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  • Writer's pictureScott Hansen

Vader | Doberman | Long Beach, CA | In Training

Meet Vader, a 6-month-old Doberman from Long Beach, CA who has joined us for our 2-Week Board and Train Program. Vader Displays a lot of puppy energy. He likes to jump on people, pulls on the leash, and is easily distracted. He has tiny humans at home that he pushes over as he does not know his strength and size. Vader is a sweet pup who needs structure and obedience. Stay tuned for his 2-Week transformation!


Pupdate 11/6/2022

Today Vader was introduced to the Hansen family. Vader is enjoying his home and ate all his food. We introduced the e-collar and worked on a few distractions while practicing the sit and come to sit. Vader went on a walk around the neighborhood and worked on the heel and going potty. He's a good puppy who responds well to praise.


Pupdate 11/7/2022

Today Vader and I went to Rhynerson Park in Lakewood, CA before it started raining again. Vader is a little confused on the "come" and "come to sit". Vader has been very responsive to the "heel". We walked around the park with various distractors like other dogs, squirrels and even horses! Vader did well staying in the heel. He is a little timid around animals larger than himself such as the horses and even my German Shorthaired Pointer Toji but he is willing to listen and overcome those hesitations when given praise. He is a puppy and still doesn't know how big he is so he is a little awkward in his movements. He loves praise, "break" and gives lots of puppy kisses!

Vader was a little intimidated of the wooden bridge at the park but we went over it several times and he had much less apprehension. He even let me take his picture!

We have started to introduce food manners, door manners and learning to "load up." He has had no mess in his crate. He is still getting comfortable with the new neighborhood sights and sounds.

Tomorrow we will continue to work on sit, heel, come, come to sit and introduce place while reinforcing house manners.


Pupdate 11/8/2022

A rare rainy day in So-Cal! No worries! We made it work. We tried to run out to the park when there was a break in the rain but nature had other plans. So we stayed home and worked on a few things around the house.

As you can see in the video above, we worked on building up Vader's confidence and agility. We start simple and work to more complex tasks. I have already observed that due to Vader's awkwardness he has a difficult time going into the vehicle. So in order to build up his agility and confidence we have to simplify the task. We did this by using the low porch to climb up and down. He's willing to follow me with encouragement and praise. Once he completed this a few times, I tried to get him to do it without me. He wasn't having that. I wanted to focus on the task of him going up and down as a real positive experience so he could transfer it to the vehicle. I used a chew toy that he likes to encourage him to go up and down. He was willing to go after the toy and didn't think about the challenge of going up and down. Once he started to grasp the concept and did not hesitate, I had him do it two times without getting the toy. He was able to do it without any issues. After that, I had him do it multiple times without the reward but only praise. He was able to go up and down without any leash pressure.

After, this sequence, we transferred over to going into the vehicle. The bumper of my vehicle and the patio line up so it is an easy transition over. We started with the vehicle very close to the patio and worked to about six to eight inches away. He was willing to chase the reward/chew toy into and out of the vehicle and his crate. He is still extremely awkward and does not know how to use his limbs properly. We were able to do this several times and he did not hesitate. I rewarded him with praise and petting for being a good boy.

I pulled the vehicle even further away so that he could jump down off the patio and then back into the vehicle. He wouldn't do this with the crate in the way but once I moved the crate out, he was able to get in a few times but was getting tired and disinterested in the work. We will continue to work on this as he should be able to "load up" with his size. He lacks confidence in his abilities.

Also, since it was a rainy day, we used this time to work on his house manners. He is doing well around small children and other distractors. It will be important that he is wearing his e-collar at all times around the house. He has associated this with behaving and being calm. He is becoming more familiar with the sit command and his name. He can place on a dog cot and even a toddler trampoline but anything above his chest he still struggles with. We will continue to build on his agility and confidence while working on the place drills. His "come" and "come to sit" will be heavily reinforced for the next few days to have those catch up to his "sit", "place" and food manners.

Vader is going to do well with lots of structure and repetition. He also enjoys burning up some of that puppy energy with frequent trips outside or social time with Toji.


Pupdate 11/9/2022

Today Vader and I loaded up and went to Hillcrest Park in Fullerton.  Vader had no problem going into the vehicle from the patio today when the vehicle was about a foot away.  Great progress Vader! We went to meet with other Off-Leash trainers and Off Leash pups.  We worked on "place" above the chest level and some more agility by going up and over various obstacles at the park.  Vader didn't mind the other pups very much and was willing to work.  Vader loves praise and physical reward such as petting.  

A few of the other trainers assisted with teaching Vader "come", "come to sit" and "down".  Vader can be stubborn sometimes.  Some of the tasks aren't very clear to him but he can do them all.  From here on out we will be reinforcing all the commands, house manners, and food manners, and being a great pup!

When we got back home, we worked on the "heel", "place", "sit" and "down" command all while my tiny human was riding their bike around as a distraction.  I have noted that Vader loves his dog cot and the toddler trampoline.  I set up a small obstacle course where Vader had to place on the cot, the trampoline, and a small set of concrete stairs.  He was the most reluctant on the hard concrete surface.  We will continue to work on the "down" on various surfaces but with an emphasis on the harder surfaces so he can be more comfortable and confident. 

Vader got to play with Toji again and they had a blast burning off that puppy energy! Great day for Vader! 


Pupdate 11/10/2022

Today we covered all the bases with Vader! Vader knows all his commands; however, sometimes he is reluctant to do them. Also, he sometimes goes off course when asked to do some tasks.

We went to Rhynerson Park again to practice going over the wooden bridge. While at Rhynerson, we practiced "place". Vader is getting more confident in going up onto objects. Initially, he needs a little upwards pressure but after one or two times, he goes up without any pressure. Since we just learned the "down" yesterday, I wanted to focus on that with him. The hard surface of the concrete table made Vader reluctant to go down but with a little pressure on his back, he was willing to do it. I was able to get him to be in down for approximately 45 seconds. I reset him and then put him in the "sit" and then he stayed there for another 45-60 seconds. While at the park, I worked on his "heel" and we went over to the children's park where we practiced "place" on a concrete bench and a park bench that is smaller and has little holes in it. Vader went up into the "place" with no leash pressure and went into a "sit" and "down". There was some gym equipment at the park that he even went onto of various heights and "placed".

Later in the day, we went to Thompson Park in Bellflower, CA. As you can see in the video, we continued to work on the "place", "extended down" and Vader's agility by going up and down the table. He did amazing! There were kids practicing soccer and people walking back and forth and he had no issues! We also worked more on the "come to sit". Vader is anticipating the command when I say his name first. This is great that he knows his name! However, he shouldn't be moving until a command is given.

Now that Vader has shown that he can and will do the tasks we just need to make it clear to him when we want him to do them. He is almost ready for the off-leash "heel" as today I was walking with him holding the leash with one finger.

Keep up the good work Vader!


Pupdate 11/11/2022

Today Vader and I loaded up and went to Santa Monica, CA to hang out with some of our fellow Off-Leash trainers and pups. What a great day of training for Vader!

As you can observe in the video above, Vader had his first day and experience working with the leash dragging! He's doing so great with his "heel". This is definitely his strongest skill. He now understands "place" and even on uncomfortable surfaces like the slippery benches at the pier, Vader is willing to do it. Vader showed no fear in placing on a bench with a great view of the ocean. Vader also displayed his greeting manners by sitting politely while strangers said hello.

Vader was willing to even do the "come to sit" with all the people around. He was a little timid with some of the new sights and sounds but he's a puppy and was willing to overcome those fears.

Tonight we will keep working on his house manners. He sat politely while my tiny human got his food and placed it down for him. We will work on his "place" while the little ones play.

Potty Training Update: Vader is on a pretty good schedule. He eats at 7 AM and 4 PM without issue. He goes potty around one hour later without issue. He usually vocalizes when he needs any extra breaks. He is able to be in his crate without any accidents for about 8-9 hours overnight. Still no accidents or issues!

Keep up the great work Vader!


Pupdate 11/12/2022

Today Vader and I headed back to Santa Monica, CA to continue the great work that he displayed yesterday.  Today we really focused on the "down" and "come to sit".  These are Vader's toughest skills at the moment.  These will be the focus for the next few days.  Vader understands the "come" command; however, he is confused about what to do when I am not holding the leash in my hand.  I can reel him in with the leash and he will go around me and move to the sit.  He gets confused when I am not holding the leash and just goes to the "come" and then does not know what to do.  His "place" is very good now.  He is a lot more confident in jumping up and down.  He is getting closer to being able to jump into the vehicle with no problem but sometimes he hesitates.  No big deal, just reset and try again. 

His house manners are coming along nicely.  Last night, I placed him in his dog cot in the "down" position while we ate dinner.  He politely stayed in his bed during dinner and showed no interest in what was going on at the table.  Today, I had my tiny human feed him (while I supervised) and he politely sat there and waited for her to bring his food and water.  

He still gets confused when there is too much going on but if you reset him with a command he knows, then it becomes clear what he needs to do.  He seems to respond more consistently with consistent application of the e-collar instead of pressing it over and over again.  He just needs a second to figure out what you are asking him to do.  


Pupdate 11/13/2022

Today Vader and I headed over to the Downey Promenade. We practiced his leash dragging "heel", "place" "sit" and "extended sit". As you can see in the video above he is ok with distractions. You can also see that he was a little reluctant to go up on an armchair but he was willing to go with some verbal praise. You can also observe that sometimes in the heel he runs out in front when being recalled. I counter this by turning around and going the other way for a few steps and then turning back to the original direction I wanted to travel towards. These are good examples of him anticipating commands. When I say his name as a preparatory command such as "Vader, come" or "Vader, sit" he will anticipate what I am going to ask him to do based on where I am away from him. This is still very observable in the "come to sit". If I am 15' away and say "Vader..." he will immediately get up and start to come to me. If I correct him in the middle and tell him to "sit" again because I did not finish saying what I want him to do, he gets confused and goes to look for a "place" or "come" or is trying to guess what he's supposed to do.

After walking around the Promenade, we headed over to Discovery Park to watch some softball. We also headed over to the empty field and tried to work on the "come to sit" and more importantly the "down". Today, Vader was not cooperating with these commands. Vader does know the "down" command as every time I gave him the "down" command he would start crying and whining and running around instead of doing it. This is something that we will be focusing on a lot tonight and tomorrow. He will do the down when I press down on his shoulders but downward pressure on his collar causes him to resist or vocalize. The good news is that once he's in the "down", he has no problem or issues staying in the "down" as seen at the end of the video above, he is "down" on bleachers watching a play with people running everywhere, shouting and the ball being thrown without trying to get up or move.

Lastly, he seems to have grasped the command of "go potty". He will do this with consistency. A friendly reminder that when training or reinforcing anything, we have to ensure that his primary needs are met: 1)food - not hungry, 2) water - not thirsty, 3) bio breaks are done. If these are not met, training and reinforcing will be compromised as these are natural urges to satisfy.

I look forward to sharing Vader's progress with "down" without any physical input from me in the next day or two.


Pupdate 11/14/2022

Today, we loaded up and headed to Wilderness Park in Downey, CA to meet up with some of our other Off Leash trainers and pups. Vader is doing amazing in his training! When I say that we loaded up, today Vader jumped into the back of the vehicle all on his own! It did take a couple of attempts but he was able to accomplish this task. The secret is to get him to do it for something he wants. I unlocked his weakness last night, treats! I introduced tiny treats while working on his least favorite thing to do, the "down". With a little incentive to do the obedience command, Vader can do almost anything! As you can see in today's update video, he did the down without any physical pressure on his leash or on his back.

Back to our day at the park! As you can see in the video, we did the "load up" without any issues. He is learning to do this more and more consistently. Next, you can see we introduced working completely off-leash! Great job, Vader! "Heel" remains his strongest and most consistent command followed by "sit" and "place". We continued to reinforce "down" and "come to sit". These are coming along. He knows what they mean but he just isn't sure when to do them. We will focus on cleaning these up this week.

Overall, I am very happy with Vader's progress and learning. He continues to impress everyone that sees him. We receive lots of compliments on his looks and behavior.


Pupdate 11/15/2022

Today we worked on loading up and reinforcing the down. As you can see in the video below, Vader has figured out how to do the "down" pretty consistently. Vader is responsive to commands and can do them. As you can see in the video, Vader struggled with the "load up" command. This was a combination of him continuing to grow into his body and we were not far enough away for him to get enough momentum to go up. The bumper is slippery so when he tries to plant his feet on it, it slips. No worries! Once we get some momentum and speed, he is able to go up into the vehicle. I moved the vehicle up to give him more space and he made it with just a little bit of leash pressure.

Next, as you can see in the video, we worked on the sit-to-down. I started by having him do it once, then twice, three times, and four times before giving him his treat. This is known as the fixed ratio reward system. Now, we mix up when we give him a reward or praise or a variable system. We can give it to him the first time, a second time, or a third time to keep him guessing. If we always praise him on the first one, he will expect it and might break the "down".

We loaded up and went to Thompson Park in Bellflower, CA. We practiced all the commands off leash such as heel, extended sit, place, sit and into extended down, and come to sit. He is doing well. As stated before, he can get distracted and overwhelmed if you give him too many commands. He is a puppy exploring the world and sometimes we have to give him a reset. Also, always make sure he has all his basic needs met so that he can stay focused!


Pupdate 11/16/2022

Today Vader and I worked on our food manners, and house manners and continuously reinforced all his basic obedience commands such as sit, down, come, come to sit, and heel. He is showing more and more proficiency in each of these commands. His down comes a lot easier without the treats. He is willing to do this without resistance.

As you can see in the video for today, his door manners are coming along nicely. Also, you can see that his food manners are doing well. He sits nice and calm and is patient for his food to be served.

Tonight, we will head to Discovery Park in Downey, CA and back to Downey Promenade to work on more of his off-leash behavior around distractions.


Pupdate 11/17/2022

As you can see in the pictures above, Vader and I headed to Discovery Park and Downey Promenade in Downey, CA to continue to work around distractions and work on his stamina. Vader starts off great and is able to handle a lot of commands. We started at Discovery Park and watched softball practice, flag football, and soccer without any issues. We walked around the Downey Promenade and made a quick stop at Lazy Dog for a break. Vader is particularly excitable with smaller dogs that start to bark. It is important to stay calm and redirect Vader to his current task.

I also observed that after about an hour of being out and about with that much outside stimulation, he became distracted and started exhibiting puppy behavior. This is a sign that he has reached his limit and it's time to put him up and take a break. He is a puppy and not a robot after all. He did great with his places and his downs and greeted more strangers without jumping on them.

Today we will continue to reinforce his commands, specifically working on loading up. He keeps growing in length and size and doing the task is awkward. He will do the task when asked but he may not make it. Loading up into my vehicle is not always 100% and we have to retry by giving him enough room. This isn't a big deal because as he grows and gets more exercise he will be more comfortable with jumping onto higher platforms. Just like a toddler growing into their body, so too must Vader grow into his body.


Pupdate 11/18/2022

Today Vader and I loaded up and had a busy morning! First, we got started by loading up into the vehicle. Vader was hesitant to go into the vehicle while it was on. Something to work on going forward. As usual, Vader is brave and overcame his fear and gave it his best shot.

We started off the morning by going to Huntington Beach Sports Complex in Huntington Beach, CA. We worked on reviewing all our commands. Vader did such a great job with all of his commands. He is more confident in going into his place on different objects whether it's park tables with holes in them or narrow benches. He is doing great with his recall and his heel. Once again, Vader has demonstrated that he does have a stimulation limit. After about 60 minutes he started to exhibit his puppy behavior. Once again I just put him up, gave him some water, and let him relax.

Next, we headed out to Bella Terra in Huntington Beach, CA to meet up with our fellow Off-Leash trainers and pups. We checked out Santa's Station and the Christmas tree. Vader continues to do well off-leash with distractors. He still is highly interested in smaller dogs. He will obey the commands but the stimulation on his collar needs to be increased so that it is higher than what is distracting him. Once you get his attention, we take it back down to his usual level. As you can see in the video above, we started getting ready for our final video and Vader is ready to show off what he has learned during his two-week Board and Train!

Great work today Vader! He's going to do great going forward with good structure and consistency.


Pupdate 11/19/22

Today Vader and I loaded up and went to Bill Barber Memorial Park in Irvine, CA. Marine Colonel Bill Barber received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in WWII. Thank you for your sacrifice, Colonel Barber.

Today was a very busy day at this park! There was a softball tournament going on, kids enjoying the park and birthday parties, and even a scavenger hunt with lots of people wandering around the park dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland. You know these people had to bring their four-legged friends as well so there were plenty of dogs in all shapes and sizes. Despite the number of people and various dogs, Vader stood out among them as the most well-behaved and most admired. Vader received lots of compliments and got to show off his greeting manners.

We can't wait to show you all of Vader's hard work and how good of a pup Vader has become!


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