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  • Writer's pictureJose Ayala

Zeus | German Shepherd | Los Angeles, CA | In-Training

Meet Zeus! He is a four month old German Shepherd who has joined us for our Three Week Puppy Board and Train Program. Zeus is here for basic obedience, jumping to greet, leash pulling, and playful nipping. Zeus is easily distracted by people and other dogs, and will pull on his leash towards them to interact. When meeting someone new, Zeus will jump on them and will also nip at their hands. These behaviors are one of the main concerns as Zeus will be growing and does not know his own strength, and can easily knock someone over. Over the next twenty one days, Zeus will be working on his behavior and be set up for success, with the hopes of becoming a well mannered pup. Check in to see his progress!

 

Zeus and I spent the afternoon getting to know each other. We took a drive to a local park and went for a walk to establish a bond. During our walk, Zeus was pulling heavily on his leash trying to sniff the grass, and trying to reach a person walking by. To keep him from doing so, I introduced him to heel (fuss). Heel consists of having Zeus walk beside me on my left side. When he would pull away, I would stop, turn and walk in the opposite direction, and guide him back towards me with leash tension. He is understanding what I am asking, and he is learning how to turn off the leash pressure. I will continue to practice heel with Zeus, as it will now be applied on every walk we go on from here on out.

 

Zeus and I drove out to a local park and practiced his heel a little more. This morning on our walk, he was still pulling a little, but he is making improvement, as he does not pull as much as he did before. Zeus is very food motivated, so we applied his breakfast into our session. I worked on his recall which will consist of having Zeus sit in front of me, and using the word “hier,” instead of come per your request. By luring Zeus towards me with his kibble and by using leash tension, I am able to have him follow through with the exercise. I began with a short distance and rewarded him when he sat in front of me. Once I saw consistency with Zeus during the exercise, I then introduced the verbal command to him. He did become distracted by someone walking by at a distance, so I kept him engaged with me by redirecting him in my direction, and rewarding him for coming to me. I was also able to work on his heel positioning which will consist of having Zeus going around behind me, and sitting on my left. To teach him, once he was in the sit position in front of me, I took a step back, applied leash tension to guide him towards my right, took a step forward as he is wrapping around, lured him to my left with his kibble, and rewarded him once he went into a sit. Once Zeus had an understanding of the concept, I paired the two together, and he is making good progress. His heel positioning will consist of tapping my left leg with a verbal “fuss” at the same time. He did really well overnight in his crate and he is adjusting to his new home for the next three weeks.

 

Zeus and I drove out to a local park today and worked on place (ort). Place consists of having Zeus getting onto a designated object and remaining there in a sit or a down. It can be of great use when guests are over, or if there is a knock on your door. To teach Zeus we began our session by using a cot as our object. By using his kibble and leash tension, I lured Zeus onto the cot, and although he immediately came out of it, I rewarded him for getting onto it. Working this way gives Zeus a positive association with the cot, which will encourage him to place on it more due to the reward he receives for following through. Once I saw consistency after a few reps, I introduced the verbal command as he stepped onto the cot. He did really well, and he is learning that remaining in position on the object is what gets him rewarded with kibble and verbal praise. By using his food, I am keeping him engaged in what I am asking him to do, but throughout his training program, I will be fading out his kibble, and use more verbal praise.

 

Zeus and I continued to work on his place a little more. Now that he has an understanding of it, I began to pair his placing with a sit. To build his confidence, we worked on a higher object, in which he was having trouble with at first, but with a running start and verbal encouragement, I worked Zeus through it. Once he placed, I asked him to sit, and rewarded him with his kibble when he followed through. After a few reps, I had him hold his sit for a few seconds before rewarding him, so that he may begin to comprehend duration. I also worked on his recall a little more, in which he is doing well with, and I am only rewarding him with kibble randomly now, and using more praise. I will keep working with Zeus in areas with minimal distractions, and once I see more consistency from him, I will gradually begin to expose him to more distractions by taking our sessions into a more public setting.

 

Zeus and I have been working on his down (platz). He has an understanding of what it means since he automatically goes into a down at feeding time. When that happens I mark and reward him for it by saying, “good platz.” When working on it without his breakfast or dinner, I used his kibble as a lure, and I also used leash tension to guide him towards the ground. I placed the kibble in front of his nose and had Zeus follow it towards the ground. Once I got near the floor, Zeus would automatically go into a down without any leash tension. He is becoming very consistent with it, so I will continue to practice it with Zeus, and challenge him into doing it with nothing but verbal praise as a reward.

 

Zeus and I worked on his down today without the use of food as a reward. I am fading his kibble out and only rewarding him with verbal praise and affection. We have been working on it at home with no distractions, and he has been doing well. We took our session to a park with minimal distractions, and although he became distracted by someone passing by from a distance, I was able to redirect him and have him focus on the task at hand. He can be a little stubborn at times, but with leash tension and the use of his prong collar, I am able to have Zeus follow through. Now that he has learned all of his commands, I will begin to practice on his distance and duration, so that he may hold stationary positions for a longer period of time.

 

Zeus and I worked on distance and duration with his stationary positions. He did very well and he has made an improvement with his down, as I am now using less leash pressure than before. To teach Zeus distance and duration, I worked in increments of three seconds for every foot I stepped back. One foot back is three seconds, two feet back is six seconds, three feet is nine seconds, and so on. When Zeus followed through with what I was asking, I rewarded him with praise, and released him with a “frei,” which is his release word. By working in short increments, it gives Zeus time to learn and adjust to longer durations. If he were to come out of position while I am four feet back, I would reset Zeus, and repeat the exercise at three feet back. After a few reps, if Zeus is showing consistency, I would then go back to four feet. Always remember to take your time and remain patient. If you find yourself reaching frustration, take a break, and restart a session in a calmer state. The more positive it is for your pup, the more he will be encouraged and motivated to perform for you.

 

Zeus and I worked on his distance and duration with added distractions. He did really well maintaining his stationary positions as people passed us by. He does get a little curious and looks in their direction at times, but remains focused on the task at hand. He was having a little trouble with his heel and would pull away at times throughout our walk, but with the use of his prong collar along with the u-turns, I was able to get Zeus back on track. With week one coming to a close, I am looking forward in continuing his progress in week two.

 

Zeus and I worked on his place a little more. We practiced on a different object with a different surface. It provides mental stimulation for Zeus by exposing him to different textures, surfaces, and environments. This can prevent boredom and improve his overall well-being. Dogs encounter various surfaces and textures in their daily lives, such as hardwood floors, carpets, grass, sand, etc. Training them to be comfortable on different surfaces can make outings and activities more enjoyable for us and our pups. Zeus did really well after a few attempts during our session, and continues to build his confidence when he follows through. He did come out of his down a couple of times during our session, but I was able to reset him and work him through it. In the coming days, I will be meeting with other trainers, and work Zeus around more dog distractions.

 

Zeus and I worked on his commands around dog distractions. Throughout his training program, I have been gradually exposing Zeus to different distractions, which have helped with his reactivity, as he no longer pulls or barks for attention. He was having a little trouble with his heel positioning, but I am working with him to have it cleaned up. He is doing well with his stationary positions, as I continue to gradually increase his duration. I have also completely faded out his kibble, and I am only rewarding him with verbal praise and affection now, which he responds to very well. I have also been working on his jumping and nipping, which has been progressing, as he has stopped jumping, and is not nipping at all. During playtime, if Zeus jumped or tried to nip, I stopped his playtime, ignored him, and gave him a verbal “off.” With time, he began to understand that his behavior was unacceptable, and he has done very well working through it.

 

Zeus and I drove out to an indoor shopping center and worked in a more public setting. We went for a walk around the mall so that he may adjust to his surroundings. Throughout our walk, Zeus became very distracted and curious, which made him want to veer off. To keep him from doing so, I would apply leash tension to guide him back beside me and continue our walk. Once acclimated, we worked on his down around distractions, and he did very well. Exposing Zeus to different environments such as public places helps with socialization, as well as reducing fear or anxiety in those new environments, making your pup more well adjusted and adaptable as they grow. It is an excellent training ground for teaching Zeus how to behave appropriately amidst distractions, strengthening his good behavior and obedience. By getting an early start, this kind of exposure can help prevent fear or aggression issues in the future by teaching Zeus to remain calm and relaxed in various environments. It is crucial for his development, socialization, and overall well being. It will help Zeus become well rounded, confident, and a well behaved adult dog.

 

Zeus and I had some playtime in the front yard. Running around and playing helps Zeus release energy, stay fit, and maintain a healthy weight. Playtime and exploring grass provides mental stimulation for him, keeping his mind active and engaged. It allows Zeus to interact with us and other environments, helping him develop social skills and confidence. It will also strengthen your bond and deepen your relationship with him. Allowing Zeus to explore his surroundings engages his senses and helps Zeus learn about the world around him. He enjoys his playtime, but always remember to keep an eye on him, so that he stays safe. Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

 

Zeus and I did a little shopping and he did really well in every store we went into. We practiced his sit and his down while we were in line to pay, and given the distractions around him, Zeus remained in his stationary positions. We took a break on the grass in the outdoor area and he was great with his down while kids were playing in the area. We also worked on building his confidence more with place, which he continues to improve in, as he is now hopping onto objects more rather than climbing on. Zeus continues to thrive in his training, and receives many compliments on his good behavior everywhere we go.

 

Zeus and I went for a walk with another dog. By walking with another dog, it helps Zeus with socialization, as well as learning how to interact with other dogs in a controlled environment, which is crucial for his development. It can also make the walk more fun and engaging for him, encouraging him to be more active and burn off excess energy. Dogs can learn from each other, so these kind of exercises can help Zeus learn appropriate behaviors through observation. Interacting with other pups during walks can boost his confidence and reduce anxiety in social situations. Overall, walking your pup with another dog can provide social, physical, and mental benefits that contribute to their overall well-being.

 

Zeus and I have been going for walks around the neighborhood everyday. It helps Zeus stay physically active, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle strength, and it can also provide mental stimulation for him, preventing boredom. Taking Zeus out for walks on the regular strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend, creating a sense of trust and companionship. It is a great opportunity to practice and work on his heel, walk on a leash, and practice his sit before crossing a street or waiting for a light to change. Overall, regular walks can help reduce behavioral issues such as excessive barking, chewing, or digging by providing an outlet for Zeus’ energy.

 

Zeus and I have been working on his commands with little to no leash tension. He is doing well, but there will be times that you might have to apply leash tension to prevent unwanted behaviors, such as veering off, or not wanting to follow through with a command. When working with Zeus, I give him a freebie the first time with any command, and have him try to figure it out on his own. If he does not, then I work him through it with leash tension. Applying tension only when Zeus displays unwanted behavior, such as pulling or lunging, helps him understand which behaviors are not acceptable. By remaining consistent and applying tension as needed, it teaches Zeus the appropriate way to walk on a leash. By doing this effectively, it sets a foundation for good leash manners in the future. It establishes a routine and expectations for walks, making them more enjoyable for Zeus and yourself.

 

Separation anxiety in dogs is a condition where a dog experiences distress or anxiety when separated from their owner or when left alone. Dogs are social animals that form strong bonds with their human companions, and when they are separated, they can exhibit behaviors that indicate anxiety or stress. Zeus has shown behaviors like excessive barking, whining, and restlessness. It happens when he is in the hands of another handler while I step away to get something from the car, or if I take a restroom break. To help Zeus work through this, practice leaving him alone for short periods of time and gradually increase the duration. This helps him get used to being alone. In the home, you can also practice leaving the house without making a big deal out of it. This can help him learn that your departures are not a cause for anxiety. You can also set up a comfortable area for him with toys and items that have your scent. This can help Zeus feel secure when you are not around. It is going to take time and patience, but by remaining consistent, Zeus will be able to overcome his anxiety.

 

Zeus and I have been working on his food manners. He had an understanding of it, as he would go into a down when I placed his bowl down, but he would not wait very long and would get up on his own and try to eat. In that situation, I would pick up his bowl, reset him back into position, and restart the session again. Throughout his program, I have been gradually increasing his duration, and he has been doing well remaining patient until I give him his cue to eat. By teaching Zeus to wait for my cue before eating, it helps him develop self control and patience, as well as mental stimulation and engagement, as he has to focus and listen for his release before eating.

 

Zeus and I have been working on his greeting manners. Throughout his time here, he has learned that unwanted behaviors such as jumping on people, does not get rewarded or praised. Anytime he would try to jump on me, I would ignore him and apply leash tension paired with a verbal off. Teaching Zeus good greeting manners helps prevent him jumping up on people, which can be dangerous, especially for children or elderly individuals as he does not know his own strength. With time, Zeus has learned that he is to remain in a calm relaxed state anytime someone wants to say hello. With good greeting manners, dogs in general are more likely to be welcomed in various social settings. They are easier to bring around friends, family, or out in public as they know how to approach people politely. It is an essential part of their training and socialization, contributing to their safety, well being, and positive interactions with people.

 

Zeus and I have been working on his door manners. Anytime I would open a door, he would almost immediately try to be the first one through. Throughout his program, I have been conditioning him into not doing so by having him wait in a sit or a down when we approach a door. When in a stationary position, I proceed to open the door, and if Zeus gets up, I immediately close it, reset him, and repeat the process as needed. Once I am able to go through without Zeus getting out of position, I wait a few seconds before releasing him, and give him lots of praise when following through. Good door manners ensures the safety of Zeus by preventing him from running out into certain situations or unfamiliar environments. It establishes boundaries, which leads to better overall behavior and training success in the long run.

 

Zeus has completed his Three Week Puppy Board and Train Program and is ready to come home. I want to thank you for trusting me with him while he was under my care, and for giving me the opportunity in being his trainer. He is a fast learner, and is capable of so much more. Remember to always remain patient and consistent, as they are key in continuing to set up Zeus for success. He was a great co-pilot, and we became great friends. Thank you Zeus!

 

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