Meet The Graduates

These amazing dogs are all recent graduates from one of our training camps!

Hazel

German Shepherd/American Bulldog

Hazel is a 2-year-old American Bulldog/ German Shepherd Mix from Napa, California who attended our 3-week Behavior Modification Camp. She came to us due to some dog reactivity. Her owners wanted to be able to walk her on leash at parks, trails, and around the neighborhood without her making a scene.

Hazel learned leash manners, heeling, sit with a built-in stay, down with a built-in stay, go to place and come when called on and off leash. Her commands were taught using food for positive reinforcement and she was taught to respond to light pressure on a slip lead to guide her. Once Hazel understood what she was being asked to do we layered in a remote collar to create off leash reliability and help to control heightened emotional states such as outbursts of barking.

To address Hazel’s leash reactivity, we first developed very clear communication with her in a distraction free environment. As she showed that she was ready to progress we started to work with her around dogs that would completely ignore her. At first she was stressed and struggled to pay attention to anything but the dogs, her anxiety around dogs has been high for nearly her entire life. As she got more comfortable and was able to work around different calm dogs we gradually exposed her to more and more excited dogs in a controlled setting so that we could stop the exercise at any time if she became too stressed. Hazel progressed quickly and her confidence began to grow. She was soon able to work around dogs at parks that were barking or running without reacting aggressively.

Hazel came to us unable to go for a walk at all. She pulled on the leash and lunged and barked at dogs, she stalked dogs from a distance leaning on the end of the leash towards them. She was so on edge that she would react at anything the moved quickly including running kids or bicycles.

As Hazel’s training progressed it was apparent that she was extremely uncomfortable and nervous around dogs, and that all of her “aggression” was a big show because she was scared. As Hazel gained trust in her handler, she began to look for guidance when she was worried instead of putting on a big aggressive show.

At her go home session, Hazel did an amazing job while walking in her neighborhood and we broke everything down into small steps to show her owners how to handle her reactivity. We worked around visitors coming to the door and the other dogs in the house to get Hazel calm and under control. We plan to do some follow up work to make sure they stay on track since hazel is a high-strung dog and will need a lot of consistency and management.

River

Golden Retriever

River is a 1-year-old Golden Retriever from Lafayette, California who attended our 3-week Advanced Off Leash Obedience Camp.

River is genuinely nice and happy but gets too rambunctious with the kids and will slam into them and knock them down when excited. He also nips and tugs at their clothes when they run or yell. He pulls on leash and has knocked over one of the kids when he saw a squirrel and took off.

His owners wanted to not have to put River away when the kids play and to include him in more activities if he can behave himself. They wanted to walk him and not worry that he will pull someone over or take off after a distraction.

River learned how to heel and automatically sit, walk nicely on leash, sit, down, go to his bed, and recall under distraction. All of his commands were taught with positive reinforcement using food and then leash pressure using a slip lead was taught so that river could be guided with a leash. Once he understood his training, we layered in a remote collar for off leash work around distractions like animals and running kids.

Jumping was addressed by giving River a more constructive task like heeling or sitting to do when he felt like he wanted to jump. River loves praise and was so happy to have a task to do that he could get loved on for that he often chose to heel just because he enjoyed it.

River started out a little bit out of control, as a COVID-19 puppy he had not been socialized or left his house much, so he was very jumpy and unsure of himself. We did a lot of outings and confidence building to get him comfortable in his own skin. He quickly blossomed into a more confident dog who enjoyed engaging with his handler and taking trips out and about.

River did really well at drop off, the kids handled him, and he heeled happily along next to them, passing squirrels and other distractions with ease. We did some testing on the kids running and showed River’s owners how to manage him when he was too excited and wanted to knock them over. His response was quick and he understood the exercises easily.

Finn

Cavapoo

Finn is a 5-month-old Cavapoo from Napa, California who attended our 3-week Advanced Off Leash Obedience Camp.

Finn’s family is an active family who enjoys taking walks in their neighborhood. He is also a big snuggler and loves cuddling on the couch. Finn, being so young, has a lot of energy. He has a hard time settling in the house. He also has a big problem with resource guarding items in the house and will not give them up. And has even been known to growl when items are trying to be taken from him.

Finn learned sit, down (both with a built-in stay), loose leash walking, heeling, to come when called, and a place command. All commands were introduced in a fun, engaging way so he could easily get rewarded for behavior in order to begin to understand. Once he was understanding the command, we began to layer in a prong collar to offer guidance if he decided he wanted to do something else. When the behavior was performed correctly, even if guidance was needed, he was given a reward. Once the prong collar was clear to Finn we began to lay to e collar in addition to the prong collar to create off leash reliability. He is a very smart dog and was a natural. It did not take long for Finn to understand his commands!

Finn learned to go to his bed, stay there, and only get up when called. He could be recalled from across the house and be put on his bed. We also practiced knocking on the door to try to get him to leave his bed. Finn is a stinker about taking items and not giving them up. To prevent that we taught Finn to recall away from items that he had taken or be called to his place; basically, any obedience command to get him away from the item. Finn did not enjoy being on a leash. Any tension on neck he would have a freak out. To prevent this we used a lot of positive reinforcement to teach him that walking in the correct position can prevent tension on the leash.

Finn had a difficult time learning new behaviors. He is a very frustrated learner. Once he understood something he was super compliant and consistent. To make the learning process more fun in the beginning we used a lot of food. By the end of his camp he was happily doing all of his obedience.

Finn was incredibly happy to be home. We first went through place. He had a difficult time staying on his place at his go home because he wanted to go see his owner. After a few reps he was staying on there consistently. We also worked on his breaking through the doorway before a walk. His owner was super happy with his progress in the session. Afterwards we went on a walk. Finn was great. He was very engaged with his owner.

 

 

 

 

 

Bailey

Labrador Retriever/Pitbull

Bailey is a 2-year-old Labrador Retriever from Vallejo, California who attended our behavior modification camp. Bailey is one of 4 dogs in a home with a toddler. They enjoy taking their dog on walks and out to dinner. They also spend a lot of time snuggling at home.

The main reason the owners were seeking training for Bailey is he has a difficult time getting along with one of the other dogs in the home. The little dog bothers Bailey and he tends to get frustrated and growl. Bailey would also put himself in his crate if was feeling annoyed with the little dog, so he spent a lot of time in his crate. The owners were hoping that the camp would offer him more freedom and give him so more house time.

Bailey learned sit with a built-in stay, down with a built-in stay, loose leash walking, heeling, to come when called, and a place command. All commands were introduced in a fun, engaging way so he could easily get rewarded for behavior in order to begin to understand. Once he was understanding the command we began to layer in a prong collar to offer guidance if he decided he wanted to do something else. When the behavior was performed correctly, even if guidance was needed, he was given a reward. Once the prong collar was clear to Bailey we began to lay to e collar in addition to the prong collar to create off leash reliability.

Whenever the doorbell would ring Bailey would rush the door barking. In order to prevent that behavior we taught him a place command. At the go home we practiced knocking on the door and having him stay on his place. Using place eliminated the opportunity for Bailey to rush the door and bark.

Bailey was very happy to see his owners. Upon arrival we worked place in the house and practiced knocking on the door. He did very well. The other problem that we addressed was the little dog in house bothering him. We put Bailey on place and put an e collar on the little dog. Whenever the little dog would come to bother Bailey we would correct the dog. The little dog bothers Bailey on purpose so in order to make it fair for Bailey we taught the little dog to stay away from him. We then went on a walk in their neighborhood. He did amazing. He was very engaged with his handler. They were very pleased with his training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mamas

Terrier

Mamas is a 3-year-old terrier mix from Davis, California who attended our 3-week Advanced Off Leash Obedience Camp. Her parents had enough of her jumping and constant bullying of their other dog. She also had a bad habit of barking at other dogs on walks and pulling on the leash.

Mamas learned to heel, sit, down, place, recall, and walk nicely on leash. She learned all her commands for food rewards followed by leash pressure on a prong collar and e-collar pressure to create off leash reliability. Mamas was a fantastic student and always tried extremely hard to do the right thing and learned easily. She is a sweetheart and people pleaser with guidance.

We also addressed the behavioral issues that Mamas had with her housemate. She was taught to ask for attention by sitting instead of jumping and quickly picked up on the new rules. To mitigate her bullying her housemate she was taught a place command so that her owners could redirect her to place when she had the inclination to harass the other dog. We practiced going to neighborhoods and walking past dogs on leash and barking behind fences until Mamas was able to walk nicely past normal neighborhood distractions without pulling and becoming reactive.

Mamas was very insecure and constantly needed attention or to be in the middle of everything. Through obedience she learned that reinforcement could come from sitting still or minding her own business. Training seemed to relax her and give her some peace of mind where she used to be stressed.

Mamas did great at drop off, she took a nice calm walk and one of the kids handled her and practiced her place command in various areas of the house. We did some set-ups to address her jumping so that her family was comfortable with what they needed to do to redirect her to something more positive when she started to jump.

Drako

German Shepherd

Drako is 10-month-old German Shepherd from Pinole, California who attended our 3-week Behavior Modification Camp to address aggression and reactivity issues towards other dogs as well as people. He is afraid of people, dogs, sudden movement, loud noises, etc. He hasn’t been out of his house much because his owner can’t trust him not to react to dogs or people aggressively. He has rushed someone and jumped up in their face barking before but hasn’t bitten yet. He must be muzzled when anyone comes over and if he is put in his crate he barks nonstop.

Drako’s owner wanted to feel comfortable handling him when guests come over, or taking him for a walk, she would love to be able to take him out to a park or even let him out in their backyard without him raging at the dog next door through the fence. He wants to chase the other small dogs in the house, and they would like for all the dogs to coexist without worrying that Drako will smash the small dogs.

Drako learned sit, down, heel, loose leash walking, come when called, and to go to his bed. All of his commands were taught using positive reinforcement and then leash pressure with a prong collar was layered into his training. He also learned an e-collar for reliable control around big distractions that are scary to him like strangers and other dogs. Additionally, Drako was given lots of treats for wearing his muzzle so that he could go into public safely and start to overcome his fears.

We did a lot of counter conditioning around dogs to explain to Drako that they were not scary and were not going to approach him or behave unpredictably. He learned the same concept around people as well as some simple exercises to call him away quickly from a person or dog that he accidentally got too close to before he felt uncomfortable and made bad choices. We practiced walking around neighborhoods and stores to show Drako as many distractions and build his confidence up as much as possible.

Drako was too terrified to even come out of his crate when he first arrived. It was slow going the first few days to develop a relationship with him and get him to accept food rewards or feel comfortable being close enough to his handler on a leash to even sit. Drako progressed amazingly well and learned to trust in his handler for guidance when he was feeling uncomfortable. He was so happy to have someone understand him and show him what to do that he started to look for instructions whenever he felt confused or lost. He turned out to be a genuinely nice dog and a goofy sweet guy who just needed some help to feel safer.

Drako did fantastic at his go home. We developed a protocol for having guests come over, being around but not meeting new strangers, walking in heavily trafficked areas like stores, and did a practice walk around the neighborhood as well as some practicing for guests to come over. His owner did a great job handling him and they will be a fantastic team together.

Ziggy & Bailey

Yorkshire Terrier/Mini Goldendoodle

Bailey and Ziggy are housemates who live with their mom in Sacramento, California. Bailey is a 6-month-old Goldendoodle and Ziggy is a 3-year-old Yorkshire Terrier.

Bailey is a friendly, excited little dog with a lot of energy. Her main issue was jumping on people. She would jump on people and since she is so cute a loveable, people would reward her behavior by petting her which taught Bailey that this was okay. Since jumping and obedience were the main goals for Bailey’s training, she attended our 3-week advanced off leash obedience camp.

Ziggy had some issues of his own which were causing his mom some trouble. He was very fearful of other dogs. His fear in turn caused him to react to other dogs while on walks. Since Ziggy would bark and run towards other dogs it really made walking him a chore. His mom wanted nothing more than to be able to walk him and his sister peacefully without fear of scaring someone or running off. Ziggy attended our 3 week behavior modification camp.

When Bailey arrived at camp, we first focused on introducing her to people who would not give her affection when she jumped. Since she was usually rewarded for such behavior, we needed to start her out with a clean slate. We taught her sit calmly and wait, and she learned over time that if she performed this correctly, she would be rewarded with the attention she was wanting.

During Ziggy’s time at camp, we focused on addressing his reactivity towards other dogs. He needed to be in the presence of calm, neutral dogs in order to learn that he does not need to be fearful!

Once we had successfully addressed the concerns with both Ziggy and Bailey, we began teaching them basic obedience. They learned sit stay, stay, down stay, place and come. We achieved this by using low level e-collar stimulation to overlay commands that were thoroughly understood.

We are incredibly happy with their progress during their time with us. Ziggy went home confident and obedient whereas Bailey went home with a new outlook on how to treat strangers.

Lincoln

German Shepherd

Lincoln is a 1-year-old German Shepherd from Fairfield, California who attended our 3-week behavior modification camp. Lincoln came to us because he frantically rushed guests while barking and jumping in their face. He would also rush to the window barking non-stop if a dog or person walked by on the sidewalk in front of his house. During walks he would lunge and bark at other dogs.  His mom and dad are in the military and needed to address these issues so that they could have a sitter watch him during deployment, or even just to have people in their house without him reacting.

We started camp by first teaching Lincoln some obedience. He learned loose leash walking manners, heeling, sit with a built-in stay, down with a built-in stay, go to place, and come when called both on and off leash. All of Lincoln’s commands were taught using food and positive reinforcement and then he was taught to follow slight pressure on a slip lead to sit and lie down. Once he understood what was being asked of him, we layered in a remote collar to create off leash reliability and solid control when he is in a heightened emotional state like having a barking fit or rushing the front door.

Then we moved on to addressing some of Lincoln’s behavioral issues. Although Lincoln looks “protective”, he is just fearful and insecure. We taught Lincoln that whenever there is a knock at the door he needs to go to his bed. By giving him an alternative behavior (staying on his bed), we removed that intense interaction for him, and he is no longer stressed that he is confrontational with guests.

To keep Lincoln from rushing the windows when dogs went by, we used his obedience to keep him engaged for food in the presence of other dogs, showing him that it was more beneficial to stay focused and earn a food reward than worry about whatever is going on outside. We used his remote collar to reinforce that it was not an option to assault dogs at the windows.

Lincoln’s leash reactivity resolved with more engagement and focus on his walks. When his brain was kept busy with obedience and interacting with his handler, he was not worried about other dogs even if they were barking at him.

When Lincoln first came to us, he was very confused and fearful of just about everything. He learned a language through his obedience and is now responsive and easy to instruct. He takes direction very well and even seeks it out when he is not sure what to do. We could not be happier with how far he has come and can’t wait to see what his future holds.

 

 

 

 

 

Ursa

Czechoslovakian Shepherd

Ursa is a 2-year-old German Shepherd from Napa, California who attended our 3-week advanced off-leash obedience camp. Her parents are an active couple who live in a neighborhood and like to walk their dogs. Ursa had a hard time passing dogs that bark at a certain house and will scream and bark and then attack the other dog in the house. Her parents also wanted to walk her off leash at open spaces and areas where she could get some exercise.

During camp Ursa learned heeling, sit, down, go to place, recall, loose leash walking all on and off leash. All of her commands were taught using positive reinforcement and then leash pressure was introduced using food and a prong collar. Once Ursa was clear on all of her obedience we introduced a remote collar for off leash reliability. Ursa had a hard time focusing to begin with, she’s a high anxiety dog so she felt like she had a lot to do and sitting still or focusing was not on her list. She took a little bit to calm down but once she did, she seemed relieved and like she could finally relax.

Working on Ursa’s anxiety meant a lot of calm slow training, heeling slowly, sitting, and downing slowly and just doing everything very deliberately to teach her to slow down and be methodically thoughtful. Once Ursa was finally moving slow enough to use her brain more she became very tuned in to her handler and always looking for direction.

Ursa went from a nonstop busy dog to a thoughtful and calm student. She will always be a little anxious and prone to worry, especially around dogs that make her nervous, but she is learning to look to her handler for guidance instead of letting her feelings run away with her and barking and screaming.

Going back to a place where a dog has a pattern of anxious behavior is always tough for dogs. Ursa had a hard time calming her mind down at home but we went back to her training and took slow deliberate steps as we walked up and down her street until she could relax. Ursa ultimately did well and her owner was able to handle her and have her stay calm. She will need a lot of repetition of walking in her new calm and thoughtful manner but with her owner’s diligent guidance she will do great!

Georgia

Dutch Shepherd

Georgia is a 1-year-old Dutch Shepherd from Auburn, CA. Her parents contacted us to help with possession of treats and food, off leash training, and obedience. She had attended puppy classes in the past and did have some basic obedience but being young and energetic caused her to be inconsistent with her performance.

During camp Georgia’s obedience was transitioned to an e-collar and we worked on improving her consistency and duration. She learned a formal on and off leash heal, informal “let’s go” off leash command, sit stay, down stay, place with distractions, wait, and off leash recall. These skills were taught and reinforced through repetition and reward while increasing duration and decreasing frequency of reward. E-collar was overlaid once clear expectations and understanding of skills were developed.

Although we were not able to “replicate” Georgia’s possession of treats and toys, we addressed this issue by teaching her to “wait”. We also established a routine with Georgia for releasing her toy and decreasing potential guarding by exchanging the toy in her possession for a toy of equal value.

At home, Georgia was known to make chase to her avian family members and was not able to be trusted in their presence. During camp we were able to work on Georgia’s neutrality to both avian and cloven-hooved friends by practicing her place while our resident farm animals went about their business in her vicinity. When Georgia was able to maintain her place, she would be rewarded with food for duration. Her sessions would end with play time and chase with her favorite toys and dog friends. By the end of camp, Georgia was able to demonstrate a reliable recall while free playing with other dogs and livestock in the vicinity.

Robert

Cane Corso

Robert is a 14-month-old Cane Corso from Fair Oaks, California. Robert spent his year of life developing his resource guarding skills, and his dad decided that it was time to get some formal training. Robert guarded items such as couches, food, people, and anything else of value. He got extremely upset if people were touching, such as giving a hug. Most recently, his resource guarding had gotten him into some trouble as he had bitten a family member.

The first thing that Robert was taught was how to respond to pressure. Even though this lesson may seem simple, it was critical to pivoting his relationship to the humans in his life. He had learned behaviors that physically distanced humans from him when pressure was applied. These behaviors started with growling but would escalate to biting to relieve the external pressure that he felt. We spent the first week of camp slowly teaching him that pressure does not go away when he engages in unwanted behavior, rather pressure remains consistent and is only released when a desirable behavior is engaged in. At first Robert fought this pressure, but over time he was able to give in to leash pressure rather than fight it. This was such great progress!

We used the same philosophy to address guarding of the crate, food, and valuable objects. When the trainer walked by the crate while Robert was eating and he growled, they stopped at that spot until the growling stopped. Again, this showed Robert that pressure is removed only when a desirable behavior is engaged in. We then moved to feeding outside of the crate, as well as offering bones to chew inside the house, while applying the same principles. Once that pattern was established, we added a small e-collar correction and “no” marker for growling.

We also worked on basic obedience skills with Robert which included sit, down, place, send to place, come, “no” marker, and heel. These skills were taught with a basic conditioned response (luring, leash pressure, marker, reward). He developed a very solid understanding of place work and was able to maintain a place under a high level of distraction for long periods of time. Our goal in developing a very solid “place”, was for the family to be able to utilize this noticeably clear skill to safely develop Robert’s neutrality toward their household happenings through increasing pressure over a time.

During the at home drop off lesson we demonstrated all the new commands that Robert had learned during his time with us and his family was amazed at how well he listened! We then taught them how to properly correct Robert’s growling behavior so that they felt more confident in their ability to manage unwanted behaviors.

The engrained and unsafe behaviors that Robert developed will need continued work through structure, diligence, and follow through on their part. It was explained that the dog has come from, and done well in, a restrictive environment and that he will need to remain in a restrictive environment as he transitions back into the home to ensure safety and success. This includes “living a life at ground level”, and not allowing him access to the luxuries of couches and human beds which he has a propensity to guard. Through good behavior Robert can start to earn back some freedoms in the house, such as working place on a dog bed while they watch TV, however those freedoms need to be monitored and actively trained if the dog is out in the home.

Stella

Golden Retriever

Stella is a 5-month-old Golden Retriever who lives in Sacramento, CA. She attended our 3-week advanced off-leash obedience camp.

 

Stella lives with her mom and dad, and 2 older Labrador Retrievers. Stella is the family’s first puppy, as they’ve gotten their other dogs at older ages from a rescue. This was the primary reason the family was seeking training. They wanted a great start and a solid foundation from the beginning.

 

That being said, Stella had already developed a few unwanted behaviors. Whenever anyone walked by the family’s front gate (near a busy road) Stella and her housemates would charge the fence and bark, and her fur parents were unable to recall her away from the fence. Other than that, their goals for Stella were straightforward. Other than some mild on-leash reactivity, Stella is a happy, healthy, normal 5-month-old puppy who just needed some basic training!

 

Our initial evaluation of Stella was that she would be lots of fun as she was highly food motivated and very eager to learn! Not uncommon in a young Golden Retriever. We started her remote collar training by teaching her “place” with some food. Eventually, when she had a solid understanding of what her “place” was, we started introducing the remote collar. We started training with the remote collar at the lowest level possible to teach her how to turn the stim off on her own by doing what we had asked of her (like going to place.). This is also how all behaviors were taught. Same with recalls, downs, etc. Once she knew what was expected of her, we would use very low-level remote collar stim to show her that she needs to do what was asked of her to turn the stim off and get a treat!

 

Overall, Stella was a great student! We did see that she had some fear of other dogs due to not being socialized with them when she was young, which was possibly what led to her being reactive. The reactivity stemmed from her fear, therefore sending Stella to training was great for her! She got to be introduced to dogs who would not be overbearing, and she learned to be more confident! This helped her with not being so reactive on-leash. Stella’s owners have reported back that she’s doing great!

Rory

German Short Haired Pointer

Rory is a German Shorthaired Pointer from Roseville.

Rory came to us for training at three years old and was quite sure that he ran his household. He ignored his owners when they asked him to do things unless they offered him a snack. During his walks, Rory had his own agenda. He spent his time on walks tugging his mom along to look for lizards, bugs, turkeys and anything else that moved.

Rory also had an issue with eating things he was not supposed to. He had eaten the bottom of the sofa as well as a coffee table while he was left loose in the house.

He also could not be trusted around any kind of food left within reach on counters or on tables.

We worked with Rory on his listening skills on and off leash and replaced his hunting behaviors with ones that involved a lot less leash pulling during walks.

Since Rory had a history of chasing animals, we proofed his off-leash recall around wildlife and loose dogs to prevent him from running away.

With proper supervision and maintenance of rules, Rory has his freedom back in the house. He  shows his parents that he is making good choices by choosing not to  jump up on counters and display destructive behavior.

Smoke

Cane Corso

Smoke is a 2-year-old Cane Corso from Wilton. Him and his two housemates are graduates from our behavior modification camp.

He was great with people but was extremely aggressive with other animals. He even attacked a goat on his property and had hurt multiple stray cats.

Since the family has lots of other types of animals on their property, this aggressive behavior was especially concerning.

Smoke also had an issue with Reaper, who he had grown up with. As puppies, Reaper used to chase Smoke a lot. One time the two got into a fight over food. After that point, they have not gotten along. The owner’s have had to keep the dogs in separate enclosures since then.

We quickly realized that the relationship between Smoke and Reaper was not going to be salvageable and attempting to force the two dogs to get along would have been dangerous for both the dogs and their family.

Smoke learned a full program of on and off leash obedience and recalls were proofed around dogs and wildlife.

We did a lot of training around farm animals, using a fence to keep everyone safe. He also learned to keep calm and ignore the animals with supervision.

His family can now play off leash in the field on their property without the dogs taking off to go look for the other animals or run to another dog’s enclosure to try to attack them.

His family is enjoying him more and getting to spend some quality time with him and his housemates on leash around the chickens and rabbits, as well as using the place command to sit outside with them for a cup of coffee.

By the end of camp Smoke and Reaper were able to walk past each other on leash with no posturing or lunging and the fence fighting had stopped. Their training will always need maintenance, but their family now has an effective management protocol in place to make their lives easier and safer.

Lexi

Dogo Argentino

Lexi is a 9-month old Dogo Argentino from Elk Grove.  

Since Lexi is a large dog her owners made the responsible choice to have her trained so that she can be a trustworthy member of society.

Lexi had selective hearing and pulled on the leash on walks. She is youngest dog in the house, so she was often a pest to her two older housemates and would bug them to the point of starting scuffles.

Lexi would rush the fence in the backyard with a fit of barking whenever she heard the neighbors moving around and rushed the front door barking if guests came over.

We taught Lexi to walk nicely on leash and how to heel at her owner’s side during walks instead of smelling everything and looking for other dogs and people.

Lexi learned a place command to prevent her from bothering the other dogs and from charging at the door whenever guests came over.

Lexi learned an off leash recall that will allow her owners to call her away from the fence whenever she hears a neighbor, and will also allow her additional freedom to play at the nearby park!

Her family is looking forward to taking her hunting using her new off leash skills!

Sadie

Cattle Dog Mix

Sadie is a fun young cattle dog mix from Marysville, and is one of our recent graduates from our 3 week off leash training camp.

Sadie came to us for basic obedience and general house manners such as jumping, counter surfing, etc.

Sadie would also occasionally bark at other dogs on walks. She would also pull on the leash.

While in training, we were strict on criteria for leash walking and set the expectations from the start. We taught Sadie to stay next to her handler’s left leg in heel position while on walks.

With these new stricter rules, we saw a change in Sadie’s behavior, and she stopped barking at other dogs.

Sadie loves to play ball which was extremely useful in practicing her off leash recalls.

We taught Sadie the place command and to stay on her place bed until released. This will help the family when guests are coming in and out, and when they are trying to eat dinner.

Sadie’s commands are all rock solid and her owners have a great understanding of how to use them! She has done great!

Reaper

Doberman Pinscher

Reaper is a 2-year-old Doberman Pinscher from Wilton

Reaper and his two housemates are graduates from our behavior modification camp.

He was aggressive towards other dogs and very territorial, but well behaved around people.

When it came to being off leash, Reaper would run away. The family also has animals including chickens, cats, rabbits, and goats, but Reaper was never allowed to interact with them because his owners feared he would hurt them.

Reaper and his housemates Smoke and Anubis grew up together. However, Reaper would chase poor Smoke…and then a fight broke out.

Since then, the two have not gotten along. The owners did the right thing and used two separate enclosures to keep the dogs apart, but every chance they got they would try to attack each other.

We quickly realized that the relationship between Smoke and Reaper was not going to be salvageable and attempting to force the two dogs to get along would have been dangerous for both the dogs and their family.

Reaper learned a full program of on and off leash obedience and recalls were proofed around dogs and wildlife.

We did a lot of training around farm animals, using a fence to keep everyone safe. He also learned to keep calm and ignore the animals with supervision.

His family can now play off leash in the field on their property without the dogs taking off to go look for the other animals or run to another dog’s enclosure to try to attack them.

His family is enjoying him more and getting to spend some quality time with him and his housemates on leash around the chickens and rabbits, as well as using the place command to sit outside with them for a cup of coffee.

By the end of camp Smoke and Reaper were able to walk past each other on leash with no posturing or lunging and the fence fighting had stopped. Their training will always need maintenance, but their family now has an effective management protocol in place to make their lives easier and safer.

Colt

Yellow Labrador

Colt is a Yellow Labrador from Elk Grove.

When Colt came to us, he was completely out of control with excitement. He would jump as high as your head to cover you in wet sloppy kisses the moment he met you while slamming his 80 pound body into you.

He pulled on his leash and dug his feet in to drag his owners up to every person and dog that he saw. If there were no people or dogs around, he would drag them to smell everything that he possibly could.

Since Colt had a hard time being still, he would find things to do that were not so great, like barking, digging, chewing, and playing keep away with anything he could get his mouth on.

Colt had a hard time going anywhere or being around any humans or other dogs without exploding with enthusiasm.

We started training by introducing Colt to a system of communication through basic obedience commands.

After that, we asked him to perform commands in increasingly more distracting environments.

We took many trips out into public in order to help him get used to going out and about calmly and not greeting every single person in stores and parks with kisses and jumps.

We then taught Colt to walk nicely on a leash in heel position and to leave enticing smells when asked. We did a lot of long sit and down stays off leash with other dogs moving around so that Colt learned to relax and not dive into the action.

We used a place command in the house in order to prevent Colt from continuing to chew and run away with everything that he could pick up.

His family is now able to enjoy walks with him and is looking forward to trying out hunting next season!

Vinnie

Cane Corso

Vinnie is a young Cane Corso from Citrus Heights with a sweet and friendly temperament but really did not understand his own size! He loved to jump up on his guests to greet them. Due to his size this presented a problem…and he still had some growing to do!

 

Vinnie’s training consisted of helping him learn that not every single person he saw needed to show him attention. We taught him the place command so that he would stay on his place instead of greeting visitors by jumping on them. We also worked with Vinnie on off leash training with the use of an e-collar. All behaviors taught with an e-collar were originally taught by food luring. Then we overlayed lures with leash pressure, and then leash pressure to e-collar pressure. Vinnie was a great student and did well with training!

Anubis

German Shepherd

Anubis is a 2-year-old German Shepherd from Wilton. He came to us with two of his housemates. He was aggressive towards dogs he did not know, and to other animals. He was very hyperactive and territorial. He lacked the proper socialization needed in order to feel confident with other animals.
Anubis learned a full program of on and off leash obedience and recalls were proofed around dogs and wildlife. We did a lot of training around farm animals, using a fence to keep everyone safe. He also learned to keep calm and ignore the animals with supervision.
His family can now play off leash in the field on their property without the dogs taking off to go look for the other animals or run to another dog’s enclosure to try to attack them. His family is enjoying him more and getting to spend some quality time with him and his housemates on leash around the chickens and rabbits, as well as using the place command to sit outside with them for a cup of coffee. Their training will always need maintenance, but their family now has an effective management protocol in place to make their lives easier and safer.

Max

Toy Poodle

Max is a 9-month old Toy Poodle from Roseville with a big attitude! He is one of our recent graduates from our 3 week off leash training camp. Max had a ton of energy and was quite sure that he ran his household. When Max did not want to do something, he would act out by latching onto his owner’s hands. We were able to witness this behavior firsthand during his pickup. The owners were trying to recall Max to them, and he was latching onto their hands. Once they offered him a piece of bacon, they were able to finally grab him. What we saw explained his biggest problem. They were trying their hardest just to be able to grab their dog just so that they could get him, but they would bribe him with food. This bribe was more of a reward to Max for the behavior, which in turn caused him to lash out even more.

When Max came to training, we knew it would be a while until he showed us his true colors. His first few days in a new environment, he was a perfect A+ student! Once he became more comfortable with us, we started seeing the issues. Little Max thought he ran the world. What we had to do was show Max that his actions do not affect us. When he would try to bite for simple things like putting on his leash, loading him into the van, we would not react. Since we stopped reacting to his negative behavior, he would stop trying to bite because he knew it would not get a reaction or a reward. After that we started making Max’s life much more controlled. At home, Max would do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it, and this included pottying in the house constantly. We taught Max the place command to stay on his bed, and to stay until released. This way his owners know where he is and do not have to constantly worry about what he’s doing. Once Max starts proving himself, he can be allowed more freedom! Since training, Max has been great on walks, recalls off leash, and has improved his attitude at home!

Clark

German Shepherd Mix

Clark is a 2-year-old German Shepherd mix from Sacramento who came to us with severe reactivity. His reactivity was primarily to dogs but also to small animals and anything that moves such as trees, long grass, etc. Clark’s owner noticed his reactivity began after they moved into an apartment.
Clark had to be leash walked at home constantly and had almost no areas for physical exercise and/or mental stimulation. We think this, as well as the general environment of an apartment complex led Clark to decide that his job was to scare things away while on his walks. People walking other dogs would hear him react and immediately leave the area which made him feel strong and important. He also had a habit of redirecting on his owner, and therefore had to be walked with a muzzle on.
We began Clark’s training with teaching him how to properly walk on leash. We taught him the correct heel positioning and how to be more aware of his handler. After that, Clark’s exposure to other dogs was VERY controlled since he was not yet trustworthy if a dog were to walk by us.

Controlling his environment made it much easier to help him understand that reacting will not make the other dog go away. Once he saw the other dog was not going to leave, he calmed down very quickly. From that point we added more and more distractions as he got more comfortable. After training with Clark, we believe that his reactivity stemmed from a lack of purpose.
We suspected Clark’s transition back home could be challenging for him since that was the place he was most reactive. We spoke to the owner about how to maintain his training to be successful not just for a few days post training but to have years of success. In addition we prepared them for the reality that reactivity cases are not straight forward and assured them that we are here for follow up calls and lessons when needed. After a follow up with Clark’s owner, we learned that Clark’s reactivity to other animals is gone! Although his dog reactivity still needs management, he is vastly different and is continuing to improve every day!

Atlas

Goldendoodle

Atlas is an 8 month old Goldendoodle from Elk Grove. Atlas showed food reactivity/aggression as well as object guarding behaviors. Snapped and nipped at hands. He also had poor boundaries with objects and knowing what is acceptable to chew. He needed emergency services after swallowing a large stick. His family wanted to have a happy and healthy yet well adjusted puppy. They also wanted him to not be so nervous while walking on a leash, and to gain overall confidence and obedience.

Atlas first came to camp snarling, and striking at the crate door whenever a handler attempted to open the crate door.  Atlas would growl and snarl when a male handler attempted to reach a hand into the crate to affix a leash.  Atlas also initially showed a heightened level of fear during interaction in his crate, and we decided to handle this fear period issue with positive training methods and little to no pressure.  We gave room in front of the crate for Atlas to come out onto and sat there offering treats.  Within the first 5 minutes, he was cautiously coming out of his crate and seeking food and attention.  We pet him and gave positive verbal markers for this behavior, and a negative marker of ‘no’ whenever Atlas behaved with snarls or growls and retreating behavior.  We then began to introduce the prong collar with gentle corrections to keep Atlas engaged and upbeat during training sessions.  We quickly learned that Atlas was not collar shy and that he was an extremely intelligent dog.  Training sessions were then done every hour for 15 minutes for the first and second days in order to improve Atlas’ ability to come out of his crate and get into a working mentality which helped his overall confidence immensely within just the first few days.

Atlas began to learn Place, Sit and Down and for the first week we worked on object guarding his food, toys, people and things.  He learned very quickly and was soon being able to keep a place for 30 minutes without correction and to have his leash dropped next to him. 

The second week we began to overlay his e-collar with the prong collar and work on leash manners and sending him to “place”.  Leash manners took Atlas the longest to learn as his puppy brain would quickly lose focus.

The third week we did a lot of outings, and more introductions and socialization as well as working with other male handlers. Atlas quickly warmed to female handlers but had issues with male handlers, which is why we focused on that.  He quickly learned neutrality with people while in public and gained quite a bit of confidence learning that he could be ok while the world went on around him.

Atlas first came with an inability to exit his crate positively, aggression towards his handler, inability to sit/down/come/heel/place, and had no self-control regarding things that were appropriate to chew and things that were not.  Atlas is now able to exit his crate and be happy to interact with his handler, has shown no aggression towards his handler since day 1 and can now sit/down/come/heel/and place reliably.  He also has a good amount of self-control when it comes to appropriate things to chew.

At his drop off, his family was extremely impressed to open their door to find Atlas sitting on a place and happy to see them.  Even more impressed when he didn’t immediately break his place and run to see them. 

After he was released to interact with his family and got some of the zoomies out, we began to show the family all his newfound behaviors.  The family was awe struck at how well Atlas behaved while on his place, and to see that he could be recalled to each member of the family in-turn was something that had them overjoyed.

Bernie

German Short Hair Pointer

Bernie is a 1 year old German Shorthair Pointer from Auburn, and one of our graduates from our 3 week advanced off leash obedience training camp

Bernie is a hunting dog as well as a pet dog and he has had some hunting training.  He still acted like a puppy with enormous amounts of energy and little patience. He lacked leash manners, and played exuberantly with other dogs. He has growled and had some difficulty with the grandchildren and also needed general obedience as well as off-leash obedience since the family lives on a large 17-acre parcel.

Bernie began his training camp learning to walk on a leash without pulling by utilizing a prong collar and gently teaching him what a collar correction was, and pairing corrections with treats.  Bernie showed very quickly that he was a typical GSP and would shut down quickly in a training session to too much pressure.  Knowing this about Bernie helped to identify that we needed to provide short but playful and enjoyable training sessions for the training camp to keep him not only positively engaged, but also willing to work.  The first 4-5 days of training involved teaching Bernie what Sit, Down, and Place were as well as general leash manners into and out of his crate as well as into and out of the training areas that were used.  Utilizing the short and playful training sessions, Bernie excelled at working for treats and praise.  He quickly learned to sit/down/heel and would stay on his place for upwards of 30 min intervals within the first 5 days.  He also began to learn the “come” command …which the family preferred to be “here”.

We then began to overlay the e-collar for Bernie utilizing the collar in conjunction with the prong collar to begin teaching him that the e-collar stimulation was to be recognized and honored the same as the prong collar stimulation.  After a few days of proofing his ability to honor the e-collar stimulation by testing the sit/down/send to place/and come I began to work longer periods of placement training while outside with distractions such as livestock and other loose dogs, while maintaining a long line as well as the e-collar for positive control of the dog.  The distance and duration was able to be increased dramatically over the next few days and we were able to reliably leave the long line off of Bernie while working with him on his place as well as his recall.  The second week of training included outings to parks and stores where we proofed his ability to walk on leash as well as his sit/down/heel/come when opportunities presented themselves safely.

The last week we were able to allow Bernie to spend some well earned time running around the property following another GSP and enjoying being a fun and exuberant dog while also learning to come while in drive as well as learn to respect the e-collar from upwards of 2-3 acres away in wooded terrain.  Bernie once again excelled at this and was not only quick to obey his collar stimulation, but also really learned to love the game because he got treats every time he came to check in.  This led to his success with his off-leash recall from great distances and his want to check in periodically with his handler.  We also worked hard with his heel/sit/down/place and Bernie was able to fully transition each command to off leash obedience.

Bernie was introduced to a lot of people and some smaller humans (children) and taught to be neutral in these situations.  I placed Bernie in a sit/down/place when I had children present and was able to have children approach him with treats and he was eager to take treats from the children and learn neutrality when it came to smaller humans, which he had some issues with at home.

Bernie was unable to walk on a leash with proper manners and had little to no recall when he came to camp.  He also had no knowledge of patience or duration of a command.  After camp Bernie can stay on his place for over an hour, he can sit/down/come/heel on and off leash and has gained a lot of confidence when it comes to allowing neutrality to be his ‘go to’ when an unfamiliar situation arises.

During drop off, Bernie was excited to see his parents and took a few minutes and a few corrections to learn that he had to transition these new-found behaviors over to his family.  Once the initial excitement wore off, Bernie was able to show off his new skills to his family and happily provided obedience when asked to walk on his leash and model his sit/down/heel/place.  We then began to show how the off-leash obedience came along, and the family was astounded at how much Bernie had learned in only 3 weeks.  We were able to walk down a gravel pathway by their pond with Bernie heeling while there were geese less than 50 yards away and Bernie was a Rockstar.

The Family asked if he would recall if he was given his ‘free’ command and allowed to chase the geese, to which I replied ‘of course’ and quickly gave Bernie his free command.  Bernie began to stalk the geese and then bolted like any good GSP will and chased them for about 100 yards, I gave Bernie his ‘Here’ command and he turned immediately towards me and ran quickly back directly to me and stopped and sat in front of me (which is the way the behavior was trained).  To this he was given a treat and an exuberant ‘GOOD BOY’, and his family was flabbergasted at his ability to drop out of drive and return to his handler at the command. 

Both handlers were trained on the usage of the e-collar as well as the leash and are clear about expectations and the fact that they will need to spend some serious time learning his commands and how to properly give them.  They then began to work Bernie themselves and we walked around their pond and property while having Bernie heel/sit/down/come.  Bernie once again excelled and provided these behaviors to each handler, and even offered obedience when the handlers were being unclear.  We then transitioned into the house and showed how Bernie was able to be sent to his place, and Bernie was familiarized with his multiple places throughout their house.  Bernie was very happy to show that he could go to his place and lay down and be calm while we talked about handler questions and the family was overjoyed to see that we could leave the room and Bernie would stay on his place until called.

Charlotte

English Mastiff

Charlotte is a 1.5-year-old English Mastiff from Sacramento. She is one of our awesome graduates from our 3 week behavior modification training.

Charlotte would bark incessantly, jump, and was not friendly with guests. She also had issues with object guarding. Her owner wanted her to be better socialized; obedience trained and to be able to go places off leash. 

Charlotte was initially taught how to behave on a leash using a flat collar and introducing her to her trainer.  Charlotte was then introduced to a prong collar and taught what a collar correction was, as well as basic leash manners.  Charlotte was taught the place command and took well to being required to stay stationary on a place and be calm.  After allowing Charlotte to gain some confidence and learn her new surroundings, we began to teach her sit and down combining treat luring as well as collar pressure.  Charlotte learned quickly to respect collar pressure and that she got a treat when she performed the requested behavior.  She began to enjoy her training sessions and would only bare teeth at a correction as she began to get tired.  The bearing of teeth was corrected each time it was shown by Charlotte with collar correction as well as negative marking of ‘no’.

The second week we began to overlay the e-collar with the prong collar and again rewarded the dog with treats when each command was followed.  We began working on sending her to “place” and proofing her sit/down.  We also took Charlotte down to a barn and put her on her place in order to work distance/duration as well as teaching her neutrality to staying on her place while we interacted with livestock.  The larger animals and sounds provided a plethora of distraction for Charlotte and helped her gain a lot of confidence in herself which allowed us to begin working more advanced training with her.

We took her on 1 outing per week to work her interaction in public, as well as her ability to maintain neutrality while being out with her handler.  On leash corrections were provided each time a behavior was not provided when asked as well as each time a negative behavior was shown from Charlotte.  Each time a negative behavior was corrected, a redirection command was given (usually sit).  Charlotte began to act more positively regarding other dogs and people, and to look to the trainer for guidance. 

The third week we began to work more off leash obedience in the house, sends to place, as well as sit/down/come.  We also began training more intensively with leash manners as well as starts/stops and having her sit at each stop as well as longer walks requiring charlotte to proof “heel”.

Charlotte had a hard pick up by the trainer.  Charlotte would not come to the trainer, and when handed off by the owner, on leash, attempted to escape the leash and voided both bladder and bowels while fighting to get away from the trainer.  We allowed Charlotte to rest once she stopped attempting to flee and attempted to feed treats.  She would not take any treats.  For the next 30 min, we walked her around and began to help familiarize her with me and fed her treats each time she looked to me for guidance or allowed me to pet her.  She had trouble loading into her crate, and once in settled down.  We addressed this by teaching her neutrality when it came to a male, and over the duration of the camp introduced her to 10-15 other males.  Charlotte did well in these situations and learned that she can take treats from a stranger, as well as other males that she was acquainted with.

Object guarding was addressed by correcting Charlotte each time she showed the behavior and re-directing her to a place or a sit/down command.  Charlotte was quick to stop evincing this negative behavior and began to show neutrality over objects and food.

Charlie

Goldendoodle

Charlie is a 6 month old Goldendoodle who lives in Wilton. She is one of our graduates that recently attended our 3-week off leash camp.

Charlie’s owners needed help with basic obedience as well as a few problem behaviors. Charlie loved to chase cats, loved to jump on people, and has had some potty training issues. Her owners wanted to be able to control these problem behaviors as well as get some tips for potty training, and having an all around well behaved dog.

When we picked Charlie up it was obvious that her jumping was a huge problem. She was relentless in trying to seek affection from us and showed this by jumping up and clinging to us. This behavior was created by inadvertently rewarding excited behaviors. Charlie likely got rewarded for jumping as a puppy by getting affection when she would jump up and look cute. Now that she is bigger it is a major problem as she would also get excited and pee while she was jumping.

While in training, Charlie learned that those behaviors would not get her the attention she was seeking. Instead, she learned to engage with her handler while in the presence of other people, and only when she was in a calm state of mind could someone approach and pet her. If she resorted to excitement again, all attention would stop, and we would start over. Other than the over-excitement, Charlie was an absolute joy to train! She loved to work and picked up on her commands very quickly. When it came time to introduce pressure (from leash or E-collar) she had no problems figuring out how to turn pressure off by doing what she was asked to do, and she did so with a great attitude! Shortly after introducing the E-collar to Charlie, we felt really confident that we could take her anywhere safely off leash!

Charlie’s potty training issues at home came down to the owner’s awareness. Charlie lives in a big house on a big property. We let her owners that they need to keep a close eye on her, and that “freedom is earned.” If the potty issues continue, she needs to be given a smaller area to roam. We believe some of these issues may have also stemmed from an irregular feeding schedule. Charlie was left with a whole bowl of food and could eat freely whenever she felt like it. Charlie did not have a predictable schedule because she was eating whenever she felt like it. After getting on a regular schedule during training the issues have improved!

During her go home lesson her owners were able to recall her away from chasing their cats, have her off leash on their property, and were able to leave her on her “place” (bed) while we chatted. They also enjoyed a nice relaxing walk with her in heel.

Loki

Cane Corso

Loki is a 6 month old Cane Corso who lives in Fair Oaks. He is one of our graduates from our 3-week off-leash camp. He lives in town with his owners and many other dogs, including another Corso who is 3.5 months old, a Boston terrier, a Yorkshire terrier, as well as a few others.

Loki’s owners decided to seek training due to the fact that they live near a very busy road, and are concerned for his safety if he were to get loose. They needed a solid recall they could trust and wanted some help with his typical puppy behaviors such as jumping and chewing.

Recalls were very important to Loki’s owners so we taught this comand first. We began teaching this by showing Loki that every time we said the word “come!” we would essentially “throw a party” for him. He would get tons of treats, praise, etc. We practiced this in different environments until it became muscle memory.

After that, we introduced his E-Collar at a very low level (8) and taught him that recalling not only led to a party, but it also turned off the slightly uncomfortable feeling that the E-collar created.

All other commands were taught in a similar way, by teaching him what the behavior is exactly (sit, down, place) and how to turn pressure off by responding to that feeling appropriately. Loki was a very food motivated boy! He loved his treats but would work equally as well for praise.

Loki did have a few setbacks and initial concerns. Loki’s breed is generally very aloof, and this can come with some major behavioral issues if not addressed. Loki had no understanding of leash pressure, and when asked to move forward on leash in an unfamiliar environment, he would jump up, scream, thrash, and resort to biting. So, we needed to take things slow, and show Loki that training is fun! We did inform Loki’s owners that he needed lots of exposure to different things and different places to help with some of his fear. It’s typical for these breeds fear to turn into aggression.

Loki was very happy to go home and see his family again! During his go home it was easy to demonstrate his off leash control, even near their busy road.

Cardi

English Bulldog

Cardi is a 10 month old English bulldog from Sacramento. She is one of our recent graduates from our 3 week advanced off leash obedience training camp.

Cardi was wild and would rush at guests climbing all over them. She had a hard time relaxing in the house and would run around bumping into and jumping on the kids and generally refused to settle unless she was tired from a walk. Cardi was into everything, chewing and playing with kid’s toys and grabbing anything that would get someone to chase after her. Cardi’s owner loves to take her to the park and their main goal is to be able to let her off of her leash and know that he can have her safely come back no matter what distractions may be present.

At Cardi’s pickup she did not stop jumping on my legs for the entire 20 minute appointment. She ignored commands and ran under the dining room table where she knew she couldn’t be caught. She was extremely excited and ran from person to person in the house, bouncing and jumping. When put in her crate she barked nonstop until she was let out.

During camp Cardi learned sit with a built in stay, down with a built in stay, loose leash walking, heeling, to come when called, drop it, and to go to her place. We started by introducing all of her commands as fun games that she could do to earn a reward, once she understood the task we started to layer in a prong collar to help guide her if she chose she would rather do something else than earn a cookie, then phased in a remote collar to create safe and reliable off leash work. Cardi was a natural and loved to interact and work with her trainer. It was wonderful watching this sweet girl learn and grow, along with her new skills!

Cardi is quite excited whenever anything in her environment moves fast or another dog friend is around. Her training included a lot of field trips to busy places where she could practice earning rewards for being calm and still instead of rushing at every dog, person, and moving object around her. All the impulse control work really paid off and pretty soon Cardi was voluntarily holding still hoping to earn a nice reward for her hard work.

Cardi learned to go to her bed and stay there. By the time she left camp she was reliably staying on her bed for over an hour. We used excited playing dogs and people talking and moving fast to mimic her busy household at home with two kids in the process of proofing her place command. Place was introduced using positive reinforcement, and a clicker, which was then layered over with collar guidance from her prong and remote collar as the distractions became more interesting than earning a treat.

To address Cardi’s inability to focus when other dogs or enticing moving distractions are around we used her obedience commands to give her an important job to do that required her full attention. Whenever her attention would wander she would be given a task to perform and rewarded for a correct response. Cardi loved this game and very quickly learned to ignore things around her and stay tuned in with her handler.

Running away with objects in order to initiate a chase game – Managing this behavior included using Cardi’s place command to prevent her from having the opportunity to pick up things she shouldn’t have while no one was looking. We also taught Cardi to trade an item that she wasn’t supposed to have for something that she valued more, like a piece of a treat. By turning the game around on Cardi and replacing chase with a nice trade she learned to give up her prized stolen items when requested.

Rushing the door and jumping on guests – All of Cardi’s work on holding still around tempting distractions helped her a lot with learning to think when she was over-excited. We then took it a step further and practiced staying on her place when someone knocked on the door and came into the house. Since jumping is an attention seeking behavior, we helped Cardi to find a more appropriate way to ask for pets by sitting down instead. By using place to eliminate the mad rush up to a guest, and redirecting her jumping into a nice sit behavior, we were able to get Cardi to greet guests appropriately

During camp Cardi learned to use her brain and slow down, creating a more thoughtful and calm dog who was ecstatic to do as she was asked and thrived on structured interaction.

On drop off Cardi was super excited to be home. She performed all of her obedience and impressed her family with her new place command in the house from the start. After going over the use of the remote and prong collars we took Cardi for a walk with her owner handling her. He was so happy to walk his dog off leash and have her remain focused and attentive. He had a hard believing she was the same dog.

Miska

Husky Mix

Miska is a 1 year old Husky mix from San Francisco who is a graduate of our 3 week advanced off leash obedience training camp. She belongs to an active couple who love to take her on runs, hikes, and just about everywhere with them! Miska is an energetic young dog that loves life including chasing squirrels, and other wildlife. She is also EXTREMELY friendly but needed to ignore people sometimes. Her owner’s needed to be able to run and hike with her safely without the risk of her running away or chasing animals, so they decided to sign her up.

During camp she learned a variety of commands and behaviors. First she learned how to heel at her handler’s left side while walking. We used this behavior to keep her from darting back and forth on the leash and tripping her owners while jogging. To help her love of chasing animals, we proofed her recall in a lot of different places around many distraction including squirrels and other wildlife. We even took her for a few “practice” hikes to make sure that her training would hold up out on the trail. She learned down stay and then we slowly added on duration until she was able to hold a stay in busy environments like stores full of people while ignoring everyone and staying calm and focused. One of the most important things that we taught Miska is place (bed), which is a command used to create a safe space for her that would be portable and could be taken camping or over to a friends or relative’s house.

Miska was also taught sit with a built in stay, come when called, place, and nice manners. All of Miska’s obedience behaviors were taught using positive reinforcement and then carefully paired with gentle guidance with a prong collar to explain to her how to follow collar pressure. Once she understood how to follow her collar and a food lure and was able to perform her obedience with a verbal cue and no help, we introduced a remote collar to create off leash reliability.

Miska had a great time training and was always eager to focus and learn. She conquered even difficult distractions with ease and was always happy to please her handler. She was already a very sweet dog, and eager to please. Her owners did a fantastic job starting her off in her training and had already introduced a lot of behaviors to her. She did amazingly well during camp and was always eager to go on a new adventure and learn a new game. Her camp put the finishing touches on an already great dog that made her exceptional.

Miska’s drop off was great. Her owners were able to handle her off leash and even get some practice around those pesky squirrel distractions in! Since having Miska home they have reported that she has been out to eat several times and did a great job hanging out and ignoring distractions, and has done wonderfully on the hikes they have taken her on so far.

Rusty

Labrador Retriever

Rusty is a 1.5 year old Labrador retriever from Capitola, and one of the graduates that just completed our 3 week advanced off leash obedience training camp. He was adopted at 6 months old from a two dog household where he was bullied by the other dog. He was out of control and would drag his owner up to people and dogs while throwing his body at them. He would bark and jump with so much excitement whenever he saw a person or another dog. Whenever he got to leave the house for a walk or a car ride, he hurled himself out the door and would fly to the car as fast as possible.

Rusty’s owners were referred to us from a friend who had a golden retriever trained with us and they really wanted the same kind of off leash reliability their friend has with their trained dog. They also wanted Rusty to calm down when asked like the other dog does. Their training goals included not rushing the door and charging down the driveway, coming when called, walking nicely on a leash without dragging owners up to everyone he sees, and not barking in the car when his owner runs into the store.

We picked Rusty up at a park since his family lives far away. He about knocked his mom down pushing his way out of the car when they got there, and then hit the end of the leash barking with excitement and throwing his 80 lb. body towards other park visitors. We loaded exuberant Rusty into the van and couldn’t have a conversation because he immediately started barking and would not settle down. He just wanted to be part of all of the action all the time!

We started Rusty’s training with obedience. He learned sit with a built in stay, down with a built in stay, to come when called, loose leash walking, manners, quiet, heeling and place all on and off leash. All of his commands were taught using positive reinforcement and the prong collar was added for guidance once he understood how to follow a treat into a position or onto his bed. Once Rusty showed us that he understood guidance with the collar and verbal requests for a behavior we added the remote collar to create off leash reliability. Rusty was initially hesitant and didn’t have a whole lot of confidence. Being bullied by another dog during his early months had left him pretty worried about trying new things. Rusty slowly gained confidence and trust and his obedience skills began to take off as he developed a working relationship with his handler.

After Rusty was trained on obedience we began to work on some of the negative behaviors that his family needed help with. First we worked with Rusty on barging through doorways. Changing Rusty’s exciting routine for leaving the house was a big step, replacing his mad dash for the door with a nice calm “place” command and putting his leash on while he was on his bed kept Rusty still and eliminated the rush to the door. We also conditioned Rusty that putting the leash on didn’t mean that we were going on a walk right away, making him be calm and patient in order to earn his walk rather than struggling to clip the leash on and get out the door. We practiced a lot of calm and thoughtful obedience near open doorways, including letting Rusty go out of a door and recalling back through, changing his expectation that an open door meant that he was going to run through it. Rusty responded very well to this training and became very thoughtful about his actions, like he was trying to solve a puzzle and guess what he would be asked to do next!

Next we worked on his excessive barking in the car. Since Rusty’s owners would be right there to interact with him when he was barking in the car we had to think of another way to quiet him down while far away. We started by teaching Rusty to stop barking and sit for a treat on cue, then moved on to the car, using a remote collar from a distance to let Rusty know that it was time to be quiet. He picked this up very fast and can now be left in the car for a quick dash into the store during cool weather.

Finally, we worked on barking and jumping at people and dogs. We gave Rusty a multitude of structured tasks to perform and kept him so busy engaging with his handler through obedience that he learned that the distractions were not nearly as important as the job that we had for him. Rusty’s training involved a lot of rewards and his confidence was slowly built up until he was able to perform even in very distracting and busy environments by the end of his stay!

Rusty developed a great deal of control over himself, he learned to make good choices in exchange for treats and that being calm and thoughtful paid bigger than acting like a maniac.

Drop off was at the same park and Rusty was a changed dog. He heeled past people off leash, completely ignoring them, walked past the dog park where dogs were running and wrestling without a care, and recalled from 40 yards away in the big open area of the park. His parents could not be more proud of their sweet boy and how far he has come.

Kobi

Golden Retriever

Kobi is a one-year-old golden retriever from Sacramento. who is a graduate from our 3 week off leash camp. She was pushy, demanding attention by barking at her owners especially when they were trying to work. They had to shut her in another room in order to get anything done. She had a bad habit of getting into the garbage and taking food or other things that she wasn’t supposed to have.

 Her owner’s goals for camp were to be able to include her in their daily life without the headache, walk her on leash without her pulling, and come when called. They also wanted to address her problem behaviors such as getting into things she wasn’t supposed to, as well as being needy and always requiring attention.

At first Kobi was skeptical of training because she didn’t understand why there were suddenly a lot of expectations in her life and she pouted quite a bit. She even tried some passive resistance, refusing to get up off the floor or walk on a leash at all. Through a lot of treats, coaxing, and patience, we convinced Kobi that training wasn’t so bad. After a few days her sweet personality came through and Kobi turned into a joy to work with. She heeled enthusiastically with a wagging tail and recalled as fast as her legs could carry her.

During her time with us, Kobi learned sit with a built in stay, down with a built in stay, come when called, place, heeling, loose leash walking, and manners all on and off leash. She was initially taught all of her obedience behaviors using positive reinforcement, we then used a slip lead to gently guide her and teach her to follow pressure on her leash. Once she understood how to perform all the behaviors with a verbal cue we introduced a remote collar to create off leash reliability.

In addition to obedience training we also addressed specific behaviors. To address the demanding barking, Kobi learned to be quiet and sit to earn a treat. Since the barking was an attention seeking behavior we taught Kobi an alternate way to ask for attention. Now when Kobi starts to bark her owners are able to redirect her to a more appropriate way to ask for their attention.

Since Kobi was so demanding, she often times had to be shut in another room during work. To help with this, we used Kobi’s place command to give her owners a way to keep her with them, but also keep her from bugging them. Kobi can have a bone or toys on her bed but has to stay quiet and stay on the bed until she is released. We also used her place command to prevent her from having the opportunity to get into the trash, and also used her remote collar to give her owners a way to address the behavior if they heard her rummaging in the garbage while they are in another room.

We used Kobi’s obedience commands such as heeling and sitting to give her a task to do that would keep her engaged with her handlers instead of paying attention to all the distractions around her apartment. Working around big distractions took a lot practice and we took many outings to busy places full of dogs to make sure that Kobi would be able to handle her job with ease.

We taught Kobi to come when called using positive reinforcement and slowly adding leash pressure with a slip lead and then remote collar until Kobi was reliably coming back to us even with big distractions like dogs and wildlife around. We also showed Kobi that she could trade her toys or other things that she was playing keep away with for a food reward from us, which she quickly decided was a lot more fun than trying to get someone to chase her.

Kobi came to camp as a party princess. She was pushy and demanding and would pout if she didn’t get to do what she wanted, which was usually to run up to other dogs walking in her apartment complex, never leave the dog park, and have her mom pay attention to her at all times and never work. Kobi took a few days to warm up to the idea of having a job, but once she did she loved to work. She heeled when she wasn’t asked to just because she knew we liked that when she did it and would be sure to give her pets, she waited calmly and patiently on her bed for treats and praise, and she stayed focused even with tempting distractions around.

At Kobi’s drop off we worked on her house manners, having her stay on her bed while the front door was open and there was knocking on the door or food wrappers rustling. Kobi loves food so that was a big for her!

Next we took a walk and amazed her owners with her ability to walk at their sides without pulling. Kobi even volunteered to heel before she was asked to! We walked to the dog park and came up with a routine that would keep Kobi calm when they walked her up to the park instead of dragging them to the gate like she has in the past. Inside the park we worked on recalls, letting Kobi play and practicing recalling her while she was sniffing or engaged with a toy to practice recalling away from an interesting distraction. Kobi passed every test with flying colors and is now able to accompany her owners on outings and doesn’t have to be closed in another room for her mom to get work done!

Loki

Cane Corso

Loki is a 5-month-old Cane Corso from Folsom, California who attended our 3-week off leash camp. He is part of a big family of 5 kids and another Cane Corso, Ragnar. Ragnar had previously attended our 10-day puppy camp and the family still practices the obedience skills that he was taught. The goals that Loki’s family had for training were to have him reliably off leash trained and trained well enough that the young kids could walk him with supervision and a little help.

Loki learned sit with a built-in stay, down with a built-in stay, come when called, place, heeling and how to mind his manners all on and off leash. Loki loves to work for food and his natural confidence and willingness to learn made him a lovely student right from the start. We started by teaching him all of the obedience behaviors using positive reinforcement, then used a prong collar to help his guide him as he followed a food lure. Once Loki was showing us that he understood how to follow gentle pressure from his collar and was able to perform his obedience with little to no help we introduced a remote collar for off leash reliability.

Loki was a fantastic learner and since he was such a young puppy when he started his camp, he did not have any problem behaviors that needed to be addressed. Loki did like to get into the kitty litter, which we addressed by using his place command to prevent him from having the opportunity to sneak into the kitty litter.

Loki did an amazing job showing off all his new skills for his family. They couldn’t be more excited to get started taking Loki out and about everywhere as their beloved companion.

Lucy & Moose

Boxer

Lucy and Moose are housemates from Orangevale, California who attended our 3-week off leash training camp. Moose is a 6-month-old Boxer, and Lucy is a 6-year-old boxer.

Moose was just young and wild. He jumped up relentlessly on anyone who walked through the door, and Lucy went crazy barking at other dogs or people while inside and on walks. Her barking got so severe that the owners had to put up a barrier over their front window so Lucy could not look through it.

They were also relentless pullers on walks, and because of all these reasons is why their owners reached out for training.

Moose took to training a bit faster. Being young, he had not developed his behaviors fast enough for them to become regular habits. He was highly food motivated and we were able to use this to keep him engaged and curb his jumping. He took to the remote collar very quickly and at a very low level and was soon off leash!

His sister was more of a challenge. Lucy was not food motivated and seemed very set in her ways as far as learning anything new. We had to use very slight pressure to get her to agree to do her basics (sit, down, etc.) and once she started learning that she could not get away with not listening, she complied more and even started taking food!

Lucy’s reactivity came down to being exposed to more dogs on walks and learning how to stay on her bed when someone rang the doorbell. This way, she was under control and not charging the windows running wild and making her own decisions. This was done through many reps of ringing the doorbell and rewarding her staying in her bed and not barking!

Lucy and Moose are doing so well now and have gone to the park off leash, and they walk much better on leash!

Lucy

Boston Terrier

Lucy is a 5-month-old Boston Terrier from Maxwell, California who attended our 3-week off leash camp. Lucy comes from a family with two young kids. She liked to steal their toys and run with them, took their dropped crayons, and no snacks were safe when she was around. They live on a lot of acreage but were afraid to let Lucy enjoy the space since she did not reliably come when called. Her owner’s also needed help with crate and potty training, nipping, and jumping on guests and children in the home.

During camp Lucy learned sit with a built-in stay, down with a built-in stay, heeling, leash manners, come when called, place. Lucy first learned all her commands using positive reinforcement and loved to learn and work for food. We used a slip lead to guide her with leash pressure for food rewards and then layered in a remote collar for off leash reliability. Since Lucy is a puppy and puppies tend to make mistakes since they are young and impulsive, we continued to use food throughout Lucy’s training. Giving Lucy plenty of delicious reinforcement throughout her training kept her happy and engaged.

We had Lucy’s owners keep any kids toys that looked like Lucy’s stuffed toys out of her reach and explained that it is not fair to expect her to know the difference between her stuffed toys and theirs. For stealing other items like crayons, we taught Lucy to trade items for a treat to eliminate the running away with things game. We taught Lucy a reliable recall using her remote collar to give her more freedom on the property safely. We taught Lucy to offer to sit instead of jumping on people whenever she wanted attention and redirected her nipping behavior to a toy or a nice obedience behavior.

Lucy went from a wild party girl to a thoughtful and respectful family member. She learned to follow instructions to earn rewards and remained excited and engaged throughout her program. She loves to work for food and by the end of her camp was offering to go to her bed on her own and heel without being asked.

When Lucy went home, after enthusiastically greeting her family she went straight to her bed, hoping to earn some cookies. She impressed everyone by staying there even when the doorbell was rung, and the kids went running through the house. Her family was hoping to travel with Lucy, so we went over some training exercises to condition her to enjoy flying at her owner’s feet calmly in a down. Lucy did an amazing job ignoring all the tempting crayons and snacks and stayed focused and on task.

Pal

German Short Haired Pointer

Pal is a 6-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer from Pleasant Hill, California who attended our 3-week off leash camp. Pal belongs to a couple who have had pointers for 45 years. They got Pal at a year old from someone who was going to drop him off at a shelter and they have given him a wonderful loving home, but he did come with some baggage. Pal rushed guests barking as soon as they come through the door, bullied their smaller Cocker Spaniel and other small dogs at the dog park and he barked aggressively at the neighbor’s dog through the fence in the backyard.

Pal’s owners knew that some of his behavior were dangerous and want to get him under control before it escalated any further. He had some minor habits that they wanted to address such as running in circles around them whining when they were making his dinner. Their biggest goals were to stop him from running at people barking and barking at the back fence. They also walk him off leash quite a bit so that he can run and use a remote collar already for off leash recalls.

During camp Pal learned sit with built in stay, down with built in stay, recall, heeling, leash walking, place. Pal learned all his obedience for food rewards, which was followed by guidance with a slip lead and lastly remote collar work to create off leash reliability. Pal had a hard time sitting still so his program included a lot of long sit and down stays to practice. As an independent hunting breed, Pal would rather be finding birds than following instructions, but he did a wonderful job of changing his habits to please his handler. Pal was most enthusiastic about heeling and never stopped wagging his tail as he walked!

To stop Pal from rushing the door when guests came over, we did a lot of training to make the doorbell a cue for Pal to go to his bed. He earned rewards for staying on the bed and place was also reinforced with his remote collar. Since Pal has the potential to be dangerous it is especially important that this command is reliable. To stop Pal from rushing the back fence we did a lot of recalls from the backyard when the neighbors were not outside, then slowly increasing the distance and distraction level until Pal could be successful even when challenging distractions were present. To prevent Pal from bullying his small housemate we had his owners redirect his behavior to a more positive task whenever he started to think about bugging her. This could be a sit or sending him to his bed with a bone. To stop him from circling his owner while she made his food, we taught Pal that he had to remain in a down stay while his dinner was made in order to earn his food, he soon became more excited to down stay than he was to run circles.

Pal came to us with the potential to hurt a guest or get into a fight with another dog. By giving him an important job to do through obedience we redirected his behavior to focusing on more positive tasks. Pal did very well with his training and enjoyed the learning process. He was incredibly stressed and insecure with guests coming over and displayed his insecurity inappropriately. With proper guidance Pal learned that guests coming over did not have to be a stressful confrontation.

His off-leash work went very well, and he made huge strides in his patience and thoughtfulness.

Pal did extremely well acclimating back into his own house. He tried his old habits a couple times but was easily redirected to something more positive. His owner is now able to walk him without being pulled around, which could result in a nasty fall. He is doing well with his work with guests and he is enjoying off leash romps at the park daily.

Franklin

French Bulldog

Franklin is a 2-year-old French bulldog from Alamo, California who attended our 3-week off le\He had attended an on-leash program previously with another trainer but was still having issues with possessiveness with the other dogs in the household. He would be very pushy during snack time or when the owner came home. He was competitive and would assault the other dogs at home as well as lunging and barking at dogs on walks.

Franklin’s foundation for obedience was reinforced around other dogs. He was already noticeably clear on sit, down, heel, recall, and place. His problem was maintaining that obedience around other dogs. We trained him around all the other dogs that we had for training that month in addition to taking him on many outings throughout his program. We also successfully reinforced the use of a remote collar with his obedience behavior. Franklin is now also able to remain on his place in the home until he is released around other dogs.

Franklin’s biggest goal was being able to successfully walk in his neighborhood without barking at dogs on the end of the leash. We conditioned Franklin to be calm with an indifferent dog and then slowly brought him around dogs that are more excited as his skill level evolved over this three-week stay. By the end of this camp Franklin could stay focused around dogs that were barking and lunging at the end of the leash. Throughout his program we progressed his education but adding off leash reliability. By the end of his camp Franklin could perform his prior obedience on and off leash around extreme distractions.

Upon drop off, we worked on Franklin staying on his place when his housemates were running around the house playing. Another big issue for Franklin’s owners was he getting very possessive of snacks around the other dogs. We worked on placing Franklin away from the other dogs when the snacks were being given out and having the other dogs disengage with him while he was eating his snack. We also were able to successfully take Franklin on a walk in his neighborhood with his handler and maintaining focus.

Thor

German Shepherd/Malinois

Thor is a 1-year-old German Shepherd/Malinois mix from American Canyon, California who attended our 3-week off leash camp. Thor belongs to a nice woman who lives alone and wanted an imposing dog as a companion. Thor is certainly imposing, weighing in around 120 lbs. Although he has always been a wonderful companion, he was completely out of control. His owner could not even take him for a walk without being pulled over on her face, Thor threw all his weight into the leash and pulled her over. In the house he would take things and refuse to give them back, he destroyed a couch, and he tried to jam himself through any open door he saw.

Thor’s owner sought training to improve his life. She was unable to walk him but had a huge list of places that she thought he would enjoy and would have loved to take him. She worried that he would pick up something that would be dangerous for him and refuse to give it back, or that he would run through the door and be hit by a passing car. Her goals for camp were to have a great relationship with her best friend that they both found rewarding and enjoyable, including lots of outings and walks.

Thor was first taught to sit, down, recall, heel, walk nicely on leash, and go to place using food rewards and luring. Once he understood the behaviors, we used a prong collar to guide him along with the following a food lure. Finally, a remote collar was layered into his training to create off leash reliability. Thor loved to work from day one. He seemed relieved that life finally had instructions and he took to training easily.

Thor’s pulling on leash was addressed by unpredictably stopping and changing direction while working and giving a food reward when he paid attention to where his handler was going. As a working breed Thor figured this game out fast and soon decided that his handler was much more important than all the smells and other dogs on his walks. He was taught to trade a stolen item for a treat, which was also reinforced with the remote collar so that his owner could get him to drop something dangerous quickly. We did a lot of recalls through an open doorway to condition Thor to think that when he went out the door he was most likely going to be called right back in, as well as doing a lot of our obedience sessions with the front door open to desensitize him to becoming excited by the open door.

Thor came to us so out of control that the vet could not even weigh him at his visit. He pulled on the leash with all his might, jumped up with his front feet on people’s shoulders, and was rude going through doors. Thor made rapid progress, as soon as he understood what was being asked of him, he complied immediately and happily. Thor loves to work, and he learns new things with only a few repetitions. With more direction in his life, he can calmly go anywhere, in tune with his handler and always thinking about his job.

Thor was so happy to see his owner at his drop off! He had a lot of habits to break around the house and struggled at first to contain himself and all his excitement. He settled in after a few minutes and soon wowed his mom by laying calmly on his bed as she moved around the house and opened and closed the front door. It was the first time since bringing Thor home that she was able to open her door without having to wrestle him. We went for a walk and he walked nicely at her side through the neighborhood. His owner was ecstatic that she could finally enjoy the sweet loving dog that she knew he was.

Gus

Olde English Sheepdog

Gus is a 6-month-old Old English Sheep Dog from Davis, California who attended our 3-week off leash camp. Gus belongs to a couple with a teenage son, who is a family dog. His family was having issues with walking him on a leash, jumping on visitors, and unruly behavior in the house which included chewing furniture and eating houseplants. They were a referral from a friend that lived in the same area and they wanted the same off leash freedom for Gus.

They wanted the freedom to take their pet wherever they go and know that he would behave appropriately on and off leash. They also wanted Gus to stop jumping on guests in the home and stop eating the house plants. They wanted to take him on play dates with a neighbor’s dog and be able to recall him from a distance.

Gus was taught a sit and down command with a built-in stay. He was also taught on and off leash recall around distractions at a distance. Gus is now able to remain stationary on a bed in the home. He can be sent to his bed from a distance and will not get up until released. Once Gus showed us that he understood guidance with the collar and verbal requests for a behavior we added the remote collar to create off leash reliability. As an independent herding breed, Gus required a lot of structure and repetition to create new habits.

The issue of jumping on guests was a big goal for Gus’s owners. We addressed that by teaching him to go to his place bed or offer an alternate behavior, such as a sit, when guests arrive. The same behavior could be used when he was trying to disrupt the houseplants.

Gus required a lot of repetition to create new habits. In the beginning of his program Gus refused to follow simple commands such as sit, even though he knew the behavior. By the end of his camp he was able to follow commands even under heavy distractions.

Upon drop off the owners were made aware of the Gus’s need for repetition in new environments. By the end of the go home lesson he was able to follow commands in the home, where he had previous habits of bad behavior. He was able to heel with his owners around his neighborhood where he has also had a history of bad behaviors.

Coming Soon!