Yoshi and Trek Training Diary

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

Mon Dec 31
Yoshi and Trek Meet Scott
My friend Scott came over after we were at dinner and spent time with doggies as well as us.  Before we even went to dinner Scott was let into the living room by Terri and I had the dogs on leash in the kitchen behind a closed door.  I didn't have the magic chicken sticks with me - just some kibble, but decided to try it anyway since I had them on leash.  I held them back from the door and let them know I had treats.  Scott walked in and they did look up but didn't explode barking as they were chewing.  they then calmly went up to check him out.  What a difference.  While we sat on the sofa talking they happily climbed all over him and he happily petted them for a long time.

Later a very curious thing happened that I'm still pondering.  Scott had used the restroom and I and th e dogs were in the office.  When Scott came back his steps echoed in the hallway and Yoshi exploded into a barking and growling frenzy (and Trek joined in) and when Scott appeared it's like Yoshi didn't really see him as the person who's lap he'd been crawling all over.  Yoshi charged over and ran behind him and sort of tried to give him a herding nip.  I was trying to get Yoshi's attention and only partially succeeding.  I finally caught him and held him up to Scott.  Yoshi's heart was hammering and he didn't seem to relax much in my arms.  Over time, he finally did relax but the incident really has me thinking.

The trigger seemed entirely the sound of Scott's approaching steps which probably is like a knocking sound.  Karen Overalls relaxation protocol does cover this, so despite my frustration with its writing style, it might be worth checking out.  Her DVD is going to be released soon and that might be easier to understand.

Motion was certainly a part of it and if Scott had stopped right when Yoshi saw him that might have made a difference but he was already reacting to the sound long before he saw him again. 

I have to keep in mind that we humans place a lot of stock in what we see.  A dog seems to give their sensory input a more balanced interpretation.  While Yoshi is more visual than the average dog, hearing (selective though - he doesn't seem to hear me telling him that it's ok and smell and still big factors.  Though the sight, sound, and smell of Scott didn't seem to influence Yoshi's initial reaction.  It's like once the primitive brain had taken over then further input was initially ignored except for locking on the target sort of purposes. :)

So it's all about impulse control and dealing with Leslie McDevitt calls Sudden Environmental Changes.

Sun Dec 30
Cali Lives
(The tough tried to go skiing but it was socked in at Auburn (where 80 starts climbing up to Tahoe) and was going to take way too long to burn off for decent skiing so the brave turned tail for home.)  To my credit, I then tried to take Yoshi herding, but Joyce said the ranch was saturated by rainfall and the ground was way too slick.

In the aw shucks category:  I had idly noticed that there was a bump in the number of hits that Cali's Hedgie Destuffing page was getting, but I wasn't sure why.  (I don't usually look at the stats, but was for other reasons).  A long time friend who I have not seen in quite a while was looking at the Live journal dog community and noticed that someone had posted a link to the page here, and he remembered that I had a Corgi named Cali so looked at frap's main web page and found me.

And Cali lives on instructing the dog's of the world in proper hedgie destruction.  I think it's funny that Cali has a showing in Live Journal even before me (though I did join to thank people for all the nice comments.)

Of course, the very next day one of the original commenter's put a link up on their journal here.  Which generated more comments likely from younger folks.  One mentioned how cute and cuddly she looked.  Cali was cute. Cali was sweet.  Cali was not aggressive.  Cali was mega smart.  Cali was not cuddly (and to my eyes she doesn't look remotely interested in cuddling in the photos).  Both Yoshi and Trek love cuddling  (and we reinforce it all the time), but Cali never did  She liked to lay beside you, but she never liked being held despite our efforts.  That's probably one of the toughest things to explain to kids; just because some animal looks cuddly does not mean that the animal (be it a Chow, Shiba Inu, or a Panda...) is even remotely interested in your hugs.  This one way a lot of kids get bitten in the face (I don't have a reference at hand sorry).

Sat Dec 29
[Yoshi] Will Sell Terri out for Chicken Strips
.. but only if I help

Today Terri had a guy come by to pick something up for Freecycle.  Normally, Yoshi is initially protective (well, protective sounding) of us when an unknown person visits (particularly a man).  So I decided to try an experiment.  (We may not like vivisection, but we love doggy mind games).

The dogs and I were in the kitchen with Terri in the Living Room on the other side of a closed door.  You could hear Terri and the guy talking.  The dogs were barking intently at the door and I pulled out a couple of Trader Joe's chicken sticks that we'd received in a gift exchange.   Immediately, in a clear demonstration of Corgi priorities, they came away from the door to chow down.  While Yoshi hadn't forgotten about the "intruder," he decided that if I wasn't concerned, then it was high time to gobble down a carefully doled out series of treats.

He seemed ready to take things to a higher (?) level, so I crated Trek (who was ever so pissed about it) and put Yoshi on a leash and went into the LR.  Terri and her visitor were outside at that point, but the front door was open.  While still feeding him, we went closer to the door and then, when they were further down the walk up, we were able to sit on the front landing.  He was keeping a careful eye on the visitor, but the other eye and the the mouth were completely occupied with chicken strip pieces.

This is good progress.  Unknown men stress him, but he can eat and be willing to take his eyes off what stresses him.

Thu Dec 27
Took Yoshi out on a very brief walk to see if we could find a dog to play LAT (Look At That) on.  We did find one in a block and a half.  The dog (a Mallenois) was laying down on the front lawn being petted by someone he knew well.  The dog was totally relaxed.  Yoshi saw the dog and gave a very short quiet growl.  We backed off a short distance and started playing LAT.  He would play, but seemed suspicious that such a dog would be just laying there not doing anything (can't say I blame him), so he was having trouble looking away.  We backed off even more (150'? and dog is across the street), and then he was happy to play.  Played for about 2-3 minutes and then turned around and went back home.  Fortunately, nothing else unusual happened on the way back.  On the way there, we did have several adults and children to play LAT on.  Short session, but I'm hoping it made an impression.

Took out the tape measure to see if there was any point in carefully selecting Trek's AKC measuring judges (need 2 now).  What a scardy cat.  She's more afraid of the tape than Yoshi ever was.  Went through lots of goodies and was able to get a very rough estimate of 10.5 inches which is what I thought it would be.  Even though she's no where near 11 inches (the 8" cut off for AKC) I need to work with her more just to get her used to being measured.  The judges will appreciate that.

I see that Corgi person Beverley Morgan Lewis is now an AKC judge.  I should have her measure Trek, but I'm going to be out of town when she's down here.  I'll write her and ask if she's going to be down again anytime soon.

Wed Dec 26
Worked with Yoshi and the Mat.  It's fun to see him think.  He'll do a down on the mat and I'll click and treat him.  Since I tossed the treat to him he got off the mat to get it.  Then he immediately plops into a down looking expectant.  No click.  You can see the wheels in his head turning and he starts looking around for the mat, spies it, and goes over to it and proudly (well he certianly looks that way), downs on the mat.  C/T.

Trek and I played tug with the rabbit fur.  Yoshi, being the sensitive boy, decided that this was too much activity for him and left his comfy spot under Terri's feet and went into the bedroom to go in his crate.  You could argue that it was coincidence, but 30 seconds after we stopped Yoshi was right back out under Terri's feet.  We were 6 feet away from him so we really weren't crowding him.

Tue Dec 25
Took both dogs to Terri's brother's house for Christmas.  They did very well.  We brought both living room crates with us so they could hang out comfortably while the human's dinner was being served.  Terri's nephew Chris (in his 20's) says he wants to come back as one of our dogs with the treats and comfy digs.  He'd be happy to go over jumps and through tunnels and everything. :)

They even had a cat and the dogs left her alone.  Terri's mom, Treva teased that they were being polite here, but chased her cat  Toby (in Redding)   I said that her cat was moving (fast) and she also added that her cat just magically popped out of the wall (small cat door) which would totally surprise most dogs (A ghost!  A cat ghoul!).

During gift opening I just one dog out and on leash.  At first I had Yoshi out (doing some LAT), and while he was ok, it was clear he wanted a break, so I swapped dogs and had the more resilient Trek with me during the worse of the chaos.

After the excitement I brought both dogs out.  Did a brief clicker training demo with Trek and a box and then a paper bag.  I had her sticking her head in the bag for a c/t.  The treat was never in the bag (I just tossed it close to it) which they found fascinating.  Terri's brother, Paul, is a physiologist and enjoyed seeing BF Skinner in action.  Chris immediately figured out that it could be used for people and I told them about training gymnasts with "TAG" teaching which is pretty much the same thing sans dog treats.

The evening's comedy was when Terri's other nephew Danny turned on a small dancing/singing Santa and there was a serious caucaphony of barking.  I was in the other room folding up crates and I ran out, thought about it a second and started throwing treats on the floor.  True to form, Trek worked her way closer and Yoshi hung back but still willing to eat.  Trek was willing to get within inches (as long as I was too), Yoshi's comfort level was more like 5 feet and still very leery.

Given that and his discomfort at all the gift unwrapping and paper tearing, I think it's pretty safe to say his aggression is still fear based, especially when I see how different he is when he's relaxed and not afraid.  He's still not a confident dog so he still needs to do obedience training where he knows his job.

Mon Dec 24
We had a snow frapfest today.  Diane, Bill and I took Yoshi and Trek, and their two Cardis Spark and Petal, up to play in the snow off I-80.  We were planning on going up to Echo Lake off highway 50 but the weather was predicted to be unstable (fortunately it was fine) so we went for the more populated area.  Nyack Rd, in the essentially non-existent town of Alta, is an unofficial snow play area.  It has a couple of plowed areas that are used for snowball war games and the like.

Despite some canine interaction challenges we had fun.  Petal made the mistake of trying to put Yoshi in his place (we think - basically several rude doggy gestures and insults were exchanged and it went downhill from there - I think I heard "Get a tail - you small eared hamster." and "I'll show you you pushy overly tall b----").  In fact his thinking brain was AWOL and he was over the top furious.  I'm just relieved I had him on a long line and I could control him sort of.  I had postholed in the snow so I wasn't mobile which was a bummer as walking away with him calms things down very quickly, but I reeled him in and hung on to him, but it took 30 very long seconds to get the dogs calmed down as the Cardis were circling around which just wound him into a frenzy.

What's odd is that we had done a lengthy and careful intro where we had the dogs far apart and Yoshi and I played LAT, then we would walk closer by walking in an arcing direction (as opposed to walking directly at each other which polite dogs usually don't do to unknown dogs).  He was initially very on edge, but settled and was very willing to play LAT. 

When we started out walking at Nyack Rd. there was some uneasiness, but they were happy to walk.  Unfortunately, it was slow going in the snow for us humans, so the dogs had too much time to get into trouble.

We separated them for a little while then let Spark and Yoshi interact.  They were mostly ok, but a still revved Yoshi tried to take a cheap shot at Spark so we separated them again.

Trek bless her heart stayed completely out of the way during the attempted fight, but was uncomfortable and barked this discomfort (a little) which didn't help with Mr. Wannabe Sir Lancelot wanting to protect her, us, and the known universe.  I miss Sir Robin the chicken.

The dogs had enough exercise, so we walked them back to the cars and crated them while the humans enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies.  After that we decided to see if we could carefully reintroduce Yoshi and Petal by using the same arching approach and a lot of clicking/treating.  We started with Spark and we gradually spiraled closer to each other all the while clicking Yoshi for looking at Spark.  When they got near each other I walked Yoshi to Spark's rear to encourage him to greet politely (a lost cause, but I have to try.)  It worked and both dogs were able to stand beside each other without incident.

Then in was Petal's turn.  Given that it was her and Yoshi who were the fray's main participants/instigators we took extra time with them, but still we had the same results.  After much careful arcing approaches, we were able to have them stand side by side and Petal even begged me for a treat which I gave to her and Yoshi did not react in a negative way.  Phew.

Sun Dec 23
Happy Birthday Trek - 3 years
The tough went skiing... She gets so much attention I didn't feel terribly obligated to make a fuss over her since she pretty much insists that every day is about her.  Besides she had Terri all day.

Sat Dec 22
This morning did more LAT play with Yoshi and just basic clicker play with Trek.  Yoshi would see or hear a squirrel and would immediately race around in one circle.  When he got near me I'd click to see if he'd stop for a treat.  He did but would immediately take off again in another circle and again I'd click him when he got back around (pretty fun game actually.  I was curious to see how long he'd do it.  He did it one more time and then stayed near me just playing basic LAT.  His desire for the cheese was overriding his need to race around.  Wow, interesting.  He was actually with effort making a conscious choice.  Which is a huge step towards learning self control - he's using more of his forebrain rather than the primitive "CHASE" brain (this is something that Brenda Aloff emphasizes).  I will do a lot more of this and see what the effects are.

With Trek I was just playing with her a simple game of do something interesting.  This is intended to get her to start creating rewardable behaviors and get her to think.  It's a fun game (ok clicker training is more always fun or certainly more fun than adversives).  things I rewarded were downs, sits, look at that, looking at me (sometimes), ear flicks (not sure if she's getting this yet but it's amusing), and barks (didn't bother clicking those as they're so self rewarding).  She likes the EVO kibble so much I just use that as rewards with her.  With Yoshi I can use it in less stimulating environments but he prefers Red Barn Beef or cheese or liver.

Fri Dec 21
Did some brief lunch time experiments with LAT with Yoshi.  Trying to figure out if he will switch to looking at things going on in the environment (noises, people, squirrels).  Somewhat but it's got to be for a good reward - like cheese.

Thu Dec 20
I'm looking at entries for Jan and one of the CPE one's conflicts with the Telemark Skiing clinic I'm taking on Jan 5-6 so I may do another NADAC instead on the 13th and consider the CPE one on Jan 19th.  Maybe by then we'll get some time to practice on a real chute.  Also, a coworkers wife has offered to sew the chute so I need to get pictured and the pattern and the material to her as well as the chute base's circumference.

Tonight is the xmas party at Sharon Freilich's.  Should be fun.  (It was of course).


Just so I have it written down somewhere online. 

Trek's NADAC number is 07-10120
Trek's AKC number is DN10071801
Trek's AKC name is Castell Christmas Gift (note no 's)
Trek's Birthday is 12/23/04  (3 years in 3 days - wow)

Yoshi's AKC number is: DN06280708
Yoshi's AKC name is Coltsrun Yoshi Hayate HT
Yoshi's Birthday is 7/28/03

I have sent in Trek's CPE registration.
Eventually i need to send in her USDAA registration.
Because it's a little more crucial that the other measurements, I should take her to an AKC agility trial that she's not entered in and have her measured there by a judge I know.  I should also make a PVC measurer to work with her on.  (just two pieces of PVC and an elbow should do - or maybe I should make the whole U shape just to be sure - three pieces of PVC and two elbows.)

Wed Dec 19
Gave Yoshi (and me) the night off from obedience as they're doing runthroughs tonight and I wasn't sure how much work he'd get.  Though there has to be something said for the important skill of learning how to stand around with other dogs.

Big news.  Leslie McDevitt's former assistant Kienan is now living in California in the Riverside area (Morena Valley).  It's about a 6 hour drive, but it's one I've done multiple times before and it's a straight shot down I5->60.  No problem, and she's willing to see Yoshi.  Yea hoo, I don't have to fly him to Philly after all.  I'll be taking him down Sat. Feb 9th.

Now i have to figure out what I want us to work on.  Mostly I want a CU educated set of eyes to see him and see if I'm on the right track.  While i'm pretty clear with what Leslie discusses in the book I want to make sure I'm not misinterpreting anything.  Pefect world is that I would like him to knock off the lunging crap and be ok off leash and not feel obligated to bully other dogs (small dog syndrome).  In a perfect world I'd like him to be able to compete in something off leash without wanting to charge off to challenge other dogs he finds threatening.  In a more than perfect world, I'd like him to not only be ok around unknown dogs, but to like other dogs in general and communicated well with them.

Reading Leslie's book makes me realize that he's miles better off than some dogs, but still has quite a ways to go.

Night.  He was doing his panicked alarm barking so I decided to see if he would break off from it to eat.  Yep.  Tossed an EVO bit of kibble on the floor and he immediately stopped to eat it.  He was going to go right back to barking when i tossed another one, and then another and another.  Trek got in the game and I alternated tossing treats to them. (good thing they get along)  Yoshi relaxed and stopped being so on guard for a little while.  i was going to resort of McDevitt's raining handfuls of treats on a dog's head (when the dog is crated), but didn't need to.

Tue Dec 18
Noon.  Took Yoshi on a walk to see if he was any different on walks with his LAT skills.  Nope.  He hasn't generalized it much though he will look back if there isn't a dog present.  Saw two dogs. one in particular and he was his usual bark and lunge self though he didn't seem terribly upset (we had crossed the street but that wasn't far enough.  One thing I learned is he will break off just to eat/gobble treats (in a stressed way, but he will eat and a truly over the top stressed dog - even a corgi - won't eat..  Wonder if Leslie and others' (Toni Hage did this too) of scattering treats on the ground would be enough.  It might.  I hate rewarding such behavior, but the idea of classical conditioning is that treats are associated with the presence of dogs.

Also I want to figure out how to get the angle of a dog directly approaching worked into LAT.

Sun Dec 16
Today is Yoshi's turn.  We're going herding, but we'll stop at the Bayteam agility  trial to watch dogs for a little while.

No miracles. but he's showing good progress.  I also started working in Leslie's Give Me a Break game which is where you often take breaks while working on something.  The idea is that the dog wants to go back to working and earning treats.

Agility watching.  Right beside the covered arena is this perfect field with excellent sightlines of doggies exercising and walking.  He could tolerate a dog walking on a leash at 100', but a running dog it was much more like a football field.  If a dog was walking towards us, it didn't matter what I clicked he was barking and fretting about the dog even as we were walking away.  Over time this got better and he curiously relaxed when we were at the far side of the field with a fence to our backs also if the background colors were a little busy it seemed to help (I have had his vision checked).

Then we worked a bit closer and went into the adjacent covered area which had a fenced area that a couple of older puppies where playing and I.C.'s mom (whose name I'm spacing on right now) was in there with them.  We watched them a while while we played the  Look at That game with lots of breaks especially when the pups would go charging off and Yoshi would want to bark at and chase them.  Yoshi politely greeted the puppies through the fence and all nicely gathered around for goodies.  It was a very productive session and there were other dogs standing around outside that Yoshi didn't mind.

Then I moved the truck to a parking spot where we could watch the ring (Cool).  He watched three or four dogs charge around an agility course without tensing.  In fact, the only thing that seemed to upset him was having a dog walk by the truck on leash - I covered his eyes since he was over threshold at that point.

We were just about to leave for herding when I decided to try carrying him into the agility area under the cover just to see how he'd be.  It was during a walk through so there weren't many dogs around (though there were some) and he seemed relaxed about it and got to say hello to Arlene and Cathy C. and some other folks.  Under the cover the noise is very echoy and I didn't know how that would affect him but it didn't - at all.

My clicker experiment worked about 50% of the time which is about par when there's sheep around.  This was in the round pen.  If I could get him to stop (or pause) I'd click him and throw a cube of cheese.  He always found and ate the cheese, the sheep did not trump this reward which is nice to know and it's nice to know that I have a little control.  He still can't cope with walking around the sheep and we spent some time with him on leash and my carrying the stick in front of him making him walk (saying "walk" and "steady").  I don't think he's getting it though.

We did try the HT pen once.  He still wants to charge and scatter sheep so he can gather them up again, but both Joyce and Tony have observed that when the sheep get back to me that I should focus on the sheep and walk with them somewhere.  Tony sees that I'm stopping to argue with Yoshi, but his behavior is better when the sheep are moving in a direction.  I think it's that he realizes he has a job to do then and starts to weave back and forth ("wearing").  We were able to do a little actual herding then down the back fence, clearly I need to work more on my footwork.

Sat Dec 15
Trek and I are going as tourists to the Bayteam Trial in Santa Rosa at the Fairgrounds.

She didn't seem that overwhelmed through the space can get noisy.  She was generally content to sit in my lap and get treats and attention.  She even climbed over my shoulder so she could sit in Debbie's lap.  As an experiment I got up and walked a few feet away and she wanted to go with me but when she realized that she was being restrained, she relaxed.

I also had her spend some time in a crate there to see if she would sleep.  She didn't, but that will likely fix itself the more she trials.

Arlene tells me there are four CPE trials coming up in Jan and Feb.  I can't make the Jan 5-6 one as I'll be at a ski clinic but the others sound like possibilities.

Debbie and Porsche smoked the Steeplechase course.  I know she didn't me for me to broadcast this info but it is publically available information: Porsche has won every agility class she's been in so far.  I will also now make public my claim that Debbie is an overachiever and a natural worrywart. :)

Fri Dec 14
Trek agility class, Yoshi watching one too.

Yoshi did well in dog watching.  I let him greet Cash and while they were polite they both were vocalizing a little.  But in general he can circulate amongst the agility dogs we even had Charlie charge up to say hi and Yoshi didn't react to him at all (though we did walk away fairly quickly).

Class went well for Trek.  I may have been over emphasizing off side weaves as she's having trouble with on-side (dog on my left) weaves now (and was find with the off-side ones.)  I'll have to set up just six poles in the back yard so we can hit them at speed

Thu Dec 13
Tempting Fate.  The weather has cleared enough for me to start repainting the teeter board that I'm going to be giving back to Elf.  I have the teeter board in the backyard and I know it's just begging for a dog to autograph it by jumping on it while it's still wet.  Hasn't happened yet but I've only gotten started.

Wed Dec 12
Yoshi Obedience Class.  I think Yoshi has turned a behavioral corner and I need to give Leslie McDevitt and her Control Unleashed book most of the credit for these last few steps.  He started to play the LAT game right from the start.  Good thing too as there were two dogs in the class that in the past he would have more that mightily objected to: a young (fortunately well behaved) Doberman, a fussy, inexperienced, enthusiastic Portuguese Water Dog.  And Callie the Mallenois, and Annie the Golden were also there and he's only recently gotten used to them.  Hank the Bulldog was there who he likes but none of his other friends attended that night.  It could have easily been a really stressful evening and it wasn't at all.  Phew.  He would look at one of the dogs and then immediately look back at me.  Most of the time I would be on the ball enough to click the look and treat him when he looked back but even if I didn't he still would do it.  A couple of times I let him hold the look just to see what he would do (up until now I'm been too worried about it to let him look for more than a second.) After about 3 seconds he looked back at me for a reward.  Given that I usually only have 2 seconds before he would stiffen and lunge that's very good news indeed.  His eyes didn't go hard and he didn't stiffen, though he wasn't completely relaxed about it either (his mouth was closed and he was very much alert.

The quality of his work in class has improved as well.  His heeling is very good even though I don't nag him too much for glancing around (he always looks back).  We were so focused on working that I didn't realize that the Doberman had come quite close at one point.  Yoshi saw him and I clicked Yoshi and he immediately looked back at me and we moved away.  No reaction from Yoshi at all.  What a difference.  Once heeling skill we worked on was the left turn.  The concept that Hazel taught was that training it it was good to have the dog shift their weight backwards at the apex of the turn, and she suggested telling the dog to "Back" at that point if they know how to back up.  Yoshi does and it went very well.  Though Yoshi always steers clear of my feet so he naturally hesitates on left turns so I'm not sure how essential it is but he liked doing it.

Then we did sits and downs.  The PWD whined for a lot of it.  Yoshi was attentive to him, but didn't move excessively and I stuck near him to reward him for staying.

Worked on Stand for Exam and he still needs more work on this.  He will let a person come up and touch him but he moves when I come back to him.  This is new within the last few weeks so I think we'll need to spend a lot more time working on it out side of class (been working so much on the dumbbell haven't been working on this much at all.)  Hazel suggests that when I come back to walk up and reward him immediately when I reach his head.  When he can do that without moving them take another step into the walk around and reward him there.  Then work up to being able to walk around him.

Dumbbells.  A few days ago I realized that this Air Dog dog toy I have looks like the perfect dumbbell, and it's made out of tennis ball material which he likes.  He will hold that for longer and at home I can get him to hold it for a count of six.  At the club, he was willing to do it for a count of 4 or sometimes 5.  Hazel was encouraged by him progress and suggested trying to incorporate a sit.  I said that I have yet to be successful at that as he always drops the dumbbell them and she thought that maybe he's used enough to offering behaviors that maybe just waiting him out till he tries the dumbbell again with a sit might work.  Yoshi completely surprised me by doing a sit with the dumbbell while Hazel and I were talking.  Good dog.

Recalls.  He's doing a happy recall like he did last time.  He had one hesitation where he looked apprehensively at the other dogs, but I called him again (chirpy voice) and he bounded to me with an open mouth.  Whew.  We still have him on a long line and I don't see that changing for a while though I think I'll start using a lighter weight line.

After class, Yoshi was exhausted (and we even left a little early as he wanted to go and I wanted him to be successful without exception this evening), which surprised me since he was mostly just eating it seemed, but maintaining focus like that and not freaking out about the dog nearby, must be very hard work for him.

I now need to think of what is the next step with Yoshi and his training.  Clearly he's very used to the Obedience club and he's pretty used to the agility class that he watches (though we'll need to do a lot more with that).  There are three places where he has issues and I'm not sure what the next one to work on should be:  1) Walks on the street when he sees a dog.  2) Walking around agility or other trials (being in a trial being a holy grail) 3) Walking around the outside of a Dog Park  (being in a Dog Park is also a holy grail of sorts that may never happen.)  Walking on the street is the most obtainable but also the least predictable.  Also the slight lines on streets are not great and he stresses about that.  Probably a good step would be to go to Morgan Territory again even though it's an hour drive or so.  The slight lines are excellent and there are dogs that go there.  A much closer alternate would be Krusi field which is a large ballpark just down the street and people take their dogs there too.  Regarding agility trials, there is a Bayteam trial in Petaluma this weekend and I was going to take Trek there to sightsee anyway.  Yoshi could go to as it will probably be cool enough that I can crate them in the truck and just have one dog out at a time.  And dog parks, well we can go back to the only occasionally used old dog park and walk around there either one the outside or the inside.  Actually now that I think of it, walking around the outside of that park when only one or two dogs are there, might be an excellent next step.  I could even bring the squeeze peanut butter. :)

Mon/Tue Dec 10-11
Various short bits of mat work, and dumbbell sessions, and retrieving/tug play.
I'm looking more at the Relaxation Protocol and I'm not sure how my dogs could not see it as a stay exercise even though it's not intended to be like that.  Lots of having them sit and you doing odd things like walking around, clapping hands, knocking (!), ringing the door bell (!!).  I think I'll just concentrate on what Leslie presents as there's plenty to work on.  Leslie also tells me that her former assistant is now in Calif and maybe we could form a CU group.  I'll have to contact her to see where in Calif she is.

Sun Dec 9
No class for Yoshi as Joyce is judging a trial today.  Didn't wind up going as we went and got Terri a new bike for her birthday (Dec 8).  So I'll have to try my clicker strategy next week.  Think I'll start in the round pen at first to see if we're on to something.

Fri Dec 7
Trek agility class and Yoshi dog watching.  Both did well. 
I noticed something interesting about Yoshi and his demeanor there.  At least three times, he's started to lunge at a passing dog, but each time I tightened the leash and we calmly walked further away, and then we instantly resumed the LAT game.  He didn't bark at all.  He very slightly vocalized but he wasn't being a freaky boy at all (a nice change).  Before we started LAT, he would occasionally go over threshold and lunge and he was stressed.  Now it appears that though he does sometimes go over threshold, he's much calmer about it and can very quickly switch back to working.  He doesn't seem nearly as worried.  Now this is with dogs he'd familiar with - we'll have to see once we start working on unknown dogs.

Wed Dec 5
No Yoshi Obed class - going to Cirque du Soleil

Tue Dec 4
Happy Hanukkah (starts tonight)
It rained last night (hurray).  Wonder if this is going to impact the AHB Ranch Dog herding trial that's this weekend in Pescadero.  Joyce is judging on Sunday.  Rusty is on Sat.  I'm hoping to go watch one of the days (Sunday I think.)

I want to finish repainting the teeter board to blue and yellow before I get the teeter back to Elf.  I'm hoping to be finished by the Dec 15-16 trial but the weather's going to have to improve for that to happen.  My garage is still unfortunately taken up by garage doors in process of being restore so the obvious indoor solution isn't quite available yet.

Downloaded and printed Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol that the Control Unleashed list talks so much about. (it's in the Files area of the Control Unleashed yahoo group.  Leslie didn't detail it in her book much as Karen is coming out with an update and a DVD and I think she didn't want to step on her literary toes.  I know that Helix is frustrated with Karen's writing style and I can sort of see what as it's a little difficult to follow, but it looks pretty doable.  Helix really likes to get it right by doing it as described first where I don't mind deviating if I think it will serve my purposes better to do so.

Mon Dec 3
I went back through the corgi herding email list archive to remind myself of what we discussed about clickers a year and a half ago.  Turned out Julie B.-L. (Napoli and Toby's mom) detailed out a good way to incorporate a clicker into herding training.  You throw the food, so it doesn't mess with the dogs position too much.  Joyce is going to laugh at me, but I'm sure going to try it.  I'll have to use a loud box clicker, and light colored very easy to swallow food (cheese chunks perhaps?)  Wonder if Joyce is going to object to my throwing food in the pasture, but if it's light colored I can always pick it up if Yoshi misses it.  Sounds much more fun than jerking, threatening and yelling a the dog, more fun for the dog too.  The trick will be that the most rewarding thing for Yoshi is running and fetching sheep so I'll let him do that, but when he returns I bet I can use the clicker and food to interrupt him from trying to flush them and we can transition to simply taking the sheep somewhere as once the sheep start moving he's generally happy to work along side.  If he starts to push I can tell him to stop and click and treat (from a distance) him.  Should be entertaining and it will be a huge coup if I can make it work.

Sun Dec 2
Yoshi Herding with Trek along as well.
Such a wildman but a wildman with a purpose.  He goes and gets sheep and brings them back but he doesn't do well at walking calmly behind them even though he's done it before.  It's like after he's brought them back he wants to flush them again so he can go running after them.  I've been using a long line on him and that only helps so much.  He will stop when I get in his way which is an improvement, but if I release him from a sit he'll try and charge again.  So I need to find a more effective way to get him to walk calmly behind sheep.  It's tempting to try clicking and treating him but he's breathing so hard it would be hard for him to swallow anything.  Maybe a lick of something?  Not sure.

Let Tony work Yoshi. and he did great with him though Yoshi is a little intimidated by him.  Tony's more stern than I am and will give mild collar corrections and will speak sharply to him.  Joyce and I had our ongoing debate about whether corrections were the only answer or not (inconclusive as usual - I don't think they are, but I'm not doing well providing successful alternatives - perhaps the citronella collar would work?  Likely not.)

When I let Trek out to explore some, she ducked under the gate of the round pen to herd sheep herself.  When I opened the gate to walk in the sheep charged out and I had to ask for help retrieving them.  At first I sent Trek after them then realized that was silly as she really had no idea what to do.  When Keeper and Joyce got them put back away I took Trek into the pen with the slower sheep and worked her a little and she actually did ok though she'd wander off from time to time to roll in poop, which is oh so unlike Mr Obsessed Yoshi.  Trek could actually do the beginning levels and do ok, but it's not her passion and she's pretty thrilled with agility, so I won't be putting her on sheep much unless she keeps asking to work like she did today.

Worked more with Yoshi and he was better since he was tired, but he still wants to charge.

Joyce let me work Keeper for a little bit and it was so nice to have such a smooth working dog with me.  What was fun is that I let him teach me directionals.  I mostly know that "Come Bye" is go clockwise and "Away [to me]" is counter-clockwise, but it was a good sanity check to ask for those and have him show me that's what they meant.  What fun.

Sat Dec 1
Trek's second NADAC trial.  The future's so bright she's gotta wear doggles.
She did much better than I expected. Night and day improvement over her first trial and she showed improvement from run to run as well the third being the best as one might expect.  Though there was no photographer this time, but she didn't even look at the ring crew at all like she did last time.  She's running fast and I'm not even asking her to in fact there was one front cross that I didn't get to in time so instead crossed behind her and she drove ahead which is something she hasn't been doing before. I'm focusing on keeping myself very calm but enthusiastic, as I noticed last time that the more hyper I got (like I was with Cali), the more erratic Trek got.  Her sequencing was iffy at first but by the third class it was great.  One of the more dramatic contrasting examples was there were three jumps in a row to the finish in both the second standard class and in the chances class. In a straightaway she's faster than me so by the second jump she was pulling ahead.  I told her to go over and in the second standard class she veered off the third  and final jump (which must have been where her course faults came from as I thought she was clean until then - I did get her over the jump but she had technically crossed the finish line), In the Chances class she nailed it.

The Chances class surprised me in a number of ways.  One she was going so fast into a tunnel that I realized I was risking a collision if I tried to cross in front so I let her pass me and successfully sent her over the next jump and crossed behind her.   This did puzzle her some and hesitated a moment but I then sent her over the next jump which was the start of the gamble that I knew was way too hard for her and I really haven't been working much on gambling skills So I had previously decided not to try it.  Was I ever surprised when she carried out to the next jump, though she must had seen me standing there dumbfounded, and stopped to check in at which point I crossed the line and she proceeded to smoke the rest of the course and I was able to do a rear cross with her smoothly and it worked very well as a change in direction.

Taking weave poles at speed is still an issue and one we'll have to continue to work on that.  In class Friday, she nailed one so she has the concept.  During the Standard 1 briefing judge Roger Coor (Moso's dad) said that while there technically isn't a limit on the number of times you can attempt, if you do it 15 times you probably have an issue that you're not going to fix today and you're certainly not going to make course time.  This amused me as while I didn't think I was going to have to try the weave poles 15 times, I was here to make sure she was going to do them, and I don't have the beginner handler embarrassment factor to deal with.  It took about 5 times the first time and 2 times the next (I had deliberately slowed her down for the 2nd one

So things she's much better at
 - sequencing, doing several obstacles in a row with out having to be set up for each one
 - being ok with the ring environment

Still need to work on
 - weave entries at speed
 - rear crosses on jumps (contacts and tunnels ok)
 - run a course without refusals or running off the course path (need to be able to do this for AKC)

Non-issues so far
 - contacts (unless she did miss one that Std 2 class - I didn't ask)
 - running a whole course without stopping for treats

The trial environment doesn't seem to bother her much now.  In fact she seems to like it.

So now what?  I think she's ready to move on now as my goal was to get her used to the trial environment and she certainly seems to be and she's doing courses smoothly, and a friend cautioned getting her hooked on the wide open NADAC courses.  CPE seems like a natural as in Novice there are no weaves or teeters, there is a chute and I need to finish her training on that.  So we're likely to bid NADAC adieu for now though may revisit it from time to time (amusing as it has been, I've been missing my friends in the other venues and I want them to see her run.  I don't expect to have her compete at all in December though we'll go as tourists to the USDAA games trial in Petaluma.

Oh and doggles.  The dust at Elk Grove was bothering her dry eye and I had to find some artificial tears (in a bottle) from a kind person.  I'm thinking that doggles with clear lenses might help her.  I have doggles that I got while experimenting with limiting Yoshi's vision (didn't work really) but I'll have to get clear lenses for them.  So she's going to be walking around like Snoopy and his Sopwith Camel.

Go to:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Nov 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Oct 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Sep 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Aug 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jul 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - May 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Apr 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2007

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Sep 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - July 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - June 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Feb 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Jan 2006

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2005
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Yoshi Training Diary - Jul 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jun 2005
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Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Feb 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jan  2005

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2004
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Yoshi Training Diary - July 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Jun 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2004

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