Reed’s Training Log

How We Train

Reed’s training is done by positive reinforcement. I teach him what I want him to do using methods like shaping and capturing. Reed learns really quickly for most things, and he loves performing and working. Clicker training is a method of operant conditioning where when the dog does the behavior you want, you click a small noise maker called a clicker. You can use any sound but the click is easy and they learn it fast. We also use a “Yes” as a marker when we don’t have the clicker. We start by rewarding for good behaviors, then once he’s doing well, we only give a treat for the really best ones. Then when he’s consistent, we fade out the treats in favor of praise and petting. We also start practicing the behavior in various environments – starting in the home, then outside, then in harder environments like PetSmart or the dog park.


10-17-10 40 minutes
Trip to PetSmart, Lowes and Target. Great job! Worked on heel, distractions and balance work (not by choice but by necessity really)

10-16-10 30 minutes
Working on small item dropped retrieves, and named retrieves. Reed learned today how to gently pick up a coin and place it in my hand. The first few times he tried to chew it (it has a bad taste, and is awkward for a dog to hold) but when he dropped it, I asked him to get it again, and held my hand out. When he finally put his mouth in my hand, I fished out the coin and rewarded him. Right away he got the idea and started spitting them into my mouth. Such a smart boy!

10-15-10 20 minutes
Reed loves playing frisbee outside now. This is great for working on distractions, because a few weeks ago even he was still awfully distracted in outdoor settings. Now, we work on doing a command, and then he gets the frisbee thrown as a reward. He occasionally gets distracted and looks around at birds or wants to eat a plant, but his leave-it is getting great.

10-13-10 40 minutes
A trip to PetSmart to work on heel, leave it, etc. Afterwards we stopped by Lowe’s Garden Center to buy an indoor flowering plant. Reed did good at first. Halfway through he got too interested in a plant, and I had to get his attention. The employees loved him.

10-07-20 40 minutes
Retrieves and off-leash recall.


9-21-10 20 minutes
Heel, leave it.

9-20-10 40 minutes
Public access/manners

9-17-10 20 minutes
Laundry task. Reed can now gently pick up all the laundry items and put them in the basket. He still doesn’t like dragging the basket.

9-13-10 30 minutes
Retrieving items by name. Not a lot of success here.

9-10-10 50 minutes
We took a break from training for a little while, back on schedule! Working on Heel a lot, and retrieves.


8-27-10 90 minutes
CGC Class, PetSmart Warm up.

8-26-10, 90 minutes
Heeling, Sitting for Petting (CGC)
Went to Petsmart. Got petted by a few employees. Reed needs a better sit-stay, need to work on this.
Rally class.

8-25-10, 40 minutes
Heel, Leave It, Distractions.
LOTS of great distractions. Went to PetSmart at 5PM and there were TONS of dogs and people to ignore. We worked on heeling past other dogs, and turning near other dogs. GREAT progress.

8-23-10, 35 minutes
Heeling, leave-it with dogs. Ignore petters.
Went back to our old PetSmart, it was dead! Was a pretty boring day so we did lots of heeling and leave it. A few dogs came through and we did leave it, Reed did great. He saw someone he knew so that was more difficult, but he eventually calmed down. I don’t like training at this store since he seems to think it’s all play there. But it’s a good challenge.

8-20-10, 45 minutes
Heeling, distractions, leave it.
Went to a new PetSmart. Reed handled the new environment very well, but we did use more treats then normal. Specifically worked on leave it with dogs and people. Practiced a few greetings with employees, much improvement. One incident where Reed appeared to either be afraid, or just super excited, in response to either a white gsd or a small girl. He saw them, bowed, then tried to run away. We did several sits and watch mes, and slowly moved closer while being calm. I want to say he was just initiating play, but it did almost seem fearful. Have only seen this behavior once before, on July 4 when he was afraid of a man who appeared out of the darkness. He quickly recovered that time.

8-19-10, 45 minutes
Heeling, distractions, leave it. Get it.
Two Petsmarts, and outside apartment.

8-18-10, 60 minutes
Heeling, distractions, leave it (moving items, walking past stationary and moving), down stay (He did leave it in the stay while chunks of liver and beef were tossed at him.). Under the table, balance.
Outside, PetSmart

8-17-10, 20 minutes
Long Duration Down Stays, Distance down stays. Attention/Focus on handler even while handler is distracted.
“Flop” – getting him to lay on his side for long downs. Handling corrections.
Longest Down Stay: 4 minutes
Best distance stay: handler left room, went to bathroom, returned. Had left favorite toy in front of him.

8-16-10, 1 hour
Heeling, turns, public access, handling corrections.
Outside, PetSmart

8-15-10, 3 hours
Public Access Training. Under the table, Leave it, Balance
Big Day! Lowes, Home Depot, PetSmart, Sports Authority, Jason’s Deli.

8-14-10, 1 hour
Heeling, turns, stops

8-13-10, 20 minutes
Retrieving dropped items in public. PetSmart.
1 hour, Rally practice. Dog City

8-7-10, 10 minutes
Light switch, abandoned, task is not useful at this time.

8-6-10, 20 minutes
Laundry, Retrieving items by name

8-2-10, 30 minutes
Balance Assistance, Leave It, Down Stay

8-1-10, 20 minutes
Car Load/Unload


7-26-10, 3 hours
Public Access Training, Leave it, under the table, navigating crowds, distractions.
Apartment, Outside, Studio Movie Grill

7-25-10, 45 minutes
Leave It, Heel

7-22-10, 1 Hour
Public Access Training, Walking

7-20-10, 30 minutes

7-19-10, 2 hours
Public Access Training. Walking, Leave It, Down Stay, Sit Stay.

7-18-10, 30 minutes
Laundry Cleanup

7-17-10, 40 minutes total
Tug Laundry Basket, Drop It

7-15-10, 30 minutes
Car Load/Unload,Walking, Watch Me, Leave It, Get It

7-14-10, 30 minutes
Car Load/Unload, Walking, Watch Me, Leave It

7-7-10, 20 minutes
Walking, Watch Me, Retrieving

7-4-10, 30 minutes
Heeling outdoors, ignoring distractions, navigating obstacles.

7-1-10, 30 minutes
Leave it with dropped items


6-20-10, 40 minutes
Leave it while walking

6-1-10, 20 minutes


5-25-10, 1 hour
Public access

5-20-10, 20 minutes

5-11-10, 1 hour
walking, public access, leave it

5-10-10, 1 hour
Leave it, public access

Car Load/Unload,

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