Yoshi and Trek
Training Diary - Mar 2010
By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)
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Wed Mar 31
Ok I've done it. I've committed Yoshi to going down to S. Calif
for herding practice Thu and Fri and I'll decide then whether I let him
near the ring during the trial or whether we're just tourists.
I really think we're getting somewhere. Saw a small dog 1/2 a
block away across the street - this dog was the size of a Dachshund but
short lab like yellow fur and a slightly curly tail. I put Yoshi
in a sit and we watched that dog come towards us and walk by us (still
across the street). Yoshi sat pretty much the whole time save for
standing up once when they were right across from us. i made him
sit again and he booffed once but immediately sat and asked for another
treat (he's had quite a few). These are not the soft easy to gulp
down treats, but more harder crunchy treats where he has to take a
moment to chew which slows things down nicely. I'm very happy
with him, and he is starting to really get what is expected of him.
Tue Mar 30
Yoshi walk - uneventful save for him bristling at someone carrying a white grocery bag (oh please.)
I still can't decide whether to go to the S. Calif. Corgi Herding
Trial. Yoshi has one more chance to practice and it could easily
get rained out. If it were one of his trainers handling him he'd
be fine but with me it could be a struggle depending on the
sheep. It occurred to me while on our walk that just squeaking by
isn't really how I want this to go. I want us to go in confident
knowing that we can do this. For his JHD we had practiced and
practiced and I mostly knew we'd likely be ok. I don't have that
feeling now since our training has been so mucked with by the weather
and circumstances. So for this second now I'm leaning towards
no. Which is a bummer as it would be fun to watch a bunch of
Corgi's herd again.
I just heard about a Corgi in the nationals that stopped to sniff (a
stress reaction) during a final run when the crowd started to yell and
cheer. I'm trying to imagine sound sensitive Trek in those
circumstances and I doubt she's even get to the starting line - even
with all the work we're doing on sound desensitization.
If she has PP class tonight (it might rain) she's going to be wearing
her thundershirt and we'll see if that helps her with the teeter sounds.
They are going to risk having it but I'm not feeling well enough to make the drive down.
I have this great video of Yoshi and Trek playing that I need to edit
and upload. It's cool because it shows all the signals they use
to play all the while Yoshi making these horrible sounding growling
noises but isn't biting down at all and in fact Trek is happily kicking
his rear and chewing on him (which is loves). i just have to
figure out whether to use text or voice over. I've never done
voice over so that might be fun. Or I could make text jpgs and
import them into iMovie since the text of the version I have isn't that
great for large portions of text.
The main points I want to illustrate in the video is the array of
subtle signals. In particular the pauses, the head turns, the
shaking, and the other choreography. We humans have a hard time
getting past the awful sounding growling which it turns out is just
Mon Mar 29
I had to have a lengthy medicat procedure done today so no walks for doggies.
It's now the evening and there's a dog barking and Yoshi keeps barking
back. During a lull I spied the Survivor buff that falls off of
Trek, so I put it on Yoshi. It fits him better since he has more
fur and the cool thing is that there isn't any velcro for him to try to
take off. It just put pressure around his chest. He
immediately jumped into a snuggler and isn't fussing right now.
He'll pop up and bark, but seems to settle down faster.
Sun Mar 28
Just ordinary boring walks for each dog
Sat Mar 27
Yoshi Thundershirt walk
I think it helps him when he's trying to do the right thing. When he's surprised I'm not sure it matters.
3 dog encounters
1 was Ruby a sometimes reactive dog wanting to charge after him when
she was coming out of her house. Fortunately her owner had her on
leash and promptly took her back inside. Yoshi did not react at
all while we we sitting at the corner (her house is facing that
spot). For completeness I had Yoshi do a quarter turn so he
wasn't facing them and could continue to earn treats until they had
Then we walked on and decided to walk over to the park to see if we
could see any dogs since it was the middle of the day. Flat
footed moment for me was, a dog and his person across the street lept
out of nowhere charging down the street and Yoshi started to charge
after them. I got him back with out much difficulty and they
immediately disappeared as soon as they appeared.
We went into the part to see if there were dogs and one small to medium
size one was walking with her family at us on the path. We went
into the center of the front grass and sat and watched them walk
by. Not a peep from him. Would he have done this without
the thundershirt? Probably, but he seemed to be having an easier
time of it. We were around 25 of my paced away which is just over
A good test of this would be to take him to agility class and have him
watch a little. Or take him to an ODTC match, but I'm going to be
likely out of town for that because of the S. Calif Corgi herding trial
which I'm leaning towards going now.
We went to Redwood Park. I had resolved to do just an out and
back hike but we took a turn and you could see where we'd started so
she seemed happy to do that. What was funny is that it was very
similar to a hike we had done before where I had to beg her to continue
but it was in the other direction. We went from the District
Office Parking lot Down Golden Spike, then Montrieo, then Dunn and
back. But now I realize that can't be right and there must be
another connecting trail now as Montrieo is very steep and we went on
anything like that. I'm thinking we took a cut off from Golden
Spike over to Dunn. About 2 miles which makes sense as the one
she was trying to quit on was 3 miles.
Fri Mar 26
Yoshi noon walk. uneventful save for us chasing another dog for a bit.
Trek has class tonight. She's going early to see if that class stresses her less.
Didn't get there early enough but still wandered around them
some. And Trek's thundershirt had come in and we were trying it
Post to CU_Dogs_SF
I received the dog's Thundershirt (http://thundershirt.com) in the mail
today. I was a little surprised at how flat it folds (comes in an
envelope not a box), but when I took it out I could tell it is very
well made. It's a stretch material that wraps around them and you
can fit it on them snugly (it also has straps that go over the
chest.) Also the color is much darker and prettier than it is in
Trek loves it, Yoshi keeps trying to take it off.
Trek has been having a hard time in agility class because of her sound
sensitivity and I was pretty sure I was going to have to take her out
of class. I wound up having her wear the shirt for entire class
because it doesn't get in her way. She seemed to do a lot better
tonight while wearing it, and she actually seemed to have a nice time.
When we got back Terri told me that Yoshi had been reacting a lot to
sounds and barking dogs. I put the shirt on him and while it
seems to help him relax when there's not a trigger, when there is he
reacts the same and then starts trying to chew the chest straps on the
shirt. I even held him while a dog was barking and his heart was just
hammering in his chest - poor guy - it's been a tough night for him - I
should of just taken him to class and let him sleep in the car. I wound
up taking the shirt off of him and have just given him some of his
supplement that has Valerian in it. Tomorrow I'll try him on one
of our training walks which will be a better test of it.
To see this kind of improvement in Trek I would have paid nearly $100
for, but it's only $36. So even if it's a wash for Yoshi (calming
him down is a much, much taller order) I'm still a happy camper.
I've given Yoshi 2 dropperfuls of Valerian (Richard's organics) and he
is attached to me and his is still trying to bark though he's mellowing
out because he's drugged now. Poor guy.
Thu Mar 25
3 dog pair encounters. All good. A lot of people walk their dog
to Lincoln Park down Santa Clara and Central. This is around
Came across the two American Eskimo dogs and we parallel walked with
them for a little bit them turned around and continued on our
walk. The when we were on Central we found ourselve walking right
at two small dogs. I debated crossing the street but there were
two more dogs walking toward un on that side. So we turned around
and went back to a side street and walked a house length and a house
width down and waited. and waited (small dogs not very
fast). They finally appeared and Yoshi watched them and
immediately afterward the two larger dogs walk by with out a
peep. Wow. We walk back to Central and start following them
and catch up to and parrallel with the larger dogs (Aussie and a hound
type dog). When we caught up to them Yoshi seemed more up and
excited, but not out of his mind at all.
Wed Mar 24
Relatively sedate dog training day (which is kind of nice.) I was
all ambitious about taking Yoshi to Wed night ob class, but that would
be 4 days/nights of dog training and that feels like a little much.
Trek noon dog walk. Fine. Negotiated around a leaf blower but those don't bother her much.
Yoshi walk at dusk. Also fine. Only saw one dog a mostly
black and white Aussie who wasn't paying any attention to us and even
though was just across the street immediately started walking away from
us. Yoshi sat and watched the dog but a dog like that is one of
the least likely ones that he would react to anyway. (Dogs that
look like Border Collies get a pass in his mind.) While there are
plenty of dogs out in early evening when it gets dusk they all seem to
go away and I was at a gym class in the early evening.
Tue Mar 23
Trek has class tonight so Yoshi gets the noon walk today. With
the longer days there were almost no dogs out except for a Golden
Retriever walking along with his person rolling in their garbage
carts. We stopped to watch them for a bit and the dog and Yoshi
spent a couple of moments looking right at each other without
incident. The distance was the street width plus part of the way
down his driveway.
The flyer for another CU type seminar put on by Kienan is out, so I
filled one out for Yoshi for the more advanced class and sent it
in. This one is on Sunday May 9th. I let other CU people
know that we were going and they're thinking of going too. I've
always been the secretary for the first ones so this is the first one
I've actually paid for so it seemed important to support it though I
have a feeling there won't be any problem finding 15 dogs. I can
think of at least 5.
Trek Power Paws class. The days are longer and the time has
changed and now there is plenty of daylight for the class to work on
the contact equipment (it's in a part of the field that isn't
lighted). And sound sensitive Trek just wanted to leave. I
coaxed her over a couple of teeters but it's when every one else does a
teeter and they were doing a lot of teeters this time. She
physically flinches. I've ordered a Thundershirt and it will be
interesting to try her in that situation while wearing it to see if it
At the moment it doesn't look like Trek is ever going to get used to
teeter sounds. She can be convinced to do them herself, but if
she's not in control of the booming she's miserable. Some minutes
after we moved down to the other part of the field that was just jumps
weaves and tunnels she started doing a lot better. The difference
was very dramatic and Debbie and I discussed that maybe I should just
have her do NADAC for a while. I'd been debating that for a while
and I've been resistant to it because I prefer USDAA but if she'd be
happier there then I should consider it.
I still have to decide whether to enter Bay Team. It's my club so
I should do it regardless of what we actually do, but I could actually
work the trial instead which would probably be more appreciated
actually. I suppose I could just blow the whole weekend by
entering her for one day and working the other.
But right now I'm just wallowing in disappointment. I have big dreams for Trek, but she's not interested right now. :(
To have both Yoshi and Trek wash out of agility, which is my sport, is
pretty crushing. Fortunately they are both good at other
disciplines but it still sucks.
And after looking at the Bayteam premium, I can't resist entering her
in her usual 4 classes. The first class is the Standard class, in
the morning she's usually pretty wired and fine with contacts even
though she often blows by them, and it would be really nice to get that
last leg and get out of Starters with the silly 4 paw rule, next is
either Snooker or Gamblers and Jumpers as the last class. I
usually have to scratch her out of the last class, but I can often
nurse her through a Jumpers class so there is a chance. This
would be for Saturday May 1st. I can decide whether I want to
work all day on Sunday. I actually have a certificate for one
day. The problem we're going to run into is that I can help her
through some of the classes, but she's so not ready for Masters and I
could wind us up there if I'm not careful.
WAG has two NADAC shows listed for May and June. We should try one.
Mon Mar 22
The time has changed and the days are longer so Trek is now walked at noon and Yoshi in the evening.
Trek's walk was uneventful. I haven't been stressing her much by
deliberately walking by noise as she had been not wanting to go on
walks so I'm letting her learn to like them again.
Yoshi walk. A huge milestone. that he's been working up to this week.
3 dog encounters. All successful. The first time was a
close one as Yoshi had stopped to poop and 2 dogs (Aussies) were
approaching rapidly. I was debating calling out to the owner to
stop but Yoshi finished in time an I scooped up the poop and we went
across the street, and had positioned ourselves beside a parked car
where he could see up the street. I put him in a sit and told him
to stay. The dogs appeared and I told him to stay and he boffed
and looked up for a treat. He popped up to eat his treat and the
dogs are still there so I immediately place him in a sit again and
repeated stay (he often reacts right at this point but placing him and
telling him to stay seems to make the difference.) sometimes I
have to pull up on the collar a little as a sit cue. This
repeated a few times and the dogs moved on. Those very same dogs
had stopped to talk to a neighbor so we stopped for a bit 2 houses away
to watch and then finally crossed the street and wound up walking
parallel with them (us slightly behind).
Then we saw another tri colored Aussie on Central while we were sitting
at a corner and I kept him in the sit while they walked past.
then later on Gibbons I had him sit and watch a yellow Lab pass by
after seeing them at a distance (all of these are just across the
street). A street width is just above his threshold so he has to
work hard to behave at this point but he can do it with guidance.
This is so not letting the dog make his own choices which is usually
how we prefer the dog to learn. Instead, I physically place him
in a sit and insist on him staying there, but he is rewarded for making
the right choice (looking at me after optionally looking at the
dog). It's cool to watch him think about it. He is
struggling, but herding has taught me that he is capable of this. What a good boy.
Sun Mar 21
The one problem with finding the perfect spot is that other people are
drawn to it too once they see you using it. I had less than a
minute up on the platform before other dog/handlers came up and we had
to leave (no drama). The trick with keeping a low profile is that
people don't realize what the stakes are because he looks just like any
other well behaved dog there and that if they walk at you then Yoshi
might explode (which he didn't). So we did a lot of shell game
maneuvering. We stayed on the edges and it mostly work.
Since Yoshi's trigger is dog's approaching or moving around, we were
actually able to return to the platform where two other dogs and
handlers were. He wasn't sure about the small Schnauzer, but the
dog wasn't moving so he was ok. We actually got to watch some of
Hazel's run with her dog until another dog approached us and we
retreated. As long as everything appeared under control he was ok
but it was more when someone would break away and play with their dog
that he was uncomfortable.
That was the first session I then gave him a break and worked with Trek
(detailed later), then I had him out for another session and a woman
started to play fetch with her poodle and he was not happy about
that. I was going to retreat further when I realized that if I
wanted him to be around under control dogs then I needed to go closer
not further. This is a pretty big realization. We often
think in terms of distance threshold and Leslie talks about it, but for
Yoshi there's an activity threshold. Dog's standing still do no
need the same amount of attention as dogs moving. (I think Leslie
refers to this but I don't remember exactly how.)
So emboldened we just started walking around the edges of the rings and
he did great (I think he was overwhelmed, but these are obedience dogs
so no dog was being rude to him or even engaging him, but instead
paying attention to their owners. There was one silent scary
moment when a little white dog appeared before him and I tackled him
right as he stiffened. Tasha and another ring steward got to see
me grab him and hold him down which must have been funny as his face
was jammed into the ground. This is not the first time that he
and I have gotten into a silent strange wrestling match with him about
a small dog and the owner is never aware of what drama is being averted
on their dog's behalf.
Then we walked on and after some debate I decided to walk him down a
crowed aisle where we have to maneuver around dogs and handlers.
This was quite a test for him and he did great. If a dog was
approaching (moving) then I stopped him over to the side and covered
his eyes while the dog passed. CU dog owner Ann B was there and
said hello to Yoshi and gave him some treats which he was thrilled
about. He was panting, but not jumpy at all. He seemed to
know that while not thrilled, he was ok. We were then able to
exit that area without any drama and then make our way back to the car
(cutting through the Amphitheater area works well. Parking way
over on the edge of lot K (as close to lot J as I could get and then
approaching via the Art and Education building worked very well.
So Yoshi is ready to go back to class. I just have to be willing
to spend the time. It's a bummer as he'll never show in obedience
and can only do Rally Novice but I can take him to matches and just not
let him off lead, and the recalls can be one on a line.
This was all about: Do you like this? Is this something you would
enjoy? She certainly liked how much calmer it was. She
didn't like rattling xpens, but that's everywhere. she's unsure
about all the dogs but sees that they're not going to eat her so that
helps a lot. I think we have a winner if I'm willing to do
it. Sits and Downs were beside a fountain which she was very,
very interested in I let her see them, but didn't let her
Yoshi walk. On Central saw a Shar Pei on the other side of the
street. I made him sit and hovered over him which he grumbled a
little looks more and then looked back at me - YES! This entire
time the other dog is starting at him but he's not paying too much
attention now, He did look back a couple of times but never
locked on. Once the dog was behind a parked car we moved
on. I'm back to using his name before most commands as that gets
his attention. Yoshi Sit works better than Sit. Now if he's
stopped and listening to me then I can just say the word.
Trek walk. Uneventful.
Sat Mar 20
Trek was out of eye medication so Yoshi and I went down to pick it
up. I went into the office without Yoshi to see if he could come
in to say hi and Diana said he could. In the waiting room, I saw
what was clearly a reactive JRT. Oh this should be
interesting. I waited to see if the JRT would go into an exam
room but he hadn't so we went in and when JRT exploded I swiftly
dragged Yoshi over to behind the counter and Diana popped a treat in
his mouth. Yoshi never got a chance to react which was perfect
esp since the JRT didn't stop barking for a long time.
Later I went over to help mark rings for the ODTC obedience match
tomorrow. Yoshi hung out in the car, Until we were done and then
he got to hang out with Patricia and I. He did great with one big
exception that he lept out of my arms to charge a member's Bull Dog who
had just reappeared. I still had the leash and yanked him back
hard and made him sit and watch the dog. Of course he did fine
after that. Liz Ann came over to chat and say hi to him and let
me know that she wanted to take her GSD out of her van. I backed
Yoshi off some so we could watch and he did great. It was in a
parking lot with angled mostly empty parking lot and we were one row
over in distance. Later on I took Yoshi over to where Liz Ann and
her dog were working and let them directly approach a sitted Yoshi and
he did great. They turned around when they got about 20' away.
Since I was just mentioning this and I'm mentioned it here
before. Yoshi has more self control than he wants to admit
to. There have been times when he's screaming at a dog and I'm
holding him back. He has had every opportunity to bite me out of
frustration or redirected aggression and he never has. This tells
me that some neurons besides Get That Dog are firing.
I joked with Lori that he may start his obedience career when he's 10
and she says it wouldn't be the first time. I could take hime to
matches and tie him down for sits and downs or stay with him.
I spent a lot of time scoping out the grounds for places that
Yoshi could watch without getting pinned in. I think we're going
to approach from the Arts and Education building which is parking lot J
instead of the more usual lot K. That will place us a bit higher
up so we can see better. I think I'll take Trek too since I bould
shade cloth so I can car crate them. Things start off at 8:30
tomorrow at CSU Hayward.
Fri Mar 19
Class with Lori. Took Trek for the Novice class then went home and got Yoshi and took him to the Utility class.
I'm quite happy with both of them and very proud of how well Yoshi did after not going for a while.
It's hard to tell if Trek is enjoying herself. She likes the work
and definitely the treats, but it's a slightly noisy environment and
there was one brief doggy disagreement that she didn't care for at all
even though she was across the room, and if was just two dogs growling
at each other
Things we worked on were heeling head position. Step treat, step
treat, then next time two steps treat, two more steps treat. Her
heeling is a little better than that so she she didn't know what to
think, so she was pretty rumped out trying to get the food. I
don't know if the exercise helped her or not. I think if I go
faster it might help. Lori says there is no requirement that the
dog look at you while heeling. I think having the dog looking at
you is artificial but if she isn't looking at me she'll start sniffing
the ground so it's probably better to go with attention.
She still thinks firgure 8 heeling around other dogs is weird and she
didn't want to go past the PWD though she was fine with little Spencer
the CKCS. Her fronts are good. Lori suggested I use a cone
for her to go around for finish as I have to encourage her to really
swing deeply back to get lined up correctly.
We would take breaks playing rabbit fur toy fetch which she liked.
My working on Trek's Stand has paid off and she can now reliably do
it. My signal is now a fist in front of her nose and i also help
her with my left hand on her tummy. I also place her to make sure
she's set and she understands that means don't move. She will
sometimes pick up her right foot if I come too close to her and Lori
said that's only 1/2 a point off and I actually don't have to be that
close to her laterally when returning and that it's more important to
have my left leg in line with her right ear.
Lori went over that you lose your leash part of the way through the
exercises and that that can be a way that dogs lose focus so we
practiced taking off the leash with the left hand while they watch your
right hand that you are holding up.
Yoshi. There were only 3 other dogs in class and he was
awesome. The other dogs where a standard poodle and a britany and
a GSD who was mostly just observing. With only 3 dogs working he
was able to concentrate. His heeling was great and he knows his
down signal very well and doing ok on the sit signal. His Stand
is also good. And he is retrieving the rabbit fur toy.
He'll even sit briefly with it in his mouth.
Lori suggested that I teach him to rest his head in my hand and then
work to having him hold a toy in his mouth while resting his chin on my
hand. this would be cute but I'm not sure how to transition it to
my standing up and not holding his chin but it does teach him to hold a
position which has merit.
Reaction wise there were only two. He barked when Lori's Phoenix
barked and he reacted pretty strongly when the GSD came back into the
room after leaving for a little while. Which is pretty
predictable and i should have been watching for it. He was fine
with working around all the dogs even when they approached by accident
though we did suggest they not get too close.
I'm considering starting to bring them both to the Wed night class. Each dog on alternating weeks.
Trek Agility class
I'm so slow. I'm finally realizing that the reason she's been
less than motivated at class is that she hates that class - mostly
likely due to the way that another student talks very excitedly to his
dog (she's such a sensitive flower). Last week we were up in the
field by ourselves and she was fine until he showed up and then she
shut down. He's not even interacting with her, but it must be his
tone of voice. Of course his dog just happily tunes him
out. I can try to keep her away from him, but I fear that I'm
going to have to pull her out of that class and move her to privates
and keep the Power Paws class as her group class (so she's still
exposed to some hubbub) which she likes when they're not doing
contacts. The advantage of moving her to privates is that then
Yoshi gets to come too.
Thu Mar 18
Average sort of day. Both dog walks went well.
Wed Mar 17
Much of the same this week.
Having more luck with insisting he sit for dogs.
Today we didn't have any dogs pass us but we caught up to a couple who
turned off just as we caught up. They did stop a short distance
away and Yoshi was able to calmly watch them across Central and the
depth of a front lawn.
I ordered him a herding flag and it came in today. Looks like i could help park a 747 now too.
So the time has changed and my days are longer. But I like to go
to a gym class at 5:30. Then I have the option of taking one of
them to ob class (haven't done it for a while now), or entertain Trek
in some other way.
So this time I was tired from class and we wanted to work on the dryer
later, so I decided to take her to the dog park to see if i could get
her interested in fetch. Or just in the environment at all.
It worked much better than expected though i didn't get the chance to
stand around much. There were some dogs that she played with a
little and I could get her to fetch some until another dog wanted it so
i had to be careful about that, but what worked the best was to just
run around with her and practice my higher happy voice which is tough
for me as Yoshi needs a lower voice and my natural voice is
lower. Fortunately i don't have to use a high squeaky voice just
a softer excited voice and we would then run around the small dog
park. So no real rest for me but it gave us some great running
around practice and i got to experiment with what tones work
best. And went we were further away from the other dogs we could
play fetch for a little while. Given that she's looking put upon
when i take her there or just eating everything, it went quite well.
Sun Mar 14
Yoshi (and Trek) Herding
So Yoshi go to go (ok return) to another place to do herding and he did
great. Well he was in a round pen and wasn't stopping well for me,
but then the instructor got in there and suddenly he started
stopping. She popped him once on the nose with a flag and the
every time she raised it then he would immediately stop. She says
I just wind up nagging him with my repeating stops and sits and it
appears she's right and he was great for her. Though he seems to
have filed her under the crazy person which is the same completely unfair category he did
with his previous instructor. It's a fine line between getting
him to keep his head around stock, or just quitting in a huff, or being
too pushy like he is with me. He does seem to respect the flag so
I'm ordering him one from bordercollies.com
He also go to be put on geese seriously for the first time and he did
great. He totally was puzzled by them and kept his distance but
after a few sessions he should be just fine. Several of us are
wondering if we should have made him a goose dog much earlier. I
don't know as you have to have a high degree of control to work geese
well (directions -go by and away - are critical if you want to get them
into a pen - watch an AHBA trial someday).
I also had Trek in the round pen and she briefly engaged with the
sheep. Possibly enough to get the first AHBA herding tested title
HCT (Herding Capability Tested) which is 4 times back and forth with
the sheep in a small pen. Have to see if she's actually
interested or just humoring me. Actually even if she was just
humoring me she could get an HCT.
Thu Mar 11
So these past few weeks, i've been working with Yoshi on his down on
recall and I can mostly get it in the yard, but around sheep it's
difficult. Around the slower goats it works (with goats it's a
stop). Trouble is that all of his other training has to do with a
good recall and being close to me. It's pretty inherit in him to
come back to me and to have him not do that is a tough one but if I
want him to continue herding it's pretty imperative.
Did some work in the yard with him on remote down. He can't help
but take three steps to me and then down, but he does usually
down. It's funny he doesn't seem to hear on the first time or his
response is slow (always has been some). Trek of course does it
right away though there was one exception. I had them both in a
down and told them to sit and it was Yoshi who sat. Then I was
able to tell him to down again.
Yoshi walk. One dog but an important one. A dog so teeny
that I wasn't sure it was a dog for a bit. They were coming right
towards us on Central so we just crossed the street. Central is a
relatively wide street for Alameda so we didn't retreat further.
I had him sit and stay with me hoovering right over him with a short
leash. the dog is so small he's engaging with me at first so we
play sit and treat a few times. Then while he's on a sit he sees
the dog. I repeat stay and I'm right over him. He rumbles a
growl but doesn't move and then looks up at me. Good dog have a
goody. I have him sit again as the dog is still just across the
street and Yoshi does with some hesitation (I helped put him
there.) This time he just reengaged with out even worrying about
the dog. Cool. Phew.
He also walked right past a squirrel stationary on the ground. If
they're not in the trees or running he doesn't seem to care.
Yoshi has a herding lesson from another instructor who doesn't want to
be mentioned. This is on sheep and I am concerned but determined
to take it very slow. She has a round pen and I anticipate
spending most of our time there.
Tue Mar 9
I am reeling. It's amazing to me that one person can completely screw
one's plans up.
One of the managers at Willowside Ranch has decided that Yoshi and 4
Cattledogs are too rough on the stock and doesn't want them to come
back. One of the Cattledogs bit a sheep and so they all got banned
which seems unfair to them.
During a session, we had a lighter, recalcitrant sheep that we
removed after she hit the fence at low speed Removing that sheep
helped. I don't think the manager likes how revved up Yoshi gets
and how I have to argue with him (Yoshi) to make him stop. And of
course it is the manager's job to protect the stock, but this is a
training facility and all is not going to go smoothly.
It totally smacks of breed prejudice which I don't normally see, but hear
about, and I'm really not sure what to do. Whether to keep training or
just stop and teach him how to track. I'm so bummed as I really wanted
to make him a goat dog and ironically the regular school sheep will be
back next week. It makes me wonder if I hadn't done anything until the
regular school sheep were back if we'd have been better off.
If the money wasn't such an issue I'd take him down to S. Calif for the
trial anyway and just practice there. But I don't think I want the
stress and the $100/night hotel costs. And he probably doesn't want the
stress of unfamiliar sheep either.
I just don't know what to do. I could beg HTrainer2 to let him come back to
her place or do a long trip out to Nola Jones in Pleasant Grove or there's Bob Euwing in Hollister, or just
go back to Obedience and Rally training which is so much easier. When
they become available I can put him in a Nosework class and see how he
does with that and then if I want to spend as much time as herding takes
I can sign him up to learn tracking if Debbie Best is still teaching it
- I'm sure the rains have really messed with their schedule. They can
only do it until the foxtails come out and then they have to move to a park.
I'm just trying to figure out what makes him happy. Having and
maintaining order in his life seems to be paramont but herding is pretty
stressful for him even though it's what he is wired to do.
I think we'll wait a little while and them ask again if he can work with
the goats. He's never hurt a goat.
Trek Agility Class
Hard as it was to concentrate, I took Trek to Power Paws for a
class. It was good to have something else to focus on besides
It's light enough now for the first part of class that we did courses
with contacts. It was cold and the wind was blowing so Trek was
revved and didn't have any contact issues for the first run and then
started doing her avoidance behavior on the second run and didn't even
leave the line on the 3rd, so grass is not the magic answer though it
The rest of the class was on front and rear cross drills mostly with
jumps and tunnels with occasional weavepoles tossed in. Her
enthusiasm would vary but given that she was most enthusiastic at the
start line I clearly need to play or treat her more on course.
Post to frapfest and coltsrunkids
I am reeling. One of the managers at the place Yoshi trains decided
that Yoshi (and all 4 of the Cattledogs) were too rough on the stock
and that he can't train there anymore - he was being too rough on one
sheep but seemed ok when we took that sheep out. My trainer tried to
negotiate with the manager (what if she did the handling? what if we
only worked on goats?) but he wasn't having any part of it. Apparently
this guy is a sheep guy and not really a dog person though he has
dogs. The people who are really shafted are the Cattledog people.
Apparently one of them bit a sheep, so they all got banned. I haven't
run into such intense breed prejudice before.
I am bummed as I was hoping to turn him into a goat dog since he seems
to do so well with them, and no one else around here has goats. I'm
going to wait a little while and then ask again.
I think I'm going to pass on the Southern Calif Corgi trial which I am sad about, but not going saves me a whole bunch of money.
The other bummer is that the heavier sheep he is used to have weaned
their babies and will be back instead of the recalcitrant sheep we have
now. I do wonder what would have happened if we'd just waited for the
steadier sheep to come back.
Mon Mar 8
Did a lot of relaxation protocol exercises with them in crates (lots of
knocking on and unlocking of doors) before Cathy came over. When
she came they hardly reacted at all but were happy to see her.
Sun Mar 7
Yoshi walk. It's the afternoon and lots of dogs are out
walking.at least 5 dog sightings one of them repeated. Every
sinble time he was asked to do a sit-stay and over time his compliance
improved. Not surprisingly the first time (and second) was him
sitting for a second and then leaping up to try to charge the dog and
me repositioning him (polite term). But over time he started to
sort of get what was expected and at least to some extent go over the
"oh you can't possibly mean that now - especially when there's a DOG
across the street." But he actually did kinda sort of start to
get it. Type of dog was all over the place, and he actually
started to get it when a LWFD was across the street which is usually
when he's at his worst.
Trek walk. Went fine except that turn for home on Gibbons where she
starts to try to drag me. I think I'm going to have to vary the
route for her. Yoshi likes the routine but I'm tiried of the last
of my walk with Trek being a don't drag me conversation. Not to
mention I do want it to be good exercise for her without my arm coming
I was actually annoyed at Trek as I went to walk her first but she went
and hid in her crate and wouldn't come out so I took Yoshi instead
which turned out to be great. I could have bribed her out but
decided that my point was better made taking Yoshi first. Terri
though that she thought it was close to dinner time, but funny that she
was willing to come with me after Yoshi got back and still before
Trying to decide how much I regret deciding not to take Yoshi to S.
Calif. It's a bummer but I don't think it makes him happy.
He's passionate about herding, but he's fearful about it and he really
don't know how to handle himself just yet, and skittish sheep really
stress him. If I were guaranteed mellow sheep then maybe but
there never are guarantees in herding. Besides it means I save a
few hundred dollars in travel costs.
Sat Mar 6
Our usual sheep have been on Mom duty and haven't been available so we
now have medium sheep and things didn't go well. He actually
crashed one into a fence (relatively low speed but still not
good.) And he's just not working very well and not listening and
seems stressed out. My plan was to have HTrainer3 work with him but
he didn't want to so I had to be out there also. His anxiety
level seems to match the sheep's. So for his second run we put
him on goats and he was fine. Kinda pooped out at the end but
before that wore behind them (running back and forth at the back to
move them along), he stopped when asked. We worked on his outrun
and when I tried to push him out he would stop, but I must have been pushing
on his head too much.
His anxiety seems to match the stock's. So I'm thinking that we
should bail on the Corgi trial and just do goats for a while (could
even compete in AHBA on goats) and then maybe intro him to geese or
ducks. He's been afraid of geese in the past so I may push for
the ducks that we had Trek on as I think they would be perfect even if
they don't herd as well as the ranch geese apparently.
Those on corgiherders say that if he's on goats too much he'll learn
some bad habits about crowding but he does that already. I'm
thinking I'd like him to learn some confidence first. Cindy T. says
that sometimes they use goats for tests in Az as their sheep are too
light. Given that he's kind of a stress puppy I'm not sure if
he'll ever be able to work lighter sheep and that is starting to sound
fine to me - I just want him to be happy and maybe just being a goat
dog is fine. Till one takes a good whack at him. Then he
may not like it so much. One gave him a glancing blow but he
appears to have recovered about that. They are at least more his
HTrainer3 doesn't want him to roll in the pasture anymore. She wants
him to think that he's only here to work. I think he does that
only from stress but ok.
Fri Mar 5
The weather gods appear to be granting us a reprieve. Trek's class and Yoshi's lesson might not be rained out this time.
I am concerned that Yoshi is not getting enough sheep time before his
PT. Good thing we've already done the JHD so I know we can do it
when I don't forget what I'm doing. i have to remember to only go
part of the way to te sheep, then I can help him with staying further
out which keeps them from splitting up.
Yoshi Walk. Working entirely on sit and stay when there's a dog
passing. Saw one dog but it went much better than I
expected. On Court approaching Santa Clara and we were withint
1/2 of a house length of the corner when I saw the dog about to cross
in front of us but across the street. i told Yoshi to sit and
stay and then he say the dog crossing in front of him (small to med
sized thin black dog moving at average speed.) He grumbled but
that was it and didn't move. Good boy. Have a goodie.
We did sit and stay semi randomly during the rest of the walk so it
doesn't become a predictor of a dog. Also sit and stayed for a
woman to pass with a large package and that was fine.
I'm hoping Trek has class tonight. Holding steady so far.
The weather held. I got Trek out on the upper field and did a
couple of dog walks and an A-Frame and some weaves and a few
tunnels. Then back on the lower field she did a teeter. For
all of them I made it plainly obvious that if she did them she'd get
the treat I was holding. She seemed happy to do them all.
Then in class she hesitated at the teeter and I stood there holding the
treat. She thought about it and then did it and earned her treat.
It's funny, by herself she's fine, but when others show up and the
comotion increases, she starts to stress. When the very animated
Steve and Charlie show up she starts to shake (this is on the lower
field). I picked her up and let her hide in my lap behind
Rachelle over on the side, and she started to relax. When we move
up to the upper field she does ok but tries to poop out on the last run
and wants to look for treats. I pinch her but and that actually
wakes her up and she finishes the course. It's possible that she
gets more distracted at Sharon's because there are more things on the
ground than at Power Paw's grass field. Don't know.
Thu Mar 4
Yoshi Walk. Beautiful break in the weather and no dogs! Hmphf. Hardly any people
Various places put him on a stay while I walked around him. He's
volunteering down even though I mostly ask for sit.
Finally say someone carry a package and another with an umbrella and he
sat and stayed while they went by (across the street.)
Took both dogs in the yard and had them both do down stays while I
walked and jogged back and forth. Trek broke when i waved my arms and
also gets restless over 30 seconds, but otherwise they did well but the
squirrels weren't around either. sigh.
So without triggers they both have pretty good stays. I guess that's a
start. I'm encouraged that Yoshi's stays are actually better than
Trek's but her response time is better to a cue. He has so very much
the A.D.D. "Oh you were talking to me?" thing going. When he focuses
he's great, but anything that moves captures his attention. He's
actually more OCD really as he will chase shadows if I let him.
As an alternative to a Thundershirt Debbie suggested a pack. It's
kinda hilarious to think of Yoshi with a pack but they do make his size
so it's possible and it might give him the feeling that he is working.
The url is here:
We could also get it at REI.
i also have Cali's screaming pink life vest that I could put on him to
see how he does with the sensation, but there's no way I'm walking
around the neighborhood with him wearing it unless it's at night.
I worry about what people would think of a Corgi carrying a pack
especially since my dogs are really small. Maybe I should make
him carry his poop.
Ok that was not the right approach. I took her down to Santa
Clara and Broadway which is a relatively busy intersection for Alameda
while still being two lane roads. My thought was not even to go
down Broadway like we did before (and she thought we'd be going down it
as she started down it), but instead to go there and eat yummy
treats. She was happy to eat the treats(and chomp on my fingers),
but it did nothing to reduce her anxiety and she dragged me all the way
back home to the point that I deliberately overshot and went home a
different way. Near the end she wash[t draging me quite so much
but it took forever as I was constantly calling her back. On the
block going back to the house she was able to work on some heeling but
you could tell she was still stressed.
When we got back home i put their T-shirt on her and took her out just
for a bit. It may help a little but I really can't be sure.
Measured both dogs chest for a Thundershirt and they're both 19".
Both a small and a medium are listed as in their range so I wrote them
asking what they thought best for a Corgi. I'm thinking medium.
Wed Mar 3
I was asking CU_Dogs_SF about the Thundershirt that you can get from Karen Pryor's site which helps dogs feel more comfortable
And another poster asked if I'd tried a snug shirt and I realized I
haven't used on for a while except to keep Trek warm at agility.
So for Yoshi's walk I put the shirt on him and off we went. We
saw one dog and his behavior was about the same. Engaged with me
until the dogs motion triggered a response from him to want to charge
the dog. I wound up correcting him for it (leash pops), but I'm
not sure if it does any good.
I think I need to work pretty exclusively on Stay. I have tried
watch and leave it with mixed results but i need him to stay when I
tell him to and he knows it but just not under stress except for
sheep. With sheep he's gotten to the point where I can put him in
a stay and walk around to the sheep and he'll stay there. But
when the sheep are moving is where things don't work so well.
Wonder if I'll get a stay with dogs or sheep first.
Tue Mar 2
Early in the walk we were surprised by a sudden sighting of a GSD
(whose owner turned around and went the other way when Y started
Then we didn't have quite enough time to set up for a dog running at
us. When I saw that they were running right at us, we were able
to turn around and walk away from them and got around a corner but i
only went a house length and that's not really enough space for a
running dog, so we argue about that too.
Then after all that frustration, we saw two large dogs crossing his
path at a distance is fine. The distance was about a street width
and over two house widths.
Trek walk. Took her down 1 block of Broadway and she was very
unhappy about that. Think her level is High St. Both
streets should be about the same but Broadway is more frenetic for some
Mon Mar 1
Went over to the school but only saw one dog. Let him see the dog
from 1/2 a block no problem. That dog stops and we approach and
hid behind a parked car. while the dog is still stopped I try
passing the dog but then that dog starts moving (not at us) and Yoshi
starts barking, not horribly but enough to where I've giving him leash
pops and saying leave it to keep moving.
This was frustrating. So we go on a normal walk and practice
downing at the corners instead of sitting. I'm not sure if it's
too much to ask for a down to something he wants to charge but it's
Also worked on down at a distance in the yard and he really wants to
come closer first. Probably should do sits at a distance also as
i don't think he gets that either. Trek does and when she's out
there too she's always the first one to do it - just to annoy me I'm
Trek walk. Took her over to High St. with not that much dragging
though she certainly wanted to turn off sooner rather than go on the
slightly busy street. I should probably start walking her down
Broadway too, and routinely take her over to Park St. Maybe even
over to Dog Bone Alley to get treats and attention. She's been to
Park St Faires before and thought they were a little much but coped
(she got carried for a lot of it.)
Cathy came over for our DVD gathering
I had Yoshi on a leash and I insisted he sit while she came in.
He was a bit incredulous, but he knows Cathy so I knew he could
cope. I had to reposition him 2-3 times (yes, really you have to sit),
but he was able to hold it while she came closer and I then released
him to go say hi to her. I really liked that as it's a relatively
non-stressful way he can practice self control.
Archive - Go to:
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