Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - November 2009

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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Non-Dog Blog Table of Contents

Mon Nov 30
I came back from the holidays feeling under the weather (don't you love the hazards of family gatherings?), so I came home from work to spend the afternoon resting.  First problem was that Trek had peed on the bed (you'd think I'd be able to house train a dog by now, but she can't resist down comforters.  Then I realized that since the comforter was in the washer that I want to sack out on the sofa.  I want to have the shade open so the light can come in, but Yoshi likes to watch from the window which I almost never let him do unless I'm close by.  Either that or crate him in the living room which I did later.

It's funny how want is such a motivator.  I've worked with him a lot with a beeping collar as a super mild adversive.  I don't even have to have it on him.  I just set the collar down on the coffee table.  But the battery has worn down and I'm not well enough to even contemplate going to get another plus I have to be with it enough not to hit the wrong button and spray citronella all over the living room (which would be fine, but I'd rather choose to do that.)

Lori had mentioned that if the beeping collar worked then the traditional pennies in the soda can might also.

Lacking a soda can I looked around for a small lidded jar.  I found one and put some change in it.  Then went and laid down on the sofa with some dog treats on the coffee table.  Yoshi hopped up on the back of the other sofa next to the window in his guard position.  I can tell I'm not going to get much rest, but am curious to see if this old school solution would get anywhere.

Now I've done enough work with him with calling him out of the window (even did some earlier today) and using the collar so he's used to this but when a dog appears it's very difficult for disengage (that's when I get crying and occasional frustrated howling which is hilarious) and I've left the collar out on the coffee table to stack the deck in my favor.

He makes occasional growling sounds, but nothing serious which means it's just people wandering by (it's a school day so there's usually a fair bit of foot traffic in the afternoon).  Then he starts barking and I first verbally tell him to stop and he does, I look up and see there's a dog and person across the street so I give him a treat for stopping.  I lay back down.  Minutes pass, and then he starts into a major barking fit which means there's a dog near by.  I shake the jar and he pauses for an instant and then starts and I shake it again and he stops completely and turns and looks at me.  Wow good dog come here and have a goodie.  While he's with me eating his treat, I sit up and look out the window.  The dog is standing on our lawn.  Wow again.  Now the dog is a pretty neutral medium size brown dog, but to get that kind of disengagement from Yoshi with a dog that close on his territory is pretty remarkable and wouldn't of happened pre-GABA.

I then crate Yoshi and contemplate what if all means while I rest.  This means that Yoshi can learn to control himself now that he's on GABA, and that this is a learned behavior.  However when over threshold like he was yesterday he still can't successfully yet.  This means that he really needs more training at a much closer distance to really push on that threshold.  Lori thinks that maybe even a pinch collar (I still have one somewhere) might make the point clear.  I don't know as I do see him improving steadily, so before that I might try using other milder adversives, though she makes the point of if the Schnauzer hadn't of been under control things could have gotten worse in a hurry.  She thinks if his herding training doesn't improve his behavior (it could, but herding dogs overrule when they think it's critical and that can be a problem - a classic one actually), then milder adversives like using Binaca in the mouth or Citronella collars are called for and if that doesn't work then something like the pinch collar might save his life. It will if it doesn't make him worse.  Pre-GABA it would have just increased his anxiety and might have suppressed the behavior then, but it comes up worse later when you're not expecting it (I call it the Wack-a-Mole effect).  Now that his brain is in a better place, I can train him more like a normal dog so things like correction collars might help.  I gave away the prong collar I had as it's silly with Corgi fur and too strong, but I still have the traditional pinch collar, but if I need to I can give him quite a pop with a martingale too, but if he's thrashing there's a chance he could slip it which is why I always put a failsafe attachment to his regular collar.

Now I need to find a non-reactive small dog who's not a Corgi.  Who doesn't mind having a Corgi threatening him.  Dogs that fit that criteria are very few, so I think him standing outside the small dog park is a good solution, or bringing him to a (non AKC) agility trial (well behaved small dogs are rare but can be found at agility trials).  I'm more known at USDAA and CPE trials so they'll recognize I'm training Yoshi and won't worry about any weird reactions from Yoshi, though most of our discussions are pretty quiet and the dog that's being threatened doesn't even know about the drama that they're inspiring.

Sun Nov 29
The stress of not being home appears to be starting to wear on Yoshi.  And Trek has been pouting in her crate for a lot of the time.  Today Yoshi cornered Toby the cat under an outdoor chair and was barking at him (no contact).  Then later as I'm putting the dogs in the car to go home a small Schnauzer appears about 15 feet away and Yoshi has a complete meltdown.  Fortunately I have a hold of him and I had just put Trek away.  He is flinging himself around like a complete possessed madman.  I have both hands on his collar and scruff and force him into a sit and keep repeating Stay.  I manage not to scream at him since that just makes things worse so my tone is much more the "get a hold of yourself" type.  Yoshi is managing to hang on to this whale-eyed, head swiveling, enforced sit and the startled dog and owner manage to move on once they realize they're safe.  It's just a really good thing that I had a hold of Yoshi and I'm pondering how to work with his startle response as it's his last huge remaining issue.  I think it's going to involve the small dog park, but I'm not sure how to work up to it.  I think it's going to be outside the fence at first.  I haven't been taking him to the park since watching dogs run is so hard for him, but now that I can get him to down in the presence of sheep I think it's time to go back to it.

Sat Nov 28
Finally some dog training!  Took both dogs over to Lori Drouin's house and we spent time doing combinations of our reactive and non-reactive dogs.  We also we interested in seeing if we could try some CAT (Constructional Aggression Treatment by Jesus Rosales-Ruiz and Kellie Snyder at U of N. Texas) techniques so see if they would make much difference.  CAT is based on the idea of Negative Reinforcement which is not Punishment but is using the removal of something the dog doesn't like as a reward.  My joking way to describe it is the beatings will continue until morale improves, but that's not fair.  CAT's approach is to have the aggressive dog standing there with a handler and bring a neutral dog with another handler to a point where the aggressive dog reacts and then let the dog react until the dog stops and then the trigger dog goes away as a reward.

We did this some with Yoshi and Griffin.  I had Yoshi on leash and Lori and Gryphon would magically appear from behind a fence.  I let Yoshi react which was basically bark bark bounce to the end of the leash bark bark (I don't move and just let him pull but he doesn't get any further),  pause he thinks about it.  Then turns back to me.  I then walk away with him.  We do that a couple of times and then Lori suggests that if he doesn't react right away then just walk away with him.  If I do that they he doesn't react at all.  The reason is that what he does is very choreographed and I can easily read it now.
When he sees a dog approaching he
If I turn him a different direction and walk away then he doesn't react.  What we need to figure out is what would the CAT folks do at this point would they wait for a reaction or keep the behavior from happening at all.  This one second warning is what makes life with Yoshi manageable and makes him look like an angel compared to many dogs, and Gryphon and Yoshi were soon introducing themselves to each other.

And then thing is that all four dogs are wise to training set ups, and they have all seen each other before, but as a result they all did well.  Phoenix was a little worried about Trek mostly because we were pushing the envelope by running around him (since he was doing so well with everything else we tried.)  We then got Phoenix and Yoshi together and they did fine though Yoshi wanted to play and Corgi play is rough and front paw shoves aren't really a Sheltie thing.  Gryphon did ok (we never let them off leash) but Phoenix wanted Yoshi to back off so we made that happen.

The oft quoted description of CAT is from the creators:

CAT works on the assumption that dogs that display aggression are doing so to increase distance between themselves and the other dog or person.

I found a pretty good description of CAT here: http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/2008/03/13/constructional-aggression-treatment/
and I like this description:

the idea is to have the trigger go away when the dog is doing something we want, namely not barking and lunging.

Of course this brings up the question, why charge (and maybe bite) if you want them to go away? I'm not in the dog's brain and I've never understood this.  And Yoshi seems to be more about controling motion and has always charged dogs just walking by even when he was young.  He would charge over and get in their way until I got over their to collect him.  This is classic Corgi pack behavior: they charge as a pack and surround a dog and/or person and mostly just jump on and lick them at that point, but it's a pretty scary display if you're not used to it.  My theory is that Yoshi's pack taught him well, and it's mostly been about convincing him that he doesn't have to control everything.  For him I think the real solution is more herding training and learning that not everything has to be controlled, however he's so much better about dogs at a distance so maybe CAT has something to it.

I found one video on CAT here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18RlkR_g1pA
No indication if it was ultimately successful (it's not clear when the other dog goes away).  I'd love to know how the dog is now.  Yes, the dog was able to tolerate the decoy dog closer, but I don't know if that was just exhaustion.

Clearly I think I'm going to have to get the DVD of the seminar (http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DTB947) but it's $109 and then I'd have to find the time to go through it - though I would.

As you might guess Jean Donaldson isn't very happy about it: http://www.jeandonaldson.com/jeans-blog-mainmenu-51/55-constructional-aggression-treatment but I'm more interested in what is going to help my dog.  I certainly prefer R+ methods, but just hanging out and letting my dog have a hissy fit and work through those feelings isn't exactly terrible.

And I tripped over a fascinating CAT variation dubbed BAT Behavioral Adjustment Training by a woman named Grisha Stewart (http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/bat/ ).  I wonder how I haven't corresponded with her before but I don't remember her on the CU list but I may be mistaken.  After I read some more of her site I'll contact her.  She's in Seattle so it's quite conceivable that I just toss Yoshi on a plane and go on up there (I have family up there).

Fri Nov 27
Happy Black Friday.  Well I was going snowshoeing, but the weather was so-so and even though the mountaineering store assured me that it was ok I decided to take a driving tour instead and wound up in Oregon and that's going to be a Non-Dog blog entry.  Dogs hung out in Redding and are getting bored.

Thu Nov 26
Happy Thanksgiving.  Dog's are being model citizens.

Wed Nov 25
Prepping today for Thanksgiving at Terri's mom's.  Dogs are going and it should be fun.  On Saturday the dogs and I are going over to Lori Drouin's to play mess with dog brains.  We'll probably work on alternate approaches to reactivity.  On Black Friday I'm going up to Mt Shasta to snowshoe though the weather is sounding iffy.

Tue Nov 24
On a walk with Yoshi, working on moving stops for herding.  Wow, they're tough.  No wonder they don't do it in obedience until Utility (the highest level).  He keeps wanting to come along with me which is totally natural.  Most effective is tossing a treat at the same time (no surprise there) but he can that pretty well so  need to figure out what the next step should be.I should probably work this out with Trek too since she wants to be an obedience dog.

Trek's walk now routinely goes down the busier High Street.  She's getting better about it, but looks forward to the corner we turn off of it.  I have to feed her a lot to keep her from dragging me down the street that goes away from High St.

I have been informed that I probably shouldn't call Zach the Smarter Brother, but I so enjoy the movie reference (Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother), but now that Yoshi is really showing some promise in herding, I should change it to Ivy League Brother or something like that.

Mon Nov 22
Yoshi's Smarter Brother Zach just got his MACH2. Such mixed feelings.  Y so easily could be a great agility dog - sigh.  The herding judge and scribe even asked if he did agility, and I had to tell them that no, he can't take take the chaotic environment.

But I need to get over it since Yoshi's going to be a great herding dog, though we have a lot of  training now before us.

It's so fascinating watching him doing something he loves.  It's been such a readjustment for me.  I had these Ivy League type [Horse] Stadium Jumping equivalent [Dog Agility] visions for him and all he wants to do is be a Ranch Hand.  There's a lesson in there somewhere.  And he may likely become a really good ranch hand.  it would be worse if he were human.  At least a dog's herding ability is admired.  My son the ranch hand not so much, even if he was a great ranch hand - yes, there is a lesson there (and a nondogblog entry too.)

After talking at length with the corgiherders list, the basic advice was to focus on training skills and not worry so much about the course.  That's hell for a course-oriented agility person but it's wise.  Also if we're not ready for Started in April (when the Corgi trail is) then we can always just do PT since he doesn't have that title yet anyway (it's not required and we were going to skip it.)

Things we're going to work on are:

Sat Nov 21
Took Yoshi to the ODTC members match at Cal State Hayward's Music Lawn ($15 for club members) which is pretty much the entire reason I joined that club.  It was perfect as there were only a few dogs there (about 8) and just two rings set up and with that number of dogs there is a ton of lateral distance to retreat into.  During actual event or general matches where there are 10 or so rings set up the amount of chaos is a little much for Mr. Y.  One things is that dogs and people can come from all directions so you have to have good 360 awareness, but most CU Dog owners do anyway.

I didn't put him in the ring at all except the very end during sits and downs where I slipped into the unused ring and set up a slightly extended distance from the end dog.  for the most part we just watched or played LAT or did some heeling and I played with the distance would bring him up to 10-20' of the ring ropes then retreat as a reward.

This actually makes it easier than the usual training center where he does ok while the class is running but has a hard time during the transitions at the beginning and end.  Other people have mentioned before just how useful outdoor classes are as you have much better and finer control over the distance your dog is away from the action.  It's such a lesson in thresholds.  This close is ok, closer and you start to notice signs of doggy being uncomfortable.

When I needed to have him nearer a dog I just blocked his vision of that dog.  What's funny is that he's not fighting that so much.  It's like he trusts that I can make that dog magically go away.

I think this means that this is the event for Yoshi and Trek should start going regularly to Wed night, either the Off leash control with Terri and Mark and Cameo or me just taking her to drop in.

Fri Nov 20
It's raining so Yoshi's walk was without incident save for me explaining that a person carrying a large amount of dry cleaning was not a treat.

Going over AHBA courses.  While the HTD looks easier the open field and no fence line is very daunting.  Marion and corgiherders say to look more at HTAD which is harder but is in an arena http://www.ahba-herding.org/HTAD.Courses.pdf
but of course the main thing is to work on skills, but i explained to them that since I'm agility competitor it really helps to have the course in my head as then I don't have to think about it and that helps my confidence and stress level.

Trek class.  Still up in the air. - this just in it's on.
Should be COLD (for here).  Jackets all around.
I'm bringing chocolate to celebrate Yoshi's title.  Maybe I should bring Hot Cocoa instead.  Need to find a thermos.  Don't have one except I could put some in a Nalgene and put an insulating container around it.  That would be a hoot.  Have to find it in the attic.

[later] Wow I have the classes undying love.  Didn't bother digging out the insulators but just wrapped them in towels.

Here's the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Creamy-Hot-Cocoa/Detail.aspx
I did double the recipe and used two Nagenes and cut the sugar to 1/2 c instead of 3/4 c (and then doubled it.)

Trek did pretty well.  I carried a toy the whole time and spent time keeping her interested.  Also for fun did a Marcus Topps imitation doing the weavepoles with my body traveling sideways and facing her.  It worked great.  No popping at all and it was surprisingly easy.  Her teeter is still great.  A frame and other obstacles are fine.  Leading out too far is a demotivator for her (she'll start to sniff) so I need to keep it short and Run.  Toy throwing is helping her rear crosses a lot and she's driving forward nicely.

Missile was being very sweet to me and I asked to run her.  The answer was sure if she'll run for you, but she's a mama's girl and usually won't. Given the interest and eye contact I was getting I was pretty sure it would work.  I spent some time feeding her face and loving her at the start line and she ran a great course for me.  It was a blast and I asked if I could run her more in the future and Rachelle said yes.

Thu Nov 19
Yoshi walk.  He was able to watch LabX Ruby from a distance,  I let the get half a block closer before giving him a break and leaving.

Wed Nov 18
Noon Trek walk.  The fading daylight is making getting the dog walks in a challenge.  If I get more organized about having a lunch handy then I can walk both at noon.

Played with Trek.  Got the rabbit fur toys out to find her favorite.  Fortunately it's the small one with a handle which makes it much easier to take on a course when practicing.  I should probably buy a carton of them the name on the toy is  DogsDreamToys.com

Tue Nov 17
Embedding the videos here
[These videos have since been marked as private, so please contact me if you want the login]
Run #1


Noon Yoshi walk.  Fine.
Starting to work more concertedly with Trek about the dumbell.  She's happy to pick it up and I can extend the time she'll hold it for a little while 2-3 seconds but she doesn't get that it's easier to not put it back into her molars but easier to just hold it behind her canines.  Gently started showing her by placing it in her mouth.  Unlike Yoshi and a lot of dogs she doesn't fight that.  I put it in her mouth and let her adjust it a little but don't let her drop it.  then I have her hold it a second and then say yes let her drop it and get rewarded.

Mon Nov 16
I wrote a more general letter to the non-herding folks

This past weekend Yoshi earned his American Herding Breeds Assoc (AHBA)
Junior Herding Dog (JHD) title.

This has taken us months and months because he's such a maniac he's difficult to control and teaching him to STOP when I ask has been a very tough, but rewarding ride. Training him that he can control himself enough to do this has been so gratifying.

Run #1 (over exposed unfortunately)

Run #2 (corrected exposure, the run is a little rockier but fine)

The Junior Herding Dog is the last level of what they call the "Test" levels which are the easier levels before the more difficult "Trial" levels. (Nothing to do with the age of the dog.)

Now on to the long road of training for the trial levels of both AKC and AHBA herding.

[In a separate letter I added this part just for the CU list]
And a special note to the CU_Dogs list. The trial was put on by the
Samoyed Club which means that there were some large white ghosts
running around and he didn't freak out about it though I didn't let him
close to them (or the Beardie or the OES or the Rottweiller) either. :)

[In a letter to agility friends I said]
Not bad for an agility washout. :)

I've never seem him so happy as when he's herding, all his stresses

and Yoshi HT JHD

Yoshi is taking the rest of this month off and will return to herding in Dec. to start the long process of working on an outrun.  I need to spend a long time reviewing his videos to see what worked and what didn't.  The long walk before each run (10 minutes out and then back so about a mile) worked great.  Sunday's run was rockier because he had more time to rest after that walk.

Now it's Trek's turn.  She's not real fond of agility in covered arenas  so I don't think we'll do them this winter, but maybe next winter.  It will likely be a great time to work on her obedience (Yoshi's too.)  The Oakland DTC has a match coming up that might be good for Yoshi to do (too advanced for Trek right now).  Be good to maybe do some fun matches or something.  Unfortunately the dog's teeth cleanings are blowing the competing budget for a month or two.

Sun Nov 15
Yahoo!  Yoshi has his JHD!  What a long road it has been.  The journey to trialing is supposed to be longer but this one has been pretty long so I feel ready.

Corgiherderders post

[originally posted to corgiherders - sorry if it all doesn't make sense
because of the herding lingo.]

This weekend Yoshi earned his ABHA JHD [Junior Herding Dog] title. After
months and months
of training and arguing with him about STOP[ing], he's finally got it down
enough to trial with (at least at the test levels). I am very proud of
him as for him to be able to learn to stop as this has been really,
really hard for the little speed demon, but was completely imperative if
we wanted to continue.

We have poor quality video here of his first run (the camera was dying
and we didn't know it.):

The camera died today, but fortunately after successfully taping his 2nd
run. Now I just have to replace the camera (dern it.).

Now to work on that Outrun. It may be ill advised, but there are no
local AKC herding trials around here for a while, so we're skipping PT
and are going to train for Started for the April Corgi trial with a mind
to maybe picking up PT if a trial magically appears.

Oh and for fun, I passed around the Oscar and the cow photo and people
were very impressed. [It's the photo here:

and Yoshi JHD HT
and Trek IHH (I Hate Herding)

Sat Nov 14
WE DID IT!  Yoshi has the first leg of his JHT and I never have to be in the herding ring with him for the first time ever again.
The key was keep moving, stay calm, be adaptable when he pulls the sheep off the fence, and most importantly take him on a 20 minute (1 mile) walk beforehand.  Basically I noted where there were in the class progress and then we just walked down the road climbing up the hill some.

Some notes: The JHD course goes fast as no one takes 10 minutes.  Speed demon Yoshi did it in 1:25(!)  We'll work on slowing down.  I also need to tell him to change directions sooner.  The hope is he would do that one his own eventually.  At least he has a stop at the end and a stay at the beginning.  When we get there tomorrow I'll be able to tell by looking where they are when we pull up (they should be doing goats still.)

Video of this run is at:

The camera overexposed the run so we have tried to fix it some in iMovie which helped a little.

Fri Nov 13
Final day of phase I of earthquake reinforcing.  Yahoo.

Yoshi was in my office and Trek was in Terri.  Trek didn't settle down for a long time Terri said but I think she was out of her crate mostly too and I know Trek is more restless them.

Had Yoshi out in the morning briefly and saw a small dog and stopped at his threshold distance.  He was growling and wanted to lunge, but we kept to the same distance.  He stopped to poop and while he was another dog (pug) approached.  I tool hold of his collar and stood in front of him, but he still lunged, and thrashed around until I covered his eyes. which made him stop.

Terri and Trek came by to visit and I took Yoshi out and then a coworker with a deep voice came in to talk to me about something and Yoshi who had been so well behaved started barking.  I tossed him in his crate and got him to be quiet while I talked with my coworker, but he was stressed and amped.  I took him with me to do somework in the server room and Donna came into say hi to him and he liked that but later barked at her as she walked past the door.  I don't think he stopped to recognize it was her.  I take him back to his crate and cover it to give him time to reset.

I see that tring to force him to behave is not working.  As soon as I convince him that it's alright he can function, but if he crosses that line then all you can do it just got to a place for him to setting down.

Lunch - we all went home to check on the house.  Took Yoshi for a walk.  He was fine until someone walked up with a dog coming right at us.  I asked it they were  coming this way and she said yes and offered to go a different way and I said we'd move and started to do so, but we'd only gotten half a house away when they started forward which was over both dogs threshold.  Yoshi is becoming hard to manage so I just pick him up pretty much by the neck scruff and he mostly settles down then.  I can't blame him for that, most people just don't have a good sense of how far is far enough away.  If we had been able to get 2-3 houses away he would have been fine and the other dog would likely have been so as well.

Both dogs in my office crated and snoozing.  Ah.

Trek has agility tonight.  Yoshi has herding tomorrow.  I have so much to do and it's been an extra drain having the dogs at work so I'm passing on agility class.
I have to figure out what I want December to look like for both dogs.  Yoshi will herd twice a month and I think we'll start coming to Marina Village to work on manners around small dogs.

Trek would love to start working more seriously on obedience.  Probably will take the agility competing month off from agility since all the trials are covered areanas which she doesn't like.

Trek agility class

Thu Nov 13
Trek Dental.  Might as well let her spend the day at Park Centre Animal Hospital and blow through nearly $500.  But there were no problems with her teeth beyond gingivitis and just being dirty.  Yoshi needs one too, but we need to pay this one off first.

In the morning walked Yoshi over to the marina.  Now the marina is small dog city and I didn't bring any treats so knew that I could run into some work.  I did.  He was barking at some small dog and not listening until I finally put a hand over his eyes and held it there firmly as he struggled for a little while before giving up and relaxing   Not terribly fair since it's a new environment and I'm not being very patient since I'm at work, but it's possibly workable as long as I choose times before 6 when they're all on leash.

Wed Nov 12
Again morning in the car.
Noon went home and walked both dogs.  i'm realizing that if I hustle I can get both dogs walked on a regular basis at noon, but I need to plan my lunches ahead and eat them at my desk at work.  then both dogs would get a day time walk.

Afternoon Terri has Yoshi and I had Trek.  Yoshi was a pain and barking at passing people until Terri crated him.  I forgot to tell her to do that right away.  Trek was fine.

Tue Nov 11
This is going to be a strange week for doggies (and for us) because the house is being having some seismic reinforcing work done and to spare them all the pounding we're taking them to work for the rest of the week.

Morning was nice and cool so the spent it in the car.

Noon: Yoshi got a walk and socialized with the crew David and Jorge.

Both dogs in my office in crates for the afternoon.

Sun Nov 8
Trek Corgi Faire
She did great!  Last year I could hardly get her into the building because of the noise.  She was able to be in it without a meltdown, though when there was a loud microphone and clapping I took her out and let her run around with other Corgis and meet people and bug them for treats.  It's so strange to be standing out on a field where we so often run agility.  Hopefully the place will become very familiar to her.  But then I brought her back in and  and we were able to spend time with Mark and Corgi's Cooper and Cameo and she got to meet with Bill P. and Christine J.  She seemed to have a good time,  Maybe I can worry about her less  She didn't drag me anywhere this time except to get inside.

Sat Nov 7
Yoshi herding.  This is his last training session before his trial next week.  HTrainer3 wants us to do some sort of long line exercise.  I'm more interested in walking smoothly down a fence line.

He didn't want to stop but still was okish
he tore a pad 2nd time which is a bummer, but he finished most of the run.

I'm worried about us walking the fence line but HTrainer3 kept stressing keep moving (he can't pull them off the fence if you're moving) and stand up straight.  (And don't get into arguments with the dog.)

There's another herding trial at Nola Jones' Dec 12 if things go completely awry.

Fri Nov 6
No agility class because of rain.
Hazadous bridge walk
Every realize that after you've done something how really stupid that was and that things could have gone very, very wrong?  My car was in the shop for a regular service and the shop is just over the High St. Bridge.  At noon it was ready so I thought I'd just walk Yoshi over to get the Scion.  No problem right?  We've done it before.  the only problem is that it's drizzling, which doesn't stop us from walking and i had put on a good jacket.  Well there's one eensy tinsy detail about the bridge that I'd not considered.  The walkway is metal and way slippery when wet.  A couple of steps on it made it clear that we had to go carefully.  Fortunately Yoshi isn't that sound sensistive which is good because a truck going over a metal grated bridge is loud.  If something had scared him and he suddenly pulled me or if he saw a dog, I could have easily been knocked over and he could have been out in traffic or over the side of the bridge (there is siding but it has some gaps).  Half way through I decided to switch hands so I could hang on to the railing.  It meant that he was nearer the cars which he didn't like but he coped and we made it without incident and I only got the shakes when I was driving the car back home.

Trek walk.  Smooth.  She's getting some wicked heeling, and Stay is really starting to mean something to her.

Bought some Natural Balance dry treats to replace the EVO ones for Yoshi.

Thu Nov 5
There's a contra dance band rehearsing in my living room.  Which is extremely cool.
Obviously the dogs are not quite as sold, so I broke them in easy.  First just with just the kitchen door open and then with Yoshi (the less sound sensitive one) out in the living room for short periods to eat treats, and left the door to the kitchen open so Trek (sound sensitive but highly food motivated esp when Yoshi is getting treats) could work up the bravery to come in and eat some a goodie.  As she's done in the past you could totally see her struggle.  She'd start to retreat and notice that Yoshi was getting a goodie and that was just too much to bear so she'd come back to eat a little, then repeat.  again what was great was that I made no demands on her.  Since a rehersal was going on I didn't say anything to her save for the occasionally whispered good girl.  Both dogs did great and improved over the time of the rehersal.

Wed Nov 4
Yoshi maybe having digesting trouble with the EVO treats.  Bummer as they both really like them.  Trek is fine, but they are much like her food.

Yoshi walk.  No dogs except at the end and he took exception to a LWFD that I didn't see.  When I picked him up and placed him into a position facing me he started to focus.  So the deal is the same.  He is improving, but needs a manager.

Trelk walk.  Uneventful but her heeling is getting great.

Tue Nov 3
Yoshi Walk.  On Court, I heard a dog barking from her house in a way that made it really obvious that a dog was walking by HER house.  Sure enough it was a German Shepherd walking by.  We were on the other side of court about a block and a half down.  After considering it I decided that I wanted to see how Yoshi would do being right across the street from the GSD.  As we got closer I stopped Yoshi and had him sit but faced him away from the dog.  He looks and I tell him to watch me (it's an over threshold distance),.  He looks back at me and gets multiple treats.  He considers stressing out about the dog but opts to eat instead!  This is amazing progress.  The dog is only 30'-35' away since it's a smaller street. Awesome possum.

Still groused at the pith helmet wearing mail carrier walking up to HIS house, but not severely.

Trek also was able walk down busy High Street and eat goodies.  She wanted to drag me away, but I kept calling her back to feed her and she finally stopped trying to pull me.  When she did that we then proceeded to walk away from High Street.  Good dog.

I've been using dry treats which is way easier for me and they still like them.

Sun Nov 1
Trek Hike.  We went to a trailhead I'd never been to the Pleasant Hill Road trailhead to Briones Regional Park .  I was looking for fairly flat and out and back.  I didn't get flat (a good climb instead), but found a nice out and back though I did go back a slightly different way and had to deal with Trek not believing that we were going the right way (Stalinist.)  Went out just over a mile to near the top of the first ridge and the junction with a trail that leads all the way back to Las Trampas Really?  That's a long way.)  She didn't quit on my though I did stop to let her sniff and rest and we only did just over 2 miles which is a good distance for her esp with climbing.

Worked with both dogs in the yard separately.  It is nice to actually have a yard to work in instead of a dust bowl.

With both dogs had them do a down stay while I walked around.

Yoshi.  Worked on Sit stay.  Walk.  Stop.  Yes!  Throw a treat at his feet or behind him as a reward.  And repeat.  It's a fun easy exercise once he has the idea of working away from me.  Stop means stop and I don't care what position (standing, sit, down) and he tried them all and they all earned him a treat.  Also double checked that he understood out.  He does and I also rewarded with a thrown treat.

Trek.  First had to clean up after Yoshi since he doesn't have quite the awe inspiring nose that Miss Thing does.
With her I worked on obedience.  I didn't do the herding related stuff with her as she doesn't care a wit about live animals and learning the herding methodology would teach her a lack of precision that isn't that great.  We worked on heeling, a lot on stand, some recalls.  She gets so excited that she forges all over the place but with concerted work could really rock the house.

Brought both dumbells out.  A real one and a dog toy one.  Started with the dog toy one and she would hold if for about a second.  Stretched it to 2 seconds.  Switched to standard dumbell and it was about the same.  I was outside so we didn't have the sound problem of it dropping to the floor.  The standard one might be easier in a way as she can hold it just behind her canine teeth without mouthing it much.

Made a silly video - have to see if it works out at all...

Facebook is not obliging and I'm not sure I want to put it up on You Tube.

Facebook Status Update:
After months and months and months of working on it, my herding dog mostly stops moving when I ask him to. Save for his behavior problems, I've never worked so hard on a dog training issue. The other dog's sound sensistivity is cake in comparison.

I'm thinking that maybe we should skip the PT title and go right to Started.  Everyone I'd read says they regret doing that but I don't think they were also doing JHD, and I'm realizing that it is possible for us to be ready to at least try a Started level leg in the April Corgi trial and that would be so awesome.

Wrote to HTrainer3:

In AKC do you think that Yoshi should try for his PT or just skip it and start training for the Started level?  (A huge leap I know, but it's been very, very useful to work on the AHBA JHD skills so PT level feels almost redundant though I know it's subtly different.)

The reason I'm asking is that there's an important Corgi only trial coming up in April in Southern Calif that I've committed him to.
It would be way cool to be able to compete at the trial level by then.

Of course we still need to actually get the JHD title so I may be getting ahead of myself.

Archive - Go to:

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
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Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2008
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