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Wyatt | Mixed Breed | Los Angeles, CA | In-Training



Meet Wyatt, he's a three-year-old mixed-breed pup from Los Angeles, California! He's here with us for our Two Week Board and Train Program. Wyatt is a friendly pup who has general knowledge of some basic commands, but he is easily distracted by his surroundings and often struggles to maintain the focus needed to reliably follow through with what is asked of him when in public places. One main goal set for Wyatt is to improve his reliability with recall while off-leash, as this is a command he often ignores. He also likes to pull heavily on the leash and dart around in different directions while walking, and will often bark loudly at the door or when he is feeling nervous. Over the next fourteen days, we will be working to improve his obedience, manners, and overall listening skills to set him on the right track to becoming a well-behaved pup both on and off leash! Stay tuned for his transformation!


 

Pupdate 7/9/2023



Today Wyatt and I spent the day bonding and getting to know each other at the park after pickup. He was very upset at first when he realized his parents were leaving, and made sure everyone within earshot knew it! He barked a lot, and tried very hard to pull back towards the parking lot where he had last seen them. I took his mind off it by playing with him and working to develop a bond with him. Eventually, he was able to calm down a bit, and had some fun with me at the park exploring around. Once he was calmed down a bit, I began testing his knowledge of basic commands to gain an understanding of what his starting point will be, as well as get an idea of what areas we may need to focus on in his training going forward. He was very distracted by his surroundings, and was often unable to focus on me or any commands for longer than a couple of moments. He didn't seem to fixate on any specific dogs or people in the area, but the overall amount of nearby distractions was enough to cause him to lose his overall focus.


Wyatt was typically able to perform a Sit when asked, though despite having an understanding of the command, he sometimes did not listen or follow through with it when he was too distracted. When he was able to perform a Sit, he was not able to hold it very long, and would often quickly stand back up after a couple of seconds. He could perform Down, though it was inconsistent if he followed through with the command or not, and would sometimes delay by barking several times first before settling into the Down position. He was unable to hold the Down position for longer than a few moments, and would quickly stand or sit back up soon after. He was not able to Come to me consistently when called, and would often ignore his name and the leash pressure when trying to get his attention for a recall. On the occasion that he came over to me, he never stayed by me for more than a moment or two before pulling away or wandering back off again. Wyatt didn't seem to understand the Place command either, and seemed to lack confidence about jumping onto objects even if they were flat, low to the ground, and easily accessible. He was also pulling on the leash a lot and veering off in different directions as we walked, and didn't seem to have any understanding of the Heel command. He doesn't appear to have much knowledge of leash pressure yet, and often ignored the pressure completely when a flat collar was used with a standard leash. Due to this, I will be implementing a slip lead in his training, which will be a helpful tool in teaching him the meaning of leash pressure and reducing the pulling behavior.


After we had a chance to get to know each other at the park, it was time to head home and get settled in! Wyatt was very hesitant about jumping into the back of my car, and needed to be picked up and placed into it. While my car is a bit high up, with some more practice I believe he can eventually learn to jump into it on his own. Once in the car, he was also very hesitant about entering the kennel, and protested the guidance used to direct him into it. With a small treat, he was eventually able to be motivated to enter it willingly, which was great! Although, the goal is to not need any food motivators for Wyatt to perform any commands or manners, so we will need to practice more with this to help him feel more comfortable and develop a positive association with the kennel. When we arrived home, Wyatt had no issue with jumping out of my car, and did not need to be carried down, which is great to see! At home, he seemed a bit anxious at first, but after spending some time together and playing with some toys, he calmed down and was able to explore the new environment and become familiar with it! He did vocalize and howl a bit once I left the room, though he has since found a nice cozy place on the bed to rest and look out the window, and seems to be settling in nicely!


 

Pupdate 7/10/2023



Wyatt and I visited a park today, where we met up with some other OffLeash SoCal trainers and their pups! This park was a great place to work on Wyatt's training while around some common distractions, such as new people, children, other dogs, and small animals. The other trainers and their pups being nearby was an excellent way to test his concentration when in close proximity to these types of distractions. Overall, Wyatt did seem a bit distracted at the park, but he seemed to have much more focus and ability to follow through with commands than he did yesterday. Similar to yesterday, he seemed to remain somewhat neutral to his environment, and didn't seem to focus on any specific distraction, though he still sometimes struggled to give his full attention to me or his commands when asked to do something. As our training session progressed however, I noticed he became much more focused and attentive, allowing him to have an easier time learning and performing commands.


Since Wyatt already has a good understanding of some of the basic commands we cover in this program, such as Sit and Down, our goal is focused on improving his consistency, reliability, and overall obedience. This gives him a great head start on his training journey, as we won't have to spend the extra time teaching him these commands from scratch, but rather building upon his existing knowledge. We will also be introducing a new form of pressure from the e-collar, that will eventually replace leash pressure altogether, allowing him to safely enjoy the freedom that comes with being off-leash! Despite his head start in command knowledge, there are still a few commands that Wyatt hasn't learned yet, so today we focused on introducing two new commands, Come to Sit, and Heel. We also focused on teaching him the meaning of both leash and e-collar pressures, as these will both be important for him to have a good understanding of going forward. The idea is that any time pressure is applied, either from a leash or e-collar, it is paired with a command. The pressure will then remain until he follows through with what is asked of him, at which point it will immediately turn off and rewards will be given!


Come to Sit is the main recall command we use in our training, and it involves both a recall and a stationary position. Having a solid and reliable recall is an important part of any dog's obedience training, and is one of the main goals that have been set for Wyatt. The goal for Come to Sit is for Wyatt to come directly to me when called, and maneuver his way around to my left side for a Sit. Having him perform a Sit as part of this command ensures that once he comes over to me, he does not wander back off or leave immediately after getting to me, which is what he is currently used to doing whenever he is called. By having him sit on my left side, it also sets him up to be in the perfect position to begin walking in a Heel! We first began practicing this command by asking him to come to me, and rewarding him each time he followed the leash and e-collar pressure to get his attention and guide him towards me. He seemed to pick up on this quite quickly, and after a few repetitions no longer needed the leash pressure to guide him over to me when called. He also responded well to the e-collar, and seemed to understand its meaning quite quickly! We then introduced the second part of this command, by using hand signals and light leash pressure to guide him around to my left side once he got to me, then asking him to Sit. He did very well with this, and after only a few repetitions, he was able to quite consistently perform the whole maneuver with minimal to no leash pressure needed to guide him! Heel is another important command for Wyatt to learn, as it helps keep him focused, out of trouble, and close by during walks. Teaching this precise positioning also eliminates behaviors such as pulling ahead on the leash or veering off in different directions, which both are issues Wyatt currently has on his usual walks. The goal for Heel is for Wyatt to stick at my left side, follow my lead, and keep his front paws by my heels. We introduced this command by keeping the leash relatively short but relaxed, and walking around in various directions. Anytime he got out of position, tension would form in the leash which caused leash pressure, meaning he needed to fix his positioning in order to turn the pressure off. Any time leash pressure was applied, e-collar was paired with it simultaneously, which helped Wyatt to understand that these two sensations have the same meaning. He also came to understand the verbal command and hand signals fairly quickly, and after some time practicing with this command, he relied less and less on the leash for guidance, and was often able to follow along in the Heel position with a completely loose leash! He sometimes made mistakes such as switching sides or lagging behind a bit, but he stopped pulling on the leash completely which was great to see! Anytime slight adjustments needed to be made, he was often able to correct himself when asked without any leash pressure needed, which is a great sign of understanding!



 

Pupdate 7/11/2023





Wyatt and I visited a Petco today, where we could practice his training around distractions while staying out of the summer heat! Pet stores are great places to find a wide variety of tempting distractions for dogs, such as people, other dogs, shopping carts, treats, toys, and lots of interesting smells and sounds. Overall Wyatt did a great job of staying focused despite the abundance of distractions, and as usual was rather neutral to other dogs and people around the store. He did however lose focus a couple of times while working around the treat aisle and did need to be asked to redirect his attention back to me when he got too carried away investigating the tempting scents while we were practicing commands. He also seemed a bit more distracted when working close by to the grooming salon area, as the sounds of hairdryers and dogs barking did sometimes grab his attention.


Moments where he became distracted or off task presented a good opportunity to work on the Off command. Off is the general command used to communicate to Wyatt that he needs to stop whatever he is doing, and refocus back on me so that he can pay attention to what is being asked of him. This command is similar to "no" or "leave it", and can be used in a wide variety of situations, such as when he becomes distracted by something, tries to eat something he's not supposed to, when he is jumping up on someone, and much more. When the Off command is given, it can also be beneficial to then follow it up with another command, as giving him a clear instruction once his focus has been regained can help keep his mind on task and reduce the chances of him returning back to the distraction or undesirable behavior. During our training session today, we focused on improving his consistency and skills with Sit and Down, as well as continuing to practice the new commands Heel and Come to Sit. While he knows Sit and Down, he sometimes struggles to hold these commands for extended periods of time, and will choose to get back up or try to wander off before he is released from the position whenever he feels like it. His ability to hold stationary positions decreases while in distracting areas, and also when I am at a distance away from him. To improve on this, we focused on reshaping his idea of these commands, and teaching him that following through with what is asked of him is both rewarding and fun for him! By staying consistent with his training, he is beginning to understand that attempting to break the position before being asked is not rewarding, and does not get him the desired results. The goal is for Wyatt to be able to consistently be able to hold both Sit and Down for at least two minutes, even while in distracting environments or while I am at a distance from him of about fifteen feet away. A long leash is a great tool for this kind of training, as we can safely create that distance while still having him tethered. Any time a stationary command is given, there is an implied "stay" along with it, meaning he is expected to hold that position until either released or given a new command, such as Come. Today, he was consistently able to hold both Sit and Down for about one minute, while I was about ten feet away, which is a fantastic start! As the days progress, we will continue practicing these commands and gradually increase the duration, distance, and level of distractions present so we can make our way toward these goals!



 

Pupdate 7/12/2023



Today Wyatt and I visited a local park, where we practiced his commands around various distractions. The park was quite busy today with an event going on, so there were large crowds of people and children, many other dogs, as well as music and other types of distractions. Overall Wyatt didn't seem particularly interested in any specific distraction, and once we began practicing his commands he was able to effectively ignore them and remain neutral to his surroundings. The main thing he became distracted by today was certain smells he noticed in passing, as he would sometimes try to break commands like veering off from Heel to go investigate it. Though he was quick to respond to the Off command, get back on task, and save the exploring for break times. During his training today, we focused on introducing the Place command, and continued practicing each of his other commands, including Extended Sit and Down, Heel, and Come to Sit.


The goal for the Place command is for Wyatt to jump onto an object when asked, and hold a stationary position such as Sit or Down. The Place command is very versatile, as it can be used with just about any reachable object, such as benches, beds, cars, and more! Today we started off with an easy object, which was a low, flat bench that Wyatt could easily access. With some gentle leash pressure, and a hand gesture towards the object for encouragement, Wyatt was able to jump onto the bench and perform a Sit or Down when asked. He was a bit hesitant on the first try, though quickly got the hang of it and became very enthusiastic about performing Place, and no longer needed any leash pressure for guidance. Once he was comfortable with this object, we then practiced Place on various other objects, including picnic benches, walls, and tree stumps. It's good to get Wyatt comfortable with a variety of objects for Place, as it builds confidence and allows him to have an easier time performing the command when asked, even on brand new objects he's never experienced before. After practicing with a few different objects, Wyatt showed great understanding of the command and confidence about jumping onto high up or unfamiliar objects, which was great to see! He was also able to perform Place by jumping into the back of my car today, which was awesome!


While at the park, we also practiced each of his other commands around the distractions. Since Wyatt now has a solid understanding of each of his commands, the next step on his training journey is to begin weaning out leash pressure, and replacing it with the e-collar. He understands the e-collar very well now, and has learned that the leash and e-collar have the same meaning, therefore allowing them to be used interchangeably. By gradually removing leash pressure from the equation, we can prepare him for training off-leash in the near future!


He did exceptionally well with his Come to Sit today, and was very reliable and consistent about coming straight to me when called and had no problem maneuvering around to my left side for a Sit each time. He was able to be recalled from stationary positions with ease, as well as while he was on breaks exploring around, even if I was at a distance from him of about fifteen feet away! He rarely if ever needed any leash pressure to guide him towards me or into the correct position, and was able to follow through with the entire command with only the e-collar, verbal command, and hand signals used. His Heel was also pretty solid, and he rarely needed any leash pressure to help him find the proper positioning at my left side as we walked, allowing the leash to remain completely loose. However, he did sometimes use that extra slack in the leash to veer off on occasion when he smelled something interesting nearby, which was a great time to incorporate the Off command to get him refocused before reminding him to return to the Heel position. Overall he did good with Extended Sit and Extended Down, and didn't need any leash pressure to perform them, though he did sometimes switch positions or try to get up before he was asked to, and needed to be reminded to return to the position again. Once reminded, he was usually able to hold that position until released, though he'll need some more practice before he is more reliable with this.



 

Pupdate 7/13/2023



Today Wyatt and I visited the Santa Monica Pier, which was a great location to test his skills around a high amount of distractions. There were big crowds of people, many other dogs, loud music, birds, and lots of interesting scents. Wyatt overall did a fantastic job of remaining neutral to his environment, and was able to follow through with everything that was asked of him. He didn't pay much mind to any of the distractions present today, and was even able to ignore tempting scents such as food on the floor. Despite the bustling environment, Wyatt remained calm and collected, and seemed to have a great time while at the pier with me!


Today we focused on practicing each of his commands with no leash pressure around the various distractions. His Heel was excellent, and he knew exactly where to be when the command was given, and did not need any leash pressure to guide him at any point. He was even able to walk through and past dense crowds of people, and at no point did he become distracted, veer off, or show any signs of stress or confusion which was great to see! He very rarely needed to be reminded of the Heel command, though when slight adjustments needed to be made to his positioning, he was quick to correct himself when the verbal command was given. His Come to Sit was also very reliable, and he was always quick to come running straight to me and sit on my left side any time he was called, even when lots of distractions were nearby or when I was at a distance from him. He had no trouble performing Place either, and was happy to jump onto any surface or object I asked him to, and seemed content with holding stationary commands on them for the entire duration he was asked to. His Extended Sit and Down were also good, though there were a few times where he became stubborn about performing Down when asked, and tried to delay for a few moments before following through with it. He also would sometimes get up from his Sit or Down a second or two after getting into the position if I stepped away from him to create distance. Though after a reminder, he was able to return to the position and hold it until asked, even if I created distance again.


While at the pier, we also had the opportunity to practice Wyatt's greeting manners. The goal for greeting manners is for Wyatt to be able to hold a stationary position such as Sit or Down, and remain there patiently and calmly as a new person approaches to say hello or pet him. Holding a stationary position during greetings helps to ensure he stays focused and calm, which discourages any impolite behaviors occurring due to over-excitement, such as jumping on people. Wyatt may be on the smaller side, so there is a lower risk of him accidentally hurting someone or knocking someone over, however, jumping on people is still not a polite behavior for him to display. As such, learning to behave politely and contain his excitement during greetings will be important for Wyatt. There were lots of nice people at the pier today who wanted to say hello to him, and they were happy to help with his training! Before allowing anyone to approach, I made sure to let them know that he was in training, and to only pet him or give him attention when he was calm and was holding his position. If he attempts to jump up or otherwise behave inappropriately, the Off command would be given, and all affection would cease until he was calmed down again and back in the position that was asked of him. This encourages him to behave politely and follow instructions, and makes jumping on people an unrewarding behavior, therefore discouraging it from occurring.



 

Pupdate 7/14/2023





Wyatt and I visited a local shopping strip today, where we practiced each of his commands around distractions. This location was quite busy today and full of great distractions to practice around. There were many groups of people walking along the sidewalks, other dogs out on walks, as well as distractions from the nearby street such as loud noises and passing cars. Overall Wyatt did a fantastic job here, and didn't seem to take any notice of the distractions for the most part. There was even a fire truck that passed by with its sirens on, and apart from a quick glance in its direction, he didn't seem particularly phased by it, which was great to see! He was able to follow all instructions and listen to everything I asked of him, despite the presence of all kinds of distractions nearby.


We continued to focus on practicing commands without any leash pressure, and Wyatt just about has it down! He no longer relies on leash pressure to guide him for any of his commands, as he has a solid understanding of each of them. He has come to understand the e-collar, verbal commands, and each hand signal used for the commands, and is typically very quick to follow through with what is asked of him without needing any physical guidance for assistance. His Heel was very consistent today, and he was able to walk with a completely loose leash in nearly perfect positioning without needing to be reminded very often. He kept his focus, and engaged with me regularly by making eye contact and paying attention to me at all times. Any time I suddenly stopped, he was able to stop right beside me, and he had no trouble following along in the Heel position as I made various turns. His Come to Sit was also great, and he was very reliable each time the command was given. His stationary commands Sit, Down, and Place were also great today, and he was able to perform and hold each position in distracting areas for about two minutes, even while I was at a distance of about fifteen feet away. This means he has reached the distance and duration goals we have set for his stationary commands, which is fantastic! With the great progress he has made so far, we will soon be able to start working on his off-leash skills! Great work Wyatt!



 

Pupdate 7/15/2023

Today Wyatt and I visited a local park, where we practiced each of his commands, both on and off leash! This park was on the quieter side today, though still had some common distractions, such as people, children, small animals, and other dogs. As usual, Wyatt didn't pay any mind to them and was able to keep his attention on me and his training. This park was also a safe and ideal location to begin testing his off-leash skills, as there were no potential risks nearby such as busy streets or an overabundance of major distractions. Overall Wyatt did an amazing job today, and was able to have a fun and productive day while enjoying his off-leash freedom!


We began his training session by practicing each of his commands on leash as usual with no leash pressure, and he did an amazing job! We then practiced dropping the leash on the ground and having it drag along as we trained, and Wyatt didn't seem to notice or mind this change at all. He displayed sharp focus and listening skills, and was happy to follow through with everything I asked of him. By this point, he had proven the leash to be unnecessary here for his training, so we went ahead and removed the leash to begin working on his commands without it present. As expected, Wyatt's behavior and focus level remained the same, and despite having the physical freedom to do what he pleased, he made great decisions and continued actively listening and following through with his commands without any issue. His Come to Sit and recall in general was fantastic, which is a very important ingredient to success when it comes to off-leash obedience! Any time he was called to me, he was able to locate me, and come running straight to me and carry out the command completely by sitting on my left side. His consistency and reliability did not falter, even when I was at a great distance from him or if there were distractions around. He was also able to be recalled with ease even when he was invested in a scent or focused on exploring around during breaks, which shows great self-control and obedience! His extended Sit, Down, and Place were all solid as well, and he had no trouble performing and holding these positions for as long as was asked of him while I was a distance away or even out of his field of view. His Heel was also very good, though there were a few times when he got confused or lost focus momentarily. While walking along the pathway Wyatt was able to Heel perfectly, never strayed too far from me, and knew exactly where to be in relation to me. While walking through the grassy fields he also had no issue with Heel, though did sometimes get distracted momentarily by the scents in the grass. A dog's nose is a very important part of their ability to identify the world around them, so occasional and brief sniffing is fine, but excessive sniffing can lead to a loss of focus during Heel if their nose is glued to the ground instead of paying attention to their handler. Thankfully, Wyatt seemed to understand this, and knew not to get too invested into scents while he was focusing on Heel, and knew to focus right back on me whenever asked to with the Off command. Wyatt also seemed to be a bit confused if we walked along the grass directly next to the pathway instead of on it. When walking here, he would sometimes break out of the Heel position and move onto the pathway. When asked to correct himself, he seemed confused about where I wanted him, and would try to continue walking along the path instead of next to me. When a pathway is available we typically walk on it, so this leads me to believe he was making an assumption about where we were going, instead of paying attention to where I actually was. This was a minor issue, though we worked him through it by practicing Heel some more while nearby the pathway, and encouraging him to pay closer attention to where I actually was instead of assuming where I would be. This helps prepare him for success with Heel in different real-life situations and regardless of the terrain it's being practiced on.



 

Pupdate 7/16/2023





Today Wyatt and I visited a park, where we continued to practice each of his commands both on and off leash. The park had plenty of commonly found distractions present, and as usual Wyatt had no issue ignoring them and maintaining an excellent level of focus! He was able to listen to and follow through with everything that was asked of him and did a great job today! He behaved very similarly whether he was on or off leash, and didn’t seem to notice or mind at all when the leash was off.


Wyatt was able to perform and hold each stationary command of Sit, Down, and Place, all for extended periods of time while nearby distractions without issue! He was also able to jump onto lots of new place objects today, and showed no hesitation even when asked to place on unfamiliar or high up objects. His Come to Sit was very consistent as well, and he had no trouble performing it at any point during our training today. Despite various distractions around, he never seemed tempted to ignore this command, and always chose to follow through with the recall even if interesting things were nearby.


His Heel was also fantastic today, and even while off leash, he knew to stay right beside me in the proper positioning. We practiced Heel on a variety of terrains such as around sidewalks, pathways, grass, and near various distractions, and he was able to stick in the correct positioning with ease without losing focus or becoming confused. Even during breaks while given the freedom to explore around the park, he seemed to prefer to stick close by me, and never strayed too far or attempted to run off. He also checked in with me often, and knew to stay within view of me and well within earshot, so he could be ready to follow any commands that were given to him. He seems to have developed a very positive association with training and performing commands, and is very eager to please!



 

Pupdate 7/17/2023



Today Wyatt and I continued practicing each of his commands while off-leash at various locations around the city. We worked around different areas of my neighborhood, and visited a big park where we walked along a hiking trail. Both locations had their own unique set of distractions, but as usual Wyatt had no trouble tuning them out and staying focused during our training. We also spent some extra time working on house manners today to help him work past some undesirable habits he has while at home.


While working on his training around the neighborhood and at the park's hiking trails, we focused on improving his heel while off-leash, and improving his understanding of streets, crosswalks, and path divergences as boundaries. We also worked on getting him accustomed to remaining in Heel while walking at various speeds, which is a fun way to improve his focus on his handler while walking. When coming up to a street or crosswalk, it's a good practice to stop and check both ways before stepping into the street or crossing. During this time, Wyatt should not continue on ahead without permission or walk into the street by himself as it could be dangerous if there are cars present. So when stopping before crossing a street, we've been practicing having Wyatt stop directly beside me, and hold a Sit until he is given the go-ahead to continue walking alongside me in a Heel as we cross. This also applies similarly to when coming to a split or fork in a hiking trail or other kind of pathway, as if he is allowed to run ahead or wander down a direction at random he could possibly become lost or injured. So when coming to a split in the trail, we practiced both keeping him close and leading the way with the Heel position, as well as teaching him to stop and wait for instruction on which way to go before proceeding onwards. These practices teach him important boundaries, and help him develop good habits that will help keep him safe even if he is off-leash in various kinds of environments.


We also spent some time working on some house manners with Wyatt today. He has settled in nicely to my home, and seems to be feeling very comfortable and happy here! However with this, he seems to be falling back into some bad habits he is used to within his own home with his family. Some such behaviors are excessive barking and growling at the door, and becoming over-excited and behaving impolitely when guests or housemates arrive. To work on these manners, we have been reshaping his behaviors around the door, and working to improve his obedience and listening skills even around the distraction that a door presents. When there is a sound at the door such as a knock, the goal is for him to be able to follow any instructions as he normally should, without him barking the whole time or trying to push through my legs to see who it is if the door is opened. Barking once or twice can be a handy alarm system to announce an arrival, though there does need to be an "off switch" and he should be able to follow instructions as well as cease barking when asked so it does not become excessive. We've been practicing this by having another person knock on the door, while I work on training Wyatt around the distraction it creates. If he begins barking excessively, he is given the Off command, which communicates to him that I would like him to stop barking. Once he is quiet, I ask him to perform and hold a stationary command at a designated spot nearby. He is then asked to remain there, even if I open the door or if people come inside. Having him wait patiently in a stationary position also helps him remain calm and focused, and teaches him to refrain from rushing up to people with too much excitement when they enter, which could lead to impolite behaviors such as barking in their faces or jumping up on them. Overall he is doing well with this and is learning quickly what is expected of him, though more practice will be needed for him to develop reliable good habits around the door.



 

Pupdate 7/18/2023





Wyatt and I visited an outdoor mall today, where we continued practicing each of his commands off-leash around distractions. We also spent some extra time working on his greeting manners today, as he was quite popular and lots of people wanted to come say hello to him! The mall was quite busy today and had various distractions present, though Wyatt didn't let anything distract him from his training, and he had no trouble performing any of his commands despite the busy mall environment.


Wyatt was able to perform Heel off leash with ease, and he was happy to follow alongside me as we walked around the mall, through crowds of people, and past tempting distractions. Very rarely did he need to be reminded of the Heel command, though when asked he was always quick to respond and adjust his positioning accordingly. He did great with extended Sit, Down, and Place, and was consistent with holding each position for as long as was asked of him without getting up or needing to be reminded to stay. He showed no hesitation about jumping onto any place object, big or small, and performed the command with a lot of confidence each time! His Come to Sit was fantastic as well, and no matter how far away I was or what kind of distractions were around, he was always quick to respond by running right to me and sitting on my left side each time.


While at the mall, there were lots of nice people who wanted to say hi to Wyatt and pet him! This was a great opportunity to work on his greeting manners, and work to create polite habits for Wyatt. Sometimes, when Wyatt gets a bit too excited while greeting someone, he will jump on people, which is not a polite or safe behavior for him to do. A common mistake people often make when meeting or greeting a dog is petting them or giving them attention when the dog is jumping up on them. Doing so teaches the dog that jumping up on people equals praise and affection, therefore encouraging them to continue doing it any time they greet someone or want attention from them. To help Wyatt get out of this habit, we've been working to reshape his existing understanding, and teach him that jumping on people or otherwise behaving impolitely is no longer an effective method to receive attention from people or express his excitement. Praise, affection, and attention are now only given when he is calm, quiet, and following instructions, and impolite behavior is interrupted and discouraged with the Off command. To ensure this training remains consistent, it's important to make people who want to greet Wyatt aware of his training and the expectations we have from him before allowing them to approach, that way they understand how to help and don't accidentally encourage any impolite behaviors. A great way to practice polite greeting manners is to have Wyatt hold a stationary command such as Sit. This keeps him focused on holding the position, makes him less likely to become over-excited or jump up, and rewards him for following instructions. This is something we practice each time a greeting takes place, and Wyatt is learning quickly! Jumping up and behaving impolitely is now a very rare occurrence, and he is less and less likely to behave this way each day we practice. He is learning to express his joy and excitement with happy tail wags instead, which is both adorable and polite!



 

Pupdate 7/19/2023



Today Wyatt and I visited a local park, to continue practicing his commands off-leash around various distractions. This park had some unique distractions to test his skills around, such as ducks, geese, and a sandy beach area, alongside the usual distractions of dogs and groups of people. Overall Wyatt did fantastic today, and was able to perform each of his commands off-leash without any issue! He particularly liked playing around and exploring in the sandy area by the pond, but he was also able to focus and perform commands when asked. He was able to easily ignore most of the distractions without needing to be reminded, though he was a bit unsure about the big geese in the area when he first saw them. He didn't seem interested in chasing after them or approaching them which was good, but he seemed nervous about their presence and wanted to stay far away from them, causing him to have some difficulty holding stationary positions or performing Heel if the birds were within his view. After practicing his commands for a while with the geese at a comfortable distance away, he became more confident and wasn't as concerned with them anymore. He was eventually back to his usual self, and was able to focus on me and his commands even if there were geese around. Overcoming little fears like this helps Wyatt learn to be calm and confident in all kinds of environments, allowing him to stay consistent and reliable with his obedience and commands! We also spent some more time working on Wyatt's general manners today, including food manners, car and kennel manners, and door manners. Food manners come naturally to Wyatt due to his previous training, so he is always well-behaved and patient during meal times. The goal for food manners is for Wyatt to be calm and polite by holding a stationary position such as Sit or Down as his food is prepared, and continue to hold that position until released to eat, even if the food is sitting temptingly in front of him. We have also been practicing food refusal manners, which involves teaching Wyatt to not eat things off the floor or plates, unless he is given explicit permission to do so. This helps eliminate the chances of him sneaking bites of potentially unsafe human food or other things he's not supposed to eat, even if they fall on the floor or are sitting on a plate within his reach. Another area of his manners that Wyatt has quickly caught on to is car and kennel manners. During Wyatt's first few days with me, he was very hesitant about jumping into my car or entering the kennel when asked. Though with some practice, he was soon able to confidently jump into the car with ease, and can now do so without any additional motivators or assistance. He was also a bit unsure about the kennel at first, and often needed some extra guidance to lure him inside. Though now he has developed a positive association with the kennel, and sees it as a nice comfortable spot to relax in during either car rides or quiet time at home. He is happy to walk right into the kennel when asked now, and needs no extra encouragement to get him inside. Door manners were a bit more of a challenge for Wyatt, though he has made so much progress with this and he is now able to remain calm, quiet, and follow commands given even when the door is a source of distractions. We've been practicing getting him used to doorbells, knocks on the door, and people entering the house, and encouraging him to display polite behaviors instead of becoming over excited or barking uncontrollably. Now whenever he hears the door, he knows that it's not a big deal and not something to get worked up over, and can remain focused enough to follow instructions such as sitting and waiting politely as the door is answered or when people enter. We've also been working to teach Wyatt about the boundary that a door represents, and that he needs to respect that boundary and not cross it unless invited or given permission to, even if people are entering or exiting through it, or if it is left open. This allows for people in the house to come and go, without having to worry about Wyatt escaping or wandering out through an open door such as the front door. An easy way to practice this is to ask Wyatt to hold a Sit or Down near a door, as it clearly communicates what we want him to do, and helps him understand that he is not to walk through the doorway unless invited or given the release command.


 

Pupdate 7/20/2023





Today Wyatt and I visited a park, where we met up with a group of OffLeash SoCal trainers and their pups! This was a great environment to test Wyatt's off-leash skills while around the high amount of distractions that the other trainers and dogs provided. We practiced each of his commands while off-leash today, and as usual Wyatt did a fantastic job and was able to remain calm, focused, and on task despite the numerous exciting distractions around him. When asked to perform a command, Wyatt had no trouble ignoring the distractions, and hardly noticed their presence whatsoever. While on breaks and given permission to greet the other dogs or trainers, he was very friendly and polite, and got along with everyone he met! He had no issue performing Heel off-leash, and knew exactly where to be when the command was given. He was able to walk along the pathways, in the grass, and anywhere in between without getting confused or needing constant reminders. He was able to perform and hold Sit, Down, and Place for extended periods of time with ease, and seemed to be content holding such positions even while I was very far away and well over the fifteen-foot goal we originally set! His Come to Sit was very reliable as well, and no matter the circumstances he knew to come straight over to me and sit beside me the moment he was called! The only challenging time for Wyatt today was when I asked him to stay with another trainer while I stepped away for a few minutes. Normally, Wyatt has no issue being away from me, and can hold stationary commands calmly and patiently as I walk away to any distance, and he knows not to get up to follow me or break position unless asked to. He's also normally calm and quiet around the house even if I am not home or am in a separate room from him. Though today, when handed over to another trainer for a few minutes, he immediately became very anxious about me walking away as he seemed to think I was leaving him behind. He whined, barked, pulled on the leash trying to get to me, and struggled to hold positions or follow commands due to this anxiety. Once I returned, he was very happy to see me and quickly returned to his usual self. This behavior is quite similar to how he acted when I first met him, when his parents left him with me after his pickup. Wyatt has a very loving and loyal nature, and treasures the bonds he makes deeply, however it's apparent he struggles with some separation anxiety. Thankfully it seems to only present itself in this specific type of situation, however it is something to keep in mind! Going forward we will continue practicing with different scenarios, and hopefully we can work to reduce the level of anxiety he feels when away from his loved ones.



 

Pupdate 7/21/2023





Today Wyatt and I visited the Santa Monica Pier, where we practiced each of his commands off-leash around a high amount of distractions. Despite the busy environment, crowds of people, other dogs, and various other factors, Wyatt was able to maintain an excellent level of focus and was able to follow through with everything that was asked of him! We also got some fantastic footage of him that will be used in putting together his final video! Wyatt had no trouble sticking in the Heel position as we made our way around the pier, and didn't falter even when passing through busy areas or crowds of people. His Come to Sit was also very reliable, and he was always quick to come right to me any time he was called, no matter the distractions present or the distance I was from him. He also was good at always sitting on my left side after being recalled, though he did sometimes sit slightly out of position or sit too far behind me, especially if I was standing in a very busy area. Though after a few successful repetitions and practicing the command some more, he was able to find the correct spot without needing to be asked to correct himself, regardless of the level of distractions present. He did excellent with each of his stationary commands of Sit, Down, and Place as well. He was always happy to follow through with each command when asked, and was able to hold them for extended periods of time with ease regardless of the distractions present or the distance I was away from him. We also had some more opportunities to practice his greeting manners, and Wyatt did a great job of behaving politely and calmly with each person that he met. He never tried to jump on anyone or otherwise behave impolitely, and he did a great job with remaining in the position that was asked of him even when new people approached to say hello and pet him. Overall Wyatt did a fantastic job today, and he seemed to have a great time at the pier practicing commands, exploring around, and making new friends!



 

Pupdate 7/22/2023



Today Wyatt and I visited a park, where we continued practicing each of his commands off-leash while distractions were present. He did an excellent job with listening today, and had a fun time practicing commands, exploring around, and playing fetch with me! He was able to maintain sharp focus, and never became distracted by his surroundings when asked to do something. He also got to say hello to come nice people, and was very polite and happy to greet them! Wyatt did great with Heel, and had no trouble sticking right by me as we walked along the trail, through the grass, or anywhere around the park. We walked through crowds of people, past other dogs, and by some squirrels and birds, and he never broke position despite the added distractions around. His Come to Sit was consistent and reliable, and he had no issues performing this command at any point today. He was able to perform Sit, Down, and Place with ease, and held them for extended periods of time without breaking position. He has well surpassed the initial goal of two minutes, and can consistently hold each position for over five minutes or more! When in a comfortable spot, he's able to hold his positions for much longer as well, and is happy to remain where he is asked for as long as needed without becoming impatient or antsy. I was also able to walk away to any distance as he held stationary positions, and despite being far away from me, he was able to hold his positions confidently and patiently without showing any signs of separation anxiety. We also played some fetch with a tennis ball while at the park, which was both fun exercise and a great way to practice his training! We practiced having him hold a Sit or Down, and waiting patiently in that position even if I threw the ball. By having him wait until he is released to chase after it, we can continue to improve upon his impulse control and obedience. Wyatt loved chasing after the ball once released, and knew to come right back to me when called, showing off his impressive recall ability! However, the first few times he didn't want to drop the ball and didn't seem to understand what was being asked of him when told to drop it. To help him learn this, we applied the Off command, as a way to communicate to him in a way he understands. Once the Off command was given, he understood to drop the ball and look up to me, awaiting the next instructions. Once he figured out what was expected of him, he was much better about dropping the ball when asked, and began to understand the verbal cue "drop it". This understanding came naturally as he came to realize dropping the ball when asked would allow me to keep the fun going and throw the ball again!


 

Pupdate 7/23/2023






Today is Wyatt's last day with me, meaning he has officially completed all fourteen days of his Board and Train Program! We spent the day exploring, practicing commands, and putting all of his learned skills to use to have a fun day together! We visited an outdoor mall, where he had a fun time checking out the area, and even got a yummy treat from a pet store! Afterward, we visited a local park to play some more games of fetch and do some hiking along the trails. At each location, we continued to practice all of his commands while off-leash, to ensure his training stays fresh in his mind so he can continue to be the best version of himself even after he goes back home to his parents! As usual, he had no issue performing any of his commands today, and was always happy and enthusiastic to follow through with anything that was asked of him. Wyatt has learned and progressed so much in the short time we've had together, and has transformed into a very well-mannered and well-behaved canine companion in any kind of environment! He has gained the necessary skills to remain calm, focused, and obedient even in the most distracting of areas, and is very eager to please and follow through with anything that is asked of him. He has developed a solid and reliable recall, and can now be trusted to always come when called, from just about any distance or around any type of distraction. He has mastered walking in the Heel position, and is happy to follow alongside his handler without any need for a leash. He can perform stationary positions with ease, and has gained the confidence and patience necessary to hold these positions for however long is asked of him. He has also massively improved with his manners and separation anxiety, and no longer barks excessively at the door or when seeking attention when separated from his loved ones. He has also learned not to jump on people when greeting them or when he is excited, and can instead express his happiness in polite ways! Wyatt has been a pleasure to train and share my home with, and I'm so grateful to have been a part of helping him become the best version of himself! He's still the same goofy, happy, and loyal pup he's always been, but now has fantastic skills in obedience that make him even more of a joy to be around and take on all sorts of adventures! His developed skills with being off leash will also allow him to safely enjoy lots of fun and freedom wherever life takes him and his family. With his high intelligence and eagerness to learn, the sky is the limit for this pup! I'm confident he has a very bright future ahead of him in his continued training journey with his family! Good boy Wyatt!


 

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