Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - January 2007
By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)
Feedback is welcome:
[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.
[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.)
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
fact we have several in the litter that you may want to look at."
were immediately intrigued. Especially from the fact that only
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
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
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.
Gone skiing - see the Non-Dog Blog for that.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
[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
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
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
Things are evening out between the two dogs and it's getting
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
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
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
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
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
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.)
Trek vet follow up appt with Dr. Applegate about her eye and her
We talked first about the loose stools. I said that they were
getting better since I switched her over to Hills I/D and a little bit
of Innova EVO. It's possible that she has a food allergy or mild
IBD. (Bonnie mentioned this too). Some dogs can't
tolerate certain proteins, or grains. She suggested that I
continue with the EVO as I already have it and it would be cheap to
try. The next would be some of the hypoallergenic diets that have
"novel" protein sources (e.g. venison, ostrich ...)
Then we spent most of the time on her eye. As an experiment she
put some numbing drops in the eye which takes the pain away. That
would tell us if her eye squinting and rubbing was caused by irritation
or something else (like a neurological issue). Sure enough she
opened her eye wide and for the first time I saw her with both eyes
open. This was a huge relief for me as it means that it's a
fixable problem and not some arcane neurological one.
Dr Applegate then examined her eye closely for any inward growing
eyelashes or other irritants and didn't find any, but did see that her
lower lid was just ever so slightly curved inward. She was
surprised that something so slight could be causing her this much
irritation (the ointment didn't seem to make any difference and it
should have at least given some lubrication.). In any case, we
now are going to go to Deborah Friedman a vet opthamologist in Fremont
on Feb 23rd at 8:30am
who Dr Applegate has worked with a fair bit. I mentioned I'd
heard good things about Dr. Fleming but Dr. Applegate, though familiar
with his name, hadn't worked with him before, and really respects the
Fremont practice (Animal Eye Care). If we have a good experience,
maybe when I have some extra money I'll take Yoshi just to eliminate
that one last medical cause of his reactivity though since he's getting
better, I really don't think that's it.
Anyway what's likely to happen with Trek is that there's a minor
surgery where they remove a strip of tissue right below the
eyelid and then sew it back together which pulls the eyelid into the
correct position. Poor kid, but if it helps her then that will be
terrific as she'll be able to see all the better. The condition
of the eyelid turning in is called Entropian.
I did bring the rabbit fur toy with us into the exam room, but not
surprisingly she was too distracted by the environment.
I need to pick up some more Shen Calmer from Creature Comfort
tonight. The only bummer is that this impacts a walk with Yoshi,
but I think I can still squeeze it in.
I need to look up the EVO ingredients on the NaturaPet website.
Jesse and Cathy came over to watch a Sopranos DVD. Not wanting
any mishaps I decided to make it a very tightly controlled evening
which work out excellently. When they came to the door I put
Yoshi in the Living Room crate with a bully stick and put Trek on a
leash and had Terri take her out. Cathy and Jesse went to the
backyard and met a very surprised Trek ("WHAT is that???" I don't
think she's ever seen a dog like Jesse, but unlike Yoshi she seemed
fine with the fact there was a different looking dog out there.).
After they spent some time getting to know one another, we took them
both inside, and we then let both dogs off leash. Yoshi is still
in the crate and when ever Jesse would be near Trek he would
growl. In a very short period of time he has decided that Trek
belongs to him, which may cause other issues even though it fixes
others. Over the course of the evening he stopped growling so
much and I eventually opened the crate door and put him on leash. but
he wasn't interested in leaving his bully stick.
We then took the dogs out into the yard and he carried the bully stick
all the way back until I took it away from him. I left him
on leash as I had the impression that left to his own devices he'd jump
Jesse. On leash he was fine and continued to be fine when we
walked back in. For the entire evening he was either in the crate
or on a leash. No problem at all. We as dog people usually
think it's good to mot interfere and let the dogs work their
relationship out but Yoshi seems to need and want a lot of
guidance. Though he and Trek were able to work out their
relationship without a lot of interference from me (unless he is trying
to hump her.)
Gave Trek all EVO.
Got the rabbit fur toys out and played with each dog singley with the
other watching from a crate. Both dogs played with the toy which
was nice. When a dog would lose interest I put them in their
crate and let the other one out. The jealously factor worked
great with Trek who was really miffed and barking, but Yoshi really
didn't care. What is interesting is that when I would get Trek
back out her play didn't go up in intensity as I thought it would.
Had a planning lesson with Sharon F. today about Trek.
Trek was a little uncomfortable initially in the environment but
Play, play, play. Find a favorite toy and start varying the
location, first different rooms of the house, then the backyard then
the front yard the other places. Later I found out that the
favorite toy is one of Narea's rabbit fur toys. Eventually put
play on cue.
Teach targets both foot and nose. With the foot target eventually
start rewarding by throwing the treat and then throwing the treat so
she has to walk through the target.
Do lots of running and walking with her by my side and not cutting me
off in front. Do both sides but mostly right side. Work up
to circles. squares, serpentines and the like.
Teach a hand target where she touches your hand her nose.
Teach close and side by having her on a sit-stay and then releasing her
to touch the hand target on each side.
Sharon doesn't teach a separate "stay" I keep trying to do this but
don't seem to succeed though later Trek did a sit and stayed there
without me telling her stay.
Later took Yoshi on a dog park walk on his martingale (which I adjusted
to close a little bit tighter on him).
We had one occurrence right as we started where he tried to charge a
little dog walking by even though I was feeding him before hand, and
after that he was golden. This initial reaction is
puzzling. Wonder if I should walk him for a while away from the
park and see if I still get that initial reaction. When he tried
to charge I did let him hang himself with the leash and collar some.
Since the martingale will only close so far he's not in serious danger
of hurting himself. I don't yank or even correct, but let him give it
We walked around the outside of the park twice and I debated taking him
in the large dog park but the situation just wasn't looking right and
he was getting excellent training just being near the entrance as a lot
of dogs were walking up. He did really well eating bread sticks,
paying attention to me, and occasionally glancing at dogs. We
even had some walk by, though it was close enough that I covered his
eyes, but he could plainly hear them. I even had a dog standing
in the parking lot around 30 feet away and he was ok with it and it
wasn't a Border Collie (more like a Golden)
I also had a brief internal panic as we were walking around the outside
when I saw an off leash Pit Bull and her owner walking right towards
us. Fortunately Yoshi hadn't seen the dog yet and we were able to
get some distance between us by us walking further away from the fence
in an arc. When Yoshi noticed the dog the dog was walking
away and you could see him thinking about reacting, but honored my
"leave it" command. I think others see us walking around the outside
and do it also.
later on played with Trek some trying to figure out a favorite toy for
her. It wasn't hard to figure out. She's nuts about the
rabbit fur, so I use the one that looks like her and leave the other
one to use with Yoshi. I can get her to play (and tug ferociously
with it inside in the LR, kitchen, and bedroom. We took it
outside and she was a little interested in it but pretty distracted so
that's what we have to work on now.
The Yoshi conditioning program is now in effect! After
spending the morning lounging on the bed, our two intrepid canines went
out for a midmorning workout of chasing madly around the yard.
Trek is not as fast as Yoshi nor in as good condition, but after a
while of chasing him around this will change, and she recovers quickly
and is ready for more just as soon or sooner than he is. She
already gets more food than he does and we may have to increase it more
or start adding Evo or other high protein food. I videoed it this
morning and will try to get an except on the web site. The other
good thing is that Yoshi will lose that half pound to pound that he
gained over winter. He currently weighs over 23 pounds and he should be
closer to 22.5. Trek is 21 pounds and could stand to gain another
1/2 pound - pound of muscle.
Day of reckoning. We bring Cooper over. Now 3 dogs is often
(not always but often) an inherently unstable combination as 2 are
always ganging up on one. Our plan was to leash Trek and let her
watch the boys play and decide if she was interested or not. What
I hadn't planned on is that (a) Yoshi has had time to develop a
relationship with Trek and (b) even though the joke is that the boys
are in love with each other that there would be jealously when a female
is introduced into the mix. What happened is that Cooper came in
on leash and we all went outside and I was sitting on the table with
Trek. As soon as Mark took Cooper off leash Cooper went rushing
up to Trek. I was a little concerned and held Trek back from him
and reached for Cooper but Yoshi suddenly saw red and went after
Cooper. Much drama ensued (mostly noise on both their parts) and
after about 30 seconds, we finally got a hold of both of them.
Cooper had a small scrape near his eye, but other wise was fine.
I yelled at Yoshi but then decided it was pointless to do so.
So then we leashed Yoshi and let Trek and Cooper get to know each other
as Trek was a little worried about Cooper since even though he really
is a marshmellow, she didn't know this yet and he barks a lot.
Then we started doing rotations where two dogs at once could be in the
yard. Then I went out with Yoshi and had him on a long line which
went a long way to making all the interactions more positive. I
see that we're going to have to go rather carefully with this, but
hopefully things will work out peacefully.
Took a late lunch and decided to try to take them both on a walk.
It wasn't nearly as disastrous or silly as I thought it might
become. I had them both on martingale collars and they both did
fairly well. Yoshi does pull on his more than I like but it is
workable. We (well I) did see some small dogs on leash in the
distance so we stopped to let them go on. Yoshi was instantly
suspicious and started looking around for the dog. Smart guy I
must be telegraphing it some even though I'm fairly relaxed. He
started barking at a yard where he knows there are dogs (and they may
have been barking though I can't recall.) I don't have enough
hands to micromanage and he didn't seem terribly upset about it so I
just firmly told him to hush ("Hey!") and he chilled out.. We
then continued on without much issue.
It was actually Trek who barked at some of my neighbors saying hi to
me. She's going to have to start going everywhere with me and
meet lots of people, once I'm comfortable with her housetraining (no
accidents in a while now.)
Trek is making the classic new dog on a leash mistakes of going the
wrong way around a tree or other obstacle. I help her to figure
out how to untangle herself but I don't untangle the leash myself as I
want her to figure it out.
Both dogs were walking better together than separately except for Trek
falling behind me and then coming up on the other side which tangled
things nicely around me but that's pretty minor. Trek who last
walk was sitting nicely at corners instantly forgot how with the new
situation but she'll get it eventually.
I contacted Sharon about setting up a private to come up with a
training plan for Trek, she says she has time this weekend -
excellent. 10am on Sunday - I have to remember to bring a
notebook or pad of paper.
We were just about to go out to dinner (PF Chang's - yum!) and I wanted
to give them some interaction so I took each dog separately into the
living room and played fetch. Trek is a fetching fiend and
clearly Kathleen and Rick (I suspect Rick :) did this a
lot. For once I have a good use of the tennis ball with a short
rope on it as the rope keeps it from rolling so easily under the
sofa. For Yoshi I use the medium sized tennis ball, and
while he's not the fiend that Trek is about it, he will still do it
enthusiastically which is miles better than he was.
Motivators - for Trek - three claps and a high pitched voice. For
Yoshi a high pitched voice (not very loud) and tapping the floor.
Cue is "Get it" though Trek really doesn't need one.
I need to do nails as Trek is sliding all over the wooden floor, though
that doesn't slow her down any.
[noon] Took Trek on a quick walk at noon. She's improving
and isn't cutting me off quite so much.
I put her in her crate and went outside to see Terri and Yoshi.
She started barking quite indignantly as she knew we were out there
Worked a little bit with Yoshi outside doing drop on recall. As
expected he came almost all the way back before dropping. I had
him do it another time and it was improved. Will have to do more
when I get more time.
I get my poor truck back today. They're also doing the belts too
at cost which is really cool. Unfortunately this puts the cost up
over $600. Eek. Guess the windsheild is going to wait a
Cathy is coming over to watch Sopranos. I need to squeeze
in either a Yoshi walk or a gym workout beforehand.
Got the martingale collars in so I adjusted them for their necks and
took Trek on a walk. She's of course still pretty wide eyed
especially since we went through the park. She's a little
frightened of large baby carriages and noisy baby's so we'll have to
make a habit of coming here.
She still wanders from side to side on walks I have to work at not
kicking her though as time goes by I'll worry about it less as she
should then know to stay out of the way. But I'd rather not kick
her right now.
Moe Strenfel is offering a ground work seminar that I should probably
put Trek in. Bummer though is that my truck just ate $550 water
pump, hoses, other parts). which
kinda puts a damper on things so I have to think about it.
Need to get Cooper over here to introduce him to Trek.
Took Yoshi on a walk, also on a martingale. It's a nice step down
from the Gentle Leader. Saw two sets of dogs. The first one
was a single Aussie like dog. I had time to kneel down beside
him, but he still got himself into a tizzy- trying to lunge and bark
and I'm holding him nearly in a headlock with his face buried in my arm
and struggling. He finally chilled out. We then continued on and
didn't see any other dogs we were back on Lincoln and I saw three
Boston Terriers coming at us from a distance. We stopped at the
corner and let them approach, and he's being golden: sitting calmly and
getting treats and watching them. When it became clear that they
were going to be crossing the street towards us, we moved 30 feet down
the street to let them pass. He continued to be great with one
impulse to charge, but quickly decided the treats were much more worth
it. (It he barks or lunges he doesn't get a treat until he
It's always the first dog that gets the strongest reaction. I
wonder if it's a "just out of the gate" energy thing and if we did
walks twice a day (urgh - where will I get time for that?) if he would
be better. I wonder if I just make him run around the block with
me if that would be enough. If we go just around the block then
we wouldn't have to stop for street corners. It's a long block
which is good and we could always go around twice if we wished.
I got some new treats from my vet that both dogs really like:
Nutrisentials Lean Treats by Butler Animal Supply. Looking at the
ingredients it's no wonder they like them, Skinless Chicken, Chicken
Liver, Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal (?what the heck is that?),
and High Frutose Corn Syrup, ...Odd, what dog needs HFCS? People
don't need HFCS and dogs certainly don't.
Vet visit for Trek today. They just love her. In
terms of being brave she's Yoshi's polar opposite. Even when Trek
is apprehensive about something she doesn't try to run away but hangs
around to see what's happening (this is not always the case but it was
here). They took her into the treatment room and most dogs
despise that area since it's not very fun. When Trek came out she
tried to follow the tech back into the back area. I told Trek
that she's probably the first dog to want to follow them back after
being examined in that room. Dr. Applegate says "She's perfect!"
I had her look pretty carefully at Trek's eyes since they seem pretty
squinty. She said that one appears larger than the other but that
may be because she's squinting it. She stained it and couldn't
find any evidence of scratches. She sent us home with some eye
ointment that has antibiotics in it as she has to rule out infection
before going further, and we'll see her again in a week.
She does have light to moderate tarter on her teeth (normal amount for
a dog her age), so I'll work with her on tooth brushing.
Today she got a rabies shot, and a heartworm exam and they're going to
test her for giardia since her stools continue to be soft.
Trek: much work on sit and down. Sit she pretty much gets, but
down she's a little hesitant on. Once she thinks about it though
she does down. When she sends to the table she immediately sits.
Yoshi: more work on downing at a distance. He's getting quite
good at it in the house - now need to move outside with distractions.
First shouting match/disagreement between Yoshi and Trek today.
Not surprisingly it was Yoshi's reaction to Trek, but I had left a
resource out so I could have avoided it. We had left for much of
the evening and I left them with stuffed kongs. Trek is crated
and Yoshi is loose but he has his in his crate anyway. Neither
dog is very good at getting the treat out (there's a treat in them with
cheese whiz as a teaser, so when we got back both dogs still had
partially stuffed kongs. After going out for a bit, Yoshi came
back and worked on his. Then later he went and checked out Trek's
in her crate. Curious, Trek came up and in her own pushy sort of
way stuck her head in the crate too. They've done this before but
there wasn't a partially stuffed kong at stake and Yoshi lunged (I
believe - I wasn't looking) and started barking and snarling but when I
crossed the 15 feet to get to them (Terri had already gotten there too)
they had not contacted each other but where more like 6 inches from
each other. Trek did not run away but was not aggressing
either. I grabbed their collars to separate them (it was safe to
do so in this case). Yelled at Yoshi and shook his collar and
tossed him in his crate. For completeness I put Trek in her crate
too (she was trembling some, though recovered quickly). Let them
cool their paws for about 10 minutes and then I brought them out and
had them both sit for me and get rewarded for it with treats.
They carefully weren't looking at each other.
I can see that there will be some competing for attention and resources
between them though I think things for the most part will be
peaceful. I'll have to be more careful about kongs in crates and
pick them up when not being worked on.
I then trained each dog separately in the living room.
With Trek I started out with the clicker and was going to work on some
basics when she started playing with a squirrel. Now toy drive is
something I want to keep and seem to have trouble doing so so we
switched immediately to playing with the squirrel and later a knobbly
ball. Both toys she will retreive. Sometimes she would look
like she wanted to go hide the toy but I would clap my hands and she
would come racing right over with it. At first I was giving her
treats, but it became clear that she mostly wanted pets, attention and
belly rubs (weirdo :) So the game became: toss the toy a short
distance away, she'd go get it and I'd clap my hands (about three
times) and she'd race over with it and jump up on me and I'd take the
toy and rub her all over. Quite entertaining I must say.
Then I got Yoshi, and we worked on droping at a distance from me.
I was quite surprised by how well he did. We started off with him
only a few feet away but soon I could send him across the room
(sometimes with a tossed treat, but he has a crate he likes on the
other side of the room so he's drawn to there anyway), say his name and
he would turn around, then I'd say "down" and signal it, and probably
1/2 of the time he'd go down right then, the rest of the time I would
have to repeat the command once or twice more before he dropped.
I was not expecting this competence right off. Of course there's
no sheep around so we'll have to work on this with more distractions
once we've done it a few times in this situation. I need light
colored treats that I can toss. I should probably go back to the
Charlie Bears but they give him bad breath. I was also trying to
introduce "Walk up" with using the New Cue-Old Cue style ("Walk up"
"Here" but he seemed a bit puzzled by that. I decided that I was
trying to do too much at once so I more focused on the down. I
got it to the point where I could send him out and then "Yoshi" "Here"
"Down" "Here" "Down" "Here." I was thrilled.
While I was training Yoshi. Trek was frustrated and crying on the
other side of the door. (Cali would do this too - actually no, she
would bark indignantly.) What was funny is that Terri would then
call her and Trek would come barreling back to her cuddle for a bit and
then go roaring back to the closed door that Yoshi and I are behind
just to remind us that she hadn't forgotten about us. (Repeat a
Herding day for Yoshi. Trek stayed home and received a
visit from Patricia - Terri says she thinks they're in love
Herding was a blast as it always seems to be. I got out of the
car and I noticed a very familiar looking Kerry Blue Terrier.
Sure enough it was Meggity - the atypically nice terrier that Yoshi met
a few weeks back. They were having her and another KBT instinct
tested. I teased Joyce that she was going to be known as the
queen of Terrier herding and she [amusedly] assured me this was not the
case. Meggity showed some interest in the round pen but later
when they put her into the larger pen it descended into chasing and not
gathering. It was a great comparison to have both Meggity and
Yoshi be hard to stop but showing different behaviors entirely (Yoshi's
is described below).
We first were in the round pen and while he was a little wild at first,
settled down quite nicely and responded to my saying "get out" which
means run on the outside of the sheep not into the middle, and I could
get his attention to stop him. I mentioned that when he was in
the larger pen with Debbie he seemed to be less manic, so later we
tried him there. Ha. Ha. Ha. Debbie's sheep stick with
her. Though these are school sheep, they don't necessarily stick
with me with a slightly psycho small dog racing around them. I
could not get him to stop. He would race around me to get to the
sheep. He herded them all the way down the fence line and penned
them in a corner, looking extremely proud of himself, and as I walked
up he recalled very nicely to me so I decided not to get on his case
about it as it means that we just need to do a lot (lot) more training
on stopping - sit or down - down being preferable at this point - Joyce
says that we should work a lot on alternating "down" with "walk up" in
the context of a recall on a long line.
Joyce smilingly tells me that I have my work cut out for me as he's a
phenominal working dog we just need to work a lot on control. I
explained to Yoshi that the judges like to see some control out
there. Even the best race cars need drivers. It occurs to
me that I was thinking of stopping after the Herding Started level as
in the more advanced levels (which are considerably harder) the handler
is more stationary and can't move to help the dog as much, but if he's
comfortable working on his own then it's certainly worth considering.
Anyway it was really useful to see the difference in Meggity and
Yoshi. They both had the same problem (not stopping and out of
control) but Meggity chased the sheep around the field and Yoshi kept
them gathered and herded them down the fence line and penned them in a
I also got to meet Emma, Chuck and Susan's very sweet rescue BC puppy
that I've been hearing so much about from Mark. I didn't even
realize they were going to be there so it was a nice surprise.
What's interesting is that Emma and Dakota are littermates, and seem
quite different tempermentally. Dakota is very suspicious to
males both human and dog, though today she seemed much better.
Behaviorally Yoshi is doing fairly well. One cheap shot at
Meggity which I got all over his case for, but after that he was fine
even though there were a lot of dogs around, but it's mostly herding
dogs and redneck (?) he is he seems to think they belong. He did
want to charge at BCs racing by, but I think that's understandable and
a BC would have likely done the same thing.
What's interesting is that starting today I lowered his Prozac dose
today to 2.5 mg just as an experiment to see if I can wean him off of
it or not. It's going to be tough to tell as we have a lot of
factors involved but I'm hoping that all those factors will add up to
being able to wean him off the Prozac.
Factors now are:
- he's growing up
- he's getting exposed to lots of different dogs and getting lots of
reinforcement for behaving around them
- he's getting a really good idea of what I expect of him
- he's not being pressured in agility
- he now lives with Trek who he seems to like
- he's on Prozac
- he's also taking Shen Calmer, and L-theanine (no idea if the latter
has any effect)
- he has a job herding
In Trek's case, she's learning
the basics amazingly fast. She now sort of knows sit in a variety
of contexts. Will send to the table. And (perhaps most
important) will "go pee" on command. i set up the jump but
haven't set a height on it - more just wanted to see what she thought
of it. She mostly just goes around it but doesn't have any
hesitation on jumping over the bar on the ground if it's in her
way. When I start to train her on it I will set up a jump chute
of sorts with temporary yard fencing.
Terri noticed that she will bury herself in (and root around in)
pillows She will also push on partially open doors though she is
getting "wait" which is nice. No further accidents (we had one
and narrowly avoided another), but we're careful about not leaving her
Poor Yoshi was trying to get her to play but she was on the sofa
with Terri and didn't want to. I hope eventually they play more
as they have in the very recent past. I think once we start
bringing Cooper over and let the three of them have at it things will
get more active.
Busy morning/afternoon. First of all Trek didn't
vomit this morning so it's possible the Innova is too rich for her
right now, so she's getting 1/2 Pedigree and 1/2 Wellness.
Went over to Mark's and collected Yoshi and took him on a dogpark
walk. He is definitely improving a lot. I think about
the sessions with Toni that we couldn't get him within 20 feet of the
fence. Now I walk him around and he sniffs noses though the fence
with multiple dogs. He could even watch a dog walk by on leash in
the distance though if such dog gets close he gets growly about it.
I decided to take it up a level, I took him over to Bay Farm island and
walked him there (about 2 miles). Bay Farm is the other "island"
(it's a peninsula) of Alameda, and has a trail along the shoreline
area. There are often lots of dogs on walks there though in
places there's only about a 50' width so if you need to avoid dogs it's
difficult, so it wasn't an ideal place to start out this training.
First dog he saw looked like Jesse and he promptly started having a
meltdown trying to get to the dog, then I got his attention finally (I
have my thumb in his collar so he can't go anywhere, Then he
appeared to get a hold of himself and he held it together for the very
next dog that walked by right after. My routine is similar to
what we've been doing for a while now. I see the dog, I kneel
down beside him and put my thumb in his collar and I give him a treat,
then I let him see the dog. If doesn't react to the dog I say
"Yes. Good boy." and give him another treat. If he does
react (barking, trying to lunge) I have him by the collar so he's
getting any closer to the dog, and I say "Leave it" and blow on him
which almost always gets him to look right at me, and I say "Yes!
Good boy" (but no treat right then). If he chills out he gets a treat.
Pretty good percentage on not reacting though there were definitely
some reactions, but this is a new situation and he did ok - though
we'll repeat it now a fair bit (probably do this rather than the dog
park - or both.) Later on if he gets better in these situations I
have several ways I can up the ante.
- watching MHS classes (pretty easy)
- going on walks inside the dog park but on leash
- more agility trials
- going trail walking on a long line.
Eek, he's gained a pound. I fear he's getting less exercise and
more treats, and the prozac might be lowering his metabolism. I
don't really want to cut his treats down so we'll cut him down to 1/3
c. per meal. We'll see
how whipped he gets herding tomorrow.
In the backyard. Had both dogs out and on a whim I got the
tunnel out just to see what shape it was in. (The sun has been
slowly destroying the parts exposed to it.) The wire is exposed
in some places but otherwise it's intact, so for fun I started tossing
treats into it. Yoshi was busy obsessing on a squirrel, but I was
able to call him off enough to go through the tunnel while Trek
watched. I then threw some more treats in but she was
hesitant. I was just about to shorten the tunnel, like I should
of right from the beginning when Terri walked over to the other end of
the tunnel and called to Trek. Trek went through! (And I
breathe a sigh of relief.) We encourage her to go in several
times and she does. I haven't associated "tunnel" with it yet as
she's just checking it out right now.
She likes the table and running to the table so I started teaching her
"go table" and separately worked on "sit" while she was on the
table, and some on "stay." Got to the point where she would run
up to to the table, jump on and sit.
Introduced "down" by the old way of having her in a sit and taking her
front legs into a down position. Most dogs resist this and it
really isn't a good way to teach most dogs down, but she likes being
touched so was completely fine with this. The funny thing is that
of course as soon as she's in the down position she wants to roll on
her side saying pet my tummy. I try not to laugh too much while I
hold her in the down position and say "down" then let her roll and I
say "flop" and pet her belly. If nothing this is entertaining.
I then took her on a walk and I have to remind myself that she's only
been on a leash countable number of times as she's so good on it.
I introduced sitting at corners and she was great about it. She's
still very wide eyed with wonder at the hubub of suburbia and was
occasionally a little worried about some noisy things but nothing
stands out in my mind at all as I think about it. I still walk
her with a second leash as a fail safe in case something makes her
bolt. AJ suggested the Premier Martingale collars for walks as
they won't slip off under pressure and a dog can't back out of them, so
I've ordered a couple of them as I think one would be good to try on
Yoshi, when I don't want to put his on his Gentle Leader (he's not real
fond of his Sensi harness nor does it fit him well.)
Funny how Yoshi is no longer sniffing at Trek in such an
overbearing way anymore. :)
Trek seems in better spirits today, though she did barf some in
the morning and it was partially digested food and not bile so her
system is still recovering from the anesthesia, though she was willing
to eat more. I took the procollar off for a short while and
carried her out to pee which she did. I popped the crate pad in
She's certainly more flexible this morning and willing to solicit pets
on her belly (and I took more photos).
The spay scar is amazingly
small to me as it's only an inch long.
Spay surgery today.
I choose to take her to the Oakland SPCA spay neuter clinic as I've had
3 rescues done there and Terri's had 3 cats there and all went
well. These folks have done 35,000 spay/neuters so even though it
feels a bit like Kaiser, the animals have always been treated well and
they know what they're doing. Poor kid though as there was a line
of dogs and cats and their people waiting to check in and country
bumpkin was wide-eyed and shaking though coping (Yoshi would have had a
meltdown so I now have a good criteria of whether to take them to a
clinic or pay my vet.). I decided to not wait in line right off
until things quieted down some (we're all going to the same place
anyway so there's no pressure on my end.). So we went to a
quieter corner of the lobby and she enjoyed saying hello to a woman who
had brought her cat in a crate. To get closer to the woman's face
she hopped up on top of the
crate which I'm sure the cat didn't appreciate though the woman said
that the cat was pretty solid and would be ok.
That encounter seems to help her and she seemed content to just cuddle
with me. I disagree with the folks who say that you shouldn't
touch a dog who is frightened. If a dog finds touch reassuring
(both Yoshi and Trek do) then I calmly touch them for
reassurance. I don't say "Oh poor baby" but if I'm calm, I may
tell them "You're fine. It's ok" If I don't trust that I
can't keep stress out of my voice (I can often touch calmly even when
I'm stressed - unless it's the agility nationals - then I shake some
after a run), then I say almost nothing.
The line died down and we checked in, and then went in to see the vet
and the tech. The tech immediately recognized me (she says she
has a thing for corgis) and immediately fell in love with Trek and you
can see she was hoping that she was another rescue. "Nope, I
bought this one - she's going to be my next agility dog." She
also asked how Sox was doing and I realized that I should check up on
him as it's been a while.
Anyway after a very brief veterinary look, they gave her a shot of
sedative and wisked her away. Terri will pick her up around 4pm
this afternoon. Mark and Jan have very graciously taken Yoshi for
the afternoon and then later said he could stay for the night and more
while Trek recovers.
I was concerned orignally that she might be a stoic
about pain and it would be hard to tell if she was hurt. Ha, ha,
ha. Not true at all. I was sort of thinking that she would
be more the talkative type as the two shots I've seen her get she
whined. Now we have the pathetic break your heart kind of whining
and whimpering, though it magically goes away when you start petting
her chest so I don't think she's in more than the usual pain.
Terri having watched more Animal Planet ER shows than is probably
advisable is concerned that she'll rip up her wound in the night though
it is small and glued and they didn't send us home with an E-collar,
but it's a valid concern so off I go to Petco. Now I dislike the
reality of E-collars (dogs with them tend to run into everything and
have a difficult time with them in a crate) and there are some
alternatives out there and as luck would have it Petco had one that I
hadn't seen before called a ProCollar. It's inflatable and looks
sort of like a life preserver, and she can move around with it on
without running into door jambs.
But later in the evening she was clearly uncomfortable (though willing
to eat some - a good sign). I was puzzled that the after care
instructions specifically said not to give them Asprin or Tylenol (well
that one I get) but Terri noticed the instructions referred to "your
pet" and aspirin should not be given to a cat, so I stopped worrying
about it. I keep some quarter strength aspirn (81mg) around for
such purposes so I gave her one with some cream cheese (which she
thought was fantastic) and she was able to rest comfortably for about 3
I carried her outside and she did eventually poop but strained to do
it. (Ouch). Back in I took the door off the crate and we
settled in for the night. Sometimes she would cry but in general
she did pretty well.
[a.m.] Some amusing play this morning. Trek is definitely
starting to come into season as Yoshi is sniffing, and licking her and
trying to mount her (give it up Mr Neutered Dude). Her spay appt
is tomorrow and I have to remember not to give her any treats after 8pm
and not to feed her tomorrow morning.
House training wise we're still watching her fairly closely (no
accidents yet) and caught her trying to poop on the bed which was
excellent as it let us show her that she needed to go outside for that
(which she did).
Terri and I have been talking about how we'd like to raise her protein
intake to work on her muscle tone as she's fairly willowy right
now. I'm thinking of Innova or Eukanuba. Yoshi gets
Wellness which is fine, but Innova is more calorie dense and Euk is
fairly "hot" protein wise. (Picked up a small bag of Innova for
her to try.) She's now getting a heaping 1/2 cup which is vaguely
one part each of Pedigree, Wellness, and Innova.
I hope to have both of them
out in the yard to work on basics like sit as now I feel comfortable
enough to have both of them out around food. This time I'll use
Yoshi to train Trek much like I used Cali to train Yoshi. The
routine is: "Trek sit," if no or incorrect response, "Yoshi sit,"
Good boy (treat), then give Trek another opportunity to sit.
I also need to take photos! I've been getting grief about being
lazy about this.
Took some not so good photos after work. Will need to take lots
They're on her web page: http://www.frap.org/Trek/
Did some training with Trek first trying to use Yoshi, but Yoshi sensed
some pressure and shut down and Trek just wanted to explore the Living
Room which she hasn't been in much. Took a break to think about
it. While Trek likes treats, the one thing she seems to love more
than anything else is a tummy rub. This gives me great
pause. I've never had a corgi who wanted pets and attention more
than anything else. Part of me thinks there's no way this can
last, but then I think that, even though she was treated very well, she
spent 2 years competing for attention with over 25 dogs (not all
running together at once) and spent a fair bit of time in a
crate. This is why Ruff Love works so well. The more
demanding a dog is the less attention they should get and not on
their terms. Some folks have suggested it for Yoshi, but I felt
building his confidence was more important. Though I do spend
time ignoring him.
So Trek and I worked on sit by my guiding her into position, working up
to having her stay for a very short while and then giving a belly run
as a reward. Cheap date. At first I she reminded me of
velcro Weezie but Trek will race away from me if I ask (like to the
Table.) I sort of introduced "down" and I'm going to put her flop
on her side on cue as "roll." (You know it really should be
"flop" now that I think about it.)
She does like treats so we played crate games for a little while
too. I say "crate" she goes in (some hesitation, but I think it
will go away with time and confidence), I throw a treat in. I
then ask her to stay for a very brief while and say ok and she comes
out for another treat. We did this for about 3 or 4 times.
Oh and the rocket launcher "pay attention to me!" jumping up has
already started to fade. It's basically a matter of making it not
pay off (The addage being Dogs do what is reinforcing to dogs. Or more
suscinctly: dogs do what works. She jumps up, just ignore her or
take a step back and when all for feet hit the floor lavish attention
on her. My only regret is that I didn't put it on cue though I do
have her leaping up to hug me when I pat my chest.
Filmed some of their play. Wasn't as enthusiastic as yesterday,
but still occurred.
I had this idea to train in the kitchen with one of them watching from
one of the portable crates. I told Trek crate and she ran out of
the kitchen into the bed room where her crate was. Smart girl,
stupid trainer. Have I taught her that crate means any
crate? Oh no. Der. Anyway did a little more work on
crate (her crate), and now to get floppy flexy otter girl to sit and
not flop over to get her belly rubbed each time. (Awwww.)
Kathy Sdao says that touch inhibits learning but I've had to touch
every dog I've ever trained to get them the idea of sit. Maybe
I'm just being impatient but my dogs don't resist being touched so I'll
just go with it.
Took Yoshi on a walk by himself which got him something out of the funk
that he appears to be in. We saw two dogs, and each time I was
able to kneel near him. The first one he was terrific about and
the second one he barked at (a lot - no idea why). Mysterious as
it's usually the first one he barks at and gets better and better with
the subsequent ones.
Worked more with Trek on "crate" (with her crate) and "sit."
She's actually surprisingly leary of the soft crates (I think it's the
[this got cut off will need to find it somewhere]
Jan 1 2007
A new journey begins and another continues.
Yesterday we brought Trek/Freckles home from Idaho. She's our agility hopeful and intended house (read: Yoshi) manager.
She passed all of my testing (see Dec 2006 entries) that I could dream up. I had a couple of concerns.
- One is would she stand up to Yoshi and it appears as if that's a yes
- it certainly was up there and it continues to be so now.
- Two is that when she walked her back legs seemed so of loosey-goosey
to use the technical term. Kathleen conned one of her vets into
waiting for us while we drove into town and took an X-Ray. I'm no
expert in reading the X-Rays but Kathleen and the Vet were able to help
and from a skeletal perspective things look good. That doesn't
address the soft tissue but I watched her run all over the place and
beyond not being in as good of condition as Yoshi (who has been well
conditioned by squirrels and Cooper) I didn't see any obvious
lameness. Trek also has 5 generations of OFA good hips behind her
which is incredible.
So she was clearly worth the risk (all performance prospects are a
risk), with the agreement that if in a year or two if she wasn't sound
enough for agility that she could either go back to Kathleen's (fat
chance of that happening to this cutie) or I could have another dog for
50%. This is more than fair. I will get her OFA x-rays too.
First thing is that she needs to be spayed as she's about to come into
season again (Yoshi thinks she smells really interesting.)
so I need to call the spay/neuter clinie tomorrow to make an appt.
I realized that I could stack in another crate into the truck cab area
which is a huge relief as while I want another vehicle I don't quite
have it together financially yet. So I've ordered another "small"
(which is the size of a Vari-Kennel medium) Pet Den crate (not my
favorite but it fits in the truck), and a couple of crate pads.
I currently have her in Cali's crate which is a little large (it's a
300/intermediate and most corgis use 200/medium). I was concerned
that it was large enough that she might have room to soil it but that
hasn't been the case yet.
Today she's just getting oriented to the yard and Yoshi. Last
night she was fussing about the crate but today she's fine.
Training wise we started with crate games and the clicker.
I first used Yoshi as a demo dog and sent him into his crate (c/t), had him stay and then called him back (c/t). Did this a few times then put him in his crate with a kong and let Trek out.
Yesterday I had lured her into the crate, today I did once (c/t), and
then let her come back out. She's highly focused on me and
whatever treats I have in my hand so I had to wait a bit for her to
poke her head in the crate (c/t). As soon as she figured out that
going into the crate what what made the treats happen she was quite
willing to go in though was still pretty focused on me (to be
expected). We did about 10 repetitions and quit. When she
was going all the way in to the crate, I started adding the word
I'll take Yoshi out for a walk then I'll take her. For having not
really been on a leash much she does really terrifically.
Took Yoshi on a walk and then later Trek. I stupidly locked
myself out of the house so Yoshi got some extra work while I had to go
over to a neighbor's house to call Jan to bring over her key (Terri's
out of town returning the van to her mom)
Yoshi did surprisingly well on his walk. We may be starting to
turn a corner with him. Still the same routine. One of us
sees the dog and I bend down to his level and put my hand in his collar
and have goodies in the other hand. I talk to him and ask him to
hold it together. If he barks I blow on him and tell him (calmly)
to Leave It. If he holds it together and doesn't bark he gets a
goodie. I can definitely tell that he's for the most part trying.
We saw 2 dogs. the first one he saw first and barked at.
Several repetitions of bark, <blow>, "chill". Bark,
<blow>, "chill" each with decreasing intensity even though the
dog is still passing by. The next dog I saw first (across
the street and had plenty of time to set up for. I kneeled down
with my hand in his collar and said "Let's see if you can hold it
together this time." (treat). He did! I was
surprised. I know he saw the dog and the owner even said hello to
me. Every time he acknowledged the dog (generic brown dog -
medium sized) and didn't bark he got a treat. Good boy.
Now it's Trek's turn. This is her very first time on a leash walk
in suburbia. She was wide eyed mostly with curiousity and
wonder. She met Gary around the corner who was in work boots and
she seemed completely fine with him. She did try to bolt when a
nearby car started up but she doesn't pull hard. I'm not sure if
she can pull her way out of this collar so to be sure I also have a
slip lead on her just in case the collar slips off. She's little
so she doesn't pull, not even like Yoshi does. What's
funny is that on the walk when she would come to the end of the lead
she would stop and I would nearly trip over her. I was going to
work on loose lead walking, but she kinda needs to take in this new
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