Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - October 2011

By Ellen Clary (Copyright 2004-2011)
(reverse date order)

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Mon Oct 31
Happy Halloween.  We get over 200 kids, so Halloween is a big deal around here.  Dogs got walked during early evening, still daylight, but the littlest trick or treaters were out,  Predictably Yoshi did just fine - not many dogs and the ones he saw didn't bother him.  Even walked past a "Haunted House" that talked to him as we went by.  Took Trek out afterward to see some folks who were out giving candy, and it was dusk and despite the friendly people Trek was a little concerned by all the strangely dressed and excited people.

I'm having nearly no physical symptoms so I can now walk the dogs without concern.

Sun Oct 30
Today for the first time in a week Mr. Yoshi got an actual walk.  We saw 3 dogs and ironically avoided all of them, because this was the first day that I was able to function all day without symptoms and wasn't about to invite anything odd to happen.

Trek and I played fetch in the backyard but she was hungry and kept charging in the house so it was abbreviated.

Thu Oct 27
For well over a week I've been dealing with a neck injury probably from a mountain biking fall on Mt. Diablo's Meridian Ridge Road.  The major bummer is that I really can't train or even walk the dogs.  Today we did some basic sit-stay and down-stay in the yard with them leaping up for rewards or me sitting on the agility table because I can't really bend forward and extend my arms.  It's been a frustrating week.

Tried Susan Garrett's method for teaching stand which uses a hand target above the dog's head and her dog pops from a sit to a stand.  Trek on the other hand pops up hits the hand target and drops right back into her original sit.  Smart cookie.  Perhaps I need to position my hand more forward.  The thing I don't like about Susan's method is that it's not a smooth kick back stand and Trek nearly has that now so I'm not sure I want to mess hers up.

Sun Oct 22
Ativan can be given to dogs: http://www.justanswer.com/pet-dog/14cb2-dogs-ativan-5-year-old-english-mastiff-170lb.html
I have a Rx myself so I might try half a dose on Trek to see if it helps her in stressful periods.
If it's successful I'll ask for one for one or both of them.

Sat Oct 21
Trek is such a funny Klepto (both dogs are actually). I'm introducing her to scent articles. I have 2 leather ones out, one that is scent free and the other I've rubbed with my hands and some cheese. She's seated some 10' away watching which is fine. I then call her up and she correctly sniffs the right one. I tell her yes and ask her to hand it to me. She does and gets rewarded. I now send her away so I can set up another try, but she's very much "Well since you're not using this one (the scent free one) I'll just bring it with me. "Er, hang on." "But why?" "Fine, we'll use a different neutral one."

Tonight I got Trek to pick up a vet taped wrapped metal obedience article. She's afraid of metal clanging so I was very happy to see her work through it.

Fri Oct 20
Went herding today and it was a lot of fun.  Trek went and demonstrated excellent off sheep control work.  Yoshi showed good control with the goats and we held it together with the sheep.  I finally got him wide enough that the black and while one didn’t escape.

I made a dull but slightly interesting to me of the dogs doing flat work.  The cool thing is Trek doing so well in the beginning:


Wed Oct 19
Yoshi had a very relaxing walk - no dogs.  Just the usual stuff to day - GABA/L-Theonine-Yogurt.  I will have him try a 1/2 a Xanax for herding to see if there's any difference.

Poor Trek never made it to class because an car accident at the Caldecot made it impossible for us to get there on time or just late.  So we drove up grizzly peak for the view and went home and played fetch in the yard.

Tue Oct 18
Yoshi met Max the puppy in a highly controlled encounter - Max was a bit intimidated by Yoshi so I only let them have a little contact.  Only afterwards did I realize with the tension, I was risking another vasovagal episode since there still is swelling in my neck, but survived ok.

May Ellen says we're welcome to knock on the door anytime.  Her car is the blue van.

Trek walk.  It was getting dusk so we went for the Fernside where the trees are much smaller.  Took her to a place I knew she'd never been before (we were walking along Fernside Blvd and then let her find her way home which works amazingly well.  You can see her brain working it out.  I think it's this way - looks back at me - is this ok - yes.

Mon Oct 17

Trek noon walk.  She's really learning what the heel position is.  Worked out my footing for a right pivot.  It works a lot smoother for me to pivot my right foot fist and then have my left foot and doggy pivot.  Also worked on backing up beside my neighbor's wall.  She's a little fast about that but will get it.  Ordinary T step footing works well for the about turn.

Sun Oct 16
Gave Yoshi 1/2 a Xanax and some yogurt.
After an hour took him on a walk.
He was still reactive, but not as much.  Not as focused but less stressed.  I could tell him to not bark and he'd respond
4 dogs
foxhound with his dad and two kids in a stroller
golden going away from us
berner coming right at us, but they walked around us
  he fussed about this, but cooperated when I told him to chill
beagle on a flexi at the park
lab entering the park  - we positioned ourselves only 42' away on the grass

So the 1/2 Xanax does make him more able to cope, but he is a little less focused but better able to listen and respond to me telling him to cool it.

Trek obedience work in Lincoln Park.
Worked mostly on heeling which is going well though I did stop on her food once but she appeared to forgive me.  She some times goes wide but I say her name  and she goes right back into position.  Worked on Front but she varies on how well she does it.  Her recalls some times are in an arc but it might have been the footing of the park.  When I shortened the recall to a few paces she improved.   Also did a little dumbbell work but she found it distracting to do it much (it was the first time we tried.

Sat Oct 15
So we're going to try giving Yoshi a whole Xanax this morning (with no GABA/L-theonine) and see how he does.

Yoshi morning walk
Very interesting.  It was about 1 hour after he had the Xanax.  He was functional, but less coordinated.  He was definitely less reactive, but he had a very short attention span which could be a factor.  He was all about primary reinforcers.  He was mostly interested in sniffing and eating.  He was unusually focused on sniffing.  He'd look at a dog, contemplate, and then look back for cheese.  Almost like "Oh never mind them, got anything to eat?"

3 dogs.  All sizes: some prey sized and some much larger.  All of them I had time to set up for.  All were across a residential street, but no further.  Distance was 50-70 feet and closer than he's usually comfortable (70' is where he can cope usually.)

- medium sized poodle type across Gibbons
- wee dachshund type across Johnson which is a very narrow street (obvious prey target)
- full grown German Shepherd both at the park and then later across High St.

In every single case his reaction was the same.  I had him stopped (sometimes sitting), he would look at the moving dog for a bit then look back to me for cheese.

The question is what happens when you take the anxiety away?  Some dogs actually get more reactive (especially if the cause is prey drive), others improve.  For Yoshi it seemed to be all about focus.  He couldn't focus on sitting and staying very well (he would happily sit and then half a second later forget stand up again), but he also didn't lock onto a dog either.  Focus is really important for a working dog so this isn't an answer, but still very interesting.  I have previously given him half a Xanax and it would be worth repeating under day time circumstances.

So the ability to focus and be a good working dog is the same ability as being able to lock on to and want to charge or even attack another dog. Drat. So what I need to find is something that makes him less anxious (because he is very much a stress case), but still able to work. Xanax is only good for 6 hours at most. If it turns out that it helps him on 1/2 a dose that makes it all the more likely he would benefit from being on Prozac and we'd just have to figure out a way to get him through the first few weeks. Prozac will help with anxiety but shouldn't compromise focus or physical ability. He'd been on Prozac for a couple of days and I took him off of it because his behavior was erratic. Putting him back on Prozac is something I haven't decided if I'm committed enough to try again - at least is inexpensive these days now that it's a generic.

2pm Mat work both dogs.  Pretty successful.  Video taped it.  (Xanax had worn off).

Later - Yoshi barking at various sounds so I gave him some yogurt which seemed to help.

Fri Oct 14
Terri is back!
Yoshi walk.  He was doing so well and we were at a corner waiting on a car to pass and he saw a dog and I didn't and was pretty flat footed.  I hung on to him as the car passed.  the other dog kept approached (I should have asked them to stop approaching) and when the car passed I picked him up in a hurry and kinda roughly and he started to cry out and I was beginning to have a very rare anxiety attack and focused on just getting him across the street.  when we got across I put him down and knelt down and held his collar while I breathed.  Trapped feelings like that apparently are hard for me.  I should have just turned around and gone back a little ways and I would have been fine.  Fortunately I am able to temporarily cope.  The rest of the walk was fine and up to that point he had been relaxed (afterwards too).

Trek park obedience work.  Worked on heeling both on and off leash and wasn't swinging nearly as wide.  If she would forge I would bend my knees some and have her touch my hand (semi closed fist)  She's getting it.  Did figure 8's and turns.  Then worked on Front (recalls) which she is sliding off to the side on, but I would take a step or two backwards and she'd fix it.  Brief bit on Stand.  Sometimes the noise in the park would stress her but for the most part she was able to focus.

Shelley and Letti just won the 8" Performance Grand Prix in the USDAA nationals in Louisville Kenn.  It was a great run and Shelley did great handling.  I couldn't help, but notice how noisy it was and how difficult Trek would find it.

Thu Oct 13
Yoshi walk. Saw the two poodles and we were able to position ourselves so that we were one house length away as they went by.  I was very pleased.

Since I am spending the evening at home I decided to try giving Trek 1/2 of a Xanax to see if it would help her noise sensitivity.  Perhaps some it's hard to say. 
Trek walk and obedience work.  I wanted to give the Xanax an hour but after 30 minutes it was clear that we would have to get going before dark and risk of raccoon encounters.  We walked over to Lincoln Park and worked exclusively on heeling and fronts.  I think she worries about being too close to me and I can't say I blame her.  I have her targetting my left hand but as I bend down to help her touch it she moves away.  I'm wondering if i should stand up more.  Need to experiment with varying positions.  Other than the wide and some forging she's doing pretty well.  I think I should give her a Xanax before class. 

Just to remind myself what it might be like for the dogs I took 1/2 a Xanax also. It's similar to Atavan similar to one's worries tend to bother one less, but you're still able to function.  But I can see it compromising one's ability to do good work as you don't care as much.

So Trek and I went into the living room.  She had been passed out but jumped right up and was ready to work.  She was fine.  My head was a little fuzzy.  We just worked in the living room.  First the dumbbell which was ok. and then on heeling and wound up doing absolute luring to help her learn the position.  Don't know how successful we were but it was good to see that she is willing to work.  I don't know if Xanax is the answer in a working/learning environment.  If I plan to do more than the occasional test then she also needs to have blood work.

But the real purpose of the Xanax is to see if Yoshi's behavior changes when on it or it it's all just prey drive.  I might have a chance to test that Saturday.

Wed Oct 12
Yoshi walk - saw one small dog and were able to get enough distance for them to go by without him stressing at all.

Trek ODTC class.
Renee bought the wooden dumbbell that was too large for her.

After doing a letter perfect sit and down, Trek decided that it was time to be a head case about Figure 8s.  She wouldn't listen very much at all - would only occasionally do nose touches.  I don't know if it's the commotion in the room then and some of the dogs are larger (but very friendly) or what but heeling always seems to be a disaster there.  and then a train went by and she started to shake.  I put her Thundershirt on but that only helped a little and I had given her Yoshi's calming stuff before hand (GABA/L-theonine/yogurt) and it had no effect.  Perhaps it's her that needs the Xanax.

Given that she was being a basket case Hazel just had her run out over a jump and eat a treat off a target and come back over a jump (it's a really easy exercise for her).  Then we had her do a broad jump and she did very well on that.  Especially since I have only trained her on the broad jump there.  Hazel put up a baby gate on the side of it to discourage corner cutting.  She swings a little wide, but it's terrific for only doing it around 3 times.

Then a bit later she was able to demonstrate her new found dumbbell holding skill.  I was thrilled that she was able to focus enough to do it.

Tue Oct 11
Trek Agility Class.
Ash and Luka won gold in Liesin, France so I'm going to emulate him by running faster.  That seemed to make a difference tonight and Trek had a good time.  Her start line was iffy when a dog was barking, but when Sharon asked that the dog be quieted she did much better.  Her sepentines were awesome.  A-frame great.  Didn't want to stop on the teeter (I had to make a front cross and I needed her to stop on it - we normally stop on the teeter anyway, but her dogwalks and A-Frames are running.

She's running well and ready to go back to agility.

I'm debating whether to put her into Novice before she's actually ready.  I've entered her in Beginner Novice and Rally Novice in the Sacto trial, but need to decide about Vallejo in early November, and there's agility in Turlock in mid November at Nunes Agility Field.

Mon Oct 10
So I gave Yoshi 1/2 a Xanax when I got back from work.  This was mostly to see if it had any weird side effects.  It didn't.  It actually seemed to have no effect at all.  I had carfully crated both dogs and then had one at a time out for a bit.  The took Yoshi out on a brief walk down the street (it was night).  There was a medium sized dog he fussed about as usual.  The let both dogs out and had a normal evening.

I guess this means that next time he gets the full dosage.

Sun Oct 9
I went mountain biking on Mt. Diablo and Jan came and let the puppies out to play in the yard some.

Later Trek and I worked on holding a dumbbell. 

Given that introducing food just makes her spit it out faster, I decided to instead work up to my being able to touch it with my fingertips and releasing and she still holds it until I say ok.  Only after all that did she get a treat.

Steps were her sitting in front of me with the dumbbell (how she gets to that point can vary), then I would lean over her,  and if she started to mouth I'd stand back up. Then I would lean over and lower my hands, standing up if she started to figit.  Then worked up to being able to touch it.  If she dropped it I just told her to pick it up, or I'd put it in her mouth.

This was 1 or 2 15 minute sessions in the living room (actually it may have just been one session).

It was introducing the finger touch and release that she seemed to get that I wanted her to hold it until I said Ok.

Sat Oct 8
Yoshi CAT training
Christa drove down with two of her dogs to do some CU/BAT/CAT training.  Her dog is afraid a people particularly men so Mark was nice enough to come over to play stooge, while Christa did some BAT training.  The idea of BAT is that the dog gets to retreat when the dog gets uncomfortable. Doggy got pretty close to him but not close enough to greet but it was still good progress for the dog she said. 
Then she brought out her other dog to work with Yoshi.  The idea for Yoshi was to do a CAT sort of training.  That is based on if Yoshi reacts then the dog doesn't go away and stays there until Yoshi calms down.  When he does the dog can go away.  CAT is more intense and harder on the dogs but Yoshi has done a lot of BAT so it's time to try CAT.

They were down the street and Yoshi and I were on the other side of Lincoln (which is not a wide street so the dog on the other side is closer.)  We both approached each other and I had Yoshi sit and stay like we've done successfully on Central (wider street).  As the other dog got closer, he started to bark and jump up and down.  I told him him was fine and he struggled some but managed to sort of pull it together and ask for treats.  I didn't give him a treat right away as it was too close to the barking and lunging and I didn't want to reinforce that.  But he did change and got rewarded.

Then we reset for another time.  Much less of a reaction and I could tell he was starting to catch on.  3rd time, no reaction and I took him across the street to do an indirect approach and greet the dog briefly.  We waited a bit and tried it again.  No reaction.  However before we tried it again two non-combatant dogs came through and Yoshi lost it with those dogs as they were acting in a challenging way.  I knelt down and sat in front of him and held his collar while he had his melt down.  Then I expected him to react to Christa's dog again.  He didn't.  He is surprisingly observant.  This dog is a large medium sized dog, so not a prey trigger.

Picked up his Xanax.  Now to figure out when to try it as I have to be around him for the whole 6 hours.

Trek went to the Classic Auto Show on Park St. (which was a round about way to go to Dog Bone Alley and buy designer dog treats for her - it's like going downtown for an ice cream) She actually did ok since they're not turned on. Then one started up (in that not at all quiet old car start up sort of way), then another, and then [what seemed like] all of them. She survived, but I did carry her away from the scene.  She was able walk back him semi-ok.

Fri Oct 7
Yoshi herding Trek as tourist.
First with goats and later with sheep.

His Stop and Out were better actually occasionally happened though sometimes (often) I had to get in his face to make either happen.  With Goats we worked on Stop and with sheep it was much more about Out.  He still cuts in too close, so a sheep (the black and white one) will split off and I have to be quicker to get in there to make him get further out so she doesn't do that.

Looked at Yoshi's poop, but didn't see any blood this time.

Franziska showed up with Rudy for an instinct test.  Rudy found it very exciting (a little too much), but with work she might be able to do it.

Trek living room training.

Once session just worked with the dumbbell.  She's better about holding it but really seems to want to have it in her back teeth.  Once I just let her mouth it and when she got it into her back teeth she was able to hold it.  I reintroduced take and hold in the area behind her canines but she seems to like it in her back teeter when she's sitting and holding it and I'm not sure I care since she isn't dropping it.  If she does drop it then I tell her to pick it up so dropping it so there is not incentive to try to hurry the process.

Another session
Worked on Stand (also did the last session).  Her stand is fine if I can touch her belly but I'm trying to get it to a verbal.  My Novice Stand method is while holding my hand in from of her nose with my fingers slightly pinched, then touch her tummy and say stand.  This is working very well but I can't touch her in Excellent Rally so I want to face the tummy touch.  This evening I was able to do that.  With her sititng beside me, I could hold my pinched hand (think finger puppet) in front of her and say Stand.  It worked.

Did a little heeling by having her touch my hand every step - this is to encourage her focus on my left hand.  I have to remember to use a semi closed fist because i was using an open hand but a partially closed fist is more of what she'll see in the ring.

For fun I figured out how to teach her roll over.  Have her lying down and held my right hand open palm perpendicular to the ground on her left side just about ear level and told her to Touch so her head swiveled left and up.  Then I pushed my hand gradually at her and it worked into a roll and encouraging her with "go on" got the full over.  Surprisingly easy.  She wants to learn so I need to stay motivated to keep teaching her stuff.

The find my hand and touch it game is really fun for her and something we can take into the ring.

Thu Oct 6
Yoshi noon walk - no dogs, but! we sat and watch squirrels on the ground that were only about 6-10' from us.

The yogurt may be making a difference.

Trek walk.  Working on heeling by touching my hand.  She's getting it, though I don't know if it's more than before.  I'm also trying to guide the Fronts with my right hand more to seeif that's less confusing.  I extend my arm out in front but still pointed down and she follows in and I bring my hand back toward me.

Tonight I gave Yoshi some more yogurt and took him for an evening walk.  I can't really tell if he's calmer  He was certainly calmer at the beginning but started scanning more the further we went.  Then we had 3 dogs across Central.  Two LWFDs and an Akita (!)  I had him sit and fed him cheese.  He growled just a little and was able to refocus on me.  This is a huge improvement but I don't know if the yogurt had anything to do with it.

His blood test is back.  Mostly clean but a slightly elevated WBC which could mean a small infection.  They were encouraging a fecal but he just had one, but it's not much money really.  I need to check if the blood in his stool went away and I completely forgot to today.

Anyway they're filling a Xanax Rx for him and I need to pick it up tomorrow.  Don't know a good time to test it.  It has to be a time where I'm going to be home for 6 hours and he's booked tomorrow afternoon with herding and for Saturday with CU training at 11am.

Wed Oct 5
Yoshi noon walk.  Success!  He sat and watched the two Poodles we had seen in days past.  They walked right by across the street.  Granted it was Central and hence a wide street but he didn't even growl.

Trek Ob Class
Sit and Down was fine.
After the sit we just did nose touches instead of a food reward to make it more similar to what the ring will be.

Figure 8 heeling.  Completely sucked around big dogs which is a concern since I just entered her in Beginner Novice at the end of the month.  No dogs to heel around in class but it's still a concern.  Having my hand down for her to target helped.

Retreive is progressing.  Hazel things the next thing is to get Retreive on the Flat working reliably.  She wants to see less mouthing perhaps by playing Lori's airplane game by dangling a treat and the treat goes away if the mouthing starts up again.  Given that I've been able to get away from having treats visible when she has a dumbbell in her mouth I am leery of going back to it.  I don't want the dumbbell spitting again.

During the setup of jumps there was a lot of dropping and crashing sounds and Trek nearly had a meltdown.  We hid as best as we could and I let her go out for a short bit (it was cold out so I stayed in and she was at the end of the leash), and then put her Thundershirt on which helped some.

Recalls.  She was fine for two recalls but then tried to [slowly] escape and I chased her down.

Tue Oct 4
Yoshi noon walk.  Could of dogs in the distance who we never really caught up with, but then a JRT went by and Yoshi was able to sit and stay.  There is hope perhaps.

Trek Agility Class.  It was raining lightly and she really rocked the house speed wise.  It was fun.  It was pretty frenetic in the smaller lower field with some very barky BCs so Trek was very much "Can I leave?" But when she go on the field for her turn she did great and even held her stays.  Sharon had us trying to get our dog to stay on the table and we run 2 obstacles away.  It worked which totally surprised me.  She's getting less fussy about using a different crate than her own which makes my life easier.

I am working on tightening her lines and it's mostly working unless I cut things too close and we miss a jump.  Her weave poles are excellent and fast.

Again Yoshi is being very mellow tonight after being a real charge around the yard chasing things jerk in the early evening and not letting me catch him until I herded him into the house with a jump bar.

I've decided that I want to enter Sunday of the Sacramento Kennel Club in Dixon and I'm going to do Rally and Beginner Novice and a judge I like is doing Rally that day.  Apparently if I get a Beginner Novice title then I have to move to B in Rally.  I love how AKC pretends that Ob and Rally are different when it comes to paying for the classes, but the titling sequences affect each other.

More info:

Mon Oct 3
Yoshi noon walk
We saw a Cocker Spaniel and we had an extended conversation about not charging the dog.  It was a quiet, earnest conversation.  Part of the time I was standing, but got down on my knees and held his collar and just talked to him.  He was very much "I'm trying to listen, but there's A DOG over there." [thrash, pause]  "You are ok.  Leave it."  (I really have to use the word "fine" instead of his release word.)  We weren't in position to do much else but the dog was nice enough to cross the street and then pause.  We watched them for a bit and then we had to cross because another dog was coming at us though that dog wound up being carried by his skateboarding person so wasn't much of a factor.  When Yoshi settled down we walked on, or the other dog started to walk away - not sure if I'm remembering correctly.

Trek evening walk.  So part of the time we of course worked on heeling.  I used to have her touch my open hand but I think I'm going to just have her occasionally touch my partially closed hand since it's always there.  when she concentrates she gets it but she mostly likes to look at my face and not my hand, but that's not practical as I can't always look at her.  If she wouldn't forge she wouldn't even have to look at my hand since her peripheral vision is fine, but life is distracting I guess.

Tonight was a very quiet night for the dogs.  I haven't been giving Yoshi any supplements at night at all and yet he's not stressed or barky.

Sun Oct 2
Well today was another story as I had a very silly bouncy puppy today.  At least she wasn't miserable and seemed to almost have a good time.  It's hard to tell because she tends to zoom and forge when she's stressed.  At least 3 other dogs where being silly too so there was something in the air.

First I did a station wrong.  I am kicking myself for it as I was thinking about asking about it, but forgot to.  Stop-Down is not a Halt-Down.  You do not sit first you down immediately.  That would have been so easy for us.  Drat.  The other 10 point IP was the Fast to Normal as she hit the end of the leash and came back to me.  I didn't realize that that is not a Fast to Normal transition and I would of had to have backed up and done the last part of the fast and then gone to normal.  I think that is a tough break.  The rest of the run was just her being silly.  Lots of Our of Positions and I had to retry one since she started to roll on the grass - that was a very well loved spot of grass by several dogs though she may have been the only one to roll on it.

Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7T3H_gzK_Y&edit=ev&feature=uenh

Here is the course (click for a larger view):

And here is the scoresheet:

So while it was me who ended up sinking the run it's just as well as she's really not quite ready for off leash prime time.  I'm thinking that for the Sacramento Valley trial I'll enter just one day and it will be Rally Novice and Beginner Novice.  I want to finish her Novice titles, but she might not be ready for Novice yet, and she often doesn't do as well on the second day and Dixon is a long way to go to be disappointed, so her Beginner Novice title may have to wait a little bit.

Lori tells me it doesn't look like she really knows her job in heeling.  I said that it's confusing because about 75% of the time she's fine, but it's possible this course had a lot more moving stations which is why it showed up.

I've started experimenting with not giving Yoshi any calming stuff in the evening and he's doing ok, but I'm not walking him in the evening when I do I probably should give him some.

Sat Oct 1
Trek Obedience/Rally trial at Hayward.  She is in Novice Rally this weekend.

She did great today.  She got a 98/100 and won Novice A.
There were two places that I was concerned about as she was ahead of me, but I decided that it was good enough and did the exercise anyway.  It was the right decision as being "Out of Position" is only one point off, but redoing it would have been three points off.  There was also the one where you have the dog do a front and take a step backwards, then two steps and front then three...  Fortunately at the Novice level, you are allowed to take a couple steps back just to get the front and I was concerned that I hadn't counted right, but apparently I had since the steps at the beginning don't count.  The other one point ding was that she was ahead of me when we got to the station where I had to Down her and walk around her.

What's cool about Rally and Obedience is that they post the scores right away so you're not held in much suspense, but when I went to check her score I nearly fell over as I wasn't sure I had done the station correctly and that can be 10 points off (Incorrectly Performed "IP").  Of all the Novice dogs she would have gotten 2nd behind a very sweet Chesapeak Bay Retreiver who was in Novice B.

This class was all about reading the signs closely and I double checked the rules on a couple of them (they have printouts at the scoretable.)
Two of the stations were very similar
One was: Call Front, Finish Right. Forward.
Another was Call Front, Finish Left. Halt.
The left and right difference was fine but the first station you were not suppose to stop.  Once doggy had reached your left hand side again you continued on heeling without stopping - further clarification on Sunday revealed that you're not even suppose to wait for doggy to get to heel posistion but when they have cleared your path.
This was likely a reason for the low scores of the other Novice A dogs.  Some of them couldn't remember exactly what the sign said or how to interpret it or even what they did.  I'm learning that Rally is very much about sweating the details.

Yoshi walk
Gave him a Pet Ease which seemed to help
Central: 2 LWFDs
we crossed Central and waited for them.  They barked at him and then went down the side street.  Yoshi did great.

Saw them again and crossed Gibbons quickly and was able to watch them again.  No outbursts from Yoshi who was lower on the update probably due to the Pet Ease.

Then saw another dog on Lincoln and we just quietly U-turned and retreated, but this time we did it slower and not so much in a hurry.  It worked but possibly because his reaction time was slower.

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