Yoshi Training Diary - May 2005

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Sun May 29
Finally finally built the chute.  Since I had already purchased the fabric, all I had to do was cut out the bottom of this utility trash can that I found alside the highway.  (Found Object Agility).  Sunny day today so I got out the jigsaw and with in 5 minutes I had the bottom cut out.  The fabric fit on fine even bunched up to start with and I just used cinder blocks to keep it from rolling around.

He of course, was hesticant to go in this thing even with me tossing good treats in it so I resorted to the mind games that I used when originally teaching the tunnel.  I'm talking about that mild psychological compulsion of putting a ex-pen around the opening of the chute and putting junior in the ex-pen.  If they want out of the ex-pen then they have to go through the chute/tunnel.  Continuing the theme that he does a lot better once he understands what's expected of him (without dragging him which he resists), he promptly went through it.  We did it again and then added a little of the fabric dangling down, some hesitation at first then ok, and then I opened up the ex-pen on one side and we did it that way a couple of times and then quit.  Good dog.

Earlier did some full size teeters with me controlling the boards decent and some (still short) weavepoles with wires with a short leash guiding him (but not pulling).  Using the short poles keeps the leash from getting tangled up.

Sat May 28
Maddy Jennie's lab is staying with us for a week.  She's got to be the lowest maintenance dog there is.  She's so sweet and the only thing that stresses her is cameras flashlights and she's not thrilled about the dremmel for doing her nails, but will put up with it.

Did some training with Yoshi in the morning.  Teeter, 2 jumps, weaves, and the table.  The teeter is set at full height and is stressing him some, but treats and guidance and my controlling the board some are helping a lot.  He very much needs guidance on the weaves

I got Friday mornings off for a couple of months so he can attend Sharon Freilich's beginner class.  This should be interesting and will start June 10 after I get back from Shasta.

I need to finish that chute this weekend.

Sat May 21
Yoshi and I had a private lesson with my old obedience instructor (Lori
Drouin if you're a Front and Finish reader you may recognize her name)
who comes to this area once a month and it was wonderful as we worked on
his reactivity and that helped Basics are just to keep doing what we're
doing: putting my body in between him and the other dog and then asking
for attention - he's been getting a lot better. She thinks that he'll
be an awesome dog but that it may not happen till he's 3 years old. We
then got to practice a lot more as we stayed and watched the 2 hour
novice class she held as I recognized a lot of the handlers, so I knew
that even though the dogs were new that the handlers were not which is a
great teaching environment for him.

We then went to nearby Point Isabel Dog Park which is a wonderful dog
park right on the bay. There's an inlet where the water is fairly calm
and we went down the rocks to the water. He's kinda avoids water in
puddles and was fairly ambivalent about the ocean when he saw it, so I
thought he'd just go to the water's edge and no further. My interest
was peaked when he put his toes in an inch of water, which he then
backed away from, but then climbed up on a nearby rock and I could see
wheels turning in his head, but out of curiosity I decided not to
intervene. Even though I was watching I was still surprised when with
little hesitation, he JUMPED in (like a water dog), and then started to
swim with out panic. He swam out in a small circle and then came out.
Not wanting to push things, I encouraged him to go back up the
embankment and do other on land pursuits (there were labradors that
needed herding) while I pondered what I just saw.

Sat May 14
Put away the contact trainer and got out the jumps.  So now it's jumps, weaves and the table.
He still will charge for the table (he'll break out of the poles to go to the table if he's weaving towards it), I should put it away but I'm a softy at heart sometimes and it's good down practice which he badly needs.  Though I will put more distance in between the two obstacles.

Practiced sit stay and release over the jump.  He ran around it once so I started being a bit more careful about my and his body positions.

[from email - good summary of his progress]
Yoshi has been introduced to all the obstacles except a full size chute that I haven't built yet and I'm running out of things I can teach him in the backyard.
He does 6 weave poles with guides
Knows how to go stand on a mousepad target from a distance.
Does 2o/2o dogwalk contacts (best when him mousepad is there.)
Volunteers 2o/2o contacts on the A-Frame side of the contact trainer though I will likely do running contacts on that.
The Table is his favorite obstacle (go figure)
Leary of some tunnels
Commands: Close, Side, Left, Right, Sit, Down, Front, Here, among others.

(Forgot to mention this to Jim)
Barks at some dogs on leash whether or not he is on leash (still pondering that one)
Has a talent for picking out the most inappropriate dog around to posture at (likely fear based)
Knows "watch me" which helps with the above
Is clicker trained
Is still very fast in play
Is finally starting to grow up (a little)
Is adapting surprisingly well to being an only dog
Is surprisingly soft for a Corgi, and after dealing with Ms. Hard-Head Cali this is quite the challenge for me and I find it more useful to think of him as a Sheltie than a Corgi.
I've stuck with your advice and kept the training sessions short.

Thur May 12
In the morning, did some brief on leash work with the dogwalk side of the contact trainer and the weave poles.

In complete contrast to yesterday, I took him to the dog park and he was fine.
While he was wearing his gentle leader I walked him all around the outside of the park fence and he seemed quite relaxed even when we had to pass another dog.  I was prepared to do another circuit, but he seemed ok and I recognized Oliver who is a medium-large that he enjoys playing with, so we went in and after taking off the gentle leader he had a marvelous time playing. 

He had only one instance (well 2, but that dog was on the other side of the fence) where he went racing up barking at the most inappropriate dog in the park.  This time it was a large fighting breed or rotti on leash with a prong collar.  Fortunately Yoshi came right back with one call of "Yoshi, bad idea!" (which amused the owner of the other dog.)

Wed May 11
Took him running for a bit over at Bay Farm.  He's still barking and lunging at dogs on the path.  It seems to be mostly when his field of vision is restricted or the number of escape routes are limited (like on the street sidewalk.)

Tues May 10
Every so often one has the Duh moments.  For some reason, it occurred to me to try Yoshi on leash with the obstacles (last night or this morning).  He was much better!  It's like he needed the direction that a leash provides or something.  No racing off to the table as he didn't have that option and he wasn't fighting to do that either.  Did a couple of dogwalks fine and the teeter board (on the ground).

This morning I got the weave poles back out and put short poles on them and guides only on 4 of the poles.  Went through on leash and he did ok even with the two that didn't have guides on them (though needed some direction with the leash at first.  Did it about 3 times and then quit.

Class is tonight.  We only have 3 or so left so I have to decide whether to reenroll him.  I think so as he seems to do better and better each time, and he won't start agility class until June or so.

I'm thinking that I want to start agility class with him in June after I get back from Shasta.

Mon May 9
Target work indoors.

Sun May 8
I've been doing a fair bit of incidental work with him on the basics like sit, down, stay and also left right, touch, close, side.

Did some work on the obstacles.  He's good for a few times and them loses enthusiasm.  He's better when he knows exactly what his job is so it's likely a confidence issue (at least to some degree).  If I put his target down after the dog walk he's great.  The A-Frame I don't have a target for yet so he seems to get confused.  It also seems to confuse him to have a running A-Frame but 2o/2off for the dogwalk.  Given that I don't have a complete criteria in my mind as to what I want it to look like that's not surprising.  I'm hoping to have the target far enough after the A-Frame that he's completely off of it before standing on the target, but he's trying to do 2o/2off and I'm wondering if I should just go with that for now so as to not confuse him.

Wonder if this means that I should have completely separate dogwalks and A-Frames.  I think I need to pay Cali's bills first. :)

Fri May 6
I was home most of the day to be with a plumber who was doing semi major work on the house.

Yoshi was given the honor of the first shower in the working shower and a drain that actually drains.  I don't think he appreciated it, but he was generally fine with the bath.

He's still wet so time for the hair drier and a good combing.  While not thrilled with it, he didn't freak out either, probably because he's used to the dremel - which reminds me that I need to do his nails.  I should take photos of him since it's not often that he's this clean (dirt doesn't fall off of him quite as readily as it does off the average corgi, in particular his paws.)

[after that]
Oh my, he wants to work!  Stop the presses!  I had given him a couple of Charlie Bear treats for the hair dryer and he was nearly prancing around me.  Er, what are you doing - channeling Cali?  Ok lets go with it.  Got his mouse pad target out and he was nearly running to it to stand on it to get his click (and treat).  I'm call him back to me with "here" and then send him again with a slowmotion underhanded pitching motion to the target and he'd run back over to it.  Did that a few times then out of the blue I asked him to "down" and he plotzed right down with enthusiasm. (Is this the same dog?).  Worked up to a stay for about 20 seconds.  Also did some quick work on "stand"

We're going to be spreading most of Cali's ashes tomorrow and I'm dreading it to some extent (while at the same time looking towards getting some closure.)  I think we're going to take Yoshi with us.  At first I was thinking that I just wanted it to be Cali's time, but he's never seen Fort Funston or the ocean so it's time. (This is particularly silly of me since I've been routinely going to the coast to train for climbing.)

Thur May 5
Discovered quite by accident (I think) that he knows "paw" (shake hands).  Maybe Elizabeth's kids taught him that one as I don't remember doing so.

[copied from Cali's diary]
Elizabeth and I were talking that [Yoshi] might do really well as an only dog.  I expected him to be at a complete loss, but he seems to be doing fine.  While he's still very much worried about other dogs and barks and lungs on occasion (and only started doing this when Cali started to get ill) he seems to be willing to stop and look at me instead.  His obedience instructor (also named Elizabeth) was saying how the "watch me" routine with some dogs takes on a religious ferver/intensity as they believe that while they are watching their owner, they can't be hurt.  This is to the point that they're willing to screen out other input (like the smell of a cat or another dog sniffing them) just to look at their owner.  While he may never have the STARE that Cali had (that I oh so much miss) he is learning that it pays to look at me.

Tues May 3
Class.  He's improving. Seems to be worrying less though still wants to bark when he first sees a dog.  Then he's fine. Me still "driving."

Go to:

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 - Sept  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - July  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - June  2004
Yoshi Training Diary - M ay  2004
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