Success Story: Biscuit the Pomeranian

Small Dogs Need Training Too!

Biscuit is an awesome young Pomeranian who came to training because her owners wanted her to be the best she could be. Many people think that only large dogs benefit from training, but that is not the case. Biscuit is a great example of a toy breed who loves having a job and loves to learn new things. She thrived in our obedience board and train program, and is now a perfectly behaved little pom.

Laying The Groundwork

The first thing we started to do with Biscuit was introduce her to new skills that she would need. Her owner’s said that she was bad on a leash, so it was important that we teach her a solid heel command. We also taught her reliable stays and places, which help with impulse control. Stays and places also make managing your dog easier. For example, instead of your dog being under foot while you are cooking dinner, they can be relaxing on their bed in a place command.

Biscuit had great food drive, so it was easy to motivate her to do new things. Like all dogs, she did have her quirks. She liked to spin in circles when she got excited, which is a common trait to find with a pomeranian. We taught her a new default of a sit when she got excited. However, this is a genetic trait, so it will never completely go away. We gave the owners lots of ways to manage the behavior so that it did not progress into something obsessive compulsive.

More Advanced Training

Once Biscuit showed that she understood all of her training very well, we started adding more distractions. This included lots of dogs running around, people calling her or petting her, and food distractions. When we train a dog, we do not want them to just listen in the living room. Our goal is for the dog to listen and be responsive no matter what is going on around them.

Biscuit also had a few small behavioral issues that we had to tackle. Small breeds can run into dental issues, so Biscuit’s owners wanted to brush her teeth regularly. Biscuit had other ideas, and would be very hyper and mouthy when the toothbrush came out. We taught her how to be calm and accepting of the teeth brushing, which made her owner’s life way easier. It also is great for Biscuit. As a former vet tech, I saw many a pomeranian with dental issues. Preventing these issues saves lots of stress on the dog later on. Biscuit would also jump all over guests and onto furniture, and it was becoming an issue at home. We showed Biscuit that the key to getting attention was to sit nicely, not to jump all over.

Success Story: Roxy the Doberman Puppy

Roxy: Hyper Red Doberman Puppy

Roxy came for a foundation board and train program when she was four months old. Her owners were struggling with managing her high energy. She jumped on all the guests, ran around the house, chewed on furniture, and was difficult to walk on leash. Fortunately, Roxy’s owners brought her in at a young age so that we could get her learning the right things, right away.

Evaluating Roxy’s Drives

One of the first things that we do with a new training student is to evaluate their drives. We need to find things that the dog finds motivating so that we have ways to reward her for good behavior. Like most doberman puppies, Roxy had very high food and toy drive. We used her high food drive to teach her a variety of obedience skills. The toy drive allowed us to teach her a game of retrieve. Retrieve is a great game for any puppy, because it burns both mental and physical energy and helps with bonding.

New Life Skills

Roxy learned all of her basic obedience commands while with us. The commands that we taught her in her week of board and training include: sit, down, heel, come, place, kennel, and out. It is important to do age appropriate training with a puppy. Short, frequent sessions were the perfect fit for Roxy. We did not ask her for as much duration in her places, sits, and downs as we would with an adult dog. Her reinforcement rate was also kept very high so that she finds obedience training fun and worthwhile.

Socialization Time!

Another crucial aspect of training any puppy is proper socialization. Many people think that socialization means letting your puppy meet all kinds of people and other dogs, but that is not the case. Socialization trips with Roxy involved going to places with lots of distractions and having her work for some food. She gets to take in all of the sights and sounds while starting to understand that she should stay focused around distractions. Roxy was already a very confident puppy, so we just built upon her natural personality.

Roxy’s Next Steps

As Roxy gets more mature, her owners can ask her for more and more effort. She will be able to handle more distractions, longer duration behaviors, and further distance away on stays. Starting all of this training at a young age means that Roxy will only get better and better. She also will not need to have bad habits corrected, because she learned how to do things right from the beginning.

Success Story: Blue the Lab Puppy

Training A Yellow Lab Puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is a happy and exciting occasion. Puppies are cute, cuddly, and love to be involved with everything you do. However, there are some common issues that arise with puppies. We started training Blue because he was struggling with several of these very common problems.

You may find that your puppy likes to chew on both fingers and furniture. This is especially common during teething, and with breeds like labs that were bred to use their mouth a lot. We gave Blue plenty of good things to chew on to give him an outlet. Kongs, Everlasting Balls, and Nylabones make great toys for puppies. We also corrected the chewing on furniture and mouthing on people. Showing Blue right and wrong helps him make the right choice in the future.

kong-dog-toy

Blue was also a bad jumper. He would jump on the children, on guests, and on anybody he met on walks. This behavior might be cute when Blue was a tiny puppy, but it was getting dangerous as he grew. We interrupted the jumping, and taught him a sit as a default behavior for greetings.

Blue also pulled on leash when out for walks. Nearly every lab puppy that we see has this issue because they are just so excited to be out and about. We channeled his excitement into heeling, and gave him a job to do when on walks.

This little guy was also very “busy” in the house. He always wanted to be right in the middle of the kids playing or when dinner was being cooked. We taught him a solid place command to allow him to still be part of everything without being in the middle of it. To encourage Blue to really love his place, we fed him all of his meals up there.

Lastly, we wanted to give Blue some outlets that were breed appropriate. Obedience is a great outlet for mental energy in any dog. Retrieve is also a fabulous outlet, especially for a high energy lab puppy.

After a two week stay with us, Blue had all of the tools he needed to be a fabulous pet. We did lessons with his owners to show them exactly how to handle him. This is extremely important, because consistency is key in dog training. Now Blue is much easier to live with and enjoy.

Blue’s Graduation Video

If you are interested in training for your puppy, please check out our puppy training programs.

Success Story: Maison the Boxer Service Dog

Maison the Boxer |Service Dog Obedience

We have a very high standard of behavior for all of the dogs that graduate from our programs. Our service dog graduates take it to a whole different level with their advanced training. Maison is a boxer that we originally trained when he was six months old. We taught him all of his commands, good manners, and introduced him to working around distractions.

Maison returned at a little over a year old to build upon his skills. Now that he is more mature, we can expect more from him. The amount of distractions that he can perform around is much higher, and he can also work for a longer period of time.

boxer service dog in target

During this second training program, we added in three elements that are essential for any service dog.

  • Advanced Obedience
  • Public Access
  • Task Training/Work

We raised our standards for Maison’s obedience by having him work for longer spans of time, and by making the exercises harder. We added an off leash aspect to all of his commands, and increased the duration of his stays and places. We also added lots of food distractions, as he is highly food motivated and will have to deal with lots of food distractions during his career.

Next, we started to tackle his public access work. Some of the places that Maison went with us while in training was the mall, the airport, Target, Walmart, and a restaurant. Because he is still a service dog in training at this point, we are always very diligent about ensuring he is acting appropriately. He did wonderfully, and most people were amazed to see a boxer being so calm and well mannered.

Lastly, we started his task work. Maison is training to be a balance assistance dog. One of the main things that he needs to do is help his owner get out of chairs. We taught him a brace command to allow him to do this. Whenever he gets the cue “brace” he will stand and be steady while his handler uses a handle on his vest to stand up. His other tasks include retrieval of dropped objects and counterbalance on stairs.

Maison won’t be a fully fledged service dog until he is 18-24 months old. We’ve laid all the foundation for a long career of balance assistance for this young boxer. He started his task training and public access with us, as well as obtaining his CGC and CGCA.

If you are interested in getting your dog this well trained, please check out our programs.

If you would like to learn more about the CGC and CGCA titles and what they are like, you can find out more here.