Yoshi Training Diary - August 2006

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Thu Aug 31
Herding Class.  He did well and seemed to have benefitted from his week off.  I also took his crate to ringside and did more raining of treats on his head.  Doing this, he was able to have Raven the GSD come up without him even growling though he did keep a careful eye out.

Wed Aug 30
Had a session with Toni Hage.  This time we were at Cooper's house and we worked on letting them get reved up and then interrupting with "Enough" and then letting them go back to playing.  This was very sucessful and I am encouraged to see them both responding.

Also worked with Yoshi and I sitting at their front screen door and looking at passers by with "What's that?"  This was only partially successful and then we had Toni really test him out by going by several times gesticulating in very non-typical ways, and he reacted probably more than 50% of the time.  So we still have quite a bit of work to do.  Next session is next Wed and we'll do it on the outside of the dog park.

Tue Aug 29
Agility Class.  Wow he was hardly reactive at all.  I stuffed his face and he spent a lot of time in between Rebel and Jesse who he likes.  But in the upper field I had Robbie's older Border Collie Molly spend time beside his crate as she seems to have quite the calming influence.  If I'm sitting right by him he'll even tolerate having Dot (Robbie's BC that she's competing with) streak by his crate which normally sets him off barking like crazy.  He was also able to tolerate Trinity and Buttercup walking by (again if I was there.)

Sat Aug 26
The meeting with Toni Hage went very well.  the only difficulty was that I gave into temptation and had Yoshi and Cooper spend the morning together while Terri, I, and Patricia went climbing at Berkeley Ironworks so getting Cooper and Yoshi to play when Toni was difficult as they were tired, but we got them playing some and I had the movie of them playing earlier.  She's very intrigued with him and wants to work with him.  We signed him up for 5 sessions with her  The next one is Wed at 5:30pm at Mark's house.

First thing we're going to work on is being able to temporarily interrupt play between the two of them when they get too excited by using the word "Enough" [and then "Yes!" when they comply] and holding them apart and then letting them go back to playing "Go Play." (This is the reward, instead of a treat.)  The next session will be at Mark's house and the next one (or more) will be at the dog park.

The goal is to get him looking back at me when I say enough.  Then we'll do some of these sessions with Jessie.  And then with unknown dogs.  The ultimate goal is that he learns to look at me when he sees a dog.  This should help when he's in the agility ring and sees a dog on the outside - it will hopfully encourage him to look back at me instead of wanting to go tackle the dog.

Fri Aug 25
Took him again to the dog park but this time I only brought his kibble.  At first it was the same thing as Wed.  He wouldn't accept the kibble.  But we got half way around the outside of the park and then he calmed down enough to eat the kibble and we went through his dinner the rest of the way around.  He saw a very well trained German Shepherd who was playing a very disciplined game of fetch and he was barky and lungy when she ran but settled down when she would stop.  He also met a Golden named Gracie and her people who fed him treats and the dogs sniffed noses through the fence.  He was fine with her again until she ran for a ball, as the game continued he settled down and got much of his dinner that way.  We also walked over to the small dog park and watched some of the small dogs play and even sniffed noses with a small white fluffy dog.

Thur Aug 24
Poor guy - I stuffed him so full of treats that he threw up last night.  Will have to cut the treats incredibly small and make more use of his kibble.

Cathy and Jesse came over tonight and I spent time trying to film him picking on Jesse, but what I mostly got is brief periods of him being growly and then responding to her calming signals which is encouraging in itself.

Wed Aug 23
Well I did it.  I took him for a leashed walk around the outside of the dog park.  Initially it was much harder on me than it was on him.  He was so excited to get there and he so badly wanted to go in and the first circuit around the outside he was pulling (even with a GL on) and at first he wouldn't even take treats of any sort and was reacting to dogs running and playing fetch.  Then after the first circuit he started getting interested in treats and wasn't worrying quite so much about the other dogs around.  Though right from the beginning he was less reactive to nearby dogs than he usually is which was a nice surprise. 

On the 2nd circuit he was more interested in treats and would even take some of the kibble of his dinner that I brought.and he would interact nicely to some of the dogs that came up to the fence to say hello.  After he said hello I would tell him "There's a dog" and he would sometimes turn back to me and get a treat ("yes!").  sometimes I would put gentle pressure on the GL and guide his head back to me and say "yes!" and give him a treat.  When we got back to walking by the little dog park he was relaxing and still wanted to go in (not yet - maybe after a few of these.)  We parked for a bit outside the little dog park and had various dogs come up and say hello, and watched some race by (lots of treats for that).  He even saw his first Chinese Crested from about 10 feet.  He wanted to react and lunge at first but I was stuffing his face so he just watched fascinated.  The dog didn't seem all that steady so I didn't have them meet.

I think we'll do one more of these and then take him on leash into the small dog park.  I am very encouraged by today and yesterday.

Tue Aug 22
This morning I woke up and decided Yoshi was a "Loyalist Goon."  It sort of fits in a way.  Dog packs are generally very loyal to each other and are often suspicious of strangers.  Sounds a lot like the Sopranos to me. ;)

Part of me wants to use the quote from Heathers: "We're Seniors" as a command for Relax or Chill out. (Meaning we don't have to beat up person X, because, Hey we're seniors).  But it wouldn't be readily understood.  I also really want to use "Stand Down" for when he's bristling, but stand and down are both cue's already.

I was all raring to take him to the dog park at noon for some on leash work, but I got home and had no energy, so we just did a little fetch in the yard.  He was way distracted by the shadows, but he eventually concluded that fetching was more fun and rewarding that shadow chasing.  So we had a good time  Did 2 different sets as he seemed to get distracted but then started asking to do more which I am encouraged by.

Agility Class.  I'll see if it's ok with Karen for Yoshi and Rebel to spend more time together in class as he's getting used to him and I'd like them to interact more.

I had him on the lower field standing in between Rebel and Jesse (like within touching distance) and he did great.  the only time he stiffened was when I was paying attention to Rebel, so I gave a pile of treats to Karen and handed her Yoshi's leash and she fed him while I paid attention to Rebel and that worked well.  Basically I spend most of the class just shoving treats at him ever time a dog came near or went by.  I keep hearing naysayers in my head saying yeah so what happens if you don't have a treat, but the goal is to build strong positive associations with the presence of dogs and to encourage a calm demeanor.  I don't think I'll have to always reinforce at this high rate, but for now, he's likely to put on a few ounces.  I forgot to tell Terri to feed him very lightly so by the last run he was dragging. 

Agility-wise he continues to do well.  Weaves fine on my right now.  He did pop at pole 10 once and I think I was anticipating the next obstacle.  I said "I'll take it" and went on to the next obstacle as redoing weaves seems to demotivate him right now.  He still needs more practice driving ahead, but I can now run ahead of him and can still give him direction.  His stays were great tonight  - I could lead out more than two jumps and he responded well.

Sharon is wanting folks to work on lateral distance for contacts and showed a way to do it for running contacts.  It does involve going back to earlier stages in training and I'm concerned about messing up his great running contacts so I think I'll note it now and save it for later.

Mon Aug 21
Ordered 2 of Jean Donaldson's books: Fight!! and Dogs are from Neptune.  There is also a 2nd edition of Culture Clash which has quite a bit of new material so eventually I'll get that and she also has one called Mine! about resource guarding.

Noon:  Took a chance and did some fetch with the sun overhead (and thus shadows to chase/distract).  He did fairly well.  Occasionally he would get distracted but I could goose him or say something and his attention would come right back.  Again I kept it brief and in a few minutes he made it clear that he wanted to do more so we did another 3 minutes or so.  There is hope.

I still make him bring it back to my hand and he still misses.  I don't want to dampen his enthusiasm too much so I reach my hand out to help him succeed in getting it to my hand.  If he misses by a mile, I don't click or say anything, but instead roll the ball again (I may say "Get It" again).

His appt with Trish King is on the 16th at 9:30am.  I'll need to make a DVD of the Yoshi and Cooper movie.  I'm tempted to add some footage of him on leash at the small dog park, but I'll need Terri to video for me.

Evening: Went for a dog walk.  Turns out dusk is a great time to find lots of dogs out for a walk in Lincoln Park.  Had some success at ignoring the dogs and some reactions.  Comfortable distance is still about 75'-100'.  It occurred to me tnat I should take him for leashed walks around the outside of the dogpark.  If he gets comfortable with that then I can start taking him on leash into the inside of the small dog park.

Rereading Culture Clash and she's reminding me of the find it game where you hide a treat and then have the dog find it.  I used the cue  "Find it"  At first, you are just getting them used to looking for something with the cue so you don't really hide the treat, but more have it out in plain site then gradually make it a little harder to find.  Have them wait in the other room on some sort of a stay and then release them.  Yoshi can readily find the treat once he realizes that I want him to go ahead of me into the room where the treat is.   we did 5 repetitions and stopped with him still wanting more.  Later did 4 more and he's starting to catch on and is enjoying it.  He's found every treat and I'm not putting them in completely obvious places anymore.

Sun Aug 20
Went on a dog walk.  Met some children who said hi to him but no direct dog encounters, though had one brief sighting which did get him barking.

Later that evening was training some in the backyard.  Did some fetch (and click/treat) with the small tennis ball.  He appears to enjoy this game especially as late in the afternoon there are no shadows to distract him.  I kept it brief and it appeared that he still wanted to work so we switched to some basic obedience work.  I'm noticing his response to "Here" is not very prompt or enthusiastic.  I had him do some lefts and rights and his enthusiasm went up but still it was dragging a bit.  Then I said "Come" and he popped right up.  I think the consonant sound makes a big difference.  Given that I don't think he's going to be competing in obedience anytime soon if ever I think saving "Come" for formal obedience recalls is a waste of a great cue so I'm going to start using it in place of "Here" though I still habitually use "Here" and will continue to do so.

Too many of the Zuke's treats or too much of the Great Bait appear to give him loose stools, so I think I'm just going to stick with Natural Balance Lamb as treats until things setting down again.  He loves the Natural Balance so it's no great loss.

Sat Aug 19
Saw the rest of the Trish King DVD.  The rest of it was discussions with particular dogs and their owners.  One a very shy German Shepherd who was people aggressive and who the woman had been a client for 3 years., one a lab/boxer/something else cross who was fearful and aggressive, and the last one a tall Golden who groveled a lot.  All needed slightly different approaches.  None were like Mr Yoshi.

Cooper is here until Sunday so I'm getting lots of good video opportunities.  Boy they can look ferocious with each other.  One I have of Yoshi standing on top of Cooper and snarling, another shows Cooper dragging Yoshi around by the scruff and tossing him to the ground.  Will have to get them both on DVD. and I've put it here on frap in a Quicktime movie which can be see here.

Later when Mark was here to pick up Cooper, Yoshi started to crawl on top of Cooper play snarling and after a few seconds Cooper gave him the signal that he wanted to stop (looked away, rolled some, even snapped the air) and Yoshi came on stronger and they got into a scuffle which has never happened before.  What's weird about Yoshi is that he goes from play mode to fight mode in about 1/2 a second and it looks like it comes out of the blue.

Fri Aug 18
Obedience class with Lori Drouin.
(Detailed in the Email exchange with Trish King below.)

Thur Aug 17
I have a DVD of a presentation that Trish King gave in 2001 on aggression and it's very instructive even though I haven't seen all of it yet.

Took him on a brief walk at noon just to continue rewarding him for looking at odd things and then checking in with me.  Didn't see any dogs  so didn't make use of "There's a dog" so now I'm incorporating "What's that?" when ever he sees anything/anyperson that might be scary or unusual.  He seems to have gotten it right away.

Cover letter to Trish King:

17 August 2006

Dear Trish,

Thank you so much for being willing to take a look at Yoshi.

I really want to help him deal with his anxiety about other dogs and allow him to be able to show his incredible talents on the agility field without resorting to using his herding drive in unproductive or even destructive ways.

I have included a filled out form (let me know if my writing is not clear), a paper copy of our email exchange, and the results of a very thorough blood test I had Jean Dodds give him.

Things that didn't quite fit on the form:

We have spent a fair bit of time to help him be less of a chicken.

He sleeps on the bed, but he will not bounce on me as he knows I'll just unceromoniously roll over and put him in his crate by the bed.  He does however bounce on my partner Terri and she has had to do some work with him to establish that she gets to tell him what to do too.  She often feeds him, gives him treats, holds a bone for him to chew, and plays tug with him (he actually doesn't tug much for me at all.)

He has one of the softest mouths I've ever encountered and after my other raptor corgi Cali it's a joy.

He used to be terribly foot shy and it took 2 months before I could walk behind him on a stay.

Motion is a huge thing for him, with dogs or squirrels in motion being the ultimate catalyst.  (Ok, dogs walking by on leash seems to be the ultimate one),  It's almost more helpful to think of him as a small Border Collie.

People he knows, he loves and he gets to know someone very quickly.

I have not tried him on a tie down and I'm not sure he would benefit from it since I can get him to settle down fairly quickly, but I might try it next to his living room bed as a way to establish a visitor routine.  (Been experimenting with Kathy Sdao's "bed" cue).

I know it's asking a lot but we've also been playing with seeing if we can get him to watch dogs from the living room window.  No real success yet as that's pretty much above his threshold though he can go into a short tizzy about a dog and then settle down and just watch if I'm there holding on to him.  He seems to do better with being told what to do and what the limits are which is counter to the operant conditioning credo of letting them firgure out what works, but a combintion seems to work better for him (Corgi's tend to push limits - it's almost in the breed

Email exchange:

[We rescheduled to the 16th]

Sent: Sun 8/20/2006 9:25 AM
To: Trish King
Subject: Re: consult - reschedule

Hi Trish,

I mistakenly double booked myself as Sept 8-14 I will be in San Jose
attending a work conference, so I'll need to reschedule Yoshi's appt
with you.  Pretty much any other weekend will work.  I can also take a
Tues or a Friday off if necessary.

I did finish the DVD of your aggression talk at the Alpha Bitch
conference.  Very insightful, thanks very much for doing it, and it has
me thinking quite a bit.

More background:

I think Yoshi is an odd duck who learned to bully as a way of coping
with being either suspicious or afraid of strange dogs.  He spent 8
months in his corgi pack and the corgi approach to new dogs is to hurtle
up barking at full volume and then making the visitor withstand quite
the interrogation, and despite being well socialized he has developed a
strange way of coping.

You mention increasing the status of not very confident dogs and
decreasing the status of bully's.  I'm not entirely sure of a good
approach to Yoshi.  Since he's fundamentally a chicken, I've done a lot
to increase his confidence and that's been fairly successful.  Regarding
barking at windows I don't let him have access to the living room
windows when I'm not there and he seems to appreciate being relieved of
that perceived responsibility.  When I'm there I do let him have access
to the window and I've been experimenting with all sorts of approaches
to home barking at passing people or people and dogs.  Mostly I just
take him out of the room for a little while (-P) by carrying him since
he likes to be carried, he's not people aggressive, and he's small.  By
accident, I have had some success with what is turning out to be
"conditional negative reinforcement" where if he barks at a person
walking by I stand up to take him out and he shuts up so I sit back down.

This only works for people.  If there's a dog with them he's way too
focused on the dog and much more frenzied.  When a dog appears I've
tried holding him by the collar just out of view of the window and
when/if he calms I let him have another peek and reward him (food or
pets) for not barking.  This has only had marginal success though it has
had some when the dog is across the street.  I have not figured out what
the difference is.  If he doesn't settle down I take him out of the
room.  And his objections to being removed are getting more strenuous.
"No really, there's an evil dog out there!"

On walks he wears a Gentle Leader and if he sees a dog and stares (he
looks at the dog for 2-3 seconds before lunging) I turn him ("Yoshi,
here.") and ask for a sit, if he does or starts to lunge I pull up on
the GL and sometimes he sits promptly and other times he struggles
against the GL.  I think he's improving, but I am not entirely sure, as
the intensity of his reaction sometimes increases and whether this
counts as an extinction burst I have no idea.

I took him to one of his drop-in obedience classes (this one was the
monthly one with Lori Drouin) and spent a significant of the time just
having him in his crate and raining cookies on his head when a dog came
near (There's a dog" Look at the dog, look back at me. "Yes" treat).
Now he's spent a fair bit of time at Oakland Dog Training Club so it's
an enviroment he's used to so it's a place he sort of feels secure and
he did fairly well.  Though he did react a few times, and I am not above
giving the occasional adversive (2 handed scruff shake and "knock it
off") which I don't do much as I don't trust my timing, but he certainly
does seem to appear to respond favorably to limit setting, but I would
need you to help me figure out if it's effective or not.

I've switched to the Yes marker word in classes rather than the clicker
as it's less disruptive.

I have sent in his background history.

Ellen Clary

Trish King wrote:
> Here at MHS.  I'm sending you a behavior history form....could you fill
> it out before you come?   If you would send it back to me, that would be
> great.
> Trish
> -----Original Message-----
> Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 5:23 PM
> To: Trish King
> Subject: Re: consult
> The 9th it is then.  Do we meet at Marin HS or elsewhere?
> Thanks very much for being willing to have a look at him and talk with
> me.
> Ellen Clary
> Trish King wrote:

>> Ellen... I do consults.  My problem right now is that I'm booked for
>> next week and I'm off the week following.  If you can wait til the 9th,
>> I have a 9:30 available that day.
>> It is true...watch the other dog, since you have the bully.   He needs
>> to learn to inhibit his behavior on your command. 
>> Small fluffy white dogs we'd have to discuss in the consult!
>> Trish
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Ellen Clary
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 3:48 PM
>> To: Trish King
>> Cc: Ellen Clary
>> Subject: Re: Consult? or can you (or ??) give her some advice?
>> Fantastic.  You have excellent timing as I was just watching your
>> presentation on Dog Aggression from the 2001 Alpha Bitch Conference that
>> I had just ordered from Tawser Dog Video.  I'm only half way through but
>> will finish it tonight.
>> Given that I am threatening to send him off to Brenda I have no problem
>> with $95/hr.  ;)
>> I have two concerns about him.
>> - One is the play aggression I mentioned and how to read his body
>> language and how to teach him to read other dog's calming signals.
>> Though this morning it occurred to me that instead of spending all this

>> effort trying to read him I should just watch the other dog.  If the
>> other dog gets uncomfortable then play ends.  End of story.  If you
>> haven't guessed already he no longer goes to dog parks as they make him

>> too uncomfortable and I have read your article on Dog Parks: The Good
>> the Bad and the Ugly.  He has his own play group that we organize via
>> Yahoogroups.  (Though I must admit to some curiousity about wanting to
>> know how far he would go in his bullying though I'm likely never going
>> to find out.)
>> - Two and this is now the primary concern.  We're doing agility
> training

>> and he has the potential to be very, very good.  I'm hoping to compete
>> on the national level with him.  (I've competed nationally with my
> other

>> corgi.)  My concern is that what if he's in the ring and some small,
>> fluffy, whitish dog goes by on leash (which he so often reacts to) and
>> he charges out of the ring?  That's never happened (except in smaller
>> areas), but if it did it could end his agility career.  I currently
>> training with Sharon Freilich and now that he's settling down as he
> ages

>> (he's 3 now) and starting to really like his job we've been testing him

>> some with having Sharon play with her own dogs nearby while we do a
> run.

>>  The real test will be next week when we try it with Sharon's curly
>> coated white JRT named Whoopie.
>> His recall is very good and I can even recall him from squirrel
>> obsessing though judicious use of Premack.  However with respect to
>> another dog I just don't know.
>> As you might guess his herding instinct is off the scale and even though
>> I'm not a herding person I am out of self defense taking him to herding
>> lessons so he can get a more appropriate chance to express his drive
>> rather than launching at any poor dog that resembles a sheep or a rodent  
>> (like a Border Terrier).  This is having some success even if my psyche
>> (and reputation) is getting bruised by Debbie Pollard berating clicker
>> trainers, and her being convinced that Yoshi's bullying is really him
>> wanting to kill the other dog.  ("No really, that's what he does to his
>> other dog friends.")  Debbie may be very opinionated, but she's a very
>> talented herding trainer so I put up with it.
>> What is the next step?  I work 8-5, M-F but can come weekends or most
>> evenings.  Do you ever do the consults or is it only your staff?
>> Ellen Clary
>> and Yoshi the talented, but high maintenance corgi
>> ellen@frap.org
>> Trish King wrote:
>>> Ellen... we would certainly be glad to see you in a consult before you
>>> send him to Brenda (which is indeed pretty far away!)  Meanwhile, the
>>> rule is if you don't like it, it shouldn't happen!  He should play only 
>>> with dogs that he is familiar with and who share his style.   The more
>>> he bullies strange dogs, the more he will do so - practice being what it is.

>>> Consults held most days of the week, and range in price from $65 to $95 
>>> depending on whom you see.
>>> Let me know.....
>>> Trish
>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>> Trish King
>>> Behavior & Training Director
>>> Marin Humane Society
>>> 171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd
>>> Novato, CA  94949
>>> www.marinhumanesociety.org
>>> Name:  Ellen  Clary
>>> Subject:  Play Aggression
>>> Body:  Greetings,
>>> I have a corgi that I've been training for about 2 1/2 years (he's 3 years
>>> old).  He's highly reactive and I've been working a lot at making him less
>>> reactive to dogs and I have been getting somewhere.  There's one aspect
>>> that I would love another pair of eyes to have a look at him.
>>> He plays rough.  With his dog friends that's ok, but if he's with a dog he
>>> doesn't know as well, he will try to bully the other dog.  If the  other
>>> dog gets uncomfortable and stressed and starts giving obvious calming and
>>> submission signals, he ignores them and increases the intensity of the
>>> interaction until I intervene.
>>> He is not human aggressive at all, and is ordinarily quite sweet.  All in
>>> all he is an intriguing boy.
>>> Any assistance would be most appreciated, as he is showing a lot of talent
>>> in him agility class and I would like to start competing with him.  (I got
>>> him as my second agility dog.)
>>> I'm also having some folks who are closer have a look but I'm on the
>>> verge
>>> of shipping him, off to Michigan and Brenda Aloff so Novato is not far
>>> at all. <g>

On dog walks we play "There's a dog" which is like your "Good Morning."  Look at the dog, look at me for a treat.  I've encouraged him to sit also.  If he reacts I walk him further away and then we sit.  His distance not in an agility setting is 75-100' unless the dog is across the street where we can get closer and even walk parallel.  We've also come up with a game of "Follow that dog" as since he is a herding dog, he's totally comfortable with following a dog.  Agility and obedience settings necessitate the dogs be closer, but they're much more under control so his tolerance is higher.

My biggest goal is that I want him to trust that I will protect him and keep him out of trouble.  As a result I've stopped taking him to a dog park and we came upwith a private play group that is mostly corgis.  One interesting occurrance that happened was that we were walking in Redding (where Terri's mom lives) and a smallish basenji sized dog got out a ran up to us.  Fortunately I had warning as the owner was calling out to the dog.and was able to get inbetween Yoshi and the dog and calmly grab his collar (the dog wasn't being aggressive).  What I thought was interesting is that Yoshi never made a sound except a low "I'm uncomforttable" growl.  It's like if a dog looks stronger or more aggressive than he is, he doesn't argue up close unless that dog is on a leash.  Then all bets are off as he's broken off from off leash play during after-hours at an agility trial to charge up barking at two Rottie's on leash.  Amazingly he has not ever been hurt and I'm really careful about what circumstances I let him off leash now.

Anyway, thank you again for being willing to have a look.

Tues Aug 15
Well the Yosh-man now has appts with two different behavioral trainers.
One is Toni Hage who has completed the SFSPCA's Dog Training academy.
The other is with Trish King of the Marin Humane Society.  She gives seminars/lectures all over the country on dog aggression so I'm surprised to learn that she does do consults too.
Between the two of them working in parallel I'm hoping we can figure out something for him.  Given that he's not that bad on the grand dog scheme of things we have good odds and I may not need to ship him and me off to Brenda Aloff in Mich.  Getting to the point of being willing to travel long distances makes paying pricey consultation fees no problem at all. :)

Agility Class.  He was again a good boy - almost like he knows that I'm thinking of putting him in a boot camp or something.  He was barky at a Sheltie that was there for just part of the class, but I got him to settle down and accept treats for looking at the dog and looking at me.  Didn't stop him from barking again but that dog was being his barky Sheltie self so I called it even and kept them apart.

I let him work in the small field with Sharon and others on alert for him charging over a jump near them and continuing the charge.  My concerns were fortunately unfounded as he stayed right with me and didn't even look over that way.

The large field is of course where he really shined.  He's ok with driving ahead to a tunnel though sometimes he gets distracted in them (during warm up he wanted to come out the end he came in) I think this will get better with experience.  I did a dog walk with me 15' away laterally and it didn't phase him a bit.  Stays were iffy at times but at other times dead on.  Will have to work on lateral leadouts more as he's not real clear on them.  Weave poles are very nicely dialed in.

Sun Aug 13
Took Yoshi over to Coopers for a BBQ dinner.  Patricia also brough Giles and they all did fine though when Cooper and Yoshi got to playing rough, Giles went up into Patricia's lap.  I took some video of Cooper and Yoshi and will watch it much.  What's interesting is that Yoshi does respond to Cooper's calming signals but Cooper is not afraid and he's relaxed.  It seems that once a dog is frightened that Yoshi's prey drive kicks in and he then ignores the calming signals.  It's interesting to match this up with if a sheep runs then Yoshi is right on their tail, but as soon as the sheep stops, then he stops.

Also when we were leaving and Giles walked by with Patricia, Yoshi reacted to him even though they spent the last 3 hours together.   It's like Giles out on the street became generic fluffy white dog, as soon as he realized it was Giles, he quieted down. Maybe Patricia will be open to doing walks together in where we separate and rejoin from time to time to see if Yoshi can chill out and be rewarded for it.

Fri Aug 11
Play Aggression.
I found it!  A reference to what really might be going on with Yoshi beyond being a general shit.

It's on pg 105 of Brenda Aloff's book Aggression In Dogs - Practical Management, Prevention, & Behavior Modification.  It describes Play Aggression where playing with another dog will go from ordinary play behavior to escalating aggressive displays.  This is not news, but she goes on to talk about how an affected dog will ignore the other dog's calming signals and discomfort with the situation, and the more distressed the other dog gets the more the aggression increases.  Ah ha.  May I present an example sleeping at my feet.

I was thinking about Yoshi and how he does play growling with Cooper and with Jesse and it's fine, but with the BC puppy it was escalating, so even though it started out the exact same way it changed into something else entirely.  I haven't gotten to the part where you reteach them more appropriate reactions and it clearly could take a while, but in the mean time we'll keep him away from any dog that he doesn't know that might get flighty or scared.  And I'm more inclined to carrot/stick methods than Aloff is, but she mostly deals with dogs where corrective methods have thoroughly backfired and Yoshi responds well to appropriate limits being set.

Thur Aug 10
Herding.  He continues to do well and Debbie is now working him in the center.
She's justifiably concerned about how aggressive he was getting with the Border Collie puppy last week (the one she finally intervened as I wasn't catching the clue that he was getting very inappropriately aggressive.)  What is puzzling me no end is that he likes Border Collies and he started out playing just like he does with Jesse and Cooper.  I will have to go back to Aloff's book and see if I can get some sort of help with figuring out how to get him to read submissive calming signals better.  What's so odd is that he was well socialized at Elizabeth's, but he never had the experience of having more submissive dogs around except for his littermates, but no younger dogs, so it's possible he missed that experience.

Tue Aug 8
Agility class. 
Clearly I need to arrange for only dogs he likes to attend class as it was only Jesse, Rebel, Thyme and Yoshi and he did terrific.  He's still trying to goad Thyme occasionally, but she tells him what for and he chills out.  I had him work on the lower field for the first time in three weeks and he was great.  We were working on harder weave entrances and he did some surprisingly hard ones like where he's on the other side of the pole entry and he wraps properly around the first pole.  We still need to work on what should be an easier one where he's on the entry side of the poles, but I'm on the other side of them.  He really seems to enjoy weaving and he seems to be slowly getting a rhythm of sequencing obstacles and my giving him directions isn't befuddling him nearly as much.  His stays are much, much better.  Contacts still fine.  Rear cross is improving and is better when I focus on driving him forward so if I have to wait for him I should do it at the obstacle before and not at the place where I need to make a rear cross.

Went over treating behind you (like in a serpentine) and then having the dog drive past you to the next obstacle and also lateral leadouts where you're only 6' past the jump, but up to 15' lateral of it (while indicating the jump with your raised arm.)

Thyme was being a sweetie.  Another red and white Border Collie that I want to steal.  The regional is coming up and no doubt Susan Garrett and Encore will be there and I can get my Encore fix.

Mon Aug 7
Dog walk.  Mostly just a sprint around the block.
He seems to be getting a little less reactive about dogs in the window if I'm there.  He still wants to bark like a maniac but if I restrain him and tell him to chill he settles some and I can even let him look at the dog again.  This is if the dog is across the street.  If they're right in front of the house he's still a basket case and we remove him from the room.

Sat Aug 5
He spent the afternoon with Cooper while Terri and I went climbing at Berkeley Ironworks.  I think we all got plenty of exercise.

Wed Aug 2
Dog walk.  Didn't go to obedience class even though we don't have herding this week.  Just wanted to relax and do some tempermant work with him.  I've been trying out something Mark is doing with Cooper.  When they see a dog he has Cooper sit.  This seems to be doing much better for Yoshi than a down as he doesn't feel as vunerable then, yet he is still doing something rewardable (and he is not lunging).  I've been doing our walks through Lincoln Park and there is always a dog or two there.  I'm finding that if I stay about 70-100 feet away that Yoshi will sit and just watch the dog and do "There's a dog" <treat> exercises.  We may be getting somewhere.  Though he will still sometime bark but he's not breaking the sit.

Tue  Aug 1
Agility class.
  He did well again.  Jake wasn't there and Lucky appears to have gone to a different class, but we had two new dogs start coming last week and Yoshi is still not used to them, so I didn't run him in the small field and just worked on attention.  When I get more confident about how he'll react if he's off leash with the new dogs I'll try running him again in the small field.  For now he's doing great and I'm loath to risk that.

Big field.  Doesn't like to stay when he can't see me (can't say that I blame him).  Contacts look great.  He did pop out of the weave poles at pole 10 when I tried to drift away to get in better position.  I just went on and didn't obsess on it.  His speed is improving though if I slow down (like for a cross behind, he slows down too, so we have to work on driving ahead.  He does this twice a day when running to his crate for his meals so this shouldn't be too much of a stretch.

Go to:

Yoshi Training Diary - July 2006
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Yoshi Training Diary - May 2006
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