Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - January 2007

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

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.)

Jan 16
Trek vet follow up appt with Dr. Applegate about her eye and her loose stools.
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.

Jan 15
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.

Jan 14
Had a planning lesson with Sharon F. today about Trek.  Trek was a little uncomfortable initially in the environment but eventually adjusted.

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 to himself.

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.

Jan 13
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.

Jan 12
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.

Jan 11
[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 without her.

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 little bit.

Cathy is coming over to watch Sopranos.  I need to squeeze in either a Yoshi walk or a gym workout beforehand.

Jan 10
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 settles down.)

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.  Hmmmm.

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.

Jan 9
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.

Jan 8
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 few times).

Jan 7
Herding day for Yoshi.  Trek stayed home and received a visit from Patricia - Terri says she thinks they're in love (understandable).

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 corner.

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 unattended anywhere.

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.

Jan 6
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. :)

Jan 5
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 the wash.

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.

Jan 4
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 hours.

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.

Jan 3
[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 more.
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.

Jan 2
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 ro

[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 "crate."

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 world first.

Go to:

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
Yoshi Training Diary - June 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2006
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Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2006
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