Yoshi and Trek
By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)
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
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
(The tough tried to go skiing but it was socked in at Auburn
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Fri Dec 7
Trek agility class and Yoshi dog watching. Both did well.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
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
and Trek Training Diary - Nov 2007
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