Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - May 2009

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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

Sun May 31
Yoshi Walk
Saw 2 dogs but black labs one was quite close (just across a small residential street, but sitting with his/her people and Yoshi did great.  The other one was moving and bouncier though further away, but Yoshi lept up a couple of times growling. It's pretty funny when people make [cute in this case] assumptions and the resulting side conversations with  one's dog it prompts.  I've wrestled him into a sit twice and he's holding it together and the other owner (with some other folks) have noticed. "Aww, he's learning, what a good boy! What a good boy"

To which I privately say to Yoshi "Learning my a*s. You Stay."
To them:   I just smile and nod.

I've seen a lot of comedies like that. I should look for the hidden camera.

Trek walk
I put the Gentle Leader on her and while she wasn't happy about it she didn't perpetrate any drama like throwing her face onto the lawn or on strangers legs, that both Yoshi and Cali did when they wore it.  She just walked like a normal dog and stopped pulling pretty quickly.  One thing I did different was use the regular leather 6 foot leash and didn't put it around my arm but just over my wrist which meant I didn't have a hand free (essential for Yoshi, not so much with her) but that was fine and I had an extra foot of leash which meant that she and I could walk quickly without her dragging me.  I should try the more usual leash and martingale collar with it just over my wrist and see if that makes a difference.  I can bring the GL with me and put it on her if need be.

Sat May 30
Trek Walk
So I took her on a different walk just to see something different and to maybe keep her from dragging me home (it she keeps doing so she's going in a Gentle Leader).  So I took her to the nearby Lincoln park and that was probably a bit too much maybe.  The thing that stressed her out the most was the active handball court. She wasn't thrilled about the occasional baseball hit or the kids voices but it's mostly the percussive sound.  Now I have to figure out how to work on it.  The the last block home she tried to drag me and it took forever as I would stop each time.  Then I just started calling her name and we pretty much heeled home.

At home I put a drum solo and cranked the subwoofer where I could definitely feel the beats and she stayed comfortably curled up under Terri's chair, which like her crate is her safe zone  (I even later made sounds on a mandolin and a drum and she was ok - iffy but ok.  After telling Terri that she had to come with us to agility from now on I went looking for something else.  Played drop the tennis ball in the living room and some fetch and then switched to a squeaky toy for some fun fetch.  I don't know the way through this yet.

Yoshi on the other hand will immediately come out of the window when I call him.  He did lose it once and I did make the beeping sound and he immediately stopped.  It's so effective I feel kinda guilty.

I shortened one of Yoshi's herding wands and also got out a couple of riding crops that I've been hanging on to.  One of them should do well in herding.

Fri May 29
I'm bummed that HTrainer3 doesn't want some great video of her and Yoshi available publicly on You Tube.  This means that I have to go back to handling him since I want to post his training progress on You Tube as well as here.  I do have it listed as private so I can grant individual access to see it for those who are You Tube members.  If you want to see it let me know and I can grant you access.

I wish I could make it clear what a gold mine the free advertising on You Tube is.  Not that I make any money on it, but people have put great promo vids on it.

So I need to watch the videos of HTrainer3 carefully to see what she does different.

One thing i notice right away is that she waves the stick to get him to switch directions and doesn't bother switching hands (I think which hand is more a style thing).  Her stick is also shorter and that makes a difference.  She also moves around a fair bit, but there's not a lot of wasted motion.  And the sheep break away from her too.  I have video of wacko sheep headed right at me, with Yoshi hot on his heels (in that case, Yoshi should be called off to let the sheep return on his  own.)

He's a lot calmer around her and I need to figure out why that is though he wouldn't sit for her initially last Sat either.  We had to put him away for a little while and when he came back had him drag a short lead.

Reviewing it again.  He's running the elements of a JHD course.
He's still going fast and herky jerky, and she sometimes lets him circle all the way around and then makes him change direction on the next time around.  She lead out but only about 50 feet.  Not nearly the same distance we've practiced.  She moves quickly when she needs to move, I need to eschew the high top boots for lower top versions.

He circled wide a couple of times before they headed off.  He caused one split by crowding the sheep and coming on too hard.

Yoshi walk
Got a perfect training opportunity.  When we hit Central a Little Grey Fluffy Dog was walking on the other side of the street and heading slowly in our direction (still on the other side of the street. As LGFD approached I had him sit and watch.  He vocalized some but maintained.  I let them get past and then we walked along with them for a couple of blocks.  He held it together though when I thought he was about to lose it, I would interupt him with a word, or collar pull (not a correction) or a word - though words alone don't always work if he's starting.After the interruption, he would happily reengage with me.  It was definitely dancing on the edge of his threshold, but he did it and did it quite well, and miles different than how he would have been even a few months ago.

Thu May 28
Something but I forget what.  Oh yeah.
Yoshi is afraid enough of the beep that it doesn't have to be on him.  Just near him.  I can just leave it on the coffeetable.  Trouble is that he won't go in the room then unless he on the inside of a crate.  Well, he's not screaming at the window...

Wed May 27
Trek walk.  they were stripping a roof off and tossing it into a truck.  True to form, it was ok for a little while then all she wanted to do was get away.  I carried her 1/4 of a block but she still wanted to drag me till we'd reached 1/2 a block away.  Then she was ok but in the last block wanted to drag me again and we took forever to get home as I stop every time she pulls on me.

Yoshi Rally Class.  He did great.  No reactions at all save for a single growl and that was very brief and more to himself than anyone.  It's too bad that this will be his last class with these dogs as he's now used to them, having the continuity of the same dogs week to week helped a lot and also having it only be 6 dogs helped a lot too.  In contrast the obedience dropin class can have 10 or more dogs and the dogs will change (though a lot stay the same).  Also Rally is a good skill for him as he's pretty good at it.  The next class is Excellent Rally and that's beyond his skill level but Hazel is encouraging us to sign up and she says we can do it all on leash.  I'm vasilating as it is more money than just doing drop in but the stability is a nice thing.

For sits and downs I did two things different.  (1) I brought one of his mats for him to sit/down on (it's funny though he kept wanting to down on it.) and (2) I put his citronella collar on him though I never had to beep him but he was aware it was on him.  Eventually I'd like to be able to tether him and be a distance away to see the effect of the beep though if a dog doesn't come in he's very good about staying.

Linda Mecklinburg Awesome Paws Handling System
I want to get more information on APHS beyond what I've read in Clean Run but the only thing I see (besides jumping on a plane) is a video on demand 6 hour lecture that I only have access to for 48 hours for the mere price of $175,00.  Not.  I love video but the whole point of video is that I can replay it over and over again.  I would pay that price, but it has to be for something I can keep.

Tue May 26
Yoshi walk uneventful

As we were on the sofa watching TV while it was still daylight I put the tone collar on Yoshi and he sat in the window and I watched with the remote control at the ready.  In general he was very responsive to his name when he would bark and we let him just vocalize as long as he kept his head (it's really, really obvious when he loses it.)  Then he saw something, likely a dog and launched into a torrent of full body barking.  Yoshi.  YOSHI!.  I pressed the tone button but didn't hear it and wasn't sure it worked so I pressed it again and suddenly he broke off barking and lept over from one sofa to the other to me (I did hear it this time.)  Wow.  Wonder if I can keep it that effective.  He smelled a bit like citronella so I may have pressed the wrong button, but I'm pretty careful about it, so I don't think so and he wasn't soaked in it.  (No biggie though if I did hit the wrong button.  That's the cool thing of it not being a shock collar.)

Mon May 25 Memorial Day Holiday
Yoshi in the window with the spray collar on.  I need to remember to not test the tone with it on him if I want it to be an effective aversive.  At first he wouldn't even go in the window with the collar on, but eventually he couldn't resist.  I was in the kitchen keeping an ear out and he started barking.  "Yoshi." Barking.  "YOSHI" Still barking.  I hit the tone button and he immediately stops and comes to me.  Good boy have a goodie.

20 minutes later I'm at the table in the front area (which shares a space with the Living Room) eating a bagel and I have the remote with me.  Y's up in the window and he starts barking.  "Yoshi." "YOSHI!" (I'm just about to reach for the remote.) He immediately stops and comes to me and a reward  him handsomely.

I'm hopeful that I can just use it as a tone only collar.  That would be cool.  Though it's not horrible if he gets sprayed - it just means wherever he is gets scented with Citronella.

For now I'll just use it only in this context.  I'll have to ponder if it would be helpful when we're out and about.  I think it would be too much to handle appropriately if he's attached to me (and I'm good at handling him when he's attached to me.)  It might be useful when working off leash in class (I don't currently have him off leash at all right now).  Maybe on sits and downs but he's learning the tone means come to me, which may confuse things.  Have to think about it.

Sun Mat 24
Got the Spray Commander Citronella collar out and refilled it, got it working, and fitted it to him.  I let him walk around with it but he's quite cautious with it on.  It has a tone option and I'm going to use it to work on his Living Room barking fit behavior.  I'll use it as an extension of what we've already been working on.

He starts barking in the window and the order will be: Yoshi, YOSHI, Tone, Short Spray, Longer Spray.
The tone is intended as a remote click but he's already conditioned to YES and it works well and the tone startles him so it will be a great mild aversive.

Trek walk - willing to go past more wind chimes without dragging me and will sit near one and eat treats.

Sat May 23
Yoshi Herding.
Derek Fisher (who Marion tells me used to live at Willowside Ranch) was holding a clinic in the main pens (and the open field) so we were in the pens up on the hill, which was fun as I'd never been up there.

Yoshi, like a lot of the dogs wouldn't sit or stop for long so we gathered him up and put him away for a while.  When we got him back out he was much better behaved and did ok but needed me in the pen.  Crazy sheep was there and tried to crash the fence again, but fortunately I was able to step into his/her path and slow them down and avoided a crash though Yoshi then raced off after another one. I even have part of this on video but not sure how I could make it into something understandable.

For the next run she decided to switch to slower sheep and that made a big difference and was able to do the basics of a Junior Herding Dog run, without me having to be in the pen at all.  Good boy.

Trek is now down to 25 pounds and eating everything in site.  I'd like her to be 24.5 pounds but I don't want her to be ravenous so we'll increase her food to 1/3 cup per meal and see how that goes.

Fri May 22
A Dog Day. 
First took Trek to the eye dr. The measurement in her dry eye is still holding at 6.  She's so funny.  She's finds the waiting area too noisy but loves the quiet exam rooms and as long as they rub her belly they could do most anything.  She didn't want to come out of the exam room.  Such a silly dog - most dogs are the reverse.  Of course at the regular vet she might be more typical.

Then it was Yoshi's class with Lori.  He was a reactive twit at the beginning with both me and Lori, then he settled down once he figured out those dogs weren't going away.  He was great until after the class we were talking and a poodle walked in and I had to tackle him.  I'm pretty frustrated with him I must admit. 

When I got home I took him on a walk just to remind me that he's better out doors.  He fussed about one dog but coped.  I've decided that before I take more drastic measures (prong collar or Ecollar), that I really really work a routine with him that we follow de rigor.  When someone (animal vegetable or mineral - ok not mineral), approaches, he sits and stays until they're past.  If he looks at me he gets rewarded but he has to stay seated.  this is for people, people and dogs, people on bikes, skateboards etc. (not cars).

Trek agility class
She did a teeter!  Cool.  I had her get on it and then let her hop off but beforehand I let her have a bite of steak that Terri had cooked up.  The next time with me standing fairly far away she jumped right up and went past the tipping point and I fed her steak just after it (I helped it lower.)  She ran a bit slow, but did all the obstacles which is a nice change from the past 3 weeks.

Too bad she has a 3 week break (Rachelle is in NY next week, then I'm at Shasta the week after.)

Thu May 21
Yoshi noon walk. Saw two dogs.
The first one was one he say first as the dog snuck up on us as I don't always remember to look behind us.  We were crossing the street and he started to growl lowly and walk stiffly.  I didn't see anything until I looked behind us and saw an Aussie walking along pleasantly with his mom and a stroller.  They were about 1/2 a street width and less that 1/2 a house width away.  Now I don't train while standing in the middle of the street, or more correctly I don't play LAT in the middle of the street, so I told him to Leave It.  He came along with me (after I pulled on the leash). but was still fussing and looking over his shoulder but wasn't having a meltdown.  I repeated Leave It stronger (but not yelling or shouting), increased my speed, and pulled again.  He quieted and came right along.  After a quarter block I looked over my shoulder and saw they were starting to go in a way perpendicular to us so I stopped him, told him to sit and stay, and let him watch the dog.  He was able to do this but sitting was very difficult and I had to keep repositioning him but he did get it.

Second dog was a GSD approaching across the street that he again saw first.  He started to fuss and I was wondering why he was fussing about two people on our side of the street approaching.  Then I saw the GSD at nearly exactly the same position on the other side of the street.  I sat him and told him to stay.  He barked twice while sitting.  Stood up (no lunge, no struggle, nothing like he's been in the past).  I sat him down.  Stood up.  I sat him down again.  He stayed and was able to cope and eat treats while the dog passed.  I know somewhere in there I did minorly correct him with a leash pop, but I never raised my voice (kept it at veiled threat level which seems to work very well with him for things he can handle), so the correction didn't raise his anxiety like it has in the past.  The generalization appears to be he is fine with appropriate and fair corrections as long as it's not something that is making him anxious.  Otherwise a correction just helps create a complete doggie meltdown.

Current dog research.  Finding current research on dog pack dynamics which is based on scientifically based observation is really difficult as every google search is buried under a lot of dog religion or theories based on older research   People observe a behavior in their dog and naturally want to explain it, but given current research it doesn't appear that dog packs have nearly as much structure as we think they do, so while their observations are obviously valid, their elaborate explanations may not be correct.  Dog hierarchy may come down to: How bad do you want something and are you willing to argue about it in order to get it even though fights are generally to be avoided.

Here's one email I wrote about it (edited):  The context is younger dogs not wanting to run through their pack to recall to their owner.  Their theory says that would violate pack order since young  dog is supposed to be at the back.  I say that young dog may not want to run through a pack of herding dogs because the pack is, well, herding dogs.

Finding current research on dog pack order is just hell because there's so much crud vaguely based on older research.

The wolf pack structure was researched in the 60s and 70s and led to the 80s, 90s dominance theories for dogs.

More current research has noticed that (a) wolves don't live nearly so peacefully at all and (b) feral dogs are nearly anarchists in comparison to wolves.

This article (that also appeared in ADPT's publication) notes that who's in charge of a certain resource in a domestic dog pack is very fluid and depends on how much dog A wants something.


I'd love to see any research that shows if dogs even know what the back and the front of the pack is and if it has any significance.

It might be more that both dogs know the harzards of *running* past herding dogs. :)

Wed May 20
Trek noon walk.  Again took her near the school.  No kids out so it was just the occasional banging of the chains on metal.  She still didn't like it but was able to cope since it was only occasional.  Then kept walking and would go through period of trying to drag me which usually meant there was some metal on metal sound that she didn't like.  If she started to drag me I'd stop and she'd come back and get a treat.  Eventually we got back home, but it took a while.

Yoshi Rally Class.  He did much better than last week.  Hazel had asked me to insist more on his attention instead of letting him look around when he was working and doing that seemed to work.  More of the: remind him to keep his head thing.  His only slip up was trying to lunge at a passing dog in a moment where I was untangling the leash during a transition time (I think sits had ended and a dog was changing position).  I grabbed him and I unintentionally rolled him (on his side - I was just grabbing for a body part and wound up with a handful of his flank) and he suddenly relaxed.  This is amusing as I don't even believe rolling has any effect at all and I think it was happenstance, but it still is ironic.

I also brought his mat and he was able to down on his mat and even though we don't spend a lot of time doing mat work (or enough in my mind), it really seemed to make a difference in keeping him calm - I also petted him and massaged his neck which he enjoyed and he even flopped over on his side for a short time.  For sits and downs I should also remember the mat though he did great with them even though this time I just had him in line with the other dogs and not set apart.

Every time he lingered on a stare I gently told him to leave it and he reconnected with me.  Sometimes I would also pull on the leash (also gently) if he seemed to need it.  For the most part he wasn't terribly stressed.  Did whine some when Scout the Husky came close, but later desisted and was able to do sits and downs with Scout next to him.

He did a run through and did great and was able to work with other dogs sort of near (10-15'), also was able to participate in a line up of dogs working on going over a jump.

Mon May 18
Trek walk.  Walked her over to the school and I learned something important.  Her sensitivity has much more to do with the metallic sounds (e.g. chains hitting metal) and percussive sounds (e.g. balls bouncing, dogs barking in enclosed spaces) and maybe not so much screaming kids though they are a factor too.

Sun May 17
CU Streetwalking Session
They'll be four of us working one dog at a time with a non-reactive dog across the street.
We'll start with Jack the stuffed JRT I have.  If that doesn't get a response then we'll use Jesse or Trek.
The main point of this is to find each dog's threshold and under what circumstances (other dog approaching, standing, looking, ignoring, walking away) and what makes things better for the CU dog.

It went very well and we all learned a lot:
A post to CU_Dogs_SF:

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who showed up for the Alameda CU 
Streetwalking session.

Even though it was weirdly hot for Alameda, the breeze mercifully picked
up and saved us all from cooking.

We learned some surprising things about our dogs and I'll give those
involved some time to post about their own dogs.

My dog was of course 1st in the Be a Jerk class, but even his outbursts
were generally brief.

Jack the stuffed JRT made his debut.
We put a leash on Jack sent he and a "handler" (me or Terri) across the
street and stood there tugging slightly on the leash to make him move
The handler would also move Jack around to various places when the CU
dog wasn't looking. We'd also spend time petting Jack or talking to
him. I couldn't resist working on his great Stay. Sit and Come still
need work.

Except for Yoshi, none of the dogs paid him any attention. As you might
guess, my neighbors are amused.

The JRT stuffed dog was bought to help Yoshi who has some sort of
persecution complex about small whitish dogs (among others), so it's no
surprise that he stared very hard at it, and it's nice to know that
we'll be able to do more work using Jack in that regard - We carefully
made sure Yoshi never got very close to Jack, but given that he treated
Trish King's stuffed Dobe like it was a real dog, it probably doesn't

I now know that Yoshi's threshold distance increases when the dog across
the street is excited and bouncing as opposed to just walking normally.
With a normally walking dog his distance is one residential street width
and one Alameda house width. Bouncing dogs increase the distance by
another house width.

If you're thinking of having your own street walking gathering, here's a
few things we noticed.
- Consider having the gatherings at several different locations. Expect
the host dog to be among the worst behaved since you're on their turf.
For some of the dogs simply being in a new place with new smells filled
up the brain cells quite nicely and seemed to have a calming effect (too
bad that doesn't work with my hypervigilant dog).
- Make note of any of the surrounding conditions. Things that made our
session unique were that it was (a) on a relatively quiet residential
street (b) kids and the occasional bike or scooter would pass by (c)
cars were moving only about 30 mph or less (d) we do have some barking
neighborhood dogs and (e) it was hot.
- Have more than one non-CU dog of differing sizes. If they can do a
stressor on command that helps. In our case, Trek can bark on command,
and we also had a bouncing adolescent (which she comes by naturally).
- Have different possible routes back to the start point
- Have a way that CU dog can retreat if necessary
- Do one dog at a time
- Have fun, make it a low key party.

General approach that I used was:
- send the non-CU dog and handler across the street and have them just
stand or sit there in plain view about a house width down.
- bring out CU dog, and let him/her notice the dog - if they choose not
to that's ok too, but generally they'll be playing LAT.
- then depending on the CU dog, have the non-CU dog move around - walk
up the street a few houses then turn around and do the same thing
- at this point you can do whatever you like. non-cu dog could run, or
do tricks, parallel walk, optionally come to the same side of the street
and have then stand closer.
- we didn't have the dog's meet, you can choose to, but dog greetings
usually need more lateral space than a sidewalk as arcing non-direct
approaches work best, so it's a lot harder to orchestrate and you really
don't need to do it.
- then put the CU dog away and bring out another CU dog or let the
non-CU dog take a break.

Looking forward to hearing from others.

Ellen and CU Yoshi (aka Bolt)
and CU training assistant Trek

Sat May 16
Yoshi Herding
Well things started out a basic disaster.  The first session had him crash a sheep into a fence and I don't have enough sheep smarts to know when one is going to crash (I was filming).  For the second session he was in a much smaller size pen with heavier sheep and he did great.  I think with the lighter sheep he's just overfaced right now and can't resist the chase and hasn't yet learned to flank.  This is odd as flanking is exactly what he does when he sees a squirrel.  Trek will run at it and he will run out to the side.  I hope he figures out he needs to do this with sheep too.  Reviewing the video it's hard for me to tell when a sheep is going to turn away from the fence and when they're going to hit. 

The main thing is that he has to be able to recall from chasing a sheep and last week he did but not so much this time.  This recall I'm realizing is vitally important to him in real life as it's when he's locked on that I can't get him to listen.  He learned his Corgi Pack charge very well and came that way and I've been battling that ever since.  i'm really hoping he can learn this discipline on sheep as the next step is an E-Collar and working out timing on that is critical for it to be at all effective and I'd hate to have to do that to him, but I've been contending with his trainer that delayed corrections are ineffective and this is the obvious solution to instant corrections.  The good thing is that with an E-collar I could train him off leash which is something I don't do now.  But he's been making such great progress recently it would be a shame to have to go backwards to it.  And he is a sensitive boy (even it he's also a complete asshat sometimes) and an E-collar could potentially make him even more weird than he already is (mystery shock coming out of nowhere).  Right now he's weird but consistently weird and I know how to respond to him. 

Here's an example:
I suppose I could just use the tone/vibrate part.  Anyway it's not a decision I have to make any time soon.

So for next time for herding it is going to be heavy sheep in a larger pen.  It is tempting to do it next Saturday, but I really should be prepping for Shasta, but I could probably do that Sunday.

Fri May 15
Today was a good day for both dogs
Noon Yoshi Walk
A few doors down they were replacing a telephone pole which involved a lot of people and a cherry picker and a fair bit of comotion and calling out.  Yoshi and I stopped to watch for a little bit and he was totally fine, even took time out to see a neighbor who asked "Is that a Corgi?" and he waltzed right up to her "Well yes I am!"  We then moved on past the hubub and I'm thinking that Trek would have been terrified and I would have had to carry her.  Yoshi is cheerfully walking along and I'm trying not to be morose about what a terrific dog I have when the world is dog free.

Then as we're at the corner of Central and Court, he sees a dog (medium sized lab) across the street and three houses down and barks but once again not a threatened bark but more an alerting bark.  Since we're at a corner we move half a house width down (I later paced it off as 10 of my longer paces which is around 2.5 feet). and had him sit and play leave it and LAT.  This time I stood up and let the leash loose so he could have lunged, but he didn't.  This is his threshold now.  One street width and one half of an Alameda house width (or more it was a largish house).  I do need to keep in mind that he's usually ok with black labs and the distance may be more with something like a husky or JRT or LWFD.

On Gibbons I see another dog (something like a GSD) before he does this time and again we go about half a house width down Johnson and set up and he's able to sit and eat treats and watch the dog again.  Phew.  This time after the dog has passed he seems more up and on his toes but he usually is at the intersection of Lincoln and Gibbons as there's quite a bit of foot traffic there and a lot for him to keep an eye on - plus it's the turn for home.  I slow him down and get him to reconnect and we get home fine.  I'm so happy to see him coping.  Too bad we can't make ODTC larger.

I was experimenting with him moving past the dog, but he is less successful at that.  The moving seems to excite him.  It's funny you'd think that it would be less pressure to move on past a dog, but in herding he is learning to stay put in the face of very exciting sheep so he has a context for it.

Trek class.  This is her first time back at class since taking he off the Cyclosporine.  She had some hesitation about coming out of the crate but I didn't make a big deal of it but reached in and clipped on the leash.  As soon as I did that she came right out and jumped in my arms ready to go.

She still didn't want to do the teeter and I didn't force her beyond having her stand on the bottom, but she did the dogwalk and A-Frame several times (and was heavily rewarded for it).  One very telling thing was that she didn't want to go anywhere near the canopy at first.  I realized that last time, there were some loudly barking dogs under it, and the echoing must have freaked her out some.  I was also trying to leave her in a crate then for walk throughs like I would at a trial.  This time I went back to taking her along during the walk through and she was much happier about that.

Also had her do a jump chute of 8" and 12" jumps which she seemed to enjoy.

She's entered in trials June 20 and 21.  For the AKC one I'll just skip the teeter and the CPE one won't have a teeter.
She's also entered in the large Bay Team 4th of July one but that's a ways off so I'm not going to worry about it.  We may just go down and not do very much at all besides jumpers and gamblers and maybe snooker .

Wed May 13
Had some time in the morning before work, so was able to squeeze in a walk with Trek in the morning.  We've never done that before so to some extent she was wondering what was going on but she coped.  It was early enough that there weren't large hordes of children out yet, just a few here and there.

Yoshi Advanced Rally Class.  Will my dog ever stop being a twit about moving dogs around him?  He has such a big personal space bubble and I can get it down to just over a street width but there's no where near that amount of space in the training facility.  He has gone there quite a lot and has coped in the past and has gone there once a month for years.  Once he gets used to the dogs he's generally ok but just as soon as a new dog appears or a dog he's iffy about walks by and I don't have food in his face he barks or growls and tries to lunge.  As soon as he realizes that he's supposed to play look at that he usually can cope but this time a couple of the dogs sent him way over threshold (through no fault of the other dogs.)  I can't decide whether he needs more of ODTC or less.  My thought is more and I should walk him before hand to have him a little tired (he didn't have a walk today.)  It's funny as there are other times there where he's been great but it's usually around the confident Utility dogs and not these less confident Rally dogs.

Tue May 12
Yoshi Walk.  Saw two dogs both completely different, but useful experiences.
First one was a medium size brown dog which he did bark at more excited than anything.  Because the other dog seemed completely unconcerned we spun around and parallel walked with them about 3 blocks.  Yoshi pretty much pranced up on his toes in that high alert sort of way the whole time, but was able to maintain and earn treats.
The second dog was across the street on our own block but not one we knew.  It was a very precious Little White Fluffy Dog (Bichon Frise), which is a type of dog Mr Y. can be just horrible about.  As we walked by I gave him the opportunity to see the dog and earn treats and he was great.  This dog was also off leash, but didn't seem to be moving fast.  So Y and I sat for a while and then started to move on.  Then I heard the owner call out the dog's name.  Oh this should be fun as that likely means LWFD has taken the ill advised choice of running across the street to say hello (no cars fortunately).  I take a hold of Yoshi's collar and start feeding him.  LWFD is about 10 feet behind us looking cute.  Yoshi is chowing down, but keeping a careful eye on the dog and doing this odd snorting as he tries to growl and eat at the same time, but he's not lunging and is very happy to keep eating.  The owner catches up and I explain that Yoshi isn't friendly to his kind of dog, and the owner gathers LWFD up and Y and I move on.  Phew.  At least LWFD didn't come bounding right up.

Trek walk.  Uneventful.

Mon May 11
Trek walk.  Normally during the day I walk Yoshi, but Trek needs the exercise and I won't have time in the evening because I need to host a BiFriendly meeting in SF.  She did fine.  I deliberately didn't take her anyplace that she would find stressful, though we did pass a person using a car vac.  She kept an eye on it but was ok and got lots of treats for it.

Sun May 10
I did make the herding movie but it's mostly with the camera pointed all over the place and lots of good audio, so I think I won't post it on You Tube and will work on making a more presentable one next time.

Just posted this to coltsrunkids and frapfest

I decided after letting Yoshi crash a sheep into the fence (the sheep is fine - I was shook), that he was just too much dog for me in the herding arena and that I should have our instructor handle him.  I wish I had made that decision a couple of months back, but I guess I needed to find out for myself.  They had their first session together last Saturday and he did fantastic.  I did have to go into the arena as he wanted me there, but was fine (mostly - he would stress from time to time, but then recover) with HTrainer3 working him.  Same stupid sheep crashed the fence again, but at least it's not me doing it. :)

I've never seen him so happy, I'm excited for his herding future.  I'm having her train for the trial level and will skip the PT level in case I ever want to do it with him in the future.

The funny thing is that if I'm in the arena, he'll still bring me sheep.  I'll be filming and notice that the sheep are getting bigger and bigger in the viewfinder - eek.  Gee thanks Yoshi - how thoughtful of you.

and Yoshi (Look what I brought you!)
and Trek (Herding?  Make him do it.)

Sat May 9
Yoshi herding.  This time I had HTrainer3 handle him and that worked out fantastic.  He would come running back to me once in a while and eventually I did have to go in but other than that he worked great for her.  The only problem is that sometimes he brings sheep to ME while I'm trying to film so I have this great effect of a sheep getting larger and larger in the frame.  Thanks for the present Yoshi ("Look what I brought you!")  The video is very herky jerky so I'm not sure if I'll put it on You Tube, but the audio is important so I made a full movie of it, even if it only lives on the Mac and maybe a backup.

KFOG KBoom is clear in the background though not loud.  I took Trek out on the front steps and held her in my arms to see how she'd do.  She listened carefully but didn't seem to react so I took her in after 5 minutes.  Not long after I took Yoshi out (on leash to help him maintain) and Trek came along.  While in the backyard with the sound of fireworks clear in the background, my hard to predict sound sensitive dog started playing on her teeter totter - making it crash down just to add to the noise.  Such an odd duck.  I think it has to do with sounds that are close where she can feel the percussion.  And she's just used to her teeter's sound (and she's making that happen).

One thing I've learned finally is that she has to go at her own pace.  I can encourage her but forcing her is as effective as squeeing a wet bar of soap.  I think I'm just going to let her skip contact obstacles until's she's ready to do them.  One option is to just do NADAC (no teeter).

Fri May 8
Bayteam USDAA July entries went off this morning.  We're camping then and hopefully we'll be able to get a ringside camping spot (Starter's ring) since i sent it in relatively early.  If that works that means that I can crate Trek in HER nice quiet car, which is what she wants.  I'll have to remember to send Karey a copy of her yellow card when it comes.

Need to do both dogs nails at lunch.  Did Trek's at lunch and Yoshi's in the evening.  For Yoshi I have to slow the dremmel way down but he will now let me do them.  I start with the dremmel off and just rub it against his nails then turn it on very low and then wait for him to start struggling, do his nails some then turn it up a little and wait again, and repeat.  Very slow process, but he's much less traumatized this way

Trek class.  Her sound sensitivity is getting worse and even barking dogs worry her.  She won't even get on contact equipment at all and she seems different.  I have to beg her to come out of her crate.  Karen and Rachelle noticed that she's gained weight and I verified that she has gained 2 pounds in 2 months which is really worrisome.

I am going to cut her food down, but the major change has been the addition of Cyclosporine on Apr 23rd.  It's been 3 weeks which is soon enough to test for effectiveness, but I'm thinking if it's making her this weird, it's not worth having her on it.  I'm going to take her off of it and let AEC know.  A quick web search that nerological effects are possible but  quite rare.  No mention of weight gain so that's probably unrelated.  The weight gain is a concern in case there's tumor, but you can feel the layer of fat so that's likely the cause.   I'll refrain from rushing her off to her regular vet until she's been off the Cyclo. a week and I can reevaluate - we'll have class again then too.

Email to AEC:
Trek has been gradually getting weirder and weirder these past couple of 
She's always been sound sensitive, but it's getting much worse to the 
point of not coming out of her crate when we get somewhere in the car.
The only thing that's changed is the addition of Cyclosporine 3 weeks 
ago.  I know neurological effects are very rare for it but it would just
be our luck wouldn't it?  I'm going to take her off of it for a little
while to see if I see her joie de vivre come back.
So we're going to cut out the Cyclosporine and cut her food back and be more diligent about making sure she gets a walk to as Yoshi has been getting all his training walks and it's time he shared.

I'm also trying to decide just how much more I want out of Yoshi.  I've been working so hard with him and he's mostly managable right now but still reactive at times.  I don't know if I'll ever get him not to be reactive and I'm getting tired of shielding him and not living life (in my mind).  Where's the balance?  I don't want to undo all the work we've done but I don't know how much further we'll get.  I'd love for him to just be with me without worrying about or reacting to other dogs.  I don't know if that's possible or not.

Thu May 7
Yoshi Training Walk.
I'm concerned about Trek feeling neglected, but he needs this more
Saw one dog.  He say the dog, barked and I was able to collect him.  I'm not sure his behavior is improving esp since the Rally class started, but Tue's walk went well so I don't think it's fair to draw conclusions.

Wed May 6
Sent off Corgi Club and Bayteam entries

Yoshi Rally Class.  Talked about
- Turning around and obstacle and then fronting, 
- Jumping and going to a target. Yoshi is excellent at this so was a good demo dog - though it's pretty funny that he'll go to the target eat the treat and then do a perfect front for Hazel who's doing the target loading.  Pretty much have to semi-drag him away to do it again.
- Kick back stands (i.e. not having to move forward to stand.  Yoshi does this anyway so Hazel encouraged me to put "stand" to it and not move my hand forward, but instead make a fist in front of his nose and initially help him stand by touching his tummy (legal at the novice level).
- Step right laterally.  She teaches this by holding the treat in the opposite direction and using collar pressure.  Yoshi was hopelessly confused by this and I wonder if there's another way to teach it..  You stand giving him collar pressure he stops thinking.

Tue May 5
Yoshi Training Walk
Saw two dogs - one white dog in particular he/we did very well with
Saw a person walking slowly and slightly off balace in that there's a living thing attached to me with other opinions sort of style.  We just stopped to watch as I didn't see a dog but there sure seemed to be one around.  Sure enough a medium size whte dog appears, and we immediately cross the street, and set up.  i have Yoshi sit and I feed him, then once I'm sure he's seen the dog I start walking backwards still feeding him but he's now moving.  Somewhat worried about the dog but coping.  Good boy.  Almost right after that saw another but they were just crossing at a 1/2 block distance, so a less loaded situation.

Trek meals.  Garill suggested putting a spoon in the metal bowl and that's providing a good challenge for Trek.  She doesn't like it, but copes.

Mon May 4
I think I'm going to split the difference as far as picking low key trials.

Skipping the next large one (AKC TRACS), and will do 2 low key (Corgi and Bayteam CPE) and 1 large one (Bayteam July 4th weekend) since this is my game too.

So the plan is:
Nothing  until my Shasta Trip the first week in June.
Sat June 20th Corgi Club AKC at WAG
Sun June 21st Bayteam CPE at Palo Alto (a trial within an hour's drive!)

July 4-5 Bayteam USDAA Prunedale
then Terri and I are off to Mt Whitney July 15-19.
Then we can do whatever.

I'm not moving Trek up but will keep her at the lowest levels.  This may be a bit counter productive as there's no teeter in CPE level 1 but she'll see one the day before.  I might enter her in Advanced Jumpers in USDAA (in fact I'm supposed to since she has that title), but I don't have to decide that for a while.  I'll just enter her in P1 and if I need to I can move her up.

Trek Noon Walk (I think it was this day).
She's so interesting about her noise tolerance.  She'll cope ok for a few minutes then will cross a threshold and just when you think she's going to be ok, will start to majorly stress.  Walked over to the school and the kids were out at recess.  Went to the corner that was across the street from the school and was prepared to immediately turn back.  She seemed unconcerned.  Wandered 10 feet down, no issue, 20 feet fine.  So we just started walking.  Right after we pass the halfway point she starts to drag me (which means she's stressin) and wants to run away.  Rather than fight her on the leash, I just pick her up which settles her down a lot, and we walk to the corner.  (very tiring on your arms but a good arm workout).  Turn the corner put her on the ground and she's still stressed but trying to cope and improves once we turn again on Moreland (1/2 block away).  It's tricky the distance I need to be away is about the distance of inside the kitchen or living room of each house - how inconvenient. :)

Sun May 3
Trying to figure out what the essence of Trek's sound sensistivity.
Turns out we're fairly far along.  Any recorded sounds/music is fine (they listen to KFOG everyday)
Snoozed through an appalling You Tube video of an automatic shotgun demo (nothing gruesome just no one should be allowed to have such a thing.)
Went through a bunch of iTunes sample sound effects - no reaction.
Feed her with a metal bowl - fine.

Finally Terri was outside hammering.  That got a response so she got to eat a lot of treats while that happened.
So it's live situations, and human stress levels and shouting definitely have an effect.

So I think we're going to seek out lower key trials like CPE and NADAC and some AKC for a little while.  It's a bummer for me as I love the huge huge USDAA trials that we (Bayteam) host.  But it's likely that I'll just be working at our USDAA trials for a little while.

Sat May 2
Trek Agility
Noise sensitivity is the main issue.
Tried a hard crate under a canopy which helped but she didn't want to do any contact equipment today.
First Std class. Coaxed her over a teeter, dogwalk and A-Frame and then finally knocked a bar at the end (was certainly over time anyway.)
Pairs - wouln't do A-Frame
2nd Std Class - no contacts at all - maybe a dogwalk
Sat by Master's ring and every teeter got a treat.  She was ok but wasn't happy about it.
If she's in my lap she can cope but on her own can't.
Scratched her from PNS.  No Nationals this year.  Asked Bayteam for ideas on quiet trials.
Getting lots of responses.

Archive - Go to:

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
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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
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Yoshi Training Diary - July 2006
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Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2005
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