Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - October 2008

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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Fri Oct 31
Happy Halloween.
Today I was going to take Trek on a walk (and did eventually take her on a short one) to find screaming children, but it turned out my neighbor was having a Halloween Party and the screaming children were just across the fence.  Perfect!  We stayed in the yard and ate goodies.  Because the dogs were in their own yard and because they couldn't really see the kids, they were fine.  Trek seemed a little apprehensive but was not trying to get away at all since she is totally comfortable in her yard.

For Halloween itself we put up an expen to keep the dogs in the back half of the house.  After some barking they relaxed by the expen to listen to all the visiting Trick or Treaters. (We get about 200.)

Thu Oct 30
Took Yoshi on a walk.  Saw one dog and he was grousing some but not like he has in the past.  Given that he seems to have a better hold of himself I am expecting more of him.  I do want him to be able to sit and pay attention to me when there's a dog across the street.  I haven't decided whether that's too much or not.  He can almost do it without lunging but not yet.  I need to find a middle ground but if we're mid-block the choice is either sitting there, or walking in the other direction.  One cool thing about turning around is that if done right you have set up a parallel walking situation.  I wanted us to get back home so decided to not follow this dog and the rest of the walk was without incident.

Did try the throw the treats on the gounds as a reward for attention.  He is suspicious of this, so I need to try throwing multiple treats, though if he is truly worried about a dog he will disregard treats unless restrained.  (Not quite up to making good choices yet.)  There is also the possible downside of him wanting to defend the treats from the other dog.  He's never resource guarded food so it's really not somewhere I want to go.

Wed Oct 29
Worked with each dog individually in the Living Room.
First I worked with Yoshi while center-of-the-universe Trek had a complete pathetic whining, crying temper tantrum in the other room despite Terri's attention (because it's all about HER).

First we worked on rewarding attention and the reward was a tossed treat.  This is a game that Kienan taught us.  By tossing the treat the dog gets another opportunity for another eye contact/reward.  With no dogs around he has this nailed.
Then I got out the tennis ball dumbell that I use instead of a real doggy dumbbell.  He'll do the retrieve, and now will stand in front of me holding it while I then take it back from him.  As soon as I ask him to sit, he drops it.  If I ask him to pick it up he gets up and picks it up.  And so forth.  I can now get him to take a dumbell but if he's sitting he stands up to take it.  What makes this hard is that it cracks me up, and I have to take a break and laugh every so often.  It's sort of like a wack a mole game.  You do one thing and another thing happens.  I finally gently held his butt down (he doesn't mind this) and asked him to take the dumbell.  He finally put his mouth on it and I said "Yes!" and jackpotted him.  I managed to work him up to that a couple more times.
Also did some basic heeling and recalls.  He is stopping short some on recalls, but not often.
And at the end did some Relaxation Protocol with him on his mat.  He did great.  I knocked on everything and he stayed on his mat.

Also did heeling and recalls.  She did not put a hole in my knees this time which was nice.
Her heeling is only occasional as I haven't been working on it much.  and I haven't taught Wiggle Worm the stand for exam yet.
I mostly teach her obedience out of self defense as she demands to do what Yoshi does.
Worked on the dumbell and she has similar issues that Yoshi has.  The idea of sitting and also holding a dumbell and just mutually exclusive.
Teeter/noise work.  Took the old cutting board and put a dog toy underneath it.  She put a foot on it and it make a noise on the floor.  She didn't like that but was rewarded.  I think started the criteria over to marking attention to the board, and then making the board make any sort of noise.  She hated this but didn't want to stop.  I'll need to find a way to make the board a little quieter with a towel.  Out in the yard she's totally fine with the teeter as it is currently set up to not make any noise.  She's in Level 2 in most of the CPE classes next weekend (Nov 8-9) and I have to decide how much to push this.

Tue Oct 28
Noon.  Yoshi walk.  I've been busy of late and have been shirking my dog walking duty preferring to let them race around the yard for exercise but that doesn't help them deal with the outside world so we're getting back into walking.  I'm also interested to see if the L-Theanine  has helped Yoshi at all.  Gist appears that it helps some I think.

Walk was pretty uneventful until we nearly got back to the house. Yoshi then alarm barked twice straight ahead.  When I looked up, I saw standing on his front lawn was my neighbor's (3 houses down) semi-large Rottie (off leash - a construction worker had let him out by mistake).  While Yoshi has exchanged many a distant bark with this dog, he has never met him and obviously now was not the time.  I picked up Yoshi and went across the street and got home that way.  Right about the time I was nearing the house my brain finally noticed that Yoshi is quiet and not squirming, and not in "Get that Dog" mode at all.  In fact, he was perfectly fine with me stopping him and picking him up.  Does this mean that my dog might have a shred of common sense?  The Rottie was standing, not tethered to anything, looking sort of confident (though not really - you could tell this was not a normal situation for him), not being confrontational, but not mincing either.  This is not a dog you mess with (even though the dog is mostly friendly I believe).  But still, Yoshi doesn't always have the best sense.  Yet again he zeros in on the dog who is the most chicken and this was not one of them.  I don't know if L-Theonine gets any credit for this or not, but it's an improvement regardless.

Mon Oct 27
Dog nails.  It was Yoshi's turn since I had just done Trek's yesterday, but she nearly broke the door down to get into the bathroom and sat outside with her nose shoved up underneath.  When I let Yoshi out she came bounding in "me me me me"  So I did her nails again since they're still a little long.  She was very much like "Wait, can't we just skip to the treat part?"  But she did let me do them again.

Sat Oct 25
Yoshi and I go watch herding at Pescadero.  This was to watch Kathy Carlsen try for JHDs on Drover her Kelpie and Koa her Border Collie.  Yoshi did ok but needed a lot of management to keep him from reacting at every dog that walked by.  I had given him a Pet-Ease and that helped but it of course wore off in 2.5 hours and I decided not to give him more as I could get enough distance from the other dogs so we could play LAT and eat cream cheese (well he ate cream cheese.)  He was excited to see and smell sheep and wasn't sure what to think of goats

Kathy's dogs did get their JHD titles (they had one leg from before), and I had a short but nice chat with another herding trainer.  I like her style and she seems pretty accessible and understandable, so I'm going to take him to see her Nov 1st at 1pm.

The L-Theonine may be having an effect, but it's subtle.  It's possible his recovery time is shorter, but that could just be him maturing also.

It's pretty funny that when I walked in two people said "Oh I know you."  It was from agility and from Control Unleashed.  The performance dog world is a relatively small one even in SF.  Once you get involved in one dog sport it's natural to want to try them all.  And then there's CU which has influence in many of the doggy enclaves.

Fri Oct 24
Agility for Trek.  Little one is really starting to get it.  The teeter was on the course so what I did was have her do it and then keep it from banging back.  She seemed to like this arrangement, and was happy to do the teeter.  She really doesn't have a clue about a broad jump.  If I get a run at it she'll jump it but otherwise she'll hop on it looking for treats.  I think what I'm going to do is make a low PVC  jump to stradle it so she gets the idea to jump it.

She understands cross behinds and did an excellent serpentine much to my surpise.  With any luck, she'll do well in the CPE weekend Nov 8-9.  I'll have to think about how to make the rear of the Scion a little more comfy to sleep in as it's pretty much ok except for this one seam that hits my back

Tue Oct 21
Yoshi Appt with Creature Comfort's Dr Kirsten Williams
I went their to consult with her about what herbal solutions would help calm him down without making him dopey like the Valerian does.  I bought the Pet Calm and the Pet-Ease to show her and she noted down what the ingredients were.  She carefully examined him and compared her findings to what she saw when she saw him 2 years ago.

Her recommendations were:
- Consider switching his food to a less "warm" food.  In Chinese medicine things like Lamb, and Chicken are considered warm and Beef, Turkey, and Fish are more neutral.  She gave me a lengthy preprinted list of various foods to consider.  Timberlake East Ocean looks like an excellent choice.  And just to get me back, the food I was making fun of a few entries ago: Instinct,  is on the list.
- Fish Oil (Omega 3 fatty acide), 1 tsp daily (they sell Grizzly Salmon Oil which I purchased there)
- L-Theanine - 100mg daily - this has a calming influence and I'm very hopeful about it and ran over to the Natural Food Market and started him on it today.)
- Standard Process Adrenal Support - to decrease reactivity and help with stress.  (small amounts of organ meats like Liver - this is one of the more mysterious ones that I'll research more over time - purchased there as it can't hurt)
- Consider homeopathic consult (they have a Homeopath there)  She says it's different than the Bach Flower Remedy approach.  If things don't improve I'll consider it.

First question I usually get from people is: "Do you believe in all that?"  My response (and I have to tell this to myself as well) is the same: My belief is not required for this to work (or not work).  As Terri would say "They can dance in circles and chant incantations, if it works."  Not to mention that it's probably much less invasive than the heavy duty meds that he would likely have to take if we went the Vet Behaviorist route (since Prozac and Clomicalm have not had great results).  The hardest one to do would be homeopathy since homeopathy done right sounds oh so wrong since the solutions get so diluted that it just has to be just water that you're giving the patient (controversial ref. is here).  But that's not a bridge I have to cross yet as we'll do this for a month or more.

Dr. Williams says that the L-Theanine should take about 3-4 days to have an effect.

She says it's ok to keep using the Pet-Ease/Calm if it seems appropriate.

Sun Oct 19
Yoshi Herding
I gave him a Pet-Ease before we drove up.  That meant that we were able to walk around the outside of the pens without him losing his mind.  He would sit for me and not try to drag me to the pen.  The sheep would be willing to be within a few feet as well as long as a fence was inbetween.

I went over the reward/punishment grid with my instructor and I talked a lot about the power of negative punishment (the removal of something good) in terms of the removal of access to sheep.  Her though was if I could get him (in the round pen) to approach the sheep and stop before he got to them and then send in the other direction and then stop again would be a good exercise.

Maybe on paper.  In reality, it was too frustrating for him to stop before reaching the sheep and I found myself in a lengthy argument (the Pet-Ease had worn off then).  i put him on a long line and things improved a little, but not too much.  What's likely to have more success is to let him have the sheep once then stop.  Let him have them again, then stop.  The problem is that he gets so amped and then the sheep want nothing to do with him (smart sheep).

Things that did work.  He could do an on leash sit stay with the sheep running around him.  He was more willing to stop than he has been in the past.

Next week we're going to go to an AHB herding trial in Pescadero and maybe meet another herding trainer.  I'll take him to her in November likely.

Trivia: The Petaluma Pumpkin Patch causes traffic slowdowns on 101 as the patch is right by the freeway and they build this tower of hay bales for kids to cilmb and play on and you can't help but look.

 Sat Oct 18
We were in Bed Bath and Beyond and noticed they were selling the As-Seen-On-TV Pedipaws which is the "revolutionary" way to trim your dogs nails.  I could not resist having a look.  Guess what?  It's a Dremel.  Yep  a done-up Dremel placed in a fancy case and with a plastic guard/guide where you would place your pet's nail.  Oh and it's completely non-standard.  The sanding drum is over sized so you would have to buy the refills from them (for as long as they make them which probably son't be long), and I wouldn't be surprised if it were way under powered.

Fri Oct 17
Trek agility.  She basically rocked the house.  The teeter was off to the side so not generally a consideration. We ran clean, she was able to send out, A-Frames/Dogwalks no problem, and her sequencing was excellent.  I felt like I was running an agility dog which was a great feeling.  We then took some time to work on the teeter.  I started out just rewarding her for just touching the teeter and was later rewarding her for going 1/2 way and then had her go over it.  Initially she was fine until it make a sound after she had left it then she didn't want to get back up on it.  Given that in competition, we'll be far away from the teeter when it comes down I'm not sure how much I should stress about it.  It's almost like working on it makes her fear the teeter more.  I also find that if I stay with her on the teeter (like right beside her) she's more likely to stay on.  Now I'm reconsidering my decision to hold her back at level 1 in the Bayteam Fall CPE in everything besides jumpers.  Level one doesn't have a teeter or weaves.  Just checked and she can be in level 2 in everything except Standard where she needs one more, so I'm going to take a chance and move her up.

Wed Oct 15
On Thur I'll go get the video camera and teeter.

So Yoshi is going to be starting back to obedience class tonight.  Because of that I took Trek for a short walk over to the school where the kids were just trickling out.  At first she was fine to eat cream cheese, but when it became clear that we were going to be hanging out there for a bit, she wanted to leave and I let her since this is pretty much an optional issue, but stopped her in 1/2 a block to see if she would eat more - she did and tolerated the occasional kids walking by with their parent(s).  While she likes the cream cheese I think she prefers the meatier treats.  i'm going to let her set the limits of how close - much like how we're going to do with the teeter.  Maybe I should have her do nose touches on kids like Glenda does with Ripley but I don't want to force her to interact in fact I'd rather she just reorient to me.

Since Yoshi hasn't been to class for a long time I think we'll skip the sits and downs with the other class as those dogs are a lot less experienced.  I'll try to remember to give him a Pet-Ease tablet before we leave.

I did give him a Pet-Ease around 6:30/6:45 and it seemed to make a difference.  He was able to be around strange dogs big and small and be able to concentrate on heeling and did a recall also.  Around 8:30pm he started what appeared to be stress panting and we retreated away from the other dogs who were working on recalls and I just fed him.  He was quite happy to focus on me and only occasionally looked at other dogs for which I said "yes" and he immediately turned back to get his treat.  At no point did he even growl at a dog even though there were times I expected him to.  After 8:40pm I decided he's had enough and wanted him to end on a good note, so I put him in his crate in the Scion, and I just watched the rest of the class and socialized (a major part of the class. :)  Dog's that Yoshi knew there were Calli the Mallenois and Mr Giles the CKCS.  There were plenty of dogs that could have reacted to and didn't.  Barris another CKCS, A Boston Terrier, A French Bulldog, a large intact Swiss Mountain Dog, an old Golden that he's groused at before, another Mallenois, a Std Poodle (though he's surprisingly good about Std Poodles, and a St Bernard.

Though I'm not noticing it as much tonight, I noticed the night before that when Yoshi came off the Pet-Ease he seemed even more sensistive and reactive than usual.  This is why I put him away when I did as I didn't know if he was going to become dramatically worse.  (Didn't seem that way this time).  I'm very happy with him.  Between managing him well spacewise, and the Pet-Ease, and the feeding, he was very well behaved but alert and could still work, and hopefully he will remember this positive experience.  It feels like he's trusting me more.

It occurs to me that I don't know of any rules against giving your dog meds or herbs before going in the obedience ring.  I could give him a Pet-Ease before a class and could even give him Pet Calm (the one with Valerian) for sits and downs.  In Novice they only have to sit for a minute and maybe he could hold his head up that long.  It's funny to think of AKC doping scandals though I would imagine that happening in agility, but not obedience and more to give a dog more speed as opposed to calming them down.

Yoshi just barked at an outside barking dog.  I had him come up in my lap and while he groused some about the dog and my neighbor being outside talking, he chilled out much faster than he usually does. It's 10:10pm so maybe there's still some residual effect.

Tue Oct 14
From an email to Elf re Trek's teeter issues:

It's the noise.

She had no issue with the all wood teeter on grass at any height.  She'd do it for fun.

She had some issue with your base and it clanged a little but got used to that.  That was the overnight: "oh this isn't a big deal" thing which happy dashed the plan I had for getting her used to it again.

Sharon has/had one that was really loud and she hates that one and started worrying about any moving board.

Worked on a lo-tek wobbly board (cutting board with a towel underneath it) in the living room and she got used to that.

Then she flew off of a teeter at an AKC trial as it was placed beside the dogwalk and looked exactly like one.  I don't know if that was a factor as she's still prone to occasionally fly off of the backstairs landing just for fun - a 4' drop (i keep telling her a day will come where she can't do that any more.)

Sharon's teeter is now quieter and she'll do that one if I'm there.

But I'm now going to do Leslie McDevitt's approach detailed in the June 08 Cleanrun.  Where you let the dog choose how much of the teeter to do but keep raising criteria in order for them to earn a reward.  Leslie wrote the CU book so I trust her judgment and Trek is very food driven, so I know it will work.

I'll start with the board with the metal guide on the low PVC base I have and then add in your base.

McDevitt's approach is unique as she let's the dog decide how much is ok.  The dog is allowed to jump off the teeter.  Scenario is
Now Trek is very food driven, she likes toys but prefers food.  For her it will be:

Cathy over for DVD night

Since I finally had some time to watch Yoshi I gave him a different version herbal supplement called Pet-Ease by Nutri-Vet. This one has   Chamomile (45 mg), Hops (45 mg), Ginger Root Extract (35 mg), L-Taurine (20 mg), and L-Tryptopan (10 mg) and no Valerian.  It definiely mellowed him out (too much I say) but only lasted 3 hours and then was back to his usual self.  The directions said one tablet for every 10 pounds so I gave him two, but next time I'll give him one.  It also claims that you can give it to them day to day.  Maybe I'll give it to him tomorrow for class as the 3 hours is a nice time period for a class.

Mon Oct 13
I've been seeing this ad for a while now and it always makes me laugh.  It's in Cleanrun and it's a dog food company who makes a dog food called Instinctive  and the copy line is: Is You Pet's Food Instinctive Nutrition?" implying it's what they would eat if left to their own devices. Here's the image that's used in the ad.  What a romantic viewpoint.  Dogs are the ultimate scavengers and will try to eat just about anything once.  i just had one of my dogs into ER for eating something she shouldn't of.  They had just finished up doing surgery on a Golden who had eaten a corn cob.  Domestic dogs may be experts at non-verbal communication, but they are fantastically poor judges of what to eat.  The photo shows one of the more exotic cats and a Border Collie (!) out on what is implied to be the Serengeti.  And by the way when was the last time a Border Collie was on the Serengeti?   I don't hate grain free diets.  Trek is on one, and Yoshi is on Wellness which is also a premium dog food, but I don't think we need to be sold on this weird mythos about dog culinary habits.  Many of us know all too well what awful things our dogs try to eat.

i did scratch Trek from Madera., and I'm going to borrow back the teeter from Elf.  The reason I saw the instinctive ad is that i'm looking up the teeter phobia article that Leslie McDevitt wrote for Cleanrun back in June 08 (which ironically has a Corgi bounding up a teeter.

Here's the link but it requires a paid Cleanrun subscription.

Sat-Sun Oct 11-12
Agility Weekend for Trek.
With anti-nausea medicine in hand we drove over to Dixon for a Haute Dawgs USDAA trial.

Summary, while she's progressing well she definitely needs a lot more mileage under her belt.
Things she does well:  Jumpers class - she Q'd twice
Problems areas:  Contacts particularly the teeter.
Things that are a bit rocky but will improve with experience: Obstacle sequencing.  First we do one obstacle and then another and so forth.  If I've pointed her at an obstacle it means take it.

Jumpers - Q (3rd pl).  (Video taped by Silvina.)  Did surprisingly well.  Overshot a tunnel but was easily called back.  She's usually erratic the first run so this is a nice surprise.
Standard - Clean, but over time.  (Taped by Elf.)  Trek kept running past obstacles - I'll have to review the tape to get more detail.  Slow on the teeter but did it.
Snooker - 32 pts not a Q (need 37).  (Taped by Silvina) Bailed on the teeter which was #6.
Gamblers: just worked on the teeter which she did hesitantly
Steeplechase - scratched - we're both wiped and it's a fast course - which will be a blast in the future.

Standard - (not taped fortunately) Wow she would put a paw on a contact obstacle and then jump off (true for teeter, dogwalk and A-Frame).  This is concerning me.

Dixon Fairgrounds has a small stadium that we normally don't have access to, but this time we did.  While casting about for something that she could practice climbing on, we discovered that the steps were useful I could send her up them and then throw a treat up there so that the reward wasn't when she was right beside me and also just having her hop up on an aluminum bleacher and walk along it for a while worked great.  I video'd some of this and I hope at least a little came out.

A huge plus also was that there was a concrete isle way that I could practice sending her out.  I could say go <beat> go <beat> go and after some reps she caught on (such a smart doggy) and would send away.  Then I could stay "stop" and she'd stop and turn around (just occurred to me that Utility dogs work for months on this - eat your heart our :) and then I usually would recall her with "[Trek] here"

Gamblers - (taped by Silvina) we did a really simple opening that worked on the skills I though we could be successful at and it work (no gamble Q but I wasn't really trying for that.  Opening was Dogwalk-jump-send to a tunnel-jump-dogwalk and it worked (phew.)  I was thrilled that the send to a tunnel worked, and that I could get her back on the dogwalk.
Grand Prix - No teeter, and A-Frame didn't have enough of a run at it - though she did try it.  I tried the teeter twice and gave up.  The A-Frame I decided not to try again

The jumpers run had a place where it really called for a cross behind which we'd been working on in class pretty diligently, but had only very recently gotten past thrown toy.  But armed with the "go" cue we'd been working on previously we went over to the practice jump and spent some time with "go over."  No problem at all.  Things are looking up for this jumpers run.
Jumpers - Q! (not taped) and no run bys (2nd pl).  I deliberately ran it slower and methodically and kept my voice very calm.  It worked.

I do worry some about Trek learning to do agility slow.  Cali was always medium speed, but that may have been a factor of her jumping 12" as when I moved her down she was a 9 year old speed daemon.  But slowing down is helping Trek learn better and Susan Garrett stresses "DASH" Desire, Accuracy, Speed, Habitat (changing environments) and in that order.  Accuracy before Speed.  She also doesn't do nearly as many run bys.  Of course speedy Corgi Hubble was 15 seconds faster, but that's just the way it's going to be right now, she needs more work on the basics.

Now I'm trying to figure out what to do about Madera next weekend.  My inclination is to just scratch her and eat the entry fees and my part of the hotel room.  Looking back I see 3 bailed teeters which is not something I like her repeating - she did this even after sucessfully doing those teeters (save for the Grand Prix one which she'd never seen before).  Now I could go to the trial and just do jumpers and gamblers (and maybe the Grand Prix).  Gamblers doesn't have the four paw rule where if your dog bails you must skip the obstacle and go on.  Grand Prix doesn't either, but that's with a lot of people watching so I'm not inclined to try it more than once, and simply trying things at trials is fun but can really backfire.  What she needs is more experience and there really isn't time between now and next weekend esp since I don't have time to get down to San Jose to again borrow the teeter (or maybe I do - hmmm.)

Fri Oct 10
Spent 3 hours in ER last night when, not to be outdone, Trek started throwing up in color, first it was green which is the watch stage, but when it turned red she won a trip to the ER.  She's ok ok now but a little subdued.  We did have them do an x-ray to check for blockages and there weren't any but her intestine showed she'd eaten something furry/gritty.  I don't remember her getting into anything, though the grittyness could be her (ahem) cleaning up after Yoshi (the continuing argument).  There's also the possibility she ingested some of the mulch which is not poisinous, but could be irritating to her sensitive tummy.

[later on] No smoking guns in her poop.

Vet wants her on a bland diet which she'll get today, but is not something I can maintain this weekend.  Though she'll get her meds.

She's still going to Dixon this weekend but may spend it all in a crate sleeping. (She didn't).

Wed Oct 8
Figuring out where we are on Yoshi walks sans cone.  About the same, but he's very vigilant

Tue Oct 7
Cone day 10.  Called Park Ctr to let them know that he was coming over..  I refrained from saying "Here.you deal with him."  I dropped him off in the morning.

I called at noon.  Staples are out and Cone is GONE!  Hey ho the cone is dead! Lori asked me if I wanted the cone back.  I declined and refrained from saying "Hell, no."

I brought him back and after a couple of careful sniffs from Trek they immediately started to joyously play.  Then Yoshi started rolling in the grass in celebration of being able to do it (see photo).

Mon Oct 6
The Benedryl only mellowed him out for a couple hours last night,  Then at bedtime I gave him 2 dropperfuls of Pet Calm.  He settled a little but not really.  At 3am he was up and fussing and, after some cone surgery, I gave him another dropper.  This sort of calmed him down or  I just passed out from exhaustion. 

Cone day 9. picked up the Acepromazine oral tranquilizer from Park Ctr.

That night with much caution I gave him one tablet at 6:05pm and got my cell phone and made sure the BAVS emergency room number was on it and had the car keys in my pocket, and got the stethoscope out and double checked that I could find his heart beat quickly.  Dog pulses can be found on the inside back leg, but just try to find one when you're stressed and in a hurry and are not sure you have the right place.  He started to mellow out within 10 minutes, and within the hour was very relaxed but not asleep.  We kept him within sight for an hour and a half or so and then when it appeared that he was going to be ok, we let him go back into the bedroom to chill out.

It was a very peaceful evening, but it didn't last.  Again at 3am he was up and fussing.  After much massaging of his neck we finally got him to sort of chill out. and I resolved to call Park Ctr and tell them that I was going to be dropping him by so his wound could be evaluated to see if the staples could be removed.

At least it's nice to know that we can use Ace if we need to.

Sun Oct 5
Cone - day 8 of 13.  Gods I hate that cone, but not nearly as much as Yoshi does.  He kept fussing and scratching and chewing at it on and off (mostly on) all last night.  I called the vet basically asking for coping advice and saying how we were getting sleep deprived.  I later had a good talk with Dr. Applegate and we decided that a sedative might help him.  She said that we could try Acepromazine, and I said (right after "Eeek") that he couldn't have that because a littermate had died from cardiac arrest after Ace and Telazole.  She said that this was the oral version and that they use it everyday in the hospital and while she knows of problems with the injectable Ace, she more suspects the Telazole as there have been more issues with it.

I assented with reservations, but the hospital had already closed so I'll pick it up Monday.  We then talked about Pet Calm and how effective that had been for him.  I told her that it worked great but seems to have a short half-life and then he starts fussing in the middle of the night (and we start suffering).  She said to have it at the ready to give to him in the middle of the night.  She also said she didn't know of any problems with Valerian and encouraged us to explore herbal medicine as plants are definitely medicine.  I mentioned on how I wish there was a better way to know the potency and she agreed and joked that she carefully researches any medicine she takes, but was seeing an acupuncturists for her knee and was taking Chinese herbs which she knew nearly nothing about and had little luck finding much out about them.

I asked about using Benedryl to knock him out and she said that in dogs it only makes 10% of them drousy, but to try it as it may help and she agreed with my theory that it might help with the itching.  It did initially knock him out and I was hopeful, but, of course, as I type this he's awake and trying to scratch and is back to chewing on the cone.  I am sometimes to the point of saying fine destroy it see if I care, then I think better of it as I really don't want him removing the staples and Dr Applegate tells me that it's still too soon to take the staples out.

I also mentioned that I'd figured out that a slip lead will fit over the cone so she encouraged us to take him on a long walk.  I did and he crashed right after it, but that was 4 hours ago and while he's better than he was last night, I'm not optimistic on him sleeping through the night so he's getting more Pet Calm.

Thu Oct 2
Much as I hate the cone that Yoshi is going to have to wear for another week, I do love the peace that has settled on the household that it no doubt had a role in bringing.  A couple of days ago I stopped giving him dropperfuls of Pet Calm to see what would happen and things have been well calm relatively.  Trek is still cautious around the cone but doesn't run away from him and he has had no outbursts at all.  Even on walks he's better.  Still tries to react if he sees a dog, but chills out all the faster and the cone narrows down what he can see periferally which seems to make a difference.  I've threatened to have him wear it all the time on walks if it didn't make us all so miserable.

I did check around for a no bite collar and no luck at the first place I checked but they recommended another store nearby.  If I can't find it locally we'll just suffer as by the time mail order would get here the week would be nearly over.

I was having to walk him on his regular collar which wasn't fun till I realized that a nice slip leash we have can be loosened enough to go over the cone and then can be tightened back down.  Now we can go on nearly normal walks.

Now that he's on an enforced break from herding I've been thinking a lot about how to go about the list that down in the Sept 15th entry.
Learning how to simple exist around sheep without screaming is this winter's project, and I realized today that if I can get him to be calmer around sheep then a lot of our sheep arguments will be much easier.

For one is that he wants to charge the sheep into the pen which is way dangerous and I haven't been letting him do it.  If he can be calmer, then the sheep won't be so far away from the pen (right now they don't want to be any closer than 100' either that or they're breaking down the gate to get it to get away from that possessed dog.  What I need is for Yoshi to stop and hold the flock about 40' away while I open the gate and then I send him out around the flock and they go in.  Even if he were to try to run them they would already be in the pen.

i was also looking at the AKC Herding Course A which I've seen done at the Corgi Nationals.  With more control it's something I know he can do.  (Click image to make it more readable.)

Some dogs have trouble with the initial outrun as the handler has to stay behind a line.  That's no problem for Yoshi and it's one of his strengths.  He can fetch sheep to me from all the way across the arena.  He sometimes splits them but he's learning.  Speed and drive are not an issue.  Calm down and slow down are the mantras for the next few months.

Archive - Go to:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Sep 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Aug 2008
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Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2008
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Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2007
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