Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - June 2011

By Ellen Clary (Copyright 2004-2011)
(reverse date order)

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Thu Jun 30
Noon-Yoshi walk brought a tortilla filled with some roast beef.  For that he ignored a chihuahua across the street but his attention waned as the walk proceeded.

Evening: Trek to Lincoln Park for Rally work.  Did great initially but the park noise eventually was too much for her to concentrate.

Wed Jun 29
worked around a GSD (actually sort of chased them down) only to run into them later and Yoshi barked - the owner turned around and so did we.

Tue Jun 28
Celeste was asking me about Yoshi's supplement regime and I'm realizing I don't have a current version of it here.

Since about Feb it's been:

GABA 1/16 tsp
100 mg L-Theonine
1 Pet Ease tablet (for the L-tryptophan but the Chamomile helps too)
1/3 c kibble
and water

I gave up on the Quiet Moments as for it to be effective I had to give him too much Chamomile and it made him dopey.

Trek Agility
Class got rained out but I had already left work (I leave around 4pm or so and don't recheck after that as there's no time to do it), but by the time we got there the rain had stopped.  The courses were set up so Sharon said that we could go ahead and practice and we did.

Worked a lot on a lateral lead out.  It seems to work better if I use a flat hand pushing out - just like in a gamble.  First just one jump (over and over) and then jump tunnel, then jump tunnel tire.  Things seem better if I only use the word tunnel rather than out tunnel.  Later one also worked on discrimination between a dogwalk and a tunnel.  Much harder but she was getting it.

Did a lot of weavepoles at a distance.  If she's on my left she'll sometimes pop the 10-11 pole me on the other side doesn't have that temptation.  I can have her weave with me 3 long steps away laterally.  Cool.

Teeter is no problem.

Mon Jun 27
Noon:  Trek walk pretty uneventful.  Heeling is still ahead a bit.  I have to figure out what I want this summer to be like for the dogs.  This Saturday Trek is doing Bayteam USDAA which should be totally silly since she's in Starters Standard (still), Advanced Gamblers and Snooker, and Masters Jumpers.  Should be lots of conflicts to manage.

Evening:  Yoshi walk.  Did ok but until there was a Malamute across the street making faces at him and we were at a barky dog's house anyway, but he would only focus on me for a moment and then was trying to lunge at the dog wouldn't engage with me and all I could do was just hold him by the collar until the dog passed.  Then when he reconnected and wanted to work, we crossed the street and walked past the dog and as an experiment, I had him heel and remarkably I kept his attention by talking to him most of the time.  Heel, yes, that's right [he looks away] watch, [he looks at me] yes, that's right, watch, yes [he looks away] clicking sound [he looks at me], good boy, heel, food-reward.

Now in theory he should just tune this out fairly quickly but he didn't then.  the other dog wasn't moving much then or making rude gestures.

Sun Jun 26
Yoshi walk
One Beagle on Central who came out of a house to go to his car.  They were about 1 1/2 houses away and we stopped.  Yoshi barked for a second and we backed a little off (2 houses).  His complete attention was on the dog and Come and Yoshi Come didn't get a responses at first but he didn't charge.  Come-leash pull (not pop) got him back and he could cope but it was right at his threshold.  Once he was more engaged with me we moved a little closer but it was hard for him but he was able to do ok.

Later near home 2 small dogs across the street.  I could tell we weren't going to have brilliant successes with this so I mostly just had him eat pretty continuously as they walked by.

Trek walk.  Her heeling is a bit forge prone I think because she wants to see my face - Cali was like that.  Saw Ruby and her mom.  Mom says Ruby is still a bad dog (she was taking evasive action when I asked if that was Ruby.)  The conversation was about that she saw a raccoon the size of Ruby (medium sized dog) right on Gibbons. What I should have pointed out was how relatively relaxed Ruby was.  She wasn't worried about Trek at all.

Talking with a friend

Me (on FB): Debating on getting more serious about doing dog training videos.

Her: Do you have any tips for really timid dogs? My GSD is frightened of almost everything! I think she may have learned her fear from her Poodle sister.

Me: I sure do, but it's a large slightly complex subject.
To start, is the dog just worried about new things, or outright phobic about them like some dogs who physically react in terror to fireworks and thunderstorms (Trek is afraid of metal clanging)

If it's just timidity you can do counter conditioning with food or anything else the dog likes. Scary thing and your immediate response is "Ooo scary [whatever] have a cookie" (happy voice) - actually you really don't have to say much just reward right away. Trek didn't like balls bouncing, screaming children and general chaos and those I was able to counter condition her to look to me for a reward for putting up with it

For phobias there are things like the pressure wraps (google:thundershirt), and supplements and drugs. Phobias are very hard to deal with.

If a dog is afraid or leery of people you give the person a treat for the dog and they kneel down, look away (important), and stretchout their arm with the treat. It works consistently for me and scared dogs. You do have to know that doggy isn't going to bite the person as it's quite a trust exercise on the person's part.

Her: She's scared of new things, people, vacuum cleaners, etc.

Me: Vacuum Cleaners are tough - Mine just leave the room and that's fine. If she's not likely to bite try the hold a treat out and don't look at the dog with people.
Oh and people in general suck at communicating with a frightened dog. They lean forward, start, talk funny, wave their hands. Oh and the worst, pet doggy on the head. Bam Bam Bam. Yeesh.

Let the dog do the approaching is one basic rule.

Her: I've tried the hot dog treats and that works a little with some people.

Me: Keep at it, and try to be consistent about it for a while.

Susan Garrett is selling access to video snippets of her training puppy Swagger (2x a week for a year).  While it would be fun and it's not a huge amount of money, BC Swagger is not going to be that difficult of a dog to train (despite being high energy and very puppy-like right now) so it might just depress me. :)

At Mt Shasta - Terri had the dogs and they all did fine.

Tue Jun 21
Yosh walk.  I've been noticing that after I give him a reward for not reacting he'll sometimes swallow and then still react.  I find this supremely annoying so I want to find a solution better than knocking his block off since that has yet to solve anything.  So I've now decided to start experimenting with delivering the treat in two pieces (or just two treats).  He gets one and then I reach down again.  I don't rush this, but make it clear another is coming.  This now changes the habit.  Instead of looking out at the "threat" his default reaction after getting a treat should be to look at me for more.  Even in the space of one walk I could see the behavior change.  He's now going to get a break for a few days and we'll have to take this up again.

Mon Jun 20
Yoshi Walk
Stopped to talk to Heather at a house at Versailles and Lincoln that was redone for a TV program called Curb Appeal that will be on HGN Network later this year.  She and two of her kids greeted Yoshi.  I asked about their dogs one of who charges the fence a lot, but she tells me that dog is actually all bark and just charges out of excitment.  Apparently they have another dog who is a beagle.

Just before we got there stopped to let a dog pass by across the street.  Street was small but we were a house distance away.

Later saw small black dog on Santa Clara also across the street.  Did ok - he did bark at the dog but not seriously and broke off after a small leash pop.  He still tends to lock on to small dogs and needs to be reminded to knock it off.  This is a shame as I'd rather not have to correct him but his brain seems to go elsewhere.

Sat Jun 18
Ann and Jan held an AHBA trial at Elvies today with Linda and Barbara judging so we went down to see how they were going to jam an AHBA course into the property.  The solution? Use all the pens - it worked.  Tony was there with his 3 pems and they did great.  Yoshi and Trek went along as tourists and to socialize and they both did really well.  If there was going to be a dog passing by I just picked Yoshi up and optionally covered his eyes.  NO outbursts and he was very relaxed and seemed to really like all the attention.  Though you could see him wondering when his turn was going to be.

Fri Jun 17
Still sick skipping obedience class but dragging me and the dogs to herding.

Glad I went (started to feel better too)
They were doing specific work with the sheep so we couldn't train with them but instead worked with the ducks.  Before he has been either blind to ducks or not seeing them but this time he was instantly intrigued.  We were in a pen we always worked herding in so he knew the context and he was very much: "Wow, what is that!"  He was very happy to herd them.  Not very happy to slow down, but pretty much all I had to do is get the flag in his face and say "STOP" or "WALK" or if things are going better "Steady."  When the ducks are on the fence I have to work to keep him on the fence and not getting ahead of them.  He needs to stay behind them.  Linda prefers that the ducks not be on the fence but Course A does though Course A really isn't well suited to ducks.  Course B is much better because you're driving the stock on a diagonal though the outrun requirements are much tougher as you can't get nearly as close to the stock as you can with Course A.

Anyway it was really cool to see him working without stressing so much.  Long ago I was told he should be a duck dog.  Maybe they were right I've had him on ducks several times before and he never seemed that interested but now he has a lot more skills and it's possible that's what he needed.

Now I have to decide whether his skills would increase faster with ducks or sheep.  I've asked Linda for her opinion.

The LA Corgi Herding trial is scheduled for April 14-15, 2012.

He was a little odd with a Sheltie he didn't know.  Here he is surrounded by Shelties and there's this one that's bothering him.  Weirdo.  I kept him in my arms then.

Wed Jun 15 -Thu Jun 16
Ugh I have a cold
All I could do with the dogs is work on down stays which provided its own amusement as all 16 photos are a little different:

Tue Jun 14
Agility Class with Trek.
Went well with some diffcult weave entries.  I need to buy Clean Run course designer so I can talk in more detail about the courses.

Mon Jun 13
Trek noon walk fine.

Yoshi long evening walk.  Walked all the way down to Krusi Park.  Saw various dogs including a Golden playing fetch at the park.  Also because it was a longer walk I got the entire gamut of behavior between beautiful and real asshat.  As usual if a dog really startled him correcting him even hard really didn't make much difference.  mild snarking getting a mild correction is what worked the best in correction land.  Traditional old style dog trainers put so much faith in corrections, but it all seems a little silly - they're not magic at all.  Controlling distance and having good reward timing is very likely just as effective.  Once in a while him knowing that I really don't like him doing something and would he please knock it off Right Now, seems to help.  But over threshold is over threshold.  I really have to stop taking my dogs bad behavior personally.

Sun Jun 12
Terri and I took both dogs for a walk.  It was devolving into its usual absurdness and after Yoshi snarked at some dogs across the street I asked that Terri and Trek walk a ways ahead of us and things got better.  Trek was very much a swivel head but was convinced when Terri started to reward her with cheese.  Yoshi kept a careful eye on them, but was definitely much better with the distance.

Sat Jun 11
Squirrels are reappearing.

Dog walks.
Yoshi.  Went down High St knowing that we might get pinned in since escape routes are limited there because of the traffic and limited cross streets but I thought it was time to be brave and figure it out.
Saw three dogs on High St.  Once across which was perfect but two on our side approaching.  The first approaching was a slow moving PitX so I had time to consider what to do.  I picked Yoshi up and because the street is a little wider there I walked around a parked car with the dog on the other side.  The dog was moving slow enough that I probably could have just picked him up and walked past the dog - not sure.  The next one was running and the traffic was such that I didn't want to walk out there with a potentially struggling dog so I picked him up and then hide behind a parked car as they ran towards us.  Yoshi heard the tags jangling and barked and I rotated my body so him couldn't see the dog until the dog passed.  He was tense, but didn't struggle hard, just barked.

Then we were briefly followed by a Lab, and then on Gibbons we saw a elderly terrierX dog apporaching.  We crossed the street and let them pass by.  This was a challenge for him but he held it together and was able to let them go by.  I need to find a way that I can work on shorter distances.  I think I'm going to have to start choosing the tiny streets though it's harder to find dogs walking on them.  If I really wanted chaos I can start taking him to busier areas but dogs in those area can be either pros or very uncomfortable and reactive (Yoshi included).  Wonder if I should start taking him to the outdoor shopping area - that would be good for Trek also now too as she hated it months ago.

Greeted my neighbor Renata and he was a gentleman but very much keeping watch out for us (which I guess is still a gentleman's job).

Trek.  Also got to say hello to Renata, and then Corgi Shelby and her family came by so we walking with them some.  My younger neighbor was bouncing a basketball and both Corgis were looking apprehensive so I asked him to pause for a second and he did and we all walked on and then immediately had a very noisy large truck come by (on a Saturday?) for which Trek got a lot of cheese.  We said good bye to Shelby and Co and then within a few houses had to cope with a clanging wind chime (it was windy).  She did great and again got a lot of cheese for (ok not a lot but several bits of.)  Incredibly this was all on my street, and she coped so much better now that she has in the past.  I'm thrilled.  Rest of the walk went fine - we followed the same High St route.

I have a couple of agility trials I could take her too but we're still working out dates for my father's memorial service so haven't committed yet to them.  Should also find some rally trials for her/them.

Went skiing on Mt Shasta, which was gorgeous but didn't have the dogs with me.

Wed Jun 8
Yoshi walk.  He still is getting distracted and not paying attention until I insist on it.
Saw a GSD that he barked and and I reached down and grabbed his collar "That's not leave it." Then he suddenly improved and was able to watch the dog walk by and I rewarded him for it.  this is not helping the case for positive reinforcement.  i'm about to try not rewarding him until he's completely done as in the middle of chewing he seems to reset unless the food is being fed to him constantly.  And yet other days he can do so well.  What's the deal?  Maybe I need to consistently train with him in the backyard and not just on walks.

It's weird, last night we had something (I think a cat or a raccoon) attack a squirrel nest and now there are no squirrels in our immediate area.  it's kinda sad and Yoshi is being very quiet.

Tue Jan 7
Trek Agility Class.  I did get her to class because my Shasta trip has turned into a ski trip and that's a lot easier to pack for than a backpacking/camping trip.
Her lateral distance is improving.  She was popping the 10th weave pole so Sharon showed me how to toss the toy on the other side of the poles when she's exiting which helps keep her in the poles.  I think if I put lateral pressure on that will help too but that's not exactly obstacle independence. 

She crashed the A-Frame and she saw stars for a moment but was able to recover.  She's running by contacts again if I don't tell her about them way in advance.  I just can't take them for granted yet.  Eventually if I say climb it will be reasonable for her to go up whatever's in front of her.  Not just yet.

Sun Jun 5
I went on another hike on Mt Diablo but was able to come back and walk dogs.
Yoshi is just not listening to me much so I'm giving him fewer treats and just pulling him back away from distractions.  Half way through the walk he started to reconnect and we could do some work.  I had him heel past a dog approaching on the other side of the street and it worked reasonable well.  "Heel."  he would heel then look at the dog.  "Nope. Heel."  He would resume heeling.  and repeat (but only once)

Trek walk.  She's ready to try competing in Rally.  She didn't even try to drag me home during the last block.

I dropped a hot utensil on the kitchen floor.  Dogs rush in. STOP.  Trek stops.  Yoshi pauses and continue.  I stomp the floor and read him the riot act and he stays stopped and I pick up the utensil and reward Trek and yell at Yoshi for going to go check the floor.  He then comes over and I ask him to sit and he sits and I reward him for that.

I'm not always yelling at him.  He was barking at the window and I deliberately didn't but just looked at him and he whined and came to me just as if I had called him.  Pretty funny.

Sat Jun 4
Yoshi afternoon walk.  A neighbor is putting in a lawn and he growled and reacted to the workers there who were approaching.  Miffed I corrected him twice and he finally chilled out but I don't know if the corrections did any good.  I think next time I'm going to try not saying anything and see if my voice signals tension.  They were approaching him so maybe that's the issue.

Woman with a puppy asked if the dogs could greet.  I said that "He's not real good with other dogs, but I can carry him over."  I did that so the puppy (little fluffy one) go to see him but way above his head.  The woman said that he (Yoshi) looked so nice walking on a leash.  I thanked her but didn't go into the fact that it's the dogs who are a pain get the most training so look great 95% of the time.  All the time I was holding Yoshi he was wanting to get down and he was growling and whining in that "it's not a dog" way that he does.  We then back across the street and parallel walked with the puppy which was a distance he was more comfortable with.

Fri Jun 3
Trek noon walk.  she's ready for Rally or at least a match.  Actually i think she's ready for a Rally trial and an Obedience Match.

Yoshi evening walk.  Uneventful but he's pulling more so I'm pulling back as I'm tired of it.  We seem to go through these phases.  But then he'll snap out of it and heel beautifully.

Thu Jun 2
Trek noon walk.  Fine mostly but every so often she would just stop and I would have to encourge her to come along which doesn't always work as I get annoyed and it sneaks into my voice

Yoshi evening walk.  He was also doing the stopping routine mostly to sniff or pee on something.  After a while I just started pulling him back as he doesn't take it personally.
He seemed more antsy - it might be the buffalo treats I'm giving him.  Need to go back to the string cheese - I ran out, which is a little silly as I can get it anywhere.

Dogs: saw one GSD who barked at him across the street while we were crossing.  He barked back but I got his attention back and he heeled with me across. 
Later saw another GSDx who crossed to the other side of Gibbons right as I was managing that situation the resident dog (a black and white Springer of sorts) appeared in front of us.  At this point I gave up and picked up Yoshi and started chattering at Yoshi about "you big scary dog" which amused the springer's owner.  We walked right by them which is the closest he's ever been to them and it was interesting that Yoshi was more worried about the GSDx rather than the dog right in front of him.
Later we saw Cisco and went to catch up to them until owner Judy having forgotten something did a sudden U-turn and came right at us and we had to take evasive action up a driveway.

Wed Jun 1
This just in - Trek is now in Masters/PIII jumpers!  (I was checking the usdaa site and noticed 3 J PIIs.  No title in the mail yet but that takes a while.

Noon - raining - go figure it's not done for the season for a few more days.
Did some brief stay work with both dogs in the back yard when it let up.

Evening walked both dogs separately.
Yoshi was totally wanting to charge around the neighborhood, but he was very responsive to Come even when I let him get ahead.  The only problem I created by only going 1/2 a house length away from a passing dog and he lunged and barked at the dog.  Probably should have just gone into the street and passed them that way.

Trek did well and her heeling is nice. Fronts were good.  Back up is still crooked out to the side but it's a difficult exercise. Right hand finish is very good.  Probably should start entering her in Rally once we know when my father's memorial is going to be.

I did enter Trek for the Saturday of the Bay Team July 4th weened trial.  PIII Jumpers and PII Gamblers first thing in the morning, and then PI Standard and then PII Snooker.  We'll have to see if she quits by mid morning.  And we'll have to see if her teeter bravery carries over the Prunedale.

Archive - Go to:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2011
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - May 2011
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Apr 2011
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2011
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2011
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2011


Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2010
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Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Oct 2010
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