Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - March 2009

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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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.

Would you stop making them run me over?!

It's Yoshi Greenneck

Stinky Dog

It was cool to see he have to solve his own problems, though I'm not sure it helped him slow down at all.  There was a funny moment when HTrainer3 said something along the lines of "He'll slow down now that he's getting tired."  Yosh then charged by.  "I SAID, he'll slow down now that ..."

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 ante up.

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 retraining.

Trek: Competitive Results Detail
Event Date   Club Name   Class   Judge   Q   SQ   Points   Place   Score   Time   Partner #1   Partner #2  
10/12/2008   Haute Dawgs   G1   100049            3    16.00   53.61      
10/12/2008   Haute Dawgs   J1   100271   Y         2    0   34.80      
10/11/2008   Haute Dawgs   S1   100049            2    32.00   53.71      
10/11/2008   Haute Dawgs   G1   100271            3    13.00   47.81      
10/11/2008   Haute Dawgs   J1   100049   Y         3    0   31.31      
10/11/2008   Haute Dawgs   P1   100271            2    3.10   74.10      

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.

Trek Class.
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 better.

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 house widths.

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 eat.

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 direction.
I guess I can't call her baby dog anymore.

Standard Run - Kitty Bradley judge
Course Map

Jumpers - Mark Upshaw judge
Course Map

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 they 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 by 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 pants).

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 without incident.

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 see.

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 - poor kid).

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.

The Week

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 progress.

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
Trek 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 were fine.

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
Yoshi 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 improvement.

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 she's there.
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 with her.

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 might think.

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 coped.

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:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2009

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2008
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Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2007
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