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.