel and has not had any accidents.
We then began to work on introducing her to a few communication tools such as the slip lead and e collar. The slip lead is used to guide Petra 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.
Petra at first resisted the leash pressure. 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. She still resists every now and then but is learning to follow my lead.
I introduced her to Come to Sit which is the action of Petra coming around behind me to Sit on my left hand side ready to Heel. This is how I begin to build value with Petra in a specific position. I Cued Petra’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!
Petra and I ventured out to the park where there were plenty of distractions to expose her to such as ducks, dogs, kids on bicycles/scooters, etc. We Heeled around the park together as she stuck by my left hand side. Any time she veered off track, I cued Off which is her cue to leave whatever distracted her alone and check back in with me. She is free to sniff around and explore when I release her with the cue Break. Until then, she is expected to be engaged during her walk, turn when I turn and Sit when I stop walking. I always give her the heads up we are about to change direction or move forward from a stationary position by cuing Heel and stimulating her with a few taps of the e collar at a level she responds to.
We then worked on her Place command which is the action of Petra jumping onto a specific surface, preferably elevated to help build confidence. After a few tries, and helping Petra up with a bit of leash pressure and encouragement, she worked up the courage to jump up all on her own! She has quite the leap for a little one! I marked it with a Yes and rewarded her as she kept building fluency. After she appeared comfortable on Place, I then added duration to her Extended Sit while in Place. Great job Petra!
Petra and I went on a trip to the outlets today where we proofed her commands some more in a new environment. She is improving with her Heel, not needing much guidance from the leash and matching my pace. We are working on building her engagement, as she is very aware of her surroundings.
Petra is becoming more fluent with her Place command, not needing me to sit on top of the new surface first for her to jump anymore which shows me her confidence is building. We will now introduce her to Down next so she can begin to relax on cue.
Petra and I took a trip to the mall where we worked on proofing her commands in a higher distracting environment. This seemed to be a lot for Petra at first, as she needed encouragement to walk through certain crowded areas. After a few laps around the mall we practiced Place. She is appearing more confident with performing Place, not needing as much encouragement to jump as she did before.
We then worked on introducing her to Down, which she was too stressed to perform in a new setting. We will work on this more at home where she is more familiar with her environment.
Building confidence is our priority at the moment, as I notice when Petra is unsure of herself, she asks to be held. It is important to have her work through these moments on her own and not put her in our arms. If she is always in someone’s arms, that is the only place she will safe and she can begin to become possessive of her parents or fearful of the world. Allowing Petra to be more independent, have time alone periodically in the crate even when everyone is home, will help teach Petra that being alone isn’t such a scary thing.
Petra had an eventful day of training as we worked on introducing her to a new command today, Down. For a dog that struggles with anxiety, the Down command is often not an easy task especially when in new environments. I guided her with leash pressure and luring with a treat to help her into the Down position. After some time, she was able to relax her elbows and perform Down. We practiced this several times as Petra took less time to perform the behavior. We then worked on her holding position for longer periods of time. I rewarded her in increments of 10 seconds as she held position.
We then utilized a 15 ft leash while out at the mall, practicing our recall from a distance and helping desensitize her to crowded environments which she is improving with as I add distance away from her. When we got home, she enjoyed playtime with my other board and train pup Lexie. They play well together as they match each others energy!
Petra and I started the day with working on her Down command at home. I guided her with leash pressure towards the floor until she rested her elbows offering the Down position. She is very strong willed so we worked on this repetitively until she took less time to offer the behavior. We will keep working on her Down to build fluency.
We then took a trip to the Citadel Outlets where we exposed her to a very busy, new environment. We Heeled around the outlets together as she did great with all of the distractions around her. Petra is quite a confident pup in new environments, yet struggles with being apart from me as she holds her Extended Sit. I began to take a few steps back, then came back to her to reward her for holding position. She caught on to this and was able to hold her Sit for longer periods of time with added distance. She is doing well without needing much help from the leash, letting it drag often as we work on proofing her commands.
Today Petra and I worked on everything she has learned so far with the leash dragging. We first emphasized our work on Down which she is beginning to offer more fluently. We then worked on her Heel, Come to Sit from a distance and Place. Petra loves to jump onto Place now! Not needing much help from me anymore. We are working on building her confidence with trying Place on different surfaces. She has quite the leap! Her confidence during Heel is improving, not asking me to be held as much as before.
After training she ran around and played with Lexie in the backyard. We worked on her recall and Off command during playtime which she is responding to consistently now. I have noticed that Petra is a bit picky with her food so I have added a bit of wet food mixed with her kibble and she ate it right up! Good work Petra!
Petra and I went on a trip to the park where we worked on all of her commands with the leash dragging. She has improved significantly with her Come to Sit, coming when called the first time I cue Come. Her Heel has remained consistently by my left hand side as we make frequent turns together. She has even learned to Come to Heel from a distance.
We emphasized a lot of our work on her Down, as that is the command she tests the most, needing help with leash pressure to follow through. After we worked on this at one park, we then went to another park together to meet with other trainers. We began to pair Place with Down frequently. Chaining these commands together enough helps Petra generalize Down with Place and creates a calm state of mind. After repetitively working on this, she began to offer Down without putting up much of a fight. I marked it with a Yes and rewarded her when she offered Down all on her own.
Petra and I ventured out to the mall today where we began to film content for her Final video. We worked on her Place command first as that is what she often struggles with the most. Petra can jump onto new surfaces, yet at times is skeptical of the new surfaces to jump on. We worked up her confidence for Place then worked on adding distance between us. Petra did great with being at a distance away from me while she was Off Leash!
We then emphasized our work on her Come to Sit. When Off Leash, at times Petra seeks comfort from other people if she is near them. This is common for dogs that are used to being with someone at all times, or is often pet when displaying nervous body language. It is understandable why consoling Petra seems to be the right thing to do when she is scared, but in reality, doing that only reinforces her insecurities. If she is always held and pet when she is nervous, she will not know how to respond to stress, and stressful scenarios are inevitable for dogs as well as humans. It is important to work Petra through the moments she is unsure of, and guide her to follow through with the command that is requested of her. I worked Petra through this during her recall, as I created distance between us and tapped on the e collar remote until she began to come to me instead. After repeatedly trying this when in a crowded environment, Petra stopped seeking comfort and followed through with her commands. Only when she followed through with what was asked, was she then showered with affection. Good work Petra!
Petra and I have been working on her Off Leash skills while out at the mall! She has been building much more confidence in public settings as we expose her constantly to new places. She is selective with where she decides to perform Place, and needs a few warm ups to feel comfortable with a new surface. As you can see in the video, stimulation to send her to Place does not help her want to jump. Instead I found what worked for her is the extra encouragement and visual guidance towards Place. Once she is in Place she can perform it for quite some time! Her record being a whole 5 minutes. We will keep working on building fluency as well as her overall confidence.
Petra and I proofed her commands today with added distance between us at the mall. She did great with staying by my side and practiced her Greeting Manners with friendly people that wanted to say hi. I remind her to Sit as she is being pet. She does not ask to be carried anymore and has consistently been able to Come and Sit by my side. Her Extended Sit and Down are now very fluent. She does not test me with the Down anymore which is a big improvement for her! She then got the chance to run around with her pack of friends at home once we were done filming the last of the content for her final. As long as Petra keeps getting proper socialization in new environments, she will keep building up that confidence!
Petra and I started our day with working on her Food Manners. She is expected to hold her Sit or Down while being fed. After the food bowl is placed on the floor, that is not her cue to get up. Her cue to eat is when I release her with the Cue Break. Although tempted, Petra was able to hold her sit while I eventually went out of sight.
We then worked on her proper socialization with other pups. She had the chance to play with Lexie, and another dog I have at home Chiquita. Petra has done well with interacting with the pack. She responds to Off quickly without needing any stimulation, and Comes when called even during playtime. She is quite relaxed when in a pack setting and would rather hang out next to my side whenever possible. She goes inside the crate on cue, and often prefers to hang out there when the door is open for her.
I recommend purchasing a kennel for Petra to keep up with crate training, and prevent separation anxiety. Alone time in the kennel even while someone is home is important to help teach Petra that being alone is not a bad thing. It also prepares her for time apart.
As long as Petra is supervised when interacting with other pups, her bullying/ territorial behavior can be prevented at home. It is imperative to correct any bullying behavior as soon as it is noticeable by cuing Off. If she is possessive over any toys, food or beds, I recommend feeding her in her kennel or away from the other dog to prevent her stealing food or vice versa. Guiding her as she interacts with other dogs is important to teach her how to interact appropriately.
Petra and I spent our day together working on all of her commands as we strolled around the park. 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 Petra doesn’t see it is a big deal either. Crate training also greatly helps with separation anxiety, especially when at home with Petra. Periods of time alone throughout the day helps prepare her for time apart.
Petra 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 Petra to new environments. Since she can be a nervous girl at times, desensitization to new places will only further improve her training. 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 Petra!