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Sage | Great Dane | Orange, CA | In-Training

Meet Sage, a 6-month old Great Dane from Orange, California. Sage is the sweetest giant puppy. She loves everyone, including big and small dogs, but doesn’t know her own size. She pulls when walking on leash, doesn’t respond to basic commands, is mouthy, climbs on the couch when she isn’t supposed to, and can be skittish. Sage is here for our Two-Week Board and Train Program to work on her confidence as well as her basic obedience and manners. Stay tuned for her fourteen-day transformation!


Pupdate 11/28/2021

Sage and I walked around TeWinkle Park with Sage on a slip lead long line. I worked on teaching her to turn when she feels the pressure of the leash, and that moving in the direction of the pressure is what releases it. She started to catch on after several repetitions! Sage was uninterested in the geese but did pull towards dogs she wanted to greet. When we returned to the van to load up she refused so I helped lift her up. She was vocal in the crate when we initially put her in but was quiet the second time she went in. At the house she vocalized a little bit in the beginning but quickly settled down.


Pupdate 11/29/2021

Sage and I worked on loading up in the crate both inside the house and in the van. After several reps she proved that she did not need to be lifted into the crate the day before and can in fact hop in on her own. We worked on loose leash walking, heeling, sit, and come to heel. Sage had a strong opposition reflex to leash pressure, but we worked through it using treats to help her understand that moving forward releases the pressure and gains the reward. In the afternoon we went into town and walked around a shopping center. Sage was a bit jumpy to people, shopping carts, and general activity in the area. I had her out on a patio while I ate lunch and she barked at an elderly woman with a cane and a man with a beard, backpack, and bicycle. I'll continue to work on exposing her to new places and showing her that everything is fine. She wasn't overly interested in her food and left much of it, but she is drinking water and her energy is good.


Pupdate 11/30/2021

Sage and I went to a shopping area near my home to practice loose leash walking in a more stimulating environment. She was jumpy at times and startled by people, barking at a few of them. We practiced come to sit, which is where I use the leash to guide Sage around my back until she was seated at my left side. I've been using a wall to help Sage learn how to sit straight instead of swinging her body out to face me. Her opposition to leash pressure is very strong so I did some more work with her on my property to help her understand that by moving into the pressure of the leash it releases the pressure. In the yard she enjoys interacting with the other dogs but isn't very aware of her body. I'll work on incorporating some rear-end awareness exercises into her program! We also did nails today, and Sage did really well sitting for her nail trim. She's been quiet in the crate and now goes in willingly.


Pupdate 12/1/2021

This morning Sage and I stayed on my property to work on her commands. We focused on heeling, come to sit, extended sit, place, and break. She struggled a bit with come to sit, which is where the dog goes around my back, entering from my right and ends up sitting at the heel position on my left. Earlier in the morning she was very resistant to sitting, but we worked through that using the e-collar, and she now sits when asked the first time. She will occasionally try to swing her rear-end out away from me to face me, and that's when I use the leash or gentle hand pressure to guide her into a sit that's straight.


Pupdate 12/2/2021

Today we went to the Carlsbad Outlet Mall to work on Sage's commands in a more distracting environment. When we arrived, Sage had a difficult time focusing on her commands and staying in the heel position. She would look every which way , often with her ears pinned back, and jump out of position. Instead of walking her around right away, I stopped in a busier area and asked her to sit and watch the activity around us. When she would break her sit, I would tap the black button on the left side of the remote and ask her to sit back down. I would reward her with treats to help her make a positive association with the environment. All of this activity was too overwhelming for Sage so I decided to bring my dog out as a helper dog to model confidence and calm behavior. Dogs learn from one another, and a helper dog can often teach a puppy what to do. Sage was able to relax a bit more, her head wasn't flipping around in every direction, and she was able to better follow directions with Juno next to her. Sage still gets stuck on the come to sit, and will refuse to move, or will sit out of position, so I continue guide her with the leash and mark only when she's sitting to my left with her chest in line with my legs. When we returned home she ate dinner and fell asleep. Training in public is exhausting!


Pupdate 12/3/2021

Sage and I went to the Outlets at Orange to work on her commands in a new environment. She is still jumpy around people, and barking dogs send her running, but she is starting to recover a bit faster and use her nose. We worked on loose leash heeling, come to sit, extended sit, and break. She can complete the come to sit command in a less distracting environment but gets stuck behind the back in more active environments and will still resist leash pressure when already in the sit position. In the evening I introduced the down command, which she refused to do, even with luring and light leash pressure. I ended up using the place board and captured the behavior when she did it on her own, marking and rewarding immediately. This is a time consuming process but effective with a dog her size who has learned to use her size and strength to avoid doing something she doesn’t want to do. After several repetitions she was downing willingly on the place board and I was then able to transfer the behavior to a down on the carpet.


Pupdate 12/4/2021

Sage and I worked on her commands at Huntington Beach. She's still jumpy to noises and has difficulty completing her commands if there are scary things in the environment, like barking dogs, as seen at the beginning of the video, but overall she's responding well to training. Sage did not want to down or place on anything that is over a foot high, so we've been working on this at my property. I've had her place on a large rock, as well as on top of a crate, and an elevated Klimb platform. She does a good job of holding her commands on my property and is beginning to hold them better around distractions.


Pupdate 12/5/2021

Sage and I went to Irvine Spectrum to work on her commands on a busy Sunday afternoon. We focused on place, down, sit, and come to sit. She is doing great remaining in the heel position while passing dogs, and is making more eye contact while in a down or on place. While she is still jumpy at times, she is completing more of her commands and is visibly more comfortable than the week before.


Pupdate 12/6/2021

Sage and I went to the Outlets at San Clemente to work on her commands. We focused on place and her extended down since she struggled the most with climbing up on things. The way I helped build her confidence was through repetition and praise. I would have her climb the same thing over and over until I visibly saw that it was no big deal to her. Sage is able to complete her come to sit in distracting environments and is showing more eye contact and focus. I’m very happy with her progress!


Pupdate 12/7/2021

Sage and I worked on her off-leash heeling while my dog, Juno, was loose and supervising, and Lucy, the goldendoodle, practiced her commands. Sage did really great! She heeled, completed her come to sit, stayed in an extended down, and broke when I gave her the release command "break". In the afternoon she played with her best buddy, Lucy, and now she's asleep in her crate. Very happy with her progress!


Pupdate 12/8/2021

Sage and I went to several stores today in Oceanside to run through all of her commands. She was a bit distracted when we first arrived, but as we worked through her commands she settled down and focused on the work. We practiced greeting manners in both the sit and down position, and Sage did great! After I released her, she got so comfortable with the man that she even rolled over for a belly rub. This afternoon while she was playing in the dog run while flailing her arms and legs around I noticed some little spots of hair missing on the back of her legs. It doesn’t seem to be bothering her at all, but I will still keep an eye on it.


Pupdate 12/9/2021

Sage and I went to the Brea Mall today to walk through all of her commands. I noticed while walking up the stairs Sage tries to run ahead of me and race me to the top by pulling me up the stairs. I worked her through bolting up the stairs by giving her slight leash pressure at the same time I am telling her to heel. This gave her the friendly reminder to stay in her heeling position even if we are walking up and down the stairs. As you can see in the video she caught on quickly and heeled with me the entire time. At one point in her extended down she breaks her command to walk towards me, but I quickly remind her to hold her command and she did exactly that.


Pupdate 12/10/2021

Sage and I worked on her commands at The Strand in Oceanside. She can perform all of her commands but can be skittish in public areas where there’s more activity and noise. Her head will dart from side to side, and if a noise or sudden movement startles her, she will bolt out of position. It would not be safe to have her off-leash until she is more confident in busy environments. Continued exposure where she can sit and watch people going by without being in the middle of everything, listen to normal everyday life activity (think dogs barking, skateboarders, motorcycles driving by, even the “wait” sign at the crosswalk, etc) so she can process things at her speed and go from running to using her nose to take in information.


Pupdate 12/11/2021

Sage and I went to Old Town Temecula to work on her final video, but the activity and noise was too much for her. I decided to take her back to Oceanside to work by the beach. There was still a lot going on, but the activity wasn’t as close to use, and Sage did much better. She socialized with her friend Lucy in the yard, and ate almost two full meals today.


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