Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2010

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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Sun Jan 31
Maniacal house cleaning for a book club that we're hosting monday.  The dogs are being kind and are staying out of the way.  Fortunately they just leave the room when the vacuum is on.  Other Corgi's attack the vac and their owners actually have to crate their dogs in the car (!!)

Trek walk - uneventful say for meeting Mady's new dog Sky who is part Spitz and thinks Trek is a toy.  Trek doesn't want anything to do with her as long as she thinks this.

Sat Jan 30
Yoshi Herding
He did well with the goats.  He stops when I asked him to and stayed under control.  I did ok too though the footing was iffy and it's tricky to stay on your feet when you have a small herd of little goats swarming around your feet.  (But oh how endearing - they're carefully chosen - the snotty ones get left behind.)

The sheep were another matter.  He wouldn't stop when asked which was supremely irritating.  He did stay at the beginning mostly which was nice but the not stopping was very disappointing after doing so well with the slower goats.

This makes me worry about the L.A. corgi trial which in an AKC PT run on sheep.

It's tempting to wait a bit to see if the trial fills, but that seems like wussing out. It's really an ideal trial as it's corgi only and a lot of well known corgi people will be there to help out and there's a two day practice beforehand which is invaluable.  I spoke to HTrainer3 about whether I should just make him a goat dog and she said that since the upcoming trial in on sheep that we should continue alternating between goats and sheep.  I will send in the entry tomorrow or Monday.  I said I'd go and I should at least try.  This is my dog's chosen sport.  Nevermind that he doesn't care under what circumstances, but I selfishly want the credit for all this hassle. :)

Though "hassle" is a hilarious word in this concept.  Oh poor me I have to go to the beach to do herding on a completely gorgeous day in Pescadero.  We walked further out into the field allegedly to check out what the Advanced goat course entails (there's a bridge that you all have to cross), but it was so lovely that we totally forgot to stop and climbed up on the hill where we could look down on the ranch and the surrounding area.  My, my this would do.  Wonder how many million dollars this place costs?

We then found a place in a sheep pen to just sit down and get used to simply being around sheep without having to do anything since he tends to lose his mind around sheep.  We had a lovely time though he tells me that he now wants to be a Guardian Dog  (He had started alerting to people/dogs approaching HIS pen).  Poor guy.  Herding is one thing but guarding against predators is a whole 'nuther thing.  I need to have a sign that I can point to that says: you have to be at least as tall as this sheep (or more) to be a Guardian Dog.  So he can spend time calmly (on leash) with sheep in the pen.  I think the trigger is when they run, and his enthusiasm makes them run.  Catch-22.

Fri Jan 29
Yoshi walk.  Saw one medium sized reddish fur dog.  He did very well.  The dog went by on the other side of the street (actually we cross ed the street - it was our street and we were nearly done with our walk.  I walked a very short distance down my neighbors walk up side way and feel him a big treat (the kind I hang on to).  He did great as the dog passed by.  We crossed back to my house and two houses down the dog stopped so I let Yoshi get a little bit closer to within two house widths and let the dogs make eye contact.  No reaction beyond just looking.  I think we were at the edge of a reaction so I told him he was a very good boy and retreated by to the house.

Trek's agility class was rained out, so we just went on a walk.  She's similar to Cali in that she will go through puddles but unlike Cali she doesn't appear to seek them out.

Yoshi has herding tomorrow for the first time in weeks.  So we did nails tonight.  Wonder how it's going to go, I don't have the greatest confidence right now and I hope it doesn't show or interfere.

I printed out Yoshi's entry form and need to fill it out.  He's going in PT.  I almost hope it will fill so we can chicken out but that would be the wuss approach.  I do have till March to get it in so there's no rush hopefully.  We're going down regardless so I should stop being a chicken and just go ahead and send it in.

Thu Jan 28
Yoshi walk.  Mostly uneventful.  Couple of times we stopped to eat treats while ignoring a barking dog.  Usually when I do this the barking dog stops.  Worked with Cisco, didn't work with Annie across the street.  I keep thinking I should spend more time with Annie, but haven't done so.  I don't like that she's kept outside, but she does get attention and walks and she was a rescued stray.

Trek walk pretty average.

Wed Jan 27
Yoshi walk.  Two fairly stationary squirrels were on the ground (digging up burried food I think) and I talked to him (Yoshi) and asked him to heel and he walked right by them with out much of a glace - though he did see them.  Wow.  I guess squirrels on the ground don't look anything like those things that face around in the trees.
Saw one dog that we were slightly beind.  We mostly caught up to them, but I kept us behind a little and while he watched carefully he didn't react and was happy to eat treats.

Trek walk - uneventful

[off at avalanche class]
Dog's did well with Terri while I was gone. 
While I was gone Terri had arranged with a coworker to feed them one evening while she was out auditioning for the Ethnic Dance Festival.  This coworker while a dog person, had never met the dogs and I was worried how Yoshi might be with a stranger.  I was describing the dog bite avoidance technique they teach kids when they encounter strange dogs (Yoshi has never, ever bitten a person, but I still worry about a stranger coming over to HIS house).  If you want to crack up an entire carful of people while you're talking on a cell phone, say the words "Be a tree."

Turns out Terri wound up having Jan go over who they know.  I asked her if the dogs were nice to her and they said they invited her in and over for dinner and were very happy to see her.

Thu Jan 21
Leaving for Tahoe for a 4 day avalanche class.  Dogs are stressing because I am.  I have to drive up in a storm.  I'm well prepared but the rushing around is making Trek very uncomfortable.  Fortunately Terri will be here.

Other trainers are making money by teaching running contacts in special seminars.  Since I've been avocating them long before they were ever doing them I don't quite know what to think.  I mean, after all, they teach it to other dogs.  I just teach it to my dogs.  But still.  There's nothing that stops me from doing it too but I'm choosing not to.  What if it doesn't work?  And I really can't be making money off of dog training tempting as it is.

Yoshi just barked at the LR window and came back all on his own.  Maybe we're making progress...

Wed Jan 20
Yoshi Walk uneventful.
Trek walk.  Got to see a parked idling firetruck which was great but as we were leaving the paramedics came (shudda known that was going to happen).  Let her chomp on a large treat to get through it and she did surprisingly well and didn't drag me away (ok a little).

Tue Jan 19
Yoshi Walk.  Break between rain storms.  Starting to get something that's resembling a methodology and that's really encouraging.  Having such a structure helps me think and reduces my tension (and thus his)

2 dog sightings.
We saw a stocky, kinda low slung medium size dark dog across Court St. that a neighbor dog was nice enough to point out to us before we saw them.  That dog was moving slow so we had a long time to ponder what to do.  We sort of did this systematic slow retreating.  I let the dog get until Yoshi was uncomfortable and then we'd back up about a house distance and then eat while the other dog got closer.  Did a couple of these and then I decided to stop tortuuring him and retreat one house width down a side street and eat while the other dog came back into view (chomp chomp, look, blow out cheeks, chomp - I kept the treat in front of him.  Just as the dog retreated, I put a hand on his side and let him look at the dog without the treat.  He watched intently but did not react.  Since he's watching he's not noticing the treat unless it's under his nose.  If he did notice, that would mean he was willing to take his eyes off the dog and I would likely jackpot him.

The second dog was right after we turned the corner on Central.  Boxer in the distance across the street 3 houses down.  I again debate what to do and this time since Central is a wide street, we just hijack someone's driveway and I hold a treat for him to munch on.  This boxer is right on the edge of reacting so I just keep letting him munch on the treat.  It's sort of the opposite of agility where you want fast easy to eat treats.  Here you want slow and hanging on to it really slows things down, and gives you a lot of control and it's simpler that having to carry a squeeze tube of peanut butter or cream cheese.

So the methodology is basically find a way to maintain a distance you're dog is comfortable with and use food and maybe touch and talking to shrink that distance.  Someone watching must have been a little puzzled or fascinated as I was telling Yoshi the steps.  I guess a way to generalize it for Yoshi for the moment is one street width and one or two house widths. and the house widths can be either perpendicular to you or parallel. 

(This needs a diagram.)

Mon Jan 18
Squeezed in a walk at noon when it wasn't raining much.

Saw two different dogs, a yellow lab and a medium size black dog.

Both times I let them "chase" us.
The yellow lab was about 4-5 houses away, we then stopped and let them get closer while he ate a treat that I hung on to.  He kept chomping on the treat (and my fingers) as the dog got closer.  Went they got 3 houses or so we then turned around and walked away and they turned off the street.  Then we turned around and saw the black dog coming at us, we turned around and we walked for a while with me debating when to let him see the dog.  i decided to go down a side street but only went 1/2 a house length (like a house width) and let the dog pass while he ate a treat.  He did it!  Some gutteral chewing sounds, but was ok - except for my fingers - need to get larger treats.  Somehow wound up chasing the lab a little bit, but never got that close but Yoshi is getting to the point where he can routinely see dogs at a distance and be ok.

He does seem to be trusting me more about keeping him a distance from other dogs.  Distance may be the more powerful reward but treats shrink that distance esp relatively continuous ones.  I would like him to have more space between treats to make a decision to choose the treat but it's nice to be able to show him he can be closer.  Decisions decisions.

Hope Trek doesn't get rained out tonight for her walk.

She got her walk and did fine - even stopped to munch treats right at the spot where scary skateboard was yesterday.  She thought it was weird that one of the cars stopped to talk to me for a second (It was Cathy), but she coped fine though it chomping on me more than I care for when eating treats while a little stressed.

Sun Jan 17
Dogs were tragically ignored so we could build a step for them to make it easier for them to get up and (probably more importantly) off of the new bed.  They sulked, but eventually approved, and had little to no trouble adjusting to the new step.

Photos here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2044349&l=7f16396b00&id=1013097814

Sat Jan 16
Yoshi walk.
Two changes in tactics - for the better I think.
One is to have a larger dry treat and have him nibble on it when he's in an edge of threshold situation.  The other is to maximize our use of Central Ave. by going up and then turning around and back down.  Central is a wide street and now that just turning around and walking away works I don't feel penned in even if there are serveral cars on it and can't race across the street.  If we get penned by dogs coming from each side on the same block (rare) I can always pick him up and walk into the street on the other side of parked cars, but still not in traffic (there's a bike lane to give me some space.)  Eventually I'm hoping I can just use a driveway but that's still pretty close, and we are masters at turning around and going down a side street far enough away to let the dog pass (usually 2+ house widths).

So today we rounded the corner of Court and Central and saw two dogs getting out of their car.  They were just over 2 houses away.  We stopped first at the corner and then worked a little closer to 2 house widths away.  Yoshi is keep an eye on things but holding it together as I offer a larger treat for him to munch on and other other dogs (one small one medium) are just standing there watching back.  They then go into their house/yard and then they start barking (dogs are so funny sometimes).  Yoshi is happy to keep eating his treat and after things calm down we continue down the Central - of course the dogs bark when we pass by but no worries.

Then when we turned around on Central and headed back and pretty much on the block with the two dogs another dog and his people came out of his house  on a walk.  They're not going that fast so we turned around again.  We're about 4 houses ahead and while Yoshi is doing a mild "it's a monster" over the shoulder swivel head he's doing ok, so we slow down to get them closer.  They follow at a 2-3 house distance before turning.  Yoshi did great and I'm very happy about that.

I'm still experimenting with whether touch helps calm Yoshi - current answer is "some."  I have two competing different bits of data on this.  One is Patricia McConnell's photos in For the Love of a Dog that shows a slightly horrified, whale eyed, lab being hugged by a deliriously happy young girl, and there's Temple Grandon's data that shows that cattle being squeezed in a wooden contraption designed to hold them while getting medical attention do settle down.  A hand firmly on Yoshi's side does seem to make a difference but when he's freaking out he's struggling to get free so it's probably more effective at keeping him from hitting the panic button same with picking him up which, unlike a lot of dogs, he does like.

Trek walk.
Went down High Street (the busier one) and she was doing ok, but there was a teenager and a scary skateboard near the small store at High and Santa Clara.  She coped and didn't freak, but really wanted to get away so I let us go down Santa Clara instead of going further down High street like we usually do.  She recovered in a block or so. She gets much calmer as soon as 1/4 block away as the noise drops off considerably.

Fri Jan 15
Trek Agility class
Well I was going to be talking with Rachelle about getting Trek into a more advanced class but she wasn't running well at all and now I don't know.  She's leary of the table since last week she tried to jump up on a 20" table and wacked herself in the gut when she was too low.  Now she doesn't want to go on it even when it's set low.

Then she hurt her front left foot after one very nice run and wouldn't run anymore.  The surface at Sharon's is dirt and when it rains it can get really so-so.  It's either that or jumping down off our new bed - there is a step and the dogs don't always think to use it going down.  So I crated her in the car to let her rest and just watched the rest of class - ran Missle once, which is always fun.

So we'll keep Trek at this level for the moment (one class cycle probably) and then I'll decide.  Rachelle tells me that we are running Sharon's courses already and that this is her most advanced class for now.  I think we'll keep going to the PP class as much as we can.  Can't do it next week (that's the BiFriendly meeting day), but can the week after.  Looks like they're going to get rained out next week anyway.  One possibility is to switch Trek to being a Friday drop-in or ask if when Trek comes could I pay for two classes in a row and get more mileage that way.

Mon Jan 13
Yoshi Walk.- using a clicker.  I need to find the louder box clicker (I usually use the easier to use iClick).  If something gets his attention (no dogs this time but there was a woman walking fast right behind him which was making him a bit of a swivel head) one click doesn't always work, two usually does, but sometimes it will even take 3.  Clicking more than once is usually considered a mistake, but this is my experiment and I want to see if multiple clicks make a difference or if he just tunes them out (he's not tuning them out right now.)

I'm wondering if the louder clicker will make a difference.  Certainly the clicker gets a faster response than a "yes" when he's under stress. 

I also want to have a clicker and a treat dispenser combined into one unit.  Have to think about that.

Tue Jan 12
Finally separated out the past few months of this diary into their separate pages.  Despite working out a pretty safe methadology, it's still pretty risky as it's easy to overwrite something and wipe out a month or more of writing.  I need to start doing ftp downloads which is a bit ironic since I backup to the web site also.

Noon Yoshi Walk.  No dogs, but all sorts of people including a man with a rake right beside him - he all took it in stride, even in the first 1/2 mile where he's often a little strange.  The only thing he reacted to was a man moving the garbage carts right beisde him - can't say I blame him.

Trek's Power Paws agility class was cancelled due to weather.  Bummer, I was looking forward to it.
Instead she and I went on a longer walk and I deliberately went down an extra block of High Street.  I was going to do another block but there some kids piling out of cars down the block (with no bouncing balls) and I wanted to see how she'd do.  While this wasn't her preferred activity, she wasn't trying to drag me down the street to get away and would instead sit and eat treats which is a marked change.  She's come so far in the 3 years we've had her after spending 2 years in her own Private Idaho (Yes, it's even more fun to say that when it's actually true).

The real test came when we were near the school.  In the far corner of the playground were people, a dog barking and A Bouncing Ball - fortunatley not constant.  fortunately we were nearly a block away from them since we were on the other side of the playground so we stopped and ate treats and started back towards the house but seeing that she seemed pretty relaxed I turned around and went a little closer.  She wasn't happy about it but would eat treats without chomping on me and after a minute of so we turned around and then she wanted to run home.  I stopped her every so often to eat and she obliged.  Such a Corgi.

the Turlock trial premium for Feb is out and I probably shouldn't delay in getting it in.  Turlock is in the Central Valley and can get quite cold in the winter (for Calif - and esp for sleeping in a van like vehicle) so instead of camping I'm thinking hotel - how luxurious.

Just got email that Grisha Stewart is coming to the Bay Area (or course when I'm gone - ah well - someone else will go)  This is just me passing the word to CU_Dogs_SF.

Greetings Bay Area Control Unleashed folks,

This just in - short notice.

Grisha Stewart is a dog trainer in Seattle who has come up with a
methodology that she calls BAT (Behavioral Adjustment Training) which is
a less stressful variation of Jesus Rosales-Ruiz's CAT (Constructive
Aggression Treatment).

The page where she demonstrates it is here:

and it looks very intriguing.  Unfortunately, I'm not seeing it on the
Marin Humane Society web site so maybe someone from there can fill us in.

It would be interesting for us all to work out a way to effectively
combine CU and BAT principles.  I'm hoping to hear more about this as I
will be out of town learning how to evaluate [snow] avalanches (no dogs

and CU Corgi Yoshi
Training Diary: http://frap.org/Yoshi/yoshi_training_diary.html
(which someone tells me they're working on how to get it on their Kindle - eek)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:     [functionalrewards] Bay Area seminar Correct date: Jan 23
Date:     Wed, 13 Jan 2010 04:37:16 -0000
From:     ahimsadog <grisha@doggiezen.com>
Reply-To:     functionalrewards@yahoogroups.com

Bay area folks -

I just scheduled a 90-minute seminar for next week on BAT for fear and
aggression with the Marin Humane Society. It will fit (time-wise) with
another seminar that weekend in Novato, CA with Trish King and Veronica
Boutelle.  It's the same topic as the seminar I just finished in
Seattle. The description of that is at
http://ahimsadogtraining.com/class/bat.php (But that's NOT the
registration. More info on that later).

Exact address for the seminar:
Marin Humane Society
171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd.
Novato, California 94949

I'll have registration details soon, but I wanted to let you know about
this so you could save the date. It's a week from Saturday, on January
23rd, 6-7:30.

Only good things,
Grisha Stewart, M.A., CPDT, CTP
Ahimsa Dog Training
902 NW 49th Street, Seattle, WA 98107
Phone: 206-364-4072 Fax: 206-524-6039

Follow us on Twitter: @doggiezen

Mon Jan 11
I was totally set on Yoshi going as far as he could in herding, but the levels beyond Started seem so much harder and you don't get to participate in the process nearly so much as the handler is more and more required to stay stationary, and I'm growing fond of the Let's go on a Journey / Over the River and Through the Woods aspect of beginner herding.  Maybe this will change as we get more involved, but right now I'm not really in a hurry to get out of the test level - even if I find PT maddening with all of the fence work.  We'll keep working on Started, but I think now that the premium is already out for the S. Calif Corgi herding trial that we'll definitely do PT.

There's also going to be an AHBA trial at Pescadero and there will be an Herding Ranch Dog (HRD) Goats which looks fun (and HRD is totally Let's Go on a Tour of the Ranch)  but it's above our skill level right now.  He's only been on goats once and would need a lot more practice.

It really kinda doesn't matter beyond keeping us motivated to work and keep training.  He's happy that he gets to work stock.  I'm happy that he's learning more self control (Like Stop and Stay - which is actually pretty miraculous to watch.)

Yoshi walk
During which he demonstrated a really bad lack of control.  Two pedestrians, who he's seen a couple of days before, were walking down the opposite side of Santa Clara and he was sitting on the corner.  I had just fed him a treat and was thinking about feeding him another one when something about them talking excitedly or something that looked wrong to him, (no pith helmets however) made him break and start to charge across the street.  I yanked him back and gave him a pretty hard scruff shake and a lecture.

Then we crossed the street and he was fine.  Didn't seem stressed at all which is totally different that when he's seen a dog and I get on his case.  So does what I do simply not matter?  Is he going to feel the way he does regardless of reprimand?  Reprimand (or retreat) ends the behavior, but i don't know if it has any effect on his attitude.  What would have happened if a properly timed click had sounded?  That might have interrupted the behavior as well.  And clicks seem to get through his brain faster that words which i can totally see fall into "I can't hear you." sometimes. 

I may have to try the louder clicker as the iClick may no be loud enough.  But I don't know as in my clicker video showing how we play Look At That, I have a point where he's not responding to the click and backing up is the solution as he was over threshold (past the point to where he could respond appropriately.)  Personally I think two people walking down the opposite side of a wide street should be ok, but something may have hit him weird, but it's still not ok and he needs to know that.

Dogs didn't get much of a weekend beside harrassing Terri when i was out hiking and then sulking while we built a new IKEA bed.

Fri Jan 8
Bummer, HTrainer2 is booked for herding on Sunday.

Yoshi Walk.
A couple of years back I had posted on the main CU_Dogs list about doing a slow walk and how it seemed to help some with Yoshi's stress level.  Because I use walks for exercise I really don't do this much, but this time I took a cell phone call from Terri.  We had stopped 1/2 a block from Central and while I was talking 2 dogs went by plus a group of walking people.  Yoshi watched carefully, but didn't react beyond boofing (the sound dog's make when exhaling sharply enough to inflate their cheeks - a loud sigh.)

Now I set out on this walk with treats and with the idea that the strongest reinforcer I have is the ability to create distance.  It's not always easy to do that on Alameda streets, but it's often possible and in a pinch I can create artificial distance by covering his eyes or picking him up.  For whatever reason, knowing that distance is so effective, really helps me to relax and not worry about dogs appearing.  It's possible that the only operative thing was the good distance from the other dogs, but as we walked if he started to get jacked up (about nothing in particular) then just stopping and not doing anything seemed to relax him and them he started to look to me for a treat.  So having the occasional meditative walk, might be helpful.

One funny exchange was that three women were walking behind us and since we were going slower this time they were catching up.  We stopped in a driveway to let them pass and I didn't ask Yoshi to do anything but rewarded him for attention and sit.  Right as they were passing he jumped up on my leg for a treat which I gave him as this is a behavior that I really do want him to do.  The women were amused at his interest in the treats and I said "My best friend." (because he was my best friend as long as I had treats.).  They laughed and one of them said "Sometimes that's the best thing there is."

As we got back to the house, there was a Tibetian Terrier sized dog across the street.  Yoshi hadn't seen the dog and I debated what to do while we hid behind my rosemary shrub (that dog was pausing too poop).  I wanted to end the walk on a good note but didn't want to pass up a training opportunity.  So after some internal debate I carried Yoshi back down the driveway further away from the dog.  He saw the dog and vibrated a little but he relaxed the further away we moved.  I then turned around and let him see the dog at that distance.  Again some very low level growling and muttering but no outburst.  As the dog started to move on, I walked him a bit closer to the sidewalk and then turned back around and went inside.  Just a little dancing on the threshold edge.  Good thing he likes to be picked up.  The nice thing about holding him is that I instantly know his stress level.

Trek has agility class tonight at our usual place (Freilance Dog Sports).  Should be fun and interesting to see how she does on dirt after a couple of times on grass.

[Later] It went fine with the big exception that we ran a course with a 20" table and she jumped too low and kinda centerpunched herself (corner hit her tummy) and knocked the wind out some.  She's a bit worried about that table.

Thu Jan 7
Yoshi walk.  One dog and it was perfect once we finally caught up to them.  Slower moving dog w/senior person (they were way ahead of us).  When we caught up we stayed across the street and ambled along (they never really saw us I think).  Yoshi kept a careful eye on the dog but never reacted, while not calm, he wasn't a basket case either.  It helps that we stayed across the street and a house width down.  We haven't been doing much of follow that dog recently as that's when he's at his best but he's not really relaxed when we're following - he's just not being an idiot.  I want him to relax more in the presence of other dogs and sheep.

Asking HTrainer2 if we can come say hello on Sunday to work on outruns and walk up.  I'm also hoping we can just walk in a field with sheep without working them - just to commune with the sheep.

Trek walk.  A fire truck went down Johnson (one block away as we were leaving.)  Not a major emergency so we went on our walk.  I later asked if she wanted to walk down Johnson.  Got about 1/2 a house before getting stressed by the noise, so we called it a victory and turned around.  The truck was about 5 houses down.

The worked on right turns with throwing a toy.  Then worked in throwing a toy over a jump.

Pulled out a different rabbit fur toy and played a brief fun game of tug with Yoshi.  Key for him is to not tug hard and keep the toy in the game.

I want to have a big agillity goal for my dog Trek, but I fear pushing her too much (though she doesn't exactly know this she just knows if I'm stressed).  A reasonable goal is to be in Master's by the end of the year.  I'd also like to be in AKC Excellent, but I have to actually enter a trial for that.  She can do it without blowing through a ton of money so I should plan on starting that - after ski season.  first order of business is to actually get a PI title - she lacks 2 standard legs.  Be nice to do that before we wind up in Master's Gamblers (The Wastonian Curse).

Need to enter the VAST USDAA trial in Turlock for Feb 13-14 - not under a cover - hooray.  The premium isn't on their website (http://govast.org) yet.  It's only 5 weeks away, so that's worrisome.

Wed Jan 6
Corrected several typos from last entry - hazards of posting late at night.

Yoshi walk.  Right out the door he's stressing about people walking by and the mail carrier coming on HIS property.  Pulling on the leash and way up on his toes.  Pulling back on the leash was getting no where are he was just absent so out of frustration I gave him a leash pop.  Now doing that gives me compliance but does not relax him.  Sometimes it does function as a reset button but not usually.  Trek was barking at something (she was in the house) so I took the opportunity to turn around and go see (there was a squirrel in the tree that she could see from the house.)

Walking back out to the side walk he's still stressed and amped and I wanted to see if there was a different way to calm him down.  I just kneeled down and fed him and petted him which took the edge off, but actually the most effective thing was to actually do the walk and get some exercise,  Usually after about 1/4 to a 1/2 mile he settles down.  I'm reading about Corgi's that get 2 45 min walks a day.  Yeesh that's over 4 miles.  My dogs walk 1 mile a day briskly. I suppose I could try to walk him again but time is short as it is since I walk them separately.

Yoshi actually didn't see any dogs.  On the contrary Trek who was walked right after, saw 3 dogs including one sitting on his driveway carefully (but nicely) watching us walk by.  Yoshi and I would have had to cross the street.

I need to go back to a place with good lateral retreat distance where we can watch dogs walking on leash.  Watching dogs at the dog park running and having fun seems like it's asking a lot though I guess I can take him by the small dog park where they're not usually running much.  Though the big dog park is right there.  The problem is that inside the park the lateral retreat distance isn't that great, but he can then feel more a part of the action - don't know if that's good or back.  Wonder if there's a way to run with him in the park so he gets exercise and also has to work on his focus.  It may be asking too much but he has surprised me before.

Still pondering what our Agility goals should be.  Yoshi's herding goals shifted right when I heard the premium was out.  Eek, PT sounds lovely this time of year.  We'll keep working on Started but we haven't done any work with lighter sheep and we're going to need to do a lot of that.

I have another idea for a CU gathering.  A Relaxation Party, but one with planned SECs.  Have a small number of dogs relaxing on mats with their people.  Then have another dog/handler appear moving very slowly pausing occasionally with the goal of them joining the party with their mat.  Then after a bit a different d/h leaves and a bit later a completely different d/h comes in, and just keep cycling through.  The one that leaves can go get a refill on their drink or munchies.  I'm envisioning this happening in a backyard that is somewhat sheltered, but allows for comings and goings.  Ideal group size maybe 5-6?  3-4 relaxing and 1 or 2 up.

Tue Jan 5
I may be the last one to know this but Cleanrun Course Designer is now available on the Mac!  I'm playing with a demo version and it's dead easy to use and I'm definitely going to buy it.

Trek. Power Paws class.
I was 10 minutes late due to work distractions, but still got a fair bit out of it.

Here's a portion of the course obstacle arrangement (completely vague, half-hearted recall - no accuracy is intended) that I'd like to talk about as it shows some things she does well and other she doesn't.

I didn't number things as we did several courses with this arrangement. 

The first issue is that she like several dogs has trouble weaving into a wall which in this case was a hedge.  She stops or pops pretty much in the position that I've indicated - sometimes on the other side.  I think this is a mileage issue as I'm pretty good about keeping my shoulders turned in and not anticipating the next obstacle (which is really hard to do.

One thing she did very well right at the beginning is that we needed to do the jumps on the left side of the diagram in a serpentine right past that tunnel opening and she aced it.  Jim empasized that being ahead of your dog will ensure that they won't take the tunnel.  Debbie and I both said "Don't look at the tunnel" (instead look at the next obstacle) and I think that's important too.  Pay no attention to the Giant Elephant - it's not there - just yet.

Much comedy ensued attempting this and I had a dog zooming through the tunnel in every which way, which earned me the "Use the dog's name" to position the dog before telling them the obstacle lecture (aim before firing.)

I'm still kinda dazzled by being back at Power Paws that I tend to lose concentration at critical points, or Jim makes some horrible pun which reminds me how much I miss him.  I hope I don't have to choose between Trek's classes anytime soon as I like both settings a lot, but this class is able to cover a lot more material in the same amount of time, because the skill level is higher.

This diagram shows what should have happened.  Everything else happened instead, first entered the tunnel on the right side then back through the other way which nicely reset us to do it correctly.  Idealy the handler hangs back and sends the dog over the jump and moves to the end of the right hand side of the tunnel while calling the dog into the tunnel.  It looked very smooth - for other dogs.

They also worked on a semi-hard gamble which we don't have the skills for though I like that I can send her out 20 feet and stay reasonably lateral, but we haven't working on right and left on a large scale yet and this gamble required this.  Actually no one got that gamble but they came much closer.

I have to plan out the agility year for Trek.  It's hard because USDAA nationals are going to be on the East Coast this year, so that may not happen.  Perhaps AKC or CPE. but my heart is with USDAA really.  Right now we need mileage and that's more easily attained with USDAA or CPE (especially CPE).

Mon Jan 4
Uneventful dog walks, but I had time during them to ponder whether food or distance is the more primary reinforcer.  The operate in such different ways.  But food is much shorter term as it only take a second to eat a treat unless we're talking peanut butter or cream cheese.  Distance lasts much longer and the trigger lessens.  Don't know.

Sun Jan 3
Still a bit under the weather so a pretty low key day, but very instructive dog-wise.
Yoshi walk in the evening (they both were).  I always assume he can see better than me but I nearly walked us into a pair of dogs on a walk and I saw them first   They were in the shadows and had just crossed Gibbons moving along Central.  We were within a house width, when I saw then and turned around and headed back. Yoshi realizing what is going on is doing some of his "Monster!" over the shoulder look, but he's not really stressing much - just keeping an eye on things which is way different than he used to be.  We round the corner and we go down a house length and wait for the dogs to appear.  I am armed with a penny jar though I do have a treat too but worry about dropping the glass jar.  He sees the dogs, exhales, and looks back at me!  I give him a treat and we head off.  A nice surprise and he's much less stressed if I work to maintain distance and he realizes that's what I'm doing.  this is similar to BAT (mostly by accident.)

Trek walk.  Ordinary, until we get up to the house across from the school that has the incredible bouncing dog whose head appears over a 6' fence.  The dog wasn't around but their kids were having a party.  Lots of kids voices and metal on metal sounds.  We're across the street and I stop to feed Trek,  she's wary but eating and essentially ok.  Then suddenly she tries to leave the scene.  I try to feed her and she chomps on me I say "ouch" and she then stares off into the distance not even trying for the treat anymore.  I try to get her to take it nicely but I have a piranha who then stares off far away.  I stop to note what's changed.  A basketball is bouncing.  Time to punt (sorry for the mixed metaphor).  I pick her up and she's shaking though gets better as I hold her and walk away from the sound.  Across the street and 1/4 of the way down the block she's ok and can walk without dragging me.

So it appears that ball bouncing is much more stressful than children's voices or metal on metal.  It's the percussiveness, but for whatever reasons fireworks or thunder (our milder and rare thunder) don't bother her.  The cool thing is that a ball bounce is easy to recreate, but it's going to take some time to come up with a distance and I'm going to need Terri's help.

Sat Jan 2
Thread on Perf Corgis about what contacts to use that I contributed to:

Running Contacts!

People probably get tired of me saying this, but 2 on 2 off is a hack. 
A necessary one for many big dogs, but still a hack.

I'm with Roger Coor (Moso the Pap's Dad), who says few (he says "no," I
say "few") small dogs should stop on a contact (save for the teeter) as
it's too much time to give up.  I have video of Cali beating a faster
Corgi when I switched her to running contacts.

Both Trek and Yoshi have been taught running contacts from the beginning.

Some people use hoops and stride regulators.  I use a clicker or a
marker word (yes!) for when they hit the contact (and I can take the
marker word into the ring).  Bonnie (who I hope chimes in) figured out
that if you keep the A-Frame low for an extended period of time then the
muscle memory of not leaping off early sets in.  This must have happened
inadvertently for Trek as she's missed only one contact in her life.

Found a small jar and made a penny shaker out of it.  It's small enough that maybe it won't clatter on walks.

Fri Jan 1
Happy New Year.
Uneventual dog walks.

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