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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Stevie | Labrador Retriever | Los Angeles, CA | In-Training

Meet Stevie! She is a two year old Labrador Retriever who has joined us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Stevie is here for basic obedience, counter surfing, and jumping to greet. She gets overly excited when guests are over and she likes to take toys that do not belong to her. Stevie does not listen, but over the next fourteen days, this sweet girl will be set up for success, with the hopes of becoming a well behaved pup. Check in to see her progress!


Stevie and I spent the day getting to know each other by going on a walk around my neighborhood. Stevie was introduced to Heel which consists of having her walking next to me on my left side. When Stevie would pull ahead of me, I turned around and walked in the opposite direction. When she would fall behind, I picked up my pace and had Stevie catch up to me with some verbal encouragement. From here on out, Heel will be implied on every walk we go on.


Stevie was introduced to Place today. Place is a technique that consists of having her get onto an elevated object and remaining there in a Sit or a Down. It can be of great use whenever guests are over or if there is a knock at the door. Stevie had a little trouble getting onto a bench during our first attempt, so I assisted her by standing on the bench and helping her up with leash guidance. After a few more reps, Stevie began to understand what I was asking, and began Placing without my assistance.


Stevie and I have been working on her recall which is known on Come to Sit. This consists of having Stevie come towards my right, going around behind me, and end with a Sit on my left. Stevie is food motivated, so to get her to go around behind me, I lured her with her kibble and I also used a little leash guidance. Once Stevie began to comprehend the meaning of the word “Come,” I then began to fade out the food luring, and just use leash guidance as needed. It is a work in progress, but Stevie is doing well as she gets more sessions in.


Stevie was introduced to Down today. This technique can be difficult to teach considering it is a submissive position to a dog. To teach Stevie, I asked her to Sit, used her kibble to lure her towards the ground, and leash guidance if needed. Stevie did very well and caught on quick after a few reps. We also worked on it by having her Place on an object and just use leash guidance and praise to fade out the kibble. Stevie now understands the concept and will work on maintaining that Down while I begin to increase distance.


Stevie and I have been working on Place with duration and distance. Stevie was having trouble remaining on the object whenever I would get behind her. She would either come out of the object or turn around and face me. To work her through it, I would keep a short distance, walk around her left and right side, and reward her with food when she remained in her position and not get up. After a few attempts, I was able to walk around her full circle, and gave her a big reward and lots of praise! Today’s session went great as I was able to walk around her, and get some good distance without the use of her leash as she remained in Place!


Stevie and I drove out to a shopping center to work around different distractions such as people and other dogs. She adjusted well to her surroundings and maintained a good Heel as we walked throughout the outdoor mall. Stevie was having a little trouble with her Extended Place as she would come out of it whenever I walked away to practice distance. It was a new object and a different texture than usual, but we reset and kept trying until she was able to follow through. Stevie has learned all of her commands and will now practice them in more public areas moving forward.


Stevie and I took a trip to Home Depot today and began working with her leash dragging in preparation for her off leash experience. She did very well walking through the aisles and maintaining her Heel next to me the whole time. Stevie is doing well with her recall and is getting better with her Extended Sit. Her Down needed a little work today as she would come out of it when I would start walking away, but we reset and kept trying until Stevie followed through. For the next few days, Stevie and I will continue our training sessions with her leash dragging.


Stevie and I went out and did a little shopping today and worked on her Extended Sit and Down. I was able to walk into the stores and shop without the worry of having Stevie jumping on customers. She was also great waiting in line to pay and we even got to practice her Come to Sit a little more. With this week coming to a close, I am looking forward to making more progress with Stevie moving into week two!


Stevie and I drove out to a local park and met with other trainers and their dogs. I began piecing what she knows together around the dog distractions, and she did really good maintaining her focus in her training. Stevie also assisted other trainers by serving as a distraction for their dogs, by walking around them and sitting next to them. She is ready to be fully off leash, and will begin working without one in the coming days.


Stevie and I worked on her Extended Place with different sized objects and different textures. She was a little hesitant with the smaller objects but once I assisted her in getting on, she gained more confidence and began placing on her own. She also began working off leash and she did good, although she was getting a little ahead of me a few times during our Heel. She would also not Sit during our recall session during the first couple of attempts. These were minor kinks that I was able to clean up with Stevie by resetting, and having her follow through with repetition.


Stevie and I worked on a few practice runs today and began piecing everything she knows off leash. Her Heel is doing much better and she is walking next to me and not walking ahead like before. She is doing great with her recall and is now coming to a Sit rather than standing or going into a Down. Stevie is ready for her Final and it will be the main focus for the remainder of her program.


Stevie began working on her Final today and she is doing great maintaining her composure with distractions all around her. We have been working on her Greeting Manners in which Stevie has shown a big improvement in. She has learned that she is to remain in a Sit whenever she is approached by someone that wants to say hello. It was difficult for her to do so in the beginning of her training, but Stevie has managed to successfully be greeted without jumping on people.


Stevie put on a really good performance during

her Final. Everything she has learned was put together and it came out very nicely. Stevie is very bright and has thrived in her training. She is capable of so much more with practice and consistency. She has come a long way in a short amount of time and I am very proud of her outcome.


Stevie has completed her Two Week Board and Train Program and is ready to come home! It was a pleasure working with her these past fourteen days and I am looking forward to showing you what she has learned. Thank you for trusting me with Stevie and for giving me the opportunity to be her trainer. We had a great time training and she will be missed. Her Final video is coming soon, but in the meantime, here is a peek at Stevie working on her Door Manners.


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