Wrangler Training Update

It has been so long since I’ve posted anything on Wrangler’s training. Thought I’d catch up all at once! 

Wrangler had his initial puppy training at Petco. When he was six months old I hired a private trainer (Kevin) and, 1 1/2 years later,  we’re actually still with him. 

I just wanted to encourage those of you who are training your puppies that persistence and reputation will make all the difference in the world!  Kevin, from day one has told me frustration and complacency are the biggest problems . .. 

I have 20 commands that I repeat multiple times every day either in a regular training session or as part of our daily routine. Just to make sure I don’t get lazy, I made a checklist of the commands and every time I go through this session I will  heck the boxes. This has work especially well for me. Wrangler has all but mastered everyone of them! Within the next couple of months will be aiming for CGC certification. 

Early on, Kevin gave me some goals that I should be working toward and I told him he was dreaming because those things could never happen! They have! When someone is coming over, for example, I can put Wrangler in this ‘place’ and have him wait politely while I go forward to greet our guest. Never thought that would happen! He also sits and waits when we approach the front or back doors. I go through the doors first and he follows when I invite him too. Even at a time of tremendous excitement, like when he’s romping with his doggy friends, I can put him in a sit and let his doggie friends go out first. My friends are amazed! Wrangler is and always has been a thief! He has no greater thrill than to steal something he knows he’s not supposed to have! In the past this has caused me to go through multiple remote controls, endless other items and I even had to take Wrangler to emergency when he ate my reading glasses! Now, when he takes something he shouldn’t have and I tell him ‘drop’, almost involuntarily, his mouth opens up and the item falls out! In the past he would’ve beat me to it when I reached for it but now he responds beautifully to ‘leave it’. And that’s a sampling of our successes.

Having said all that, we are still a long way from where we need to be. The biggest problem I have right now with Wrangler is impulse control. Everything I said above is true, until it’s not! If a person, with or without a dog, walks by the house while I’m giving him a command, it’s a 50-50 chance that he will lose his grip and ignore me.I believe that is just a matter of maturing on his part and persistence and dedication on mine. His training needs to override all other instincts and that’s just going to take time! 

I’m sharing this with you because in the past there have been many times when it’s completely frustrated and ready to give up. But don’t give up! With dedication on your card, you will have a dog that’s a pleasure for you and everyone else to be around!

Diane and Wrangler

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  • It's wonderful to hear how well Wrangler is doing. Kudos to you for your commitment and dedication to helping be the best he can be. Training really does pay off. Thank you for posting!

  • Good job Diane!  

  • May I add something? I had my Cooper professionally trained by a wonderful trainer and what you are describing is exactly my issue. She says that what I am dealing with at those times is "state of mind". It is not his training, because when he is on it he is rock solid. I also use a "place" command for guests and that crazy Amazon guy that insists on ringing the doorbell. Last time Coop put himself in "place"! LOL I occasionally toss toys out the front door as a test and have him drop his favorite toy with an "out" command. I dont have an answer except to get his attention back on me, but in those moments I fumble. When I can plan ahead I make sure he is exercised.

    • It's a work in progress, always. The "answer" is to keep working on it, and eventually, it all clicks.

    • Yes!  Riley is constantly a work in progress at 2.5.  Right now my focus is getting her to focus better on me in busy places (like my daughter's school drop off).  We've only been doing it about a week and already she is anticipating focusing on me and doing better.  She is a smart cookie but she definitely has her own ideas and is stubbornly independent.  Thank goodness she's more treat motivated than she used to be. :p

    • Wrangler has an additional problem that manifests the same. Somewhere along the line he got very territorial when he's in our courtyard or in the car – if I am around. We can be anywhere else and he's fine. If he's in the courtyard and somebody walks by that he doesn't know he goes nuts. I am working very hard to try to figure out how to correct that. I have had some limited success and I think it's just a matter of socialization and repetition. Getting his focus on me is absolutely critical! He actually got so bad in the car that right now I have blackout windows in the backseat. Seems to calm him down a bit even though he can still see people coming. Again, you are so right – it's all about getting his focus back on me.

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