Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - April 2007
By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)
Feedback is welcome:
Sun Apr 29
- Yoshi herding day. I kept him on the long line and
worked on stop. If he stopped he got to herd more. If he
didn't stop them I stepped on the line.
- Melted freeways and evasive action. A tanker fire took out 2
connector ramps one of which is how we got home so I got to
refamiliarize myself with various surface street work arounds that I
used to use a lot before the 880 freeway was rebuilt post Loma Prieta
earthquake. Even with relatively light traffic and evasive action
it still took 2 hours to get back from Santa Rosa (normally 1:15)
- Yoshi pad abrasion from last herding run. He's limping, but
fortunately just an abrasion, not a torn pad. He had somewhat of
a collision with a sheep on the last run and the resulting abrupt stop
might have done it.
- Adapted screaming monkey toy to be doggy backdoor bell and clicker
trained Trek to press it. This is hard to explain but NPR was
talking about the Maker Faire and adapting toys for purposes that they
were never intended. Which got me wondering if there's anything
we have that I could use as a dog doorbell. Then I remembered the
screaming monkey that has never really made it into the dog toy
rotation yet probably because it's a little obnoxious. What a
perfect dog doorbell. The manufacturers were nice enough to make
the noisemaker (a small box with some very simple electronics inside
and a speaker and a pushbutton switch) easy to remove from Mr.
Monkey. I had to take the springs out to make it easier to press,
as it was intended to be chomped not nose pressed. and then I
taped it to the door. When I think of something less tacky than
duct tape I'll take photos.
Sat Apr 28
- Took Trek to watch a fun match at Fiona's Farm for the
exposure. Meet lots of people and dogs and eat lots of chicken
- [afternoon] Mark brought his tunnel over and introduced Trek to it
- [evening] Let Trek sleep with crate door open (5 hours), then out to
pee at 5am, then on the bed for one hour before she got too restless.
Fri Apr 27
I now have a weaving fiend, no guides. I expect Trek to backslide
when she is in a different place, but I think we've gone far
enough for now and time to move on to something else. Fortunately
everything else will be pretty easy in comparison.
Forgot to write that I was talking to my neighbors and mentioned Treks
bird chomping misadventure. They immediately said "Oh was that
slow, stupid Robin? We noticed that we hadn't seem him in a
while" "Er, probably. What was he like?" "Oh he would
just sit there in the way as you were walking and would only just walk
to get out of the way if he had to. We knew he was not going to
live long doing that." So I'm a little relieved that Trek
isn't developing this amazing Sight Hound talent for wildlife chomping,
though Mark and Jan are still going to be careful with her around their
bird especially since their birds don't know to fear dogs.
Thu Apr 26
Caught Trek peeing on the water bowl towel, yelled at her to surprise
her and escorted her outside. She might be starting to get it,
but still hasn't quite figured out that she needs to tell us rather
than just pace around and sort of look at a door (the wrong
door.) Either I have to get them better at rining the back bell,
or harrassing us or barking or changing out the bell.
Switched Yoshi back to Wellness Lamb again and added some yogurt
too. There's been another recall that includes some Natural
Balance food (was his treats but is now in the freezer) but does not
include the rolls.
Wed Apr 25
I'm trying to decide whether to beg Park Centre for some
Metronidazole (AKA Flagyl) but Yoshi hasn't pooped all day so I don't
have a good feel for how he's doing.
He got chicken and rice this evening and he'll get more tomorrow but
I'm not sure how long I can keep this cooking thing up. Not to
mention he really does need other additional nutrition as well. I
haven't heard anything bad about Wellness kibble and my vet took pains
to explain to me that rice and rice protein are not the same thing so I
shouldn't automatically suspect rice. He's done well for over a
year on it so it's probably ok to start putting him back on it.
Especially since it would be a brand new bag since I tossed what I had
of the other bag when he was ill. I was hoping that I could have just
one dog food for both dogs but so goes pipe dreams. Ironically I
bought a big bag of it so Trek has enough to last her months.
Took Yoshi on a walk to get him to poop. Finally did. Well
it's ok but soft and likely will improve on Wellness, so we'll pass on
the antibiotics for now.
Tues Apr 24
Took the short guides back off the weave poles because Trek had
been doing the poles without issue. She did great, I'm thrilled
as she honestly seems to be understanding though I need not to be
disappointed when she tries other behaviors with them. She's
bound to, but she's not one to continue doing things that doing pay off.
Swapped out the teeter for a jump and the tire. Doesn't seem to
have much issue with the straight on approaches so I think we'll add
sitting and staying and then release over the jump. When I'm
happy with the weavepoles sans guides I'll put them away and then we'll
have more room to work on weird jump approaches, and I still need to
borrow that tunnel from Mark.
Mon Apr 23
Took Yoshi on a walk at noon with a two fold purpose. 1.
to look for dogs and practice staying in place in the precence of
passing dogs. and 2. to poop and to see how he's doing. Well
unfortunately his poop is loose again. We gave him the rest of
the I/D can and a little EVO. I think our boy really likes being
pampered with home cooked chicken and rice and I did buy some more
before I went home. So he'll get just chicken and rice for a
couple of days to let his system settle down (lucky dog), and then
we'll go from there. Again it's possible the EVO is too rich for
him though he was not getting very much at all.
We did see one dog passing by on the other side of the street. At
first I thought we should just go the other direction but I wanted to
work on this since I'm now telling him to do something (sit and stay)
rather than just telling him to leave it. One would think that
staying and tolerating the dog would be harder and I really had to hold
him, but it was a great way to spell out to him just what I expected.
Hard as it might be we now have a goal.
One time when we were on vacation (possibly going to get Trek), we were
in a hotel room and I was obsessing on the cable TV since we only have
a very basic cable service. Cesar Milan was on and I decided to
tolerate him enough so I could get a better idea of what his approach
is. I agree with Trish King. There are some things he does
really well. Consistency being a main one. And there are a lot of
things I don't like. Through the miracle of editing, they make
some very difficult training look easy. They had a dog that
lunged at other dogs similar to Yoshi and Milan eventually had this dog
do a down while another dog passed. Getting that dog (even a
non-herding dog) to that point must have taken hours, but the show made
it look like minutes. Argh.
Sent this message to puppyworks to be forwarded to Brenda Aloff:
Arie Kopelman wrote:
I need a two or three paragraph summary of the case
to transmit to Brenda please.
Sure thing. (Though it's hard to summarize
Yoshi is a Welsh Corgi that is a perfect storm combination of having
off the scale herding drive but also lacking confidence around unknown
dogs and has become a bully to compensate.
He wants to charge and lunge at dogs in motion, especially unknown dogs
coming towards him. Once they've passed him he settles down nicely.
Once he's greeted a dog he is usually fine with them, but he continues
to have poor impulse control and when playing (only carefully selected
playmates now) can escalate into a fight (bloodless, but way noisy).
He never fights with the female corgi (Trek) that he lives with, but
they play rough a lot (a good thing). He has fought with his best corgi
male friend but only when Trek is present. (The three no longer run
together - any combination of two works great.)
He is a shining example of displacement aggression as if he is in a
stressful situation (like agility class where the dogs are close), he
has jumped unsuspecting weaker dogs.
He is extremely "breedist." Likes most Corgis and black and white
Border Collies (he grew up with one). Other breeds he is suspicious of
and hates Terriers and their aloofness. Any dog that doesn't carry
themselves in a confident way he wants to charge up to and push around
some almost as if to test them (we don't let him.)
He has 3 other littermates of the 10 that show aggressiveness, and they
are all participating in the Canine Aggression Genetic Study. All of
the dogs were well socialized and love people. They were all brought up
slightly differently. One left home at 8 weeks ("Calvin"), one at 13
weeks ("Dylan"), Yoshi was carefully raised by the breeder while she
looked for a performance home for him and came to us at 8 months. The
aggression started appearing at 7 months and they were all neutered
around then. The one pup in the litter that looked to be potentially
aggressive ("Zach") has turned out to be the sweetest and least
aggressive of the bunch.
Yoshi gets behavioral training from me and Sirius Dog Trainer Rachelle
Carzino, and occasionally consults with his shrink Trish King. They
both would love to hear any insight that Brenda could offer and I
believe they will both be there at the Novato seminar.
He also goes to herding training as he is a brilliant and talented
herding dog, but is having trouble with self control. Stopping is not
really in his vocabulary so we're taking a lot of time for him to learn
as I'm hoping learning self control around stock will help him learn
self control around dogs.
Feel free to contact me if you like. I have massive amounts of history
him as I have 3 years of online training blog that's mostly about him
Well lucky dog Yoshi got another home cooked meal. I made some
chicken with a little garlic powder and some Bazmatti rice, mixed them
together and sprinkled a few potato buds on the top. He not only
licked the bowl clean, but he kept licking the bowl long after he had
swallowed every last molecule. I thought the was going to lick
the ceramic glaze off his dog bowl. I think he likes it.
Let's hope this makes his digestive system happy. When I let Trek
out of her crate she was so curious she came over to check it out
too. Proof that they get along extraordinarily well is that Yoshi
let her sniff the bowl, though in the interest of continuing world
peace, I picked the bowl up.
I made enough for a couple more meals and I have chicken on hand to
make it again.
Trek seems to be tolerating the eye medicine that goes in her food just
fine. After another day or so it goes up from 1 to 2 drops per
I was listening to an article in
Scientific American on gentic bases for alcoholism and there was a
brief aside talking about "disinhibition" and how in some people's
brain the area that contols the impulses from the Amydala doesn't
function optimally. I wonder if this is Yoshi's problem and
google for disinhibition (kind of a general term and it makes searching
on it difficult. After some more research I am once again on Poor
Impulse Control and I am reminded of my previous conclusion that Yoshi
has excellent impulse control as long as he doesn't get a trigger like
a dog walking by or entering the building without his permission.
He would pass that famous Marshmallow experiment where they
handed 4 year olds a marshmallow and said they could have more if they
refrained from eating the first one for 20 minutes. Some kids
simply couldn't do it.
Sun Apr 22
I had a work party to go to in the afternoon (Beach Blanket
Babylon - fun show) and Terri wasn't going to be back until the
afternoon so Yoshi got to spend the day at the vet's where he got poked
and proded and Trek went over to Mark's to spend the day with Cooper.
Just before we went to the vet I took Yoshi on a walk as he hadn't
pooped for 10 hours or so and I wanted to see how he was in that
dept. Finally he pooped and it was near normal. He must
know he's bound for the vet and is staging a miracle healing. I
think I managed to plug him up with the rice. It's so effective
it's really too bad that Trek is sensitive to it.
As expected, Yoshi checked out fine at the vet's. So well that
they didn't give him the medicine that they were planning on giving him.
For dinner we gave him Hills I/D since I had run out of chicken and
rice (will have to get more) and he seemed to be improving (they said
he pooped normally.)
Oh and both dogs' fecal exams came out negative for Giardia and several
other internal parasites.
Sat Apr 21
Busy, fun day today
First met Rachelle and one of her BCs Dazzle at the Martinez
Marina. I'd never been there and it is nice and has fairly long
sightlines so Yoshi didn't feel too crowded though he did bark at
dogs. First thing was that Rachelle wanted to work on
counterconditioning Dazzle to people riding skateboards. I
brought out the skateboard and rode around some and alternately made
noise with it while Rachelle played tug with Dazzle. Dazzle did
great as long as Rachelle was playing with her and remained focused on
her even when Rachelle stopped playing.
Then I brought the skateboard over so Dazzle could investigate it and
Rachelle click-treated her for attention to the board. Dazzle is
a great clicker dog and was all for it. When she started to put a
paw on it I said that Rachelle should teach her to ride it.
Dazzle offered one paw on the board then two, then later three.
Then she got the board to move a little and wasn't phased at all.
I said that Rachelle should buy her a board. We paused there as
that was way more progress than we thought we'd make
Then we all walked around the park some (on leash). As time
passed more dogs were appearing and Yoshi was alerting more. I
started to work on Stop and Stay (with some Sit-Stays in there
too). Once her realized that I expected him to stay even when a
dog was walking near you could see him trying and sometimes succeeding
(and definitely not at times). If he were human there would be
sweat on his brow. It's encouraging to see him try even though
staying when a dog is near is so against his nature. I'm now
quite sure that the more control we get in herding the better this will
be and this work will no doubt help herding too.
Then we went over to Sharon's and introduced Trek to the dogwalk and
the A-Frame and worked on a full sized teeter, and also the tunnel and
the tire, and did some weaves too.
- True to form she had absolutely no hesitation on the dogwalk.
Rachelle lowered it at first and after two times of Trek fearlessly
charging over it she realized it was fine to raise it to regular
height. Trek had a blast running over it and showed no
inclination of jumping over the contact zone when doing a running
- The A-Frame was next and she did great when we had it very low and
then raised it to 5 feet which she also excelled at. We also
tried it at 5'6", but she struggled with that and did try to bail over
the contact (was still in the yellow though). Rachelle noticed
that Trek didn't seem to enjoy the bail attempt so maybe she won't get
hooked on flying off, though in the future I will bring the frame of
the mini tire that I have for her to run through.
- Then the teeter. Since she's never been on a full size teeter I
would hold the board so it would go down a little slower. She
seemed to like it and had no hesitation about it.
- We haven't been working on the tunnel (need to borrow Mark's) and it
shows. We straighted the tunnel out and were able to call her
through. Once she understood what was expected she did pretty
well but needs a lot more work on it (tunnels are unlikely to be much
of an issue) Just for fun I deliberately haven taught her the
chute. I doubt I'll regret it as wiggling her way through fabric
is oh so her nature (Trek the intrusive nose.)
- Sharon's tire is significantly different than mine. It took a
fair bit of cajoling to get her to try going through it but after that
hesitation after about 4 times she readily leaped through it as if to
say "Oh, is that all you wanted?"
- I brought my poles that had the guides on half of them, but she was
still pretty distracted and did about half as well as she usually does
which is probably what one can expect for a first time exposure to a
new place. (She's only weaved in my backyard.)
Rachelle says Trek can start class whenever we like. I think
probably after the Aloff seminar (May 5-6).
Then right at the end while Dazzle was in her crate in their vehicle I
rode the skateboard a little. That got a protective barking
reaction. She's very different when she's in her truck.
Rachelle worked on counter conditioning and I backed off to find a
distance she was comfortable with (about 50 feet)
Then I raced Yoshi home and then took Trek to the eye vet.
Unsurprisingly she still has Dry Eye and we have more medication to try.
- Continue with the steriod - 1 drop 2x a day
- Tacrolimus drops - 1 drop 4x a day
- I-drops as often as possible
- Optimmune ointment last thing at bedtime
And to put in her food
- Pilocarpine - 1 drop in food 2x a day, watch out for toxicity
(salivation, vomiting or diarrhea), discontinue if this happens.
If tolerated then increase to 2 drops 2x a day (again watch for
toxicity and drop to previous dose if that happens).
Still concerned about Yoshi. When I got back from taking Trek to
the eye dr he had pooped near liquid on the bed. He must have
been feeling really awful as he never does that. He's going to
the vet for the day tomorrow since I have to be gone all that afternoon.
Lucky boy got home cooked chicken and rice for dinner (and breakfast
Fri Apr 20
Weaves. Taking off the guides entirely was too much of a
leap and Trek started skipping poles, so I put half of them back
on. Things seem better now. The guides are on the opposite
side that I'm usually on (we go back and then forth (after a reward
pause) on them, so the effect is her on my right and then left (or vice
versa). Sometimes I do go through with me on the other side, but
I have to avoid running into other equipment on that side.
Performance Corgi's is talking about semi-forced retreives (basically
using gentle negative reinforcement - "ear rubs" instead of pinches to
get a dog to take a dumbbell). I don't know. It philosophically
doesn't set well with me. Retrieving for me is not life or death
like a recall can be, so I think of it as more optional and not
something that should be forced (short of manually opening their mouth
and holding their mouth closed just to show them that the can -
actually even that doesn't set to well). I mean in theory I have
the bigger brain and I should be better about making retreiving fun
(and I have). Now I have to make holding an object fun too.
Yoshi will hold a small tennis ball long enough to put it in my
hand. Lori Drouin suggests hiding you hand for a moment and I
think I should work on that more.
Took both dogs to Lori's utility class. Yoshi's still not feeling
very well so we mainly just watched. I had Trek along to so she
got to watch some very interesting doggies. She's never been to
ODTC before so that was good exposure for her.
Afterwards Andrea and I let her poodle Freddy and Yoshi play, and it
was fine for a while and then Yoshi got over stimmed, Freddy decided he
didn't want to be herded, and we had to intervene to stop Yoshi herding
Freddy. Fortunately Andrea works at Marin Humane Society in the
behavioral dept with Trish King so such things don't faze her.
Yoshi proved to be hard to catch this time and Andrea suggested to not
try to catch him (because he thinks that I'm just backing him up - I'm
not sure I agree that he thinks that since he sometimes deliberately
eludes me when I want him to stop herding), but instead focus on
getting the other dog to stay still (that's probably easier
anyway). Not sure how easy that would be with a dog that's not
Freddy. Andrea offered to get them together again at MHS in an
enclosed area and we can intervene sooner before Yoshi goes past
threshold (and we can put him on a long line). I think that's a
great idea as it's hard to find dogs that both communicate well and
want to play rough (I usually find one or the other).
The stopping thing got me thinking again about herding skills. If
I can drill the Stop into his brain and succeed in getting him to stop
around livestock, then I have a much better chance of stopping him
Both dogs still have loose stools. Haven't heard back on the
giardia test yet - hopefully tomorrow.
Tomorrow we all tromp off to meet Rochelle and work on skateboarding
around Dazzle, and counterconditioning Yoshi and then we'll head off to
Sharon's to introduce Trek to full size contact obstacles.
And I with dogs that have the runs. Maybe I'll give them bread to
stop them up some since Trek can't have rice, I have a stale baguette
as a tug toy that I can steal from.
I went ahead and bought some non-fat plain yogurt to put on top of
their EVO. Boy that was a hit. Likely won't do a thing for
loose stool, but it's good for the gut anyway. Have to thank
Bonnie for suggesting it.
Thu Apr 19
The dog food recalls get more complicated. There are now
reports of tainted rice protein got shipped to 5 companies. (more info:
http://petsitusa.com/blog/). Argh. The Natural Balance got
tossed in the freezer and Yoshi is getting switched to Innova EVO (what
Trek gets). Their treats are going to be chicken, carrots and
I dropped off both dogs' stool to Park Centre Animal Hospital.
Tina at the front
desk got to write this funny, appalling note in Trek's chart saying
Trek vomited after eatng Yoshi's stool. Yep, that's our
Trek. The proverbial canary in a coal mine. Maybe Yoshi
still is iron gut. He has had loose stools for a couple of days
but otherwise is ok. Trek gets a hold of a predigested bit of his
food and she loses her cookies (either that or she got whatever
bacteria is hanging out in his gut.) It's possible that Yoshi has
been sick for a while and Trek is the one pointing it out.
On the weavepoles, took the irrigation tubing off all the guides except
for the ones at the 2nd and 11th poles., so that only the hose barb was
sticking out from the pole (about 3"). I then had her do the
poles and she did them just fine even though I have one barb pointing
in the wrong direction. I realized that if she could cope with a
barb pointing in the wrong direction, then she didn't need the guides
at all, so I took off all the guides except for pole 2 and 11.
She still was able to do them fine. I was going to have her do
them again but she got distracted by Yoshi chasing a squirrell.
We are nearly there. I'll have to figure out how long we've been
at this as it doesn't seem to be that long at all.
Tomorrow is Yoshi's obedience class and Trek is going too. I'm
going to continue to take him to the Utility classs as there are fewer
dogs and it's more fun.
Wed Apr 18
Now it's Yoshi that has loose stool. Wonder what he got
that did this. I just heard that Natural Balance is doing a
recall on their Venison and Rice food. This is the Lamb version,
but I'm still concerned, so I think I'll pitch what's left into the
freezer and see what happens on the media. The longish ingredient
list on Natural Balance makes me a little concerned anyway. Maybe
I should skip class and just make dog treats instead.
One thing I heard from a co-worker (reliable source though I need to
check into it further) is that the contaminant that was in the wheat
gluten increases the measurement of the amount of protein in the gluten
and that's what determines what the gluten is worth. What this
comes down to is ruthless capitalism. The Chinese appear to be
learning all sorts of nefarious habits that the industrialized world is
no stranger to <sigh>.
A performance corgi's post of
I believe that many people are (understandably) so panicked over
to feed, that they may have switched to New Balance without any
period. That can be quite upsetting to some dogs' digestive systems,
and may be what is causing the NB issues.
[That's a really funny typo by the way - my dog likes Nike but they're
too narrow for his wide paws. :) ]
Well if a dog is already having digestive trouble you may as well
switch them right off as there is no longer an advantage to doing it
Ironically, sensitive tummy Trek is doing great these days once we
finally figured out that she's somewhat allergic to corn and rice
(Rice?! Go figure), and Yoshi, the iron gut, is now having some
digestive issues which makes me just a touch paranoid. I'd been
smug knowing that my dogs didn't eat any of the questionable dog foods
in the recall (Yoshi gets Wellness Lamb, Trek gets Innova EVO), and
then Natural Balance issues an unrelated recall. Argh. I
use the lamb
version as treats and while that's not recalled, I think I'm going to
put the rest of the roll in the freezer and just skip class and make
dog treats tonight.
Wonder if he's sensitive to the Old Mother Hubbard treats that Trek can
have. After all, they can't just have interchangeable treats now
they? (That would just be too easy.)
Of course Yoshi just wants pizza crust (his fav.)
and Trek and Yoshi
I came home to discover that Trek had barfed in her crate and in the
vomit was poop. Likely Yoshi poop. My brain just then
realized that Yoshi might have giardia and Trek no doubt has it now as
well. Just to bring it home her poop went from perfect to runny
and I was just about to blame the Old Mother Hubbard Treats when I
discovered the vomit and it all points to some sort of bacterial
So I've left a message with the vet. Trek is still getting her
EVO, Yoshi I gave some Hills I/D that I keep around for such things
(that ironically Trek can't have - if I have to make something for her
it will be some combination of chicken, potato and oatmeal.
It's belatedly occurring to me
now that Yoshi is discovering that he does like girls (at least the
bossy type), that one of his nicknames should be Twink (slang for young
gay man) as he really does look like a Twinkie. I get much amusement
mentally speculating on what orientation he has (or would have had if
he wasn't neutered) as he seems to swing from sensitive metrosexual who
doesn't like yelling or the rain to a semi-tough Brokeback Mountain
ranch hand all to willing to chomp a sheep on the butt. Oh and
there's the rough and tumble wrestling with either Cooper or
Trek. Not sure where that fits in.
Trek and Twink. I like it. Though I think his main nickname
will continue to be Yo-yo.
Tue Apr 17
Mostly just screwed around though I'm thrilled to see that Trek
will now work for toy play. She used to just look at me funny if
I offered a toy instead of a treat, but occasionally we go out in the
yard to play tug and I interrupted it to have her weave, and then we
resummed tug. I was really surprised at how smoothly it went.and
was able to repeat it too. I think that if I start out with toys
she's reved and if I start to use treats she gets focused on the
treats. I think a life long thing we'll work on is being able to
readily switch off between toys and treats.
It's been interesting to watch Yoshi watch us. He sees the
fun and is intrigued and likes toys but he's such a tentative boy and
gives up easily especially if a bossy female like Trek is around to
take the toy away from him. I wonder how he's be if a human male
were to play with him with toys. Wonder if that would make any
difference? I'll have to ask Mark to try it.
Mon Apr 16
Took Yoshi on a blissfully uneventful walk. Introduced the "Stop"
that Joyce wants him to learn. It's close enough to Wait that I'm
introducing it in the "N-O" style (New-Old) so it's Stop-Wait. for a
while, then Stop <beat> Wait, then Stop <beat> Wait (only
if he doesn't stop). He did fine though is clearly curious about
why the new cue. (I haven't figured out how to explain: because
our instructor says so.)
I got more pieces to make 2 more weave guides (just partial
onces). Since it was at lunch I wanted to try them out but didn't
want to take the extra time to saw the PVC Tee in half lengthwise so I
could clip it on. So I decided to try just slipping it on the
bottom of the weave pole so the guide is basically on the ground.
(This needs a picture but the camera is on vacation with Terri.)
This worked way better than expected - in either direction with me on
either side. 12 weavepoles. Nearly flawless (I can push her into
making a mistake but if I don't she's perfect) and good speed to.
I'm so thrilled.
Now we to work on making sure she understands entrances. (Susan
Garrett would say this is backwards, but so be it - I like my way
better). Trek clearly doesn't get the entrance if we're standing
slightly to the left of the poles, so this is the next project.
After a couple of days I should reduce the guides down to just the hose
barbs (don't panic, they're made of plastic and not sharp) and no
irrigation tubing sticking out.
Trek's stool continues to be how it should be and her urine no
longer smells like she has a raging UTI though I should have it checked
anyway. If she were prone to UTIs this would be a bummer as the
tradition foods to treat UTIs she wouldn't be able to have as they have
rice in them. Maybe we'll give her a cranberry tablet instead.
From a PerformanceCorgi's post:
I like to not judge someone by what they currently have, but to judge them for what they
are. Many people love their dogs for what they are and aren't "throw the dog away" if it
doesn't work out.
I've been learning that if things don't work the way you intended, they
often work in other ways that can be surprising and beneficial (one door
closes, another opens). I never thought I would be spending time on
herding except that Yoshi stresses (and lashes) out in agility, but he's
a brilliant (if head strong - he doesn't like to stop) herder, and he's
very sweet, loves people and is very easy to live with. The breeder
offered to take him back (knowing that I wanted an agility dog), but I
love him and I also know that I'm likely one of the best homes for him
as I see him as a training challenge and not a disappointment.
Moderate moderate moderate. Not too chesty, not too much bone, not oversized. The Pem
standard, that says what ought be optimal for the show ring, calls for moderate. Sadly,
one can't do anything about the judges's judging for extremes tho.
This is likely a showpem-l topic, but I'm not on that list and this is
the audience I want to talk with about it. Judges picking things that
are not good for performance drive me nuts and I'm not even a breeder.
Current breed ring fad is "long and low." The standard doesn't call for
that. It may be a way to get good shoulder angulation and that long
reaching gait that looks so nice and those are admirable goals, but not
with the price being a dog that can only trot around the show ring.
and Yoshi the herdsman and chew toy for Trek
and Trek agility trainee and house manager
[Yoshi's herding training continues and Trek surprises me by
giving a hoot about sheep.]
Trek first even though it's out of order.
During a break that I was giving Yoshi, on a whim I put Trek out in the
round pen with 3 mellow school sheep. I assured the sheep that
they will be fine and she probably won't acknowledge their
existence. For about the first 3 minutes that was true and she
spent the time investigating sheep poop on the other side of the
pen. I had no expectations at all and more was interested in
confirming what I had been told that she no longer cared about sheep
(started out ok then lost interest - fine with me she's an agility dog).
Then she looks up and sees the sheep and a switch flips.
BARK! Runs at them but does not scatter them but runs around them
gathering them. I sent her around again and she seemed to be
enjoying herself. Got her to go around the other way and then she
stopped beside me awaiting more instructions. Now stopping is
what Yoshi and I have been working on for weeks so this totally throws
me off. Once I recover, we all (sheep too) stroll around the pen
along the fence Trek minding the edges oh so nicely.
Later on I put her in again just to see if it was a fluke.
Nope. She did great. I could send her around in either
direction and she would stop and look to me rather than charging off on
own like you know who. Certainly less drive that Mr. Y, but
definitely more control. Linda keeps telling me that drive and
control aren't always opposites, but so far this has been my
experience. Cali had less drive than some agility fiends, but we
had way more control and often beat the fiends. I don't think
Trek cares much one way or the other about sheep, but has the skills
and likes working with me doing whatever we're doing.
Now Yoshi, since today is his day.
Pretty much the same issues. He thinks that he can do just fine
without me (though doesn't mind if I watch). And it's hard to
convince him as he's obviously right. Too bad we cant just skip
straight to the advanced levels with the change that he has to put the
sheep where he chooses. :)
Joyce thinks I should be tougher on him, but when she does the handling
he's obviously afraid of her and walks on eggshells and loses
drive. There has to be a way to do this without making him hate
it. One thing I started working on is taking him out with a long
line and having him stop and I continue walking and then I tell him to
"walk up." Of course he wants to run not walk, and I see that we should
first work on this concept away from sheep. Also I should think
in terms of sheep as a reward (Premack again).
The trick with many herding instructors is most of the methods they use
are coerion based since the dog is so driven to work sheep they'll put
up with whatever in order to do it. Yoshi is almost in this
category yet he also has this history of wanting to quit other things
when they get stressful and I can see glimmers of this.
Fortunately Joyce is open to other methods (more so that Debbie),
I feel a bit on my own about this (making stopping fun and rewarding),
I'll have to ask corgi herders about this. I really need to think
in terms of Premack. Stopping doesn't mean fun is over.
Stopping is a way to get the fun to continue. Sort of like we do
with the squirrels.
Have him on a long line in the round pen.
Let him race around some
Stand in the way and say "Yoshi Stop"
If he even just hesitates tell him: ok get to work
If he doesn't stop step on the line to make him stop,
then step off of it and say ok get to work.
Sat Apr 14
Moved the teeter back down and now I'm looking for a
replacement. Though it works great at half height and Terri is
making suggestions on how to fix (sort of) this one to make it safer.
Put the 11th and 12th pole on and she can do them but skips sometimes
and doesn't completely understand (on a muscle level) the weaving
motion yet and has slow down so I'll have to get partial guides on
these too. I put them in the middle (different places) of the
sequence so the beginning still has guides.
Fri Apr 13
Trek teeter full height and going faster and more confidently
through 10 poles with 1/4 guides on them.
The teeter is really iffy at full height so I should probably
replace it. Trek doesn't seem terribly bothered by it, but it
jumps out of the stand's track sometimes and that's just too
disconcerting for me so I'll put it back on the half height
stand. When I introduced her to it I guided it down a couple of
times but then she did it on her own a couple of times as well.
Thu Apr 12
I think I want to experiment with trying to free shape Yoshi
into holding the dumbell. He will retrieve it but spits it out
when he comes back. Holding onto things is not much in his soft
mouth nature, but he carries toys around from time to time so it is
Trek should either go on a walk or to the dog park., but first to Petco
to get more Old Mother Hubbard's bitz as Yoshi can have them and they
don't seem to affect Trek much either. Unfortunately I've noticed
that I can only give her a limited amount of them Venison treats.
Almost like she needs more starch to hold things together. :)
Wound up taking Trek on a walk working on loose leash she's
getting it - though still nearly trips me sometimes.)
With Yoshi we did a free shaping session with the dumbell.
He will now pick it up and hold it for a few milliseconds but we
clearly need to do many sessions of this and up the criteria
infintesimally and use pizza crust or toast as a high value reward (my
dogs are weird). Then we played with the box and I was clicking
him for putting his head in it and pushing it little (it has no
top so he doesn't feel like it's about to eat him).. He seemed to
enjoy himself and not stress about it. Trek was in the other room
indignantly barking, whining and getting her knickers in a horrible
twist. Terri finally couldn't take it any longer and crated
her. I wanted a dog that liked to work and boy do I have one.
Did something with Trek, but I can't remember exactly what. I do
know that we went out side and worked on the teeter and the poles, but
we also worked on stay on the table and that's vastly improved though
each time she has to test if stay still means stay today. I can
now move around some which didn't used to be the case.
Wed Apr 11
Yoshi obedience class.
While we were waiting for class to start we were waiting with other
dogs in the hallway. Because of the crowdedness I put his Calming
on and that mellowed him out.
Went over heeling, figure 8's, stand for exam, the dumbell, recalls,
broadjump. sit and down stays.
But the most startling thing was that after we had done our turn at the
broad jump, while others went, we went over into a corner that wasn't
being used. He laid down and eventually rolled on his back and
had me rub his tummy. He's relaxing and without the Calming
Cap! Trish said that there was research that relaxation was
self-rewarding - very cool. And there was activity
and noise going on at that time, it was not quiet at all. It
didn't last terribly long (5
min or so) before something made him jump up, but it was 5 min longer
than has ever happened before.
It's like he's starting to trust me.
The evening was not perfectly smooth - he started to snark at Ely a
GSD, but I headed it off before it ever started. And I made sure
I stood inbetween him and the terrier who is in the class before who
was doing sits and downs with us. I have him tethered for the
sits and downs but it seems to make him more comfortable if I own the
space inbetween him and other dogs he's worried about.
Moved Trek up to 10 weave poles.
Tues Apr 10
Much wrestling in the bed this morning. The pacing of
their wrestling is so fascinating to me They generally now read
each other about when to pause, but the pauses are very brief and that
seems to be ok. (xpl: pause, shake other one shakes - then more
Mon Apr 9
Trek - 8 poles going well.
She understands the No Reward Markers (NRM) - "nope" (meaning that's
not quite right - try again) I didn't mean to start using one as
its use is questionable, but it seemed pretty natural when she'd try to
skip a pole. I like "nope" as I always seem to say it in a mellow
voice. Once I make more guides I'll move it up to 10.
Teeter is going well. Not quite ready to move it up to full
Need to get Mark's runnel.
Sun Apr 8
Dogs coming with us to Terri's brother and sister-in-laws.
I belatedly find myself wishing I had a doggie diaper for Trek since
they have nice carpet. Guess we'll spend a lot of time on the
It went fine as we kept them in crates for the meal and we all spent a
lot of time outside.
Sat Apr 7
Trek - clicker game. Feet in a box
Fri Apr 6
Trek eye appt
[need to detail]
Yoshi doggle walk - not sure it helps but he does tolerate them though
occasionally sends them off kilter by rubbing his head on the ground.
Went to 8 poles and swapped out the guides for the shorter ones.
I'll leave the short guides in place until she's comfortable with
12. First tried going to 10 poles but that confused her so I took
it back to 8. For a while she was stopping at 6, until she
understood that she was to keep weaving.
Thu Apr 5
Intrigued with the success of the Calming Cap, I started
wondering if there were other ways I could limit his vision but still
have him walking on leash. Doggles immediately came to mind and
Dog Bone Alley carries them, so he now has a "small" pair. I put
them on him at lunch only briefly to see if he would accept them (he
will) and to see if I had the right size (I think I do.)
Now where to take him on his first doggles walk. Washington Park
comes to mind, but his own neighborhood is familiar to him, so that
might be better. Maybe just up and down the street initially.
Wed Apr 4
Trek's eye is much better since I stopped with the
Cyclosporine. I'm now just using OTC Genteal and some artifical
tears. I sent email to Dr. Friedman to let her know.
Took Yoshi to obedience class and the biggest news was not
specifically to do with class.
From an email I just sent to Trish King:
A "Calming Cap" is basically a semi blindfold that Trish King invented
(inspired by her brother who is a falconer)
Dogs who a conditioned to them often are less stressed.
If you live in the Bay Area you can get it at Marin Humane Society or
you can order it from Premier:
or you can also get it at Alameda's own Dog Bone Alley
Yoshi wears a medium Calming Cap as the small was too tight on him.
While I keep Yoshi's Calming Cap in his training bag I really haven't
put it to much use as I hadn't taken the time to really train him to
it. I put it on and take it off from time to time and sometimes
just leave it on for a short while but with it not covering his
eyes. So I was assuming that I needed to do more work with it on
him before using it in any serious matter.
Well. As it turned out I had him in his drop-in obedience class
and he and this other dog were being occasionally snarky with each
other and during a slow moment I found myself covering his eyes
which I do from time to time. It finally occurred to me that now
would be an excellent time to try the Calming Cap in a real
situation. So I put it on him expecting to have to take it off in
a minute or so when he started to paw and fuss with it. That
didn't happen. He settled down even though he could hear the
other dogs around him even to the point of lying down. It wasn't
100% as if there was any commotion he went instantly on alert, but it
was very easy to get him to settle again.
Those at Oakland DTC that evening were amazed (me included). I
made sure to tell them all where it came from and gave you full
credit. If you ever need a demo dog just let us know (though with
any luck this might be the key to get him to truly relax and then he
will hopefully be not nearly as impressive of a demo as it was
So what triggers him seems to be almost purely motion (well that and
terriers :) as when he was wearing the Calming Cap he wasn't afraid at
all. Such a hard wired herding dog - it's almost like he's a
victim of his own reactivity.
Thanks for being willing to follow through on a great idea.
Though it really does look like he's wearing his underwear on his head.
I'm pretty stoked. It was like I had a different dog when he had
the cap on.
The thing I'll have to watch out for is how is he when the cap comes
off. School of hard knocks has taught me that he has to be eased
into a situation or I get a displaced aggressive outburst.
Tue Apr 3
Someone on Performance Corgis was asking if you choose a dog
based on intensity and drive and accepted the issues that can go along
with that, or go with less drive but fewer temperament issues.
Liz immediately said "skip the issues" and I concuured. Wonder if
Linda will chime in that drive and temperament issues don't always go
hand in hand as her sweetest dog is Roc and he also has the most drive.
What I didn't say on list is something I struggle with myself and
wasn't sure I wanted to send to a list, but feel ok putting it
here. It's dealing with the heartbreak (if you will) of seeing a
very talented dog sidelined by his instability. Fortunately the
heartbreak is all mine as he can still herd (since it's fully fenced),
goes to obedience class, and plays agility in the backyard. But
the chaos of an agility trial is likely out for his competing in,
though going to them for training will be great for him if approached
carefully. Even obedience is currently out with the sits and
downs not being tethered. We'll have to see after several months
of obedience classes how he does. He seems to like having a job
again. What's funny is that I thought the precision of obedience
would be off putting to him since he tends to give up easily when
things get harder, but he also seems to revelle in knowing exactly what
to do which is such an obedience thing (and so atypical for a
corgi). I just have to keep it fun, and jackpot it every so often
with pizza crust. :)
Bonnie has been giving me a ton
of great food and nutritional info that I'll see if I can put here in
some abbreivated form.
While Trek and Yoshi run around
the yard a lot I think they need more systematic aerobic
exercise. Whole Dog Journal was saying that walks, while great
for socialization, weren't really good for exercise, but now that I
think about it, an in shape person taking a corgi on a brisk mile walk
most certainly is exercise. So I need to come up with a way that
I can give that to Yoshi (Trek will be easy). The only problem is
that they will benefit the most from being walked separately and I
don't realistically have time to walk both each day (though I've done
it before.) It would be easier if I didn't have to drive Yoshi to
a large park that has broad sightlines, but for now he still does
better with that. Another option is to walk him when there's low
dog traffic like at noon. (Think I'll try that right now.)
On days that Yoshi gets walked I can take Trek to the dogpark or just
take her for a socialization stroll down Park St.
[After his dog walk]
Well things started out not great as I had him in his martingale collar
and just as we were leaving a car pulled up near my house and I got
distracted watching it and then a dog across the street appeared and he
lunged against the collar. I said leave it and walked him a
couple of paces away onto a neighbor's yard and he turned and lunged
again. Repeated this a third time. He seemed determined not
to get it so the third time I had him by the scruff and swung him away
from the dog and I hung on. He settled then reluctantly but
immediately. I concluded that we needed the head control of the
Gentle Leader so we went back and got it. The rest of the walk
was blissfully uneventful, and despite the rocky start I think we
should make a regular habit of it.
Now it's Trek's turn. I had to work later so we just
played tug and fetch in the back yard. Her toy drive is good, but
in contexts where I've used treats (like on the teeter), she looks
around for the treats. One nice thing is that I can harrass her
into playing even when she's distracted. This is not the case
with Yoshi ,so it's a fun difference.
Mon Apr 2
Just heard from Bonnie who also has a dog with food
allegies/sensitivities (actually that dog has IBD which I'm hoping Trek
doesn't have). She had some good insights:
You can eliminate sucrose, that's
table sugar. The body doesn't
not make antibodies to sugars. It's the reason why it is so hard
make a vaccine against many virulent bacteria, since the bacteria
covered with a polysaccharide capsule (polysaccharide is multiple
simple sugar molecules strong together in a chain).
Brewer's yeast is a likely culprit, according to my holistic
When I told her I used Glycoflex she said the reason she doesn't
recommend it over Cosequin is that Glycoflex contains Brewer's yeast
and many dogs are allergic to Brewer's yeast. Could also be
the flours - Saffy is sensitive to rice.
Diane on corgi-l just mentioned http://dogfoodanalysis.com, which
even though it seems totally weird that they don't say who the heck
they are, their science and method seem dead on and helped me to
understand why Trek seems to need some EVO mix in with the California
They give the food 4 out of six stars (EVO is a 6, Yoshi's Wellness is
a 5) and the reason it's not higher is that, even though it's a good
quality food, when you remove the water (which you have to do to make
dry kibble) the herring content is much lower than it appears and they
would like to see a higher meat content, but that it's a good food for
dogs with (drum roll) food allergies. (And that would be Trek).
I may be thinking really hard about Trek and her relatively minor, but
persistent medical issues, but I was just commenting to Terri that I'd
take this any day over temperment issues. Yoshi takes more effort
(though it's getting easier with good management) and they kinda cost
the same in a way (Trek's expenses are medical, Yoshi's are specialized
training.) Though if I were to be stupid and keep putting Yoshi
in stressful, unfenced agility competitions right now the liability
exposure with Yoshi could be large if he were to hurt another
dog. (I couldn't live with that anyway - the only reason he was
at the corgi nationals agility is that they had a baby gated ring and
we only belated realized he could get through them (the little cur).
On a whim played some tug and fetch with Trek with the rabbit fur Riot
stick. I intro'd "take" and "tug" only belatedly realizing that's
more T words and her name starts with T as well. I guess take
should be "grab" and tug can be "pull" or "yank" or whatever. For
the moment it really doesn't need a cue I had her do the weaves
(after she blew by then thinking she was going to do a retrieve) and
then threw the toy and she was a little puzzled wondering where her
treat was. Clearly this is a new idea.
Then we when inside and worked on c/t for walking at my side (either
side) in the living room. She really wants to bound in front but
realizes that she only gets a click when beside me during this game so
falls back. The only issue is that I don't want her to be a
velcro dog (wish Yoshi was) so I'll need to keep doing lots of
exercises that send her away from me.
Mark says I can borrow his tunnel. Cool. It will help me
decide which type I want to get.
Sun Apr 1
Yoshi is going herding today but first...
Trek's stool has been doing much better during the last two weeks
I need to do a lengthy ingredient analysis.
Right now she gets (and has been for a while now)
California Natural Herring & Sweet Potato (1/2 cup)
and a handful of
Innova EVO Red Meat
Both are made by Natura Pet products who are completely unaffected by
the dog food debacle.
California Natural Ingredients
Herring, Barley, Oatmeal, Herring Meal, Herring Oil, Sweet Potato,
Sunflower Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor (I wish they'd say
what), various vitamins and minerals and I think probiotics.
Innova EVO RM
Beef, Beef Meal, Lamb Meal, Potatoes, Egg, Sunflower Oil, Buffalo,
Lamb, Venison, Beef Cartilage, Natural Flavors (there's that phrase
again), Herring Oil, Apples, Carrots, Garlic, Tomatoes, vitamins,
minerals, Cottage Cheese, Dries Chicory Root, Ascorbic Acid,
Lecithin, Rosemary Extract.
Things that aren't present are corn, wheat, and rice.
I've been giving her some of Yoshi Natural Balance Lamb (it's a food
but works well as treats) and her stool is loosening again (drat)
Natural Balance Lamb ingredients (suspects bolded)
Lamb, Lamb Hearts, Lamb Kidneys, Lamb Lungs, Whole Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Lamb Fat, Sucrose, Ground Whole Flaxseed,
Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Chloride (wait, that's salt), Sodium Phosphates, Brewer's Yeast, Dried Kelp Meal,
Lecithin, various vitamins and minerals.
The Wellness Venison treats work well (don't have an ingredient list at
The fish treats work well also, but they are crumbly.
Foods that didn't work were
We were transistioning to California Natural and I noticed that things
seemed to worsen as I faded the EVO,, so I kept a handful of it and
seems to be the best so far. I have another bag of EVO chicken
and I'll try that next with the California Natural.
- The Pedigree she came with (has lots of Corn in it, but also has Rice, Wheat Flour, Salt, and Brewer's Yeast. Not much meat
in it at all Chicken by-product meal)
- Yoshi's Wellness Lamb and Rice
- Straight Chicken and Rice
- Hill's I/D - (Water, Egg, Turkey, Rice, Corn, ...)
- Innova chicken (too rich, made her vomit)
- Innova EVO chicken (better but still a little loose stools)
- Innova EVO red meat (about the same, but seems to need something
Rice seems to be suspect #1 oddly enough (seems so innocuous) and there
are likely multiple sensitivities.
We graduated from the round pen to a larger PT pen! As I can get
him to stop (with effort). Yay! Of course I don't know what
I'm doing in there. Much comedy while Yoshi charges all around
with me chasing him, but after that espisode he was tired and much more
in control though I still was flailing about with Joyce calling out
rapid fire, rapidly changing directions. I was thinking that all
was hopeless when she said "You're almost to the corner!" (we were
working our way down the fence line with many hipcups along the
way). I was totally surprised and even more so when we were able
to limp along to the next corner. Wow. Yoshi is thrilled
and whipped. I got to have the experience of being completely
absorbed by and being impressed with watching my dog go fetch a sheep
to me only to realize that the thundering sheep with horns is headed
straight for me. Uh oh, I've seen something like this in a movie
(or was it a cartoon?). Fortunately the sheep blew right by me
and didn't run me over and Yoshi got to legally nip a sheep in the butt.
Afterwards I had Joyce go over the PT and Started patterns (and
strategies) of AKC and then she also showed me the much nicer AHBA
Started course. I honestly don't see us progressing competitively
beyond the Started level as the higher levels are much, much harder and
you pretty much have to have your own sheep to progress at those levels
(and they look pretty frustrating as the handler can't move around
nearly so much.
I like competing at the National level in agility, but I don't see that
happening in herding, and Yoshi doesn't care a whit about competing
anyway, he just wants the sheep.
Terri totally surprised me by saying she thought he should herd every
week instead of every other week. "You want us to be gone every
Sunday - you trying to get rid of me?" She said that no, it was
because it did him so much good and we were only gone for the afternoon
anyway. I said ok, but that I wanted her to come with us more
often and she said ok after she gets back from the Oklahoma trip that
she's taking with her mom to go see family.
It is cool seeing him succeed and succeed so well.
[back at home]
I had put the training bag on the floor and Trek managed to get it open
and run off with a toy. Turned out it was one of the Riot sticks with
rabbit fur on it. Given that I've had very little luck getting
any of my dogs to play with Riot sticks much less steal them, I was
thrilled and once I got it out of her crate, we played very
enthusiastically with it. She'll tug on it and she'll fetch it
though when coming back she always takes a detour into a crate, so I
started positioning myself by the crate so I could intercept it, play
tug and then toss it again. This is great as I was worried that
all she wanted was treats around the agility obstacles (which still may
be true - we'll have to see, but I'd love to use it for sends over
Trek's stool is looking good tonight.
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary
- Mar 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary
- Feb 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary
- Jan 2007
Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2006
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