Meet Mowgli, a 7-Month-Old German Shepherd from Antelope, California who attended our 3-Week Advanced Off-Leash Obedience Training Camp.
Mowgli’s owners had started training through Petsmart’s puppy class but unfortunately his destructive behavior continued and he still lacked basic obedience skills. They wanted to be able to take him out in the community and have him be well-behaved.
During his 3-Week training camp he was taught basic obedience commands. They were taught with food luring, fortified with positive reinforcement, and transitioned to an e-collar. We worked on consistency and duration in commands under distraction and stress. Skills learned and practiced while in camp were: formal heel on and off leash, informal “let’s go” off-leash command, sit with built in stay, down with built in stay, place under high distraction, “wait” at doorway and for treats/toys, “no” marker for undesirable behavior, and an off-leash recall under high distraction. These skills were taught and reinforced through repetition and reward while increasing duration and decreasing frequency of reward, as well as incremental increase of environmental distractions. E-collar was overlaid once clear expectations and understanding of skills were developed.
One of the lessons taught to Mowgli while at camp was how to respond appropriately to leash and/or physical pressure. When he arrived at camp he was very timid. When leash or physical pressure was applied he would attempt to cower and run. When pressure wasn’t removed, he would resort to lunging and biting at the handler. The first few days of camp were spent 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. We worked with him to move past these undesirable and unsafe responses to leash pressure rather than fight it. He then began accepting positive reward (treats and pets) as he became more accepting and clearer on the expectations and training process.
Mowgli was taught a “no” command to stop undesirable behavior such as jumping on people or chewing of items he wasn’t supposed to. Additionally, we worked with the owner to create a reasonable schedule and expectations for Mowgli surrounding crating and supervised “free time” in order to stop destructive behavior.