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 treats.
- [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:
Hello Ellen:

I need a two or three paragraph summary of the case
to transmit to Brenda please.


Hi Arie,

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 on
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 meal.

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 contact.
- 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 Sunday)

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 around dogs.

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 bread sticks.

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 mine:

Taryn_Tipton wrote:

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 gradually.

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 so 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 can they?  (That would just be too easy.)

Of course Yoshi just wants pizza crust (his fav.)

Ellen Clary
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 bug. 

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:
Liz wrote:

>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.

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi the herdsman and chew toy for Trek
and Trek agility trainee and house manager

Sun Apr 15
[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 her 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 possible.

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 Cap 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 play)

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 height yet.

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 kitchen floor..

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.

Hi Trish,

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 tonight.  :)

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 to make a vaccine against many virulent bacteria, since the bacteria are 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 vet.  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 either of 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 Natural
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, probiotics, 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 hand).

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 that seems to be the best so far.  I have another bag of EVO chicken and I'll try that next with the California Natural.

Rice seems to be suspect #1 oddly enough (seems so innocuous) and there are likely multiple sensitivities.

Yoshi Herding
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 jumps.

Trek's stool is looking good tonight.

Go to:

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
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2006
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Yoshi Training Diary - Sep 2006
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Yoshi Training Diary - July 2006
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