Thu Dec 31
Back to walking them regularly. I'm going a bit slow but they're
tolerating it. Not seeing many dogs. Wound up walking them
in the evening but before any new year's celebrations got going.
I usually don't walk Yoshi at night since he sees better than I do and
that sometimes erases my advantage of seeing the dog first (because I
know where to look). This time I saw the dog first and it was
nice because that dog was moving slowly across the street. they
were at a corner that we were approaching on the other side. I stopped
about a house width away as I didn't know which way they were going
first. When we stop, then Yoshi sees the dog (his vision must be
a bit less too as he's not reacting and it took him a moment to see the
Yoshi is just watching the dog but a bit on edge considering. The
dog and his people turn the corner and start moving slowly away.
I walk us a few steps closer and that motion seems to trigger Yoshi as
he wants to charge up. I leash pop him. He engages back
with me and then goes right back to wanting to charge (he's not barking
interestingly enough just growling. Curious to see what happens I
pop him back. when he stops trying to charge, we then cross the
street (dog has moved some distance away but still kinda close).
For the rest of the walk (not far) he's up on his toes on alert and
stressed, but not quite out of his mind but if he had seen another dog
he no doubt would have reacted possibly stronger.
What I wish I could do is repeat the situation then using Click to
Calm, or CU, or CAT or Classical Conditioning techniques, or "leave it"
and "watch" just restraint techniques. They all work, but I don't
know what is going to help with that first impulse issue. I get a
reaction and then a "oh yeah this is what I'm supposed to do." I
haven't been able to replace that first response which is why I can't
take him off leash outside of a sheep pen. The first response
should be to turn to me for a reward. What I'm getting is a
reaction, then a correction or a reminder, then a turn to me for a
reward. The CU approach is to teach sub-threshold and avoid the
reaction entirely and do Relaxation Protocol calming exercises that
help a dog get used to ignoring stimuli and create a safe space on a
matt that can travel. the idea is: it's a dog, can I have a
For Yoshi a more formal CAT technique where the reward is the dog
disappears is intriguing. I've been doing something similar to
another trainer's variation where you take your dog away as a reward
(she calls this BAT), early on we were doing some work like this with
Toni who went through the SF-SPCA academy.
But none of these things really address what to do when the dog is off
leash. Remote training tools are like the time honored shaker can
(which might work for us when I grow another hand or get my technique
down, or various collars that beep, spray or shock. The problem
with the collars is that they always fail at the wrong time (I've only
used citronella or beeping ones) and you have to hit the correct button
at the right time. This is an argument for the lo tek shaker can
if I can figure out how to carry it quietly. It's like there has
to be something that keeps the shaker item (pennies or pebbles) quiet
unless you hold it in a certain way that retracts whatever is holding
the shaker down. Similar things exist I'll have to took to see
what's out there that can be adapted.
Been sick and only sort of walking the dogs and not doing much
else. They've been entertaining them selves with a lot of
wrestling and tearing around the yard.
Sun Dec 27
Yoshi in the LR window. Two dogs (on leash) walked right in front
of HIS house and he objected mightily. I was right there and let
him start to react but called his name and shook a penny jar. He
would pause then start barking again and I'd call his name and shake
the jar. It was really hard for him but after 3 repetitions he
fully disengaged and I told him he was a good boy. He was still
revved but seemed able to focus.
What was really interesting is that Trek was with me on the sofa and
while she didn't particularly like the jar she didn't run screaming
from the room either but stayed beside me. She knew she wasn't in
Sat Dec 26
Back from visiting Terri's brother's family. Dogs came along and
were terrific, save for some barking at the cat. I was very happy
to see that I could call Yoshi away from fence barking with the Lab
next door. And he had just started to work him self into a nice
tizzy too so he's able to thing while "in drive" now.
Tue Dec 22
So I did take her to the PP class.
started with a rear cross drill.
Dog goes into the tunnel and the handler is standing right at the end
(forgot to draw that part). Then both handler and dog run at the
inside jump Dog goes over jump and handler crosses behind
and brings doggy over the outside jump and in the tunnel and then do
the same thing on the other side. And repeat.
Trek drove over the jump ok but was a bit of a scatterbrain once past
the jump and started to race off to parts unknown. This is
exactly what she does at a trial and doesn't do in her regular class so
was thrilled that we finally could work on it. Jim thinks the
classic: lots of on-course rewards should help and it no doubt will but
that's what we do at her usual class and I get her good behavior at
class and not at trials. This could mean lots of environment
changing which is not surprising given that changing locations is one
of the last things you add in a dog's training. In fact, in Susan
Garrerr's training methodology it's the H of DASH (Desire, Accuracy,
Then the drill became a front cross drill by just going to the outside
jump first. Then he angled the outer most jump which turned it
into a 270 turn. Trek was having a hard time carrying out on
this. Jim's not thrilled that I use Out to mean move a little
laterally - he wants it to mean larger amounts. Given that what
she's doing is exactly what I've taught her, I am not inclined to
change it but add another word ("Big Out"?? or just keep adding "outs")
Then after the tunnel did a serpentine down the jumps.
Then we moved on to longer courses Trek did a great send out to
the weaves, but still sometimes pops when weaving on my right.
Jim said to stay completely committed to her staying in the poles, and
don't pull away.
Half the fun of being in a class w/ long time peers and experienced
competitors is the additional free advice. The primary one being
"Don't bend over." There is a claim that I'm bending over in a
video so I need to go see it.
Actually in places bending over isn't that bad and I do it
deliberately in the weaves but they tell me that as Trek speeds up that
it will be an issue which is true and a probably that would be cool to
have. Already going down the dogwalk, I have to beat feet to keep
up which I love.
I'll have to see where else I'm being over. Likely in the front
and rear cross drills.
One thing specifically to work in is the turn away esp at a
distance. You can teach that as a "turn" but I prefer left and
right since Trek knows the basics and just needs to add distance to it.
This is relevant to a gamble we were working on
You need to treat this gamble as a rear cross. Send the dog over
(2) and use your left had crossing the front of you body as you pivot
right. Before fully pivoting, support the dog's carry out to (3)
with that arm extended.
On another course, tried the faster lead out
that we discussed in her private lesson and she broke. Reset her
and did a slightly slower lead out and she held it and did a great run
complete with a nice send out to the weaves.
Now I need to decide how often to come. I'm thinking 2-3
times a month. No class next week so this would be for next year.
Sun Dec 20
Trek Private lesson with Jim.
The purpose of the lesson today was to let Jim have a look at her and
tell me what I still need to work on. It went very well, and
while I'm going to list what we have to work on I am very honored that
he offered her a class spot if she wants it. The obvious class
for her would be the small dog class on Tues at 6pm. The class is
listed as an Advanced class, but all the dogs he listed off are
Master's level dogs (and I knew them all). Trek currently is the
best in her class besides the instructor's dog so she really needs to
be challenged more even though course-wise she is challenged. But
the real driving thing beside my missing Cali's connection to Power
Paws is that they have a lovely grass field and Sharon's is dirt.
Given that both are really good opportunities I'm going to keep both
for a while and then decide. I also need to negotiate with my
work so see if I can get off early on Tues so I can make it down.
The only bummer is that I have a schedule conflict on the 3rd Tues so I
either eat that or just always pay the drop-in rate.
The obvious advantages of the class are
- small dog class
- grassy field
- she would not be the best dog in the class - dogs are pretty
accomplished so would get more runs in
- and of course Jim
- my agility small dog friends
- could we recreate the PP Corgi Dynasty? :)
Things that look good are
- the fact that she was able to work in a new environment without
having to run off to sniff
- contacts - all of them even the teeter - yahoo!
- jump style
- toy drive
- likes that the natural balance treats don't crumble
- she's driving well for rear crosses as long as I'm not running
her over or into her path
Things that need more work
- right hand side weaves (popping at 10th pole)
- lateral lead outs (discussed this at length) and tightening the
standing front crosses
- keep her engaged at the start line - develop a start line
do the side positioning thing I do and then have her touch
my hand one last time (and try to keep her from moving to do it.)
- do faster leadouts. Jog out or walk fast. No "green
- when she commits then run to new position
- when a change of direction is coming up tell her right as she's
committed to the current obstacle
- he thinks her focus would be better if I didn't let her wander
Sat Dec 19
Our first time on goats. The ranch has new management and doesn't
want sheep run all over the place so HTrainer3 was putting the greener or
pushier dogs (that would be Yoshi on down) on goats as they're not as
picky about the goats. I had one brief experience where Yoshi
chased a small goat so I was a bit concerned, but I knew that wasn't
their reputation and that was correct. I shouldn't of worried
except for one of the snottier goats taking a head butt swing at Yoshi
so we just left that one to sulk.
The fun thing was that the goats wouldn't move off they hay they were
standing on and classic Border Collie "eye" doesn't really work.
BC lays down and stares at the goats and they happily stare right
back. The BCs have to learn to work in a more standing position
and the "upright" breeds actually do better when it
comes to goats (and cows). So we brought Yoshi in and let him
charge right in there are they moved.
Everything is slower with the goats almost like we're moving through
mud. This means it's much easier on the handler as you have more
time to think and react. We ran the AKC A course twice until the
goats went on strike and started listening to their more recalcitrant
members. His Stop actually worked reasonably often. I can
see we're going to need to do a lot more of this.
I'd like to, off stock, teach Yoshi how to take one step. Right
now we have Stop Walk Stop... which works mostly, but it would be cool
to have more precision though if I can fine tune his reaction time that
actually might be enough. Using the standing stop that we already
have is actually best and you should use a stand or a sit instead of a
The ranch has AHBA courses with goats (Ranch Dog and also HTAD), so
that might be a fun thing to work towards while we're in the process of
our AKC trial training.
Once concern is that the goats are slow enough (and also happily
flocked around me which was totally fun compared to being mobbed by
sheep - which I'm used to now, but can be a bit daunting), I fear
learning bad timing as I could see multiple times where I would have
lost lighter sheep but the goats were quite happy to stay with
me. It totally felt like "over the hills and through the woods to
grandmother's house we go" or "we're off to see the wizard..."
Yoshi did pick on the littlest goat and I had to every so often deflect
his zeroing in (usually by getting the stock stick in between him and
the little goat.
But regardless of the bad timing fears it's a great way to fine tune
control. Hopefully getting butted didn't dissuade him too much -
don't think it did.
He's so much better about dogs though he was saying hello to a female
BC who was acting inviting and he was making a motion like he wanted to
mount her (not really but sort of) and she snarked at him and he
snarked back and I whisked him (nay, carried him off by the ruff) off
cool down a moment, but then we had them able to stand near each other
again and they were fine and he wasn't stressed which was very nice.
Fri Dec 18
Yoshi walk. Click to calm mostly works but he'll still lunge if
he gets the chance. I corrected him pretty hard for a lunge and
he seemed to get the idea that I was pretty peeved. Not sure what
the best answer is as the calmer he is the better behaved he is.
Running with intention is working well and I can now get her to drive
ahead and take jumps. It seems to work better to stay back a bit
and not get into her path. The only problem with this is that I'm
more out of position and she drives ahead to the next obstacle
regardless whether it's the next one. Given how she took quite a
while to get the idea of obstacle sequencing it's nice to have the
opposite problem. I just have to keep my voice calm as the more
hyper I get the worse she gets.
One issue is that she's terrible about lead outs that are more than one
obstacle. Esp if it's the tire as the first obstacle. She
will just sit and stare at me. The problem is that if she doesn't
react they I call harder and the less she moves (maybe I've been
working too hard on the obedience stays.) Nancy G drilled into me
that the release should always be verbal but I'm wondering if it should
be different for Trek. Right now I'll leave it as it is.
Wed Dec 16
Yoshi walk (I had a work commitment so no time for a Trek walk)
I saw a person across the street whose body language clearly said "I
have a slow dog
attached to me" and sure enough a Beagle appeared. I had a
with me and was prepared but Yoshi so wanted to lunge that while I was
clicking I really wasn't waiting for him to disengage, but kept
the treat in front of him to munch on till his attention shifted
to me and then we could do Click to Calm stuff. (The Beagle was
still ambling along which was good.)
I asked CU_dogs_SF about something closely related:
Not long ago, I saw "Click to Calm
Unleashed" listed as a Clicker Expo
presentation topic and I'm wondering if Emma Parsons and Leslie
McDevitt are collaborating. Can anyone confirm? Now that
doing better I find I am having more luck with Click to Calm (before he
was too stressed to pay attention to a click - unless I was a good
distance away from the trigger.)
These days I can also use more portable, less appalling dry treats
(like the Natural Balance ones). They also take him longer to eat
which puts a dent in the gulp and lunge method. Today he was fussing
about a Beagle across the street until I clicked and put a large treat
in his mouth. Crunch crunch crunch. And then he was more than
to get clicked and treated and completely ignore the Beagle. If he's
really stressed I, can just hold the dry treat in front of his nose and
hang on to it so he has to nibble on it which takes up more of his
brain. It does take a certain amount of bravery and I'd be a
hesitant to use it on a dog who could really do me some damage, but it
works for him.
Tue Dec 15
Noon dog walks
Yoshi - brought both a clicker and a shake can with me. We only
say the mail carrier so I used the clicker and it worked great.
Should be interesting to see what happens when there's something he's
concerned about it. I wasn't using the clicker much for a while
as it's a lot to manage but now that things are a little more
predictable I can manage it and the click is a sharper more precise
tone than a "yes" even though I am faster with "yes." I also have
my clicker on a retracting wire clip which helps a lot. So we'll
continue with this as it's a routine he likes and we might be able to
push things further this way.
Trek - much the same but steadily improving. Wasn't dragging me
today which is nice.
Mon Dec 14
Noon dog walks
Yoshi - he's still barking at triggers and he's only partially
listening to me.
I need to make my presence more known though he connects well with me
but his default is to still worry and not focus back on me.
I have at least 2 choices. carry an adversive (either a beeper or
shake can), or go back to clicking to calm. Since he gives me one
second warning I have a lot of choices. Giving him the occasional
leash pop doesn't really help that much if there's something he's
concerned about (this time it was a Lab on his way with his person to
the elementary school.)
Trek - still worried about High St, but coping.
Sun Dec 13 Trek Bayteam Trial
Mission accomplished! She was entered in just Advanced/PII
Gambliers and Snooker. My goal was simple. See if she could
do a course under the noisy covered horse arena without freaking
out. She did it! And nearly qualified too. She did
more obstacles than we usually do in the Gamblers opening and I had to
improvise a little, but she whizzed through the Gamble though skipped
the 5th pole (unusual) - I don't care she was focused and listening to
me and she's never seen a set of poles in a gamble though we do poles
at a distance anyway. And in Snooker I didn't rehearse the
transition from the opening to the closing enough and wound up
repeating a red instead of doing the closing - the course was pretty
ridiculous and I don't know if we would have gotten through closing
obstacle 5 (what you need to get through if you do 3 7's - otherwise
you have to get through 6.
Being super low key work fabulously. Just a speaking tone of
voice, no tension as the more stressed I get the worse she gets.
Doing the weave poles facing her seemed to work, but I don't know if it
had any effect on her, but it's something worth continuing for now.
Here's the video (click on the video to get a better full sized
But should I enter her at the same place in Jan? After thinking
about it I realized that while she coped she didn't enjoy it and if she
hates it there's no point. So I instead am going skiing on Sunday
Sat Dec 12
Worked on obedience with Trek (dumbbell) and Yoshi's moving stop
Since Trek doesn't like the dumbbell hitting the wood floor we worked
the bed which worked great. At first I was just holding her mouth
gently with the dumbbell in it to give her the idea of holding it -
something she has limited patience with. Then we moved on to her
picking it up by herself and when she got bored of that I had her do
little baby retrieves. She would hold it for a count of 5 or so which
is an improvement.
Yoshi's stop got better when I stopped leaning over to intimidate him
into stopping, but instead said stop, signaled and dropped a treat on
the floor. I'm missing a step so I added a brief pause in to the
mix and he's getting it and that should be hopefully easy to fade.
Fri Dec 11 class canceled - it's pouring
Wed Dec 8 Yoshi's dental was today. I always worry about his since
he had a brother die from anesthesia - why do I end up with dogs with
this kind of history? Cali's had a grandmother pass away under
circumstances where they concluded it was anesthesia - Fortunately Cali
was fine but I always worried. Yoshi been under multiple times
(teeth cleaning and the incident of trying to inhale a cat on the other
side of the fence and ending up with a souvenir plant stamen up his
nose) but I still worry about him.
But they tell me he's waking up and he has all the teeth he started out
with today and they're clean.
Now we get to save for the cancer screening ultrasound that I want him
I started my own local cancer screening campaign and people are sending
me thank yous that they had their dog's done already, so I really
(really!) need to follow through on this. (My vet said do the
Trek walk at noon. She still really dislikes the corner of High
Street and Santa Clara esp when it's noisy which it sort of was today,
so she got to eat lots of treats. I may have to cut her food a
little more as she's 24.5 pounds and should lose 1/2 a pound.
problem is she's such a pain when she'd hungry and won't
concentrate. I could add veggies to her food but carrots pass
right through her undigested so I either have to teach her how to chew
her food (good luck with that0 or cut them up or find something
else. I did buy some canned pumpkin so we can try that and I just
need to get over my pumpkin aversion.
Thinking of taking Trek to obedience class tonight. I just
noticed her class certs have expired - bummer.
When picking up Yoshi, I spoke briefly to Dr. Applegate to find out
what anesthesia drugs they used as obviously they work for him.
She said he did great. There's a small swelling on the upper
right side above the [look up the tooth name] that they are going to
keep an eye on. It's likely cased by gingivitis, but there's a
teeny tiny risk of it being a tumor.
He's eaten and seems fine. Treks beating up on him some an he's
not quite up for it but is recovering.
I forgot to check with BAVS about what anesthesia they used for the
plant stamen incident, but that was different.
[various dog walks nothing special]
Sat Dec 5 Yoshi herding. Baby's first outrun lessons. It went
better than I expected. I do need to get a longer version of my
riding crop so I can wack the ground with it and not have to bend way
over. Doing a lot of running parallel with him around the sheep
me on the inside him on the outside - keeping pressure on his shoulder
to hip area while saying Out. If he tries to dive in I'm supposed
to wack the ground in front of him to keep him out. It's very
empowering being able to keep up with him (I get to cut corners).
He appears to be getting it but we have a long road.
Fri Dec 4 Yoshi walk and nails uneventful. Trek agility. After not
doing it for some time she did great. Turning my body sideways as
she weaves is working very well. No popping and when she tried to
I could right away indicate the correct direction. Driving ahead
still needs work as she worries when we are about to cross paths, but
I'm thinking that if I slow down and empasize "GO" to drive
ahead. Of course at a trial she's all about way ahead of me so
this may not be quite so relevant.
Thu Dec 3
Bummer. The ranch is worried about animal rights people showing
up at trials so I had to mark Yoshi's herding videos as private.
However I've made a special You Tube Account and shared the videos with
just that login and I then just give the login out to whoever I want to
With it dark in the evenings now, it didn't seem fair to always walk
Trek at night, and neither dogs' training is as effective at night as I
don't see what they see (they see much better than I do at night), so i
can't anticipate problems. So I've resolved to walk both dogs at
noon which means eating at work and doing some serious hustle to get it
done, but it's doable if i can plan ahead and always have food at work.
Yoshi walk. At the corner of Court and Santa Clara he turned
around and suddenly started barking back at the house on the
corner. i look over my shoulder looking for a dog near the front
door. Nope. I look for a dog anywhere. Nope. A
cat? A squirrel? A mail carrier in a pith helmet? No no and no.
He's looking right at a filled pink plastic bag left out for pickup by
a charitable organization. But Yoshi you can't even see pink.
Bark bark bark. Whatever, what a cool, safe training
opportunity. Sit. He doesn't. Sit. He doesn't.
I make him sit. He's alternating glowering and barking at the
evil bag (two actually). We spend the next few minutes with me
making him sit and him holding it for a bit and then popping up (and
repeat). We sort of get somewhere and i finally let him go sniff
the bag thus ending the controversy. After walking on some blocks
i decide that I want to revisit the bag but it's already been picked
up. Bummer. But cool that I now have another way to train
though. Evil filled plastic bags. Wonder if they have to be pink
(wonder what color pink looks like if you only have 2 color cones in
your eyes - there are some guesses, but I don't think we know of a way
to be correct.)
He also grumbled a bit about the mail carrier carrying that big bag
(even sans pith helmet).
Trek walk. Our standard walk for her now includes High Street and
she's getting better about not dragging me down it.
Wed Dec 2
Yoshi walk - mercifully uneventful as I'm still under the weather.
I've been pondering is it better to teach a dog how to think while
excited or teach them to stay relaxed under varying circumstances?
Things like CU and the Relaxation Protocol take the latter approach,
herding and shaker/noisemaker cans take the former. Both have
been useful, but I think where Yoshi needs more work is the
former. How to control himself in situations where he would
normally press the panic button. Certainly more herding is one
solution and we'll be doing that this month the 5th and the 19th.
Certainly one of the world's easiest training is to let him hang out in
the window and me with the shaker bottle and treats for desisting so
I'll probably do more of that this afternoon.
Didn't get a chance to do that, but inside the house he went into a
barking frenzy at another dog barking outside and was racing up and
down beside me so I was able to tell him to down, which he did after
some "are you serious?" hesitation. He held it too for 30 seconds
or more (however long I asked for). He did bark while laying down
(the other dog was still barking) and that's totally fine as it's not
something he's very good at so he gave up pretty soon. Good
boy. I like that as it means that I can get compliance when he's
in a frenzy in his house. Having another dog magicall appear
close by is another story entirely and I'm hoping that all this other
work can influence that as that situation is hard to set up.
Especially the surprise factor.