Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Oct 2010

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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Sun Oct 31
Yoshi Herding
He's getting it.  He's able to herd in the small area without getting riled up.  Linda says he's learning he can control them without becoming crazed and running at full speed.
This time I borrowed her buggy whip that had the tail portion shortened and tied back.  It's longer than a wand (5'4" it appears) but very light which means I can tap it on the ground in front of him without having to get so far out of position.  And he doesn't mind it so much as the bottle which I'm hoping I can dispense with.

Sat Oct 30
Last day of Earthquake work, but this day we're actually home for it.  The dogs did quite well with the pounding.  Much better than me.

I needed to get out so I took Yoshi to the Dog Park to do some intensive training.
We walked beside the park and then went over to the bluffs overlooking the beach and then we walked down the bike/walking path.  I had always wanted to try this path but worried that there was no lateral escape but I was wrong, there's a ton of lateral space and you can even walk off the path on the sand there's a sort of pathway there.  This is excellent news as it's another way to get the distance between him and other dogs closer than a street width.  The ways I have to do it now are dog behind a fence or in the parking lot of the dog park or keeping a parked car in between us.
We returned to the park on the path and walked along the bluff in sand which is a good workout for both of us.
On the way back to the dog we discover that LWFDs (Little White Fluffy Dogs)on leash can pass by us at 50,' but not at 15' especially when they sneak up on us and I just had to hold him while he swore some at them.
While we were watching at the fence two very teeny dogs (Min Pins I think) came up to the fence to say hello (which he did), but they were also playing and having a blast and Mr. Fun Police was not happy when the started to run and play (he wouldn't even eat - bark, bark), so I backed him off the fence and he settled down and would eat.

So we were in the parking lot of the dog park watching dogs come and go and there's a lull and I realized that he might do better if he had a job besides just watching dogs and eating.  So we started doing Rally work.  He was very much "Are you kidding?  There are dogs around."  But he was able to work some (It was a drizzly day so the lot wasn't that busy).  Still it was a huge adjustment for him.

Then we walked over to the other side of the outside of the large dog park and did more Rally heeling work.  He was better able to focus here since there aren't dogs around beside whoever's in the park.  We gathered up tennis balls as something to do and tossed them back in the park.

Using Rally exercises as a way to get him to focus on doing something while other dogs are milling around is essential if I want him to get his Rally Novice title.  It will be a great skill for him to have as another way to cope with dogs around that he's not allowed to try to control.

Here are some phone photos which are pretty wide angle.  The small dog park is in the background and closer than it appears.


Trek walk
Went to Lincoln Park and worked on some heeling and fronts then in the back area I took the leash off and worked on her right hand finish which she's just learning.  I didn't have my target stick this time so improvised with hand targets.  I'm bent forward.  Go to my right hand (treat) (both hands are behind me) then go to the left hand (treat) and then I stand up and say "By Me" and she sits in heel position.  then I faded the treat in the right hand, but still had her touch it, then she went to the left hand (though sometimes she missed it.  I have to not wave my hands around or she starts thinking I mean Left or Right.  The cue will be Get Around though that sounds like a lot of other things I say, so that might be confusing and maybe I should just say Finish.

Fri Oct 29
Last day of dogs at work.  Earthquake work will finish tomorrow.

Yoshi walk
Brought cheese.  Used 1 1/2 sticks.  We avoided one Lab by crossing the street, but when we got to High St we rounded the corner and saw a LWFD in the distance coming at us (a block away).  I let him watch the dog for a while, but High St. is a busy street and it was getting dark so it really wasn't safe to just dart across and there were no cross streets in between so we retreated.

Then just as we started to go down the street before (Fountain) the dog behind the fence was barking (fine) but then another dog crossed our path almost ghostlike.  Amazingly Yoshi didn't react and he might not of even seen the dog, and I immediately started feeding him just in case.

The rest of the walk went smoothly.  Lots of stop to consider what something actually was with the deepening twilight.

We worked on heeling about turns and 1/2 figure 8's (S curves) and backing up.  His backing up goes at an angle away from me and I have to decide whether to fix it.  Right now his backing is better than Trek's, but it's not something that comes up in Rally Novice.

Yoshi keeps finding acorns buried so both dogs would do well with nose work.  Maybe I should have him find acorns.  Naw, they're not good for him.

Despite seeing dogs he didn't even growl.

Wed Oct 27
Starting today we have doggies with us at work because the rest of the earthquake retrofitting is being done.  The house should be able to withstand a 6.5 earthquake afterward.  I still need to audit some shelving where things could fall down and hit doggies but the house won't shake nearly as much which will be very nice.

But for now we have two dogs with us who need to be kept occupied.  Yoshi is with Terri (in a crate), and Trek is with me. I had offered to take Yoshi but Terri says that Trek only looks for me when she is with her and Trek would be happier with me.  It is weird having a dog this bonded to me.  Any way both dogs seemed to do fine.

The only hard thing was that I had to take both dogs back to the house at noon to check on the work and so I got to walk both dogs at noon.  I've always said that Yoshi's behavior is worse with Trek around but I'm starting to think that's an excuse.  His behavior is worse because he's not used to doing that and since I sometimes train them together in the yard and in the house, I should be able to train them both on walks.  So that's what we did.  Obviously we did the sit at street corners routine but I could call them to front and I could get this weird kind of pseudo heeling too.  It helped that we didn't see any other dogs, but my plan was just to focus on Yoshi if we saw one.

Tue Oct 26
Noon Yoshi walk of which I can't remember a think interesting about it besides we were heeling in S curves down the sidewalk while (I think) no one was looking.  It's so easy to have this illusion that no one notices what you're doing but given that we're often doing something just a touch out of the ordinary I think that is an illusion.

Trek Agility Class
I brought the magic string cheese that worked so well on Friday at Sharon's during Rachelle's class.
I asked if Trek could go first and when the teeter came up on the course I kept my lateral distance and let her decide (crowding her only makes things worse, much worse).  She bounded right up and she got a cheese jackpot (I made sure she knew I had cheese on me).  I then had her come off of it and I kept it from bouncing (and gave her more cheese).  And after we finished the course we took a break while the other six dogs ran.  I think it helped that the teeter wasn't anywhere near the hedge and didn't seem as loud this time.

She still has a long way to go.  I had to drag her out of the crate at first which is always not fun, but as soon as I get her out there on the field she brightens right up and does great.  the jumpers portion of the class worked a lot on front crosses and serpentines.  She is great at serpentines if I rotate my upper body towards her when I have my left arm up during the part where she's taking a jump towards me - otherwise she sometimes by passes the jump.

When we took a break after the first teeter, she wanted to go back to the car - we instead went down the driveway and she ate cheese while put her Thundercoat on and I held her.  then while the last of the other dogs was running, we went back in and she was able to do a course with another teeter (and dogwalk and A-Frame).  What a great doggy.  We quit then even though there was more to do, but it was enough of a milestone I decided that was plenty for the night.  I do have to decide how to proceed  I think just letting her set the limits helps though I don't let her go hide in the car crate.  I feel a bit like a ogre when I don't let her go cower, but she adapts very quickly if she's actually ok and has a meltdown if she's not.  It's funny I only get the hiding dog in the car crates and not the portable one, so I can have her in a portable one on the field and she'll come out.  It's tempting to just pull the entire car crate out of the car with her in it, but if it helps her center then maybe that's ok.

Oh and of course the magic cheese.  I spend all this money on pricy treats, but if offered both at the same time it's the cheese that wins.  Hope her tummy isn't going to be too upset and I hope she doesn't get diarrhea from more that 2 sticks of cheese.

Right now she's chewing her nails which means I need to do them.  Tomorrow.

Mon Oct 25
So Yoshi got his breakfast of kibble with Gaba and L-Theonine with just water today instead of salmon oil and he kept it down

Noon Yoshi walk.  He got the noon walk because I wanted to watch how he was doing.  Seemed to have a nice time and wasn't a stress case but may still be feeling a little off I can't tell.

Evening Trek walk.  She got a larger dose of busy streets today as we took High St all the way down Encinal and then walked down Eninal (which is also a busy street) down to College and then went home.  she totally knows where home is so I probably should walk her more in the twisty turny Fernside so she doesn't try to drag me home.

Yoshi observation
I was in the living room reading and an outside dog started barking.  This usually results in much canine pandemonium and human shouting and canine whining while trying to calm down enough to come to shouting human.  This time I stood up and in their way.  When the dogs charged into the living room they stopped dead and I haven't said anything.  I kneel down and both dogs come to me and I take a hold of Yoshi and start stroking him (long strokes - almost a massage but not quite) some and he stress yawns and starts to relax.  Tenses up at another sound, but settles down again.  I haven't said a word, no food either.  Hmmmm.

Sun Oct 25
Yoshi was packing and pacing very early this morning and I really wanted to sleep more so I held him by the collar but it turned out he was sick to his stomach and threw up.  Drat.  So the bed got stripped and tossed into the wash.  I tried to feed him his breakfast and HE WOULDN'T EAT.  Which is alarming when you have a Corgi.  I put some of a Tums in some water and gave it to him in a syringe and then I was able to get him to eat just some of his kibble without the salmon oil

He's been sneaking acorns so I decided to take him to the vet.  He saw a new vet at Park Centre (http://www.parkcentrevets.com/about.html) Dr. Sarah Gelman though she's going to be changing to her married name.  She checked him over pretty thoroughly.  Felt his gut (no obvious blockages), checked his lymph nodes and pulse and more.  He seems generally fine but a bit subdued (she said his teeth looked pretty good too which was nice to hear).  After talking for a while we decided to just watch him and feed him a bland diet of either Hills I/D (which I have some of) or chicken and rice.

So I give him some I/D for dinner and at 12:30 he throws it up.  I am glad that he's already seen the vet once today, so I don't panic and take him to emergency and turn at $51 visit into a $100-300 one, and I just give him some of his kibble which he keeps down.

Sat Oct 23
Raining lightly today.
Yoshi dog walk.  Saw a Tibetan Terrier coming right at us on our side of the street.  It was a judgment call about whether we'd reach our turn off street before them but we did while they were still 2 houses away, so I fed him a little and we headed off.  I didn't see the dog reappear so the dog may have lived there.  Anyway it was another Good Dog moment as that used to be above his threshold especially with that kind of dog.  He was staring pretty intently but with me having food his disengaged though I had to make it obvious I had food.  Rest of walk was uneventful.

Trek walk.  This time we went down High St in the other direction for 2 blocks.  Said hello to someone with an umbrella which went fine but she seemed a little worried but I think it was more about the car traffic on High St.  Then we went into the Fernside area down Fairview on to Southwood and then back around basically in a different circle than we usually do.  I don't see to go through the Fernside much probably because there are no Victorians, just very nice 20's houses, but it's a nice area with very low traffic so we should do it more often.

Dogs were barking like fools and I realized that I didn't have the radio on.  Funny how critical that is to block outside noise.

Fri Oct 22
Dog Training Day
Terri's out of town so it's me and the dogs for 3 days.
Today Trek got to pretend she's a Utility dog by Lori's invitation.
Started out with Go Outs.  I was using her red expanding Clown Nose target, but Lori was encouraging us to use a part of the ring (stantion or ring gate) as the target since there always be on there in some way.  Trek will send out to a target or a glove from around 10 feet, but then we later started talking about not relaying on the motion of my hand to send her out.  With gloves she showed me what she meant by having the glove very close by (tied in a roll with dental floss) and pointing to it with a flat hand.  Ignore the dog touching your hand as it looks like a target and reward for when they look at the glove.  The you can move on to two gloves and have them look at each glove.

We did some signalling work but we're really not there yet.  her stand is ok but still more novice level.  She talked about breaking the signal into two sections and turning the halfway through the recall signal into an outstretched hand target for the dog to come to.

We did a sent exercise where you start with 3 lids but only one that you've handled.  At first you just put the treat on the top of the lid, then you place it under the edge.  I remember doing this game with Yoshi in this class but I really haven't done much past this with him.  Utility is pretty distant for us but it's something that Trek will do so it's nice to see the path.  The dog gets the idea that the one that smells like you is the one that pays off.  We're supposed to work up to 20 lids.  I can also start collecting Mason Jar rings as dogs don't seem to mind retrieving that metal as much as the metal articles.  Them you graduate to a board with all the articles tied down except for the one that smells like you.

Hand flick game - dog looks at motion of your hands while you stand in front of them with other chaos going on and you reward for their attention and you work real signals into it.

She also really encouraged me to keep my hand level to the ground when using it as a touch target which will help keep it less confusing when pointing with the hand.

Then I got Yoshi out and we did some Rally heeling and ate treats for just being around the other dogs (3 GSDs, 1 BC, 1 Brittany, and Lori's Sheltie.)  He was completely find and the only time he was uncomfortable is when they all left and while Lori and I chatted, Ely came back in with Julie.  I feel a little silly as I knew he was coming back and should have been ready with treats. but since he was in my lap I just covered his eyes and that worked  (he growled and struggled some but relented soon.  Lori pointed out that compared to how he used to be this is more along the lines of a normal dog grumbling reaction.

We talked about Right Hand finished and the Right About Turn.  I mentioned that I had Cali doing a right hand finish and I can't remember how I did it and she is in a similar position, but showed me that you can just have the dog heeling on your left and then with a sort of sweeping motion of your left hand moving from your left to the right across the front of your body, say get around and you can use that to teach the Right About Turn and then get the right hand finish from that.  I was trying to use my right hand like I use my left hand but my dogs have been interpreting that as I want them to sit on my right side and I can't say I blame them.

I mentioned how great Yoshi's heeling is and that I wanted to get at least his Rally Novice title and she suggested we wait till Mt Diablo or Oakland has their Spring shows which are out of town.  I of course mentioned the 4 unhappy Cairn Terriers in Rally Novice at our last one and she said that at least outdoors things are less crowded.

Anyway I'm happy with how both dogs did and it's nice to see Yoshi able to concentrate and work though we were able to keep a good distance from the other dogs.

Agility Class for Trek with Rachelle
She did very well save for skipping a couple of jumps that I cut the pass too close to and she seemed to have a nice time, but the teeter was down in the lower field, so we had to wait till the next class was finished down below before we could work with it.

In the mean time Yoshi watched that class for a little while though we had a near disaster even before Trek's class.  It was one of those that you could see ahead of time and you work to avoid it and it still tries to happen.  Fortunately it all worked out great.

There is a hyper barky Lab in the class before the one that Trek goes to   I needed to let Yoshi pee before Trek's class and that dog was out so I waited till that dog was inside his car and then I carried Yoshi past the car to get to the potty area.  Similar to the sound of a dog slipping their collar that we got to experience a month ago is the sound of a dog pushing open his car door that his owner thought was closed.  Fortunately I haven't put Yoshi down yet and I can hear the owner calling to the dog (that sinking feeling that you're going to have company very soon.)  I tell the owner as firmly I can without yelling and stressing Yoshi that he (Yoshi) is reactive and I can feel the Lab jumping up on my back, but miraculously I'm able to rotate my body so that Yoshi doesn't see the dog and Yoshi Doesn't React!  He may not have even seen the dog, and the owner who is conscientious, if not that attentive to detail, immediately grabbed the Lab.

I just did this Facebook status update:

So Yoshi gets huge points for not reacting to the Lab that escaped his car to charge up to us. I get points for deciding to carry him right at that point (it felt like the right thing to do) and for using my body to block the dog.

Of course afterward I'm kinda shook and have to do some deep breathing to calm down.  Fortunately Yoshi didn't catch on to my distress.  Acting classes work really well in these cases.

Trek and the Teeter
At first she didn't want to come back out of her class which is what she does at Power Paws but this time I just sat in front of her open crate with cheese and she came out on her own once she got a whiff of cheese.  Then we went over to the teeter which is in the enclosed lower field and could easily have the same echoing effect that she hates at PP.  No Problem.  Once she realized that I was paying in string cheese suddenly the teeter became cool.  We did 3 teeters and no issues.  The last two we worked in running away before it crashed down to get some distance and then getting more cheese right as it crashed down.  Hooray - there's hope and I need to remember to bring cheese to PP next Tues.

Thu Oct 21
Noon Trek walk.
Went by the school which was during recess and it was noisy with banging metal and yelling, happy kids and she did great.  Startled a couple of times but we were just outside the fence and the kids were playing right there.  She's come light years in this respect.  I know she can get through this teeter thing.

Evening Yoshi walk.  Wow, he rocks at heeling.  And he knows Back better than Trek.  I realize that I've been so happy at having him be managable that I'm not pushing his training as much as maybe I should be.  Of course maybe my not pressuring him is one reason he is better, but I want to come up with a plan for making him comfortable in his own skin without the compulsion to control everything and react to dogs approaching and maybe with a chance at having him be reliable off leash.  And what is that criteria going to look like?  today he was able to watch a GSD walk by on the other side of the street, but I was actively feeding him.  Idealy I'd like him to see a dog and look to me for a treat that's sort of happening but not quite there yet.

What's going to get him there.  More CU stuff like mat work, recorienting, and leave it?  Leave It is a huge factor in not charging dogs.  What you're teaching them is to look away from something they want.  You're changing the reaction.

I find the reorienting is a lot of work and Yoshi in particular is very intent on looking out and it takes forever to get him to look back, and some times it works well to instead have them on a stay and I stand in front of them (or in the yard) and wait for them to look at me and then I release them.

Reviewing herding tapes.  Recently I've been putting the video camera on a tripod and recording the sessions in the smaller pen in Woodside.  It's working much better than I expected as the width ot the pen is essentially the width of the camera angle so it's perfect.  The only issue is the audio is too quiet because the camera is set back behind a building, but I might be able to move it closer.

Linda is a genious at handling sheep with a dog.  She's always in the right spot at the right time, and we're quite sure that a lot of Yoshi's issue have been me being in the wrong place most of the time.  She's so smooth I can't quite figure out how she does it (one thing is the art of walking backwards) and I now have it on tape and I can see that I'm going to have to watch it a whole bunch of times.  She's using a longer stick which gives her a longer reach.  I think it's a horse lunge whip.  Maybe I can borrow it to see if it's something I can use.  Right now she has me have a bottle on the end of one of my stock sticks and it's ok but not great.  It's nice to see that Yoshi is steadily improving.

Wed.Oct 20
No time for a noon dog walk so set out to play fetch with Trek , then Yoshi distracted me because he was running fetch interference and wanted to bury the toy and when I got back, funny how the treats I put down where I thought was out of the way were mysteriously missing.   So Trek got put inside and Yoshi and I did mat work where I would toss a treat on the mat whenever he laid down on it.  If he only laid down on part of it I asked him to get more on the mat and he actually understood and repositioned.  I was using this completely haphazard "shoo" hand flick signal so I'm really surprised how well it worked.

Tue Oct 19
Noon dog walk for Yoshi

Evening Trek walk.  worked on heeling and fronts and a little back.  Lots of don't move forward unless you look back at me (ang again and again).

Mon Oct 18
Noon Trek walk around the school - no problem which is huge.

We had to go to Sunnyvale to pick up a storage cabinent so Yoshi didn't get a walk today.

But both got some kitchen obedience training.
Worked on
- Right hand finish elements (some with the target stick with that great clown nose tip)
- Stand from a stationary position (without moving forward)
- Haphazardly introduced glove retrieve since Trek will be taking a Utility class from Lori on Friday
For the right hand finish I had them chasing the stick around me.  It worked better if I held the stick in my left hand behind me but having it appear on my right hand side and then have them touch it when it is (a) on my right hand side (b) behind me and (c) on my left.
The glove was pretty funny as all she wanted to do was shake it, but she retrieved it great.

It's also occurring to me that a target stick would be perfect for front targeting (though I don't think she needs it.)  And of course the target on the base is the perfect go out tool.

Sun Oct 17
Trek Obedience Match Martinez Regional Shoreline (Mt Diablo DTC)
Her first time outside in an agility ring.  She did ok but quite a lot of distractions.  The big one being Trains(!), which she was able to cope with (I kept giving her treats every time one would make a noise.)  She was entered in novice Obedience and novice Rally.  It turned into a day of quickly lowered criteria but she coped and was well rewarded.

Obedience.  Her heeling is both spot on and iffy at times especially at a place where there's a transistion such as an about turn or figure 8s.  The judge was very helpful and mentioned that we need to not pause or slow down during the about turn or she will start pausing too.  Not too much sniffing, fair bit of looking around at this brand new place.  Her Stand For Exam was perfect though we waiting till another train went by.  Recall was fast but almost a run by again and I had to call her again (likely a heavy deduction for the near run by).  Left hand finish is working, but I still have to use an extended signal.

Rally.  She actually doesn't have much training in Rally but has the skills mostly and I can talk to her (well since it's a match I did talk to her in obedience too.)  Given that she needs the mileage, I probably should just work on her heeling and get her Rally titles first which is a way to get her moving in the ring without treats.  (More matches is in order too).  There are some Rally skills she doesn't have such as the Left About Turn where the dog goes around you turning right and you spin left.  the excellent level had one where the dog backed up while in heel position which we'd have to work on too, and of course there's the Right Hand Finish where the dog goes around your back to get to heel posistion.  But the cool thing is that we can very easily practice Rally skills on walks.  I think I've seen every Rally exercise, I just have to remember them.

Overall she liked this environment better than agility because there's no teeter though occasionally a jump would be whacked by a dog and that would startle her, but she recovered.

Sits and Downs.  She rocked!  Even in a light drizzel and a train passing (and me offering up silent hopes to some unknown benevolent higher power) and an on leash dog being squirrelly.  the bummer about doing just Rally at first would be all the cool obedience skills that she already has like staying in place, and stand for exam and (mostly) recalls, but we can always practice those along with her dumbbell skills.  In face at matches we could enter at whatever level we wished.

I find I could put all the dogs' skills together.  Cali did relavitvely great on things unless there was a good smell and I never did fix her popping up during the down (bet I could fix it now).  Trek's stays and her enthusiasm are great she had the best recalls and I wonder what I did to mess them up (probably raising criteria too fast).  Yoshi's the best heeler.  Yoshi could easily get his Rally Novice if he could focus.  He could also do well in Pre-Novice which is apparently all on leash.  Yoshi could do matches in Rally Open and Excellent on leash.

USDAA Nationals is making me want to run a fast Border Collie. I don't want to live with one because we really don't have the room, but I'd love to train one.

Sat Oct 16
House maintenance day. 
Just dog walks.
Yoshi's was looking to be really dull when a Rottie suddenly appeared before us about 2 houses away.  He looked at me  Good dog have a cookie and another and another.  Fortunately we were about to watch the Rottie cross the street and head away from us.

Fri Oct 15
Trek Eye Appt or Chasing the Vet around the Bay Area
Animal Eye Care is in Fremont and every so often I journey down there for a checkup for her since she has Dry Eye in her left eye.
Found out they now have a Pleasant Hill office and I had to chase Dr. Friedman down there which was more time, but it's nice to know they're closer now.
AND the big news is that the tear production is NORMAL.  It matches the good eye, both in the 20s!!!  Hooray.   It's the Doxycycline that Trek's been taking.  I discontinued the Flax Oil as a test a week ago and it doesn't seem to make any difference any more so I'll leave it off.

So the routine is

1/2 doxycycline tablet in a pill pocket with breakfast
tears eye ointment like Tears Again


1/2 doxycycline tablet in a pill pocket with breakfast
tears eye ointment like Tears Again

Optixcase or similar

Also I brought in a mat for her to lay on and that seemed to help her be more comfortable though holding her in my lap was the most effective.

Noon Yoshi walk
Doing more of the same kind of: if you don't pull you get to move forward work

Evening Trek walk
I' now trying to remember to walk with a walking stick as an anti raccoon device since we just saw one over at my neighbors.
I'm also trying to remember to bring an extra leash in case we come across a loose dot.  I've been stuck with such a dog a couple of times and it would have been much easier to just leash the dog instead of taking them by the collar.
Went down High street without an issue.

Also doing a lot of if there's dog barking you get fed for both dogs. 

Thu Oct 14
Noon mat work.both dogs.  Didn't have time to walk a dog so instead just put down a mat outside and rewarded each dog every time one would lay down on it.  Trek really has it down and I have to pry the mat away from her.  I'll have to start working with Yoshi separately on his outdoor mat as he gets distracted (and I do too when Trek is making me laugh).

Bonnie posted a blog entry from Susan Garrett which talks about counter conditioning to help with dog aggression:

In a further coltsrunkids post:

I finished the Control Unleashed Foundation DVD and have already been
through the Control Unleashed Games DVD and I'm all fired up about
moving Yoshi beyond just being manageable to being comfortable around
other dogs.

We're part of the way there - I just have to stay focused on my goal.
And yes Other Dogs = Food is a huge win.
I used to have a criteria for it, but I think that was a mistake. You
see a dog you get fed from me.

Evening Yoshi Walk
Went by the school to stalk dogs to watch.  Slowly chased a Cairn Terrier whose owner crossed the street when we got close (I think they were going that way anyway.)  Then watch a very wee dog across the street, but the big pay off was having two dogs walk by us across the street.  One was a Pit staring at us and the other a GSDX.  I was a little concerned when the owner replied that he was taking them wherever they wanted to go but he kept them from coming towards us.  Yoshi got most of a string cheese packet for that one.  He was great.  Kept an eye on the dogs but wow cheese.  He clearly likes cheese better than Natural Balance Lamb which I had grabbed by mistake - he's not supposed to have Lamb because in the past it's made him a reactive idiot.  Though no effect this time. 

Also he was able to watch across the street a very elderly staggering Labrador I find this encouraging as many dogs are extremely prejudiced against old, infirm dogs to the point that some dogs have killed older pack members.  Yoshi just played LAT and didn't get into "You and weird and evil:" mental space that he can get into which I was very happy about.

Trek fetch play and obedience work
I didn't have time to walk Trek before nightfall and we have some raccoons that have been attacking small dogs and I didn't want to worry about it (I have to carry a trekking pole - never had to use it though)), so we instead played fetch in the yard with her favorite Air Dog toy.  After a bit she started offering obedience fronts so when she was panting less I went and got the dumbbell and worked with that.  She doesn't come in quite close enough but it's too early to worry about fixing that and I like her enthusiasm and she's getting better about holding it which is more my concern.

Dropping Treats on the Dog's Head
I put the dumbbell away and worked on her fronts.  Now her fronts are looking pretty good, but I wanted to humor Lori so I put a bit of cheese in my mouth and when she came into the position I dropped a treat which nailed her right between the eyes and I then had a completely distracted dog wondering what the heck just happened.  I repeated this enough to know that I would have to really commit to this to make it work at all and it would entail a lot of going backwards and her fronts are pretty good now so i honestly don't think this approach will help us. 

What some people do is hold the treat in their mouth and take the food out of their mouth with their hand and give it to the dog.
We're actually past that point too mostly, as I used a clicker and a marker word to get her focus up on my face.  When I get the front I say "Yes!" Bend over and put my hands on both sides of her and give her a squeeze and then we move out of position and only then do I give her a treat.  This is working well so far.  We have a match coming up so we'll find out soon enough.  I am not entering her in a trial until I see how she is in the match.

So I've decided on USDAA Turlock for Oct. instead of NADAC
Looking through the last few days here I see I haven't mentioned anything about my agonizing.  Guess I've been just doing that to Facebook friends.
The internal debate I've been having is USDAA in Turlock with a teeter and a train, but all my friends
vs NADAC with no teeter or train, but with an organization that's really into RULES and I am forever breaking them and getting lectured which is totally tiresome.

Kathy made a good suggestion of maybe this USDAA but NADAC in the future.  I like that idea.  USDAA now and the rest of the winter doing NADAC when the rest of USDAA is under a cover and hence too noisy.

What we're going to do it take Arlene's advice and not enter Trek in Standard but just games.  Steeplechase doesn't have a teeter so I'll enter her in that too.  And I hope the blasted train doesn't appear during our run like it has in the past.

Dogs barking = treats
While I've been working on this sometimes a neighborhood dog starts barking which usually gets both of our going bit time, but I continued the dolling out of treats when a dog starts barking and it's been remarkably quiet tonight.  I don't quite have Yoshi at my side asking for a goodie when a dog barks but he now thinks about it which is a huge improvement.  Phew.

This morning Cesar Milan was on the Stephanie Miller radio show.  Now I'm so not a fan of CM but I was surprised that he was almost making sense today.  He actually said "Food is a big motivator" [for dogs], implying that he uses it in training.  I've never seen him use it and Terri was very much "So why don't you [CM] use it in your show?"  Maybe food is too wussy, but to be fair I haven't seen it this season at all.  Anyway I continue to recommend Victoria Stillwell's It's Me or The Dog on Animal Planet.

Wed Oct 13
Yoshi walk went fine though he still gets amped when he walks.  continuing the idea of walking calmly.

Trek walk continuing the idea of walking nicely on a leash

I had asked CU_Dogs_SF for further issues we could work on in email.  Cathy chimed in about being afraid that distractable Abby would leave the ring in agility

I wrote:
I think this is why Leslie McDevitt  works so hard on the Give Me a Break game.
In the Foundation DVD there is a very hyper distractable Golden (named
Snitch I think) that Leslie worked with.
By the seminar's end, during one session Leslie was working with him and
would give Snitch permission to go check something out and he would
mostly focus on her. It was amazing and the owner (and others) were in
tears (of joy). I nearly booked a flight to Philly for Yoshi.
She did this type of work with Snitch, and also with a Sammy named Elf,
and a PWD whose name I'm forgetting. The PWD was very impressive as
they were then outside (the 4th DVD of the set) and she was working
without treats, just the environment.

Leslie said that what's cool about distractable dogs is the whole world
becomes a reward which is mostly Premack based.

This is the key: The dog figures out that you are the source of the
reward and hence you become more of the focus.

As an example
I use a Loose Leash Walking variate that uses the environment as a reward

My dogs on walks like to try to drag me home when they sense they're
heading that way.
Dog pulls
I stop
Dog looks back
Good dog, we move forward.

Dog looks back
I call the dog back and ask for a Sit
(and I get some slack in the leash that way)
Good dog, we move forward as the reward.

What I'm not clear on is how this translates to the agility ring and its
million distractions, but you need to get the foundation in place first.
When you get more advanced, with Abby you might want to use access to a
dog friend of hers as a reward.

Do some sort of training exercise
Release to play with dog friend
Do another exercise
Release to play

She also uses food a lot of course (classical conditioning). For me, I
do a lot of: Ooo there's a scary dog have a cookie.

And of course she uses mats in interesting unusual ways.

Something I've just started playing with is the mat outside.
My goal is to work running to the mat a part of running around after the
Run after the squirrel in the tree and return to the mat to get a cookie.
Trek can do it and ignores squirrels mostly if there's a mat around, but
Yoshi has only squirrel eyes right now.

There is a downside to using crates and mats as training tools. I had
Trek leave the obedience training area to recall into a nearby crate
which totally surprised me. Though she's never done this in agility even
with the same opportunities. I should ask Leslie if her dogs have ever
left the ring to go to a mat. I suspect the answer is no and the reason
is that her dogs understand thresholds and boundaries. She's taught
them to look for her when crossing a boundary ("Reorienting"), and I'm
wishing that I'd been more rigorous about this as it may solve leaving
the ring issues.


Tue Oct 12
Yoshi walk fine.  working on letting him walk slower to calm down some - letting him sniff more.  This takes effort on my part as I like it to be a walk as in exercise.

Trek Agility class.
Today I have her at dinner a Yoshi dose of Gaba and L-Theonine.  She seemed a little slow getting out of her crate (I had to drag her out), and I was concerned that I wouldn't have a dog at all. But she woke up and did well in the jumpers section, and coped during the contact part.  When the teeter appeared in the course we went first, skipped the teeter finished the course and then left and went down the driveway some distance away.  Fortunately the teeter wasn't that noisy today and we were able to go back in the class and do other courses with the A-Frame and dogwalk and table and she rocked.  But still she wasn't very comfortable when class was over.  All she wanted to go to the car and wouldn't use the potty area at all.  But she is improving bit by bit.  Nancy was running the class so it was fun to have her see Trek in action.

We need to work on our lateral lead outs.  Her weaves, start line, contacts looked great.   I did get a spin in the wrong direction and she thinks we should stop and fix it because there was a confusing cue.  Though next time through we didn't get a spin so I think we fixed it.

Mon Oct 11
Noon Trek walk.  Starting to get warm - might be hot this week. She met with a neighbor Ray who's mother was a Corgi breeder.
Evening Yoshi walk.  Several dog sightings.  Did parallel walking with an Akita which in hindsight probably wasn't the brightest thing to do though I did note that the dog was on leash (a flexi).  It was fine walking one direction but we had to U-turn when a Schnauzer puppy appeared in front of us and the Akita charged into the street after one of us (us or the other dog owner or something else entirely).  Yoshi was fine I'm not sure he realized what was going on as he was more concerned about being tailed by a small dog, which is a startling lack of observation for an ordinarily highly observant dog.  An Akita charging near you is a real threat, a 12 week old Schnauzer puppy (named Dash) is decidedly not.

Anyway we crossed the street and had a nice chat across the street with Justin and his wife whose name I'm forgetting.  Their former Schnauzer Max and my Cali would play from time to time.  They just lost Max at 15.

Did both dogs' nails.  I keep telling Yoshi that it would take half the time if he would just stop squirming.

Sun Oct 10
Yoshi dog park work
Brought a mat and we did mat work outside the large dog park.  A couple of dogs approached on leash and I carried him off to a different spot while they passed.
Then we went over to outside the small dog park and fed him a lot of treats.  Again when a dog approached we went in the other direction or I just picked him up.  Picking him up is a remarkable off switch.  Also hung in the parking lot on a hill and he was able to mostly tolerate dogs (even LWFDs) walking by.  We really need to do this work a lot.

Calming things that work for Yoshi
Order of effectiveness
 - picking him up (when outside very effective, in his house with a dog barking less effective and feeding works better in that case)
 - feeding him
 - walking away or creating distance (if I can do this without him seeing the dog it's the most effective thing.)
 - holding him (still on the ground)
 - covering his eyes
 - putting him in a covered crate
 - putting him in a non covered crate or the car

 - having him on a mat - working on talking this outside

Back at home put a mat outside (I have one that was a pillow and has a slick surface on one side) and both dogs practiced with it.  It's still novel so they have to be told to lay down on it "mat" and after a treat they would pop right back up into a sit.  Still they seemed to like the work.

Leslie prefers dogs not to stress pant and asks them to close their mouths.  Yoshi stress pants but it would be tough to get him to stop entirely.  Dogs pant it's what they do, but he does show signs of stress so i need to come up with another way for him to calm himself down.  Maybe I should put yawning on cue.  So far the best is to get him to connect with me as he's still not that good at that.  We're not that rigorous about reorienting and we're working on that.

When we go out I have the dogs wait and then release Trek and the on-leash Yoshi has to stop and look at me (which takes a while).  Not fair, but he doesn't object.

Trek and the Om Pah band
It's still Octoberfest so I walked Trek downtown to the German restaurant.  Needless to say she really didn't like all the traffic and the band though she would still eat (such a Corgi).  I should of just walked down Lincoln, but went down Buena Vista so I'd get the signal to cross Broadway but I should have cut up to Lincoln after crossing and I forgot and we had to walk up very busy Park St and cross the giant Lincoln/Tilden and Park intersection.  She tried to charge away a couple of times so I'm really glad I had put the martingale collar on her.  I carried her past the band and she was shaking though not as much as with a teeter.  Went across Lincoln to watch the band briefly and then we walked home.  Ironically Park St makes Broadway see quiet so she actually relaxed on Broadway and when we go up to Broadway and Santa Clara we actually were able to walk down Santa Clara back towards Park because both Santa Clara and Broadway are 2 lanes but Park is 4. So clearly the way to raise the noise criteria is to head down Santa Clara and then turn around when it gets too noisy.  Given that we couldn't even get to Broadway when on Santa Clara this is definite progress.  Then we headed home and I would stop periodically to ask her not to drag me which she grudgingly did.

Sat Oct 9
Trek walk fine even with a dog yelling at her.  Quite by accident (well mostly) both dogs are really good at looking at me when a dog behind a fence or in a house is barking at them.  I think I have just been very regular about giving them a treat every single time that happened.

Now it of course occurs to me: why don't I do that when a dog outside the house barks?  Duh.  Tried it this evening.  Dog barks.  Yoshi starts to lose it starting to bark his head off and we get his attention and both dogs get treats while the outside dog is barking.  Ideally I try and give him the treat before he starts up as I usually have a second and a half (I've counted) from the time I hear the other dog and he starts in.  So if I time it right he doesn't even get to the lose it point.  Once he comes to me for a treat his attitude is "What dog?"  Trek is of course right there to help him maintain focus since she will happily eat his treats too and he knows this.  Within about 30 min to an hour I could already see a difference in his behavior.  I saw him catch himself when a dog started barking.  He almost started in and then looked back at me.  Yahoo there's hope.

I'm thinking that he and his mat and I should go over to the small dog park and eat treats.  He's not real used to his mat outside of the house (he's only had it in the backyard a couple of times, but I think I can make it work with enough distance though the only real distance is from outside the large dog park.

I was thinking that I should come up with a Dog version of Temple Grandon's Squeeze Machine:

But for a smaller dog you can simulate it by holding them along side your body and have one arm on the other side of them.  Or what worked with Trek completely by accident last Tues is squeezing her in between my legs. She was shaking from the teeter noise and suddenly stopped when my legs held her.  This was much more effective than the thundercoat. We were both on the ground and my legs and her body were in the same alignment.  Grandin's talks about even lateral pressure along the body. 

However!  Even though I can get Yoshi to settle down eventually by holding him vice like.  Nothing settles him down faster than just feeding him.  No struggle at all there and it might even eventually change his attitude about a barking dog.

I finished the rest of the CU Foundation Seminar.  The last DVD has a ton of good information in it and I'm very glad I watched the whole thing.  This copy is borrowed from Kitty, but I think I'm going to buy my own copy so I can talk about specifics with people.  Yoshi and Trek hung out on their mats while I watched it which was very encouraging.

It was actually pretty hard to watch the last DVD as she makes remarkable progress with some of the dogs to the point that the owners were in tears (I would be too).  I can't help but wonder if I had been able to take Yoshi to her classes how different he would of turned out.  I know I've done well with him, but if he had been able to be her student right from the start how different would his outlook be now?

I'm looking at Leslie's site about consultations: http://controlunleashed.net/consultoptions.html
and she can provide other dogs and people to simulate a class environment.
It's so tempting to do this but it would cost around a $1000-$1500 when you add in airfare to Phily, hotel, a car, and the consult itself.
And that would be only for two days, not a class.  I have to remember that Yoshi is a happy dog now and he loves herding (and he's good at it) and agility has always been a worry for him even though he's incredibly talented at it.  I should probably do a telephone consult with her though

Fri Oct 8
Yoshi herding.  No stall session this time.  Just herding in the small pen that has been cut in half.  He did well but the horse manure dust is making him barf (saliva and stomach acid).  Some of it is from excitement but he's a dog and going to pant though it we can get him to slow down more then so much dust won't be kicked up.  He's a lot slower now than he used to be but he still has moments of ducking his head, going straight in, and sheep splitting.  His distance has vastly improved.

Wed Oct 6
Yoshi walk noon - still stopping to get him to look back. It's starting to really work, and helps him change his focus back to me.

Trek got her nails done.

Tue Oct 5
Yoshi noon walk - fine though I've been stopping more to make him look back to me so he engages me more and doesn't worry so much about what's "Out There."  At first I was rewarding him with treats but eventually just started rewarding him by allowing him to move forward or sniff the ground or pee on the tree.  Leslie McDevitt says that if you have a distractable dog then you can use the whole world as a reward which is a brilliant way to look at it.  It's a mega Give Me a Break / Premack game.

Trek agility class
She did great in the jumpers part even the weaves - no popping.  I cut a serpentine to close and she passed it by but that was my fault, and I probably wouldn't do that in a trial.  The big news is that she was able to do the contacts part until a teeter appeared in a course.  We ran first and skipped the teeter and left but instead of going back to the car and into a crate that I wouldn't be able to get her out of easily, I just took her down the driveway as far as we could go and waiting until I heard 6 teeters (6 more dogs ran) and then we went back - which is something we rarely have been able to do.  They were setting up for a gamble that (ahem) featured the teeter, but we asked to go first and just did something else which was fine and then she got to go to her crate.  I did later drag her out when it was quiet again and insist she pee which took a while and she really want to go back to her crate. 

I feel guilty about putting her through this but when she works through it she seems to be having a nice time.

During the time we were waiting I started to hold her firmly (even more than a thundershirt would - more like what Temple Grandon describes in her squeeze machine) and that seems to help her shaking much more than covering her ears which I did every time.  She must physically feel the concussion of the sound wave or something.

I'm leaning towards spending the winter competing in NADAC (no teeter).

Mon Oct 4
Dog walks - no issues

They got their Advantix and Interceptor.

Sun Oct 3
They got to meet my niece and a friend of hers.  Yoshi is still strange about people moving around in his house even when he greets them outside and then adjusts to them inside and then they leave the room and come back in moments later.  Transitions.  He's just terrible about them.  He will growl at someone to get them to stop.  I'm just going to have to leash him around visitors.  I should give them cookies to give him.

Sat Oct 2
I did a day trip to Yosemite sans dogs.

Fri Oct 1
Yoshi Herding.
Did another amusing stall session but he really is starting to relax around the sheep.  Then he and I had a very successful herding session.  If he got too close I would hit the bottle on the ground and he'd back right off (I say "back").  Started to use Flank and Away more.  We're getting it.  I need to work more on getting up with the sheep now.  We can now move the sheep across the small pen calmly.  Wonder what's next.

Archive - Go to:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Sep 2010
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