Yoshi and Trek
Training Diary - March 2009
By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)
Our You Tube Video Archive is here
the human's blog see: The Non-Dog Blog
Non-Dog Blog Table of Contents
Tue Mar 31
Yoshi nail trim. I've decided to take several steps back and
start with an off Dremel. He's fine with that, then I turn it on
to levels 2 and then 4. I can actually get some nail trimming
done at 4, but it's super slow going but he's pretty relaxed. I
finally turn it up to 5 or so and while he doesn't like it he does let
me do the nails without too much struggle.
Trek water play. I need to finish that water play video though I
kinda want to reshoot also - it's really easy to reshoot as she will
reliably do that anything.
Yoshi training walk. A litany of missed, or overly brief
opportunities (see the dog, set up, and then the dog(s) go the other
way) with one amusing mistaken identity exception. People know I
walk a Corgi and they don't always clue in that the color of the Corgi
changes sometimes. There is a Schnauzer named Max in the area who
is 15 and was a dog friend of Cali's. He now sees Trek every so
often, doesn't play but seems to enjoy being around her. Today I
saw Max and his Dad and they started across the street and fortunately
hesitated when they saw me looking slightly horrified, waving stop and
backing up. I then explained that it was Yoshi and not
Trek. "Oh, it's a different dog!" But it was good because
we stood across the street from each other talking while Yoshi played
LAT on Max. I didn't let them meet as Max is the type of dog that
the bigoted Yoshi just hates, especially old and frail versions.
Mon Mar 30
DVD night with 4 dogs. Yoshi has been doing pretty well with
Cathy's dogs around but contained in crates, but the arrivals were not as
smooth as I'd like. We would put Yoshi in a crate in the LR and Cathy
would come in and say hello to him and them set up crates and then while I
feed Yoshi, she would bring in her dogs. I have noticed over time that I have more
control of Yoshi's stress level when he's on leash (yes that's counter
to most people's experience, food will do that), so I decided to try
that. I stacked the deck in my favor by having him on leash back
in the bedroom with the door open.
Terri let Cathy in and I had both dogs on a sit with me, getting
rewarded for attention (Trek is off leash). They hear Cathy in the front of the house, but
stay with me. I release Trek (Trek go), but keep Yoshi (who's on
leash anyway). Yoshi is trying to leave, but I don't let him and
call him back and have him sit again (he's not barking - neither dog
is). Trek goes 10 feet and spins around, comes back, and resumes siting
in front of me. ("Hell with Robber Baron, when's lunch?") I
can not make her go away. 3+ times Yoshi gets up from a sit starts
towards the end of the leash and I calmly tell him to leave it, and
every time you can see the switch flip in his head: "Oh yeah, I'm
SITTING see?" and he nearly springs back into a sit. Until Robber
Baron catches his attention again, I tell him to leave it and
repeat. It's fascinating to watch him struggle. Sometimes I
help him further by telling him leave it even sooner, and then I just
get swivelhead which is fine.
When Cathy gets her dogs settled in crates she comes back to see
Yoshi. They greet and we all chat for a bit. Then I bring
Yoshi (still on leash - he was on leash the whole evening) into the
living room, and the rest of the evening is spent first having one
dog out at a time and then two. No outbursts, no drama.
Phew. Yoshi was out with Jesse and that was fine (they know each
other.) Even did a brief bit with Abby out and Yoshi but
Abby is also a CU dog and stresses easily so I kept that short.
Trek, of course, got to be out for a while too.
A nice evening and I even got to pay attention to the DVD as well.
Sun Mar 29
Some uneventful walk was in here somewhere - Trek is getting better
about not dragging me and not being freaky about places where there was
a scary sound days/weeks ago.
Sat Mar 28
Yoshi Herding. This time HTrainer3 said to allow him to work on his
own and see if he would break away if I was on the other side of the
arena. We wanted to see if he would stay with me instead of
engaging the sheep and how close I could get before he went to the
sheep. There was a period of time where he stuck with me but then
he couldn't take it anymore and raced over. The sheep of course
scattered but he got them back together and then brought them to
me. At 20 mph. All eight of them (we were trying a larger
flock) right at me. Eek.
We then worked on having him sit, me walk closer to the sheep,
recalling him and then having him sit again. This is in hopes that
he'll get used to sitting with sheep in front of him without just HAVING
to have to go after them. Not until I say it's ok to do so.
I don't know if we're getting anywhere (we must be - he will sit now),
but it's making him so nicely tired and that's lovely. I have
video but it's pretty dull.
Back to agility. Need to send in the SMART and Bayteam entries. I don't know what
level to enter, so I'll just do PI keep copies of the entry form and
then adjust if we get enough Q's to title and move up. That is
almost definitely going to happen in Jumpers hopefully soon as he only
needs one more Q in Jumpers and is entered in TRACS.
Fri Mar 27
Renewed my USDAA subscription. I hate paying the $30 for it, but
I've decided that I'm serious about USDAA this year so it's time to
Here's what we have so far - 2 Jumpers Q's and a day of "I'm allergic
to contacts" which is hopefully in the past after spending winter
Trek: Competitive Results Detail
in AKC land, Trek's Sheltie Club Q's haven't shown up yet
She has one Novice B Std Q and one Novice B JWW Q.
Her first AKC trial we didn't qualify and that's where we got the dramatic teeter flyoff that started the contact issues.
CPE Q's Terri has entered in Dave's Agility Record Book which is a great tool.
The NADAC Q's are around here somewhere though we're not regular NADAC competitors.
We're entered in TRACS and will enter a day of SMART (for the
Performance National Std qualifier) and then the Bayteam's.
Haven't entered the Bayteam trial yet as I'm not sure what level but I
should go ahead and enter and just move her up when necessary.
We discussed Derrett vs Mecklenburg handling systems. Trick is
none of us are well schooled in Linda's methods beyone the article, so
we have to guess a lot.
Went over some handling situations where Greg's turn into the dog and
use your offside arm methods work very well (similar to Jim's
RFP). It helps to pull the dog towards you.
Trek was a little funny about the teeter, but was ok. She's
developing a screaming fast dog walk where I have to really RUN to keep
up with her, now we need to work on jump to jump steering that doesn't
slow her down, but I think that might come with mileage and my working
on keeping the turns tighter. Right now I've been focusing on
pushing her out enough so she gets a good run at the jump but now I
need to find something inbetween.
In the annoying category, she wouldn't drink out of a metal water pail
as it was a little noisy. Guess I need to buy a small one and put
something delicious tasting in it.
AKC 8" Nationals were today. The first three were Papillons and
4th was Sandy Rogers and a Parsons Russel Terrier. We need to get
Corgis in there. Guess I should turn Performance Corgis email
back on to see what people are saying. Too bad it's going to take over
a year to get into Excellent B.
Thu Mar 27
Still going over the Clean Run. I think I'll scan the parts of a
couple of the diagrams that are completely generic and ones that can
easily recreate on my own, as I want to be able to discuss the method
and the diagram is the best way to do it.
Had an awkward moment at a trial and still keep thinking about
it. Some of the help at a trial were openly, loudly dissing
another agility organizer who wasn't there. Now that was
awkward. We all know each other in our small little world.
What was weird was that I wasn't a part of this conversation (and thus
had no "say" in the matter), but the volume was meant to include others
standing around. Weird. I didn't say anything as I don't know
what the proper response is/was, but it was a decided unprofessional
moment and felt very High School. It's one thing to talk frankly
among ourselves which we all do, but this was different.
Of course I write this just as I'm openly struggling with Derrett's
system and Mecklenburg's choice of how to teach her system, but that
doesn't seem like the same thing at all. This is me trying to
sort out methadology,. I like Greg and I've briefly met and like Linda
-.it's not about them at all. The above situation seemed more like an
oblique personal attack.
I am reminded of a silly story that may be completely lost in translation.
Some years ago, I was watching the Steeplechase finals at the Bayteam's
USDAA Western Regional. There were some people there who had
never seen agility before and wandered right up to Linda
Mecklenburg and her BC Awesome who where going to be going in the ring
in a few dogs. I was thinking I should interceed, but Linda was
most gracious and let them greet Awesome briefly and then I think she
begged off politely. The family came back near me and said what a
cute dog he was (the usual) and I, since I had been talking to them
before, casually mentioned that they were saying hello to one of the
best dogs in the country. I immediately got that OMG
laughing/abashed/impressed reaction, and we all enjoyed outselves
watching them run.
Wed Mar 25
Yoshi nails. He is consistently a pain in the rear about nails,
but more just on that level and not worse. Fortunately he doesn't
scream but just wiggles. I've always used the Dremmel and trained
him for it (though I think he was exposed to it before also). The
noise bothers him and I made the mistake of instead trying to use manual
clippers, he wiggled and I quicked one of his back toe nails. To
this day (it's been well over a year), he's worse about his back nails. I should just go back
and retrain him for it but haven't taken the time. Treats make
him wiggle more. The most effective thing is to just hold him and
let him wiggle and then work the Dremmel into the picture. Today
after I was done I turned the Dremmel off and just held the sander
against his toenails and just manually rubbed it. That was ok and
this is clearly the way to retrain him for it just need to take the
time to do it.
Clean Run Derrett vs. Mecklenburg systems
In the full disclosure dept, I'm prematurely gray, and I have my hair
dyed so I look like someone my age instead of someone 20 years
older. I swore I wasn't going to do it, but I really didn't like
the way that people were treating me ("Can I help you with that ma'am?"
is fairly irksome when you're holding a 15-20 lb bag and you can
deadlift 70. I would think it was just ordinary politeness, but
funny how those offers disappeared when my hair wasn't gray anymore
:) ANYway I was in the salon today and had brought a Clean Run
article comparing Greg Derrett's and Linda Mecklenburg's handling
systems. It was a techie article showing lots of courses comparing
how Mecklenburg and Derrett would run them. It demanded lots of
attention - perfect for being imprsoned in a salon chair.
Now I know Derrett's system pretty well. Power Paws would have
him out from time to time, I've taken his seminars, and I have one or two of his DVDs
(his double box work one is fantastic), but I've always struggled with
his idea of standing next to the obstacle you want them to take even if
that obstacle is the 4th obstacle and is several feet lateral from the
first 3 that they're also supposed to take. It's a large learning
curve for the dog and while I know it works, it just never felt very
natural to me. Then I looked at some of the Mecklenburg examples
and it took effort not to leap up and show it to my decidedly
non-agility hairstylist. If I have a 3 jump lead out with a turn
at the end I tend to stand on the landing side of jump 3 and recall the
dog over them and then show with my body motion and outstretched hand
where the course is going to be going. According to the article,
Meckenburg also does this.
I'll have to see if I can get reprint permission from Clean Run or
redraw some of the diagrams with Clean Run Course Designer or the Mac equivalent (which I
have somewhere). I always have felt kinda like a dolt that I felt
I had to do it this way (even though it was the obvious way to do it)
and to see a world class competitor do it also makes me feel so much
So I thought great, we'll attend a seminar from Mecklenburg to make
sure we've got it down Trek needs under the seat air miles anyway
(for practice). Not so fast grasshopper. Apparently you
have to attend a 2 day seminar that is mostly ground work and
has 5 hours of theory. 5 hours of theory to learn a system that I
got the basics of from an 8 page article that was mostly
diagrams? Must be some grand cabal. Then I remember a
friend complaining about a deadly dull agility class that she and her
dog hated - all ground work or at most one jump. The
designer of the course (though not the instructor)? Linda
Mecklenburg. Maybe I'll stick to reading artcles and watching
videos. Hopefully she'll release a DVD.
Tue Mar 24
Yoshi training walk. The city was out trimming the street trees so it
was pretty noisy and I'm glad I was walking Yoshi instead of
Trek. Most interesting encounter was a thin black lab across
Court St which is a smaller street that isn't very wide. He
barked and moved forward as if to lunge but I pulled him back and while
I was fumbling with the cream cheese, he sat. He kept barking but
he sat which totally surprised me (the lab is stll approaching).
Then I got down at his level and held his collar while feeding him
cream cheese. His butt would pop up and I'd get him to sit again
by holding the cream cheese above his head or touching his rear (he
knows that means sit). His intensity was much reduced and shows a
decided improvement, a ways to go but a step in the correct direction,
and I'm pretty thrilled about it.
Trek training walk. I went over and talked to Eric (with the
basketball) across the street to see if he could help me with Trek's
training by holding the ball, showing it to her (we're across the
street) and then boucing it once. That was too much and Trek was
trying to leave the scene (just getting her that close took
effort). I then had him roll the ball on the ground but Trek was
having none of it. Wouldn't even lick cream cheese, so I thanked
him and we went on. Later on I measured how close Trek and I
could get to the bouncing sound, and it was one street width and two
Over the rest of the walk it became clear that while Trek would lick
the cream cheese, she actually preferred the Old Mother Hubbard's Bitz
that I had in my pocket so we used those for the rest of the walk.
She's dragging me less which is nice. Also crossing the streets
I've given up saying close and just keep the leash short and let her
figure it out (she is). Her sitting beside me on the corners is
excellent and she is slowly learning that I want her to stay even when
I'm moving looking around for cars. Walking the last block home
still takes forever as she wants to run home and I don't let her but
call her back to me every few feet for a treat (and there's that
basketball bouncing). This walk went only on familiar territory
so she was less sound freaky.
Mon Mar 23
Yoshi training walk. I've decided that if he needs to be able to
sit and watch dogs move then perhaps we should start with humans since
he normally doesn't react to humans even moving ones and it's something
I know he can do and it might be a way to create a habit pattern with a
lower stimulus, so I had him sit and eat while any human went by.
The potential problem is this could go two ways. He is the
suspicious type, so when I start asking him to do behaviors associated
with dogs his stress level goes up as he's looking around for a
dog. So it could make his behavior around people worse. I
think though that if that happened it would be a phase and we just have
towork through it. He has to be abble to sit and watch someone or
something go by without reacting.
Trek trainging walk. I'll be happy when basketball season is over
and we're on to baseball. Until Trek made it clear, it never
occurred to me that bouncing basketballs sound like shotguns or close
enough. The neighbors across the street were shooting baskets and
Trek wanted to charge away, but I made her hang out and eat a lot of
treats. She would eat though she was chomping on me and I finally
started closing my hand around the treat and then opening it a little
so she could lick it. Then we went on. Pausing at the other
basketball hoop (not being used) to eat treats and observe from a
safe distant one child tantrum.
Later on saw another kid tantrum and same good results (well for
us). In between tantrums, we wound up on a corner that was noisy
with cars and someone dragging trash bins around which was making her
uncomfortable, so we hung out and ate there as well.
When we finally got back near the house we edged closer to home with
the basketball bouncing sound across the street. We got within
one house width while still being able to eat, then I decided she'd
accomplished enough so I picked her up and carried her the rest of the
way home (she started to shake as we got closer.)
From an email to a friend:
It you remember Trek's earlier trials they were in the potentially
talented but way distracted/erratic range.
Guess what made the biggest difference? Shutting up. In the standard
run you can hear me just saying the essentials.
over left climb yes [for hitting the dw contact] chute go table sit
weave (weave ... weave) big-over
If the pitch of (or the stress in) my voice goes up her behavior
completely degrades. This will get less important over time
fortunately, but it's been a good lesson for me. It's funny, because
it's sort of opposite your experience with your dog where you have to use
a really excited voice. In a couple of years we should trade dogs for a
practice run just to watch them look at us like: Are you crazy? Who are
you? And what are you doing? ;)
Sun Mar 22
Blustery day. Glad we skipped agility. Will have to think of something for Yoshi.
A friend and I were talking about how the AKC Novice courses had gotten
harder than when we first started (it was very much a "Remember when?"
conversation. The course that Trek and I ran on would have been
an Open course in the mid 90s, and it wasn't like this was a bad
course, it wasn't, but the second I looked at it my first thought was
"This isn't a Novice course." I should correct myself: This isn't
a mid 90s AKC Novice course. There has definitely be an inflation
of sorts which is a touch unfortunate as if it's too hard people won't
do it long enough to get hooked. Cali and I could have been able
to struggle through that course, but it would have been hard and I
would likely have gotten lost. It took more than a year of
walking courses before I could easily memorize them. Now I can
memorize them from the side lines, but that's a whole different skill.
With Terri's help had a f-f-f-freezing, but excellent three minute
training session with Trek playing fetch and Yoshi staying and eating
cream cheese. He didn't even bark this time but still would watch
Trek intensely and have to be reminded (a) to sit and (b) that cream
cheese was around for the licking. After the 5th or 6th retrieve
Yoshi was able to sit would glance at Trek but then would look back to
He was in the window and could actually watch people go by (with
Terri's reassurance) but the sight of a dog still completely puts him
over the edge. He's been back on Adrenal Support for a week or
more but I'm not sure how much it helps. I had a friend say it
helps her and it isn't hurting him (I think) so I'll leave him on it
for a little while longer and then take him off of it to see if I see a
difference. I am seeing more negative reactions but I think it's
because I'm challenging him more.
I finally found the notes I'd lost a few days ago, of course they only sort of make sense.
This is from Fri 3/13
- Yoshi walk - he's so well trained when he's not
stressed. I should consider focusing on more relaxing
things/supplements. I put him back on Adrenal Support
from Thu 3/12
- Noted that the dogs wrestle so hard that they will get hurt
eventually and I should plan accordingly. Fortunately those sorts
of injuries are well covered by the insurance policy.
- Yoshi Walk - uneventful - met the crossing guard, and choose to
not see a dog because I was late getting back to work. His
heeling on walks is nice.
From Wed 3/11
- Yoshi nails - he's still a pain but at least only squirms but
doesn't cry. Did some mat work with Trek which was mostly her
cursing at me and me trying not to laugh.
- Entered Trek in USDAA TRACS.
- Trek still tries to drag me on walks, but it getting the idea that it pays better at my side.
Sat Mar 21
Trek Sheltie Agility trial
She rocked the house. What a fabulous Saturday with two 1st places and
appears now to be hitting her stride. The only bobbles were my
over handling. No bouncing on the broad jump, no teeter
weirdness, no doing a jump and then heading off in a different
I guess I can't call her baby dog anymore.
Standard Run - Kitty Bradley judge
Jumpers - Mark Upshaw judge
Given that there's no way we can top that and given that it could be a
scary time for her if we went (rain, thunder, lightning, weird
barometric pressure) we're taking the day off tomorrow. I want
her to think the Dixon fairgrounds is a cool place where much fun and
many goodies happen.
I'm really looking forward to getting back to USDAA as AKC even though
it's the org where Trek will accomplish the most due to her height
being ideal for her class is tiresome. The judge has to wait till
see the handler put the leash on the dog and the handler could not
leave without the leash on or get E'd. This slowed the trial down
at least an hour or more. This is one area that NADAC
succeeds at by
making little holding areas for the entrance and exit which gives
control but doesn't slow things down. NADAC may be anal, but
they're really good at being anal. :) But I've resolved that if
I'm going to keep playing the AKC game (and I will) that I should just
buck up and play by their rules. At least I'm not always
inadvertently breaking the rules like I always seem to do in NADAC.
After thinking about it I'm not sure even the NADAC solution would make
AKC happy as NADAC doesn't fully enclose the ring as they want the dog
to have to show some self control. WAG in Elk Grove wanted to
enclose all of the ring but NADAC wouldn't let them according to Susan.
There is a group in Southern Calif that fully encloses their rings with
temporary fencing. I don't know what organization they are.
Fri Mar 20
Crud. Accuweather is predicting Thunderstorms for Dixon for Sunday morning:
I sent the trial secretary that we'll probably just do Saturday (which
will have good weather), since Trek is afraid of thunderstorms.
This is not something I'm going to push in this way. The risk is
her associating agility with scary noises and I really, really don't
want that to happen especially because it's very difficult to simulate
a thunderstorm so you can train for it (just ask all the folks who
stand outside their homes banging cookie sheets.) I can do
teeters, I can do bouncing balls, I can find screaming children.
But thunderclouds are in short supply. Besides standing out in a
flat field in a thunderstorm is a really bad idea. Want to make
it worse? Stand underneath a metal canopy.
Classes for both dogs today.
Lori's class for Yoshi and Agility class for Trek.
Yoshi Utility class he attends this class because the dogs are
more steady and he gets heeling work and a lot of behavioral work
too. Today he started out great, but then reacted to a passing
golden and then a Wheaten Terrier and the a BC. Given that the
training club is a small space I did correct him for these outbursts,
but Lori had us try an idea she had with the Wheaten and the BC which
was for me to go greet and treat them while Lori worked with
Yoshi. Yoshi was great for her but I'm not sure it changed his
opinion as every single case had to do with the dog in motion.
Lori had an idea that I could use Trek since they get along.
Since Yoshi's issues are motion, have Terri play fetch with Trek and
have me put Yoshi in a sit stay and feed him. This way he has to
tolerate the motion with out getting his way about controlling it
(that's one disadvantage of herding is they often eventually get to
chase what they way, but now that I think about it that's not always
the case). She said it's also possible to do it with just
yourself but it's harder.
[later] I did try it. I could hold Yoshi by the collar throw
something for Trek and feed Yoshi while she ran. He would bark
when she returned but otherwise coped. It's tough as you run out of
hands quickly and you get both dogs wanting to lick the cream cheese
which works for them fortunately. Getting Trek to go fetch when
Yoshi gets to lick cream cheese takes some convincing but sort of works.
Thu Mar 19
Yoshi dog walk
Held it together then reacted to an Aussie who we crossed the street
for. Annoyed and without thinking I gave him a mild leash pop and
he surprisingly chilled out. Usually leash pops increase his
anxiety and makes his behavior worse, but I think the difference is
that now he knows another behavior, of leave it and look at that.
He was still pretty amped, but was able to cope so we turned around and
parallel walked with the dog for a couple of blocks which worked and
for which he was handsomely paid for.
Trek dog walk
She has memorized the exact two places she has seen someone bounce a
basketball and stresses out about those places even though there's no
basketball anywhere. However she would stand in the location (not
the one from Sunday but a much older sighting) and eat treats
right beside the basketball hoop and would even target a volleyball
that was sitting right beside it (though when walking still stress
Some time during the day Trek peed on the bed which has been a problem
all her life. Something about the softness and that since she
spent two years sleeping and having down time in her crate I don't know
if she was ever really house trained (though they played with her a lot
inside so I don't know.) Anyway it's mostly been ok unless I get
involved in doing something and I miss her subtle signs. I have
her bark when I ask her if she wants to go outside, but she hasn't made
the transference to barking on her own like Cali did. Yoshi, the
boy, is remarkably iron bladder - go figure. I've had her tested
for a UIT, but it was clear.
Wed Mar 18
Yoshi dog walk - I took a chance and walked him during the evening when
he often is a bit spookier, but wanted him to have the exercise.
We were sitting at a corner in a stay and a guy was walking towards us
so I told him to stay. When the guy walked past us he swung a
closed umbrella up onto his shoulder and Yoshi started to bark.
Slightly miffed, I (sort of) calmly told Yoshi that it wasn't a dog and
to chill out. I actually don't know what he thought of it
obviously, but I think the swing and slight flash of it startled
him. I did get his attention back and the rest of the walk went
Tue Mar 17
Worked on fetch with both dogs at noon. Yoshi actually wanted to
play tug with Trek's rabbit toy so I had her down and fed her while he
and I played (an odd two handed challenge but it worked). Then I
put Yoshi away in the house and Trek and I played fetch with her
toy. Then I put Trek away (who gratefully did not have a cow
about being put away) and Yoshi and I were able to play fetch with the
small tennis ball. I talked him into not burying it by pliing him
with goodies and then I made sure that we played only on the grass and
not in the dirt area that he likes to dig in, and I rewarded him for
every fetch. He seemed to really enjoy himself which was nice to
Trek and I continue to work on bringing the toys back in from the
yard. It's funny I really have to watch what I say as she does
exactly what I tell her. "Get it" or "Get the toy" will have her
run out and pick up the toy (and usually fling it the first
time). "Bring it" means carry it along. If I forget and say
"Let's go" that means just come along and heck with the toy. If i
say "Yes" that means a treat is coming and the toy gets dropped.
So I have to say '"That's right, bring it" NOT "That's right,
let's go" which gets me Trek and no toy. Smart cookie.
Smarter than me.
Sun Mar 15
A neighbor is bouncing a basketball and Trek is worried about it and
wants to drag me away from it. It never occurred to me that a
basketball sounds/feels very similar to a shotgun report. We do
our walk and get within 3 houses of the basketball. Curious to
learn her threshold I stop and feed her there. Three
suburban house widths is ok with her, which I'm relieved about as
that I can work with, even two was doable. closer and she started
to drag me so I just picked her up and carried her (she was trembling -
Sat Mar 14
On: It's Me or The Dog,
Victoria Stillwell worked with a couple of borderline CU dogs (meaning
having CU traits, not the clinical disease that humans get). One
in particular was motion sensitive and would jump on people on the
water slide of their pool. She taught the dog a version of Look
At That but didn't say what it was. Unfortunately, they're not
putting more episodes (they just have the one on there about "Stains"
the cupcake stealing Aussie) on the web site which is a bummer.
Yoshi dog park walk
Had a successful dog park walk. Cathy and her dogs Jesse and Abby
were there on the inside of the park and we were on the outside, which
turned into a very useful version of parallel walking. Before we
hooked up with Cathy, we walked along the outside way far away from the
fence. His ability to cope with dogs further away has
improved. This includes dogs headed towards him though I made
sure to keep more than 100 feet away, but he definitely looked at the
dogs and was able to look back at me for a reward. Then we
started working with dogs in the park (unaware shills) and even though
he was stressed (he was dragging me some when we walked) he could
comfortably tolerate them even under 50' for the most part. His
distances are highly dog specific. His distance tolerance of a
slow moving black lab is much closer than an LFD (little fluffy dog),
or a running dog or a stressed dog. We noticed this with Cathy's
dogs. Mellow Jesse he's fine with (though wants to bully her if
we were to let him). Motor-tail Abby is another story. While we
can be right by the fence greeting them and saying hello through the
fence, as soon as Abby moves (which is often), Yoshi tenses, and the
leash will start to vibrate a little (an almost inaudible guttural
sound). When Abby would pause, he would chill out.
Another interesting thing is that my holding his collar has become a
conditioned relaxer for him. If I'm not holding his collar, and
he sees a dog that stresses him, I can either walk away which is what
we've always done in the past with him looking over his shoulder as if
he's in a bad horror movie, or I can hold his collar and feed him (a
more recent technique over the past few weeks). As soon as I have
his collar, he relaxes (I can feel it since I have ahold of him) and
looks for a treat. This is a major shift that's been slowly
happening. He used to fight me to get out of my grasp to Get That
Dog. What's also interesting is that someone (even me) could have
easily predicted that my holding his collar would become a major
stress-inducer since it happens when a dog (a stresser) is around, and
because I have not hesitated to use my holding his collar to manually
and instantly turn (if you call all four feet off the ground a turn)
him 180 degrees. It appears that in his case (he is a Corgi after
all), food wins, or it now wins - took some convincing at first - that
eating was more fun than having a meltdown.
This just in: USDAA Nationals will be at Scottsdale again Ref: http://usdaa.com/article.cfm?newsID=1147
Trek and I are definitely planing on going - hope we qualify.
I have a small pile of paper notes that I haven't had a chance to
transcribe and now I sit down I realize the notes are not to be found
(probably at work - hmphf).
Yoshi had another very successful training
walk. Saw two Smooth Fox Terriers, and two Shelties. Did
great. Hard for him, but he did it and didn't freak out. I
need to work up to not feeling like I need to hold his collar while
feeding him. I should just try it as I think he can do it.
Trek rocked the house at agility Friday. She's ready for the trial next weekend.
Mon Mar 9
Filmed Trek chomping at water spray from a hose, which is a much more common dog
weirdness, but no less funny. Probably be a couple of days before
I can edit down and publish it.
My Terrabyte disk came in! Cool now lots of room to make silly videos.
Yoshi walk. This was intended to be just a quick walk before I
headed off to host a BiFriendly meeting. It was a quick walk, but
very significant. The theme was basically help your dog succeed
by insisting he can do it. 2 dog sightings. The first one
was a Smooth Fox Terrier, mostly white with a black face.
Precisely the type of dog that he always reacts to and has even chomped
on (bite and hold - a motion stopping move - that is dimmly looked upon
no matter if it's not intended to do damage) a similar type of
terrier. I see the dog a couple of houses down across the street
headed our way. Oh this should be fun. I take hold of his
collar, but don't kneel down this time I just bend over as I don't want
to block his view so much as before. I have a pile of yummy
soft treats in the other hand. He sees the dog and vocalizes
some, but doesn't bark or try to lunge. After about 3 seconds of
making intermittent gutteral half whining, half crying sounds, he
suddenly turns to me for a treat, takes it and looks back again, I say (neutrally) "leave it,", and
he then turns back. He's playing LAT. I worry that with his
looking (the terrier is directly across the street now) that he's going
to lose it, but he hangs in there and keeps LATing (ok, we're mostly playing "leave it.") I'm just so
thrilled, but try to keep cool until the other dog is out of the
picture. Then I tell him what a fabulous dog he is.
We turn the corner and head down the street. about a 1/2 block
down I see two very small dachshunds type dogs which is another type of
dog that he's just horrible about ("that's not a dog!" he seem to
think). Fortunately the street we are now on is wider but this
could put him over the top. Same deal I hold on to his collar but
don't block his view, and he keeps his cool again and responds to "leave it" when I ask and then starts to play LAT.
I'm just so happy about him. This is a milestone. The rest of the
walk we didn't see any more dogs, but I could tell he found it
stressful as his body position was very forward and up on his toes and
he was scanning. However he still would offer heel and we were
able to work on that,
I think the key to making the collar holding work was to be very aware
of his threshold and even though I was pushing on that threshold (we
haven't been getting very far without pushing), I made sure he wasn't
too far past it, so he never had a meltdown and has learned to trust
me. The other is that I keep my affect and voice very calm:
"You're ok. Good boy. That's right." and totally projected:
Everything is under control. Maybe, just maybe, we're making some
Sun Mar 8
Oakland DTC Obedience Match. I was stewarding there and didn't
want to split my attention so I didn't bring a dog. Had a great
time as while you steward you have a surprising amount of time to talk
and get to know people who you wouldn't normally have a chance
to. I spent time with Nancy and Joyce and really enjoyed
it. I did the article setup which I'd never done before. I
was worried about it as some of the utility people can be pretty rigid
about how things should be done, but that wasn't even remotely the case
this time. We all had a nice and relaxed time of it and my
concern was unfounded.
Sat Mar 7
Started working on a way to let Yoshi and Trek play fetch with out the
other interfering. 1/2 successful. I put Yoshi in a crate
and played fetch with Trek which she loved and Yoshi didn't
complain about (surprising.)
Then I switched dogs. While Trek didn't make a sound, the fetch
session devolved into one of his odd duck trademark bury the ball while
the ball is in the hole attempt, and I retaliated by filming it.
So here is the "My Dog is Weird: Yoshi Digging":
This is very similar to the Toy Graves that he also digs. Description and photos here:
Fri Mar 6
Agility. Such an awesome doggy. So she is now sequencing
obstacles very well and tonight didn't do any enter the tunnel and turn
around and come out the same way. Fortunately this isn't nearly
so much of a problem at trials as the tunnels aren't filled with dirt
and generally aren't dark and scary. She did a great teeter,
charged up it which totally scared me (visualizing months of teeter
rework disappearing in an instant), but I said "easy" (which may not
have been necessary but made me feel better) and she braked 3/4 of the
way through it and was probably the best teeter I've ever seen her
do. She got lots of goodies for it. She's trolling less
though still prone to it, I think this will get better the more she
gets hooked on agility. I should probably do more fun matches on
grass but really just want to trial and work out problems that way (the
expensive way). I may change my mind after a couple of
trials. Poles are looking good, missed one 11th pole, but rest
She's entered in
March 21-22 AKC Sheltie Club
April 10-11 USDAA Tracs
Both are at Dixon. Debating about entering SMART at the end of
April. I think I can do the AKC Shelie trial and then
decide. Bummed that the Bayteam trial is now in Prunedale.
It was in Hayward, but Hayward was proving to be legistically
impossible. This means that all of the Bayteam trials are not in
the Bay Area. Sigh.
Thu Mar 5
walk. Dusk. 3 dogs - 2 seen. 1 was perfect
across the street and still able to LAT ( had a hold of his collar),
the other less so but less controlled circumstances (ran into while
avoiding the unseen dog - oops.) The perfect one I was really
thrilled with as his threshold has been a street width and a house
width (sometimes two). Just a street width takes effort.
This one wasn't' nearly as hard for him and I'm hoping that's an
Watched It's Me or The Dog
I love Victoria Stilwell, and I'm thrilled that she's on National
TV. It's a perfect response to Cesar Milan and I'm really glad
In one hour she was able to teach negative punishment (unnamed),
extinction and extinction burst (even named the concepts), targeting,
pairing a less desirable thing (a brush) with a desirable thing
(chicken) , other effective use of food rewards, and how to control
resources. I love it. She
doesn't teach clicker training probably because that skill takes longer
to learn, but she's doing everything else. This season they've
dropped the dominatrix outfits which is sort of a shame because it was
pretty amusing, but she says that they didn't fit her personality
anyway(could have fooled me, sweet but very insistent - the perfect
dom. from what I understand :). She did an interview in the ADPT
Chronicle where she
talked about it. She actually intended to become an actor, but
moved into dog training. Seems like she's combining them well.
Oh, and she doesn't think what Milan is doing is a training method at all, just intimidation and suppression.
Wed Mar 4
Oakland DTC class with Trek. She keeps improving in that
environment. She still worries about the noise in the building,
but seems more used to it. Her rocket recall is still excellent
though smart girl has after 3 times there figured out that "Call your
dog" means that I'm about to say Come. So I deliberately delayed
a moment before saying Come. For stays, Liz Ann (subbing for
Hazel) had split the room with a ring gate and had half the dogs do
stays with their backs to the other dogs who were practicing
recalls. Trek didn't like this much at all and after struggling
to cope with the one minute sit, for the down I released her and had
her down beside me beside the wall furthest from the activity, which
she was thrilled about and had an excellent stay.
Then we worked on jumping and offset jumping. Since she had
previously concluded that the jump they have is no longer scary she
aced this. Even did a nice push out to the jump (this is with
baby gates preventing running around), but the send was
excellent. Then moved on to turns in heeling. Liz Ann said
that we shouldn't make square corners but rounded ones. I could
swear Lori had us working on cornering so I guess I'll have to check
Then dumbbell work. Trek's retrieve is excellent, but doesn't want
to hang on to it when she gets back. She will hand it to me, but
if I'm not holding my hand out she'll drop it. Wonder what she'd
do if i held my hands out but higher up? Fortunately, Open is a
long way away so this is not an urgent problem.
Stand for exam. She's getting it. Actually less solid than
last time, but still ok for being new at it. Still wants to sit
when I return to heel position, so some work to do.
Met a Dutch Spaniel named Charlie. I'd never met one
before. He is like a smaller Brittany though larger that a
CKCS. He's really cute. He's a rare breed and I asked if he
was brought over and she said yes (she's from Finland.) Mr.
Giles, Barris, and Calli were also there.
Sharon is trying to explain the Long Jump to me but I'm still not picturing it. Guess I'll need to see one.
Tue Mar 3
Kathy the Rustler Buster
Whoa! Did you all read that Kathy ("Kathleen") Carlsen busted up a
horse rustling scheme? Do not mess with Kathy about mini horses she'll
kick your sorry rustlin' butt. (She mentions it on Cheri Scannell's
wall.) You go Kathy!
Going over the USDAA rule changes
For Performance, Pairs legs are now also required for the overall title (they didn't used to be).
3 Standard legs
1 each of Gamblers, Snooker, Jumpers, and Pairs
There's an mp3 where they Brenda Fender and Kenneth Tatsch talk about the new changes here:
[Sharon Nelson of NADAC must feel vindicated.] USDAA is talking
seriously about a break away tire. In the rule changes, the break
away tire is an option. The allowed approaches have been
tightened up so angled approaches will not be as common which is a good
thing. They will likely stop allowing bungees to attach the tire
as they can slingshot a dog. It's interesting to hear all the
considerations of a breakaway as it's not as straightforward as you
The Long Jump (required by July)
No longer an obedience broad jump. More like an ascending spread
jump - don't know if this affects Performance though it is listed in
the Performance Speed Jumping description which means I'll skip
entering this at TRACS until I get a look at it - though they might
just have the usual broad jump. What I can't figure out is why
would a division that has no spread jumps, have a broad or long jump?
Weave Pole spacing changes - eliminating the spacing ranges - now 21" +/- 1"
Contacts - rubber surfaces allowed [Sharon Nelson must be happy about this also.]
I like the NADAC rubber surfaces so this is a nice thing.
Grand Prix qualifier legs are now 0 faults (no surprise there).
Dog Walks. Uneventful. Trek
is getting better about going on the school playground though there was
a dog in a backyard nearby crying and she didn't like that at all but
Cathy coming over with dogs tonight. I have Yoshi in a crate in
the Living Room and Trek in her bedroom crate. I'm hoping that
having Trek out of the picture will dampen Yoshi's stress.
Trouble is Trek will Not Be Amused, and may make a lot of noise about
it but, she'll shut up pretty quick.
It went perfectly. I've finally learned with Yoshi the more
structure there is the better. I was beside Yoshi's crate and
Cathy had come in and set crates up for her dogs, when she came in with
her dogs I was feeding him treats and he started playing LAT in his
crate while keeping a careful eye on what was going on. When
everyone was settled I then went and got Trek and put her in the other
Living Room crate. We watched for 5-10 minutes and then I told
Cathy that she could let Jesse out (her non-reactive dog). I then
brought Yoshi out and we had them out for a while, and then I traded
Yoshi for Trek. That was ok, then switched Trek for Yoshi since
he's the one that needs the exposure. That was fine and then
Cathy traded Jesse for her younger wiggly unfocused Abby and then
Yoshi's stress level and heartbeat (I'm holding on to him) went
up I held him in place for a while then crated him to give him a
break so just Abby was out. We let that be for a while and then I
got Yoshi out, and later Trek, and at the end did one more session with
Yoshi. It worked great and we enjoyed watching a couple episodes
of The Wire.
So for Yoshi it's structure, structure, structure. Forget all
those suggestions about letting dogs make their own decisions I
think doing that set us back a year. I respect his wishes, but I
don't force him into positions where he has to make hard choices.
He can make decisions about how to herd a sheep and whether or not to
wrestle with Trek, but I do not want him to suddenly decide that
another dog needs managing.
Entering Trek into the TRACS trial.
We're just going to do Fri, Sat of it as 3 day trials are tiring for
any dog, and she's just getting started. This is her second USDAA
trial. She may actually earn a Jumpers title because she already
has 2 Jumpers Q's from the Haute Dawgs Oct 11-12 trial.
Grand Prix/Performance National Std Qualifier
Skipping pairs as I only want her to do 4 classes.
After some thought I decided not to put her in Steeplechase/Speed
Jumping as I'm not confident in her broad jump and I want to see what a
long jump is.
Archive - Go to:
and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2009
and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2009
and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Nov 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Oct 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Sep 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Aug 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Jul 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2008
and Trek Training Diary - May 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Apr 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2008
and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2007
and Trek Training Diary - Nov 2007
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and Trek Training Diary - Aug 2007
and Trek Training Diary - Jul 2007
and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2007
and Trek Training Diary - May 2007
and Trek Training Diary - Apr 2007
and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2007
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