Yoshi Training Diary - July 2005

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:


Sat/Sun July 30/31

Spent the weekend competing with Sammy the Cardigan Corgi.  Mostly fun, though way hot in Livermore 90+ degrees.  One one run, tried to handle Sammy with more distance since he sends so well.  Well he sends well but he barks so much that he basically forgets where his feet are and thus levels the jumps.  Fortunately the next run went much better  Yoshi stayed in relatively cool Alameda.

Tried tying a stuffed toy squirrel to a rope and got some interest for about 30 seconds.

Had some success with fetch!  I've switched to using the smaller balls and they fit his mouth better.  The best size is the medium size tennis balls but I rarely see those so I instead use the small ones.  This time I used string cheese and he likes that so much that he'll keep doing it for longer than a minute (I stopped after about 3 minutes or so.)  Techniqud: roll the ball about 3-10 feet.  He goes and gets it and brings it back (we're at least to that point).  At first, I was rewarding him for getting it semi close to me, but then started insisting that he at least try to drop it into my hand.  What's cool is that I could see the wheels turning in his head (something that doesn't always happen).  If he didn't get the ball close enough and no cheese was forthcoming, you could see him think about it a second and then go get the ball again.  Hooray.  I find that if I talked to him too much it would distract him. So I kept my encouragement down to just a little bit.

[later Sun]
I've decided to start taking him to the Novice Dropin Obedience class at Oakland DTC.  The dogs are under more control and he has some of the basic skills that you need for that class.

Today I introduced him to Stand and also worked on a formal Come (and sit in front of me).  Both of those intros worked great (I think I used to use Come quite a while back).  I don't think he'll ever be able to tolerate a judge coming at him with a clipboard (and shoes eeek!) and touching him and him staying still, but you never know.

His sit beside me has gotten rocky so I'll need to work on that.

Had a funny conversation with Nancy about what to do about doggy focused dogs.  Here is a post I made about it:
-----------------------------
I asked Nancy Gyes about dealing with dogs that are way dog focused
knowing that she had to deal with that with Wicked.   She said that
Wicked is fortunately very toy driven so she can work around it but that
she's had to deal with it in other dogs and it's the biggest pain in the
*** as you have to keep finding ways to keep the focus on you and keep
at it.

You have to find the most disgusting smelling, dog appealing things to
put in a bait bag.  Examples she gave are lamb tails (after they've been
docked) and bird wings (feathers and all - not just a chicken wing). 
Ewwwwwgh.  Now that's dedicated.  No wonder she wins.  Though she didn't
say anything about cat poop, though she did say an actual (dead or
alive) squirrel might help. :)

Fortunately my doggie really likes bread sticks so maybe I'll keep
working the bakery angle.  Though I know I can always ratchet it up a bit.
-------------------------------

Fri Jul 29
We're getting a new kitchen floor installed today, so Yosh and Daisey the kitty are with Terri at work and I'm here trying to get some work done here at home (and mostly not succeeding.)

Sun Jul 24
[morning] The delinquents bolster their reputation.  Cooper and Yoshi went to the dog park and had a grand time making pests of themselves.  They have this talent for finding the dog that doesn't want to be herded.  And they wound up getting leashed 3 or so times.  Though there were plenty of other dogs who wanted to play, so we let them stay.  Cooper is showing a new behavior.  If Yoshi starts pushing a more submissive dog around, Cooper will intervene by getting inbetween the two.  This should be welcome by the other dog, but Cooper is barking like crazy (and Yoshi is barking back and not backing off) so the other dog is still not thrilled at getting a front row seat to this corgi game being played out under their nose.  When this happens we intervene.  The only problem is that sometimes the owner of the other dog will try to help by throwing the ball and getting the other dog to run which just makes things worse as then they all take off running.  We'll do some actual training later today when it cools off.

Sat Jul 23
More heeling work.  He's definitely getting it so I started to add the word "heel."  He actually does better when I talk to him and add words.  Almost like he needs the encouragement.

I can't believe that he's really doesn't understand running along with me.  (It's always the simple things that get you).  It didn't even occur to me to teach him even though it was my and Cali's favorite game.  I feel so silly.  I would take him running, but he was always ahead of me.  Hopefully this will be reasonably easy to fix.  I think more walks and less dog park is in his future (though the dog park is far too good at wearing him out and I'd have to go for miles before he got tired.  Actually that's not entirely true, as I noticed he got tired after 2 miles of brisk walking).

I was running around in the back yard encouraging him to be with me.  Wasn't quite working, so I put him on a 6' leash and that worked better though when he's sort of listening he's slow and falls behind me.  Later he was excited about something in a tree so I ran along beside him.  He seemed to like that.  It doesn't seem like it will take long to get him coming along with me, but I'm not sure how to translate this back to sequences of jumps.

I called and left a message with Elizabeth Sores the instructor of Oakland Dog Training's Beginner II class to see if I could squeeze him in for this session.  They started last week, but since we've had the class before, it really isn't a problem to start late, but it more depends on if there's room.

Mark's herding instructor got back to me via email.  She's fine with us tagging along for Cooper's lesson and having one ourselves.  Looks like it won't be next week, but maybe the week or weekend after that.

Fri Jul 22
I've decided that he needs more time to work on focus so I made this his last agility class for a while.  Ironically he did ok.  Did a great teeter, loves the table, fine with tunnels, hesitant but ok with his weaves (I bring them to class).  But he still very much lacks focus and would rather run off to try to herd and play with with Cirque, one of Sharon's Border Collies.  Still not great about sequencing jumps though I can tell if given time he would get it.  But I think his time would be better spent doing more obedience and rally and possibly a herding lesson or more.  I've been hesitant to teach him formal heeling but it's clear that he has no problem working at a distance so it would probably do him good.

Brought out his rawhide stick and he would chew that at class which is a nice change.

[later]
Went to the school yard and intro'd heeling with the clicker.  While walking beside me on leash if he looked up at me I clicked and gave him a treat.  He's getting it.

Thur Jul 21
Went to the school yard to watch the goings on, wouldn't chew his toy so we just watched.
Later switched his bone toy for a compressed rawhide stick which he's loving.

Wed Jul 20
First tried just sitting out on the step but he was being too protective of the house property.  Even reacting to passersby that didn't have dogs.  So we went to Lincoln Park instead.  This was better but he still wouldn't chew his bone toy

Fri Jul 15
I'm sick but I brought him to class just to be there and try to play with his toy which he pretty much ignored.

Wed ?
He still loves his toy but won't chew it much when other dogs are around.
Though we sat on the front step and he did chew his toy for a little while.

Tues ?
Made a toy that he likes.  Took a rope from one of the leashes and threaded it through a rawhide.  He loves it.

Fri Jul 8
Went to class early for a private with Sharon.  She thinks he needs more relationship work and focus/play work.
Sharon asked if he's play with his toy at home.  I said yes, and she suggested taking it on the road - like to parks and the like.





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