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  • Tanner Strong

Willow | Golden Retriever | Redondo Beach, CA | In Training


Meet Willow! She's a one year old Golden Retriever here for our Two-Week Board and Train Program from Redondo Beach, California! She's extremely friendly and cuddly, however she needs a little work on her basic obedience. Her recall needs a lot of work, and she loves to pull on her leash. She gets easily distracted on walks by people, other dogs, and random smells and objects on the ground. She wants to say hi and jump on everyone she meets! Over the next fourteen days, we'll work on Willows manners in and out of the house, help her with her recall and other commands, and show her how to be the best pup she can possibly be! Stay tuned for Willow's two week transformation!

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Pupdate: 11/30/2023


After picking up Willow, we stayed at the park for a while to get to know each other! She was very excited to meet me, but she definitely needs some work on her greeting manners. She wanted to jump up on me to say hi! We'll make sure to work on this quite a bit. Willow is extraordinarily sweet and she took to me immediately. Walking around the park was fairly tough, with how much she wanted to pull me around. In the above video, I ask her to perform various commands to see what she knows. She seems to know Sit, however she doesn't want to hold the position for very long!


Once we got home, I let Willow sniff around my home to start getting settled in. She seems very excited to be here and I'm looking forward to working with her!

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Pupdate: 12/1/2023


Willow and I went to Almansor Park today for her first full day of training! We started introducing the E collar and working on a couple basic commands. Her Heel command is used to ask Willow to walk politely next to me. She's a huge leash puller, so this one will be particularly important for her. Willow has awesome engagement with me for a lot of the time we're working. She's constantly looking up at me and checking in with me. This is a huge help when working on her Heel. She's made great progress, although she got distracted quite a bit today, which sometimes makes her want to pull rather than engage with me.


For Come To Sit, I want Willow to come to my right side, walk around my legs and sit at my left side with her ears at my knee. Often, she would be more interested in sniffing something than coming when asked, but she still made a lot of progress with this command today! Great job!

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Pupdate: 12/2/2023


Willow and I went to Los Angeles State Historic Park today! There were plenty of dogs around, which led to Willow getting pretty distracted while we worked. She did a great job nonetheless! In the above video you can see a couple times she gets distracted by passing dogs, but overall she did a great job with these commands all day.


We continued working on her Heel and Come To Sit, which you can see in the video, as well as the Place command! For Place, I want Willow to hop onto a raised object, such as a bench and remain the until I release her or ask her to perform a new command. At first, she was a little hesitant to jump onto the bench we were using, but she quickly got the hang of it! She's doing much better now. What she still needs work on is her ability to hold her position. She loves to try to break early toward me for pets, or toward another dog nearby. We'll be working on that! Great job today, though!

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Pupdate: 12/3/2023



Willow and I went to Almansor Park today! It was very crowded, as there was a large celebration as well as a soccer league happening today. When we first arrived, Willow got so excited around the commotion she could hardly contain herself! For approximately the first hour she would occasionally pull me and spin around excitedly. When asked to resume heeling in the proper position, she would do so immediately, however she would inevitably break forward again soon after. She nailed her Come To Sit and Place commands, and we also slowly introduced her to the Down command, where I want her to lay down and remain there. Early on, she was much too excited to lay down for me, but she eventually began to calm down at which point her heel became much better and she was willing to lay down with little issue. Much like her sit, however, she didn't want to remain down for very long. It seems to me that Willow is starting to nail her commands very quickly and reliably. The focus of her training, and the best thing for her will be exposure to these distractions.


In addition to her pictures from today, I'm adding a tutorial video on how to properly use her E collar! I would suggest watching this video so when she goes home, you'll be ahead of the curve and ready to use the device with her.

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Pupdate: 12/4/2023


Willow and I went to Garfield Park today! It was less crowded than the park yesterday, but there were still a fair number of distractions. When we first arrived, there was a group of around a ten to fifteen people with their dogs all off leash playing around the field. We kept our distance, because even from several dozen yards away, Willow was very tempted to try to go join them. Much like yesterday, she was extremely excited and a little all over the place for the first portion of the day. It seems Willow needs a few minutes of warm up time before she's really ready to work.


Once she was warmed up, however, she did an amazing job today. In the above video you can see us working through her commands with her leash dragging. Allowing the leash to drag gives me some idea of how she might perform off leash while still having access to the leash should I need it. She made several mistakes throughout the day (and throughout today's video) but almost always corrected her mistakes and followed through with what I asked of her. While her leash was dragging, there were only a few times I had to step on it or pick it up. One instance, which you can see in the video, was when I asked her to Down and she popped back up, I then used a little leash pressure to help her lay back down. Other than that, there were a couple times she wanted to sit right in front of me and lean into me in an attempt to elicit pets, at which point I used the leash to guide her around me to the proper position at my left heel. For her first time being asked to perform commands with zero leash tension, I'd say she did an excellent job today!

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Pupdate: 12/5/2023


Willow and I went to Santa Anita Mall today! I mostly held the leash today, although there were a few times I dropped it and allowed it to drag. She did surprisingly well, even upon arrival! We were able to walk confidently around the area without Willow getting too overly excited.


She was interested in the turtles around the fountain, but she left them alone. One turtle splashed into the water and spooked Willow a bit, but she did a good job keeping her cool.


Willow was much better around the distractions today. She still doesn't want to hold her positions for very long, but she's progressing each day!

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Pupdate: 12/6/2023


Willow and I went to Pathfinder Park today! We spent some time working around other trainers and their dogs. She did a great job of settling down quickly once we got there, however there were a few times she got very excited and wanted to try to play with the other dogs. When asked to come back, she did.


We spent a lot of time working on her durations and her impulse control today. Walking by other dogs without trying to play with them, having other dogs walk by us, and having Willow lay down while I walk a few feet away are just some examples of exercises we can do to help with the issues she having. We're continuing to work on these areas, and Willow is continuing to get better and better!

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Pupdate: 12/7/2023


Willow got to go to Citadel Outlets with me today! This was definitely the most crowded area she's been so far. She remained on leash while we were there but she did pretty well with her commands around the crowds! She was able to hold each of her positions for about a minute before getting very antsy and wiggly.


She doesn't seem to be nervous around all the people, she is just so used to saying hi to everyone she finds it difficult to refrain from doing so. Once she gets settled down, she's extremely well behaved. For example, she's allowed to hang out with me in the evenings while I make dinner and watch TV, and she lays down to relax quite quickly. If I ask her to get on the place cot in my living room, she's able to stay there the whole time I'm preparing our dinners without jumping off.


Today, we went to the park in the evening so Willow could get a little more work in at a more relaxing location. She did great in both places!

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Pupdate: 12/8/2023


Willow and I went to Almansor Park today! She was fully off leash, and she did great. We worked in a mostly enclosed section for her first time being off leash. Even when an unruly dog came close to us, which you can see us look back at a few times in today's video, Willow did a great job of staying engaged with me.


All of her mistakes today were very minor, and things she simply needs to perfect. She sometimes likes to lay down when I ask her to sit, so you can see a couple times where I keep asking for sit until she obliges.


We also worked on her Distance Down. She is very good at laying down for me when I'm right next to her, but if I ask her for her Down command from several feet away, she wants to come to me instead of laying down where she is. She does this a few times near the end of the video, until the very last repetition, where she lays down when asked while I'm about ten feet away!


A slightly more advanced command is our Come To Heel. For this, I want Willow to come in the same way she would for Come To Sit, except I want her fall directly into the Heel position and continue walking with me. We practice this a few times in the above video, and she seems to understand what I want with almost no difficulty!

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Pupdate: 12/9/2023


Willow and I went to Santa Anita Mall today! It was much busier than when we went during the week. Willow was allowed off leash for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. The extra distractions definitely made her a little more excitable, but she mostly stayed focused on me, other than a few instances where she wanted to sniff the plants while heeling. She did a much better job with the people, and she managed to stay on a bench for about two minutes while tons of people walked right next to her. She would look at them and wag her tail, but she held her position very well. She still has a lot of work to do before she will be completely calm and comfortable around such large crowds, but she was very well behaved today on and off leash!

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Pupdate: 12/10/2023


Willow and I walked to the park today! She was on leash for the walk, but off leash once we got to the park. The walk served as a good warm up for Willow, so she was nearly ready to work once we got there!


Much of our day was spent inside working on her household manners. One thing I noticed at the very beginning of Willow's time with me was that she loves to follow me step by step throughout the house. I love her engagement, but sometimes she needs to be clear of me if I'm cleaning or cooking. We work on her ability to stay on her place cot when asked every single day so she's getting much better with this!


We also worked on her food manners today, which is shown in the above video! For food manners, I want Willow to be able to resist the urge to gobble up her food the moment I put it in front of her. Working on this impulse control can be a great safety measure in case I drop something she shouldn't eat while I'm cooking. This is something else we work on a little bit every time she eats. Willow loves her food, so she had a tough time waiting when we first started, but she's doing great!

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Pupdate: 12/11/2023


Willow went to Central Park today for training! She worked on and off leash. As usual, she was much better behaved after several minutes of exercise! There were several other trainers and their dogs with us at the park, and Willow desperately wanted to play with them. Once she began to focus and stay on task with me, she was allowed off leash. At that point she behaved extremely well for the rest of the day, and we worked on each of her commands around the other dogs.


After the park, we went home, and Willow took a nice nap! We then went for another walk and hung out at home with my personal puppy. My personal puppy is a little bigger than Willow, but they seem to be getting along well!

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Pupdate: 12/12/2023


Willow did an amazing job at the mall today! All of her commands and behaviors were well adhered to! She walked with confidence through the whole mall!


After the mall she got to relax at the park. The mall was a lot for her. She deserved some down time! She's such a good girl!

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Pupdate: 12/13/2023


Willow had a fun and relaxing day for her last full day with me! We spent most of the morning working inside and around my neighborhood. Late in the afternoon, we walked to the park for some extra exercise! She was well behaved all day, and performed her commands consistently.


Willow is going home tomorrow, and I couldn't be more proud of the progress she's made in the last couple weeks! Her enthusiasm and willingness to work and learn has been such a pleasure. I'm going to miss getting to work with her once she leaves!


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