Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2010

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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

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.

Yoshi Walk
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 show.

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 left.
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 60'.

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.

Trek hike.
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 out.

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 the photos

First impressions
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 6:30pm

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 helps.

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.

Trek session.
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 jump in.

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 Yoshi's situation.

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 helps.

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 off.

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 dinner.

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
Yoshi herding
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 size.

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.

Trek class.
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 either.
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.

Trek walk.
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
Yoshi walk
Frustrating day.
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 objecting.
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 reason.

Mon Mar 1
Yoshi walk
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 worth practicing.

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 sure.

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:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2010
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2010

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Nov 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Oct 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Sep 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Aug 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jul 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - May 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Apr 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2009
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2009

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

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

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Sep 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - July 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - June 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Feb 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Jan 2006

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Sept 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jul 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jun 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Feb 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jan  2005

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Sep 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - July 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Jun 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2004

Yoshi Main Page
Frap Home Page