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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Rusty | Belgian Malinois/Coon Mix | Long Beach, CA | In-Training

Meet Rusty. He is a two year old Belgian Malinois/Coon mix who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Rusty is here for basic obedience, leash pulling, nipping, and jumping to greet. He can be playful but tends to get rough at times and will not listen to commands. The goal for Rusty is to walk properly on leash, not jump, and to come when called. Over the next fourteen days, Rusty will work on his behavior and be set up for success, with the hopes of becoming a well mannered pup. Check in to see his progress!


Rusty and I spent the afternoon getting to know each other to establish a bond. We went for a walk around the park and he was very distracted by the squirrels in the area. He would pull heavily on his leash so I introduced him to Heel, which consists of having Rusty walk next to me on my left side. Whenever he would pull away from me, I would turn, walk in the opposite direction, and guide him back towards me with leash tension. It is a work in progress as he still tries to pull, but I will continue to work on it with Rusty by applying Heel on every walk we go on.


Rusty and I continued to work on his Heel. He has made a big improvement and is pulling a lot less than before. I introduced him to the E-Collar and he responds to it at a low level. Rusty still fixates on squirrels in the area, but he is not pulling towards them like he did the day before. Our morning and evening walks are helping Rusty make progress and he did very well overnight in his kennel with no whining or crying. He is adjusting very well here at home and he enjoys the time we spend in the backyard.


Rusty and I have been working on Place. Place consists of having Rusty getting onto an elevated object and remaining there in a Sit or a Down. It can be of great use whenever there is a knock on your door and it can also build confidence in a dog. Rusty is a very confident dog and was able to Place on an object with little to no leash tension. What he did have trouble with was remaining in a Sit whenever he hopped onto an object. Rusty would come out of it almost instantly, but by resetting him and reminding him to Sit, I was able to work him through it.


Rusty and I are working on his recall which is known as Come to Sit. It consists of having Rusty coming towards my right, going around behind me, and sitting on my left. It did not take Rusty long to understand the concept of coming towards me, but he was having trouble going around behind me. I guided him with leash tension and lured him with the motion of my hand since he was not taking any treats. There are a few instances where Rusty does stop behind me or gets distracted which stop him from following through. But by staying consistent with repetitions, Rusty is making progress and working through it.


Rusty and I worked on Down today. Down is one of the most difficult techniques to teach considering it being a submissive position to a dog, and it can also make them feel vulnerable being down on all fours. To teach Rusty, I asked him to Place on an elevated object and asked him to Sit. Once in a Sit position, I proceeded to guide him down with leash tension, released pressure whenever he made an effort, and praised him for making the intent. It took time and patience with breaks in between to avoid frustration, but Rusty is accomplishing his Down.


Rusty and I met with other trainers today and worked around a couple of dogs who served as a distraction. I have been working on his Extended Sit and he has done very well in a low distracting environment. As the other pups walked around him, Rusty was able to remain in his Sit and I was also able to keep a little distance from him as well. Our morning and evening walks throughout his training have helped tremendously, as Rusty and I are walking pretty great with a loose leash. In the coming days, I will continue the loose leash walks as we prepare for some leash dragging exercises.


Rusty and I drove out to a local shopping center today and worked on his Extended Place around distractions such as people and other dogs. I was able to drop his leash and get a good six foot distance from him while he remained in his stationary position. Initially he would come out of it when someone passed him by, but by resetting Rusty and reminding him what I am asking, he was able to work through it. He had a little trouble with one of the objects due to the texture which had a glass surface. To have Rusty follow through, I got onto the object myself and guided him with leash tension to help him understand what is expected of him. After a few repetitions, Rusty was able to Place on the object, and he is learning to remain in his position when someone passes him by.


Rusty and I took a drive to the beach and worked on his Heel with his leash dragging. He adjusted very well to his surroundings and did very well around people, dogs, bicycles, and skateboards. He did make an approach at another dog during our walk but by reminding him to Heel, Rusty was able to get back into position as we continued our walk. Rusty has learned all of his commands and his final week will consist of preparing him for his off leash experience.


Rusty and I took a trip to a local Home Depot. We worked on Place by using objects of different surfaces and different textures. He was a little nervous around the shopping carts and the flatbed carts as we made our way through the aisles. I was able to work him through it by pushing a cart myself and by keeping him in a Heel. The flatbed cart took some time for Rusty to get comfortable around due to the surface and the way it moves around. When I would Place him, he would immediately jump off and move away from it. With repetition and rewarding him praise, Rusty was able to remain in a Sit while I pushed him around the store.


Rusty and I have been working on his Door Manners. He is understanding that he is to wait in a Sit or Down position whenever we approach a door. Once I open the door, if Rusty comes out of his position, I will proceed to close the door and repeat the process as needed until he follows through. I then step foot outside the door and have him wait until I let him know that it is ok for him to come out. It took a lot of practice, but by remaining consistent with Rusty, he was able to achieve his goal.


Rusty and I drove out to a local park and began working on some off leash exercises. He did really well around other dogs and ducks in the area. Throughout our walk in the park, Rusty tried to make a few attempts to veer off, but by correcting his behavior with an “Off,” and reminding him to “Heel,” Rusty followed through. He will continue to to work off leash for the rest of his training program, as we are getting set to begin working on his Final.


Rusty has been practicing Food Manners ever since I picked him up. Initially, he would immediately run towards the bowl as soon as I placed it on the ground. To keep him from doing so, I picked the bowl up and asked him to Sit. Once in a Sit, I placed the bowl on the ground again, waited a few seconds, and then released Rusty with a Break. Every meal consisted of the same approach with the only difference being the time increase Rusty would have holding his Sit. He has made great improvement and can now wait for his food patiently for two minutes.


Rusty and I have been working on his Greeting Manners. He has learned that he is to remain in a Sit or Down whenever he is approached by someone that wants to say hello. In the beginning of his training, Rusty would come out of his position whenever I stepped away, but throughout his program he began to understand the concept. Repetition and consistency were once again key, and Rusty has now managed to successfully be greeted without coming out of his stationary position.


Rusty has completed his Two Week Board and Train Program and is ready to come home. It was a pleasure working with Rusty and I really enjoyed the time we spent together. Thank you for trusting me with him while he was under my care, and I am looking forward to showing you what he has learned these past fourteen days. With repetition and consistency, Rusty is capable of learning so much more. He is a very bright pup and he will be missed. Thank you Rusty!

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