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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Ryker | Belgian Malinois | Santa Barbara, CA | In-Training

Meet Ryker! He is a one year old Belgian Malinois who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program! Ryker is here for basic obedience, leash pulling, and reacting towards other dogs while on a walk. Ryker shows no aggression and his reactivity is in a playful manner. The goal for Ryker is to be able to go out on walks without pulling, be able to throw a ball to him at a park or a beach, and to overall have him on his best behavior. Over the next fourteen days, Ryker will be set up for success, with the hopes of becoming a well behaved pup. Check in to see his progress!


Ryker and I spent the afternoon getting to know each other by going for a walk to establish a bond. We went into a nearby Petco and as we walked throughout the aisles, Ryker was pulling on his leash. To stop him from doing so, I used leash tension and turned in the opposite direction whenever he pulled away from me. This consisted of introducing him to Heel which is a technique that has Ryker walking next to me on my left side. In Ryker’s case, during his pickup, it was preferable that he remains on the right side. It is still a work in progress and is learning to catch on, but Heel will now be implied on every walk we go on from here on out.


Ryker and I continued to work on his Heel today as we took a walk around my neighborhood. He is easily distracted by the grass smells and other people walking by across the street. I use leash tension and ask him to “leave it” and reward him with praise and kibble when he follows through. He is pulling less but still gets a little ahead of me at times, but we are building consistency to keep Ryker by my side. I also introduced him to the E-Collar and he responded well at low levels. 


Ryker and I drove out to a local park and worked around dog distractions. He tends to hyper focus on them, so I have to disengage him from it and redirect him. He does react to smaller dogs and tries to lunge at them but does not do that with dogs his size. I will continue to work him around smaller dogs from a distance with hopes of having Ryker not react like he did. It can also determine whether or not he will be able to be an off leash dog. We worked on Place today and he did really well and Ryker shows great confidence. Any object I introduced him to, he managed to hop right on with no hesitation. Although he does have trouble maintaining it, I am going to work on his duration throughout his training program.


Ryker and I drove out to a more public setting today and worked around people distractions. Throughout our walk around the shopping center, Ryker did very well adjusting to his surroundings. We worked a little more on his Place technique and practiced on maintaining his Sit as well. I have been working on it by using his kibble and he is making good progress. Ryker did react to another dog but by asking him to "leave it" and asking him to Sit, he completely stopped and was even able to go on a walk with the same dog next to him. I also introduced him to his recall which is known as Come to Sit. This technique consists of Ryker coming towards my left, going around behind me, and sitting on my right. To teach him, I would guide him towards my left with leash tension, lure him around with food, and rewarding him when he sat on my left. The first few sessions were a bit of a struggle, but by staying consistent, Ryker began to understand the concept and is now beginning to follow through.


Ryker and I worked on Down today. It is one of the most difficult techniques to work on considering it being a submissive position to a dog. Ryker already had an idea of what I was asking but still struggled with me considering he was still earning my trust. Since he is very food motivated, I used his kibble to lure him towards the ground and rewarded him whenever he followed through. I am slowly fading out his kibble and rewarding him at random times, so he does not become used to the food. Now that he follows through, I will start to work on his duration since he is still having trouble maintaining it like he did with his Sit. He did react to a small dog but only due to the fact that the pup approached Ryker from behind. It was more of a warning from him. He did really well around him and was even able to take a picture sitting next to him.


Ryker and I worked on Sit and Down around people and dog distractions. He has more trouble maintaining his Sit rather than his Down. Today, he only tried to come out of it once while in his Place position and I was able to reset him quicker. I am noticing that as we begin to approach a dog from a distance, if I ask Ryker to “leave it,” he will not react to it no matter the size. There is still that possibility of him doing so, so in the coming days, I will continue to expose him around more dogs in order to determine if he will be off leash capable.


Ryker and I went out to a local park today and worked on everything that he has learned. His Come to Sit needed a little cleaning up as Ryker would Sit off to the side rather than next to me. To work him through it, I used walls as barriers to keep him from sitting away from me. His Place is making improvement and it is usually narrow objects that make him come out of it. Once I get Ryker comfortable to the object, he will remain in his Place longer. He is doing great with Down as well as Heel, and he checks in with me from time to time which I reward with praise.


Ryker and I took a drive out to Venice Beach today. We met with other trainers and their dogs as I continue to expose him to other pups. Ryker did react to one of the dogs that approached him but once I told him to “leave it,” he did not react anymore. He does well with other dogs once he gets comfortable around them and he can even walk next to them without any reaction. As you can see in the video, Ryker walks next to any pup of any size once he knows them. It is safer to keep him on leash to have better control rather than having him off leash and having him go after another dog. Ryker is a very smart dog and with week one coming to a close, week two will consist of Ryker working on his duration with his stationary positions.


Ryker and I worked on his stationary positions with distance and duration today. He does really well with his Down. What he does have trouble with is Sit and Place. There are a few instances in which he gets a little anxious and will come out of his position to come to me. To help him with that, I moved back one foot at a time with five second increments. One foot back is five seconds, two feet back is ten seconds, three feet back is fifteen and so on. When he follows through, I release him with a “break” and reward him with praise. Ryker is still working on it as he is almost up to one minute, and we will continue to practice in order to have him reach his goal. 


Ryker 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 Ryker 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 Ryker, he was able to achieve his goal.


Ryker and I have been working with a long line and he is making progress as we continued to practice distance with his stationary positions. Today at a local park, Ryker and I worked on a few sessions in which I was able to get to the end of the long line without him coming out of his Sit, Place, or Down. The more we stay consistent as owners, the more improvement our pups make with greater results. Throughout our walk around the park, Ryker did react to a dog that was on the other side of a fence, but by telling him to “leave it,” he ignored the dog and stayed on track as we continued our walk. As I prepare him for his Final, Ryker will continue to practice on his distance and I will add more distractions as we move along.


Ryker and I met with other trainers and their dogs at a local park today. We worked on his Down while the trainers and their dogs served as a distraction for Ryker. Although he did come out of his Down a couple of times, Ryker did really well at not reacting to any dog while I kept a good distance from him. I was able to reset him, put him back into position, and have him follow through. Ryker is showing a little improvement around other dogs, but we always have to be cautious by keeping an eye on him and catching it on time.


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


Ryker has completed his Two Week Board and Train Program and is ready to come home. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with Ryker and I want to thank you for trusting me over these fourteen days having him under my care. He is a great pup that is full of potential and can be capable of so much more. We bonded really well and became great friends. His Final video will be coming soon, but here is a sneak peek at Ryker working on his Food Manners. Thank you Ryker!

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