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  • Writer's picturePam Wong-Bunten

Playa | Shepherd Mix | El Segundo, CA | In Training



Meet Playa, a lovable 7-month-old female Shepherd Mix embarking on an exciting journey with OffLeash SoCal's Two-Week Board and Train Program. Playa has a lot of energy that turns into attention by biting and nipping. She doesn't know how to walk correctly as she's constantly trying to bite and chew and tug on the leash.

During our program, we'll focus on enhancing Playa's obedience and helping her stay calm and focused amidst distractions. She will learn to stop her playful nipping and leash-biting during walks. Despite her challenges, Playa is joyful and great with people and other dogs.

We're excited to witness Playa's progress and transformation over the next two weeks!



 

Pupdate: 5/19/2024



Today was Playa's first day. I got a chance to observe the behaviors that I learned at the pick up meeting. Playa was playing biting the leash but we corrected her having her go into a down. She stopped playing her bites right away, until now still no bites. I took her to William Mason Park in Irvine and practiced with a long leash and E-collar. She already knew the basics of Come, Sit, Down commands, a bit of Place command and doesn't know Break and Heel (walk properly on the left side) yet. She responded really well with E-Collar and understood to follow the command I asked for. She's doing really good for the first day. My goal is going to help her to get control of herself and tomorrow will work on Heel command more. I haven't seen her nipping and biting much so far here, she's a very well-behaved and smart girl, but I will be sure to correct her every time she does the unwanted behavior.




 

Pupdate: 5/20/2024




Playa had a fantastic night last night. She slept quietly in her crate the whole time, demonstrating respect towards both other dogs and humans. Although she woke up at 4am since still trying to adapt to a new place, a quick break outside and she settled back to sleep. Lately, I noticed she's been scratching her belly and legs frequently since our trip to the park yesterday. I'll continue monitoring her closely and will update if there are any changes.


We went over the Place command again on a cot early this morning inside the living room. She's now been able to go to Place in distance while I was sitting at my desk working. I used a very low stimulation of the E-collar and she responded to all commands immediately!


In addition to working on distance and duration, we've started focusing on door manners also. Playa can now sit and wait patiently at the door until I release her with the "Break" command. She's proving to be quite the quick learner, displaying impressive intelligence!


Thankfully, her tendency to nip and bite seems to be diminishing. She exhibited this behavior once when given the "Break" command, but immediately stopped upon hearing the "Off" command.


With her newfound obedience skills, it's likely that this issue will soon be a thing of the past.


Today, we returned to the park where I picked her up and continued practicing all the commands. Back at home, we filmed her overall progress for today.


Playa is doing exceptionally well, and I'm eagerly anticipating even more progress next week!




 

Pupdate: 5/21/2024





Playa woke up at 4am like yesterday and we went to sit in the living room for a while. After 10 minutes she almost fell asleep in the cot so we all went back to the bedroom and she went directly to her cozy crate and slept until 6:30am.


After eating and walking around the pond park behind our place in the fresh morning, we went to a quiet spot and worked on duration sit, down, and place for 30 minutes. She did pretty well although couldn't hold the position up to 2 minutes yet. She went back to sleep in her crate after that for almost 1.5 hours. It was overcast in the morning so we went to Bomo park which is 3 minutes away from our house. We were working on Extended Place again but she still was not getting used to the cot I brought as much as the grass.


Playa was still scratching her body during the training, so after we came back home, I gave her half a tablet (5mg) of Claritin and used Burt's Bees Itch Soothing Shampoo for her. Looks like she feels more comfortable and slept longer in her crate without scratching and struggling to sleep like last night. I feel that might be bothering her so she had to get up earlier than normal. So far, I haven't seen her scratch again yet. One more thing that I noticed while giving her a bath, looks like her back leg's fur is getting thin in some parts, and I make sure to keep an eye on that if it's getting worse.


After she wakes up today, we will be working on Food Manner a bit before going to bed.

Playa has been biting the leash a couple of times today and I corrected her by the Off command with a low stimulation.


She loves playing with other dogs. She's the most fun puppy and we are enjoying having her with us. Tomorrow we will work on all commands and will take her to a different place to practice more for duration, distance and a little more distraction.



 

Pupdate: 5/22/2024



Today Playa woke up a bit later than usual. I think she's been feeling better from her itchiness. We worked on food manners for her breakfast, which she did an excellent job. After that we went to our usual spot behind the pond to practice the Come to Sit command as that was the one that Playa still needs more work on. Playa started to do better today since I've been repeating this command by splitting time into short sessions all throughout the day.


For the Sit, place, and down commands, she already has done a great job for those. So I decided to go to visit Fashion Island to get some distractions. We got there at 9am which was almost empty but that allowed Playa to get used to the place before crowds started to fill in.


Playa had done a very good job to hold her position although seemed to break whenever a small little toddler ran up to her. She was barking at the kids and I stopped her with a low stimulation of the E-collar and pulled her away.


We did practice the Place, Extended Down and Heel commands. Her walk on Heel was very impressive. She was focusing on me and kept watching where my legs go, which is pretty amazing for a 7 month-old puppy that can do that. She started to bite the leash when I gave a Break command. So once again was corrected by using the E-Collar and she stopped right away. Playa's still a puppy so she still doesn't understand her strength too much.


Playa quickly formed bonds with me and our furry family at our place. It warms my heart to see her so content in this environment, which is really helping her learn and thrive!





 

Pupdate: 5/23/2024




Playa woke up at 6AM today. We went to Home Depot and practiced on the Place commands with carts and elevated objects. She was hesitated at first but after awhile, she started to get more confidence and be able to climb up on them, especially those lower ones. Place command on a vertical object will help building confidence in her and we will start building duration slowly over time.

When we back at home, we practiced the Come to Sit command again and this time, I tried not using the leash pressure on her. Just the e-collar. We will keep practicing this every day from now on along with all other commands which she mostly got it. Now just add duration, distance and distractions to it.

Tomorrow we will need to drive to Santa Monica, so I'm giving her a bit of rest and no more training until tomorrow.



 

Pupdate: 5/24/2024





Today, we headed to Santa Monica Pier and engaged in some training exercises with elevated objects like benches and boxes. We focused on enhancing Playa's obedience with duration and distance for the Sit and Place commands. Playa was doing great. She enjoyed the trip to Santa Monica and had great fun with other canine pals from her board and train program.


Another good news, her itchiness seemed to have disappeared today, and an overall increase in her happiness and energy levels at home. With a few more days of practice before the final session, we'll be intensifying our OffLeash training starting tomorrow. Stay tuned for updates!




 

Pupdate: 5/25/2024




Today, we focused on offleash training for Playa in the not-too-busy area behind our place. Playa did pretty well for Come to Sit and Heel with a drop leash on the floor. She mostly follows me in the correct heel position on my left side. Sometimes there were distractions such as children and other dogs, she had a little bit of interest by looking but she held her position quite well so far.


I'm giving her more rest for half a day and practicing more indoors every now and then, plus a lot of naps, since yesterday was a bit exhausting for her to be in a car all day.


I'll continue to practice offleash walk-on Heel with her more at some busier place and see what happens. Might go visit Fashion Island again tomorrow.



 

Pupdate: 5/26/2024











We went to Fashion Island early this morning today and practiced offleash on Heel walk, Come to Sit, Place, and Down with longer duration and distance. We also had a chance to practice the camera work and movements for our final.


Playa did great with holding her positions when asked to sit or down without breaking the position. She's also good with walk on Heel, and her sit was much better today,

Seems like she understands the difference between "sit" and "down" more. I didn't have to leash her while walking and if she started to walk away too far from my imaginary box area on the left, I just used the e-collar with a low stimulation to get her back to walk nicely along with me again.


While we were at Fashion Island shooting, I noticed Playa's skin on her back became red, probably from her scratches and her fur started to get thinner than day 1. With that concern, I decided to contact the Central Orange County Emergency Animal Hospital right away, and walked in with her to check up.


They found that her itchiness was from a flea infestation. Based on record, Playa's prevention flee was overdue (The record from her hospital showed that her last flea prevention was given in January, 2024.) The vet ordered a Simparica prescription for flea & tick prevention to start right away. Also gave the Oral Capstar to kill the adult fleas and the Cytopoint injection as an anti-itchy medication.


We also had her check up her paws that I was concerned about earlier today, to make sure that they are ok. The vet said that all the paws look good and there are no splinters in them. So that's good news.


With the medication she is getting, I believe she will feel better in no time.







Above picture: Playa's record that shows flea and tick outdated






 

Pupdate: 5/27/2024





Playa is feeling much more relaxed and playful today. In the pupdate video, you'll see our training activities from Fashion Island yesterday. We're currently focusing on practicing Door Manners and Car Manners throughout the day for today while taking plenty of breaks in between. This approach aligns with our vet's advice, as she recommended limiting Playa's activities for a few days while she recovers from the flea and tick situation.


From Day 1 up to Day 9, Playa has shown remarkable progress in mastering all the commands. She's excelling in Come, Sit, Break, Off, Place, Heel, and Down, including transitioning smoothly into advanced commands: Come to Sit, Extended sit, and Extended Down even in off-leash situations.

She will go home next Sunday with this brand new obedient knowledge to blend with her family and enjoy time together with them much more!


 

Pupdate: 5/28/2024





We took a trip to Bomo Park nearby and focused on practicing Car Manners. Upon returning home, Playa took a 1.5-hour nap before we headed out again, this time to Home Depot, where we practiced all commands with distractions. She's been handling public outings pretty well, showing confidence in crowded and busy areas.


While she generally remained calm around people, I observed some mild reactivity to young children, particularly when they ran past. Her response was limited to barking, without any signs of aggression or lunging so far. It's something we'll monitor closely.


Indoors, she occasionally displays protective barking, which I address using the Off command with the e-collar on low level

.

I noticed her fur thinner on her back, so I reached out to her vet for advice. They reassured me that it's likely due to scratching and should regrow in time. They emphasized the importance of consistent flea and tick prevention to avoid recurrence.

Overall, Playa's progress is encouraging, and we'll continue to provide her with the care and training she needs to thrive.



 

Pupdate: 5/29/2024




We revisited Fashion Island to get more OffLeash practicing all commands with distraction, duration, and distance. Got good crowds and a busy atmosphere. A lot of dogs and children were walking and running around.

Playa proved that she could hold the position until I released her with the Break command. She will sit there and wait patiently until she hears Break! This showed how much she improved her learning in just a week.


One time walking on Heel in circle around a small fountain, she lost focus on me for half a second, and she followed someone who looked like me and was walking along with her for a few steps, I called her name and at the same time clicked the S black button for E-collar, with the come command, Playa turned around and came back to me right away. She's a great puppy!


Back home resting and we are doing a bit more of all manners indoors and she's good for the rest of the day!


Another thing to mention: Playa started chewing the corner of the walls. To stop that, I said Off command but when I'm busy cooking or going to the bathroom, I put her in the crate or just put a muzzle on it so she won't be chewing things around which could be dangerous to herself also. I'm using Top-Paw's small size basket muzzle that fits really well on her and it can be purchased at any branches of Petsmart.





 

Pupdate: 5/30/2024



Today we went to Santa Monica Pier to meet up with other trainers and to practice off leash all commands. We also worked on Heel, Come to Sit, Place, Extended Sit and Extended Down at our Lake park Avenue of the Arts.

Playa did great as usual and mostly no mistakes except when she saw animals passed by like squirrels, birds, etc 

She broke the position although didn't try to chase them.

We will continue to strengthen her holding position on Extended Sit and Down commands.

Playa's Come to Sit command has become her second nature and every time I call her, now she would come around behind me and sit on my left side which made me proud!



 

Pupdate: 5/31/2024



Playa was practicing OffLeash commands: Heel, Come to Sit, Place, Extended Sit, and Extended Down at the Lake Park Avenue of the Arts. The evening was beautiful, and we caught her happily running on the grass in the video.


Throughout the day, we kept working on Extended Sit and Extended Down every now and then. These commands help us to take Playa out safely, whether it's for a quick shopping trip, running errands, or a nice dinner. They make life with her much easier since we don't have to worry about her jumping on people or causing trouble.


If she breaks her position, we just gently guide her back with a calm voice. We don't yell at her; we use the e-collar to remind her of the right behavior.


Playa has learned a lot already; now we just need to keep her skills sharp.





 

Pupdates 6/1/2024




Today is the last day for the Two Week Board and Train Program for Playa. She has come so far in just 2 weeks!

We spent time reviewing all the commands and placed emphasis on Extended sit.

Playa will need to focus more on managing distractions once she returns home tomorrow. With the use the Off command with low e-collar stimulation to address any remaining unwanted behaviors, such as nipping and biting.


Time will fly by, and as Playa continues to mature, her naturally soft personality will make her one of the most obedient German Shepherds out there!




Playa's fur has grown back and looks nice again

 


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