Tank | Olde English Bulldog | Venice, CA | In-Training
Meet Tank! He's a sixteen-month-old Olde English Bulldog from Venice, California. He is joining us for our two-week board and train program to improve his overall manners and obedience. He is a friendly and confident pup, but will sometimes pull while walking on a leash and jump on people when he's too excited. He also has a habit of pushing through people's legs when going through doors or gates, and will bark at and playfully chew on people when he wants attention. Over the next fourteen days, we will be working on his obedience and manners both on and off-leash. Stay tuned for his transformation!
Tank and I spent some time bonding and getting to know each other at a park today. He and I had a great time walking around and playing in the grass. I tested his knowledge by asking him a few commands, and he was able to perform a sit when asked but wasn't able to hold it for more than a few seconds. He also jumped onto a park bench after being asked a few times, which shows his confidence and willingness to learn and explore new things. He also came to me when called sometimes, which shows he has a basic understanding as to what is being asked of him, though he often chose to ignore the command and did not come over to me consistently when called. He didn't seem to understand down, and would get up and walk away or try to jump up on me when I asked him to down. He also didn't seem to understand heel, and was pulling on the leash a lot and veering off in different directions, and sometimes decided to sit or lay down instead of continuing to walk with me. If I could grab his attention, he would walk alongside me briefly, before losing focus and returning to pulling me around on the leash. After seeing what he knew, I spent some time introducing him to the concept of leash pressure and the come-to-sit command to begin our training process. Since he has a basic understanding of both come and sit, this is a great command to begin with. At the very start, he didn't really understand what the leash pressure meant, and tried to ignore the pressure and the command being given, without any attempt to follow the direction of the pressure or follow through to turn it off. After a few repetitions, he began to show signs of understanding, and would turn to me when he felt the leash pressure, and come to me to be rewarded when he came all the way to me. For the come-to-sit command, the goal is to be able to recall him from a distance, have him approach my right side, and circle around my back to end in a sit on my left side. After practicing with him a bit, he became more consistent about coming to me when called, but needed a lot of guidance with the leash to get him to perform the entire maneuver once he got to me. Over the next couple of days, we will be practicing this command more, and over time it will begin to feel more comfortable and easy for him to do with little to no guidance needed.
Tank appears to be happy and healthy, though upon meeting him I noticed he has a small wound on his back paw. He doesn't appear to be bothered by it at all, but I went ahead and cleaned it up to help avoid any potential infections. This is something I will be monitoring closely over the coming days, and will be doing what I can to ensure it heals quickly and does not worsen.
Today Tank and I visited a park, where we continued to work on his come-to-sit command, as well as introduce the place and down command. He still needed a lot of guidance for his come-to-sit, but has shown improvement from yesterday and was a bit more consistent about coming to me when called. More work will need to be done to get him more consistent with the entire maneuver though, as he oftentimes will come to me and sit right in front of or behind me, or walk up to me then immediately walk away again. With more repetitions, he will begin to understand that when I say come, he needs to not only come to me, but complete the entire command and end in a sit on my left side.
He did a great job at learning and performing the place command, and willingly jumped onto any surface I asked him to. He needed no leash pressure to guide him for this, and quickly caught on to the verbal command and hand gesture to let him know where I want him to place at. He also did a good job about sitting on place when asked, and was able to hold it for about a minute.
He did end up breaking his sit command a few times to lie down instead, so I used it as an opportunity to begin teaching the down command as well. Down can be a tough command for some dogs to willingly perform at first, as it's an instinctually submissive and vulnerable position. Thankfully, Tank seems to enjoy laying down, and once he understood what I was asking of him he would happily lie down on command. More work will need to be done to get him to hold this position however, as he tends to want to get back up about thirty seconds after the command is given.
The goal is to have him be able to hold any stationary command, such as sit, place, or down, for at least two minutes, and only get up if released or given a new command such as come or heel. As the days go on, I will continue gradually adding duration to these commands, to slowly build up his obedience and patience. We will also be gradually adding more distance and distractions over time, so that he can learn to hold these positions for longer periods of time, no matter how far away I am or if there are distractions nearby.
I also introduced the e-collar today, which I am pairing with leash pressure alongside verbal cues and hand signals. He has quickly caught on to what the leash pressure means, and understands that by listening to me and following the direction being given, the pressure turns off and he is rewarded. Since he is in our off-leash program, it's important to introduce the e-collar early and get him familiar with it, as by the end of the program it will be our main line of communication as we won't always have a leash to rely on. For the time being, by paring the e-collar stimulation along with the leash pressure, he will start to understand that both forms of pressure essentially mean the same thing, which will allow me to start using them interchangeably, and eventually stop using leash pressure altogether.
Tank and I spent today training around the streets of my neighborhood, where we continued to work on each of his commands. Similar to yesterday, he did a great job at jumping onto various platforms and benches for the place command, and showed little to no hesitation even for new objects. He also was able to hold sit and down for about a minute, even as I utilized the long leash to create some distance from him. More work will need to be done until he can hold these stationary positions consistently though, as he sometimes will break the command when he loses focus. There were some nearby distractions such as other dogs, people, and loud cars. He didn't seem particularly phased by any of the distractions, and managed to keep his focus on me for the majority of our time. He did want to play with a stick that he found as we walked and didn't want to let go of it at first, but after being told the "off" command, he understood that I wanted him to drop it. The off command is the verbal cue we use when the pup is doing something we want them to stop, and return their attention back to their training. It essentially means no, or leave it, and can be applied to a wide variety of situations, such as the pup getting distracted by something, or getting too excited and trying to jump on people.
We also worked on getting him to walk nicely on the leash, which is something we've been practicing little by little every time we go on walks. Due to his tendency to pull while on the leash, we switched out the regular leash for a slip lead instead, which helped give me more control and make the act of pulling less desirable for him. With this tool, I saw a lot of progress being made and I was able to communicate with him easier. After a few minutes of use, he was engaging with me a lot more, and looking to me for direction instead of trying to forge ahead and pull me where he wants to go. He did need some minor leash pressure to remind him where I want him to be when he strayed a bit too far, but he was able to walk with a loose lead for much of the time, which is a drastic improvement from my first couple of days with him. I'm not looking for a perfect heel just yet, but today's focus on building engagement and stopping the excessive pulling is setting the foundations for getting him to walk in a heel with zero leash pressure needed.
The rain today got heavier as the day went on, so we headed back home and spent some extra time working on his house manners. This is another area of his training that he and I work on every opportunity that we can. This includes feeding time, going through doors, as well as during greetings, and playtime. He has had some basic training in food manners previously, and already knows to wait patiently as I set his food bowl down before releasing him to eat his meal. Though he does tend to get impatient at times, and will sometimes break the stationary command given in order to get closer to the food before I have released him. The goal is to have him be able to hold the position with his food bowl in front of him for at least two minutes, even as I walk around and do various things around the room, or even if I step into another room and leave his line of sight.
This also applies to when I walk through doors or gates, where I put him into a sit or down, and have him wait patiently at that spot as I open the door and walk through without him, only allowing him to follow if released or given a new command such as come or heel. Since he has a bad habit of wanting to push through people's legs and get through the doorway first, this is something we began working on from day one. We are starting with short periods of time to set him up for success, and giving lots of praise when he waits as instructed. As the days go on, we will continue gradually adding more duration so we can meet the goal of two minutes for this situation as well.
He also has a tendency to jump on me or other people when he is greeting them or if he gets too excited while playing. To work on this, I remind him of the off command whenever he starts to jump up, and only give him praise and affection when he has all four paws on the ground. It also helps to give him a command such as sit or down, that way he can focus on holding that position instead of jumping up.
Due to the rainy weather, Tank and I did most of our training at a Home Depot today. We met up with several other OffLeash SoCal trainers and their dogs there, and practiced each of his commands around the various distractions present. He did very well around the distractions and didn't seem bothered by the loud sounds of the machines, and was able to ignore the other dogs as they did their training nearby. He walked much nicer today, which allowed me to lead him with a loose leash as we worked on cleaning up his heel position. He did sometimes veer off a bit to smell things, but was much better about not pulling, and was able to get back to walking by my side when asked. He also showed more understanding of the e-collar communication today, and did not always need the leash pressure to understand what I was asking of him.
He also did a great job about holding sit and down, and was able to hold each position for multiple minutes even with distractions such as people, carts, and other dogs walking by. Now that he is starting to get the hang of duration, we will be working on adding more distance, so that he can learn to remain in position even if I leave his side and walk away or walk around him. Currently, I can step away only a couple of feet before he decides to get up and follow me, but as I gradually add more distance he will learn to be more confident and understand that he needs to stay there even if I am not right beside him.
Toward the end of our session he started to get a bit tired, and in turn became more stubborn. He started to lag behind or suddenly lie down and refuse to move as we were walking around working on heel, and needed to be encouraged to get back up and keep walking with me. He also would sometimes plop into a down position shortly after being asked to sit, so I had to remind him to get back into the position I asked him to be in. Once he returned to a sitting position, I then asked him to lie back down which he happily did. It may seem like a small thing, but if I allow him to make his own decisions and disobey a command when he feels like it, it will negatively impact the training process. It's important to always hold him accountable, and be consistent with ensuring he follows through with each command so that we can work through these stubborn streaks and improve his obedience.
Tank and I took a walk to an outdoor shopping center in my neighborhood today, where we worked on each of his commands around the distractions of the busy area. We focused on adding distance to his stationary commands, which he quickly got the hang of and was able to hold sit, down, and place as I utilized the length of the long leash. He was often able to remain in these positions for over a minute and a half, but wasn't always consistent and sometimes got up before being released or given a new command. In the video, you can see he holds a sit nicely and waits until he is told to come, though he decides to get up from his down position to follow me before I ask him to. So I had to bring him back to where he was and ask for a down again, ensuring he followed through with the command given before being released for a break. He also was a bit stubborn at times when I asked him for a come to sit, and sometimes needed to be asked several times for him finally to come to me. This happened mainly when I asked him to come while he was sitting or laying down in a comfortable spot and he didn't want to get up. He is getting better at the maneuver of come to sit though, and is starting to need less and less guidance with the leash pressure to help him position correctly.
He also was able to walk in a heel with little to no leash pressure today, and responded very well to the e-collar stimulation as a replacement for leash pressure in most cases. He knew when he felt the stimulation, that he wasn't in the right position and needed to correct himself so that he was back where I wanted him. I allow him the opportunity to problem-solve in these situations, where he needs to think and remember where he needs to be when given the heel command without leash pressure to physically guide him. He also didn't pull at all on the leash today, and was able to walk nicely alongside me as we walked past crowds of people and passed by other dogs. He often looked up at me as we walked, and was checking in and engaging with me a lot which was rewarded and encouraged with lots of praise. Frequent eye contact is a great sign that he is paying attention, and is looking to me for direction as we walk, which is a drastic improvement from when he would pull me around trying to drag me wherever he felt like going.
He did get a bit tired towards the end of the session, and started lagging behind while walking and did need some light leash pressure to encourage him to keep up with me. When using only the e-collar during these moments, he didn't quite understand that I wanted him to catch up and walk alongside me, which frustrated him and sometimes caused him to stubbornly stop walking and lay down instead. Since the e-collar is still quite new to him, it's only fair to help him through these moments with the directional guidance that leash pressure provides. Despite these few stubborn moments towards the end of the session, he is showing amazing improvement and we are on track for weaning off leash pressure completely.
Today Tank and I visited the Santa Monica Pier, and worked on each of his commands around the various distractions present. There were huge crowds of people, lots of other dogs, and loud sounds and music but he didn't seem particularly phased by any of it and had a happy and relaxed demeanor despite it all. He was able to maintain his focus, and listened to the commands given to him. He was able to hold sit and down for nearly two minutes, and happily jumped onto and held place on various objects such as benches and platforms. He did get a bit tired towards the end of our day here, and as usual started becoming more stubborn in certain situations, but we worked through it and were able to complete the session with relative ease. Apart from some slight delay in responding to commands, he did a fantastic job and was able to listen and follow through with what I asked of him.
He had a great time walking around the pier and he received a lot of compliments from strangers about how well-behaved and calm he was. Since lots of people wanted to stop and pet him, we used this as an opportunity to work on his greeting manners some more. He came to me with a tendency to jump up on people when meeting them, but through my time training with him he is learning that this is not polite or appropriate to do. Instead, I have him hold a sit or down when meeting someone, and ensure he remains in that position even if they pet or talk to him. This way he has to focus on holding his position, and practice self-control so he doesn't get overly excited and accidentally knock someone over. He did very well at this today, and even though he was a bit excited sometimes, he managed to hold the position asked of him. He did wiggle around a little bit from his tail wagging, but he never got up and try to jump on anyone which was great to see.
We also worked more on cleaning up his heel today, as he still needs more work in this area of his training. He does well at not pulling, though there are times where he loses focus on me, and tends to stray away from me a bit or keep going in the wrong direction if I make a turn or stop moving. He has a solid understanding of what I am asking when I give the heel command, and will typically return to the correct heel position with no need for leash pressure when asked, though sometimes he will drift off right after and need to be reminded again to stay in position. In the coming days, we will be working on this more, and keep the training fun and interesting for him so that he is motivated to keep his focus on me so that he can easily follow my lead without needing to be constantly reminded and asked.
Overall he did a great job today, and has shown that he is a confident pup and is capable of any command I ask of him, even around high amounts of distractions. Now that he has a solid understanding of each of his commands, his training going forward will be focused on adding more distance and duration to each command, motivating him to keep his focus on me even around the biggest of distractions, and working on getting him to be more and more consistent with his obedience and overall command performance.
Tank and I walked to a nearby park today, where we worked on each of his commands with added distance and duration, as well as an increase in distractions. He has been doing very well with performing his commands around my neighborhood and during our adventures around the city, and is able to maintain focus around common distractions such as people, other dogs, and cars. I've noticed that often times when a distraction does get the best of him, it's commonly due to him wanting to smell or play in a patch of grass or someone's lawn. We have been working on his impulse control regarding this, as even though he may love grass, he needs to be able to resist the urge to go play in it if I am asking him to perform a command. Over the past few days, he has become much better about this, and knows that he needs to listen to me and follow directions, even if we are near grass or similar distractions.
He did a fantastic job walking in a heel the whole way to the park, and was engaging with me a lot and kept a close eye on me so he could follow me and stay in heel. He even stopped with me and sat automatically without needing to be asked when when I stopped to wait at crosswalks and stoplights. Him offering this behavior shows that he is learning what I like from him in certain scenarios, and knows that I want him to stop and sit instead of running into the street on his own where there is the danger of cars.
Since he has been doing so well while out on walks and doing other training, I decided to test his focus and obedience by heading to a big grassy area at a local park. As expected, the grass was the biggest distraction for him out of everything else that was there. He ignored the other dogs, small kids running around and playing, toys being thrown, and people walking by, but was constantly tempted by the grass and was trying to sniff it, eat it, and roll around in it any chance that he could. Whenever he broke command or let the grass distract him too much, he was told the off command and reminded to focus back on his training. He did well at listening to the off command immediately when asked, though he did need to be reminded many times, as he would often choose to disobey again shortly after to try and quickly grab a mouthful of grass when he thought I wasn't watching.
We worked on each of his commands, including heel, come to sit, and extended place, down, and sit. Apart from his fascination with the grass, he did a great job and was able to follow through with everything I asked of him. He held his extended stationary commands for nearly two minutes today, while I walked around him from about ten feet away. He did get a bit tired towards the end of the session and on the walk home, but he was much less stubborn than usual and didn't protest any commands given.
Tank and I visited an outdoor shopping area in my neighborhood today, where we worked on each of his commands with no leash pressure. For the past several days, we have been working on gradually weaning off leash pressure, and replacing it with the e-collar. He now has a solid understanding of the e-collar stimulation, and responds very well to it when paired with verbal commands and hand signals. So we spent today going over each of his commands with the leash completely lose or dragging along the floor, with it being attached simply as a safety measure but not being used for any directional guidance. When the leash pressure is completely removed, it can sometimes be difficult for some dogs to understand what is being asked of them or where they need to go, since they can no longer rely on the straightforward direction that the leash provides.
Despite this challenge, Tank did wonderfully and knew to pay close attention to me and what I was asking of him, and used his skills in problem-solving to follow each command given without being physically guided with a leash. He did beautifully when it came to walking in a heel, and stuck right by me as we walked on sidewalks and through parking lots, past patches of grass, through crowds of people, etc. Whenever he started to veer off slightly, I reminded him of the heel command and reinforced it with the e-collar stimulation, and he needed no leash pressure to bring him back into the correct heel position. While he still does sometimes veer off a bit to the side or walk slightly ahead of or behind me on occasion, it has become much less frequent and I expect he will improve even more as our training progresses. The fact that he is able to return to the position without needing any leash pressure shows that he has a solid understanding of the heel command now, and knows where he needs to be when asked to heel.
He did very well with each of his other commands today as well, needing no leash pressure to guide him for sit, down, or place, and was regularly able to hold each command for roughly two minutes or more as I walked around him from nearly fifteen feet away. He did start to get a bit tired towards the end of the session as usual, and began laying down when asked to sit. This was especially noticeable when I asked him to recall for a come to sit. He does a great job about coming to me when called even if I'm at a distance, and knows to walk around my right side and end up on my left side, though more often than not instead of sitting he ends up immediately plopping into a down position. While this may partly be due to him being tired, this is something that we worked to correct as it's not a habit I want him to form and start doing even when he is not tired. He was reluctant at first and needed to be asked to get back up and hold a sit, though after more repetitions he understood that he needed to sit instead of lay down. Once we worked through it, he was able to perform the entirety of the come-to-sit command, and was able to patiently hold a sit until he was released or given a new command. Since he enjoys laying down, the down command can be used as both a reward and as a training opportunity as it teaches patience and obedience by making him wait until asked to perform the down position.
Tank and I visited a park today, where we met up with some other trainers with their dogs. We continued to work on each of his commands using no leash pressure around the various distractions. He was definitely distracted by the grass a bit, but was able to listen and maintain focus for the majority of the session. He did a good job with heel, and knew he needed to remain in position when the command was given, though he still has a tendency to veer off sometimes, especially when walking through or past grassy areas. He also did well at holding sit, down, and place, though was able to hold each command much longer when we were further away from the grass. When we were training on or too close to the grass, he would often try to eat it, smell it, or play in it instead of holding his position, and needed to be reminded of the off command so that he could continue his training.
We spent a lot of time working on his come-to-sit today, as this seems to be the command he is struggling with the most at this point when there is no leash pressure being used to guide him. When there are little to no distractions present, his recall is solid and he knows exactly what to do, though once there are more major distractions nearby he tends to perform the command lazily or incorrectly. During the first several repetitions today, he chose to lie down instead of sitting after coming to me, which was corrected and reinforced to bring him back into a sit. After many more repetitions, he remembered and understood what I was asking of him and was able to perform the command with no leash pressure. Though he did still lose focus and make mistakes on occasion, as he would sometimes sit behind or in front of me instead of at my left side.
We took a break after getting home from the park, and later continued working on his come-to-sit while walking around my neighborhood. As expected, when there were fewer distractions he was able to focus much better and perform the command nearly perfectly almost every time with no leash pressure needed. With enough successful repetitions, the goal is to be able to have him remember exactly what to do when given the command, regardless of the distractions that may be present. His stubborn nature may be playing a role in this as well, since he seems to know what is being asked of him a majority of the time, though he tries to get away with not doing it when he would rather focus on the interesting distractions nearby. As he progresses in his training, he will better understand that it is much a more rewarding and positive experience when he listens, which will naturally increase his obedience, focus, and skills with commands.
Tank and I spent the day walking around my neighborhood, and visiting local parks and dog-friendly shops. He has gotten the hang of each of his commands with no leash pressure needed, so while we were in safe areas with no busy traffic nearby, I was able to drop the leash and have it drag alongside us as we worked on each of his commands. He did a fantastic job at listening and following through with his commands, and responded well with only the e-collar, hand signals, and verbal commands. Seeing as he is doing so well with this, I felt he is ready to begin working on his training while off-leash. Today we started off in safe areas with fewer distractions just to acclimate him and set him up for success, but he didn't seem to notice or care that the leash was gone which is a great sign of his obedience training progress. Over the next few days we will gradually add in more distractions, and continue to work on each of his commands while off leash in different environments.
As usual for Tank, his biggest distraction was mainly the grass again. He did veer off while walking in a heel a few times to go sniff or try to eat it, but even while off leash he was able to come right back to me when called and return to his heel position. The other distraction he struggled with today was a new one that I haven't seen bother him before. A man was taking out his garbage cans as we were walking past, which made a loud noise that Tank seemed to be scared of. He ran in front of me a few feet and began barking and growling at the man and the trash can, and for a moment was not responding to my commands or the e-collar. Though after a couple of seconds he looked back at me to check in, and realized that this behavior was not acceptable. He then quickly snapped out of it and got back into a heel position so we could walk away, though he did pause to look back a few times. He then seemed to be a bit nervous while passing by other trash cans on the street, so I worked him through it by bringing him nearby one and giving him lots of praise and reassurance, and allowing him to investigate it. Afterwards, he was less scared of them and he realized they weren't all loud and scary. By the end of the session was able to walk right past them with no more problems. Sometimes dogs can get spooked by things, but it's important to not let it develop into an irrational fear that can disrupt their training or daily life.
Apart from the trash can incident, his training was smooth and successful. He was able to hold his stationary commands for over two minutes, and waited patiently in his position until released or given a new command. He seems to be getting the hang of holding his stationary commands, and is able to achieve the goal of two minutes even while I am up to fifteen feet away. We focused on cleaning up his heel and come to sit, to increase his consistency and get him to perform the commands reliably each time when asked. He did much better at come to sit today, and even while off leash he had a reliable recall and was able to listen and follow my hand signals to move into the correct position. Even towards the end of the session when he began getting tired, he didn't try to lie down during this command, and knew he needed to come to me and hold a sit. I'm also seeing more and more improvement in his heel, and he is sticking closer to my left side and does not need to be reminded to remain in heel as often.
Tank and I continued working on each of his commands today while off-leash around different areas in my neighborhood and around the city. He has shown amazing improvement in each of his commands, and is able to perform each of them reliably as well as hold his stationary positions consistently for any duration I have asked him to. He was also able to ignore any distractions that were present, such as groups of people, other dogs, and even trash cans and the garbage truck as it passed by us collecting trash. He was a little unsure about the garbage truck at first since it was pretty loud, but he checked in with me and saw that I was calm and confident, so he was able to relax and continue to focus on me and his training without issue. He did still try to nibble on grass just a couple of times, but listened when told "off" and was able to leave it alone.
While working on his heel, we practiced a lot making various turns and u-turns in different directions. Moving in an unpredictable way causes him to have to focus on me carefully, and keep a close eye on where my heels are so that he can move along with me to stay in the proper position as we walk. He is solid in making turns and u-turns moving to the right, and notices immediately when I am about to start turning and follows along. His left turns needed a bit more work though, as he did sometimes bump into my leg when he wasn't paying close enough attention, causing me to have to turn into him and cut him off. After many more repetitions of practicing his left turns, he showed improvement and was much better about not bumping into me, and began turning along with me with ease.
Tank's come-to-sit is also much more consistent now, and he has a much easier time performing the entire maneuver when called. He does sometimes sit briefly while behind me, but quickly corrects himself and comes to finish his sit at my left side. He also sometimes sits just slightly at an angle while at my left side, though that is a minor issue that can easily be cleaned up by further reinforcing exactly where I want him to be. The come-to-sit command came in handy many times today, especially when the sidewalk had large groups of people walking by or bikes were riding past. When we needed to quickly move out of the way, the come-to-sit command was very effective since he knows to come right to me and sit on my left side while I stand off to the side to let others pass. He is quick about coming to me as well, and has been reliable and consistent with his recall as soon as the command is given.
Tank and I spent the day visiting various busy locations and stores around the city, where we worked on each of his commands both on and off leash with added distractions. Some indoor locations did require him to have a leash on, though at this point in his training no leash pressure is needed so it hung completely loose and was simply there to comply with the laws and policies.
Our first stop today was at an outdoor shopping mall, which had a good amount of distractions, but Tank kept his focus with ease. Since he is well-behaved, he was allowed to be off-leash while outside. We worked on cleaning up his heel position some more, and practiced walking past groups of people and around various objects. We also worked on introducing him to lots of new place objects, and he showed almost no hesitation towards jumping onto and holding sit or down on any object I asked him to. There was one bench he found particularly comfortable, where he held a down for about five minutes as I walked around and talked to people nearby. Though when I recalled him for a come-to-sit, he was a bit hesitant and didn't want to get up. After repeating the command again, he reluctantly got up and came to me so he could complete the command. Apart from this little bit of stubbornness today, his come-to-sit has been very consistent and he comes to me and sits on my left side reliably when called.
We made a stop at a dog-friendly café as well, where he and I enjoyed some lunch on the outdoor patio. I had brought along some of his kibble and a bowl for him, so we practiced his food manners while at the café. Despite the new environment and added distractions, he was able to hold a sit and wait patiently until given the release command before eating, similar to what we have been practicing at home. After he finished his meal, I had him hold a down on the floor next to the table I sat at while I ate, and he happily held this position until it was time to get up and leave. There were other dogs at nearby tables as well, some of which barked at him sometimes, but Tank didn't seem bothered by them in the slightest, and was content to lie down and ignore them.
After he had a quick nap at home, we headed out to visit a Petco. This was the most distracting location for Tank today, as there were lots of fun toys, dog treats, and smells of other animals that he had to actively choose to ignore despite the temptation. He was a bit over-excited when we first entered, though managed to remain in a heel and listen to the commands given while in the store. He did try to sniff a few spots and steal a toy to play with as we walked through the dog toy aisle, but quickly stopped and focused back on me when asked. We practiced his extended down and sit while at Petco, as well as worked on his heel and turns in tight spaces. He was able to do everything I asked of him despite the distractions and other dogs walking by us. Many customers and employees who saw him training adored him, complimented how well-behaved he is, and asked if they could pet him. We used this as an opportunity to further practice his greeting manners with new people, where I have him hold a sit or down when being greeted which encourages him to relax and resist the urge to jump up on anyone out of excitement. He did a great job with this, and held his position very nicely as he was petted and given affection from lots of new people. Since he did such a good job during our training session here, I walked him down the toy aisle again and gave him the release command, and allowed him to pick a toy to take home. He immediately chose a little stuffed dinosaur toy and he carried it with him to the cashier so we could buy it. He was very proud of his choice and wagged his tail a lot as he carried it around!
Tank and I took a trip to Venice today, where we met up with a few other OffLeash SoCal trainers and their pups! Since Tank is from Venice, this area seemed familiar to him so he was happy and confident with his surroundings. Despite the numerous bustling distractions that were present along the boardwalk, he did a fantastic job focusing and following through with all of his commands. We worked through each of his commands while off-leash, and got some great footage of his training that will be used in putting together his final video! For today's pupdate I've included a sneak peek of some of the footage we recorded for his final, as well as a fun clip of a pack walk with all of the trainers walking their pups alongside Tank.
Tank had no trouble remaining in a heel position off-leash as we walked through crowds of people, past other dogs, bikes, scooters, and joggers. He did a great job at holding his stationary commands of sit, down, and place for extended periods of time, and his come to sit was solid and reliable whenever I recalled him from any distance. He was very excited to be here but was able to focus on his training, and listen and follow through with each command given. He did have a couple of stubborn moments when we first arrived at the boardwalk, but after working through them he understood that despite the fun and familiar environment we were in, he needed to remember his training and pay attention when asked to do something.
He was also very popular here, and many people came up to ask if they could pet him. As usual, we used this as a great opportunity to further practice his greeting manners. He does a great job of holding the position he is told to stay in, and is able to greet people in a polite and calm manner. He no longer has the temptation to jump up on people or get overly excited, and knows with good greeting manners comes lots of praise and affection!
Today was Tank's last full day with me, so we spent the day using his developed skills and manners to have a great day together! We took a nice walk through the city, where he got to meet lots of new people and explore the area. We made our way over to a local park, and we had a great time playing a game of fetch without the hassle of a leash. We worked through each of his commands again while off-leash, and he was able to walk very nicely in a heel, perform come-to-sit, and hold each of his stationary commands for extended periods of time. His recall is solid, and he knew to come right back to me when called even from a distance. He did get a bit distracted by the grass a few times, and was tempted to chase a squirrel that ran past us, but listened when I told him to leave it alone with the off command.
Him being able to resist temptations like this shows the progress he has made in being able to control his impulses, and that he is learning that listening to directions results in a much more fun and rewarding experience for him. So no matter how distracting or entertaining something may be to him, he knows that choosing to ignore them when asked to is the right choice. Not only is it more rewarding for him, it also keeps him safe. A dog that cannot listen and lacks obedience is at risk of getting into dangerous situations like running into streets or chasing after wild animals.
It's important to reinforce the good behavior and choices he makes, as well as communicate to him in a way he understands, especially when he does something we don't want to encourage. He loves to be pet, verbally praised, and given breaks to lie down and relax. He is always happy to do what is asked of him if he knows he will be rewarded in these ways. Food and treats can also be a great motivator and teaching tool as well, but it should be used sparingly if at all so that he can continue to follow through with commands without having to rely on treats to bribe him. The e-collar is a great tool to use to communicate with him as well, and with the proper introduction he has received to it, he has learned to understand its meaning. The stimulation when paired with a verbal command and hang signal provides clear instruction to him, and is a great way to reinforce commands by reminding him to listen and ensure he is paying attention and following through.
This idea also applies to when he has moments of stubbornness, as due to his personality and breed he is prone to easily getting tired or bored and sometimes wants to ignore commands. Through training, these stubborn moments have gone from being so frequent it was hard to complete even a simple walk around the block, to now where these moments are now much fewer and far between. He now knows that even if he isn't feeling up to the task in that moment, if he follows through with what is asked of him it leads to a positive experience. It's important to pay close attention to him during these moments, and understand the difference between true fatigue versus stubbornness. It's important to give him lots of breaks, as it not only allows him to rest and recover, but it can also be used as a reward for him since laying down and hanging out is one of his favorite things to do. When he is starting to get stubborn or tired, first ensure he follows through with what you have asked of him, then reward him with a break!
Tank's training is truly paying off, and with the excellent progress he has made he is now a joy to take out into fun public places, and is a wonderful and well-mannered pup while at home. He's always had a way of lighting up everyone's day by bringing them laughter and smiles, and now that he has developed these new skills in obedience training, the frustrations and issues that were once present in daily life have been solved. The days of pulling on a leash, constantly refusing to obey commands, jumping on people, pushing through doorways, and trying to run away are in the past. He is now quick to respond and follows through with whatever is asked of him, and is able to explore the world off-leash in a safe and enjoyable way for him and the people in his life. He has made so much progress in only two short weeks, so I know he is going to have an amazing future ahead of him with his continued training!