Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - July 2009

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:
Our You Tube Video Archive is here
For the human's blog see: The Non-Dog Blog
Non-Dog Blog Table of Contents

Fri Jul 31
Trek eye vet appt
Left eye tears test still only a 6 (other was a normal 22), so we're discontinuing the Cyclosporine as it's ineffective though she did say we may as well use it up.  We could also try it just once a day and see if that makes any difference (not likely).
Regime is now. 
 - finish Cyclosporine
- Eye lubricant (oil based one)
- Optixcare or Sooth XP

Yoshi noon walk - fine

Trek agility class
Rocked the house this time.  Let her wander around cleaning up treats which seemed to help her attention.  Worked well on the small field which is usually not common, but then did great on the upper field.  It really helped that I got my lines out in time as Rachelle had set up a very difficult entrance from a tire but I made sure to say Weave right after the Tire and she nailed it.  I was very pleased.

I am starting to get disenchanted with Sharon not having a large field.  It's a big reason to start asking Power Paws for drop in time as I want Trek to have more time on grass.  Though getting down there in time esp for the intermediate classes is tough.

Thu Jul 30
Yoshi walk blissfully uneventful.  Except for that lights and sirens firetruck showing up right behind us and parking.  Oh this should be fun, as I'm about to walk Trek who is much less tolerant of such chaos.  Seriously, if there's not a dog involved, Yoshi is the dog to have around.
Trek walk. I chose to take our usual route just to see how she'd do.  Well she did ok at first but this is her usual.  The firetruck had no sirens on but the lights were flashing.  Before we got there the paramedic had left with lights and sirens (hope they're ok - it's not someone I know), so the firecrew was putting their stuff away. and there was much clanging about first only a little but it increased as we were walking by.  She ate a lot of treats for just standing near it but after a bit just as soon as we turned for home she shifted into full drag mode,  I let her drag me a little then after we got some distance I insisted she stop and come back to me and eat (chomp) some more.  The sound is more distant (about 1/2 a block) so she's recovering.  After a bit of step drag stop eat, step drag stop eat, the truck had gone and she went back to normal (mostly).

That night, Trek was being a complete adolescent insisting on sniffing and eating crumbs, and not coming which is highly weird but happens every so often.  I stormed in the house and turned off the outside lights for a moment.  Then went back out there saying "You are in such trouble." and she came right away (I had marched right up to her intending to drag her in.)  I put her in a crate for a few minutes in hopes the point would sink in.

[various walks in here no much to speak of]

Sun Jul 26
Trek Art and Wine Festival.  Her first one.  She did fantastic though I carried her for a lot of it as she was feeling small.  We accidentally got abandoned for more than an hour due to a miscommunication (never am I not bringing cell phones to these things) and she did fantastic just hanging out doing nothing but watching the people go by though she really didn't want to drink the water I was asking her to drink but she drank enough.
Yoshi walk - uneventful.  Yoshi doesn't get to go to things in cramped places where the occasional dog shows up out of nowhere.  I tried once years ago and swore it off.  We both hated it.

Fri Jun 24
Yoshi Ob. class with Lori
He did have one outburst before his calming med kicked in, but past that he was ok.

Trek Agility class
Seemed kinda uninterested in the lower field, but woke up for the upper field.

Wed Jul 22
Yoshi Rally class - last one.
Still using the calming supplement and it worked well - we did a lengthy run through.  He still needs work on backing up and that I need work on that wacky about turn where I go left and he goes right.  At the end of class, again I took him into the small room while the next class came in for sits and downs.  He was able to do them and I took him out without incident.  I thought something unusual happened but I'm not recalling it. 

Jul 21
Yoshi Noon Walk.  I took him because he wasn't walked where he was boarded but instead let out to run in their small grassy area.  (I need to ask if all he did was run the fence line.back and forth back and forth...).  Trek stayed with Mark and Jan and their Corgis Cameo and Cooper, so Mark just took her along on their walks.  Anyway Yoshi did great because the only dog he saw was retreating and given that the burly looking medium sized dog was being lead by a small child, I wasn't about to go anywhere near it.  Yoshi did look at the dog but saw it was retreating and didn't worry about it.  He's so good with people, went right through a work crew without even an extra blink of an eye.  An in general walked as a happy dog instead of a nervous scanning one. 

I'm trying to think of a middle ground between the noontime where there are fewer dogs and the evening where there are often many.  Perhaps the morning but there are often a lot of dogs then, but it might be worth a try.

Jul 20
We're back and the dogs appear to have forgiven us.  Trek is picking on Yoshi.  Perhaps Cameo was a bit more rough and tumble than she should have been given that Camy is injured right now.  Yoshi is putting up with it fine.

Jul 14-19
On vacation.

Sat Jul 11

Yoshi herding Trek as tourist
Things came together today for Yoshi and I today.  Once again, I'm wearing old running shoes with decent lateral support.  Boots are just too slow as to keep up with him I have to RUN to the sheep in some cases (funny, no one told me about getting running practice at herding :).  So I am no longer getting caught flat footed and twice in the back of my mind it registered that HTrainer3 wasn't yelling at me to move.  More importantly, I had a brand new heavy duty long line on Yoshi which slowed him down (and a pair of those really cool, thin Atlas work gloves for me, so no line burns), and I could stop him (which certainly surprised him some).  I was trying to work him with me holding the line, but HTrainer3 didn't think that he would learn to work at a distance that way.  Instead we had him stay and I'd walk to the sheep with her holding the line and then she would drop the line when I released him.

We spent the rest of the time trying to figure out if he would stay at a distance.  He doesn't really, so we need to teach him.  This is the next project.  Eventually he got tired enough that I could get him to stop on command and I was able to take the long line off and just use a 6' leash.  Still needed the leash as he will stop for a second, but immediately would want to take off again as soon as a sheep moved.

Had a Wow moment when we were walking along and I suddenly started saying "Back" in just the right tone of voice and wave the herding wand just right, and he responded exactly like he does with HTrainer3 and others that I've had handle him.  He changed direction and went back around the back of the sheep - it had to be a glimmer of the Zone that people talk about when you and your dog are working in sync.  We usually just argue, so I wasn't prepared for it - I had to really focus on not messing things up with my noticing.  I wanted to step outside of myself and watch.  Maybe next time I'll have someone video tape it.  To have this finally happen is a huge boost to my confidence.  I've also gotten way better at moving through sheep to get closer to him.  This is not always such a good thing in running shoes when a sheep steps on your foot.  Sheep hooves are soft and cloven and if they step on my Keen's I really don't notice, but this time I felt it some.  Good thing that, unlike horses, they don't weight all that much.  The other really cool thing is that the sheep were coming to me.  This means that I'm projecting enough confidence for them to trust me.  Now granted these are school sheep, but if someone doesn't know what they're doing they won't come to them.

HTrainer3 diagrammed what she has in mind to help Yoshi to move more to the outside of the sheep.  Looks like Agility Gamber's training:
The dog would be on a stay initially.

In between Yoshi runs I'd take Trek out in the pasture just to be out there.  Since I'm not paying for it I don't try to have her work the sheep and she shows no real interest in them.  I suppose I could insist and make it fun for her but I'm not that inclined to pay for her to herd yet and if she hates it why bother.  But I still take her out into the environment just for the exposure.

Fri Jul 10
(Trek's in my lap - typos are her fault)
Spoke to Rachelle about how to maintain her enthusiasm and speed. We basically decided heck with DASH (Susan Garrettt's Philosophy of Desire,Accuracy,Speed, and Habitate (changing environments) in that order).lets just go for speed.  [tossed Trek off, now I can type.]  I started running more and not worry so much about start line stays (though she has them in her videos and still ran fast - I also gave her more room on the contacts and weavepoles (though I still insisted she do the poles right.  on the 3rd time through desperate to keep her motivation going I actually had her sit before the poles just so I could reward her for something which did great for her motivation.  choosing the less efficient option for me seemed to make a difference in her enthusiasm  though she didn't seem to mind being laterally left on the A-frame so I could get way ahead.  she still exited it normally.  The key is I have to be moving - unless it's a send - then she doesn't care.

Thu Jul 9
Trek noon walk
I had to drag her out of her crate for this walk but I've decided to not make a big deal of it.  I put the leash one her and call her.  If she doesn't readily come then I slowly pull her out.
Once she's out in the world she'd ok.  Her thing is to be initially shy and then get over it (often suddenly).  She is likely to be this way her whole life so I've decided to not worry about it but help her work through things as best she can.  Pretty much the same exact place as before there was a different set of kids playing though this time was across the street.  I decided to give her a break and crossed the street which ironically was exactly where the other kids were a couple of days ago but that didn't seem to matter.  She wanted to flee the scene but once we got around the corner (so the kids weren't in view), I started to feed her and as usually she consented to eat.  Wanted to eat and run. but when I didn't move would come back and eat more.  With in a block she was fine.

I think I've come up with a way to feed her treats and not have her chomp on me. I first put a finger that isn't holding the treat 9but on the same hand) in her mouth in the space between her canines and her molars.  She opens her mouth a little and I pop the treat in.  Need to do a video of it when I get better at it.  This also teaches her that's what I want her to do, instead of waiting for her to volunteer it and I then get my fingers chomped in the meantime.

Yoshi walk.  Saw one LWFD across the street (Santa Clara) while we were at a corner and we retreated 1/2 of a house length (60-75'), and he was able to cope at that distance.  Rest of the walk went smoothly, he greeted one person, and also a women and child in a stroller.

I bought all of Trek's videos from this past Bayteam weekend.  She ran enthusiastically, albeit all over the place, but it's clear she's going to make a great gambler's dog (and probably not the greatest snooker dog ;)  In comparison, Cali was an awesome snooker dog but was never that great at gamblers.  Dogs seem to be better at one or the other.

Remaining issues look like they'll improve with mileage.  You can totally see in the video that she locks onto obstacles probably 10-15 feet away.  And it's not always an obstacle that she locks on to.

I will need to figure out the annotation feature of You Tube as putting this back into iMovie and then back out to Quicktime loses some quality.  I'll have to ask 4 Legged Flix for tips.

Gamblers silly girl gets the gamble, but not enough points in the opening

Standard clean, over time, did the teeter

Snooker pulled her off teeter as she was hesitant on it and I didn't want to further torture her

Gamblers - what a surprise - a Q

Standard clean, over time, after a brief conversation, did the teeter

Wed Jul 8
Trek walk.  Didn't want to go but once I got her out the door she coped.  I think she's worried about encountering loud kids again.

Yoshi class.
For today's Rally class I adjusted the amount of calming supplement I've recently started giving Yoshi just before we drove to class.
We may be getting somewhere, He was attentive and worked well, and at no time did the leash vibrate with his very low warning growl, and while he would look at dogs he would then look back at me (the Look At That game in Control Unleashed that we play a lot) and he never stiffened with ears fully erect (my 1 second warning.)
Granted, I manage him pretty closely, but I am far from perfect, and usually there's at least one moment that I don't anticipate and he gets stressed.  If it happened today I didn't feel it and I usually do.  He did bark when Barris approached the crate that Yoshi was in, but there wasn't much behind it.

I regret that I'll be at Mt. Whitney next week and won't be able to attend class as I really want to see if this sticks.  We will be back the week after that for the last class.

Patricia was asking what I was giving him.  (I had showed her the Pet Ease:)

The stuff you were looking at is Pet Ease which I give to him incidentally.


I also give him this as a daily supplement:


And if I really need to dope him up I give him something with Valerian in it, which makes him a happy boy indeed. :)


Tue July 7
Yoshi walk.  No dogs and lots of work on Yoshi Sit, Yoshi Down, or Stop Sit, Stop Down.  Using his name usually gets a stop so either Yoshi or Stop should work.  I generally don't use the name a lot as I like it as a recall, but I'll take it.

I probably should go back to walking Trek during the day and him later one but it was nice just to work in cues instead of not freaking out about other dogs.

I so much want to prove to his few naysayers just how great he is now and that they had him all wrong (they had misinterpreted his play style as aggressive - dead wrong), but I realize that the only way to do it is to show them and to do that he has to be a great herding dog so we're at the same places.  Though finishing that play style video wouldn't hurt either.

Trek walk.  Worried about loud kids and bouncing tennis balls.  just down the street there were some kids talking to an adult they knew and one girl was talking in a very hyper, excited way and Trek was worried about it.  I stopped her a short distance away and fed her again and again.  She kept wanting to leave, but would come back for the food.  then a neighbor around the block was playing catch with his son using a tennis ball that would occasionally bounce.  After the kids, I could tell that Trek was to her limit so I carried her and Jim and Jack came by to see her when I told them she was worried about the ball.  She seemed to relax from the attention (or the lack of ball bouncing), and the rest of the walk was ok.

Mon July 6
Over the weekend I started explaining my hands free leash to leash vendors which means that I should get more serious about documenting it here as eventually it should catch on and while I don't want any money for it, I must admit to not minding some credit for it.  So today we took photos and I need to get them uploaded so I can design a page around it.  I've been using my hands-free leash with a fail-safe since he escaped his martingale many, many months ago.

Yoshi walk.  No dogs except retreating ones.  I had him stop and sit or down semi randomly just because.
I let him sit in the window for a little while and he didn't seem stressed about it and seemed to be having a good time and was responsive to his name.

Sat-Sun July 4-5
Had a great agility weekend with Trek, which I will write more about when I'm less blitzed.
Summary is that she successfully did 2 gambles (but only one Q), did 2 of 3 teeters, clean, but overtime in standard due to very circuitous route choices on her part and left me in the dust many times (this is a good thing).

[Now that it's actually Monday and I've had some sleep.]

First of all, at the trial, I spoke to Laurie Leach who did the fantastic Laughing Dog Press missives and she tells me that when she took Laughing Dog Press down (a moment of silence) because it was getting too expensive, she said the webmaster gave her a CD or DVD and she can't open it, and put it up on the shelf to figure out later.  I told her that if it was a readable disk that I could most definitely read it and if she couldn't then please, please send it to me and I'll figure it out (I told her that during business house I actually play the part of a (semi)-mild-mannered IT person and I do that kind of thing daily.)  I also said that The Truth about Dog Breeds series was so memorable and really needed to be preserved somewhere - she agreed.  The Laughing Dog Press Cafepress stores are still up and running and fortunately she doesn't know how to take them down (I do, but I'm not telling her :) and since they're free has no incentive to remove them.

Trek seemed to have a really nice time and was running well, albeit erratically.  But erratic is fixable with mileage.  Motivation is a lot tougher and I'm thrilled to see her moving along and making me work.

Karey is an amazing Agility Data Geek and has done a fantastic job (probably with Elf and Katrina's help - Dave's too but he wasn't there this time)  of scanning all of the information in (course maps and results) and you can see it here:
I do a lot of scanning and I know this takes time and I'm not sure how inclined I'd be to do all of this

In USDAA the first class is often Gamblers (at least for Bayteam) which serves as a great way to warm up.  She was lit and dragging me around.  I let her run around in the exercise area a little just to burn off steam - well it was a nice try.  I think I'd rather spirited dog than lackadaisical.  Simple plan Jumps to the weave poles, jump dogwalk and a few tunnels and whatever else we needed to burn time till the buzzer.  Let's see blew out of the weavepoles 1/2 way down (usual for that early) made her restart them (perhaps twice - need to see the video which is available as soon as a pay the bill.  Blew out at the 10th pole.  I wanted a shot at the gamble so we went on to the dogwalk which she blew by one but then got on it second time.  Horn went off right at the end of the dogwalk, but we're in a perfect position for the gamble and she's still lit and these days you show her a tunnel she's through it (in and back out the same way days may be over).  So jump, out to tunnel and jump.  So she gets the gamble, but only about 1/2 the necessary points for the opening. That's just fine

Standard run.  Pretty silly but she did a teeter and I'm thrilled about that.  We also had a repeat of my "please please let me put her on that dog walk again" with the judge who relented and let us do it (they're supposed to enact the four paw rule but sometimes it's not clear if she had four paws on and being a foot off the ground on the dogwalk when silly puppy bounces off isn't exactly much of a risk.  It will be nice to get out of Starters just so we can be rid of that rule.

Snooker.  ran most of the course but decided she didn't want to do the teeter which was obstacle 6.  I did an outside the box opening which involved a lot of running around the edge but made it so we didn't have to run past a whole lot of obstacles.

Gamblers.  Very similar course but this time we didn't try the weave poles and wound up Qing - yahoo.  She has 2 P1 Qs now and it's her second more successful course type after jumpers (her fav)
(click to actually see something.)

Looking at the course reminds me that she actually blew by the last jump and I had to call her back to do it.  The skill tested was redirection.  Well we did eventually get redirection - and in time even :)
What's cool is that this means she's faster than me now and I have to start planning accordingly.

Standard.  Totally erratic but she did all her poles even with a tempting table at the end, and she did the teeter - in a way that I've never seen her do.  She got up on it and stopped.  I went up and asked her if she wanted to do it.  I was just about to pull her off, but something made me say "you want to do it?  round [turn around] go teeter."  She turned around on the teeter and she did it!!  Over time but so what?

So it looks like we don't have any issues that won't get better with mileage.  I'm very happy about that.
She's getting more used to the trial environment though she was crated in HER crate in HER car.  This may be how life is for us for a while.  I want to do shows in Turlock but the heat may preclude that - maybe i can put the canopy over the Scion but staking it would be a problem then.  right now she's not entered in anything as I was just going to do fun matches but I think continuing to sacrifice piles of money to the Agility Gods is the solution - meaning just enter the trials and take what we get.

Fri Jul 3
Off today.  Need to prep for agility this weekend but need to tire Yoshi out too.  Can't decide whether to take him on a long version of his usual walk or go off to one of the parks.  He'd get more exercise at the parks and more dog sightings but he'll be more stressed about it.  I think because it's a Friday and not a weekend the dog traffic will be lower so getting out will be nice.  Now the choice of where.  Ideally would be an area where the dogs are on leash and under control as running dogs are tough for him still though he can sort of cope, and also where there is a lot of lateral space to move and good sightlines.  The part of Washington Park where you can't see the dog park would work but there are some key choke points there that can make it harder.  Bay Farm island has the same issue of no lateral space.  The old Navy base is great for lateral distance but few dogs.  Maybe walking around outside the hardly used old dog park over there would work.  If there's no one there could even be inside it though still on leash or a long line.  We haven't been there in a while (that's where we took the first sit in the car and eat peanut butter photos) so it's worth revisiting.

Before all that worked with Yoshi in the backyard on herding commands: Down Sit Out Stay Here.  Did a lot of put him into a down or sit tell him stay and them moving around.  Iffy at first but then got it.  Noticed that Down was way more effective than sit, I think because I can put a lot more authority into the "D" sound that the "S" and I can use the hand in the air signal.  I'm thinking for herding I'll go back to Down in at least some context and continue to work on Stop (standing stop).  Did some of Lori's airplane game where you're moving around while the dog stays and occasionally you swoop in with a treat.

Catching up on breaking older diary months into separate pages.  Think I've come up with a solution to the nerve wracking fear of overwriting the main diary with an earlier month.  Obviously save it first, but also publish the entire diary with the name of the older month's page which changes the filename that the publisher points to and then edit that page down.  Start with more than you need and work down from there, but don't have the name of the main diary anywhere around.  Much better.

Reading about Trek ripping a hole into Yoshi's leg as Terri was picking him up to break up an argument that he had started - This was the day before we were going to get married (that was the very last day he was on Clomicalm and life has been much better since then), and then the ensuing conehead hell days.  Much funnier now.

I swear the most obvious things occur to me when I'm not doing anything having to do with it (I'm still making archive diary entries).  Trek is ambivalent about sheep, but has the talent and instinct.  So if I do decide that I'd like her to give a hoot I have to make it more worthwhile for her and for her the most worthwhile thing is food (well belly rubs but let's be a little practical), so this means that being out in the pen earns you treats.  I can see a whole herd of purist herding instructors groaning, but if I want her to care then it's time for Premack.  Look at a sheep and get a treat and repeat, and build from there.  Eventually the sheep will go up in value in her eyes.

Wed Jul 1
Yoshi walk - no dogs, but good practice sitting and letting humans walk past including a family of 5.
I actually was going to take Trek but she didn't want to go so I took him instead.

Yoshi nails - Walking him beforehand made a huge difference and he was much, much easier to deal with.  Again, the thing that works is to start the dremmel out very very low (barely turning) and slowly turn it up.  He starts to squirm turn it down a little and then work it back up.  This is why having the variable speed (the truly variable speed not just a few distinct speed settings) works so well.  I can turn it down and bring it up so gradually that Fydeau doesn't really notice the speed change.

Yoshi Rally class
I did give him a calming tablet before hand.
He did very well.  I was very proactive and took him out of the room when the reactive dog was working, but he could work with that dog in the room which I was thrilled about.
Jump-right-right-serpentine (a series of four cones done just like weave poles though while heeling.)
Stand - a closed fist seems to work well as a distinctive signal for him.  I still have to help him stand and need to try to work away from touching him.
Intro to moving stand - walk and then turn and toss a treat back saying Yoshi Get It
Talked about moving down
Practiced heeling and then doing a stationary down (stop and down),  Yoshi is really good at this.

I've decided that the book about Yoshi could be called something like:  Yoshi: a 5 year journey to becoming a little bit less of an asshat.  Catchy huh?  sigh.

Trek nails - still too long - need to work on them more on Friday

Archive - Go to:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jul 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - May 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Apr 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2009

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Nov 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Oct 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Sep 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Aug 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jul 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - May 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Apr 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2008

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Nov 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Oct 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Sep 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Aug 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jul 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - May 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Apr 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2007

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2006
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Yoshi Training Diary - July 2006
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