Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - April 2009

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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

Wed Apr 29
Yoshi Advanced Rally class at ODTC
I go in first to scan the room and I see a room full of dogs that in the past have made him seeth including a husky who stares.  Oh this should be fun.  At least there's a Berner that he should be ok with.  I'll just have to work to keep a distance between him and the other dogs and help him through the transistion time when the Novice/Open class comes in.

I brought him in after all the other dogs were in and tethered to the wall.  I ignore the teethering and keep him with me.  Hazel explains inexpensive ways you can make Advanced and Excellent level Rally equipment.  The Husky starts whining and her owner goes to get her and I take Yoshi way off to the side (this is going to be a shell game I can tell.)  Yoshi has not made any sound and the Husky settles.

We work on body awareness by backing through chutes.  The idea is to get straight fronts  She also has the dogs walk through a ladder that is on the floor.  Then she intro'ed jumping and we let them work through that and then I have her move the baby gates beside the jump so I could send Yoshi over a few times on leash.  The criteria that I'm going to use for this class is that he stays attached to me in some form all the time.

He did fine save for one outburst at the end when she excused the class and everyone started to move (thus out of control in his mind.  He did bark at Callie the Mallenois who was in the next class but recovered.  I was standing with him over near the door but something in my mind made me move (I think I wanted to get more treats.) and just as soon as I got across the room there was a small comotion at the door as one of the Goldens and Areil had brief words (not sure why - it was pretty unusual).  I was just glad that I moved as Yoshi didn't make a sound though he sure watched (and he was rewarded for it.)

Did sits and downs with the Novice/Open class and I took him out when Hazel had them return to their dogs as I wanted to avoid that transition time.  That strategy worked great. 

Tue Apr 28
Yoshi walk.  No dogs.
Posing CU Streetwalking to our local CU list and there's interest.

Sun Apr 26
Trek Agility. SMART USDAA trial, Prunedale, CA
The teeter issue is back but in general she ran pretty well.

And she got her first Gamblers Q.

A video of the Standard and Gamblers runs is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baoVbF0yEig

Runs that she had were:
P1 Standard
P1 Gamblers
Performance National Standard (Grand Prix qualifier)
P1 Snooker

Standard was rocky but mostly because she wanted to run around being silly and wanted to go bounding on her table (thus flew by the A-Frame the first time.)  She didn't want to do the teeter in either this run or the PNS one which concerns me but I'm resolving not to worry about it save for practicing it where ever we can.  The bummer about being in Novice is the 4-paw safety rule which says that if a dog gets on a piece of contact equipment and bails off that you have to go on (you can't put them back on or you'll get whistled off), in PNS I could put her on multiple times till it became clear she wouldn't do it so we then moved on but at least I got a couple of other chances.  This can make a difference - at the USDAA Snooker last trial  I was able to put her back on then and it got us a Q.  I'll have to look up when the 4 paw rule stops applying.  I'm hoping it's just for Starters/P1.  Of course the issue is that I have to get through P1 Standard so it really doesn't matter, we have to have a teeter.

The Gamblers course was fun.  It was a pretty easy carry out to the chute but some baby dogs won't carry out to a chute, though 4 of the 5 novice dogs did.  I was just running to Q so I only did an opening geared to be in exactly the right place rather than out to get lots of points so we got 4th and I've never been more proud of a 4th.  What a good doggy.

The PNS run was less of a disaster than the last time mostly because we didn't have to run over there.  But the stress level over there is higher and the course is higher and while I can concentrate on relaxing, I can't hide all of my stress, and she notices.

The run actually started out much better than I feared.  Tire, jump and then move laterally left for the weave poles.  She got them all and I was very happy with her.  We actually got past the second obstacle with out E'ing.  Wa-hoo.The rest of the course is a blur so I'll have to consult a course map.  We did have multiple conversations about the teeter, with me finally giving up and then her charging through a chute (she loves that obstacle - I deliberately didn't teach it to her till last to see how long it would take her to learn it - it did take some effort but once she got it she became nuts about it.), but she charges with such enthusiasm that she completely blew by the next obstacle and then went another 15' down and took a tunnel.  Wow wish that was a gamble.  Anyway she came back and we muddled through the rest of the course.

This does bring up.  Debbie is encouraging us to try ASCA as they use old style NADAC rules and have very wide open courses which is great for building speed.  I worry about losing control, but honestly at this point it might be really good for her confidence.  We'll be doing Bayteam on Sat and that will be our last PNS qualifier as baby dog is clearly overfaced on masters courses, and I need to let go of the USDAA Nationals pipe dream for this year.  The lower level CPE courses seem pretty open as well, and of course NADAC itself.

Then it was time for pupsters nap and she really wanted it in HER CRATE in HER CAR where it's nice and quiet.  Good thing the temperature was ok.  I am going to have to research how to keep cars cool.

She did wake up enough for a sleepy, lazy, Snooker Q, but we'll take it.

From a coltsrunkids post:
>  Nice job Ellen.  Was this her first USDAA trial?

No. it's her 3rd.

1st Trial
2 jumpers Q's, allergic to contacts

[retrained teeter over winter]

2nd Trial 3 weeks ago
1 Std Q
1 Snooker Q
1 jumpers Q (title!)
1 hilariously bad Grand Prix qualifier (Master's level rules)
1 additional jumpers Q
1 4 obstacle snooker course where she ran by 3 obstacles and I took her
off out of mercy
1 I'm-tired-and-I-want-to-go-back-to-MY-CRATE-in-MY-CAR temper tantrum
1 scratched Gamblers run
1 slightly less disastrous Standard run with 2 jump run bys. I could
have nursed her through the course, but I was also tired and didn't
realize she missed a jump and was flat footed when she blew by another
and then back jumped

1 resolution to just do single days for a while until Baby Dog gets used
to things and if at all possible give her nap times in the car.

3rd trial (one day)
1 Rocky Std run (on video)
1 Gamblers Q (on video)
1 slightly less bad Grand Prix qualifier (she's clearly over faced so
after next week I will put down the Grand Prix dream for this year)
(I had the good sense not to bother taping this one, though I fear a
professional service did)
1 lengthy nap in the car crate
1 slow wakey-wakey Snooker Q that fortunately lacked a teeter

and from a frapfest post:
Diane wrote:
> Great video, Ellen. I love to watch the two of you work. (I love to watch
> you and the Yosh Monster work too, but Trek is such a sweetie! I can't
> imagine her sending a herd of sheep to run you down. Of course, I
> may be missing signs of obsession here that could lead eventually to
> Trek Monsterhood.)

Trek on sheep is hilarious. She's been on sheep 6 times. 3 by the
breeder, 3 by me. Allegedly, she did fine the first time, ok the second
and decidedly not ok the third. My experience of her on sheep is. go
around the sheep perfectly twice, ask her for a change of direction, she
goes around perfectly the other way twice, then checks her watch and
asks if we're done yet. She is now consistent enough on this behavior
that I was able to demo it to Terri and my amused herding instructor.

I put her on sheep more than once just to make sure I wasn't depriving
her of something. Since she will come along with me I could likely get
her through the herding HT, PT test levels if I wanted to, but if she
doesn't LOVE it then what's the point? My instructor says if I wanted
to herd with her it would take a lot of short sessions and rewards -
I'll pass.

She's very much: These things are kinda weird and smelly. Can't we hire
someone to do this - like say Yoshi?

Trek does have her obsession: belly rubs
She'll wear you out nagging you to pet her belly. Funny and charming
for a while, then can get tiring. Really annoying other times (I called
her some unkind words the time she woke me up to put her belly - she
didn't get it). but rarely hazardous save for a repetitive petting
injury to your hands.


Sat Apr 25
Yoshi herding.  Things were going about the same with the usual arguments about sitting when I asked and HTrainer3 telling me that I had to run to stay up with the sheep.  We took a break and for the 2nd run she put us in the larger pen and were going to try the walking around away from the stock, but Yoshi engaged the stock early and things were going along in erratic fashion, when a sheep broke away, Yoshi charged after it,and the sheep wound up plowing into the fence.  Though the sheep was just stunned it rattled both Yoshi and I.  Marion put us on other sheep to work on outruns, but things just weren't working smoothly and I finally stopped things. 

While sitting out in the car thinking, what could have happened started to sink in, and, deeply shook, I decided that I wanted HTrainer3 to handle him for the trial level (leaving the PT level for Yoshi and I to work on later).  Having two amateurs in the ring at one time was one too many and just too hazardous.  The sheep in question is a medium sheep that is too heavy for the light open field sheep and has recently been added to the school sheep.  I told HTrainer3 my decision and she's ok with it and showed me a treat throwing game that involves throwing a treat and them having them sit. This all sounds very familiar but we can always use the practice.
Fri Apr 24
For a long time now I've been trying various herbal supplements with mixed success.  One I have works, but knocks him out, the other I have only lasts for 2-3 hours, so I've been searching for something in the middle preferably something he could have every day, instead of situational.

What prompted this is that for at least 2 years it's been clear that Yoshi knows he'll be rewarded if he can maintain and not react.  When he does react you can almost see an almost cartoonish way of him trying to settle himself down so he can earn a reward.  These days his reactiveness is a hardwired, motion triggered, biological imperative and it was clear that some sort of medicinal help would be appropriate.  I did try two different medications on him, but they made his reactiveness worse and I was very hesitant to take the step of having UC Davis put him on heavier duty calming meds (he does herding and I want that talent in the arena).  The first time I tried an herbal calming supplement (that wasn't Rescue Remedy or other Bach Flower essences which was a big zero) I noticed some improvement and that indicated to me that an herbal supplement ("plant medicine" as my supportive vet likes to point out.)  So I had our holistic vet office take another pass at coming up with something.

Dr Williams suggested
 - change his food away from lamb (big win there - though I seem to be able to give him lamb treats - just for completeness we're going to switch flavors.)
Add supplements
 - L-Theonine (has an effect)
 - Standard Process Adrenal Support (no noticeable difference - tried two different time periods)
 - Salmon Oil (no noticeable effect but good for his health)

That regime helps but he still struggled so I've kept searching.

I ordered some Genesis Canine Anxiety & Stress Formula after reading multiple good reviews of it from people with the same dog issues.  After two weeks it seemed to have some effect, but adding back the L-theonine seemed a good idea and that made a difference with in a day, and now it's been nearly 3 weeks and he seems more at ease in the world.  He's not perfect and needs to be reminded of the appropriate response, but it's much easier for him to respond in a way that I (and everyone else) like.  Today I had him in Lori's utility class (you have much better odds of utility dogs being stable, in case your CU dog temporarily loses it - make sure your instructor knows your dog and at least has some familiarity with CU.)  We do the exercises that he knows and then when they start doing the more advanced exercises we break off and do CU work or Lori has us be a distraction - though be aware that if you're playing the distraction, if you do your job too well you may have another dog briefly following you. :)

He did great.  Even before we got there we were able to do LAT on a very soft Wheaton Terrier that he reacted to last month.  Walking in the class I saw a room full of dogs that he could easily be unbearable around, but while he was paying careful attention, the leash wasn't vibrating like it has in the past.  (For Yoshi I keep some tension on the leash so I can tell if he's growling.  Also I've figured out that you can telegraph calmness down the leash.

The other challenge, that we're just learning, is that if your CU dog is doing well, other people in the class inadvertently up criteria on you as they don't realize you have a reactive dog.  Completely by accident we had a Golden Retriever (a breed he is pretty consistently reactive too), start doing glove retrieves right at us while we were sitting on the sidelines.  The cool thing is that Yoshi didn't react (so I didn't move him), though I did put his calming cap on to help him out.  And for the whole class he consistently didn't react to several dogs that he's been snotty to in the past.  We had a Basenji doing retrieves right beside us - though that situation I deliberately chose as after the Golden, I realized that he could handle it, so got him up and played LAT on the Basenji since we knew the dog and I couldn't take acting serene anymore.

Being physically relaxed while a Golden is trotting right at you and your CU dog is quite the challenge. (Though Lori noticed our situation - I think she saw the funny look on my face - and politely suggested they go in a different direction).  It's really hard to be relaxed when you're are inwardly going "OMG OMG OMG. I can't believe he's not reacting. OMG what a good dog."  It's even harder when your CU dog is leaning on you (and thus would notice any of your tension).

The owner of the Basenji's later told me that she didn't realize that it was Yoshi, and that she was happy to see how well he was doing.

Anyway the current winning combination is:
Genesis Canine Anxiety & Stress formula (2x/day)
L-Theonine (100 mg) - (1x/day)

Ingredients for Genesis Canine Anxiety & Stress
(Zizziphus? Schizandra?)

Magnesium Apartate
158 mg
25 mg
131 mg

16 mg
Oyster Shell
105 mg

Dan Shen
11 mg
53 mg

Thiamine (B1)
5 mg
Ginkgo Biloba
26 mg

Niacin (B3)
5 mg
26 mg

5 mg
26 mg

5 mg
26 mg

262 mcg

Of course as I write this he's barking his head off at the wind.  Him being calm right now apparently requires being attached to me, but I'll take it.

Thu Apr 23
Eye misadventures.  Woke up this morning and was alarmed to see Trek's Dry Eye looking much worse - lots of glob and a strange greenish sheen.  I had left a message last night saying that I wanted to move up her next appt to tomorrow.  Now I realize that I want someone to look at it today, so I leave a second message and start driving down and keep calling on the way until a person answers (the other ophthals start around 9 it's just our Dr. that starts at 8).

We see Dr Smith who we've seen before.  She explains that it appears that Trek's eye is just on the verge of starting to get infected.  I tell her about the tag team eye cleaning scenario that plays out in our house where Trek solicits Yoshi to lick her eye and he obliges especially now that olive oil is on the menu.  This is decidedly less than optimal.

Dr. Smith tells me that now a pharmacy in San Jose makes an Aquaferous Cyclosporine.  Really?!  Sign us up.  No, not next week, now.  Dr Smith goes over the layering in the normal eye that it's the Cornea, then a layer of tears, (any medicine would go here), then a layer of oil spread out over that, and then mucus.

So our new regime is:
- heavy gelatinous artificial tears
- Aquaferous Cyclosporine
- oil based antibiotics for 10 days then another lubricant

I made a video and will put it together tonight and post it on you tube for them to check.

Yoshi seemed less interested in licking a non-olive oil eye but I crated her for the afternoon just in case.

Wed Apr 22
Noon Yoshi Training Walk.  We we sitting right at the corner of Court and Santa Clara (actually just about to sit) and Yoshi looked intently at a woman who was talking towards us  I'd seen her and didn't think she'd be an issue and then I heard the tinkling ot dog tags.  It was a slim medium size dog and had been behind a temporary construction zone / no parking sign.  Yoshi barked more in excitment than anything else and we immediately turned around to get some distance and I showed him the treats instead of asking for a behavior first and then I had his attention and we start working on Leave It.  As we were walking away from the corner I'm focusing on him and not looking at the other dog.  Then I realize that they are walking parallel to us on the other side of the street.  Perfect, we keep up the parallel walking for half a block and then in CAT fashion we let them go as a reward for Yoshi.  Rest of the walk is without further incident.

Trek and I just played with the hose as I had errands to run right after work.  She's thrilled.  I do have to remember to hold the hose lower or she hurls herself at the water and lands in odd ways.

Tue Apr 21
Still warm but ok.
Noon- Yoshi Training Walk.  No dogs but a man was walking slowly and in a very relaxed way coming right at us and walked past and Yosh did even tense up to give him the visual once over like he usually does.

Trek - water hose chasing.  - Is it cheating to water the lawn and exercise the dog at the same time?

Mon Apr 20
Hot today
Trek and I played silly water games to wear her out some.

Noon: Yoshi Training Walk.  Time to raise criteria.  I'd like to get it so he can walk by other dogs instead of just sitting and playing LAT.  I found out not long ago that that's a significant raising of criteria so I have to figure out a way to make it less dramatic.

On Central we see a medium size Visla or similar on a walk.  We were near the corner so we turned around and walked further towards the middle of the block as I didn't want to train in the middle of the street and I wanted us to be moving.  At first I had him sit and look at the dog and get rewarded.  Then I had him walk some with me walking backwards.  This worked once, but then he lunged so I put him back in a sit and was able to recompose himself.  Then we did a little more but the dog was mostly past then. I think this is a level he can handle but there will be some mis-steps at first.

It's hot today so I hosed Yoshi off when we got back which he thought was really weird especially because Trek was all over him biting at the water.

Sun Apr 19
It was dusk and I was expecting to walk Trek but when I asked "who wants walkies?"  Trek stayed at Terri's feet under the desk and Yoshi came out.  Well ok.  Hmmm.

Yoshi Training Walk.  He was able to sit and play LAT on a mostly loose leash on a little tiny Terrier which just amazed me.  I think it's time to raise criteria a little.

Sat Apr 18
Yoshi herding - At first I was just keeping him on leash insisting he walk, did preciously no good as he was an out of control idiot when I dropped the leash.  One particular time that I was quietly cussing him out I was amused to think what a strange relationship builder this sort of training is.  Teamwork through yelling, threatening, and gesticulating - how bucolic, the tourists that drive slowly by (Pescadero is quite the local tourist spot) would probably be horrified if they stopped long enough.  Sometimes he would stop when I asked, most of the time not.  Gave him a break and the next time I put him back on a long line.  This time HTrainer3 had us in the large pen with six very gentle sheep.  She had us just walking on the opposite side of the pen from the sheep just to see if Yoshi would walk along with me which for the most part he would if we were on the half of the pen that the sheep were not in.  Any closer and he would engage them.  Then we started working on Stay-Walk-Sit-Walk-Sit.  I would put him on a stay across the pen and walk to the sheep.  If he broke I would catch him and put him back.  After a couple of breaks, he got the hang of it and stayed (he's getting much better about this and it really surprises me that he will stay with me 100' away from him.  Of course this is after refraining from killing him a few times.  Then I would say "walk" and then immediately say "sit" (to not give him a chance to gain speed),  this so didn't work at first and then did start working.  Adding in HTrainer3's wave both arms to get the dog's attention worked great.  If he actually walked I let him work the sheep by saying "out" and then moving out of his way.  Then I had him sit and we went back across the arena to do more, walk, sit exercises.  These exercises seem to be the most effective training for him.

He was also much better about other dogs.  A couple of days ago we added back the L-Theonine to the Calming Supplement and I'm really noticing a difference.  We'll have to see how next week is.  He's an angel right now because he's happily exhausted.

Some people have been commenting on Yoshi's Before CU video:

pamelamarxsen (1 hour ago)
Do you have any after videos of a similar situation? I would love to see it. I am starting CU exercises with my BC and I need all the encouragement I can get. :)

I responded:
The Yoshi Plays Look At That (the one not using the clicker) one is from a crate outside the same dog park. The Yoshi Plays Look At That (using a clicker) is watching an agility class so there's plenty of motion to work off of. Just look under More From: ellenclary

Given that you have a Border Collie combining herding lessons with CU, with some calming herbal supplements has had by far the biggest effect. It's a long, but rewarding process.

Earlier comment:
hunkymonkeykaine (2 months ago)
Was he reactive to other dogs? I watched the other video and he is doing fantastic:).

ellenclary (2 months ago) Show Hide
Oh yes. Moving dogs, especially approaching dogs. He is a motion control freak.

Fri Apr 17
Yoshi walk.  Saw one dog aways down the street approaching.  Crossed the street and set up.  This time left the leash a little loose an didn't hold his collar.  He was about to LAT the dog at a 3 house width distance plus a greet width.  I was disappointed that the dog didn't come close but this is progress.

Trek Class.  I brought cheese and crackers to celebrate Trek's 3 first places last week which was more than well received.  My East Coast coworker Cindy who is out here for a meeting and who is also an agility person, came to class with us which was very fun.  Near the end of class I had Cindy try to run Trek but Trek would only do 2 obstacles before coming back to me.  Then I would tell her to go and she would do a little bit more before coming back, but I can tell that, unlike Cali who would work for anyone with goodies (as long as she knew where I was), Trek is tightly bonded to me and it would take a lot of work to get Trek to that stage and I'm not sure I need that even though I had Rob run Cali some when I was injured.  It's more likely that if I'm injured then I just have to scratch

Anyway the actual runs we did she did well. No weave pole pops at all which is really cool - didn't have any at the trial either except for the disaster filled grand prix qualifier.  Tried doing a cross behind of a jump where I would have normally just run with her and that was awkward but it's good to practice for the day she starts leaving me in the dust (though she's gotten pretty good at cross behinds where it isn't really obvious that I'm slowing down - and hence she wonders what I'm doing), which she is completely capable of as that's what she does when she's stressed and doing runbys of obstacles.  She did have one tunnel in and out where it looked like the tunnel went one way and I was headed in another.  I guess that's a good way to look at it.  When I put her in a tunnel I'm asking her to have faith that I'll be there on the other side and I head off in another direction (they have great periferal vision) then she may well come back out to stay with me.  She's so funny as even though she's tightly bonded to me, she's not a velcro dog and is happy to work several feet away from me.

Wed Apr 15
Yoshi walk - no dogs, but he did bark at a gardener who was approaching with a long string trimmer over his shoulder - can't say I blame him.

Trek walk - saw a group of young children playing across the street and she was clearly worried about it.  Since we hadn't crossed the street to the block that they were playing on, I decided to pick her up and carriy her past the kids.  The cool thing was that while she was very interested in what they were doing she wasn't shaking (I would have felt it) and wasn't trying to get away - not balls were being bounced which helped tremendously.)  After we past the kids I put her back down and we continued on our walk.

She's realized that if she sticks near me she occasionally gets a treat (variable reward) so she's suddenly sticking a lot closer which makes our walks more fun (except when she's about to trip me and I then tell her "go" and she moves further ahead.)

Tue Apr 14
It's windy and there were a lot of small tree branches down, but fortunately none fell while we were walking.

Yoshi Walk.  One Cat sighting, did great playing LAT on it.  Didn't see any dogs till right at the end when a Lab was walking on the other side of the street from our house.    Yoshi was able to sit and eat treats while the Lab went by though he did chomp on my some from redirected stress eating, but I'll take it.

Yoshi's been taking Genesis Canine Anxiety and Stress for a few days now, but not really seeing a big change as of yet.

Trek Walk.  I've never walked her in the wind and wasn't sure how it was going to go with the winds.  She did pretty well (no sudden crashes).  One noisy motorcycle which she got fed well for.  One funny thing that happened was that I took her down a different block to avoid the street we usually go on that has very large trees on it just in case something fell from a tree.  Walking down that block she seemed to be a little stressed but I wasn't sure why as I wasn't hearing any banging.  I finally really focused on what all the sounds around us besides the wind were.  Wind chimes.  Oh!  I'm deaf to wind chimes since there so common and on the block we were on had one on just about every other house  I started pumping out the goodies and she seemed to relax some.  There were wind chimes at a vendor last weekend at TRACS and she thought they were weird (but got lots of treats for those also.)

Mon Apr 13
Yoshi walk.  We haven't done a training walk in a little while so we're out of practice.  We saw a Papillon and we backed off a house width in order to let them cross our path perpendicular.  Too close as he tried to lunge, but I had his collar and got him back but it's clear we need more distance or the additional psychological barrier of the street.  We saw a second dog (a German Shepherd) later across the street and that went great

Sat Apr 11
This is only the second multi day trial that Trek has been to, so I knew that this second day was very likely to be much less sucessful than yesterday/Friday.  The last one was also a TRACS trial and then she was a disaster on the 2nd day except for the jumpers course, wouldn't do contact equipment at all the first class of the 2nd day and I spent a gamblers run just practicing dogwalks.  The difference today is that we went home and she got to sleep in her own bed.  The day today started out great, she Q'd and got second in the jumpers class (Bella ran the course in an astounding 20 seconds,  Trek who ran very smoothly was at 28 seconds.)  Then there was the Snooker class.  Trek went over the red and blew by the second jump, I then got her over it and she blew by the tunnel (run bys appear to be her way of stressing), I got her in the other side of the tunnel and then over the red and as we headed back to the #7 jump she ran past that again to do some stress sniffing.  I stopped and asked her if she was done.  I could her murmered agreement from the side lines so I said Thank You and left.  I put her in the soft crate under the canopy but she didn't appear to be resting, so I finally decided to let her sleep in the crate in the car.  On our way to the car, she pretty much dragged me there.  Not reatly a tantrum but very much "Waaaa, I want to to to MY crate in MY car."  At least she considers the Scion crates a happy, safe place and wasn't insisting on her house.

I scratched her from Gamblers, and let her sleep till Standard.  My test was if she came out of the crate.  It she came out of the crate then we'd try running, otherwise not.  As the time approached I checked on her (this had been a couple of hours) and she actually came out of the crate.  And while we waited she had a nice time bugging the people seated nearby.  This is the advantage of setting up a canopy in a closeby spot, you become social central which was very fun.

We ran in standard and did better than I thought we would.  She did the weave poles and the teeter but she managed to slip by a jump and I missed it (no refusals in Starters so if I'd caught it I could have fixed it), and then at the end blew past the ending jump and reverse jumped it because I was tired and standing flat footed.  It's one of those if I had been more with it, I could have gotten the Q, but we were both pretty whipped so: oh well.  I was just thrilled that she was willing to run at all and did her weaves, and all the contact equipment.  And it's cool that she's now getting fast enough to leave me in the dust.

Freilance Message board thread:
I wrote on Friday:
Doggy Trek did great in her Starters/P1 classes Qing and winning all three of them (Std, Jprs, Snooker though in Snooker we were the only dog), but is definitely not ready for Master's level classes like the Grand Prix qualifier, though it's amusing to try.

She is very much my own personal stress indicator. If I'm relaxed, she's awesome. If we have to charge 4 rings down to run a course they're holding for us, then abandon all hope. :)

Goodies next Friday (she also got her jumpers title). Taking requests.

To which Rachell replies:
Whoo Hoo!!! Way to go Ellen and Trek. If you keep going like this, we're all going to weigh 1000 pounds. :)

And I replied
Well you're welcome to request carrot sticks. :) Today baby dog demonstrated clearly that she's new at this, by starting the day qualifying in jumpers and then proceeding to go on a run-by strike and I took her off after about 4 obstacles that included several run bys. It was a perfect: "WAAA! I want my nap" and she pretty much dragged me back to the car (apparently the crate under the canopy wasn't quiet enough) and happy passed out in the car crate.

She did finally reemerge after a couple of hours and I tried her in Standard, but her heart wasn't in it. Though she at least didn't jump off any contact equipment.

So I think we're going to stick to one day entries for a little while. :)

So now what should I do about the upcoming trials SMART and Bayteam.
I think
If I'm going to make any changes for SMART I need to send them off now.

Didn't make any changes to SMART save for moving her up to PII Jumpers, but radically changed Bayteam

Sat only

Fri Apr 10
Trek did fantastic in her Starters classes winning all three that she was entered in.  However it's abundantly clear that she's not ready for Master's level and that she is still highly sensitive to my stress level.  At the Starter's class I was relaxed and she did great.  When we had to charge 4 rings down to make the Grand Prix (Performance National Standard) qualifier, I should have known right then that it was all over.  It was over right when she blew by jump #2.

So the day went

Started Yoshi on a new calming supplement Genesis Canine Anxiety and Stress. We're trying it just by itself for a couple of weeks (1 tablet each meal) and then will add back in the L-Theonine and Adrenal Support if it seems necessary.  I need to detail the ingredients but the list is long so not right now.

Thu Apr 9
Prepping for TRACS

[will expand]
Yoshi manual head turning for 2 dogs on the immediate sidewalk - it worked.

Cat right in front in the planted area.  Barkbarkbark-inhale-barkbarkbarkbark - "Yoshi have a goodie."  Drops hysteria,  "What cat?"

Bostons across the street - can cope if I'm standing there.

Tue Apr 7
Posted: My Dog is Weird: Trek and the Water Hose

Yoshi Walk.  Saw a Fox Terrier that he's seen before.  Fortunately we had plenty of time to set up and they were diagonally across the street from us but coming in our direction (still across the street).  His view was partially blocked by a hedge but I think he still could see.  Did great on that so walked him a little more forward so he could see better and except for a single harmless gutteral sound he didn't react at all and was much more interested in treats.  I was thrilled.  Didn't see any further dogs until we were right in front of our house and coming slowly right at us 4-5 houses down was a whitish LFD (little fluffy dog).  We sat and played LAT while they approached.  When they got to about 3 houses we went into the house.  There is hope.  I have to figure out a way to raise criteria without going over threshold.  The park from a distance is one possibility, but that's a huge step.  What I'd like is to arrange more dog encounters on ordinary walks.  Maybe after TRACS some of the CU folks can get together.

Trek Walk.  I made an important discovery that has been slowly sinking in and now has become clear.  If Trek is uncomfortable or afraid of something, you can't just tell her to snap out of it or fix things by talking in a happy voice.  That just increases her stress.  Instead the way to do it is to stand her at her threshold and just keep offering food.  If she's willing to eat then she can sort of cope.  Drop anchor, don't say anything but keep offering food.  Usually what will happen is she will take the treat, try to leave, hit the end of the leash, stand there hoping I'll give in and go, think about it, check in, see that food is being offered, come back and take the treat, and repeat.  Enough of these repetitions helps her work out that she's ok, and her stress level goes down.

Picked up Trek's meds and gave her her first drop.  It's been an hour and she's NOT RUBBING HER EYE!  I hardly dare hope.

Mon Apr 6
last week I had one of those DUH! moments when a friend was saying how Cyclosporine really helped her dog that had Dry Eye, but couldn't use the standard mix as her dog was allergic to corn so they did another mixture using oilive oil.  Count a couple of beats as it all sank it before I commenced wacking my head.  Trek is allergic to corn.  No f-ing wonder that she rubs her eye miserably when I put it in her eyes.  They told me the base was corn syrup and I never put it to gether that that might be an issue.  Oh I'm so sorry puppy.  I called Animal Eye Care and told the whole story.

So AEC has put in a call to Abbott's Compounding Pharmacy (I guess that means they do the mixures themselves like the apothecary of old)  I have to call them before they make it up:

Abbott's Pharm
2320 Woolseley, Berkeley

I will call them tomorrow.

Cathy over for DVD night.  She didn't bring her dogs so it was pretty uneventful which was nice.

All of us spent the weekend up in Redding visiting Terri's mom.  The dogs had a grand time tearing around her carpeted house.  I spent Sat on Mt shasta snowshoeing.  We all had a grand time though it turns out that Trek is very much afraid of reclining Lazy Boy Chairs.  Not just aprehensive, but heart racing panting kind.  Thei is odd as she's not at all afraid of my reclining office chair.  It has to do with the leg raising mechanism.  She must have been hit by one by accident in Idaho as they have them at her breeder's house.  It's interesting to see the difference between a simple startle reaction (that would be Yoshi) and a pani reaction like Trek's.  I think in this case I'm not going to make a big deal of it and she'll come up with her own limits - though I did insist she stay in my lap at one time while I had the leg raise up - she was not thrilled and I'm not sure that helped.  For her the best approach is to just reward her big time when she's close and she can make her own decisions about how close.  The only trick will be flying her as that's not easy to simulate though I may just give her some calming stuff for that.  No rush - nothing scheduled.

Thu Apr 2
Yoshi's littermate list was talking about training (as usual) and I just posted this (we call the litter the Prozac kids):

Subject: What works in training the Prozacs

Yeah I gave up on a muzzle too as Yoshi could still pin a small dog down with it on, and it does nothing to change his attitude and that's my primary goal.

The best solution set for him is:

The first bullet point is a happy realization of mine.  We always hear about how bad it is to telegraph stress through the leash, and I was thrilled when I figured out that the reverse can happen and just how powerful that is (!!)  If I could figure out how to teach that I could do seminars on it as no one else is doing that for dogs (some for horses).  But I am reminded that while I am gainfully employed it's just as well I don't have another income, but maybe in retirement??  (Like that's ever going to happen. :)

Someone at my work has a Mac Book laptop and everytime I see it I can't think how useful it would be to have one like it at agility trials when I wanted to review video (much better than a teeny tiny screen).  Heck, I could just edit it on the spot.  Sigh.  Oooo, bright shiny object...

Pet Calming Herbs
I wanted to experiment with more varieties in calming herbs for Yoshi so I figured I just buy one of every one of them and see what works.  Nice try.  Just try counting the number that are on this page alone:
http://search.onlynaturalpet.com/search.aspx?searchterms=calming-herbs-for-dogs egads.

I finally just printed it out and crossed out all the homeopathic ones, but there was one right at the top called Genesis Canine Anxiety & Stress formula that was well recommended, so i'm giving that a try:  I just hope it helps him be a little more at ease in the world.  Poor guy is strung so tight.


Wed Apr 1
Yoshi Training Walk.  Only one dog sighting, but an important one.  We were down a block of Central Ave when we saw two tiny dogs being walks - a guarantee of a Yoshi response - Cool.  We set up and I feed him as the walk by.  He's doing so well that we turn around and start parallel walking with them since the other dogs don't seem to mind Yoshi at all (some very little dogs are way more barky and reactive than Yoshi ever has been).  As we're walking Yoshi watches the other dogs and his posture is fascinating.  Ears straight up, body forward, pace quickening and nearly cutting me off angling towards them.  I tell him to leave it and I immediately have him back, but the process repeats (twice) before we let them go and turn around.

I realize that we've been working so much on sitting that being in motion was an entirely different thing entirely.  Back to Dogs Generalize Poorly.  Guess we should focus on the sitting and tolerating their motion, but the bummer of that is that we only get one time as opposed to the parallel walking.  Well eventually we'll get to that.

Heard a brief bit of a Fresh Air interview with an author talking about the Dog Training Culture Wars (meaning punitive trainers like Cesar Milan vs positive trainers like Victoria Stillwell and a whole bunch of us)  Not sure what I think since I didn't hear the whole interview.

Archive - Go to:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2009
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Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2008
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