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
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
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
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
[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
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
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.)
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
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2005
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