My 70 pound Golden Retriever Lap Dog

Rebel has grown by leaps and bounds and I wanted to document where he is at with his training.  He is now 8 months old and weighs around 70 pounds.  He continues to be 100% food motivated which makes training MUCH easier.  My love of Golden Retrievers is off the charts and we have a deposit down for his brother who should be coming home in September.   Rebel is such a blessing and an amazing BFF.  My overall health has improved immensely with my trusty Service Dog in Training.  I love my Rebel boy!  

Current commands and their status below:

Sit: This command is a foundation of so many commands that he gets a LOT of practice.  He is exceptional with Sit command.

Down: Rebel is very good at down.  We don't generally need him to lay down much in a normal day.  To keep him sharp on it we have to do refresher classes on it regularly to give him practice.  He gets his beloved Ice Cubes only for "Down"  

Stay: He is VERY good at "Stay" and it is foundational command key to many other commands so he has a lot of practice with it naturally.  

Leave It: Rebel continues to be exceptionally good with the "Leave It" command.  We use it for everything he needs to leave alone and he excels at it.  Likely the most used command in our house.

Come When Called: He is very dependable with "Come" aka Recall.  

Spins: Rebel spins in both directions but follows my finger for direction. I haven't worked on these commands lately but he still knows them.

No Bite: He learned this during the puppy biting and mouthing phase and it was an awesome command during that time.  He has since outgrown that phase and we no longer need to use it.

Speak: I taught "Speak" in order to teach "Quiet" so we don't use this anymore.  It served it's purpose.

Quiet: Is now our official command to shush barking.  He is good at it unless he is over stimulated.  With a leash on he is exceptionally good with it.  He knows the difference somehow, even if we aren't actively holding the leash.  

Shhhh: We used this command during the bark control training and have since replaced it with "Quiet."  It served it's purpose well.

Up: I taught "Up" (paws up on my chest) in order to teach "Off" and it worked well.  We now use "Up" when he needs to jump on or over something.  It is very useful and the transition to the new meaning was seamless.

Off: Rebel gets a LOT of practice with the "Off" command, mostly when he wants to jump on Daddy because he is excited to see him at the hallway baby gate.  The kids use it even when they are rough housing with him.  It is very effective.  Was also very effective in preventing Counter Surfing.  

Shake Hands: Rebel still thinks any hand laid in front of him means to shake hands LOL  We never practice this command but he knows it

Place:  Rebel is very good at "Place" and follows your finger points to where he should be.  He will stay at the location if you add "Wait" command.  

Wait:  This is foundational to a lot of things that we do so Rebel gets a LOT of practice.  Very similar to Stay but depends on what we are doing.  Very useful teaching doorway respect and vehicle entry.

Under:  Go under my legs and lay down and stay under my legs until he hears the release word.  We use this at meal times every day and he just rests until I say "OK."  Awesome command!

Heel:  This is a work in progress and the hardest command to date.  We walk in the hallway near the wall and practice a lot and he does well.  He is still too young to do a perfect "Heel" during major distractions so we use the Gentle Leader harness to go to the vet and other high sensory excursions.  Every day he shows improvements!  In the meantime we are working on a variety of steps toward a more perfect "Heel" on a regular collar.  

  • With Me:  This command helps him stay closer to my left leg as I move about.  Very challenging.  (This is a temporary command while we work on Heel)
  • Walk:  This command tells him when to walk (It is a temporary command while we are learning Heel)
  • Heel:  Presently, Rebel thinks "Heel" means to sit close to mom's leg and wait.... which is just fine with me!

Load Up:  Any vehicle excursion he must "Wait" at the door until I am ready for him to get in.  The command is "Load Up" and he knows his spot in each vehicle.

Out:  During play, "Out" means drop it so I can pick it up such as in Fetch.  During a walk it means anything in your mouth spit it out.  He is good at it but not dependable.  We are working on the difference between "Out" and "Give."  A work in progress

Give:  The "Give" command means to place the object in my hand.  It is not used during play at all.  A work in progress.  Currently he is inconsistent with a proper "Give" but seems to understand the concept.  

Take:  The "Take" command means to take hold of an item I am presenting to him.  Presently he will "Take" the item and hold it for a few seconds.  This is an ongoing work in progress to add duration and additional commands.  Goal examples: "Take" this to Daddy and then he "Gives" the item to Daddy.  Could also use it at the grocery store.  "Take" my credit card and "Give" it to the cashier.

Get It:  Presently we do this mostly during play by making it fun.  This is used in conjunction with "Bring It."  Some items he knows by name such as "Get Your Ball"  or "Get Your Rope" which he is happy to get out of his toy box or anywhere in the house.  Other items that he doesn't know the name of, we can point and he will process it for a minute or so and then get it.

Bring It:  Also used during play time for the fun factor.  He is very good at Bring It.  We practice in play with "Get It" and "Bring It" in playing Fetch for now but will use these commands in real world scenarios when he is more mature.

Finger Pointing:  Somehow in training, I developed a habit of saying "Rebel" and then pointing to where I wanted him to sit.  So now when I want him somewhere specific I point and he goes there and sits.  It is really very helpful especially when I am teaching a new command and need him to start from a specific location.  Sometimes I just says "Pssst" and point and that works as well.  Rebel has learned to pay very close attention to my finger pointing.

Doorway Manners:  Respecting the doorways is very important for safety and we simply don't allow blowing through doors.  Rebel sits at the door and waits even with the door open until I give him the release command "OK".  It is the same rules going out or coming in as well as at the car and even at the Vet.  Always the same rule at any door!

Potty Alerts:  Rebel gives a light whine or small bark which means many things but often just needs to go potty.  In general we can decipher what he is telling us.  In the event that we miss our cues or he has an emergency potty need, he has a bell mounted a few feet off the floor which will get your attention for sure!  There is NO doubt what he needs when he rings the bell!   

Just for Fun

Where's Daddy?:  It is soooooo much fun asking Rebel "Where's Daddy?"  He will run from door to door and windows looking everywhere for Daddy.  Hubby is always in and out during the day and there is no telling where Daddy might be.  Too much fun!

Tug of War:  Who needs a gym membership?  I have a 70 pound Golden Retriever.  Wow what a work out!

Shake It:  Rebel had a bad habit of grabbing the leash and shaking it while we were on a walk.  I told him "No" and then had to teach him where "Shake" was appropriate since he clearly loves Shaking things.  So I taught him to "Shake It" with his Tug rope.  He caught on quickly and the command is still a lot of fun.  Hey, it works  and Rebel loves it!  Just be mindful of flying ropes when you hear momma say "Shake It, Baby, Shake It."  

Challenges

Excitement:  Rebel is still a young puppy and easily excited.  He loves all people and wants lovings.  We are desensitizing him to people and work on impulse control a LOT.  He improves daily.  His excitement usually lasts about 30 seconds and then back to calm.

Environmental Desensitization:  Some smells in the ground are too much for him and he glues his nose to the ground on the scent.  We work on this every single day and he improves.  Mostly needs continued exposure so he can experience them.  Maturity will also be key.  The biggest challenge with this right now is how HOT it is outside.  We just can't play outside long.  Can't wait for the weather to cool off some and the humidity to drop.  It is miserable outside!

e-Collar:  I conditioned Rebel to the e-collar but haven't needed to use it yet.  I do occasional refreshers on it just in case we ever need it.  We will likely need it for fine tuning tedious commands.  We use it for communication only like a vibration, not correction. Remembering to do a refresher is the biggest challenge