Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feburary 2007

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Wed Feb 27
Took Yoshi to watch dogs at the Alameda Dog park (the larger one).  He did very well while watching from the truck.  He was able to tolerate dogs within 20 feet of him as long as they were on the other side of the fence.  He did bark at one dog who was getting in a truck very close to us and I didn't see them in time.  I did see them pull up and was able to manage him then, but when they came back they managed to sneak up on me.

I also took him for a walk around the outside of the park.  This is right at him threshold so probably isn't entirely advised, but it's something he's familiar with and he was generally fine, but had two reactions and the goal is zero reactions.  One reaction was to a dog who came running up to the fence and the other was a JRT on leash outside the park.  So I think what needs to happen is keep doing the in-truck dog TV, but when I want to take him for a walk - get further away from the park.

Trek graduated from her Sirius class today.  She's so bold now and light years different from being so timid at the first meeting.  And she now loves Boo the Newf to the point that when they opened the door to leave she went out with them.

[detail dog games]

Mon Feb 26
I called Animal Eye Care about Yoshi licking her eye and they said that there is bacteria in his mouth that could infect her eye so anything we can do to discourage it would be good even if it mean putting the cone back on for a week.  Given that Trek with a cone on for another week would severely threaten my sanity I'll have to think of something else.  She said that they antibiotic ointment sometimes will discourage them but the stuff they gave us is not.  Maybe some of the other triple anibiotic ointments we have will taste bitter enough to discourage him.  Oddly enough I have to go by Dog Bone Alley to pick up some more food for Trek so I can actually look at the Doggles 

Food wise I think I'm going to try her on the Innova EVO Red Meat variety as I've been feeding her a sample of it and she and her digestive system like it.  She does ok on the regular EVO, but I've noticed that if I feed her too much chicken her stools get loose again, so maybe the red meat variety will be the best for her.  The things I do for my dogs (I don't eat red meat myself).

I needed to pick up some more EVO for Trek, so I decided to use it as a Yoshi socialization lesson.  It was drizzling and dogs were fortunately scare, but there was plenty of activity besides that.  We first went to Dog Bone Alley, then since it was close the Vets Office, and then we went to the regular dog park to watch dog TV.  All of this was accompanied with squeeze peanut butter, and he was fantastic which certainly surprised me.

More details on dog park TV.  It was sprinkling, but there are always die hards in the large dog park (no little dogs).  when we pulled up there were about 10 dogs in the park with most of the dogs and owners underneath the trees over on the left.  Conveniently enough, there were parking places right in front of them (though they are about 50 feet away since the small dog park is between us and them (and hence not one but two fences between us).  I got him out of his crate and put him on my lap (on leash) and with the window rolled part way down.  Anytime a dog would race by or bark repeatedly, he got peanut butter.  In a few minutes, I noticed a familiar looking Greyhound and friend walking by with mom and I called out a hello to Donna.  Turns out they were just leaving, and when I wasn't looking Donna pulled up right beside us with Sebastian (the other dog) with his head out the back window.  Even though Yoshi has met Sebastian before and even though he looks like a Corgi-X, I would have expected Yoshi to react out of surprise, but instead he chose to just keep sucking down the PNB.  Just before that happened there were a couple of times he wanted to bark but I increased the amount of PNB so he more did this very cmall gurgle through PNB.  This was amusing and probably over threshold but he was mostly relaxed while sitting in my lap.  And he was willing to eat most or nearly all of the time.  There wasn't anything that was so stressfull that he wouldn't eat.  Even though he's a Corgi, if something truely stresses him he's usually not interested in food.

Oh and I did look at the Doggles.  I don't think it would protect the raw spot on her eye.  Though it might be fun to bring her in to try them on.

Had one of those impromtu training sessions.  I dropped 1 pound of baby carrots on the kitchen floor which fortunately stayed with in about a 5 foot radius.  Both dogs know Wait and even it the face of a carrot bonanza they waited (I was inbetween them and the carrots which likely made all the different.  I had both dogs do a down and told them to stay.  Now staying under these circumstances is clearly beyond Trek's level so she would go down, stay until I moved slightly towards the carrots, and get up.  I'd then put her back in place and told her to stay.  This went on for some minutes and she got better at it but was mainly thinking about the carrots.  Yoshi bless his heart was solid.  One break when Trek was way too restless but went right back into position.  I was able to keep a hand on Trek while I gathered together the carrots and then released them and gave them each a carrot.  While they chewed I managed to make the two trips to the sink with the other sixty carrots to put them in the greens recycle bin.  Worked a little bit more on down and I see that while Trek knows it when I'm standing near and tapping the ground she hasn't yet learned it as a hand/finger just pointing to the ground.  Yoshi was of course proud to show off his knowledge.

Sun Feb 25
Took Trek out for a short walk as we were both losing our minds.  I felt really silly as I was thinking that I had to take the cone off to put her martingale collar on to avoid having her collar slip off.  Then I realized: wait she has a cone around her neck.  I don't think her collar is going to easily slip off anytime soon (duh).

Then she worked for her dinner on the foot target (yellow mousepad) which she is getting.  Then switched to just getting a cardboard box out and clicking for any interaction with it but she still had the cone on so there wasn't much interaction with it.

Half the fun of clicker training is all the extraneous behaviors you get while working on something.  Sometimes Trek lies down on the mousepad. and completely unexpectedly she seems to understand that she needs to do something when I say (not intending it as a cue) "You gotta move away first."  In other words she just can't stay standing on the mousepad and continue to get clicks.  When I say that she'll  either back up or lie down or move sideways.  What's funny is that I haven't put the "Target" cue word in yet - maybe tomorrow.

I was thinking that today would be too early to remove the cone but at the end of the day her eye was looking pretty good, so during the Academy Awards broadcast (we know someone who was singing in the choir that sang all those sound effects) I took it off and she's being surprisingly good about not scratching it.  Yoshi, besides being thrilled that there is no cone, however thinks he must lick her eye.  Maybe I should get her Doggles (I'm joking but only sort of since Corgi Boo wears them and it helps him protect his unaffected eye.).

Sat Feb 24
(Borrowed a CRT monitor from work - Phew.  It's amazing what obsolescence will do.  We have so many flat panels now that the only CRTs we use now are in the network room, and we have several in storage.  We have computer systems that at one time cost us $20,000-$40,000 and now they are only doorstops which get sent to HMR our recylcer.)

Took Yoshi to the Main St Dog Park (the one I've been calling the old dog park - turns out it has a name now).  For reasons I don't fully know, but suspect it was misplaced loyalty, the road outside the now closed Naval Base is called "Main Street."  It's anything but main at all and about 3 miles away from the center of town and for a town that's only 4 miles long that's a pretty neat trick.  The cool thing is that it's not heavily used and with rain threatening (California rain at that - we're talking light drizzle if that) the place was deserted, so we actually went into the park and wandered about.  Practiced not barking at a passing cyclist with squeeze peanut butter (NEWS FLASH - I found more at Nob Hill Foods which just opened up near our house - so even though I didn't yet need anymore, I got more since it seems to be a short lived item and I wanted them to know that at least one person likes it.  The package is newer and easier to use now which is cool - except for the weird first time opening, squeeze the package until the top becomes exposed, I wound up stepping on it.)  I had Yoshi off leash until another dog showed up and I put him on leash to ask the owner if they minded a barky corgi and he said no.  And the dogs had met when he was on leash and I could tell it was ok.  That dog didn't stay long though but his interaction was positive (besides Yoshi not wanting to be caught though that wasn't very difficult) which was cool.  We then wandered around the park on leash some more practicing heeling and sitting and downing.  The peanut butter is a very handy reward as I can just carry it and dispense it whenever I want to.

Trek worked for her dinner just to occupy her brain as she's starting to go slightly mad, and Yoshi won't play chase with her when she's weilding that cone.  He's fine about the cone now until she starts to run at him with it on.  So we worked on "Poke" at a CD target (the black and white one this time that I got from a Kathy Sdao seminar.  Then the yellow mousepad which is a foot target ("Target" but it really doesn't have a cue associated yet), then a toy "Take" will be the cue.  running behaviors together is clearly too early for her as while she's great with the nose touch (comes naturally - it's her get out of bed signal to whoever is still in bed when she's let out of her crate and she's a bit of a burrowing mole.), the foot target right after the nose target confused her (though she sort of gets it).  Though she liked the toy.  So any time she needs to learn a new behavior it should be a separate session even if she does have dinner kibble left.

Then we did indoor fetch which I have to be really careful with as Trek likes to hurtle into furniture and I don't want her bashing into something semi-solid with a cone on (ouch).  We have this fantastic squeaky ball different from her knobby one.  I don't know where it came from which implies that it was either a great gift (speak up if you gave it to us) or it came from a show goody bag or I got it at a conference.  Anyway she loves it and I have so far avoided having her crash into the sofa in enthusiasm (a common occurrance when she's coneless.)

Yoshi's turn.  I got the medium sized tennis ball (I have a collection of them now) and he quite willingly played fetch in the living room even with the lure of the open shade.  After a few throws, the lure of the window won so I switched positions with my back to the window but then he didn't really want to go get the ball (running away from the window but I got him to do it a couple of times and we quit.  He's so proud of himself when he knows how to do something.  I really do need to keep teaching him things even if it takes longer.

I need to work on one of the movies.  Ok, it's done and I've put it on Trek's page.

Trek's eye continues to improve but it's not likely to be better enough to take her cone (eCollar) off tomorrow (day 5).  We took it off briefly yesterday so I could clean it and Terri had to hold her as all she wanted to do was scratch it.  (It must itch terribly as healing skin often does).

Fri Feb 23
I'm feeling particularly awful so I stayed home from work and rested.  The dogs are being mercifully kind and not harrassing me too much.  My computer monitor is flickering which makes working on it most unfun.

Trek's eye is looking much better though it just looks like raw meat, but her eye is more open now which is way cool.  I've been taking pictures of it and also a funny short movie of cone head playing with a quacking toy duck.

Thu Feb 22
I'm yawning today and for unrelated reasons I have a cold too.  Fun. Fun. Fun.

Trek appears to be getting use to the collar.  Not so Yoshi.  Trek initiates chase and he runs away for real (or at least partly for real).  He knows it's her and I introduced them carefully yesterday to make sure he wasn't going to do something weird like attack her.  But he does not like that cone waving around.  He's ok with it about 2-3 feet away, but any closer and he moves away.  I had them both on the table but as soon as Trek moved closer to him he moved away.  Hope this doesn't negatively affect their relationsip.  So far it's been fine and I sat on the table doing nose touches to a CD target training.  Trek on the table and Yoshi was on the ground and they were fine with me alternating between them.  Present CD to Trek, she noses it.  C/T.  Present CD to Yoshi.  He pokes it.  C/T.  And so forth.  They were fine with it and didn't seem confused that I was using the same clicker.  This is technically not correct clicker training but it worked for a relaxed session with both dogs.

Wed Feb 21
Off to the eye doctor.  It occurred to me that there was a high likelihood of a Shar Pei or a Chow being there and Yoshi would be freaky.  Yes indeed.  I kept them out of the waiting room so he only glimpsed the Shar Pei that was in there, though he still went ballistic about a Shepherd going into the clinic next door

But we got in fine.  Trek was up first, and Dr. Friedman thought her eyes looked good, but took a careful look when I pointed out the blinking and lowered eyelid.  It turned out that the outer corner of her left eye is turned in ever so slightly.  We talked about options.  There were 2.

One was the classic take a small sliver of skin out of the eyelid.  The only real issue is that there was a risk of taking out too much tissue (since it's so subtle) and then her having a droopy eye.

The other was doing a less invasive laser procedure where the outside of the eyelid is burned in hopes that in the process of healing the eyelid will correct itself..  The risks associated with it are that it might not work.  It's also about half the cost of the other one (no anesthesia, just sedation).

After some talk between us, it was pretty clear that we wanted to try the less invasive procedure first.  Not only does it not involve her being put under but it seemed the obvious choice given that her condition was so minor..  Because they had a cancellation today they offered to do it this afternoon and we said yes and so we left her there. 

I went and picked her up later that afternoon.  She looked like she'd been slugged at a bar because there was swelling on her eyelid, her being droopy from the anesthesia made her look even more the drunk.  I was hoping to use her inflatable Pro-Collar instead of an e-Collar but the Pro-Collar wasn't going to be able to keep her from rubbing her eye on a wall or other surface so she's a cone head for the next 5 days.  Oh how I hate e-Collars.  Such a necessary evil they are.  She's now whamming her way around the house and Yoshi is afraid of it.  Terri points out that it's too bad he hasn't figured out that she can't bite him with it on.  He may still do so.

Back to Yoshi.  I brought him just for an exam to rule out any medical reason for his reactivity.  She didn't find anything that would affect his vision, but he does have Retinal Displaysia - Geographic and I need to tell Elizabeth about it as it's an inherited trait that is sometimes seen in Pembrokes and it can lead to offspring having Retinal Detactment which can blindness.  Dogs with Reinal Displaysia should not be bred.

The night was long with much bumping about in a certain crate.  And we took her out 3 times or so which is way too much especially because it was pouring rain.

Tue Feb 20
I was going to bring the talking toys to class tomorrow as something strange, but I have a small vacuum that should do great.  I got it out and Trek was definitely afraid of it and it was turned off.  I got the clicker out and clicked any attention to it, so she was willing to get close to it, but she was enough on edge that even the relatively quiet iClick was startling her, so I just switched back to saying "yes" as a marker.  Clearly we're going to have to do a lot of this.  I'll bring the talking toys for fun, but the vacuum is clearly going to be center stage.

Their eye appt is tomorrow morning in Fremont with Dr. Deborah Friedman.  Should be interesting.

Today I'm going to take Yoshi to go watch dogs at the old dog park and maybe Bladium.

Actually I took Yoshi to work for the afternoon, and then we went activity watching.  But first we needed to refill the peanut butter tube.  Since I couldn't find any, I just bought some more creamy peanut butter and hand refilled it with a regular dinner knife.  I did this while sitting on the table in the backyard and I had rapt canine attention for a while.

Yoshi was great at work.  Seems he settling down there.  Him in a crate helps a lot but giving him a bully stick to chew did wonders.

So we went to Bladium first since right after work I knew there would be a lot of comings and goings there, and there certainly was.  Every time someone would walk near  I gave him the tube to lick,  Once they walked out of a certain range I put the tube away.  I think he half growled maybe once and that was brief as he decided the peanut butter was a much tastier alternative.

After doing that for a while, things seemed to settle down there, so I took him over to the old dog park.  There was a dog right near the fence as we pulled up (Yoshi was in a crate and didn't see the dog), and I had to figure out a way to get Yoshi from the crate to the passenger seat without freaking out.  So I put the peanut butter in front of his nose while I carried him from the back area of the cab to the passenger seat.  I know he saw the dog and he tensed but then kept licking at the peanut butter tube (whew).  We hung out in the passenger seat watching the dog in the park wander away and put the tube away until 2 other dogs approached and I took it out again and held it so that I know he had to have seen the dogs.  He paused just for an instant but then right back to licking.  Good dog.  We went home.  I think there is progress here but I'm not sure.

The underlying theme of all of his reactiveness is change.  Any change in his environment (e.g. new dog arriving) or thrusting him in a new environment stresses him and he sometimes lashes out.  Unfortunately  I can't protect him from change so I have to help him learn to cope and to know that he's safe.

Worked more with Trek and the vacuum.  She's very leery of it rolling around, but will come up to it to take treats.  I finally got brave and turned it on, but left it stationary.  Surprisingly enough the noise didn't seem to bother her nearly as much as the sound of it rolling around.  In fact moving it with it on didn't totally freak her out like I thought it might as the sound of the vacuum masked the sound of the rollers.  Go figure.  While she keeps a careful eye on it she will come up while I'm vacuuming and take treats.

Puppyworks just sent me a flyer that Brenda Aloff is going to be out her speaking on Aggression on May 5-6.  Well guess where I'll be that weekend (hint: not skiing not herding).  Now I need to find the money to sign up.  She's going to be covering case histories and I've written Trish and Rachelle to see what they thought of offering Yoshi as a case history.

Mon Feb 19
Did some mousepad target training with Trek.  She's getting it.

Went over to Cathy's (sans dogs this time) to watch a Queer as Folk DVD and to meet Abby her sweet new rescue dog that she's had all of two days.  Abby appears to be a cross of Shepherd (or Kelpie) and Cattledog. and is from the Manteca shelter (a rescue group took her out of the shelter).  She's about a year old and as with many rescues, I can't fathom why someone would give her up.  Oddly enough she has a docked tail.  It's possible that a farmer wanted her to herd and gave her up when she wasn't interested (doesn't seem to be the herding type).

Sun Feb 18
Eek, of course the dogs got filthy this morning and I want to take her into a conformation show so she has to be clean just to fit in even if she's not eligible to show (she's now spayed).

She did great.  Yoshi would have been having a meltdown with so many large dogs in close proximity but Trek was fine.  There were some dogs there that she'd never seen before like Mastiffs, Great Danes, Borzois, and also lots of toy breeds (that would have been good for Yoshi, but I'm sure the toy folks were happy he wasn't there) as we walked through the toy specialty too, and she met the sweet lab that Kathleen was showing.

Once Kathleen was done showing she came right up to Trek and greeted her enthusiastically (her norm) and Trek at first seemed to think she was a crazy person who just happened to know her name (Kathleen, if you're reading this I mean it in the best possible way :) and stood off for a second but then came back to investigate and then seemed to remember her and then started to play back with her.  I handed Trek off to Kathleen so they could reconnect.  The message from Trek was (as Kathleen put it): "Grandma I love you but this is my Mom now."  Kathleen was very happy that Trek had bonded to me so quickly.

Oh and of course there was shopping!  Since Trek is somewhat sound sensitive (crossing a busy San Jose street to get to the show was definitely intimidating for her - I had put her martingale collar on for that as I didn't want any collar slip incidents and I'm glad I did.  Kelly with Moe Toys was there and I asked where the talking toys were since the howling coyote we have is a talking toy and it's been really good for Trek to get used to it.  So we now have 3 more talking toys (and 6 more bully sticks!): a crowing rooster (her current favorite), a quacking duck chick (Yoshi's fav.), and a screaming monkey (not in the current rotation but will be soon - coyote is taking a break too).

Sat Feb 17
Well the tough went skiing today (and what a gorgeous ski day it was), but Terri spent the day with the 4 leggers.  In which they mostly played, and played some more, and then some more.

Terri has discovered that Trek's love of water extends to the water bowl to the point of putting both feet in and digging, which sloshed up the kitchen floor pretty nicely (good thing it's pergo in there.)

Ever since I put up the contact trainer they have taken to using is as a hide and seek obstacle when they're chasing each other around.  It's the classic one on each side and the chaser trying to get to the chasee, but the chasee keeps the contact trainer between them as they dash around and around and around.  I think I finally got this on tape so the undone Trek and Yoshi video project keeps getting longer.

When I got back Trek and I played indoor fetch (see photo - that black line coming off her collar is the edge of her tag) with the squeaky hamburger.  We didn't do it much, but it was great fun and I can see a tradition starting.

Kathleen Mallery is down here handling a Lab in the Santa Clara KC show, so I'm going to bring Trek down to see her.

Thu Feb 15
Didn't feel like walking them so they played in the morning and at noon, in the evening I worked on indoor fetch with each dog.  First tried Trek outside with a tennis ball and she lost interested fairly quickly.  Moved inside.  Got her to fetch the tennis ball a few times and then she outright stopped.  This is fairly unusual so I persisted so got the treats out and a clicker and I succeeded in getting her to chase the ball and look at it then run back to me (no ball) looking for a treat.  Well that didn't work.

Switched to Yoshi in hopes that canine jealousy would inspire her.  Yoshi did well though he gets confused and seems to lose confidence if I don't give him a treat every single time so we may just stay with constant rewards for him for a while.  Trek was having a cow in the other room (good).

I switched back to her and she was raring to play but was clearly not wanting the tennis ball.  I finally clued in that she wanted her squeaky ball (pictured).  She likes to run and squeak it at the same time.  And she doesn't want treats when playing with it,  she just wants to chase and squeak it.  D'oh, tennis balls don't squeak and hence not nearly as much fun when you're racing around with one.

Still struggling with Trek peeing on the bed.  I haven't taught her a way to ask to go out yet and it's showing.  I'm still trying to teach her to bark which shouldn't be a problem.  Once I get that I can say "Do you want to do outside? and give the cue to bark ("Bark").  Or I can teach her to ring the bell like Yoshi does but I prefer the bark as it carries further.   But honestly she doesn't understand that she shouldn't pee on the bed despite our including her a lot on the bed.  She only does it when no one is on the bed and she doesn't pee on any throw rugs or in her crate.  I think the down comforter triggers some physiological response as it seems to happen quickly.  This time I caught her (sort of) and rushed her outside.  Whether she understood or not is anyone's guess.  Maybe we'll switch to blankets on the bed.

Wed Feb 14
Trek's obedience class.

One weird thing that happened is on the way over to class is that Trek managed to get her tag caught in the crate (a plastic crate not a wire one) so when I opened the crate she didn't come out.  Took me a couple of times calling her to realize that she was stuck.  I couldn't get the tag free so I had to remove her collar.  Fortunately I work her in a martingale collar so I just put that on her to do the class, and freed the collar once I got back home.  The tag is a cute bone and it was the bone protrusions that got caught so I'm going to dremmel them off as that was just too strange.  I have a breakaway collar that I used to use with Yoshi so I may start using that (though it's not rolled.)

Recalls.  Leave it.  Socializing.  Distractions: people do strange things.   Skateboard. 

People doing strange things was fun.  I skipped around the room and then later limped around the room.  The limp definitely got a reaction.  Boo the Newf did a minor lunge which even though I know it was a friendly one underscored the fact of how scarey even a friendly big black dog lungiing at you can look.  Boo's owner growled at Chloe which got an unhappy Chloe looking really uncomfortable and raising a lip.  He got over to Trek (who was already looking uncomfortable) and said he didn't have the heart to growl at her and Rachelle concurred as we didn't want to permanently make her afraid of men with big moustaches so instead he just gave her treats.  Then I did a little skateboarding but the floor's pretty slick so I just did a little.  Dogs were pretty good about it.

Next week is bring something unusual like an umbrella.

Tue Feb 13
This morning Trek was stomping all over the tarp covered contact trainer and I knew the weather was going to be good today so I pulled off the tarp (since she is mostly just using it as a Slip n Slide for those of you that remember them).  So she took herself over the contact trainer and I took her over it a few times (no formal work on it though).  Little monkey likes to jump off of it from the very top when going up the Dogwalk side and down the A-Frame side so it may only get used as a dog walk trainer and I'll see if I can borrow the A-Frame again.

[noon] More Dogwatching.
We were in luck!  Three guys were working with their labs on bumper fetching (the training kind, not the car kind).  This time we parked in the ferry building lot so we had an excellent view of them, and we almost immediately started mainlining the squeezable peanut butter.  It worked!  Except for one time where a dog was unloading from a nearby car he chose the peanut butter over lunging and barking.  And I could see him thinking about it.  I took several photos - wonder what they thought of us.

Mon Feb 12
I've often joked that Yoshi has poor impulse control, so I decided to do some checking for real. (Googling for: poor impulse control is amusing anyway.)  Anyway the upshot is: not really.  The Wiki entry is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deferred_gratification and the theory is that it has to do with not being able to wait for something (delayed gratitication).  Well Yoshi has excellent stays and he is generally willing to do things that involve delayed gratification as long as it's not scary or there are no unknown dogs near his space.  I'm thinking that his behavior is more heavily linked to wannabe guard dog since he is hypervigilent and over protective of Trek.  And he is a bully as he targets weaker dogs or soft dogs that won't put up a fight probably because he's afraid as well.  It's like he feels obligated to be a watch dog, but is scared too so only picks on those he can leaving the tougher targets to others.  What he doesn't pick up on is what the pack doesn't care about. - in other words when there's no threat.

Though continuing to work on self control exercises like Stay will likely be a large boon in his behavioral work.

Sun Feb 11
Frapfest at Cathy's: attending: Yoshi, Trek, Cooper, and Jesse.
Mixed success with Yoshi and the muzzle.  To reduce all of our stress levels, I had Yoshi wear a muzzle for the frapfest.  I had him wear the larger of the two (size 5) as though it fits loosely, he's more confortable in it.  He can pant, drink water, and bark.  Though I do need to punch another hole in it as he can rub it off if given the opportunity.

He and Cooper did great together.  Now the issue is to get Trek used to how rough they are on each other and that Yoshi doesn't need protecting from Cooper.  Cooper and Yoshi were racing around and I let Trek go join them and she raced up to Cooper and chomped on him on his back leg.  He yelped what sounded very much like "What you'd do that for???!" and I called Trek back before Yoshi reacted protectively. He didn't which I'm releived about as I had taken his muzzle off by then.

The less successful part was that Yoshi was still aggressing against Jesse even though he was wearing a muzzle.  I don't know if the muzzle added to his frustration (he was basically banging in to her with the muzzle), but given that he couldn't hurt her, I'm not sure I care.  I then had him on leash and he was still glowering at her and tried to lunge for which he got a scruff carry and shake and then crated.  I think next time around Jesse (with Trek crated elsewhere) I'm going to get the peanut butter out and given them both some of it so that he begins to associate her with really good things.

Sat Feb 10
Since it seems to be the skateboard's motion and not its presence that bothers Trek I just put her breakfast on the skateboard, rather than bothering with clicking attention to it.  In fact, she's so unperturbed by it when it's stationary that she's currently laying down beside it (you never know if food might reappear near it).

Some photos:


(Bowl is empty at this point.)

A moveable feast

Eek it moved

It's raining so their outdoor play didn't last long.  Yoshi thinks Trek's a little weird for not minding the rain, but he's now following her out readily.

Since it's raining I'm taking the time for a lengthy training/watching session with Yoshi since the kibosh has been put on the other possibilities.

(Warning this is long.)  Went to the old dog park to do a watch from the truck session but no dogs were there so it quickly turned into Estuary TV and Port of Oakland Watch.  We watched a container ship loading (photo) which was not quiet at all, but booming and hammering has never bothered Yoshi which I find remarkable.

He stayed watchful for about 5 minutes then seemed to settle in though still very attentive.  Another remarkable thing was that not 10 feet away was a ground squirrel contentedly munching on something and he didn't react.  I wasn't sure he saw it, but the squirrel was there for a long time (20 minutes or more) and it did move around some though it didn't dart.  Birds didn't seem to bother him though he intently watched a seagull repeatedly dropping a mussel on the ground to break the shell.  He did worry some about people over in the ferry parking lot about 200-300' away.  People's voices startle him some.

We stayed for about 45 minutes.  I did feed him some but it seemed to get him more excited.  When I added in rhythmic feeding (give the treats, but only at a very measured rate) he did seem to settle some.

Watching loading

Container Ship

There is a squirrel here in the center of the photo that you can't see

Distance from truck to old dog park fence (35')

I wanted to find more activity for him to watch and we're learning that to some extent it doesn't really matter if it's human or canine.  I was going to take him to a construction site but construction sounds don't seem to be an issue so any sort of human comings and goings will do.  I was thinking about the South Shore Shopping Center (aka Alameda Town Centre - [sic]), but that activity is less predicable.  It occurred to me that I was close to Bladium - my gym and they have a lot of league play here so there's a ton of activity they are mostly all just walking from their car to the door (or vice versa), and since I'm a member I won't feel conspicuous in their parking lot even if I don't go in.  (Camera battery had died so no photos - I might get looked at strangely if I was to take photos of people walking in to Bladium.)

He was fine initially except for a family with large umbrellas approaching the car behind us (hence coming right at us).  He majorly alarm barked at them until they walked by.  So it definitely appears to be someone or an animal approaching him (within a certain distance)  or just walking by within a certain distance. Clearly he's worse with dogs, but the people end is a good subset to work on.  As soon as the family was past he settled down.  Even though they're getting in the car right behind us.

They left and we went back to watching.  I had the window part way down, but then some cars pulled up near so I rolled it back up and I got out the heavy artillery of squeeze peanut butter (pictured).  That stuff is amazing and I'm worried that I can't find it in the store anymore.  If it is discontinued then I'm going to keep the bottle and refill it   All I have to d is hold it and he licks it like an ice cream.  A family got out of their car at 125' away and he was fine.  Then to really test things out someone pulled up right next to us.  the driver got out not 5' away from us talking with someone in the car.  Yoshi didn't car -  just licked his peanut butter.  I'm amazed.

It totally sounds like just a bribe, but the goal is to create good associations with things that make him nervous and it appears to be working.  We may be finally getting somewhere.

Trek is nuts about the rain - she loves it.   I have a tarp on the contact trainer and a jump and I had them in the backyard and was busy writing up these notes when I looked up to see that Trek has climbed up on the contact trainer (on top of the tarp) licking up the water puddles.  She's about to walk off of it and I realize I'm too late to do anything but watch and a yell might give her reason to fear it.  Sure enough she tried to walk on the part of the tarp that was between the contact trainer and the jump (she was trying to get to a puddle there.  She went sliding right off and got up with a very cat-like "I meant that" and grinned.

I moved the jump from under the tarp and before I was done she was back to playing in the tarp puddles again.  (Phew).  I basically said nothing the whole time as I didn't want to let her know I was alarmed.  Wonder if she's ever been swimming?  She certainly likes to play in the water.  And she loves the rain - even enticed Yoshi to come out and play with her in it.

Did a clicker session with her.
Worked on Back, Sit, Down, and [foot] target.
I've decided that I want to use Stay but the hand signal will be open palm facing her with fingers pointing up.  A hand target will be pointing to the side or down.

Had a funny moment when Trek would chomp the coyote toy which would make it howl and she would run with it back to the bed and she'd chomp it again and run around with it.  Don't think she's that afraid of it anymore.  Maybe I should have Liz Moe send us a selection of other talking toys.

Fri Feb 9
Trek came with me to work for the morning to met coworkers who had requested her presence.  She did very well ate lots of goodies and got lots and lots of attention, and this time didn't cower from a Chinese coworker whose leaning forward body language read clearly (to a dog) like she was going to pounce.  This time I had Ann kneel down and instead of patting her on the head, had her scratch under her chin.  Much better.

Then in the afternoon (I had taken it off) Yoshi and I went to go watch dogs from the truck at the old dog park.  This time I took notes.  First of all the place I was parked in last time was taken and it just felt too weird to park right near that car, so I wound up parking next to the dog park but about 30 feet away.  Now 30 feet is normally over Yoshi's threshold so I decided to try different tactics this time.  Rather than the look at the dog look at me treat routine I decided to go back to Katy Sdao's (she says someone else came up with it and the inspiration is from Pavlov) "Open Bar" classical conditioning approach of feeding when there's another dog near with less consideration of your dog's attitude (though I can't just ignore aggressive posturing so I take pains to make sure dogster doesn't get to that point.)  The feeding is generally intrinsically calming and in Yoshi's case that holds true (and that's been true of him before.)

Only one dog in park to start with.  It's raining which cuts the numbers down and this is not a popular park at all.
Ambient noise is a factor in his composure.  His stress level went up when I opened a window.  Noise sources were not from the dog, but ship traffic, cargo loading sounds, some bay breeze, general port hum, and lots of birds.

1 dog in park.  Yoshi grumbled at it once then decided treats were a better choice.
As I was dashing out the door I grabbed a few Semi Freddies Garlic Croutons.  That was a major, major hit.  By this time there were 3 dogs in the park and they went racing by 30' away and Yoshi didn't care.
However he's still not relaxed and still scanning even after 10 minutes.

Dog park empty.  Rolled down window to let noise in.  He's attentive but not super stressed.
There's a huge container ship coming in under tug escort but he's not paying attention (I sure am).

I'm out of croutons but I have Puppy Biscotti Beef Jerky.
Oh boy.  3 dogs are coming into the park.  I roll the window up mostly and start mainlining treats saying "there's a dog."  They walked right in front of him (still 30') and he thought about barking but chose the treats instead.  I'll need to talk with Rachelle about "open bar" as that is the one thing that seems to help him settle down as he's now pretty relaxed.

Also the newness of a place is also a factor - he settles down after a (rather long) while.  Total time was about 30 minutes.

Skateboard came in today.  This should be fun both reteaching it to me and teaching it to Trek.  To give her her dinner I clicked her for sniffing it then lured her into putting her front paws on it (I had placed it on a mat so it was more stable).  Even so it did roll eventually which made her jump clear and have to be coaxed near it again but she quickly recovered and was back to putting her front paws on it.

I then rode it around my kitchen (tough Pergo floor) and both dogs thought that was pretty strange.  I also started jumping up and down and Trek though that was way weird, but I must have done this to Yoshi before as he wasn't that freaked out by it especially since I was throwing treats on the floor nearby.  Back to the skateboard. Eventually I was able to get both dogs to take treats from my hand while I was standing on the skateboard.

I'm very happy and relieved to see that I can throw treats on the floor with both dogs around and no disagreements erupting from it.

Thur Feb 8
Trek is quite the water dog.  I have a tarp covering the contact trainer and there's a small pool of water on the part of the tarp that is laying on the ground.  She drinks it, wades in it, bites at it, stomps around in it and generally has a great time amusing herself.

Took them for separate walks.  Yoshi is missing working as he was very solicitous on the walk (more later).
I'm getting pretty attuned to his body language and I can see when he's thinking about lunging.  His head comes up his ears and body position are forward and he stiffens.  If I'm watching him I can see his body position and take evasive action if need be.  Almost don't even have to be watching out even though I will continue to do so.  He still responds to a carefully timed "leave it"

I've noticed oer time that Yoshi really thrives when he knows exactly what is expected of him and when he knows a job really well.  Once he's finally gotten through learning something thoroughly he seems to rejoice in doing it.  See how well I heel.  See how well I sit by your side ("By Me").  He wants to work, he just doesn't like stressful environments which comes off as not wanting to work (and get paid).  After Trek's class he's going back to ODTC classes (Hazel says they miss Yoshi - I said "Are you sure?" and she smiled and said yes they'd love to have him), they're not Rally specific as those are only during the day but the heeling and other work will really help him and his confidence.  They've rearranged the schedule so that Novice shares a class with Open so the stressful sits and downs are at the beginning.

Wed Feb 7
So I've been pondering what's really going to get Yoshi over this reacting at the site of dogs.  I'm thinking that maybe I'm lumping behaviors too much and I need to split it up even more.  What I want is for him to associate the sight of dogs with Good Things (TM) and there appears to be two variations of the same approach.  Emma Parsons approach is to click for anything that's not overt aggression and then start raising criteria over time.  The other is to teach look at the dog, look at owner (click).  Then there's Trish's approach of just quietly watching dogs at a distance.  All work eventually - it's just a big eventually.  Rachelle's approach is the 2nd one and that is the one that I want to break down further.  Look at the dog is one behavior, look back at me is another, and they should be taught separately.  We've worked a lot on the second one ("watch"), we worked some on looking at things with "what's that?"  But wouldn't it be cool if I could get him to look wherever I pointed.  Actually this is a utility exercise (the one with the three gloves).  First you teach the dog to look where you are pointing (some call this "mark"), then you teach the retrieve.

Would a behavior chain of "look" and "watch" work?  Or does he already have the habit of looking back at me if he's not over stimmed?

Whatever I do I can see that it's going to be really important to help him to associate treats with the sight of dogs.  We were part of the way there when things went to hell.  Wonder what changed for him?  I think I probably pushed him too far, but I'm not so sure.

Trek's 3rd class is tonight.  Did some basic work with her at lunch. She readily sits on a verbal command, down still needs a hand signal but clearly she has the concept.  I can get her to sit-stay for about 20 seconds, down I can get for 20 seconds if I occasionally touch her to keep her in place.

Tue Feb 6
People have been telling me about these agility trials in Southern California where they put up temporary fencing and they are not baby gates.  Intriguing.  We have a very long way to go (if ever) of Yoshi ever seeing the inside of an agility ring, but if he ever got to that point (like in a year or two) it might be a good way to try.  But I can not rush his as folks are leery of him at agility trial as it's questionable if he should ever enter one again.  I think he's going to need to already have a long Herding career and perhaps a lot of Novice (on leash) Rally before even considering.  I'll have to check the AKC rules about being a Rally perma-novice.  Now that I think about it having him get comfortable at Rally competitions would be a good intermediate step.  But this is all premature as he still reacts to unknown dogs at 100', so first we'll have to get better about watching dogs from a distance.

Linda just mentioned that Dylan's stress level went down when she stopped trying to force him to play with toys and just went back to food.  Interesting.  Yoshi does like to play fetch with his food containing rabbit fur pouch but he really likes the food in it.  He will play fetch with his mini tennis ball but only in non stressful conditions (where he will fetch the rabbit fur pouch while watching an agility class.)  I need to figure out how to make that pouch easier for him to carry as if it lays flat it's hard for him to pick up.

This morning I was trying to work at home and the recycling trucks were coming by and the school kids where walking past and Trek just would not stop alarm barking.  I finally put her on leash and tied it to my chair and she settled down.  It helped that Yoshi had already settled down and was in the snuggler at my feet. After about 20 minutes I took Trek off the leash and she has settled into the other suggler under Terri's desk.  Ahhh.  To bad I need to get ready to go in to work as there as I need to do some web work using tools that I only have at work.

Mon Feb 5
[noon] Played some fetch with each dog separately out in the back.  This is a step up for both of them as it's a big change going from fetch in the house to the exciting backyard.  Both dogs did it a few times and then got distracted, so I see that I'm going to have to reinforce it a lot more (I was trying it without treats just to see what further work I needed to do.  Yoshi in particular needs a lot of encouragement and reinforcement to the point that I took him back into the kitchen and played fetch there with treat reinforcements along with the adding bonus factor of Trek having a jealous fit in her crate watching. ;)

Cathy and Jesse came over to watch Sopranos.  I had to work late so when I got home I arrived to find both Corgi's comfortably in the living room crates and Terri, Cathy and Jesse all on the sofa.  And it was quiet!  Amazing.  After a bit I let Trek out to socialize with Jesse which went fine while I sat with Yoshi who stayed in his crate chewing on a bully stick.  The after about 15 minutes, I let Yoshi out still keeping him on leash and after about another 10 minutes and making sure Jesse was content to stay on the sofa, I too Yoshi off leash and let him and Trek play and play and play.  Later in the evening when Cathy and Jesse were getting ready to go we put both Corgis back in the living room crates.  Amazing what adding structure does for the peace of the evening.

Sun Feb 4
The border Collie puppies that I was enjoying watching on their puppy cam have turned out beautifully.  I'll have to keep an eye out for them in the agility ring.  In particular Mrs. White and Mrs. Peacock: http://bordercollie.tv/fame_x_clue_pups_06_3.html

This morning Yoshi and Trek wrestled non-stop for over 15 minutes straight, and on and off for the better part of an hour.  Trading off who's on top.  They're both so happy it's great to see.  I did intervene once when Yoshi seemed to be getting too excited, but for the most part I just watched.

Yoshi is going herding today and Jesse and Cathy are going to come along.

What a blast.  Jesse, who has been herding before, was thrilled.  She's been depressed lately so it was good to see her enjoying herself.

Yoshi is improving.  I was arguing with him about Down and he offered a Sit.  I said ok so we'll do a sit then and worked on distance sits for the rest of the day and he was much improved.  By the end of the day I was able to get him to sit at the end of the long line as opposed to only 5 feet away which is what we started with.  I worked with him on the long line both on and off sheep.  I also let him herd a bunch and he's happily beat and passed out at my feet. When we were getting ready to leave he was trying to pull me back to the sheep.  "Yoshi you're exhausted."  He did relent, but was still focused.

One thing I noticed early in the day was that as soon as I started leaning on him to (at first) Down or Sit or even Wait. he'd act like he wanted to leave (sort of pouty), but then the sheep were too much of a pull and he'd reengage.  With agility he'd just shutdown or displace his frustration onto the closest dog victim.  During one of these moments he did lock on to another dog nearby (Roscoe a Cattledog) and stopped and barked at him.  If there wasn't a fence between the two he no doubt would have charged.  Though once agin I was able to get him refocused on the sheep.  Herding is the only venue where I've seen him able to cope with frustration.

Behaviorally he was mostly great surrounded by dogs the whole day.  2 outbursts that I had control of and gave him a firm shake and a knock it off.  Both motion related, both arriving dogs though one of the arriving dogs he had already said hi to.  It's almost like he doesn't recognize them as he reacted this way to Patricia's Mr. Giles when was walking by once and he knows Giles.  Well Mr. Y is getting his eyes checked on Feb 21 as they let me schedule him along with Trek.

So I'm pondering why he's so relatively relaxed at Joyce's.  Funny moment was when Roscoe's owner (Margie?) said that it was hard to believe he was having aggression issues since he's so at ease at Joyce's.  It's possible that it's because it's so open feeling area, and the dogs and the environment are pretty relaxed (and they're mostly herding dogs).  When I walk him on a field he does seem more relaxed as long as there's no one crowding him (agility trials are crowded often).  Sidewalks and their narrowness do seem to stress him some (bummer, but good to know).  It seems like the wider his field of view is the better he is.

Another factor seems to be the more familiar with a place the more relaxed he is with the exception of the front living room window as he seems to feel obligated to guard it.  He's pretty relaxed at Oakland Dog Training Club except when a new dog walks in.  He was relaxed at Power Paws though it's been a long time since he was there.  Up until recently he was relaxed at Sharon's upper field (which is larger) before he started acting stressed out around all agility equipment that wasn't at home.  He never really relaxed at Debbie Pollard's place, but her place is fairly long and narrow especially the approaches to the fields.  He hasn't relaxed completely at Marin Humane Society since dogs seem to approach from all angles there.

Also it appears to make a difference if he is the one doing the arriving and the other dogs are already there and not moving.  He really likes that most of the dogs at Joyce's are temporarily short chained to the fence while they wait their turn as he knows they can only move so far.  He seems to have the most difficulty with dogs that arrive after he does (this is true of ODTC as well).

Meanwhile, Terri played fetch with Trek in the backyard to see if her fetching would translate to a more interesting location.  She fetched great even from the back fence.  Though after a while she did get distracted.  I think we'll have to continue this initially without Yoshi around as he is quite the dog cop when it comes to a dog racing off for a ball and Trek is somewhat intimidated by that.

Yoshi is still comatose on the floor (oh how I love a tired dog).

I put the pictures of the Wellness Treats into the Jan 18th entry.

Sat Feb 3
Dull walks and dog TV.  Not really.
Intended to be dull and actually turned out to be very educational.  We went out to the base and watched a couple of soccer practices.  We walked all around the fields and he was by far more interested in all the copious goose poop, than the running people or the flying balls which surprised me.  Probably because he has seen a lot of soccer going on at Lincoln Park and they are clearly not engaging with us at all.  Though he did react to them later (read on).

I then took him out on the sidewalk and walked around some pretty much letting him follow his nose.    There is almost no one around, but what do you know there is a person walking a small white dog.  We crossed the street and Yoshi then noticed the dog and reacted.  We backed off another 10 feet and he still reacted.  Backed off another 10 and that seemed ok.  Followed the dog for a bit and then I decided that I wanted to see how he would be around the soccer players now that he had reacted.

We got back to the soccer practice and they were standing around just getting ready to leave.  We walked by them and he was ok, and we even did some very nice heeling work on the concrete landing in front of the fields, but then the soccer players started to walk to their cars and he instantly started to visually track them.  One in particular was an African-American man with a towel tied around his head.  Yoshi visually tracked him all the way back to his car.  He was about 50 feet away, then more like 80 feet.  He didn't react to any of them just watched them intently.

When we were driving over to the base I saw the icky old Alameda dog park and thought that it would be good for him to watch dogs there since there aren't many dogs that go to it.  Since it was very close, I didn't put him in the crate but had him on the passenger seat as I wanted him to look out the window. We got over sort of near there and parked.  Now this place is right by the estuary and there was a lot of activity of boats coming and going so I put him on my lap and we just watched from my window.  He couldn't see the dog park yet as it was in the other direction. 

When the activity on the water settled down some, I turned the truck around so he could see the dog park 120' away (I actually went back and measured it with a tape) and a man in a wool cap fishing at 100'  Yoshi was really suspicious of the guy fishing and casting and he stared at him for quite a while growling, but not barking.  then the guy decided to leave which involved walking by us and Yoshi did bark at him even though I was putting downward pressure on his muzzle which sometimes helps.

When the fisher had left, Yoshi was then free to obsess on the dogs.  If the dogs were further away than the fence he didn't care, but when they were at the fence he did bark.  I think this means that I need to back the truck off even more.   (See photos)

Estuary View West

Estuary View East
Fisher was standing at water's edge in center of photo

Old Alameda Dog Park
(click to enlarge)
Yoshi would bark at dogs that were at fence.

It feels a little strange to be just sitting with him in the truck but he was perfectly content except for the time he wanted to jump out and Get That Dog or Tell That Person To Back Off.  Some would say that he's just truck guarding and he shouldn't be in the truck but he's like this on leash, and off leash so it isn't just the truck or the crate.  It may be a way for us to watch safely without the complication of being on leash, or without him having to scan 360 degrees (It was pretty funny when he didn't see the dog park right behind him when he was watching the boats.  If it's a way for him to feel ok about watching then it might work. Certainly worth trying a few times.  And unlike the house living room window, I can position the truck to however I want to.

It so much seems to be a space issue with Yoshi.  As Patricia once said he has a big personal space bubble. 

Herding tomorrow for him - should be fun.

Off to the gym, and then on to work with Trek.   Oh and Cathy has a new dog so I may sneak over and say hello.

Fri Feb 2
Took Trek into work for the morning so she could meet folks.  She was a little shy at first, but then warmed up and started enjoying the treats that I had folks offer her.

At lunch I went and got Yoshi and we went over to a field in College of Alameda.  We were pretty much the only ones in the field area and it was just as dull as it was intended.  Saw one person walking at 200' or 300' and as you might guess, no reaction.  Here is a picture of the site.  We were closest to the corner of Tinker and E. Campus Drive:


Did some choose to heel work (modified as he was on leash), and played a little fetch with his rabbit fur pouch.  There were Canadian Geese all around and he seemed more interested in the poop than the geese.  He did react to a large blue pipe structure though after he sniffed it and I c/t'd it a few times he was fine with it. 

You can almost make it out in the photo.  It's the blue/white dot in the center near a large tree:


Yoshi then spent the rest of the day with me at work in the crate. 

Putting the crate in my office is a big win I can tell now.  Both dogs feel secure in it and they're less barky.  I hadn't planned on spending that money at the Cow Palace just then, but it's turned out to be a good investment.  Though now I have 7 crates for 2 dogs not counting the Homestretch that I don't use anymore.  What's amazing is that I can easily justify them all:  2 in the bedroom, 1-2 in the living room (one of the crates travels), 2 in the car, and now 1 at work.  The unexpected ones have turned out to be very, very useful especially the living room ones as when the doorbell rings I can put them in those crates.

Tomorrow I think we'll go out to the base and watch a soccer game:

We all just relaxed tonight.  (Well they wrestled.) Terri says that Trek was missing Yoshi even though Terri spent the day with her.  I guess Trek even though she's very people oriented has spent her whole life around other dogs so it probably feels weird to not have one around.

Yoshi is dawdling more on his recall from the yard so I'm reinforcing it more and it seems to be improving.  I noticed that he was hesitant to climb the stairs and I realized it's because Trek is already at the top landing just waiting to chomp on him when he gets up there.

I weighed them both and they weigh exactly the same: 21.5 pounds even though Yoshi looks and feels heavier.  I had cut Yoshi's food down to 1/3 c per meal from 1/2 c as he seemed to be gaining weight.  But he can weigh 22 pounds so we'll increase the morning to 1/2 c and leave the dinner at 1/3 c.

The Yoshi conditioning program seems to be helping Trek gain muscle and endurance.  She doesn't tire as easily and she's gaining a few ounces of muscle in her rear and generally looks more coordinated in the back.  And there's that small matter of being able to jump from the floor up to the back of the sofa which I've seen her do twice.

Thu Feb 1
Happy Feb.  I'm adding back in the days of the week in the title entries as it helps me orient when I look for an entry.

Rachelle has come up with a Training Plan for Yoshi
Evaluation: Level of arousal is vey high when stimulated by movement.  Reacting (lunging and barking on-leash) to ALL types of movement (dogs, bicycles, strollers, joggers, etc.) and visually reacted to a man wearing a hooded jacket.  Movement threshold with no reactivity is approximately 75 feet.

Recommendations:  The following recommendation need to progress SLOWLY.  Your daily training goals must be to generate a ratio of 95% success for zero reactivity.  Every time Yoshi is able to lunge toward the end of the leash agggressively, it reinforces the behavior.  Our visit to the Ohlone Dog Park was much too stimulating for Yoshi and he was able to "practice" his undesirable behaviors too many times.  I recommend you begin with the following:
Conclusion:  This will require much patience and dedication from you and although it may be temping to push ahead doing so before Yoshi is ready will only set you back.  Termperament changes take a long time (months) to notice which generally ends with most people losing patience and giving up thinking it's not working.  This is untrue and once you do begin to see change, things will begin to move along quickly.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

[Insert more on Yoshi and Trek play style here]

Am I nuts?  I just bought a skateboard for dog training.  I'd been thinking about doing it for a while as it's a good teeter training step and it would be fun to eventually teach Trek how to ride one.  I used to ride as a kid, but really haven't wanted one again opting instead for rollerblades and skis (vaporware right now) and snowshoes and etc. like crampons. :)  So I've been toying with the idea, but not really getting serious about it as Trek needs to learn more basic like stay first  (for example.)  Then Rachelle mentioned that her BC Dazzle is nuts about skaters and skateboarders (I bet the other Bayteam Dazzle is nut about them too), so I offered to be skating bait as a trade for training time and she's likely going to take me up on the offer.  At first I was thinking I could just use the rollerblades, but I'm not that good on rollerblades and while the thought of being herded by a possessed BC amuses me, if I was on rollerblades, I'd likely fall and on a skateboard (which I used to do as a kid) I can just jump off.

I was going to buy one off of Craigslist, but none looked appropriate and some of the entries ("I love it, but need the money" "I love it, but haven't used it for 2 years so it should go to someone who will use it") make me realize that I don't want to try to explain to civilians that I want to use it for dog training.  So I wussed out and ordered an inexpensive one from SportMart.  I really wanted to get one from a Skate store on eBay, but then you have to put it together yourself (not really a show stopper but a hassle) and they wanted so much in shipping ($21) that it negated the savings.  It would have been really fun to go back to Skates on Haight where I bought my rollerblades but those boards are $100 which is more than I want to pay for a silly lark (ok, THIS silly lark :).

I've been using Google maps to find open areas that I could take Yoshi to to watch activity from a safe distance (75'-100' to start0.  Good nearby possibilities are Bay Farm (undeveloped areas), College of Alameda (the fields in the back), The old navy base (both near the airstrip and a couple of grassy areas.).  Rachelle noticed that he reacts to not just dogs so any activity would be good to watch from a distance.  I wish we had really large polo fields as that would be ideal.  Possibly some of the lower fields in Redwood Park would have enough distance and there's always activity there (probably too much honestly).  And then there is the Morgan Territory where I would take Cali tracking.  Very large open fields.  He'd want to herd the cows and roll in the poop, but other that he's likely be ok (he's been there before when Cali was still alive).  Some activity there but not a ton.  Even when there's tracking going on there's not a lot of dogs out, and it would be fun to see Debbie again.

Here's the Google map of the Morgan Territory:

And this is the South side parking lot where most of the tracking goes on:

While looking for large open areas it occured to me that one form of open area is water.  I could rent a small boat (like the small motorboats on Lake Del Valle), take him out and watch activity from a boat.  Oh the many things that could go completely wrong with such a plan.  The good thing is that I've actually done it before with Cali and have a doggy life vest and I've operated those boats before.  But I don't see him relaxing on a small pitching boat any time soon. ;)  It still would make a fun trip, but likely not a good training trip.

Jan 30
[noon] Worked with Trek.  First in the backyard on sit, down (much better), table, and worked a bit more with standing on the yellow mouse pad target.  Yoshi saw the mousepad and came over to demo and I was able to treat him with her standing beside him going "Hey" and no arguments about it at all.  She did get better about the mousepad standing then.

We then went around the block doing loose lead walking which she is still good about though likes to wander in front.  If she's not pulling on the leash that's fine it just means she doesn't get reinforced for it so eventually she comes back to my side.

We saw and talked to a mom and her toddler and slightly older son.  Trek was apprehensive about the baby carriage so she got lots of treats for being near it.  I am concerned that if something startles her she tries to bolt and sometimes into the street.  I hope she doesn't get loose and scared at the same time any time soon (not likely but still.)  Rachelle suggested working with the vacuum cleaner first with it off.

I've already had to buy more Wellness treats.  Going to have to find a cheaper source for them as they are pricy.

I've been thinking, I've always thought that Yoshi is poor at calming signals and other doggy communication, yet when he's around his doggy friends Cooper and Trek whose play styles match his, he's great - responds well to very subtle pauses and regulates play very nicely.  So what's going on when he deliberately ignores another dogs obvious discomfort?  Insecure bully still seems to be the most obvious explanation.

[Summarize Trek's Sirius class]
Sirius class.  There were only 4 dogs there which made things more relaxed for Trek.  The Dobe and the Lab-Sharpei mix weren't there and I think the puppy is going to take a different class, which left Boo the Newfie, Daisy the BC, the springer whose name escapes me and Trek.  Interestingly enough all of the dogs had some basic recall skills and were pretty much operating above the level that is expected for an intro class.  We let the dogs play some to test out recalls.  We first let little Trek go just to check out the place and then I suggested Daisy since they seemed to get along well last week.  Daisy seemed to lock on to Trek a little much so Rachelle asked the owner to let the Springer into the mix just so Daisy would have something else to focus on.  That helped and things seemed to even out.  Trek seemed a little worried so when it came time to let Boo the Newf join I took Trek out of the mix and we just watched from my lap which she seemed more than happy to do.  It's funny that she's very brave around Yoshi but she's never seen large dogs before seeing Jesse so it's still a whole new experience.

Unfortunately my memory's a little hazy as I wasn't taking notes.  Oh yeah.  Funny hats.  Rachelle went around the class with a goofy rabbit mask on.  Boo and the springer didn't care.  Daisy and Trek weren't so sure but at least would interact with it some especially when Rachelle took it off.

Talked about jumping up and that a good way to make the behavior stop (or get much less frequent) is to just ignore it since mostly what dogs want is attention good or bad and ignoring them gives them neither.  Talked some more about rewarding a dog coming to you even if they didn't come right away.  I mentioned the McConnell DVD Lassie Come that I like so much.

Rachelle worked with Boo and "speak" since he is such a talkative boy the idea being to teach both speak and quiet or hush at the same time and get control of both.

I know I'm forgetting something - will have to look again at the handouts.  I know the handouts talk about loose lead walking, but we didn't actually do that tonight.

Next week we're supposed to bring something noisy.  Heh, heh, that's gotta be our howling coyote toy.  Will be fun to see what the other dogs think of that.

What I thought was really cool is not only will Trek down in class, but she'll roll on her back which is just fantastic.  Not sure if she would have felt ok doing that if all of the dogs were there.

I mentioned to Rachelle that Trek seems noise sensitive and she put on a sound effects that started right off with a baby crying which garnered several head tilts from Trek.  Rachelle says to start playing the sound effects CD at 0 volume since the dog will still be able to hear it and then gradually increase it.  I'll have to look around for one or a downloadable version that I can burn to CD.  She also asked about how she was with vacuums at which point I explained that while we had one we have wood floors and we mostly sweep.  But I'll get it out anyway.  She said to start with it off since it appears to be the rolling of it that is the trigger (I also mentioned her worry about baby carriages and Trek was worried about her rolling luggage carrier.)  Maybe this weekend we can do work with scarey things that roll.  I do have her help me take the rolling recycling bins back in from the curb, but you can tell she'd rather be elsewhere.

Jan 29
[noon]  In the life will never be the same category.  We were in the backyard and a squirrel appeared on the fence and guess who was the first one to shout "INCOMING!"  Yep.  Trek.  Of course, they have very different approaches to it.  Trek does the traditional alarm bark whereas Yoshi does the Elvis sighting screaming and racing around.  I can only hope my neighbors are amused and not ready to kill us.  Fortunately most of them have dogs.  And what's really fortunate is that squirrels are only active during the day.

Took Trek out to work on loose lead walking which I usually treat as a vague Choose to Heel exercise.  I've been doing this for a couple of sessions, but combined them with a walk and that's really not practical at the beginning as at some point in time you just want to do the walk.  This time the goal was: It's much better to walk by my side (and I'm not picky about which side).

This means any time Trek was within 2 feet of my side, I clicked and treated (using the higher value Venison treats).  This is not a way to get much walking done as at the beginning you need to keep the reinforcement rate quite high.  We're talking C/T. Step. C/T. Step. C/T. Start to step. C/T.  Step. Step. C/T....  If she bounded ahead of me I just let her and watched  Breakthrough!  You could see the brain wheels turning as she slowed down and looked back in a "Hey wait a minute." fashion.  Once she got back to my side I started the C/T cycle again.  About 3 times she went in front of me and then figured out that there wasn't any clicking happening and dropped back.  I did help her succeed from time to time by calling to her which got her back on task.  We went up and down our long block maybe twice.  Spent around 20 minutes to half an hour.  What a phenominal difference.  Who says dog training takes a lot of time?  It more takes lots of concentrated, intentional, short training sessions.

She does of course favor the walk on my left side as I'm more coordinated that way.  So once she's better at it I'll spend more time diligently working the other side.

[eve] Now it's Yoshi's turn.  I've been getting sick of his pulling on the leash and it's beyond something excusable like the herding environment, so we also did Loose Leash Walking work.  Now Yoshi has a lot more experience with this so I can combine it with a walk.  It worked great.  He wasn't yanking on me and walked nicely by my side.  The only problem is that I have to watch him pretty closely for the clicker timing to be correct and that means I'm less vigilent about watching out for dogs.  Fortunately we didn't see any till the end and I was watching out then and kept the distance above his threshold distance.

Jesse and Cathy came over to watch Sopranos.  I crated both Yoshi and Trek initially then let Trek out to go out and play with Jesse.  Jesse didn't feel like playing (Cathy thinks she's depressed and she is certainly acting like it) so they wandered around for a little while and we went back in.  After a while when Jesse was up on the couch with the humans, I let Yoshi out and he and Trek did a great job of competing with the DVD as their play was so funny.  We finally paused the DVD just to watch them.  First Yoshi on top then Trek then Yoshi then Trek.  And much jaw wrestling.  I hope they don't break any teeth or damage their eyes.  I can only hope they know what they're doing.

The evenings amazing feat was Trek jumping off the back of the sofa to the floor and while Terri was prevening Yoshi from trying the same (which he's never done as far as I remember), Trek did a standing jump FROM the floor to the back of the sofa.  I wasn't sure I could believe it and I saw it happen.  Maybe she is getting buns of steel from the Yoshi workout program.  I do need to put her bouncing on cue though I could do without the jumping from the back of the sofa.  I'm trying to explain to her that while she can physically get away with doing this now that may likely not be the case in the future.

Also doing a lot of silly fetch games.  I wondered if I could get Yoshi more inspired by her enthusiasm (he will fetch but not with the same exhuberance) but he just craawls in my lap while she's doing it.  (I think he's being opportunistic.)

Jan 28
They want to study the Prozac Kids!
From an email I send summarizing it:

I was wandering though the Cow Palace dog show (huge) and I noticed a
booth that said:

Searching for Dogs with Anxiety-Related Behavioral Problems

I walked up and said: "Boy have I got a dog for you."  Adding that: "in
fact we have several in the litter that you may want to look at."  They
were immediately intrigued.  Especially from the fact that only 1/2 the
litter has the symptoms and that they were raised in different
environments as these both point solidly to a genetic cause.

The flyer says:

Canine Behavioral Genetics Project

We dog owners live with our dogs...work with our dogs... and play with
our dogs.
Not only are we intimately familiar with the behavior of our dogs we
also, often have detailed information about the lineage of our dogs -
information that allows us to explore the heredity of both physical and
behavioral traits.

As a result, we have a invaluable opportunity to contribute to an
understanding of the relationship between genes and behavior.

To take advantage of this opportunity, as well as the recent draft
sequencing of the canine genome, Dr. Steven Hamilton of the University
of Calif. San Francisco and Dr. Karen Overall of the University of
Pennsylvania are collaboration on a project focusing on the genetics of
behavioral problems in dogs.

More detail here:



DNA is typically collected via cheek swab though for Yoshi and the Penn
brethern, they might want to arrange to get a blood test.  They're
interested in unaffected related members of the litter too as it would
make a really valuable comparison. I gave them my contact information
and when I hear back I'll send them an invite to our group.

This is cool as while I can get folks interested in Yoshi and his
behavioral oddities, I've been hoping to find someone that wanted to
study him more formally than I ever can.

Yoshi and I are going on a dog park walk.

Jan 27
Gone skiing - see the Non-Dog Blog for that.

Jan 26
Had a lesson with Rachelle and Yoshi at Ohlone Dog Park just so she could get an idea of his reaction thresholds.  We deliberately were at a park he was not familiar with as he's getting pretty good at the Alameda Dog Park.

We spent the entire time standing outside of the fence watching the other dogs.  If a dog came near we would move away back to where he was comfortable.  If he would acknowledge the dog and then look back at me, I click-treated (and praised) him.  If he seemed comfortable we got closer to the fence.  Some dogs he could eventually touch noses to, others not so much at all.

It seems to be mostly motion that he reacts to as there was a Pit Bull lying down with her owner nearby and while he was initially concerned about her he stopped worrying about her, but another Pit walked by on the sidewalk on the other side of him and he was beside himself barking and growling.  The only real difference was that the walking Pit was mostly white and moving, while the other was still and tan. 

This doesn't explain why he went after Zoe and the Corgi by the agility ring who were not moving so it seems like there are three main triggers: motion, submissiveness if it's a large dog, and small dogs.  Also stressful environments make the likelihood of him reacting all the more so.

His comfort level seems to be about 40 feet, unless the dog is moving faster.  There was a moving dog that he didn't react to, but surprise it was a Border Collie.

Rachelle is going to come up with a training plan and will get back to me.

Jan 25
I let Rachelle talk me into giving Trek some cheese last night so her stools are loose today (at least as of now).  Took her on a walk and she's getting less erratic and less weaving around.  In the first couple of blocks worked intensively on loose lead walking where I click and treat whenever she is near my side.  She sort of gets it but the world is a very exciting place so after that I let her walk in front though if she gets to where there's tension on the leash I stop and wait till she takes a step back to me to loosen the leash.  This is more arduous when we're coming back home and the last 1/2 block takes quite a while.

Cut through the park.  Saw various dogs and people.  Much construction noises on the streets.  She's still not entirely sure about the sitting at corners but that takes a while for any dog I've had.

Yoshi gets a dog park lesson with Rochelle tomorrow.  It's a dog park he's never been at.  Should be interesting to see if he's any different there - this is at Ohlone Dog Park in Berkeley.

Jan 24
This morning when Trek pounced on me in bed with that nose I buried myself in the covers and didn't say anything.  Eventually she goes away, comes back again, but then goes away again.

Took Yoshi on a dog park walk.  I don't know if I've written it down or not but as an experiment I took him off the Prozac as I would occasionally forget and wouldn't notice any difference.  Now I take Prozac as well and I definitely feel a difference if I don't take it for a day so this intrigued me.  It's been about 3 days and I don't think I'll really know anything for sure until it's been 5 days to a week.  All the other factors (Shen Calmer, L-Theanine,  regular exercise or squirrel chasing, herding, Trek, calming training, and of course his getting a bit older) are the same.  So far ok, no discernable difference, and when I first started him on it I did notice a difference with in about 5 days.  Mostly he was quicker to calm down after an upset/outburst.

I've been pondering the fact that right off the bat he reacts to a dog and then less so over the course of the walk.  I'm wondering if he's just amped up from getting started and if walking away from dogs initially would give better results.  Upshot is that it somewhat did.  We parked on the street and walked out in the park area away from the dog park though it still was in sight.  We took one long circuit around (this was my lunch hour so I didn't have a ton of time.) and then looped back to the front of the park.  As we got closer he could see a dog in the parking lot about 150' off but didn't react.  Not wanting to push things we stopped and I rewarded him.  We gradually inched closer and dogs would appear from time to time but still no real reaction.  We went up to the fence and watched dogs in the park.  A couple of dogs approached us.  One a curious puppy who beat a retreat when it was clear that Yoshi wanted to play ... rough.  Yoshi barked at him but it wasn't terribly aggressive but certainly assertive.  When the puppy backed off other dogs circulated by, one a Pit that Yoshi barked at and the Pit  was certainly willing to make an issue of it but I intervened and things calmed down.  Yoshi certainly looked at lots of dogs and didn't react and got rewarded for it (a lot).  Quite a good session - didn't push things too much and generally stayed sub threshold.  Phew. 

So the exercise before encountering a dog appears to help though last night he had walked for quite a while before seeing that dog (at night)  and he still reacted (though not terribly strongly).  I'm thinking that I should find a way to run with him again even though I worry about tripping when I run outside and not on a treadmill.  I don't think the walks are really cutting it unless I start increasing the mileage significantly (right now it's about a mile, I've taken him as far as 2, but he gets really tired then - sounds like a good thing.)  Maybe every other day or so I take both of them on a longer walk.  I usually walk them separately to train them separately but for exercise it might be fine.

Trek starts school (obedience) tonight at Sirius.  Should be fun.

She was great.  A little nervous at first as there were some big dogs.  But in general she did quite well.  If Yoshi was there he would have been grumbling much of the time.

[put class summary here - pull off other system]

Skills: sit, down.  Trek sits well - down around strange dogs she's not that thrilled about though with some cheese provided by Rachelle she eventually did.

Jan 23
Trek got me up earlier than I normally get up so I took them outside and then brought them back in.  It's occurring to me that one way to teach Trek that the bed in not a urinal (happened once and also had 2 attempts)  is to include her on the bed for short periods.  So we all lied down on the bed which worked surprisingly well.  Yoshi didn't freak about it and seemed to welcome her presence.  The only thing is that Trek has this nose that likes to poke in your face so I spent some time throwing covers over my head.  The way to get this to stop is to ignore her, but that has turned out to be far too difficult to do so instead she gets this great reinforcement of a human going AAAAAGH and the other human laughing.

It's nearly lunchtime and I need to figure out what to do with doggies then.

Took Trek on a chaos-seeking walk.  Basically I drove us to near the vet.  Walked in and she ate treats from one of the staff folks, then we walked down Santa Clara and Park streets (both relatively noisy streets).  Stopped in Dog Bone Alley for more treats and then walked back.  Spent some time c/t'ing a grate that clunked when we walked over it.  She's a little freaky about noisy trucks, but hung in there and didn't panic (I had her on a martingale collar just in case.)  I think we'll become an outdoor cafe regular though I don't know any off the top of my head with table service.  (Both Pete's and Starbucks have outdoor areas but no table service.)

Her stools seem to be recovering though today they were a little odd as they were firm but had a mucusy coating on the outside.

Took Yoshi on a walk.  Didn't see any dogs till near the end when I decided to walk near the elementary school as there are usually dogs being walked around there.  We saw two.  One was right by the school and I had enough time to actually go onto the playground and have a fence inbetween us when he saw the dog.  He did react but chilled out pretty quickly when the leash tightened.  I think he really does prefer to be told what to do rather than make the correct choice himself.  Probably prefer is not the right word as I don't think this is voluntary on his part.  He needs to be told what to do in order to interrupt the impulse that he isn't succeeding in controling.

I then followed that dog (medium sized) and we tailed within 50 feet.  When they crossed the street, we stayed on the other side and just walked parallel (something he's surprisingly good about - seems he reacts mostly when a dog is walking towards him or passing him.  Then a smaller dog crossed the street onto our side.  It appeared like they were trying to avoid the larger dog.  This amused me as the medium sized dog is not very reactive and they were crossing over to near Mr. Reactive.  So we followed them for a while and Yoshi did fairly well, but they were going really slow so we crossed the street and went on.  As we passed I told him to leave it and he did.  I could hear the other dog grousing across the street so it was probably the owner wanting to avoid a confrontation when they originally crossed the street.

Discovered earlier today that Trek is a good problem solver.  She wanted the rabbit fur toy which was on a shelf out of her reach but she figured out that if she climbed up on the basket of dirty clothes she could reach it.  Smart little thing.  I must admit I like it when I have to work to stay ahead of my dog. :)  A little more alarming is that she got curious about some household products and hopped up into a shelf of them (causing quite the crash) that I see we're going to have to make inaccessable from inquistive doggies.

When we got back I noticed that I needed to bring in the trash and recycle bins, so I decided to make it another noise tolerance lesson and got Trek out.  Went near the bin and did some c/t'ing which was fine until I moved the bin a little (they're wheeled and have this odd plastic on asphalt rumble, and Treks tried to run away.  I called her back and fed her treats and then moved the bin slightly.  She still wanted to run away but came back.  This went on and the distance that Trek went gradually started to shorten and the amount of time before she'd come back for a treat shortened too.  By the time I got the bins off the street she was still apprehensive but wanting the treats so hung in there.

I have about 30 minutes of footage of the two of them playing.  I'll put exerpts into a Quicktime movie.  It's interesting to see the progression of first Yoshi harrassing Trek and then vice versa.

Jan 22
[noon] Some quick work in the yard.  Yoshi with down - squirrel chasing as the reward.  Trek with sit and down -belly rubs as her reward.  Trek is doing well.  Yoshi is pushing boundaries.  Not coming or waiting being the most often occurance.  He's such a shy boy sometimes I'd almost rather deal with him doing this as I know he's getting more confident.

[I was at the gym and didn't get the dogs out till later.]
Jesse and Cathy came over.  Trek is worried about Jesse even though Jesse is one of the sweetest larger dogs around.  Took a while but she warmed up to her.  For simplicity we let Yoshi stay in the Living Room crate chewing a bully stick which he seemed very content with.

Jan 21
Herding.  Mark and Cooper accompanying.  Trek and Terri along for the ride.  Debbie and Joyce's teaching methods are different  enough that Mark who has started back with Debbie was confused.  I'll need to ask the corgi herder's list about this but in the starting levels it's perfectly ok to herd against the fence and in the PT (Pre-Trial level) it's required.  But in the later levels you do not spend all your time against a fence.  Given that Joyce is having me in the middle of the round pen, but Mark is working off a fence at Debbie's.  Switching between the two methods was very difficult for Mark and I'm sure I would be equally as lost if I tried herding off the fence.

In the fence method the sheep are the one's closest to the fence and you are beside them with the dog running a back and forth semi circle outside of all of you.  When you're in the middle it's more of what is considered the classic balancing where the dog is on the other side of the sheep from you - keeping the sheep from running away - which is what the fence is doing in what I'm calling the fence method.  In the "in the middle" method the training for the dog is to stay on the outside of the sheep thus keeping them in a group and not splitting them.

Yoshi's down is still only about 1/4 there if that.  I let him in the round pen just to get the edge off and of course he didn't want to stop (and I'm getting faster about blocking his access to sheep.)  In the subsequent times I put him on the long line which improved my being able to enforce the down particularly when I once delilberately stepping on it to stop him since he was ignoring me.  It was a little amusing to play jump rope over the long line when he ran around in a circle. 

The third time in the ring he was getting tired which of course is when he's the best behaved.  I let him circle the sheep a couple of times then got him to stop got him into a down, asked him to "walk up" (walk closer to the sheep) and then down again, then I'd release him to go around the sheep one, then we'd repeat it.  I think we'll need to do a lot of this both around sheep and not.

I find I'd like a command for changing direction and their doesn't appear to be a formal one.  I found I was using "reverse" or "switch" (Joyce says I shouldn't do that but oh well)  I guess a real shepherd would just give the other directional (formal ones are: "away to me" and "come bye).

He was so happily exhausted that night.  Just basically went from dog bed to dog bed snoozing.

Trek was fine and didn't seem to be at all phased by the environment.  I took her over to the sheep and while she seemed interested she was really much more interested in the sheep poop.  Kathleen's husband Rick took her (I think it was her) out on sheep 4 times the first couple of times she was interested the last two definitely not.  Phew.  This is fun, but I really do want an agility dog.

Jan 20
Eek, too much chicken yesterday.  Trek has diarrhea.  I think we're just going to give her the EVO until her digestive system settles down again.  The problem is that she's going to need some fiber as with just the EVO she seems to strain some.  Fortunately she likes this kibble as I have to use it for treats now.

Yoshi dogpark walk.  This time I tried feeding him something good well before he saw any dogs to see if that would reduce his initial reaction.  Nope.  Drat.  I had him by the fence of the little dog park on the road side.  I noticed a yellow lab a short ways away being walked on the street, but Yoshi hadn't seen him/her yet.  I bent down and started giving him chicken which he was happily gobbling up (and I had my hand in his collar).  When he saw the dog I was still constantly feeding him chicken, but he still immediately wanted to charge the dog.  I had hold of him, but he really struggled for a bit then suddenly he was reengaged with me.  These are some seriously powerful impulses he's dealing with.

Walked around the park a couple of times and then it apeared that he was going to be able to hold it together to go in the park on leash.  This was hard for him.  Dogs would go racing by and all he wanted to do was join in the chase.  I'm not sure if I'm going to make a habit of this as it's too hard on me emotionally though it did occur to me that if I'm successful at getting him to learn herding commands on sheep, then it's possible they'd work on other dogs too. he did try to charge a couple of dogs but it seemed pretty reasonable given the highly stimulating environment he was in.

Yoshi down on recall in backyard.  Did ok.  Used long line but really didn't use it much.

Trek table and sit - doing well.  table and down - needs a lot of repetition.

Trek walking on flattened minit A-Frame.  (Clicking for any interaction with it), but as soon as Yoshi ran across it, she did too.

Trek walk worked on loose lead walking.  This time I used the EVO from her dinner as treats and it worked fine.  I think she's starting to really get the clicker as every time I clicked it she looked up hopefully.  Basically in LLW I clicked every time she was at or near my side.  The key is that you have to click and treat a lot initially so they get it and keep interested.  We only went around the block as I wanted to keep the lesson fairly short and I would have run out of kibble otherwise.

I've left the flattened A-frame out and they are both running across it whenever the mood strikes

Trek has discoved that biting Yoshi's ruff is a good way to control him (similar to what Cooper does)..  They're both really evenly matched and they are a kick to watch.

Yoshi is going herding tomorrow and Terri and Trek and Mark and Cooper are coming along.  I'm really looing forward to it as it should be a total blast.

Jan 19
Signed Trek up for the Basic Adult Obedience and Manners class at Sirius in Walnut Creek.  Trek is probably somewhat over-qualified, but the exposure will be good for her and it will be nice taking a Basic Obedience class from a clicker savy instructor, as while the instructors at ODTC are familiar with clickers they don't make heavy use of them.  In Yoshi's basic obedience class we wound up demoing Yoshi's mouse pad foot targeting behavior.  I'd rather not be the most knowledgable person in the room about clickers.

Later took Trek along to Sharon's to chat with Rachelle and for Trek to absorb some of the environment.  Trek did ok, but was a little freaked out by the shadows and lights and things waving about (it was dark and the lights were on).  She was also a little worried about Rachelle though who was all bundled up but eventually would take treats from her.  We also worked on the foot target some and she did fairly well at it.

Jan 18
Took Yoshi on a walk.  At first I was thinking that I should take Trek since it was during the day but she didn't want to put the martingale on so I said fine, put her back in her crate, and took Yoshi instead.  As I closed the door I could hear her barking her objections.  Tee hee.

Yoshi's walk went well and we had some good training moments.  Cut through the park and he got lots of treats for watching a small kid pushing a tiny, but noisy train engine (no whistle, but the wheels were noisy).  When we got to the back sports field, I saw about 200' in the distance, just coming into the park from the other entrance, a slow moving person "walking" either a Yorkie or a Silky Terrier.  Cool this is exactly what we need as they're not going to disappear very soon.  We walked about 75' from the path into the sports field (nothing sports related going on then), and then walked closer to where they were walking (but still 75' away from the path) and then stopped and let them approach while I let Yoshi see them and started giving him treats and telling him to leave it.

One theory I wanted to test out was what if I talked to him more just to keep the little neurons in his head busy.  Well he hears me, but still obsesses and stares at the dog.  He will look occasionally especially if I say "Hel-lo.  Leave it."  He was hanging in there earning treats, and when he settled down some I decided to try moving a little closer.  I took one step and he instantly started to charge.  By the time he'd taken two steps I pulled on the martingale and he gave himself a sharp collar correction.  I repeated "leave it" (not yelling or anything as I didn't feel I needed to, just let him correct himself) and he turned his attention back to me and after a moment or two resumed earning treats.  I'm mostly a positive trainer, but his attitude was "Thanks I needed that."  Hmmm..   I took him a little closer and he continued to engage with me and not obsess on the small dog.  We moved on.

We left the park, came back on the street and were just about to leave the park vicintity when I noticed a Golden a ways off in the front of the park.  I had been carrying the clicker, but up until now had just been using "Yes" as a marker.  I go the clicker out and started c/t'ing him for attention to me.  Then I let him see the dog (about 100-120 feet away).  He growled, but then chose to look back at me.  C/T!  Good dog!  Did a few more and then left.  There is hope.  I have to keep in mind that even as he improves he will still have impulses and outbursts and missteps, but it's really nice to see him make better choices.  It's interesting to me that it's always that first outburst and then he seems ok(ish).  It's almost like he needs to test to see if the rules are still in effect today.  Wonder if I can come up with a way to communicate that better to him that just doing this a lot.  One hopes that he'll eventually get it in his head that "leave it" always means "leave it."

I'm starting to like the Wellness Venison treats - at least with Yoshi.  I can break one up into very tiny pieces (at least 8 - often more) and he (unlike Trek) doesn't take a lot of time to eat them, and most importantly they don't smell nasty so I can go back to work and not feel self-conscious (see photos).

Entire Treat

Split along edge

Half torn into 9 pieces

Went to the store and got some inexpensive chicken and cooked it as it in the microwave and cut it up for dog treats.

I read that the Advanced Clicker Training Workshop by Kathy Sdao requires that a participating dog be comfortable with the 101 Things to do with a Box game.  (see the Clicker Training site for details).  Given that they haven't scheduled the seminar for the Bay Area yet we have lots of time to work on it.  I hoping that I can get Yoshi into thinking that hard, but it not I can see if I can get Trek up to speed to do it.  The dogs they want there should be highly operant and good at creating new behaviors.  During the Know How Know How seminar he was nervous around the other dogs yet he was able to learn, even enough to do a demo of behavior chaining (and it's even on the DVD of that class.)  Hey maybe I should bring that targeting disc that we brought back from that seminar on walks and practice "poke" and maybe even "garfield" (I made that up on the fly there) which is "poke" combined with "down" when other dogs are present.

Took a box that I had recently gotten in the mail (about 15"x10"x10") and cut the top flaps off it since last time we played with a box, Yoshi got kinda freaked out about the flaps.  Got the clicker and the chicken and started the basics of the game.  I intended to play this with Yoshi but Trek appeared first so I started with her just to see if Yoshi would get interested.  I basically clicked any interest in the box.  Initially I was throwing the chicken, but as Yoshi got interested I started handing it out to keep the peace (though no problems occurred or were even hinted at.)  After a short while of working with Trek I took her out of the picture and just worked with Yoshi since Trek is clearly miles more brave and investigative than Yoshi.  I got Yoshi as far as being willing to stick his head in the box (this is where he got wacked by a flap last time) to retrieve a tossed chicken treat and then we stopped.

I really need to find a basic obedience class for Trek.  I may just take her to ODTC but I never know what is going to walk through the door there for their beginning classes.  I see that Rachelle has an upcoming class starting on the 24th.  That's perfect timing and they're held in Walnut Creek.  Same exit as Sharon's you just go in the opposite direction.

Jan 17
Things are evening out between the two dogs and it's getting funny.
This morning at 6:30 they were out and frapping around and Yoshi is doing his usual thing of coming on to Trek and trying to mount her and she was deftly maneuvering out of his way and was clearly holding her own.

Then I went and took a shower and when I got out Terri was telling me pretty much the same thing with one very big exception (so much that I had to ask twice for clarification.)  Trek was picking on Yoshi and trying to mount him.  I guess it's payback time Mr. Y. :)

Today I'll have to go by Dog Bone Alley and pick up some more EVO for Trek as this morning I used up what I had of it.  I think I'll start with the regular EVO (chicken based) and if her stools don't improve in a week, I'll get the red meat based EVO.

Dr. Applegate is suggesting giving Trek artificial tears to help with her eye irritation while we wait on the optho appt.  I also had the Eye place put us on a waiting list for a cancellation.

Went by Dog Bone Alley and I got the Innova EVO for Trek to have for a while.
This is the chicken version, but they also have the red meat version too so if I need it I won't have to special order it.
I also as an experiment picked up a can of EVO red meat.

I brought home some artificial tears that I had at work and put some in Trek's eyes.   Easier to manage than the ointment, hope it helps here.

Terri is hoping that she isn't going to think we are evil since the first two months she's here, she will have had two surgeries (spay and eyelid) but seeing her bound around the yard with Yoshi I think she'll forgive us.  And Yoshi is just thrilled now.  I no longer see any uncertainty in his demeanor as I did when she first got here.  I don't think we need to continue going out of our way to reassure him as they both have adjusted.  So now the issue is going to be him being over-protective of Trek just like he was with Cali.

At lunch worked with Trek on sit and down both on the table and off.  She's now offering sit which is good.  Down is not so prompt and I need to find a treat so delicious that she hits the ground promptly.  Tried some Wellness venison treats but she sits and chews them which isn't real good for training.

Took each dog for a walk separately.
Yoshi:   A nice sedate walk.  Didn't see any dogs till the very end when we were crossing our street and saw a dog approaching.  I didn't want to do dog training in the middle of the street so I steered him away from the dog saying "leave it" a lot and controling where he was looking (tricky on a martingale, but doable).  He was thinking of reacting, but he refrained!  Hurray, he may finally be getting it some.  I think because the dog was no longer approaching.
Trek:  Breaking news!  For the first time since she arrived she has normal stools!  She's only been on the Innova EVO chicken/turkey for 1 1/2 days (3 meals).  That's just amazing.  She may have a mild intolerance to grains.
Walkies are still erratic, but this is only the second time I've walked her at night.  When she sits at the street corners she wants to sit in front of me which isn't really surprising since that's how we've practiced it.  I'll have to teach sit beside me separately.  She does worry about loud children so more park walks during the day are in order to eat goodies around kids.

Worked with Trek in the Living Room with the clicker just clicking the left hand side position.  I'm not convinced she's getting it yet.  I need to find a food that she loves.  Maybe I'll get some chicken and cook it since I now know she can have it.

Then we switched rooms and approaches and just played with sit, down, hug (jump up on me) and bang (lay on your side or back) for belly rubs.  A dog that likes to work for belly rubs, this is so hard to get used to (and so cool in a way as I can do it at any time.)  The only real downside is that, like training with toys, it is slower than treats, but it's a great bonding exercise too.

Also played with the rabbit fur tug toy - she really loves that.

Her stools continue to be firm.  Phew.  And she doesn't seem to be straining anymore though I may want to add some fiber like pumpkin or green beans.

[from an email I wrote about how Yoshi was doing]
This is good because you have me thinking about how he is in the various dog situations that we go to (going to audit classes is Trish King's recommendation).

Places we go to see dogs are:
- Marin Humane Society
- Wed night agility class
- Alameda dog park (walking around on leash outside of the park)
- Bay Farm Shoreline park

He's quite solid at the Alameda Dog Park and is pretty good at the agility class.  So-so at MHS, and iffy at Shoreline park but it's a  very recent addition since he's been so good about walking around the outside of the dogpark.

We have gone to visit agility trials in the past, but he's probably the most reactive there so haven't been doing that.  He's way different at class than at trials (much more relaxed at class - he'll even play fetch with his rabbit fur pouch toy there.)

Go to:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 07

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Sep 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - July 2006
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