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.