Yoshi Training Diary - April 2005

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Sat Apr 30
Went to the Bayteam's USDAA trial in San Jose.

Yoshi was generally ok with some obvious exceptions.  Once again he lunged at a Border Terrier (Sharon F.'s this time).  It's occurring to me that with their harsh coat and brownish/grey coloring he many think they're rodents (funny looking squirrels?) instead of dogs.  I'll have to arrange for him to meet one under highly controled circumstances.

Fri Apr 29
Dog park.  Had a great time racing around with Jessie, and also two dogs named Ellie and Oliver.  He's still barky at the gate so we don't go in until he's settled down and willing to pay attention to me.

I've been trying to decide if he knows something major happened to Cali.  While we chose to take her into the vet's office to put her down instead of waiting 6 more hours for the vet to come to my house, he still saw her as very subdued so he likely could have had some clue that things were just not right.  However I think that he's too young to fully grasp what has happened.

The Bayteam is having a trial tomorrow in San Jose and people have asked me to come by (and I want to also), I think I'm going to bring Yoshi for the exposure, but I'll need to remember to bring a crate as I don't want to be worrying about him while we're crying and hugging.

Wed Apr 27
Well class worked out quite well.  Save for some domestic tension (resolved) over my jumping in and taking over his handling after he lunged at the instructor's Border Terrier.

I started out handling him and we were waiting in the hallway for our class to start.  We had gotten there first so were all the way at the end by the door which worked out well.  Every time he started to worry about a dog I would pull steadily on the leash (he's wearing his gentle leader) and ask him to "leave it, watch me" once he looked back at me I click/treated him.  Over time he really started to pay attention and you could see the little glimmer of:  Gee, this is a lot more worth it than barking at / worrying about that dog way over there.  Terri wonders if he never gets to relax if that would counter productive, but I think that if he doesn't know what's expected of him (and if he don't trust that you'll take care of him), that he's not going to relax.

in general he did quite well about heeling, sitting at stops, targeting.  His down is still iffy in class (but fine at home) so will need more reinforcement.  Walking around other dogs is tough for him, but he's able to do it if we make sure he has enough space to keep him comfortable.

Terri wants me to keep handling him and that's fine.

Tue Apr 26
Yoshi has obedience class tonight Actually his third one, but I haven't been able to go the past two times.  He's become a real shadow these past couple of days.  I encourage it as when he alarm barks I call him back to me which seems to help reassure him that he doesn't have to guard quite so much.  I go back to work tomorrow and I hope he'll be ok.

He's been barking loudly at other dogs that come in the door so I'm going to be the handler tonight to see if that helps.

[major, major delay as Cali was diagnosed with and died of a particularly nasty cancer called Histiocytic Sarcoma - details in her
health diary]

Sun Apr 10

Yoshi went to the dog park today to play with Jessie and was very good.
One thing I've started doing is that we don't go into the park until he settles down and doesn't bark at the dogs going in.  He has his gentle leader and leash on while standing outside and I work on having him focus on me.  Seems to make a huge difference he was running around once we went in and wasn't barking his fool head off and was mostly being less rude.

Sat Apr 9
He hasn't had much training these past two weeks as Cali had surgery to remove her spleen on Mar 28.  (More on that in her health diary) and he's a touch overweight (about 1/2 pound).  So we have some ground to make up.

Over time, I've noticed that on walks he's been growling and barking more at other dogs who are one walks.  Whether or not the other dog is paying any attention to him.  So today we went out to follow dogs on walks with the idea of deciding where he's zone of comfort is.  (It appears to be about a quarter of a city block.)  My thinking was when he sees a dog that he barks and growls at, we let them pass and then follow them at a comfortable distance (on the other side of the street) clicking and treating when he stops focusing on the other dog and more on me.

This worked surprisingly well.  I had him on his gentle leader and when he locked onto another dog barking and growling and struggling I put strong pressure on the lead and told him (in a calm, firm voice) to "leave it" while turning him (even to the point of lifting him up by the lead - though I don't like to do this).  Once he stops obsessing on the other dog.  I have him do something easy like look at me and sit (click/treat).  We do this for a bit and then start to follow the other dogs from a distance.  Even during the time of one walk he was getting better.

One thing I really like about doing this is that it's more proactive and I feel as if I'm doing something positive rather than dreading any encounters with other dogs.  I'm more relaxed and I'm sure that helps.  The attitude now is: oh let's go look for dogs to follow (at a distance).  I think he's better about this too as if you're following a dog that's not confrontational and he's more in control.

I've resolved to not have Cali with us on walks as he's very protective of her and it's worse now that she's not feeling well.

On Tues the 12th he is going to be starting his Beginning II obedience class at Oakland Dog Training Club.  I just found out that Patricia is going to be bringing her  KC Cavalier Spaniel "Mr. Giles" to the class as well.  Should be entertaining.

Go to:

Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Feb 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jan  2005

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Sept  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - July  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - June  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - M ay  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - April 2004
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