Yoshi Training Diary - September 2005

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Fri Sept 30
Agility class today.  A little rocky but certainly better than when he was in class before.
He was very barky and surly towards a mostly white Brittany who did not engage or acknowledge him at all.  This dog (a female) is very soft and appears to be not very assertive at all.  Once again he is worrying about the least likely dog to be an issue.  I wound up giving him a couple of collar corrections as he was lunging.  We then started doing a lot of focus clicking and treating which did seem to help but if I let my guard down and the dog came near (due to training circumstances - not engaging him at all.) he would start to growl and bark and lunged again.  What an odd boy he is.

Click to Calm seems to help some.  We'll keep at it.  Though if he lunges I'm not above doing collar corrections though I'm not sure I trust my timing with adversives that much.

Went over front cross, rear cross.  Sharon thinks I should start my rear cross sooner as otherwise I'll fall behind.
Teeter.  Her teeter bangs more than mine so she got the table out and braced the start of the teeter up with it.  We then had them go over the teeter.  Sharon says I should toss the toy (I've started using a tug n treat) on the contact zone when the teeter hits the ground.  She talked a little about the Bang Game which is where you reward them for making a board thwack the ground (she used a table top with a ball underneath it.)  I've asked her for more details and will add them when I get them.  I may even have enough wood around here to make one.

We need to work on his A-Frame as he doesn't want to do it when he's on my right.  I don't have an A-Frame at home which makes things more difficult.  A very nice person in Santa Cruz has offered to let me borrow his unused one and I'm going to take him up on the offer.

Also, I need to go back and reintroduct "contact" 2 on / 2 off for the dogwalk.  I'm going to go with
 A-Frame - running contact
 Dog Walk - 2 on / 2 off "contact"
 Teeter - 4 on

Weaves - has to put him back on leash to get him to do them (he was concerned about being so close to the other dogs.)

Tues Sept 27
I stayed home sick today, but was able to get out of bed to do a little training.

A squirrel against my advice, came into the yard and Yoshi ran after it (not making a sound),  The squirrel ran out and then amazingly came back in and jogged across the yard with Yoshi in sort of pursuit (intrigued, but not out to kill, though if he ever caught one it won't work out too well for the squirrel).  When the squirrel got back into position in the trees, Yoshi promptly resumed his "Elvis is in the building!" barking.

Did some low key clicker training to see if I can get him to hold an object.  Right now since I've been teaching him a retrieve, I get the object (usually a toy) flung at me (this is a good example of you get what you click.)  Nancy Ouelette teaches tug by first teaching a hold (see Cleanrun magazine this month).  Hmmm.  That's probably one reason why his tugging is on and off again.

Did one session with Zekes soft treats (salmon) and after a while he seemed to start to lose interest, so I stopped before it became an issue.

A couple hours later I made myself some toast to see if he was interested.  He very much was.  So we did another session and he seemed more interested in working.  (A dog that prefers toast to salmon treats - go figure).

I don't appear to bet getting a hold when I leave the toy on the ground (he just gives it to me.)  Well that's not a bad choice so I decided to reverse the process and see if I could get him to take it from my hand.  That has more promise.  I hold out the empty tug and treat and he puts his mouth on it and I click/treat.  Occasionally he'll even start to pick it up.

I've decided to go to the Clicker Training Expo in Tucson for a day (Jan 27, 2006), to hear Emma Parsons' presentation on Click to Calm (as well as some other stuff).  I've been reading her book and I'd love to see it in action as I really think it will help Yoshi and his fear of unknown dogs.

He continues to do well with the chute.  I think I'll swap it out for the contact trainer.  The only problem with the Contact Trainer is that it's really not big enough to teach a running contact on the A-Frame side and I'm doing 2 on / 2 off for the dog walk side.  Now, I really like the Contact Trainer (I got lucky, and won it in a Bayteam raffle) as it works great for most situations, but I'm starting to think I need to borrow/rent one for a little while.

His obedience class is tomorrow.  I think we're going to get there early so I can click/treat him for attention to me when the other dogs come in.  I think also we'll stay and watch the Open class afterwards since he gets growly and barky when they appear.

I really wasn't up to walking him enough to get him tired so I loaded up with bread stick treats got the clicker and water, and gentle leader and leash and drove him to the dog park.  I may have come up with a way to let him have fun at the park while keeping him and other dogs safe.  The ongoing dilemma is that while sizewise he could easily go in the small dog park (<30 pounds), he tends to play a little rough for them, but in the large dog park, he harrasses the big dogs so much that he's just asking for it.

So what I did today was to initially walk him on leash all the way around the park (both big and small).  This seems to take that manic edge off.  And then I click and treat him for not reacting to dogs close by.  Emma Parsons (author of Click to Calm) rewards initially for anything that's not aggressive behavior as the very action of clicking and treating seems to have a calming effect.  (I had been insisting on eye contact first before clicking and treating and it has had mixed success when he's excited.)  I was dubious at first as he was so ampped that he was just spitting the treats out (and he usually loves them), but as we were walking around, every so often I'd click him and offer him a treat.  He seemed interested in them and I gave him one and it fell out of his mouth as he went back to staring at the dog on the other side of the fence, but he seemed calmer and wasn't barking, so I clicked again and offered the very same treat (since I had picked it off the ground).  This time he ate it.  He's still not barking or growling and seemed semi interested in what I was doing.  I click again and give him a treat that falls out of his mouth.  I click again and offer him the same treat again.  He eats it, and starts paying a lot more attention to me.  I madly start clicking and treating until I've nearly emptied the treat bag.  He's calm.  Hmmm, this could work.

I then took him into the small dog park and let him run the fence that ajoins the large dog park (getting the large dogs to run with him).  It's a favorite thing with him.  Keeps him safer, and me saner, though woe to the small dog that tries to block his path.

Mon Sept 26
Not much today as we were meeting a friend for dinner.  Chute and sequences still good.

Sat/Sun Sept 24/25
Got the chute out and spend time reaquainting him with it (too about 10 seconds), and then did several short combinations of Jump, turn], Tire, Chute, Jump, etc.  Managed to work in squirrel chasing too.  Over, Over, (click/treat), Tire, Chute, get that squirrel, Tire, get that squirrel, here (treat), Over, get that squirrel ...

Fri Sept 23
Put the weave poles together and did them 2 or 3 times.  Flawless.  Awesome.  I think he's ready to start agility class again.   Sharon says he can come back to the 8:30am class on Friday. I'll put the chute out to see how he is about that.

Thur Sept 22
Did several very short sessions of very enthusiastic jump sequences. The reward being some of the bread that I was eating.  I think I agree with Mark.  He seems more nuts about bread/toast than he is about breadsticks.  Obviously a cheap date. :)

He's very enthusiatic about left and right and I introduced "out" and he got the point right away.  (Since he's so good about bouncing out of the way.)  He's getting more tolerant of someone walking near him though we still have a ways to go on that.

Did a little bit of work with his dumbell.  He still doesn't pick it up though so I'll have to back up a step.

Went on a walk.  Did bark at one dog, but we worked on "watch" which seemed to help but he still worries.

Wed Sept 21
Back to  obedience class.  He was something of a pain but for the most part ok.  He's now fine with the German Shepherd Quinn walking around him during a figure 8 exercise.  He met another Saint Bernard.  I tried something different on the sits and downs.  I turned him to face the wall which had mixed success but as he settled down I put him in a down and petted him the entire time.  He relaxed on his side and for a little while was on his back.

In class, introduced him to a dumbell with a clicker first by clicking a nose touch to is then him starting to pick it up.
So much more fun than trying to force a dumbell into a dog's mouth. Unfortunately my timing was a little off, so he probably thinks that he gets rewarded for dropping it.

Afterwards though he took great exception to the (very sweet) Open level Bulldog sniffing at his (Yoshi's) open training bag.  It seems like he really doesn't like the milling around aspect of the class transition, where he's getting more tolerant of the structured portion.

Tues Sept 20
Did some jump sequences, the reward being a breadstick piece or squirrel chasing.  At one point he seemed to lose interest but instead of giving in as I used to I told him that he was no longer a baby and that he needed to focus more.  Then I took him by the collar (gently) and got him to do a little more.  Then we quit.

Mon Sept 19
Went for a walk at lunch.

Sun Sept 18
Got Cooper and Yoshi together and they were thrilled though Cooper has an injured foot so we had to keep them inside.  But they still got plenty of noisy wrestling in.

Sat Sept 17
He's more with it today.  Funny he seems more mature, which is completely ironic.  Mark did a great job continuing to work with him as he's definitely more interested in working now.  I have him doing jump sequences and I'm finding that I don't have to beg him.  He seems to want to.  I can now do 5 jumps in a circle with out him getting distracted.  Also am now working in front crosses.  He's getting it

Wendy gave him a tug toy and I'm in the process of training him to tug it by using a clicker.  I'm envious of folks who don't have to work to get their dogs to tug.

Fri Sept 16
Went to the Sir Frances Drake show to help Wendy set up the Everything for Paws booth.  Brought Yoshi along and he quite soon started barking and reacting to particular dogs (but not all).  Bermese Mountain Dogs (odd as he's met one before), a Bull Mastiff, and some very foof-foof Afghan Hounds (can't say I blame him on this one as they didn't look like dogs to me either.)  Though when you get his attention he immediately sits and watches you (thanks for working on this Mark).

Thur Sept 15
Back from vacation.  Yoshi and Cooper had a blast together and I think we've created a bit of a monster as they may be inseparble.  We'll see how this goes.  Though Yoshi not only recognized me he truely seemed happy to see me.  Yoshi is recovering today and is pretty tired and subdued.

While we were in the Maritimes, Yoshi was at best buddy Cooper's house.
Those two get along famously. I asked Mark (Cooper's dad) that I'd love his


I'd be delighted to put my two cents in! You and I have talked about
how Yoshi and Cooper seemed to have matured during his stay with us.
Both dogs discovered that being part of the group (or pack, if you will)
brought them different rewards other than the food or toy kind. This
didn't happen _all_ the time, but enough that you could see both of them
genuinely concerned for something other than themselves. Yoshi began to
slow down and let Cooper catch up when they raced around the
backyard. When Yoshi first arrived he would jump up on the futon when I
was sitting on it and not let Cooper on. After a week he welcomed
Cooper on the futon and, at times, let Cooper be alone with me on the
futon. Yoshi and Cooper really love each other, too. The genuine
affection they show each other is fascinating to watch.

Cooper helped Yoshi learn to sit a little better and Yoshi helped Cooper
learn to "tolerate" having his teeth brushed. Yoshi improved with
sitting at street corners no matter how long I made him wait to cross
the street.

Yoshi is a sweet dog. He adapted well staying in a different place and
fit right in after only about a day. He's a real special guy and we all
miss him.

Thur Sept 1
We're leaving on vacation tomorrow for the Canadian Maritimes and Yoshi is going to be staying with best buddy Cooper.

Go to:

Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jul 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jun 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Feb 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jan  2005

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Sep 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - July 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Jun 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2004

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