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  • Writer's picturecristianoffleash

Sully | German Shepherd Mix | Los Angeles | In-Training

Meet Sully! Sully is a 2 year old German shepherd mix from Los Angeles, CA who has joined us for our 2 Week Board & Train program. Sully is a genuine dog who gets along with his siblings at home and family, however he is very distracted with the lack of obedience that he has at the moment. He has issues such as nipping, barking at other dogs he doesn't know, and leash pulling. I want to be able to show Sully a different way of living which can help build his confidence as the days go on throughout his training. Over the next two weeks I'm going to help Sully become a well behaved and manageable dog for his family! Check out his progress with me as his trainer!


Pupdate 2/4/2024

Today was my first day meeting Sully and outside at a park he seemed fairly ok without reacting to much around us. It started to rain so I took Sully towards my car and as he made his way into the car he didn't want to step in the crate I had for him. It took about 10 minutes before Sully fully went into the car and we made our way back home. Sully made his way inside my house but seemed very unaware of being indoors but was fine when seeing my family members. When stepping into my side of the house Sully didn't want to adventure in and kept himself near my restroom. It took me some time but eventually he grew the confidence to come with me and walk around my room. He kept looking away from Hunter even though Hunter was being neutral and didn't mind Sully's presence. I kept Sully out working on his engagement with me before asking him to go into his crate. Sully didn't want to go in at first but I took the time working with each opportunity to praise him if he would walk or put his paws inside the crate. Once he went in he eventually fell asleep for a couple hours. He seems to slowly give me his confidence so as we work together the next 2 weeks I'm hoping to change his overall temperament and attitude when socializing.


Pupdate 2/5/2024

Today I took Sully to his first social setting with me to meet up with coworkers from offleash. When we first arrived Sully didn't want to come inside so it took me some time to get him to enter the store. Once we made our way inside he kept trying to pull in front of me so I would have to heel him in different directions to get his attention towards me. Even though we practiced throughout the store Sully was adamant about pulling each time he could. We found an aisle to prevent Sully from pulling and keeping him closer to me.

In the video above we focused on his engagement and making sure he didn't overstimulate when seeing Scout the golden retriever with Adrienne. Sully never barked but kept his attention on him for too long so we could continue walking back and forth in the aisle to keep his attention on me. Sully did fairly ok but needed assistance each time he would become distracted. Sully couldn't sit in front of Scout so each time I would help by applying pressure to his behind for the assistance. After some time Sully eventually settled and would go into a down showing his tiredness and giving himself a moment to relax.

Later on we started our e-collar training and Sully did well practicing with the e-collar inside the house. We focused on learning recall, place & down which went well with introducing both of those obedience commands. When asking for these obedience commands Sully didn't try to complicate things and made ease with our training session.


Pupdate 2/6/2024

Today's adventure was a trip to Cerritos mall in Cerritos, CA to meet up with our friend from offleash and expose Sully to a new setting. When walking inside Sully didn't mind entering this time but once we were on the tile he started to become unfamiliar with walking and started to stop in his tracks to not walk. I took my time motivating him to come inside and after some time he made his way to me and we walked throughout the mall. Asking for his obedience was challenging again so I brought some treats for motivation which helped throughout struggles. We took the time to use an open area of the mall to practice by ourselves and conditioned his sit and down obedience commands while around others. Sully took his time as always but started to go into his commands quicker.

By the end of the visit I noticed Sully's habit to lean into me due to his hip, even when doing his basic sit obedience command he has a habit to lean his leg under him. I'll continue to monitor his hips and see if there's complications that are contributing to his training but so far he seems to do his best with everything and showing his confidence slowly but surely. Something that helped throughout Sully's visit was talking to Sully and praising each moment of success. These moments were very memorable for him as his body language would change and he would always look at me for clarity enjoying his praise.

After our visit we practiced more of our obedience training at home introducing Sully to his food manners and door manners practice.


Pupdate 2/7/2024

Today I took Sully to Hillcrest park in Fullerton, CA for some exercise and exposure. When we first arrived Sully seemed to find a park more tolerable than most indoor places we've gone to so far. Sully did very well with most areas of the park when passing by others but once we saw some people with their dogs Sully started to just walk in their direction as if he wanted to say hi. Each time this happened I would ask for his off obedience command to keep his attention back towards me but he would try to tolerate these moments.

In the video above we found an area to specifically work on conditioning his heel since he likes to create distance away from me. As I walk with Sully we keep a pace together until he tries to lead which is when I face the other direction and say heel at the same time to signal Sully. I turned in both left and right direction to show Sully this type of body language so this will familiarize him with his object of simply walking. Each moment of success I praise him physically and verbally.

Later on I also took Sully to Anaheim feed & pet supply to see how his confidence would be after already being out for some time. He did very well entering the store without issue. We practiced our obedience commands within the aisles but when it came to practicing any commands with duration he would always get up to be next to me. It took some time with patience to have Sully hold a sit or down for more than 10 seconds but with this short time of success I would work with it and continue to praise him for holding 10 seconds and nothing longer. As the days go on challenging Sully to let me create space away from him will take some time until he gives me more of his confidence.


Pupdate 2/8/2024

Today I had Hunter and Sully go on a walk together early in the morning and did very well. As I would ask the both of them to go potty, Sully would take these moments smelling Hunter from behind becoming familiar and confident with him. Once we made our way back home we had our usual morning practice of basic obedience.

I brought Sully out to Citadel Outlets in Commerce, CA for another day of exposure and to see where Sully's confidence is while in a public setting. When we first arrived we took an elevator down to walk towards the outlets and being inside the elevator it was clear to see Sully was uneasy shaking somewhat as it went down. Once we made our way out he was back to normal and kept a consistent heel walking into the outlet. We walked throughout the outlet and walked into several stores with some exploration into the stores. We took the time to just sit and relax and let people shop around us to have Sully familiarize himself with these situations. Each time we left a store I would always praise him for acting civil and calm.

In the video above is our practice of an extended down that took many practices before having Sully fully complete this practice in public. Once Sully gives me his confidence everyone around him becomes of no value and he keeps his attention towards me. As I'm walking across him I'm verbal with him telling him good boy until I give him his break. Once I gave him his break he came directly to me to get petted as always.


Pupdate 2/9/2024

Todays' video is our practice of door manners showcasing the progress Sully has made when being asked to wait behind a door. Sully had a habit of constantly running through my front door each time we returned home. I take about 20 minutes each day working with each door that Sully passes through to condition his behavior and desensitize the feeling of running. We are six days into his training and he has been showing me his confidence even if he messes up with his practices.

In the video above is the beginning of our practice with Sully having a better temperament about waiting but he has a need to get up and slowly come towards me. I'm able to redirect him from a distance with the remote at a low level setting and he acknowledges this before he can pass the door. I'm asking him to place himself back onto the place pad which he does now with ease even. Before I couldn't even walk away from him without Sully attempting to follow me. Now he has some patience but we still need to work on this to make it better and build his confidence once I leave his sight.

When walking up to the place pad I ask him to place and follow up with sit or down. If Sully ends up going into a down when I originally ask him for a sit I will redirect him back into the sit. As our practices went on he eventually let me walk all the way towards the street and I made my way back towards him for his break to praise him.


Pupdate 2/10/2024

Today I met up with our friend Sheena from offleash early in the morning to go for a walk with our dogs. Today Sully was more energetic than normal when arriving somewhere new. We only arrived at our friend's house and just the presence of being here Sully was excited but we started our walk and Sully was trying to pull compared to every other day. His temperament is more happy and confident but he's still getting distracted so keeping him engaged with the e-collar was crucial for our walk to Starbucks. Throughout our walk he was able to settle himself but once we made our way into Starbucks he was uneasy walking on tile or soft texture surfaces. He will spread his paws entirely out as if he's swimming and doesn't want to walk on the floor.

After some time of being in the store he managed himself and even laid down next to Oso the chocolate lab. Even as I tried to order a drink he followed me and didn't want to be by himself. I'm going to try and find specific locations with more soft tile floors to properly condition him so walking into a store such as Starbucks is normal. We stayed momentarily and as we walked out his last step to go outside he wanted to spread his paws out again and not walk. I asked him many times to heel to me without using leash tension and eventually he did. We made our way back home after a few miles of walking and gave Sully another break and more water.

Later on we focused more house training and continued conditioning his recall and extended sit and down for when we go practice out in public again. When training Sully does have an intentional habit of positioning his leg under hip for ease on his hip. I will keep him from doing anything severe on it but he's been confident trying and training everyday as always. Sully got an ear cleaning as well, he seems to pick up a lot of gunk in his ear daily so I bought a liquid flush and wipes and he didn't mind with letting me touch his ears so I rewarded him immediately with a treat. I'll update anything that comes up within the next week.


Pupdate 2/11/2024

Today I took Sully Tri-city park for more training and exposure since this park have ducks and geese so I wanted to see how Sully would be in this environment. When we first arrived he was very excited to be somewhere new as always. Instead of immediately taking him for his walk we went for a run around the park twice to burn some energy Sully had. After our run we got some water and used part of the walkway to train Sully as people passed by us. Once we actually picked an area close to the ducks and geese Sully wanted to stay distracted and even started to vocalize which he hasn't done. Each time Sully would overstimulate himself just from seeing ducks and geese I would heel him back and forth and focus on marking his off obedience command at the right time. After some time he started to give me his attention again and we were able to train at a better pace.

In the video above is after our run and Sully's vocalizing towards the birds. We are constantly practicing the same routines around all possible distractions to help with his confidence build. Asking him to hold his sit seemed unreal to him but I keep redirecting him until he gives me duration to have a better outcome while working outside. After having some people on their walks pass by us we finished our practice in the walkway and took one more walk around the park. I dropped the leash and walked him around the park but he had moments to go onto the grass and try to smell which needed to be redirected when I'm not asking him for this. If I give him a break he's allowed to free roam and walk onto grass but if he does it on his will that's another moment to be redirected with his heel to come back towards me.


Pupdate 2/12/2024

Today I took Sully to Wilderness park in Downey, CA to train around some of our friends and their dogs again. When we first arrived Sully was happy to be somewhere new yet again and wanted to not listen entirely out of happiness. Even though Sully is very happy to be out he automatically can get distracted like this so communicating from the moment he's out the car is ideal and important that he understands from beginning to end of our visit he has to listen.

During our visit we practiced our leash dragging with a few moments of Sully rebelling against the remote. After walking around as much as we could we started to focus on our obedience training and during these moments after a lot of exercise training was more easy but Sully still needs leash assistance going into his down. For everything else he seems to have picked up his obedience but when asking him to down he just back ups entirely. We are going to improve on trying to get him offleash and being able to go into his down without assistance. Sully didn't react to any of the dogs he saw today nor the ducks and geese we passed by with help of his off obedience command.


Pupdate 2/13/2024

Today I walked Hunter and Sully together which went well with both of them behaving accordingly on leash. Once we made our way home I took the time to practice Sully's offleash training. I only used the space in front of my house but when working with Sully completely offleash he is aware of the leash not being connected and wants to go away from me when he can make me chase him. Even for redirecting Sully in moments like these he tolerates the remote as much as he can before shutting down and whining which I don't want. I stopped using the remote because I didn't want to stress him out so I gave him a break before trying to continue our practice. Sully would continue to run towards the front of my house or even try to attempt to go through my car door that's closed or under my car. I stop offleash training him and reconnect the leash which that alone made Sully easier to work with.

In the video above is our recall practice with the leash attached but when asking for his recall I had him go into his down rather than his sit. I use the leash to lure him around me and ask for his down which he does with ease. We practice this momentarily before going inside and taking some time to lay down with him and soothe his hip by massaging it. His hips seemed to be bothering him today so I didn't have him practice his sit as much to help ease his hip.


Pupdate 2/14/2024

Today I took Hunter and Sully for their walk together which has been going well daily. When we arrived home I wanted to give them both the opportunity to socialize with each other in my backyard. I started to run around to have them chase me to see if they end up playing with each other which worked but Sully isn't as social when showing Hunter play signs. It took some time but eventually they started to play with each other more, showing their body languages towards each other. Sully seemed ok and checked up on me frequently to see if what he was doing was ok. Hunter is very mindful of Sully so only does what he can trying to get his attention. They spent most of the day out together but Sully has an independent personality wanting to be alone or just in an area by himself minding his own business.

We focused on improving his overall obedience when practicing offleash but Sully has been adamant about trying to find the perfect moment to wander off if he can so leash dragging has been ideal to keep him in close proximity in case he decides to venture away from me. We are able to go long distances without him wanting to leave my space but the moment something catches his attention it's been 50/50 depending on his actions.


Pupdate 2/15/2024

I took Sully out to Home Depot to see his temperament when entering inside a store to see if he was gonna be more civil. When walking into the store he didn't mind the smooth service floor compared to entering Lowes the first time we visited a location. He seemed excited but not as much trying to keep his pace without overstimulating. I walked him very slow without trying to pick up my pace to keep a good consistency when passing aisles and customers around us. As we found an area to work in we had some employees who came up to us excited to see Sully. They asked to say hi to Sully and his greeting matters which went really well. Sully seems to genuinely get excited when greeting someone new but I had these guests keep in mind to pet Sully under his mouth or at his chest rather than the top of his head. The longer we stayed he seemed to have confidence when working with the leash attached but when trying to focus offleash he does fairly well but continues to stop his tracks to try and see if he can go the other way from me and make his own decision. When using the e-collar he has been coming back towards me but also having some moments where he shuts down and goes into a down rubbing his neck towards the ground to remove the e-collar. For the moments this has happened I stopped our practices and took time to focus on other things before returning back to focusing on offleash.

Overall he seems to do fine when seeing the leash in my hand or as long as I'm associating myself with it he can perform phenomenally but offleash he has been tolerating moments where he chooses to battle when he wants his opportunities and shuts downs which negatively will effect him so I reassure him with the leash as its followed up when not being able to perform with confidence.


Pupdate 2/16/2024

Today Sully and Hunter had their hour-long walk again this morning which went well without any issues. They both go potty at the same time even when pooping at times. Hunter will sometimes try to lead and Sully takes notice but when redirecting Hunter Sully understands not to copy these movements. Once we returned home they had their usual playtime inside the house and outside in the backyard. I give Sully all the freedom he wants when playing but there are times he tries to venture towards a corner to squeeze through or push the door open to end up somewhere he wants to in the house. I will redirect him verbally or get near him the moment he tries to go in areas where he thinks he can leave the house even though these areas are blocked off. There are mostly the side gates that lead out to the front of the house. Inside he can have a habit of remaining near my kitchen door but has stopped his consistency with it and likes to lay down next to my bed or next to Hunter.

In the video above is our improved food manners, door manners, and recall making sure Sully can perform with following through correctly. When working on his door manners in the backyard rather than trying to run away through the door he would try to travel on the opposite side of my backyard to not comply. Today was the only days where even at the highest setting he was tolerating the e-collar to end up in an area away from me. I reattached the leash and as always, Sully had a better temperament to work. Sully lets me leave the backyard without getting up from his down and I walk as far as I want before returning. Once I make my way into the backyard Sully lets me grab the leash and I ask for his heel which he follows through immediately when the leash is attached. Working offleash has been difficult because of his innate nature to stop everything and walk away from me to get what he wants. While the leash is attached he can work with ease with redirection on low level stimulations without much want to walk away.

During our recall practice I started intentionally with the leash and for the beginning of this practice he made training easy and even kept his sit when being asked! Today was a better improvement seeing him perform without much irritation from his hip showing his willingness to train. We practiced many repetitions and Sully is fairly slow when asked to do his obedience commands due to his hip.

Last video clip is of our food manners which has been easy to work with everyday each time I fed Sully. Every day I would ask for his sit and each time he would get up redirecting him for his food came with ease and each day we worked up to different times of durations, also leaving his sight to test his confidence. Now when practicing I ask him to always go into his down rather than sit for his hip to have ease when waiting. I walk in and out of the house until I give him his break and even though he comes up to me for affirmation first he follows up immediately to go to his bowl.


Pupdate 2/17/2024

This morning Hunter and Sully had their last walk together with some play time early in the morning. We had some obedience training after working on his leash dragging which was somewhat better today without Sully stopping in his tracks and rather had a consistency with heeling with me. I took him for another walk around the neighborhood without Hunter going through many neighborhoods but he was at a slower pace with the leash dragging which seemed to keep his confidence. Once we made our way back home I gave him time to relax with Hunter before taking him out to Cerritos Mall.

When arriving at Cerritos Mall Sully managed to walk through the doorway without having any issue however he recognized the brown tile closest to the entrances of each store and would become distant if we went by it. I took him near an area where I could work on walking him but we were only able to have some moments of success and other moments of him dropping his legs entirely not being comfortable. I tried many variations such as asking him to down and hold it or recall him around me onto the tile but he would go the other direction. I continued to walk Sully around the mall but stayed in the middle of every walkway to keep a quality heel, if I was to keep walking him near the tile, Sully could end up bumping into someone when pulling away from me. As we walked throughout the mall Sully was able to keep his confidence passing by many crowds but had his head lowered so I would talk to him in a positive manner to keep him engaged with me. The longer we stayed he was able to settle himself as long as we were distant from the brown tile.

Sully's board and train is coming to an end and he has progressed in many ways but has an innate nature to run away when given the opportunity. Sully can perform very well with use of the leash & e-collar attached but he does worry me about being entirely offleash for how often he tries to run away since this behavior has been ongoing. We have visited many places and his behavior always gets better the longer he remains at the new locations he visits when practicing his obedience first before exploring. He remained distant from Hunter but as each day passed by they eventually bonded and have been keeping each other company even if Sully doesn't have the most energy to do things at times. When greeting people he has always been a sweet pup smelling his new friend for the moment and always checking up with me for affirmation. Sully is able to socialize, play and is ready to go back to his owners!



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