Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - July 2007

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:



Tue Jul 31
Over time I've been watching how rough Yoshi and Trek play and it's crystal clear that the incident with the Border Collie puppy at Debbie Pollard's was him playing.  He meant the puppy no harm, but he was playing too rough, and I should have stopped it completely instead of stopping it and then let him try again.  Debbie thought he meant to hurt the puppy, but that's just dead wrong, and I wish I knew as much about dog behavior as I do now as I could explain it better.  He never bit down, but kept his mouth open, and was pausing.  He was starting to treat the puppy like a toy and that's where things could have gone very wrong, but things were ok at that point, though the puppy was getting worried.  Debbie and others were fooled by the horrible growly noises he makes.  I've been video taping some of Trek and Yoshi's wrestling and it sounds like they are about to rip each other apart, but it you watch you can tell they are having a great time.  I wish I could make Debbie understand that.

She even hinted at it saying by his sweet disposition you'd never know "that" was there.  That's because it wasn't there.  He's no angel, but he didn't want to hurt that puppy.  I absolutely know this.

I still galls me that I felt the best thing to do was admit they were right and apologize (it was politic).  Now I wish I could have the conversation over again.

[afternoon]
Mentally chewing on the above made me think that the best revenge is getting him to herd well.  So I'm rethinking giving Tenderfoot time off till the end of summer.

A letter to my herding instructor: Joyce Shephard:

Hi Joyce,

I've been thinking that I do want to try to explore other ways we can get Mr. Gonzo out on sheep without shredding his paws.  Other alternatives I've come up with are booties or Musher's Secret.  In that light, I've ordered some Musher's Secret (puts a layer of wax on the paws) and when it comes in I'd like to bring the maniac up again as his feet have healed from his most recent paw mishap.

You don't happen to have a pen that's in between the sizes of the Round pen and the PT pen do you?  Something that would serve as a stepping stone to the PT ring?  Maybe I should just go in with sheep treats so they stay with me as if they don't run, he doesn't either.

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi the sheep crazed corgi


Sun Jul 29
Took Yoshi on a walk to look for dogs.  Wish granted.  As soon as we hit the side way I spied a SFWD (Small Fluffy White Dog) a few houses down approaching on the side walk.  We spun around and headed in the other direction before he could clue in to what  was going on  Though he suspected something, especially because we would stop and sit every so often (still with his back to the dog) to let them catch up (about 100' away) and then continue on.  He would nervously look over his shoulder every so often, but he was doing everything I asked.  I was thrilled.  This is exactly what I was hoping to accomplish.  Finding a way for him to be willing to work with another strange dog around.  While he really couldn't see that the dog was approaching, he could plainly smell the dog.

When we got to the streetcorner we turned left and we walked abain about 100' (two house widths in this area), and I had him sit while looked to see what the other dog and person were going to do.  Sure enough it looked like they were going to cross the street and continue on in a straight line.  I then repositioned Yoshi so he was facing the street and could see the street corner (but has not yet seen the dog).  I tell him to sit and stay and wait at the ready.  He sees the dog and instantly breaks the stay growling and wanting to lunge and charge, but I immediately (I think calmly) tell him to sit and stay and physically put him back in the stay.  He breaks and we do it again.  I'm close to him so he can't move around a lot.  I encourage him to hold it together and stay and again you can see him trying to control himself..  Then the dog disappeared from view and he gradually calmed down.

Clearly we need to do a lot more of this type of work.  Rachelle would say that we need to be further away, but for him not to react to a dog approachine is a huge distance almost to the point that he can't see the dog and there's no training then.

Sat Jul 28
Happy Birthday to the Prozac Kids!
  Today Yoshi and his sibs are 4 years old.

Today Cooper and Mark came over and we worked on stage two of the Cooper and Yoshi relationship rehab.  Once again the first thing we did is that we all went for a walk and Trek and Terri joined us.  This provided the complication that I was looking for.  When Trek was near by, Yoshi would start giving Cooper the hard stare "hairy eyeball" (where'd that term come from anyway?) look and I'd redirect his attention with the Gentle Leader.

The only emotional meltdown we had was when a small fluffy white dog (TM) came out of a house with his or her owner about two houses away from the street corner we were sitting on.  Yoshi was struggling with me fiercely to lunge after that dog.  I was holding him by the scruff with his front feet off the ground and firmly and calmly telling him to "leave it"and "hold it together I know you can do it" (I think I say this for my and others benefit, not necessarily his though he seems to sort of get the intention behind the words) and putting him back in the sit he was in and telling him to stay and asking for attention (and repeat the whole mantra a few times.)  I can seem him battling with huge impulses.  It's like a demon that possesses him and the demon leaves as soon as the strange dog walks away.

I've written about this before, but it still is something that's only just now really sinking in with me.  He wants to be told what to do.  He wants to know that someone else is in control and making the decisions (Mark calls him "Private Yoshi").  And he needs to continue to learn to trust me even when he's stressed.  His corgi pack taught him to be vigilent and suspicious of outsiders (typical dog pack)  As he gets older it seems like he thinks he needs to be more vigilant and since he's not really very brave, he resorts to bullying instead of the quiet assertiveness of an alpha dog (which he's not).

After we got back from the walk we had Yoshi and Cooper out in the backyard.  First I had Yoshi on his Gentle Leader (and leash).  Then I switched him to a muzzle and then put a long line on him and let him and Cooper interact.  While it was generally a positive experience, Cooper really seemed worried about the muzzle and didn't seem to realize that with it on Yoshi, he was safe, and not that Yoshi had a new secret weapon.  We then crated all three dogs in the living room where they could see each other and make rude paw gestures to each other and then went to dinner.

Yoshi still growls at Cooper when he's near Trek, but Mark seems to think it's quite manageable especially with all of the tools we have (Gentle Leader, Muzzle, Long Line, ...) to cope with the sitation.  This is reassuring as they are going to spend nearly a week together when Terri and I go to Mt. Whitney, and I want it to be a good experience for all.

Fri Jul 27
A very doggy day.
First Yoshi went to Lori Drouin's monthly obedience class that she holds at ODTC.  It was a pretty stressful environment for him as one of the Basenji's there was fusing in her crate when her owner was working the other dog which put several of the dogs on edge including him, also Bailey a sweet but noisey breathing Bulldog, and a husky he thought was weird, and a young, spastic laborador.  He had several lunge attempts but I caught him each time, and we managed to work through it even tough he was stressed (I would give him a break from it several times.)

They were practicing 360 rights and lefts and Yoshi does really well at these.  Does good fronts, ok finishes, downs at heel.  On sits and downs he mostly held it together even with other dogs coming in.  Wanting him to succeed, I stayed beside him and when a dog was about to enter, put my hand on his back.  There was one time when he oh so wanted to leap up but I keep holding him in place and telling him to hold it togeter.

Then later in the day Trek had agility class and Yoshi went along for the ride.  Trek did excellent, aceing her first run entirely (pinwheel jumps to a set of weave poles.While the chute wasn't on the course I did set it up and worked with it in between runs. I shortened the fabric area so it was more a ring of fabric.  She initially didn't want to cross it then decided it was worth the treat to risk it.  Then it took maybe 3 more times and she was offering to go through it herself (still shortened.)

I did keep my resolve not to crowd her on tunnels and now she is readily going through them though she prefers contact obstales over tunnels (Cali did too.)

I still should work her more on weave pole entrances as she doesn't nail it each time.

What is remarkable is that she was able to do the class at all as in the morning she got into a zipped up training bag and ate 2 training sessions woth of treats, the little cur.  When I got out of the shower my first clue that something was up is that she looked particularly proud of herself but I though I was imagining things until I saw that she had stolen a scent article and stashed it in her crate.  I told her that this means that she's asking to be taught obedience through the utility level.   However beyong pooping a lot she seems to be fine.

Yoshi watched part of the next agility class and he did very well which I find quite encouraging.  Rachelle said that he was a good boy.  He seems much less stressed in the agility area than in the small ODTC training facility.  The distance that he can tolerate another dog passing has shrunk. It used to be about 130 feet and now it's more like 100 or even less where he's not reative and willing to give me attention for treat rewards.  I think he's trusting me more unles a dog is coming at us.  It appears that dogs approaching even obliquely are a huge trigger for him.  Once they've passed he doesn't seem at all worried about them.

This also applies to any space he's been in for longer than 5 minutes.  He then owns the space and new comers are instantly suspicious and he has to meet  or at least get used to every one of them.  Why do I only realize now that this makes him just about the worst candidate for an enclosed dog park.  He's almost guaranteed to never get truely comfortable with dogs coming and going.  ODTC I can see him getting used to, and agility trial is a very remote possibility, but a dog park seems beyond the pale.

Wed Jul 25
Trek wanted to work some, and given that tunnels and chutes seem to be something of an issue I got out what's left of the tattered kid's tunnel and an old towel (to give the feel of a chute).  The tunnel is starting to separate from the metal rings so it hangs a little which is perfect to get doggy used to going through fabric.

What a pro - she made it clear that as long as she was in her own back yard that she had to problem with any silly tunnel even when there was fabric hanging off the end.  I could send her through it standing 6-8 fet away and even stand perpendicular to it and say go tunnel.  She loves it and once she gets used to varying tunnels she's going to be fantastic at them.  The chute, rather than buy another fabric I should just rent the field and get her use to the ones there.

She's also learning left and right and though not up to Yoshi's sill level yet, she's just now starting to get it.

Yoshi has his lasttt Rally class tonight.  Should be fun.

Mon Jul 23
Tested the irrigation system in the back and Trek was dashing through it and even got Yoshi to do the same.  now the back is mostly dirt as I've let the grass go to seed and it's pretty sparse right now hence the dirt and it's quite dusty.  Once the sprinklers were on it became a doggy mudfest and Trek would throw herself into the puddles which was hilarious (should have taken photos), but earned her a bath.

It's occurring to me that Trek has never seen the ocean.  Trek loves the water so much that it's imperative that she go to Fort Funston to see the ocean and play in the waves at low tide  There actually aren't a lot of places that a dog can go swim in the water around here.  Point Isabel dog park is one.  Fort Funston another.  there's one in the hills around Stanford.  Lots of privately held ponds, some go out to the boat lauch on Alameda's Northside (Grand St.) .  And the best absolute best is Lake Del Valle

Yoshi's pads still seem a little tender, so I wrote Joyce asking if I should wait until the ground softens up again.  she agreed and said that the ground starts to soften around October whether or not it is raining.  I told her that we'd see her in October, unless he drove me crazy which would make it sooner.

Did Trek's nails at noon.I've mentioned this before but I really think I should do movie clips showing how to do corgi nails since the best site on dog nails features Dobermans, so of course they don't get into ways that you can hold you dog.  The problem is that I'm not very timely about doing my dog's nails so they are hence chronically longer than they should be.  I suppose I could freely admit that: "these nails are too long but this is still how to do it."  I could show various positions that you can hold your dog e.g. you sitting on the floor dog on their back between your legs. Sitting on the floor with dog leaning their back on you (almost vertical but still essentially on their back). sitting on floor, dog on side on the floor, one of your legs over the dog's shoulder and the over their midsection (this is Debbie Oliver's style).  Dog standing up like a horse and feet help like their being shoed.  Dog standing up on a grooming tabke

Sun Jul 22
Worked on moving part of the irrigation system from the front yard to the backyard.  The dogs sort of helped and they really like it when the sprinklers work more like fresh water dispensers instead of real sprinklers.

Sat Jul 21
Terri's friend Rick came over to rehease some music for a performance that they're doing tomorrow (they're in a contra dance band that plays mostly Irish jigs and reels).  I was in the bathroom when Rick came in and I was idly wondering how Yoshi would be with a relatively unknown male human walking in (they've met one or two a while back).  Suddenly I hear intense barking and Terri's voice sounding exasperated.  When I got up there she was holding Yoshi saying "He went after Rick"  Incredulous I asked the oh so articulate "Really?"  She then took a breath and said "Well it was more charging, snarling, and barking (i.e. no biting, no contact)."  I took Yoshi and asked Terri to go get some treats fot Rick to give Yoshi.  While holding Yoshi I then shook Rick's had and was talking with him and Yoshi relaxed some.  When the treats cam he completely forgot that Rick was supposed to be a threat and enthusiastically started eating treats from his hands.

After some debriefing it appears that Yoshi was fine until (ahem) the-face-that-launched-1000-ships Trek walked into the room.  Trek is such a huge trigger for him.  I didn't want to deal wirh worrying about them as I had yard work to do so we crated both of them in the living room so the could hear the music.

Fri Jul 20
California newcomer Trek felt her first real earthquake this morning at 4:45am.  It was a 4.2 that shook the house for about 4 seconds (http://quake.wr.usgs.gov/recenteqs/Quakes/nc40199209.html) and the epicenter was only about 5 miles from us.  We recently have started leaving her crate door open at night so she bolted out of the room.  What was funny is that she then didn't want to come back in the bedroom after the quake was over. Awwww. "Er honey, I have some bad news for you, it's not just in this room."  Fortunately she then did come back in and seems to have survived the ordeal fine (no discernable aftershocks which helps.)

Wed Jul 18
Rally class for Yoshi.  He continues to improve behaviorally.  We've been working on look at me when I say Yoshi and it was working well.  What's cool about the name response is the early warning it gives to an impending outburst if I don't get a response.  I can almost see my words bounce off his ears when that happens.  It's like the wheels in the cortex have stopped and the cerebellum (or lower :) is running the show.  When other dogs would come in for the next class I did see ourbursts but because I knew they were coming was on him in a flash, and was able to make hime sit and stay.

I see I haven't written about it...  The current Time magazine's front page is about addiction and its causes.  What really intrigued me about the article is that a part of it sounds erily close to our training.  The more the cortex (i.e. the analytical part of the brain) is engaged the more control you have over the impulsesive behavior.  I hope Brenda Aloff sees this as it's precisely her approach as well.  Maybe I'll email it to her.

Tue Jul 17
Trek and Cooper went to the dog park.  Cooper had a nice time.  Trek mostly just hung out with me with occasional flights of fancy.

Mark then brought Cooper over to our house and we took Yoshi and Cooper for a walk and that went very well.  So now we're trying to figure out what the next step is.  Cooper and Yoshi in the backyard I think.  Yoshi either on a leash (done that before and it went well) or a long line or a muzzle.  Probably will do the long line, but treat it as a leash at first and see how it goes.

Mon Jul 16
Took the contact trainer over to Sharon's so Wendy can take it to Petaluma to be reraffled at the Bayteam trial.  (This is probably the 4th time it's been raffled - nice money maker.

Brought Yoshi along for the exposure and he did very well which was very nice to see.  The class was working in the lowerr yard and they left the door open so we could see in.  I had him about 50-70 feet away watching the dogs work and he was quite willing to sit quietly and give me attention and eat treats.  Both Karen and Wendy saw him and were happy to see that he's doing better.. 

He only had one outburst which was completely justifyable as right as I was taking him out of the truck a woman in the earlier class and a red and white Border Collie were walking straight at us..  The woman, whose name I never got, asked itf "you could meet" (meaning her dog.  Slightly incredulous and still holding a growling, struggling dog "you want your dog to meet him?" "No you, he stopped running the course when you left, and Sharon says I have to deal with it now"  "Oh ok" (I had gone up to the upper field looking for Wendy.)  Apparently "Taylor" had decided I was evil when I disappeared from view.  I pitched Yoshi into the truck and walked over carefully not looking at Taylor who was growling an "I'm uncomforable but not terribly serious growl"   I sat down facing sideways with a dried chicken treat extended towards him..  He wouldn't approach closer.  I laid down and he approached but wouldn't eat the treat.  "Oh he doesn't like food here's a toy."  So I'm laying on the ground playing sort of tug with a growling BC when Wendy drives up.  She's very amused.  At this point I sit up and Taylor is clearly doing better.  Taylor's mom got him to eat some hot dog treats and then gave me some to give him which he readily took.  Seeing this I pulled out the beef flavored Red Barn food/treats and I had a friend.  I never touched him but he clearly had settled down so she thanked me and they left and Wendy and I then loaded the contact trainer into her vehicle.

I'm thinking I should go to the Petaluma trial for one day, but I don't know which dog to take.  Trek needs the exposure but Yoshi needs the training.  Given that Trek is getting good exposure at class I'll probably take Yoshi.

Sat/Sun Jul 14-15
We were at a kayak class (I for goth, Terri for Sat),   Trek did fine at Mark and Jan's.  Yoshi did well at Park Center.
And I very much enjoyed class which you can read all about in the Non-Dog Blog (see the CCK entry).

Fri Jul 13
I never heard back from the bootie folks.  Guess I should call.

Ok now I feel guilty.  We're doing a kayaking class both weekend days in Sacto.  Trek is going to be at (day) Camp Cooper.  Yoshi I've decided to board at Park Centre (his vets) as that's likely the best place for him.  When we go to Whitney he and Trek will go to Cooper's, but for this short period I figured it was better if he was there and I then would get more time to train him and Cooper to be nice to each other.

He's in a nice run and the other dogs seem polite and not barky.  I brought his bone and a kong and some treats and the cheese wiz and of course his meds but I'm thinking that he would like to have his crate too.  I just called them to tell them I'm going to bring it by and that's fine.  I asked how he was doing and she said "Fine. Totally fine." (and she meant it.)

We're dropping Trek off at 7am tomorrow at Mark and Jan's on our way..  Honestly, as a guess, it will be Trek who has the harder time even though she'll be spending the nights with us.

Fortunately she get to go to agility class tonight.  The bummer is I can't bring Yoshi as Park Centre will have closed by then and we'll be leaving long before they open on Saturday.

Wed Jul 11
Rally and Obedience class. (Zanna talked Patricia and I into staying for the Novice/Open drop in)
Most surprising thing was during the drop in where Yoshi brought back the dumbell to my hand without my reaching for it (I toss it a short distance away first - I'm sitting on the floor).  We haven't been working on it at all so I was completely floored.

In the Rally class we did a short Novice level course..  Intro'd spiraling around the cones, Halt. Step forward. Halt (etc) .  Went over that there are subtle differences in the signs.  Some have a finish and then a halt and then heel.  Others have no halt.  The differences matter and during the walk through you are allowed to ask the judge questions.

Hazel is telling me that I really need to stress name recognition - he should look at me when I say his name which he usually does but not always and she wants me to be more strict about it and insist on it if I don't get it immediately.

She also things I should push him a little on tolerating the other dogs working around him.  This is sort of running counter to Rachael waning him to work below threshold but I think we can walk a fine line here.  I have been protecting him more in this class as there's a doberman who is a worrier and there's a chessie that reacts to it.  So we try to stay out of the middle of those two.  But she's right, he can watch the others work as we do that with the other classes.

Did a little bit of jumping in the other class and while he likes it the long line is staring to get in the way of jumping and the recalls.  Maybe I should work him with a lighter line or with a muzzle.

Mon Jul 9
It's bootie shopping!  REI has a pair of Granite gears that look perfect:

http://www.rei.com/product/724151

They come in pairs so I think I'll just try the front paws first as that's where he gets injured and where most of his weight is.  Amazingly they have a pair of booties for trekking complete with vibram sole!  Though they don't look that appropriate for running.

http://www.rei.com/product/747456

A quick google showed the rolls royce version and it's not too horribly expenside.  It's called Ultra Paws.

http://www.gearfordogs.com/pages/Dog_Booties.shtml

They offer 4 diferent versions.  I beat they could tell me which one would work best for herding on hard soil.



Just sent this off to info@gearfordogs.com

Greetings,

I am interested in getting some front booties for my corgi for herding as he keeps ripping his pads (3 times!) on the dry hard soil (he's a high drive knucklehead).  Which of your booties would work best for herding?

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi the obsessed herding corgi


Sun Jul 8
Herding class for Yoshi and Trek came along too.  Despite my having treated his paw some with Paw Guard he still ripped a pad for the 3rd time in a row, even though he was just in the round pen.  So tenderfoot is getting booties silly as it seems.

We checked his pad and Joyce treated it and wrapped it.  Unfortunately he managed to get the bandage off in a few minutes but I knew the underlying pad was ok (just tender) so we when out on leash into the large pen and worked on walking with the sheep.  It was tough on him as he so much wanted to run but wasn't  trying to insist on it.  Hopefully he learned something.

In the mean time I practiced moving the flightier sheep around by myself and learned a lot about how sensitive they are to space.  I could walk within 10-15 feet and then if I took a step towards their rear they'd move.  If I tood another step they'd bolt.. If I took a step towards their heads they'd stop.  If I took another step toward their heads they'd turn.  If I were to take another step right then they'd bolt in the other direction.  The trick is to get them to move under control where you want to move them.  Getting Yoshi to go this slow is going to be tough.  I walked them around the pen on the fence line then went in the other direction and guided them through a self standing pair of fence sections which was quite tough.

Also took Trek into the round pen and she did her usual fine.  She would actually do well with it as she's more open to taking direction but you can totally tell it's not really her thing.

Fri Jul 6
Trek agility class and Yoshi observing the next class.
What a very productive evening.  Trek is getting more used to the concept of running a course though still on occasion going around the jumps (she'll get it soon enough.  She's improving on the tunnel though still goes in and back out the way she came in.  Even has a bit of a stay now, and seems braver in class. 

Cash the whippet is still head over heels in love with her.  Her owner (whose name I'm spacing on for the moment) said she laughed all weekend about Cash being dubbed "PePe Le Pugh" (Cash is black and white) She says she's never seen him this obsessed.  Trek just thinks she has a stalker (Hey as far as stalkers go he's pretty polite).  I'm now Cash's best friend cause I smell like Trek.

Then I got Yoshi out and we watched the next class when they moved to the upper field.  the entire evening he had two outbursts, one in the parking lot and one during the class, but he also has 10's of very good decisions too and the evening went remarkable smoothly.  The weird thing is that because he's on a Gentle Leader and if he starts to react I tighten the G/L which closes his mouth and effectively keeps him from barking, so others often don't know what's going on which is good and bad.  (Less disruptive, but good to know if a dog is wigging out around you.)

The parking lot outburst was the german shephard and her owner coming quickly out of class to get something out of their car and it caught me off guard and Yoshi freaked at this Shepherd coming at him.  We were able to back off enough to where he was able to tolerate the other dog's presence.  I paced it off later and it's around 135' (45 strides).  Seems like a lot but some of that was the surprise factor.

Then when we went up to the upper field he did really well.  When a dog ran, we mainlined the treats which worked fantastic.  The other outburst was when I paused the treat disensing long enough to thank one of the dog owners and Yoshi had a moment to lock on and lunge (even though he's up on an embankment and there's no way that the small dogs could get to him.   Though it was disconcerting that the shepherd ried to climb the wall to get to us (out of curiousity - we moved as I didn't want to undo the progress that we'd made.

I hope we can continue this.  It more depends on if the dogs that get the zoomies can handle having him around.  One is a Huskie named Ziggy and she gets the zoomies in a big way and also stares at Yoshi.   We they ran we hid.

Thu Jul 5
Mark and I took Cooper and Trek to the dog park.  They ran around for a brief bit but Trek didn't seem real interested though would chase after Cooper chasing a ball.  She mainly just hung around me.

There was a woman there with a bright green medical uniform, slightly wild curly hair and sunglasses that Trek thought was Freddy Kruger's partner in crime and barked and semi-charged at her (all bluff of course).  Surprised all of us though, unlike Yoshi, Trek is perfectly capable of responding to recalls during such times.  If I'd been thinking properly I would have put her on leash and had the woman give her treats.

Wed July 4
No class for Yoshi because of the holiday.

Sat Jun 30 - Sun Jul 1
I've have stuck a blow for intrahousehold peace (Cooper & Yoshi)!  This has been something of an involved  process so it will be tough to summarize.

Cooper stayed overnight on Sat and is still here (it's Sunday midday and Ive been taking time to work on having them coexist.  They're both boys and generally like each other so we have to be able to work this out.

When Mark brought Cooper over we met out on the front lawn. Cooper was very carefully communicating that he wasn't a threat by sniffing the ground and not looking at him.  the dogs were tense but after about 15 minutes they were willing to acknowledge each other and stand next to each other.  We then too them on a breif walk down the block and that went well.  Then I took them both on the same walk and they were still fine.

They got to spend the evening in crates near each other as we had a dance performance to go see.  When we got back, we had them out in shifts.  We did have one incident where Yoshi charged Cooper while Coop was in a crate.  That yielded about the results you'd expect of My Y. boucing of the crate wall and me lifing him up by the scruff till he stopped struggling.  I then put Yoshi on his G/L and had him stand outside of Cooper's crate.  Cooper was not thrilled about this and was stress panting inside so I didn't do it for long  For the night, we divided the house and I and Cooper were in the living room (him uncrated and me on the sofa, and Trek, Yoshi and Terri in the bedroom.  While Cooper isn't thrilled about being around Yoshi, I can tell he's starting to trust me and that I won't let Yoshi hurt him.

Sunday morning I decided to focus entirely on their coexisting after morning rituals of going outside and breakfast.  I have Yoshi on leash on a G/L and took all three dogs outside (Cooper was hanging back so getting out the door worked out nicely.  Then we had me walking Yoshi around Trek wandering and Cooper on the step.  I moved futher back into the smallish yard, and Cooper then came out into the yard. 

This went on for some minutes.  Then Trek and Cooper started to play, which was hard on Yoshi to be around but it seemed to help him see it so we stayed out there though I kneeled down and held his collar and put myself inbetween him and the other two.  While it was initally tough on him he actually did start to relax some which way intrigued me as I didn't expect it.

When Trek and Cooper took a break I faked Trek into going into the house (she was not pleased about this subtrefudge.) and then I had just Cooper and Yoshi (still on leash).  Cooper is having a blast rolling around and getting dirty and his whole physical affect is different.  He's standing up, head in the air, mouth wide open with a huge lolling tongue, and not stiff at all.  Yoshi is still a little stiff but I decide to walk him closer.  What happens next is hard to describe but essential, wish I had it on tape.  Yoshi is going towards Cooper but he's leaning back slighly and his head is in the air.  He still is stiff but there's something different about it.  He then does a sort chest ram, but bounces back a step and pauses.  IT'S PLAY!  Hurray!  When it's a fight there is no backwards leaning, or back steps, and most inportantly: no pauses.  Cooper realizes it too and they play for a while all the time dragging me around and he hasn't earned being off leash around Mr. C.  Though I did take the G/L off and had the leash on the collar.  I'm so releived.  this is by no means over but we've gotten further than I thought we would.

I think one this that made a difference in today was that after playing with Trek, Cooper regained his confidence around Yoshi and had his more usual body language.  A huge trigger for Yoshi the bully is dogs that broadcast "please don't hurt me"  Some dog just don't tolerate weakness at all even though they crave the assurance that they rank higher than the other dog.  Though he does accept it in Trek but Trek is usually extremely confident around him.  So we need to work on Cooper's confidence just as much as Yoshi's reactiivty.  I appear to be a claming influence for both dogs though I can't be around all the time so this will need more practice with others eventually.

I was originally planning on having them interact with Yoshi muzzled and may do that in the future, but what I wan't right now is for him not to react (and reinforce that neural pathway that I don't was reinforced) and that requires my being attached to him preferably via a gentle leader so I can control his head and break off his stares.  It's working better than I expected.  I'll have to remember not to push things too fast and build on success.

[later]
Ok I could help but pushing a little.  Learned a lot.  The trigger is Trek.  Doorways much less so.
Tried Yoshi muzzled/leashed and Cooper in the yard.  Cooper wasn't sure what to think of the muzzle and Yoshi was soliciting play by bumping him with it.  Too bad as it was surprisingly cute.

Later still took Yoshi and Cooper on a walk and that went great.  Seems like things are much better if they have something else to focus on.  Yoshi even had a barking fit over a dog and that didn't phase Cooper at all and having Cooper along didn't interfer with my managing Yoshi.  Though Cooper was pulling on the leash so much that he earned the other Gentle Leader.  Then I had two dogs who would randomly throw themselves on the grass which was pretty silly looking but hey I could walk them.

When we got home when we walked in Yoshi saw Trek and immediately tried to go for Cooper (this was at the doorway again but it's clear it's Trek who is the catalyst.  I dragged both C+Y into the yard for some training.  Sit beside each other and eat treats.  Once again this was fine till Trek showed up (we let her appear) and everything was fine till Trek walked over to Cooper. Yoshi had a temper tantrum and tried to charge and we did a fine immitation of a fish thrashing on a line and I did yell at him too - which did seem to get his attention some.

So exit Trek and I continue to work with C+Y and they go right back to doing well.  One interesting thing I found is that Yoshi seems to be deferring to Cooper now which I find surprising.  Cooper was sitting on the table and I tell Yoshi table and he won't get up there.  He's fine with sitting beside Cooper but didn't want to join him on the table.

[evening]
Mark has picked Cooper up.  The stay was very revealing and showed me where the lines are at present.
- they can go a walks together fine
- watch out when Trek is present
- all crated near each other works well
- Cooper is relaxing and that helps
- Yoshi is slowly realizing that there are limits to his behavior
- keep Yoshi leashed around Cooper for now
- Yoshi has a short fuse but he recovers quicky too
- consider doing more playtime sessions with the muzzle





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