Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - April 2008

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:
For the human's blog see: The Non-Dog Blog
Non-Dog Blog Table of Contents

Wed Apr 30
Did more work on retreives and take/give with both dogs.  Even Trek who's pretty motivated to work, still prefers to be cued.  I think I should keep cueing/prompting until the behavior becomes something she offers.  Strict shaping really slows things down sometimes.  I have this interesting problem.  Trek doesn't know she can sit and hold the "dumbell"  If she's holding the toy and I ask her to sit, she spits it out.  I'll have to try having her retrieve and me standing up.  Oh yeah I tried that, she stands.  Maybe if I work on come and front and then switch to retreive she might make the connection. Yoshi has the behavior just not in the context i want.  He'll site at the back door holding a ty to take out to the backyard, but he doesn't offer it for me.

Mon Apr 28
While watching a DVD, I worked with both dogs separately with a bone like soft toy that makes an excellent substitute for a dumbell.  The dog that wasn't working was watching from one of the living room crates.  They both did great and were keen to work.  Did retreives ("get it") and they brought it back and handed it to me.  Every so often I would hand it back to them "take" and they would hold it in their mouths (both did this funny little dance while they held it.)  If they dropped it I encouraged them to "pick it up" then I would say "give" and they released it into my hands.  Then we went back to retrieves, and continued to alternate.  They each had a blast.

I have been having trouble getting Trek to hold something I've given her, and getting Yoshi to "take" at all, so this was a good session that we'll have to continue.

Sun Apr 27
Yoshi Herding
AKC Pre-trial along the fence herding is driving me mad and I'm concerned that it's going to mess my dog's good instincts up and it's getting us into pointless arguments about not going inbetween the sheep and the fence, but instead do these 180 degree arcs instead of doing complete gathering 360s..  I finally had the revalation that I'm doing this for him and not AKC titles, and there are alternatives.  The American Herding Breeds Assoc. has herding trials and for the most part don't require herding along the fence and Joyce mostly does that style of herding anyway.  So I'm all for it learning what seems like real herding instead of the along the fence training wheels variety.

I want to ask the corgi herding group but have to think of a nicer way to phrase it as a lot of them do AKC herding.

Yoshi and i did have moderate success herding if you set aside the fence arguments.  It was hot and he tired out really easily.  At the end worked some on penning but he was already whipped and was content to watch me struggle with the sheep so we'll have to keep at that part.  The trick is to call him into the right place and make him stay which will keep the sheep from charging into the pen before I have a chance to get it open.  He was happy to sort of stay but not where I wanted him to be.

Trek went along to get her belly rubbed and not herd.

I did show both of them the geese (dog on leash).  Mild interest though Yoshi was way leary.

Here's my Corgiherders post:

Greetings Corgi Herders,

Do I get to admit how frustrated I am with the on the fence PT herding?  My dog is very talented at gathering sheep, so we get into pointless arguments about not going in between the sheep and the fence.  I'm concerned that I'm going to mess his great instincts up, so I'm likely going to switch to AHBA herding instead which doesn't have as much on the fence stuff.  (I do herding for him and our collective sanity, so I don't care whether he gets any more AKC herding titles.)

I'm just wondering what other people's experience is particularly from those who herd with both organizations.

Sat Apr 26
Easy day after yesterday, and with herding tomorrow.

Fri Apr 25
A full doggy day.  Today was Lori Drouin's once a month obedience class and agility later on.
The day did not start out well as one dog was crying in her crate and it set both Yoshi and I on edge.  After he lunged at the second dog I'd had enough and left with the thought of checking in later.

Then we went over to Pt Isabel and I had some breakfast at the great Sit Stay Cafe and then Yosh and I went on a leashed walk on the bike path wich goes along the park but is separated by a fence.  It has a pertect view of the park and we played a lot of LAT there.  What was really funny ad disconcerting is that while we were playing a woman came up and said "You must be Ellen."  Not exactly used to being recognized in public, but realizing that this must be a CU person I hadn't met yet, I laughed.  Turned out it was Leslie H. who I've exchanged email with in the past and who is a CU_Dogs_SF member.  It was great to put a (familiar from agility) face with a name, and we had a great talk.  She agreed that the bike path was a great place to take a CU dog on a walk as long as they didn't chase bikes.

Checked back in on Lori's class but we were out of treats by then and Yoshi needed a break, so we headed home, but found I was still frustrated about not being able to do any of Lori's classes (I take the day off for it).  I needed to do somethng with Trek anyway so I decided to take her to the Utility class and see if there was something basic she could do in it.  There was.  Basic scent discrimination.  Some other beginner dogs were there so she fit right in (she knows some signals, understands targets and knows to sit beside me.

Agility. Yoshi watching.
I've been discovering that if I'm shoving food at Yoshi, that he can tolerate dogs much closer to him.  The obvious point is what do you do when you don't have food, but the idea is that the dog builds positive associations with the presence of dogs (even approaching dogs) and that over time the food may not be as necessary.  Tried bones too, but he wasn't interested.

Agility. Trek.
(will fill in)

Thu Apr 24
Took Yoshi to Washington Park and it was very productive and informative.  I've resolved to stop pushing his boundaries so much and just keep him under threshold or right at his threshold.  As a result, we were much further away from the fence that we usually are (about 70' this time).  We found ourselves standing in the sort of cypress grove that is in betweeen the dog park and the road (called Westline).  From this distance he could watch dogs running around and be ok with it  It's funny, he's such a machine in a way.  If we decrease the distance, he stiffens, increase it and he relaxes.  Progress seems slow, but I have to remind myself that not long ago at a trial at the Petaluma Fairgrounds, the distance was initially more like 150'.

We started working on Open Bar just as soon as I opened the back and he was still in his crate as dogs were walking by.  As long as I was stuffing treats in his mouth he didn't seem to mind the dogs walking by about 30' away.  We then walked the circumference of the park and he started out very stiffly as we were by necessity still close to the fence but when we got up to the grove we could get further away and he relaxed.  I'm wondering if I should just park on the street beside the grove so we can skip the parking lot entirely unless we wanted to.  We could just hang out in the grove, the only gotcha is sometimes dogs are walked on the bike path that goes through there, but there's a lot of room to move around.  It will also be nice when the temporary fencing is down (I think they're reseeding a lot), and we won't be quite as cramped.

Finally finished the April 20th workshop Diary Entry (see below)

Wed Apr 23
Got brave and tried a dogwalk with Yoshi right after work which is prime time for seeing dogs, and is something we've been avoiding for a while now.  But we have more CU skills so I thought it was worth trying.  And I find out again it's all about predictableness and dogs approaching.  The walk went mostly without incident LAT lots of people scurrying about, until we got up to the corner of Central and Gibbons and I see a dog standing off leash in his front lawn while his owner does yard work.  The dog looks pretty under control so I edge Yoshi a little closer and we sit there and play LAT on the dog for a little while.  I then decided that instead of trying to pass the dog that we would just go the other way around the block.  We turn around and coming right at us are 3 on leash dogs.  Yoshi loses it and starts barking and trying to lunge.  I said something like "Great. we're stuck"  The initial off leash dog starts also barking, I get Yoshi under control and start feeding him which to his credit takes him mostly complete attention, the owner and the 3 dogs wisely cross the street and we watch them while Yoshi eats.  We then finally get to continue the alternate way around the block.

What should I have done different?  Well i should have kept looking around and when I saw the approaching dogs started feeding him right then.

Tue Apr 22
There was a gardener using a blower next door and Yoshi started barking at him.  Fortunately I had some bread in my pocket and was able to call him back and reward him with bits of it.  I then had two Corgi friends until the bread got put away.

He was able to LAT the gardener which was cool.  Though as soon as the bread disappeared he wanted to go back to gardener barking, but dropped it immediately when I called him.

Mon Apr 21
What a full and successful and informative CU Workshop weekend.   Sat and Sunday's entries are going to take a while to fill in.

Sun Apr 20
CU Workshop
Yoshi's workshop worked.  I'm really pleased.  The main organizational key was to double check anything that seemed remotely uncertain.  Having people confirm that they had received the confirmation caught several things and I didn't have to hear about not getting it after the fact.  Email was and is a huge time saver, but you had to assume that it was (and is) unreliable and that some folks weren't as fluent as others in using it.  Some may or may not understand attachments and that if someone said that they didn't receive it, it was faster to just send them another one rather than try to figure out if it really was sent.

This entire endeavor was inspired by my wanting to get Yoshi more CU instruction.  I was going to take him to Leslie McDevitt, but she told me about Kienan who now lives in S. Calif.  So then I had planned on taking him down to see her but before I did so he started to get pretty good at the Look At That game and I realized that I wasn't sure what I wanted to work on there, so I postponed it while I thought about it.

During that time Bay Area CU came up again on the CU_Dogs list and 4 people (including us) were discussing it and we were talking about a group road trip, I then started to wonder if it would be easier to just bring Kienan up here.  To get a gauge of interest I asked the Bay Team list if anyone was interested, and got a huge response.  Realizing that it was time to make this happen in the Bay Area, I decided to organize a workshop (and now there will be more).  All this just so I could get people to help train my dog.  It was some work, but mostly just keeping good track of things (I love email and google docs, and Yahoo groups) and running mental scenarios of how I wanted the day to look like, and a touch of graphic design skills for the flyer, confirmations (puttint a photo of facility helped a lot), checkin sheet and certificates.  A bit of laziness (some would call it working smart - it's kinda the same really :) helps as including lunch into the workshop price meant not having to manage lunch payments, and the biggest win was to have a food service manager who worked for the price of an audit entry, and dealt with all of the shopping for breakfast and snack items, making coffee and laying out goodies for the breaks (nice spread Eva!)

I found the caterer by using Google maps and using the find businesses option.  I had a map of Jump'n Java (credit Karey for reminding me that Anne's facility is really nice and Anne was happy to have us), clicked find businesses and entered caterer.  Three places came up and Marsh's Lunch Box stood out as the obvious choice.  Then the cell phone becomes very useful as at some point it's better to have a phone conversation and the cell phone meant that I didn't worry about long distance charges like one had to in the bad old days.  The cell phone was of course essential the day of when I could give last minute directions and coordiate with the caterer.

We also just had Kienan and Bryan stay with us rather than having to find a hotel for them.  I prefer having visitors as I love to talk with folks.  Having Kienan up here meant that we could then use Washington Park in Alameda for the privates.

The schedule for the day was
I introduced Kienan, then she added more and then we went around the room saying our names, our dog's names and what our issues were.  I introduced Yoshi as the reason we were all there on that particular day.  Many said thank you to him (from afar).

We had laid out a box with 2 10' ring gates on each side (20'x20': 8 ring gates total) and had each team go in the ring.  The first time in the handler gave no feed back or direction to the dog.  The second time in the handler could interact with the dog.  It was interesting to see which dogs were really stressed the first time but relaxed when someone was telling them what to do (Yoshi is solidly in this category), others you didn't see that much of a change, and some only showed subtle signs of stress.

Relaxation Protocol
We then got our mats out and massaged our dogs.  Yoshi started out ok with this but gradually started to stress out and worked himself into a nice little meltdown so I moved us all the way to the back of the reactive dogs section and I crated him there and covered the crate.  Guess what we get to work on?

Whiplash Turn
This game is all about name response.  Say the dogs name and they should be handsomely rewarded for turning to you.  the funny thing was that I've reschooled myself to click when Yoshi looks at something and it's hard to wait till he looks back after I say his name.

Look At That
This is totally Yoshi's game and he did great
 All that time at agility class playing LAT has really paid off.  He looked like a pro.  Holly even said "These dogs are too well behaved."  I laughed and said "Oh you know he's not."  I've written so much about LAT but the gist is that you click when your dog looks at something and s/he is supposed to turn back to you for a reward.  If your dog doesn't look back then s/he is over threshold and you need to back away from the trigger.

He's so happy when he has a job that he knows how to do.  Wonder if that will ever translate to agility.

Give Me a Break
A very intriguing and effective game, GMAB is about building drive to work by playing a fun game the dog knows and likes and then taking a break (you sit down in the box and ignore the dog.  When the dog looks at you, the game starts up again.  For Yoshi I got his foot target mousepad out.  I say "target" and he steps on it, I click and give him a treat (which gets him off the mat to reset.) we did this for a few times and then Kienan says to take a break.  I pick up the mouse pad and sat in the chair.  He looked up at me almost immediately and I should have started the game up again right then, but I ignored him and he started checking out the perimeter.  I finally called him back and started the game up again.  This time when we took a break I started it back up as soon as he checked in.  He seemed to catch on then as the next time we took a break he just stared at me.  I asked what to do and pretty much every single person in the room said "start!" so we did. A couple more times and we were done and he got it.  Cool.  Wonder if I can figure out a smooth way to integrate that with agility.

Parallel Games
We only had time to do the most basic incarnation of this game but it was still fascinating while being a very simple idea.  You have a line or two of ring gates. and the idea is to get the dogs used to having other dogs moving in a parallel direction to them.  Initially the dogs are walking on leash but they can be worked up to running and even towards each other.  Initially they're separated by ring gates but then you slowly start removing the gates while you're at one speed.  If you increase the speed (a criteria) you put the ring gates back (lowering the other criteria.

To start off with we at first had Yoahi two ring gates away from the other dog:



He was find with this.  Relaxed happy face.

Then Kienan had us go into the center lane


No more Mr Happy Face.  Cathy said that his face tightened into a pucker immediately.  Kienan had us go back to where we started and Mr Happy Face returned.  Interesting, will have to play with that more in the future.

And yes, we're planning another workshop. :)

Sat Apr 19
CU Private lessons at Washington Park.  Trek got to go as neutral CU-tester dog.
Happy Earth Day by the way.  This is a relevant comment.  What I didn't realize was that there was a huge Earth Day celebration at Washington Park and parking was pretty much all to hell.  Gladys the parking goddess (Gladys, Gladys, full of grace.  Help us find a parking place)  was with us however and we were able to find spots in the parking lot for Kienan and I and Marcia (first private) as well.  Eva and Kate weren't as lucky and they had to go to the pay lot and I escorted them back on foot to the small grass area by the tennis courts where we were having the privates.  Sarah came later but early and was able to wait for a spot to open up.

[more later]

Fri Apr 18
Agility Class.  I almost didn't bring Yoshi as Rachelle is starting a new beginner class but I decided to give it a try.  I kept him pretty far away from the action so he did well.  I'm really getting tuned into where his threshold are and how easy it is for me to tell now if he's over threshold and we back another 10'-15' off and then he is able to play CU games like LAT, even on the wire haired terriers.

Also had a couple of times where a dog would start walking right at us and we immediately turned and walked quickly away (laterally) before Mr. Y. could react.  He used to pull to try to get at the dog, but tonight he was happy to just come along with me.  I'm thrilled about this.

Another thing is that at lunch yesterday we were able to see a squirrel 10' away on a tree.  The squirrel was only 5' off the ground and looking right at us.  He was even able to play LAT on the squirrel.

Trek is back in class and doing well.  At some point in time I need to practice lateral lead outs as she instead wants to come straight to me, and her send to a tunnel sometimes works great and other times doesn't work well.  I think I want to work more on her toy drive though she was willing to play a fair bit with the rabbit fur tug and treat, and was much more enthusiastic about it when I rolled it up and made it easier for her to carry.

Thu Apr 17
Leslie McDevitt posted some excellent advice to a local woman with a reactive Papillon, and in one line she wrote about how some dogs don't realize that they have other choices rather than fearfully react.  That line struck home to me.  That's absolutely it for Yoshi.  He doesn't know that he can do other things besides bluster at unknown dogs.  That hadn't quite sank in (ok it was starting to.)  All this time I've been trying to give him what he wants in order to ease his anxiety (hence the impossible campaign to meet every dog on the planet,) but if he doesn't even know the best way to cope then just giving him what he thinks he wants isn't going to help.

I took him on a short walk at lunch and was pondering all this.  More than anything, he needs to gradually learn that he is safe. Most every time he has attacked a dog it's because he didn't feel safe. The more he thinks he is safe the more relaxed he'll be and the less of a danger to others (and himself) he'll be.   I hardly dare hope this is possible, but he's already more relaxed out on walks and at class.  One thing that's helped is to be less reactive myself as the calmer I am the better Yoshi is. (Sharon F. and I have had to basically agree to disagree on this.)  If he starts to bark at a dog, my response can calm him (Calmly call him and walk the other way or carry him.)  i used to correct him, but over time that doesn't seem to have had much effect and the calm approach is definitely having an impact.

I'm so impressed that Leslie McDevitt came up with the Control Unleashed approach.  Working with a dog gradually and under threshold closely parallels what is done with humans and phobias/anxieties.  Leslie deals with anxiety issues herself and I wonder if someone who wasn't in that position would have come up with this at all.  Trish King is the closest.  She spends a lot of time teaching aggressive dogs how to relax on tie downs (similar to Leslie's mat work).

Yoshi has been nausiated by the worming/giardia medication and he threw up on the bed again.  I've had it with torturing him, so I'm stopping giving it to him.  Terri said that he only has one more day and I thought that makes it even easier to stop.  Trek finished tonight.  It's so unusual to see Yoshi throwing up as he has a real iron gut.  Given that if he had giardia at all it was just a touch of it, and his poop has been looking fine.  Trek's has been looking better than it was just still loose.

Worked with Trek some on basics (sit down stay) to see if I could get them from a distance.  Down works from a distance but sit doesn't.  I've never been entirely happy with the sit signal (palm up and raising) but I have yet to come up with something better.  Maybe I should have my hand to the side more.  Will go try that now.

It worked great with both dogs.  Trek first and then Yoshi.  I'm using my left hand slightly to the side so it's easier for them to see.  they don't have to work as hard to figure it out.

Earlier Trek and I also worked on left and right.  She's got it (they both do).  If I can get Yoshi to relax around other dogs then he may be able to tolerate Novice level sits and downs, but I think it will be a long time before my nerves could handle it.  He has all of the novice skills (stand if a little iffy but that's fixable) and a number of the open ones (though he's iffy on the dumbell.)

Wed Apr 16
The countdown to the workshop is happening.  Some drama about a participant's daughter having her baby early and her having to fly to S. Calif, but I found another person to take her place.   All but two participants have confirmed that they received the confirmation and directions. The caterer is all set.  I have all the stuff I think I need.  So what am I forgetting?  Maybe i should make some business cards for myself though I don't train professionally. Maybe I should say "Barter-based dog training and behavioral consulting" since I don't want an income from it (at least yet - too much paperwork and responsibility.). Honestly even that sounds like too much work right now. :)

Tue Apr 15
Ironing out the CU Workshop details...

Both dogs let me do their nails without too much complaint.  Yoshi didn't even squirm that much.  I'm thinking that I should get hair clippers again (or find a new battery for these really old ones) as Yosh would tolerate that better than safety scissors for trimming the fur in between his pads.

Mon Apr 14
Heard back from the caterer and she has received my final head count of 45.  Though she can't seem to find my original application.  Fortunately I save most everything related to this workshop so I sent her my copy of it.

Trek seems to be improving and we're no longer crating her during the day which i'm hoping we don't regret.  We have bifriendly tonight so we should probably crate her for that.

Sun Apr 13
Got a hold of Kienan and we wrote out the outline.  It am getting a couple of CPDTs involved since their the one's that need the CEUs.  I sent them all the documents and hopefully they can take it from there.  Also wrote out a brief bio of Kienan.

I did get a couple of workshop cancellations so I am working down my alternates list.  This is making some people very happy.

Took both dogs on separate walks.  Yoshi didn't see any dogs mostly due to my manipulating things so he didn't see them, but he did see lots of whizzing around humans.  Given i usually don't walk him in our neighborhood (or along streets at all since they're narrow) I figured I'd break him in easy.  Worked on name response with him.  Say his name and click him the instant he starts to turn his head.

Trek is starting to volunteer heeling (I've been reinforcing the position a lot), so i started to work the word "heel" into the action.  She actually could learn to be quite a good obedience dog if I wanted her to be one.

Sat Apr 12
Blew off gym class to work on a Certificate of Completion for the CU Workshop.  It looks good.
Still need to do the outline.

Fri Apr 11
Trek who even under close supervision managed to contract giardia (she's had diarrhea for a couple of days.)  Probably from eating cat poop buried in the yard.  Anyway we just got the diagnosis and she's starting treatment tonight so she's not going to class as she's still contagious.  I did take Yoshi to watch as he's not showing any symptoms (though he gets treated for it too just to be sure.)

Yoshi watching agility class and practicing agility.  So we started out typically with Yoshi watching class, but the white terrier was there watching so I experimented with letting him watch the terrier from about 20 feet (we worked up to that from 50).  I had also brought a crate like last week. but there was a handy wire crate there so I put him in that and could easily feed him that way and he had a clearer view than from the soft crate so it was sort of like taking Look At That to a slightly higher level  It worked well enough that I'm wondering if I should get a wire crate for his training though I dislike how heavy they are.

Then it was time for Trek's class so I decided to have him watch a little of that one.  But first in between classes I had him do a little agility at the far end of the upper field.  I had him do the dogwalk then tunnel and a series of jumps and integrated the tunnel into the sequence with the jumps.  He sends beautifully. I can send him 15 feet to the tunnel.  But after a few times the noise of the class coming in started to distract him and we stopped.

While the class started in the lower field we watched from the other side of the chain link gate.  He did quite well except for Ziggy the husky who's a little reactive herself and wants to charge up to any dog (though not aggressively) We move.  He's reacted to her before and he did when she suddenly appeared in his vision.  He was barking and trying to lunge as I dragged him away (and I think Ziggy was doing something as well.)  We move further up the hill and worked our way back down.  He was able to watch Ziggy with us about 20 feet from the gate.

Rachelle was kind enough to offer letting Yoshi run the lower field course that the class was working on but I declined since he was still uncomfortable about Ziggy and a couple of small fluffy dogs there.

I'm working on this game with him that I've done some and want to elaborate on.  I carry him and turn so that we both can see the dog.  Let him look at the dog for a few seconds, and then pivot so he's looking away (I do have to keep pivoting as he tries initially to turn back, but he no longer struggles to do so as he used to.  It's kind of an intro LAT as I'm the one who's controlling the looking, but it's a way that I can get him closer without him going over threshold and he gets reassurance by being up higher and being held by a calm person.  He was able to succeed at this.

When the class moved up to the upper field   Yoshi and I moved down to the lower field and worked the course there (chain link fence closed).  He did fine until we would try to run by the gate and he would stop to bark.  The interesting thing is that I was able to call him off of that and return to work just like he can in herding.  This happened a couple of times and then he was able to work past the gate.  He didn't totally relax, but he seems to be less stressed about it than he had been.  Once again, if agility was fully fenced like herding is, he could do it, but not in its current incarnation, and he has quite a ways to go before I would trust him in a class again (though WAG is 3/4 fenced and in Southern Calif they put up fencing).  But regardless if he ever competes in agility (not likely) the training is great for him and getting him to the point where he could handle competition is a good goal regardless of if he ever is entered in a trial.

Wed Apr 9
Bike Bait for Malinois's.  I had offered to our local CU list that I was happy to play skate or bike bait for motion reactive CU dogs, and Tasha took me up on the offer for Calli her Malinois.  Since we both go to Oakland DTC we decided to meet there.  I had just gotten my bike back from the shop so I had my bike with me which was way better than a skateboard in that old parking lot where the club is located.  Calli did great as I repeatedly wizzed by her.  She would play LAT with Tasha.  Look at me, and looked back at Tasha for a reward.  The only thing that went awry is that she'd been a good dog for many minutes and couldn't resist grabbing my pants leg (inhibited bite) as I was moving very slowly near her.  It's was a classic Malinois "I should be a police dog and I must control you" grab and I could see it was totally instinctual and she released immediately.  Tasha worries about it (as not everyone is going to realize that it was an inhibited bite, as it very much was a bite), but I think she's getting a handle on it.  And I'm thinking that I might want to wear heavier pants for this - though I had the forethought to not be wearing tights (eek :).

ODTC for Yoshi.  I had Yoshi do the first part of the obedience class at ODTC.This time I tried something more CU like.  I brought in an ex-pen and a mat and had him do sits and downs on a mat in the expen.  Wow, what a difference.  He didn't growl or react during that entire time and I was able to get some distance between him and I.  I also had him do heeling and then  figure 8's.  The figure 8's were with LizAnn and her large GSD Quinn (who has been reactive as well).  They all did great.  I then gave him a break when they were working on more advanced exercises. 

He did react once to an unfamiliar Golden who walked right at him, but I just held him firmly with his head turned away and he settled down.  Then I put him in a wire crate that they have in the side room and he chilled out for a while.

Another unplanned really cool thing is that Yoshi and Calli are getting along and they used to grouse at each other (Well, Yoshi would grouse at her, and she would stress bark).  They actually seemed to enjoy each other's company though they didn't meet until the end of class so they had a while to watch each other.  LizAnn asked if they were friends.  i was very happily surprised by that comment.  In response all I could do was laugh as I was a little short of words at that second.  While Yoshi is not as relaxed there as he is at herding he is noticibly more relaxed there than he used to be.

Mon Apr 7
Cathy and her dogs over to watch a DVD.  Rather than ask anything of Yoshi I just had both dogs rest in their crates and they did fabulous.  I was able to do the walk to the door and touch the doorknow, then unlock the door, then open the door (all in stages) without any of the dogs getting upset (including Cathy's dogs.)  I was also even able to drop something on the floor and they were ok. Yoshi even had his head down most of the time.  Cathy says that it's the most relaxed she's ever seen him.  I started out the evening feeding him treats, but stopped after a while so I could watch the film.  Without treats he was actually able to get more rest.  We did have Jesse out of her crate and on the sofa and he was fine with that.  I did leave Trek in her crate as she is a trigger for Yoshi.

I need to work on training the doorbell routine as it takes Yoshi some convincing to come away from the door and go to his crate.

Tomorrow at noon I'm going to be doing another clicker lesson with Diane and Petal - that should be fun.

I'm also going to take Yoshi to class at ODTC and we're going to go early at 7:15 so I can play skate bait with a skateboard for Callie, Tasha's reactive Malinois.    That also should be rather exciting.  I kinda hope that Hazel isn't doing a class at that time so we don't distract any dogs there.

Sun Apr 6
Herding with Yoshi.  He's getting it!  We're actually doing herding now, and I didn't have to start him in the round pen to get him tired.  Good thing as he's whipped and completely exhausted.  I'm going to have to find a way to do daily walks to keep him in better aerobic shape but that don't set back his training.  I'm not buying him a treadmill.  He'd probably be afraid of it anyway.

He needs a lot of work on stay with sheep around.  That part is really hard and it's required for us to get penning right (part of the PT test).  He has to stop and stay and hold the sheep back while I walk to the gate.  If he doesn't hold them back them they force their way into the pen as it's where they want to be.  this is what we'll be working on a lot for the next few times.  If we can get the penning down and have the herding be a little smoother (it's kinda herky jerky right now) he'll be ready for a trial.

Fri Apr 4
I've been thinking about how Leslie uses a barrier like ring gates or ex-pens so that the dog can work safely offleash.  I'm wondering if an expen might be a good way that Yoshi can learn to do sits and downs off leash again.

Agility tonight.  I'm going to bring a soft crate and see if Yoshi feels more comfortable in there.  Even last week in an expen he was still pretty vigilant.

Both dogs did very well in their respective roles.  When I walked in with the crate (and no dog in tow yet) the first thing I saw was a Bouvier that Yoshi had never seen before.  Oh this should be fun - a dog that looks like a sheep.  I went up to the upper field and set up the crate on the top of the embankment so he could have some space from the other dogs and be up higher.  This worked out really well.  The terrier was there too but stayed in the lower field.  It's funny but while Yoshi did ok with the Bouvier, he was a little growly when the terrier came into view.  The he was perfectly happy to play LAT from the crate.   Over time when he seemed more settled I brought him out and we played LAT on leash and he wasn't stress panting like Leslie observed he was doing in his earlier video.  Once in a while he would start the jump up appeasing behavior or panting, and then I backed him off some and we did something else like heeling, or targeting, or running to his crate.  We never went very close to the Bouv but we were within 20 feet and he seemed ok.  After their class was over, I had Yoshi do a few obstacles and he did well though was still worrying about noises so we didn't do very much.  I didn't have him interact with any of the dogs and he didn't seem to miss it this time.  He's an odd duck that way.  He stresses about dogs, yet he is very doggy and often wants to meet dogs.

Trek was really rocking the agility house tonight.  She was very fast and responsive and loved playing with her rabbit fur toy.  Her speed had her blasting out of a tunnel so fast that she didn't notice me calling her for a sharper turn (and I was deliberately calling her early), I actually had to wave my hands to get her to notice when we repeated it.  This is one of those things that will come with experience as she gets used to actually looking while going fast.  I do need to remember to not say tunnel tunnel tunnel as she looks up if I do that thinking that I'm calling her off of the tunnel.

Thu Apr 3
Roll your own Relaxation Protocol
Well I was going to do a bunch of the Relaxation Protocol but got distracted with watching The Bourne Ultimatum (Terri is taking credit for this but I think it's a little unfair to blame her for my own choices fun as it would be.)  During the film I put him in his LR crate (door closed) and he relaxed while we watched.  During the long chase at the end there was so much excitment it seemed like a perfect opportunity so I crated both dogs and I started to wander around the living room.  Once they got used to that I walked over and touched the from doorknob and then walked away.  Their eyes were intensely on me, but the didn't bark.  I repeated the walk over and touch the doorknob for at least six times (likely more), during a very noisy car chase.  Then when I walked over I unlatched the deadbolt which has a very distinctive sound that they almost always bark at.  No barking.  Repeated that a bunch of times  When they seemed ok with that, I actually opened the door.  Amazingly no barking though both very alert.  I closed the door and walked away.  By this time the film had ended and then the very catchy theme song came on so I incorporated dancing around the living room as well.  (Oddly the RP doesn't talk about dancing which seems like an oversight).  I worked up to dancing around the room till I got to the door and opened it and walked outside even saying hello.  No barking though Trek did growl a little when I was outside.  One thing that helped was that Terri was on the sofa looking unconcerned.

I may start doing more outlandish things with the crate doors shut and then see if I can do a milder version with the crate doors open.

Earlier in the day, I sent this question to the CU lists:

Greetings CU folks,

I'm hoping to get Yoshi through the Relaxation Protocol (located in the
Files section of either CU group) before Kienan's CU Workshop here in
the SF Bay Area on April 20th, and we're up to Day 4 and will probably
proceed rapidly until Day 9 or so (he's had more than a year of
competitive obedience training so even though RP isn't a stay exercise,
it's pretty familiar stuff to him.) Come Day 10 things will get
interesting as at that point the RP starts to incorporated knocking on
walls, and Day 11 the doorbell gets rung, which brings up a question for me.

When the door bell rings, I want my dogs to bark, not relax. I
currently have canine pandemonium and I'd rather not have that, but what
I want is a few barks and then they should charge into their living room
crates. So how should I modify the RP to incorporate that? Should I
delete the doorbell entirely from the RP or work on training the
behavior I want at the same time as working on RP?

Ellen Clary
and Corgis Yoshi and Trek

General gist was to just delete the doorbell and work on the special doorbell behavior separately.  Wendy even suggested using a remote wireless doorbell in your hand (not yet attached to the door).

Wed Apr 2
Leslie on the CU_Dogs list was telling someone else that they really needed to do foundation work before trying LAT around other dogs.  Guilty as not charged.  I went ahead and went straight to LAT as I wanted us to get good at one specific skill since there are so many presented in the book and I was a bit daunted so it was more as a way to prove to myself that we could do it.  It was also clear that that game was going to make a huge difference (and it sure has).

But it's time for us to go back and fill in some of the gaps and I can probably get him through most of Karen Overall's (15 day) Relaxation Protocol (ref1, ref2) before the workshop.  We had done Day 1 previously and he did very well at it.  so we started at Day 2, but are using an open door soft crate.  There were a couple of things I was wondering if he was going to have trouble with like jogging in place and then jogging backwards, but he was great at it and really wanted to keep working so we did Day 3 as well.  The walking halfway around he was at first wondering if he should move but quickly caught on that the idea was to stay put (especially since he only gets the treat if he's all the way inside the crate.  He does pop up a lot from a down to a sit, but since it's not a stay exercise I don't worry about it.  He is way attentive instead of relaxed, but he's happy so I'm not too concerned yet.

Day 4 shouldn't been too bad.  Day 5 has you walking over to touch doorknobs.  Day 6 has you actually go through a doorway and disappear for a few seconds which is more challenging.  Day 7 has you opening doors which will be hard I think (we'll use the door from the LR to the kitchen.  The really tough part will be door knocking and doorbells (later on).

Most of the other basic skills such as Go to place/mat/crate, Leave it, and name response (she called it whiplash turn) he's pretty good at under non-stressful circumstances, so we'll just work through the RP as it will be good for him.

For fun I also did Day 1 with Trek and a mat.  She had a lot of fun, totally not relaxed but having a great time thumping down on the mat.

Archive - Go to:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2008
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Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2007
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