Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - December 2008

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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Wed Dec 31
Yoshi Dog Walk
Practiced a lot of walk/sit/walk with a down thrown in every so often.  Walking down Central he suddenly wouldn't sit and started barking but not lunging.  While I wrestled him into a sit, I kept looking around for what the heck he was barking at as there wasn't a dog unless it was 2 inches tall.  He stayed seated but kept barking,  Since he was sitting, I let him (it makes him feel better and he's doing what I'm asking).  Looking right through his ears I see... A Trash Can partially on the sidewalk.  We've walked past dozens of the exact same trash cans, but none that had crept onto the side walk and apparently that's a Problem.  We closed the gap on the offending trash can by doing walk, sit, walk, sit.  Just before we reach the can, a dog shows up across the street.  While putting kibble in his nose, I get the cream cheese out and he licks that (still sitting) while the dog walks by.  Back to the can.  When we were close enough I asked him to target it and he wouldn't.  He would take a treat from my hand touching the can but he wouldn't touch the can with his nose.  Concluding I had more important things to focus on besides whether my dog would touch his nose to a trash can I decide to move on.

Tue Dec 30
A pivotal day and evening for Yoshi.
Noon.  Yoshi dog walk.  Did a lot of sits and some lie down's.  Only saw one dog: a Standard Poodle.  I had him sit and was feeding him string cheese and he managed to gobble up the rest of it all at once but it kept him occupied.  Rest of the walk was uneventful though we kept practicing the sits.

The pivotal part was in the evening when Cathy came over.  First of all did a walk with Trek and she's pulling less since I've been rewarding her a lot for being close.

i had resolved to find a way to better manage the dog's door greetings.  This time rather than relying on whether they get in their crates, I decide to manage it right from the start.  When I hear Cathy's knock on the door (luckily I was the only one to hear it) I put Yoshi on a leash went into the living room and left Trek in the Kitchen (she was most displeased).  Terri let Cathy in and I made Yoshi sit, which I had to help him do (he was slightly growling uncomfortably) but them he was ok with staying there.  After some rigmarole where food was brought in and greetings exchanged Cathy was ready to say hello.  I let Yoshi go say him to Cathy, and he was great about it.  Then I let Trek in and both dogs said hello.  No frenzied barking (no barking at all in fact), no high stress level, some excitement, but nothing that bad at all.

I kept Yoshi leashed to me.  When it came time to sit and eat and watch the DVD, I put Trek in a crate, pulled out the mat and put it by the sofa and had Yoshi lie on it.  He completely relaxed and for the next 30 minutes stayed there.  I then let Trek out to go hop up on the sofa with Cathy and Terri and Yoshi was content to stay on his mat.

The entire evening was peaceful.  This really underscores a couple of things.

Mon Dec 29
Took time just to cuddle with the dogs on the sofa.  Yoshi can get so relaxed it's difficult to keep in mind how reactive he can be.  That is until he hears a noise, but these days I can usually rub his neck tell him to relax and he does which is so nice (only indoors though).

Patricia gave me a bunch of herding videos when it became clear that Rosie wasn't going to able to herd.  Watched the rest of H Glyn Jones herding video called Come Bye and Away    It was nice to watch it and not be lost.  He deals with the same exact issues though his dogs are more biddable.

One interesting thing he does is use a cord looped through the collar instead of a leash.  There there's no unclipping drama he just lets go of one end of the cord and it slips through the collar.  The dog may not even know that the cord is released.  He also uses a plastic bag with one end taped to be a handle, as his wand.

I decided that since I have to repeat my down command anyway, I may as well use the herding "Lie Down."  So I intro'd it to him and he's got it.  We walked around the living room: Lie Down, Walk, Stop, Lie Down, ...  Worked fine - inside.

Did Trek's nails.

I need to start planning out Trek's agility schedule for the year.  Time to start emphasizing AKC and USDAA.

Sun Dec 28
Trek and Cameo play in the Little Dog Park.
I was taking Trek and Yoshi to the dog park and stopped by and kidnapped Cameo, Mark and Jan's 14 month old fluffy Corgi as her and Trek get along well and like to play together.  Cameo definitely felt like she was being dognapped though Jan quite happily handed her to me.  I can get 3 crates in the Scion if I turn one sideways (blocking the access to the other crate, but it still works, albeit the third crate is not tied down which is potentially hazardous to the human occupants if there was a serious accident.)

Anyway, they had fun once they realized that they were there to play (Trek in particular was my shadow for several minutes), then things clicked and away they frapped.  Another Corgi named Bao (yes, like the Pork Bun which his mom Christina says is what he resembled as a puppy - too funny) joined as well though he is only 10 months old and a little unsure.

Yoshi Dog Park walk.
More sitting and looking at dogs and getting fed for it.  Such a lesson in thresholds and triggers.  We can stand 75-100 feet away from the park and he can sit and watch dogs running (mostly) and play LAT.  Too close gets a reaction if the other dog is moving or staring, or looking funny (in his mind).   From a distance, the training looks pretty traditional and it would take a trainer to see that while I'm pulling on him I'm not doing many collar corrections (there is some especially when he's pulling), in fact a traditional trainer would say I'm doing a bad job of it and that's good news since that's not my intention.  If he thinks about lunging, I can interrupt, tell him sit and reward him.  If he lunges (happened a few times), I pull him back and make him sit (even if I have to put him there.)  Leslie would call that over threshold and she's correct but if I can get him to sit, he is almost always able to get his head back together and can cope and even do well.  Is that pushing too hard?  I'm not sure yet, but now that I see how he is in herding I know I can pretty much insist on the sit and I just need to figure out what distance to use.

Generally, he did great and the only hard part was trying to leave. We tried to get to the fence to say hi to Cathy and found ourselves penned in by two other sets of leashed dogs walking outside the park (two at once is an uncommon occurrence)  I covered his eyes, but he was still mega stressing.

Funny sidebar was that while we were walking the perimeter we ran into a flock of Canadian Geese (who are pretty much permanent residents.)  The geese were about 150' away (meaning not close at all).  So since I had Yoshi on leash and we were pretty far from the geese, we did some sit, walk up (about 5 steps), stop, sit, walk up, stop, sit (Sort of like the Border Collie goose patrol dogs do - they can't chase or harass the birds, they make them move on by resembling a stalking predator  though they down instead of sit).  The geese aren't moving, but are keeping an eye on Yoshi.  Yoshi however isn't really paying attention to them, but instead is swivel-heading towards the dogs playing in the dog park.  "WHAT kind of a herding dog ARE you?"  Now in all fairness, he's never herded geese and is actually a little intimidated by them, but to worry about the fenced off dogs instead of the geese right in front of him is oh so CU.  He informs me that if that had been sheep it would have been totally different which is probably correct as he's worked sheep with other dogs outside of the pen that he would stop to yell at until I told him to get back to work.

Sat Dec 27
I escaped to go skiing at Tahoe

Fri Dec 26
Yoshi to Washington Dog Park.
I was interested in seeing if I could get him to sit or down around other dogs.  Upshot is that it's possible at least with sit.  He did react when he was too close, but if I either got him further away or just wrestled him into a sit he could maintain it and keep his head enough to start playing LAT and get rewarded.  I don't think he's what Leslie calls "clinical" (can't maintain unless medicated), he's one step below it.  This means that with a ton of effort he can control himself.  He doesn't always hear me say sit so I repeat myself until he gets it (I don't think he tunes me out, I think he's mega distracted.)  He is still on L-Theonine and I'm going to keep him on it as that seems to help, and will have to continue experimenting with other herbs that may help him.  I will also put him back on the Chinese supplement I had him on though I'm not convinced it's doing anything.

Thu Dec 25
Dogs and us going to Terri's brother's family's house.
Both did great until they spied the cat and chased the cat under the bed.  Then Yoshi was jacked up and reactive to anyone walking by.  I gave him a Pet Ease and crated him for a while, then had him out on leash.  He was still kinda strange and barky (it was then dark), and I started insisting that he down a fair bit and that concentration helped him.

Tue Dec 23
Noon Yoshi walk - no dogs but we worked a lot on stop and sit, some whiplash turns (which we're not very good at despite working a lot on it) and some heeling.  I've noticed that in herding I can get him to stop and sit (or down) with sheep now so there's a good chance that I can get him to do the same with dogs.  there's been at least one occasion where I've gotten him to sit and he just sat and barked at whatever was bothering him (I forget the details, maybe a squirrel, I just remember being amused).  It will be harder for him with a dog but it's the same skills, so there's a foundation there.

Eve. Trek walk.  I took along a clicker and a pile of Innova EVO kibble and we worked on loose lead walking pretty much the whole time much nicer than being pulled.  I usually would do this with Natural Balance but she'll work for the EVO and it's in smaller bits than I can cut the Natural Balance.

later.  Trek Obedience and RP work.  I can get her to put her head down on the mat for 20-25 seconds now.  I've stopped using the clicker since she knows what to do and the clicker adds excitment so I just use "yes" or not even that.  Obedience.  Worked on the basics of Stand which I don't think I've ever taught to her before.  She was a bit befuddled at first but caught on quickly.  She would stand there while I touched her in spots going down her back.  I supported her a couple of times with a hand under her tummy and the next time she got it and I could do it without supporting her (I stayed beside her).  In the down and the sit she's not used to my returning and walking around her so we worked on that a fair bit till she would stay (she was hoping up as I returned.)  Her recall is great and she still plows into me unless I'm holding a treat, but what a fun problem to have (my dog's recalls are too enthusiastic - how cool is that?)  She's getting heeling with the help of a clicker.  With the dumbell retrieve we started using the traditional dumbell but I noticed that the noise of the dumbell on the wood floor was bothering her so I switched to one of the dumbell like toys since they never have to know how to retrieve on a wood floor.  The only problem with the toy is tht she loves indoor fetch so we do a little work with it as a dumbell then do fetch, then switch back, etc.  She's almost got the sit and hold the dumbell.

Yoshi on the other hand has just about got the retrieve elements put together.  He still drops it on the retrieve, but will then sit and take it back into his mouth and hold it for an instant.  It's taken a long time to get to this point though we haven't been as diligent working on it.  His head on the mat is about 3-4 seconds which is an improvement and he seems less worried this time.  heeling and recalls were good though he sometimes does a drop on recall even when not asked.  Stays are fine.  Stands are getting much more solid than they were though there already were pretty good.

Then he and I laid down on/beside the mat and watched a herding video which was fun and Yoshi got practice relaxing with someone giving commands and whistles and the occasional bark.

Mon Dec 22
I can get Trek to put her head down for up to 15-20 seconds now.  She shifts some to get more comfortable.  Big win was when she stuck a rear foot out behind her which is a common thing she does.  More time will have to pass to see if she really relaxes.  i tried adding the "rest" cue word but the behavior really isn't what I want yet so stopped.

Yoshi is back at the hold for a count of two.  Since he's a CU dog, the parameters at which he'll work are much narrower.  Trek will just work for her kibble (as it's pretty nice kibble), but Yoshi loses steam fairly quickly (I think the Innova EVO goes further as treats than the Prarie Beef.)  Yoshi will worked for a little while then lost interest.  Took a break to get other treats.  Then I overshot on the treat value as I came back with string cheese and it was such high value that he couldn't concentrate on being still (though was happy to do something active like obedience exercises).  I gave him a break and he proceeded to carefully sniff every single area of the living room where Riley and Serene (Tom and Sue's Berner's) had been.  Since I was out of Natural Balance which is what I usually use as high-medium value treats, I just started massaging him and he willingly accepted that though even doing that he needed a break.  He can and does learn - just at a different pace than Trek and he's much more sensitive to his environment though while he's on a mat I can knock on just about anything and he'll stay on the mat now.  Progress happens just more slowly.

Sun Dec 21
All of us went to Fort Funston and rather than leave Yoshi at home I decided that I'm done protecting him and he came along on leash which is a lot of work but way less stressful than letting Mr Poor Judgement off leash.  Obviously the more tired he got the better he was unless a dog directly charged up (only happened once).  If a dog approached I could walk laterally off the nice wide paths.  The other really cool thing about Fort Funston, besides the fact that it is simply a gorgeous setting and dog paradise, is that hardly anyone is playing fetch with their dog.  They're walking somewhere or letting the dogs race around in the dunes or on the beach.  Dogs playing fetch are a trigger for Yoshi who wants to control the motion.

More relaxation experiments.
Did some with Yoshi, but the real interesting progress was with Trek. 
First I switched the pad to the larger "Canine Hardware" one that feels like a down sleeping bag (it's not really but instead a polyfill of sorts), and it made a big difference as they both really like that pad and they find it really comfortable.  Yoshi can now put his head down for a count of two, Trek for a count of three or more.  The really fascinating thing about Trek is that a couple of times she would flop on her side (which I immediately clicked), and once or twice she sighed which is a sign of relaxation.  She's also less tense and not so keyed up and yelling at me a lot less.

Here's my possibly crackpot theory.  In college as an undergrad, I was a liberal studies major (the computer stuff was in grad school) and one of my areas of study was theatre, so I took more than one acting class (enough to know that while I'm comfortable on stage I much prefer playing myself.)  But I got a lot out of the training, in particular from the study of Constantine Stanislavski's "System" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantin_Stanislavski - which is NOT the very different "Method" which was dreamed up by Lee Strasberg).  The cool thing about the System is that Stanislavski may have been the first one to formally notice that emotions can follow actions.  An actor can help him or herself  feel the character's feelings by doing things associated with that character.  The physical movements, positions, voice, habits, even the costume, makeup, hairstyle (but I digress).  My idea is that if I reinforce the physical position and setting of relaxation (e.g a comfy pad), then it's possible the relaxation may follow.  Stay tuned, it just might happen - after all dogs are pretty good actors when they need to be. :)

Sat Dec 20
My brother and sister in law are here spending the night with their two Bernese Mountain Dogs.  It's been entertaining but Yoshi has been on leash the entire time and they had a very carefully managed meeting outside with the help of a couple of packages of string cheese.  He does grouse at them in HIS house but walking along it's fine.

Fri Dec 19
Such a bummer.  The author of Control Unleashed doesn't want us (or anyone else, but her) to use the name anymore in workshop titles.  Taking a long look at everything that would have to change.  Every flyer, every announcement, the web pages, even the fancy certificates that I designed.  I realized that (a) it would take hours (b) I have no incentive to do it (c) I'm short on hours as it is and jealous of my time (d) I'd resent it, even if I was paid beyond the workshop spot I ask for. I'm currently not paid as I don't want a cash income for dog related stuff and (e) I pretty much know what I need to do with Yoshi and while the workshops help, they're no longer indispensable like they once were for him.  So it's time for me to retire as organizer.  It's been a good run.  I've sent email to Anne and Kienan saying that it's time for me to retire and that I'll be happy to help out the next organizer.

Trek agility class
Such an awesome doggy.  No teeter issues, and she was sequencing smoothly, nice tunnels and dog walk, and those weavepoles!  I was even able to a cross behind the poles.  She loaded in and it didn't phase her at all when I crossed to the other side.  She just concentrated on her job.  Ya hoo.  Sadly, we won't have class again till next year and I'm disinclined to rent the field in the relatively cold weather we're having.  Though I may change my mind as time passes.

Thu Dec 18
Someone on the CU Dogs list figured out that her dog was never relaxed and she had her dog on a mat and just waited for relaxed behavior.  It took 15 minutes, the first time before she clicked.  10 minutes the next. 

For fun I tried it.  What I got was amusing enough that I filmed it.  I finally opted for teaching them to put their heads down on the mat.  Not relaxed but a start and maybe they'll get the clue with the body language.  While neither dog was successful at relaxing, both learned how to put their heads down.  Trek spent most of the time yelling at me.  Yoshi learned this elaborate behavior chain of targeting the tripod, laying down on the mat, and putting his head down.  Both are pretty funny, and I'll post them on You Tube (and put the links here) when I can onto Terri's computer which she's using intensively for a family ancestry project.

I'm realizing that Trek is ready to go back to competition, but I've resolved to wait till the trials move back outside which means March.  In the mean time, I'll ski now that it's finally snowing.

Wed Dec 17
Training walks both dogs separately.  Yoshi: saw one dog, i saw the dog first and backed off one house width.  Had him by the collar and when he saw the dog started feeding him kibble.  He was struggling to react so I let some kibble fall to the ground and put my other hand (which had the kibble) on the ground.  He rather stressfully decided to eat the kibble.  I was going to take him to class today, but I think instead I'll do more RP with him.  I'm still trying to figure out how to work the stuffed JRT into the picture without Yoshi having a complete meltdown or figuring out that it's not real though that didn't seem to make a difference with Trishes stuffed Dobe.

Trek: saw a leaf blower and didn't freak (don't think she normally does with them).  Saw a giant, loud street vacuum and was leery of it but didn't panic.

Tues Dec 16
Noon - Yoshi walk.  Saw two dogs.  Reacted to both.  Each time I was able to grab his collar to tell me to leave it (calm tone of voice).  After barking and grousing him did acquiesce however it takes blowing on him or lifting him off his front legs to get his attention.  He actually hung himself once by trying to charge which is not something I like to do myself but I must admit it got his attention.  Rest of the time he's of course an angel.  It's interesting watching him check out someone walking with a shopping bag.  He stands upright, looks very carefully and then sees it a bag and relaxes.  I've stopped telling him to leaving it for non-dogs as then he gets convinced that those things (like strollers) are something to worry about.

I think one way through this is a lot more Relaxation Protocol.  The more he can learn to relax on a mat or a crate the better.

Cathy over to watch a DVD.  I was out of the house when she knocked on the door and Yoshi proceeded to ignore Terri's requests to stop barking and come away from the door until Cathy said "use you mommy voice" and Terri lowered her voice and that got his attention.

I also put him on leash for another visitor we were going to have.  What was interesting about that is that I made him sit, and he would sit and keep barking.  I really didn't care as long as he was sitting as it was really interesting watching him keep control while still barking though I eventually asked him to stop.  Also put him on a mat for a little while (still on leash).

Trek teeter still looks good.

Mon Dec 15
Trek walk, we're back to having conversations about not pulling though she seems better.  Most effective seems to be: stopping when she pulls.  starting back up when the leash slackens.  Penalty yards may be optional now - not sure.

Sun Dec 14
We're back.  Dog's too.  Yoshi spent a long time sniffing Trek as she smelled like Cooper and Cameo (Mark and Jan's Corgi).
Then they tore around the yard for a long time rebonding

Trek is still fine with the Teeter and wants me to play with it more.  Did some distance work with it.  No problem.  Eventually I should raise it.

Dec 10-14
Up visiting my parents and brother and sister-in-law and their 2 Bernese Mountain Dogs.  Yoshi is at Park Centre Animal Hospital, Trek is at Mark & Jan's.

Tue Dec 9
She's ok with the piano!  Hooray.  And she's doing the teeter without hesitation also!  In fact she did it purely on her own without me even there.  It's set a half height but still plenty loud and she has to shift her weight back when it drops.  Such a pro.

Mon Dec 8
Happy birthday Terri
[noon] Played a little on the piano and Trek joined me to eat treats while listening.  She seemed to want to join me on the bench but stopped short of jumping up.

[eve] Had a few moments before heading of to host BiFriendly, so played a little more on the piano and this time Trek came up on the bench which was terribly sweet. It amazes me how quickly she gets over things.  She doesn't like it very loud and fortunately my piano playing is very slow and poor but she stayed up there with me and happily ate treats.  How cool is that.

Yoshi's leg is definitely doing better.  Hooray.

Sun Dec 7
Corgi Faire - Trek went, Yoshi rested at home
What fun.  One of the largest Corgi playdates in all of California for the year put on by the Golden Gate Pembroke Welsh Corgi Fanciers (GGPWCF: http://goldengatecorgis.org).  The event itself was inside one of the buildings at Dixon May Fairgrounds and Trek tolerated the somewhat loud speakers there pretty well though she wasn't that thrilled.  Her favorite was, of course, being outside racing around with a whole bunch of Corgis.  I almost brought Yoshi, but he is still recovering from herding, and I'm glad i didn't as even though it was mostly Corgis, it would have been hellish for him as the quarters were close, there was a constant commotion, there were other breeds of dogs there, and there were Corgis in really weird costumes which would probably have had him pressing intruder panic buttons the entire time - particularly the Corgi done up to resemble a spider. :)

Trek spent time racing around with Mark and Jan's Cameo, and also Corbu and Zaha.  i have some of it on tape but I don't know if anyone else would find it fun.

It was good to see and catch up with folks that I hadn't seen in a while.  And I dropped off Ray Suderman's donation of his mom's (Anita Suderman) collection of Corgi  books and publications.  Jackie, the club president, spied an older mimeographed 1969 copy of the GGPWCF and said that it was one she made because she had convinced the club to buy a mimeograph machine.

I had a few moments and decided to tune the highest octave of the piano since Glenda was teasing me about it being out of tune.  (I said that she gets points for being the only one to notice that Trek left the mat when an out of tune key was pressed.)  Fortunately in all fairness it wasn't that much out of tune, which is doubly fortunate as the upper keys are a pain to tune as space in the piano is tight there and the tension is so high on the string that teeny tiny movements of the tuning nut have a big effect.

Since I was tuning, I wasn't paying any attention to Trek and she was out of the room but the door was open (no mat down).  After about 15 minutes of me playing note, note, note, "drat," note note, note, pause, note note note, twiddle with tuner (I have decent relative pitch but decidedly not perfect pitch), note note note.... I see Trek and Yoshi in the doorway.  Terri is in the room too.  Yoshi wanders in, Trek stands in the doorway.  I notice and look at both dogs but continue what I'm doing.  Trek wanders in.  Terri pets her and Trek doesn't seem terrible stressed (though i bet she's looking for a mat.)  Terri goes on to do something else though still in the Living Room.  Trek just hangs out watching.  I keep tuning and finish the octave and a little below.  Trek is still there.  I start playing an occasional slightly lower note and Trek doesn't leave, I play a little more and she's still there.  Not stress panting.  We both leave the room and i give her a treat.  We may have turned a corner here.

Sat Dec 6
Yoshi Herding.
He continues to improve though we still have many discussions about stopping when I ask him to.  He was better about it during the second session.  Turns out it was that he'd hurt himself.

A note I just wrote to his instructor

While Yoshi continues to improve in his herding, one reason he was able
to stop well during his second session is that he'd tweaked his back
leg during the first session (probably during that dust eating
incident).  He won't put much weight on it and I'm hoping it's a minor
soft tissue injury, but I'll take him in tomorrow to have it evaluated
and I'm suddenly not feeling guilty about the 4 days (starting Thur)
that I have to board him at the same vets while we're out of town. :)
I do hope he learns to calm down around sheep while he can still walk. 
I tell him that he's now 5 and should think about slowing down while
he's healthy.

Fri Dec 5
Trek Agility
Now she seeks the teeter out.  Cool.

Trek Piano session
Did another piano session but this time I moved the mat closer so I am not able to play a note and just hand her a treat.  Before this she wouldn't have been able to be this close to the piano but if I stick to the high notes she will hang in there.

Thu Dec 4
[noon] played fetch with each dog separately.  Trek is great at it though prefers the version of her breeder's family where she flings the  ball at them when she comes back.  I insist on her bringing it to my hand and she tries to not do that but adapts.  Yoshi is more tentative but will play the game (he uses a smaller ball), though he still has this hilarious lifting of one front paw when he hands it back.

[eve] Mat work.  Both dogs were on mats and I was able to walk outside say "come in" (though they did break initially)

An interesting thing happened.  When I went over to the evil blind Yoshi broke and hopped up on the sofa (seek higher ground when something is scary.  I asked him to get off and he went into his crate.  That's fine.  So we continued with him in his door open unzipped and hanging down soft crate and Trek on one of the mats (actually humorously switching between then.)  Yoshi would try to emerge and I told him crate and he'd go back in the crate.  Trek would sometimes break and promptly would go back, flounce dramatically down while barking at me (I must admit to loving the invitations she has), when I told her mat.  With Yoshi in the crate, I could touch the evil blind and do all the other walking around and knocking and cow bell ringing (we no longer have a door bell as I ripped it out after one drug induced door bell dog argument incident.  His going in the crate isn't as good as going to the mat but I think he can get it over time.

Wed Dec 3
Pretty intensive mat work with both dogs together.  When at least one dog is doing well it can help both of them.  Though I think Yoshi gets a little discouraged sometimes, but it may be me putting too much pressure on him.

With both dogs on mats I can unlock the door, and open it and even walk outside for a second, come back, close and lock the door, and go back and reward them.  Trek will sometimes bark but she doesn't leave her mat.  Yoshi initially would follow me when I walked away from him and I walked back to the mat and had him get back on it.  He was very much, "oh yeah, sorry."  Not stressed.

The surprising stressor was when I went over to the shade and reached up to close it.  As soon as I reached for it, Yoshi lept up to leave the room or to jump on the sofa (seemed like a run for higher ground move that he does when something scares him - when Terri opens the CD player on her computer he jumps up in her lap.)  So I worked on inching my way to the shade and going back and rewarding him on the mat.  I also got this reaction when I picked up a sofa pillow too high.  Things over his head or noisy things both him but he's not noise sensitive like Trek is.

Yoshi had had enough so I let him retreat to the back to be with Terri.  Trek is still bugging me for more, so I decide it's time to work on the scary piano.  Trek has basically a previously undiagnosed booming noise phobia, likely because of the violent thunderstorms and bird hunting /shooting season in her native Idaho.  We don't have violent thunderstorms here and I had no clue until I started to put 2 and 2 together with her teeter noise phobia.

So she would be on the mat and I would play a very high note on the piano since it doesn't boom.  She would stay on the mat and get rewarded, but would immediately hop up the second I sat back down on the piano bench.  Then we'd stare at each other for a moment and she would go back to the mat and boof at me.  This was amusing enough that I made a video of it. 

A CU Post about it

Trek is my generally steady non-CU dog, but we've discovered that she's 
afraid of booming sounds like teeters (drat) and some musical
instruments and she's not thrilled about packs of screaming children
either. On further conversation with her breeder, it's likely from a
combination of Idaho thunderstorms and shotgun season (they call it:
bird hunting season).

We have a piano and I'm woefully out of practice with it, so we only
recently discovered that she really doesn't like the piano. When doing
mat work with Yoshi, I sometimes would play a few notes on the piano.
When I later tried this with Trek and she immediately left the mat and
slinked right out of the room, which totally surprised me.

So this gave me the idea that maybe I could use mat work to help her
cope with this. It's a gradual process, but she no longer leaves the
room if I only play just a few of the highest non-booming notes.

Tue Dec 2
[Still ill]
A little mat work, but not much.

Taking a cue from It's Me or the Dog, before Cathy came over, I worked with both dogs on backing up from the door after a  knock (I stand in between then and the door.)  I also added a sit-stay.  It was really hard for them to maintain their sit when I opened the door, but they eventually got it.  When Cathy came over I didn't insist on the sit for very long, but the whole procedure made the door greeting much nicer.

Mon Dec 1
Some basic mat work.  It's useful working with both dogs.  I'm under the weather so not much else.

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