Yoshi Training Diary - September 2006
By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)
Feedback is welcome:
Sat Sep 30
Went on a dog walk to look for dogs. Didn't see too many
but the ones he did he still wanted to charge up to them. Though
he did then see two sitting catty corner from the corner he was fine
and I fed him a fair bit of the rest of his dinner while waiting for
the walk signal. And the of course when the walk signal comes on
he start barking at them because they're moving now. The little
shit <g>. He doesn't seem to be that upset at them.
I'm still pondering when he's upset and it seems to be when he's on his
own property and else where it seems more like "I'm gonna get you" type
herding behavior. When Joe who was working on the garage doors
at the kitchen door he seemed really upset and was barking in a very
defensive way and it seemed different than when he sees a dog out of
He's pretty good at the look at something and look at me game, but he
still wants to charge the dogs. I don't know if I need to
increase the treat value, or the distance, or if I should change
tactics because I have inadvertenly set up a behavior chain of having a
barking/lunging outburst and then resuming the game of look at the dog
look at me.
Finally got a chance to see the TTouch video from Cathy and I spent
some time working on him spending a lot of time on his ears and face
and he relaxed and dozed off while I was working on him. He
eventually got so relaxed that when the video was over he went to
bed. I think the eventual goal with this would be to try it in
the presence of dogs in the distance and see if it helps him relax.
So there are three or four different strategies we can try when he sees
- Continue the "there's a dog" look at the dog look at me game
- Do T-Touch and Zen Down with him and work on him relaxing around
- Give him an incompatible job like Downing when he sees a dog
- Walk the other way
Mark brought Cooper over for the afternoon and they had a marvelous
time racing around and wrestling and snoozing.
I've been noticing that T-Touch is more effective than Zen-Downs at
getting Yoshi to relax. The light massage on the forehead and
ears is amazingly effective.
When he sees a dog at the window the only incompatible behavior that
seems effective is a recall and if the dog is near not even that works
and I have to tackle him. If it's a dog he's seen before then I
can get him to calm down and we can watch the dog. If it's just
people I can touch him and we can watch them together.
So I think that him seeing dogs from the living room window is much
more stressful that seeing them on neutral territory. This is a
bummer as it's really easy to sit and wait for dogs to appear rather
than having to walk or drive to find them.
Fri Sep 29
"Yoshi Down" is indeed working better. Though it will take some
doing to get him to do it in the presence of stock or dogs, but it may
be the answer to his lunging. I asked some herding people about
it and not surprisingly it takes a while to teach. I will want to
work on his remote down probably on a towel in the Living Room to start
Thur Sep 28
Herding. It was cooler today so all of the corgis except
Iris were a little silly. Yoshi didn't want to stay at the
gate and he didn't want to sit for her at the start either.
Cooper thought it was fun playing billiards with the sheep
by running in the middle of them and scattering them in all
directions. (Er, Cooper, the game is herding - i.e. keeping them
together.) Once Yoshi got going he was generally fine, but even
he was crowding the sheep a bit much. What's interesting is that
all the dogs are getting quieter. Except for Corbu apparently who
was being (I didn't see it) not the golden boy he usually is. I
think as the dogs get more confidence they're experimenting with other
behaviors around the sheep and pushing boundaries.
During when he wasn't running we worked on "Lie Down" and i'm
not entirely convinced it's better than just saying "Down." I
would say "lie down" and he would look at me like "Am I supposed to do
something different?" If I them said "Down" he would usually
down. So maybe I should go back to "down" and if I needed to make
it longer say his name first "Yoshi, down."
It's interesting to me that for the most part he still wants to be near
me when he downs, with the exception of the agility table. He
will happily charge up to it and down without me having to be near
him. (Yes, this is a real kick to watch as this is one thing he's
much better at than Cali ever was - I think because I'm better at
training it now.) I think the Table Down works so well as it's
well defined. The table has edges and he knows what's expected of
him. (No, I haven't gotten the remote sit working yet, but only
AKC has a sit on the table right now and the higher level AKC
competitions don't have a table because of time constraints.) I
wonder if I had a blanket or a towel to practice remote downs on if
that would help. He's great about running to a target an standing
on it and he's great about running to the table so it's not much of a
jump (no pun intended) and I could bring a towel to his classes.
Maybe one of those brown towels that we use for just about everything
involving serious dirt.
The Bayteam jump auction ended while we were at class.
Garill decided that she had to bid it up as she couldn't get a hold of
the top bidder to see if they could reach some agreement. I had
bowed out of the bidding when it went over the price of a new jump (and
thus I knew the club was going to get a nice donation regardless of who
won.) Now Garill has to decide if she wants all 10 and there's
been enough interest that she doesn't feel comfortable taking all of
them, so it's possible that I may get 2 at what I was bidding
($105.) But if not, I can always get them from Candy
(agilityworks.com) for $100.
No class next week as Debbie will be out of town judging. For
Debbie to handle Yoshi during the trial it's $25 a day so $50 for both
days that I can give to her on that Sunday. I also gave her a
$100 check for 5 more lessons (starting tonight).
Wed Sep 27
Patricia McConnell is talking in her book about the fact that dogs have
an amygdala which is the part in the brain that associates actions with
emotions which makes it strongly suggestive that dogs indeed do have
emotions. My brain has really latched on to this as it means that
the burden of proof is on those who claim that dogs don't have
emotions. They can't just get away with being the default
claim. We now have concrete evidence that suggests otherwise.
Tue Sep 26
Agility class. I think I'm going to do some run with him
starts as he didn't want me to do a long lead out so I just came back
and did a run from the line start and that was a lot of fun and he
seemed less stressed, and he was faster. It's possible he needs
more confidence for me to do a more than 2 jump lead out and I'd rather
he learn to run with speed right now and work on finessing such details
Sharon is in China teaching and judging next week so no class next week.
Mon Sep 25
Took him to Lincoln Park and he met an Old English Sheepdog who
was very gentle with him - even laid down to get to his level, and
wasn't put off by being barked at. He also saw a lab that he
barked at then settled down enough to watch. And he even saw some
dogs across the street and didn't bark at them.
Had Jesse over and while they were playing I used the "Enough" cue and
he broke off with her immediately which is very encouraging.
Sun Sep 24
Last night I started reading For
the Love of a Dog - Understanding Emotion in You and your Best Friend
McConnell. It's her new book and the only reason I got it was
because I'm going to a seminar presented by her on Nov 12th in Novato,
and it's the subject. I mainly registered for it to see her and
to get an idea of her presentation style. I wasn't expecting to
learn a lot of new training techniques since it's not intended as a
training manual at all, just a new perspective on dogs and
emotions. Wrong. I'm only in chapter 2 and she tells the
story of her and her BC Luke at a herding fun match. Luke is on a
beautiful long out run and she sees that the live stock guardian dog
for that flock (a Great Pyrenees) has escaped and is racing on an
attack vector right towards Luke (it's the Great Pyr's job to defend
the flock from coyotes and strange dogs.) This is a very
dangerous situation, and Luke could easily by hurt badly or even
killed. She yelled out that the guardian dog was loose and was
wondering what to do besides look on in terror (Luke is way far away),
when a very wise woman behind her said "Down your dog." McConnell
called out "Luke, Lie Down" and Luke (who is 12 years old and has a lot
of training) "hit the dirt." This very likely saved his
life. The Pyr came up, sniffed him from butt to nose and then
trotted off to check on his flock (this is on page 6 after an excellent
lengthy roman numberaled introduction).
I realized that if I can get Yoshi to down on cue like this when he's
either herding or chasing a squirrel or a dog then that would solve
everything. He might even learn to relax better (we're
progressing on that but in much less stimulating environments.)
It seems like it's asking a lot, but more advanced level herding dogs
down in the presence of livestock all the time.
After some consideration I think I'm going to switch to using "Lie
Down" instead of just "Down" as it gives that much more of a cue
(sometimes he's truly missed hearing the single syllable) I could say
"Yoshi Down," but it's faster to say "Lie Down." I intro'ed it to
him in the bathroom and since the word is basically the same he did
fine. It took him out and practiced it there and he did pretty
well. He is not used to downing from moving (like walking or
jogging), so that's what we're going to have to work on (I switched to
just saying "Down" and that got a better response. He wants to
come first before downing and in his case that's fine though for a
working herding dog that's not good as you usually don't want the dog
and the handler on the same side of light sheep as they'll take
off. He also want to go to the table so we had some fun with
sending him to the table, downing, staying, and then coming to me for a
reward and I'm across the yard the entire time. Pretty good for a
dog who's never competed. <g>
If I can get him to remote down while he's in high drive then
that would be excellent. The only bummer about this is that it
would likely mean more herding training and I had been looking forward
to stopping after his HT and I would have to learn it too since I think
that Debbie only handles dogs through the HT level.
Another way to train him in high drive is around squirrels and other
dogs. We just got an example that he doesn't hear so well when
another dog is barking, as Annie started barking across the street and
Yoshi went hurtling by barking and charged into the living room
ignoring my calling him. I stopped calling as I didn't want to
train him to ignore me, and when to the threshold between the kitchen
and the LR (he was up on the sofa looking through the window) and said
"Yoshi Come" and he did his frustration yip and came right away and I
rewarded him with treats from the frig. In another instance he
was in less drive but I was able to call him over to me and put him in
a down and he stayed there for a couple of minutes until I released him
and rewarded him.
So the key appears to be control when he's racing at something moving
and in high drive. A way to keep him thinking when the predatory
brain wants to take over. I'll have to find someway to approach
this. One is have him down when he's on leash. And then
have him down when dogs are in the distance. Right now we've been
working on sitting when other dogs walk by and we may have more success
with that initially.
I really should start a list of
dog related quotes,
Starting of course with Jean Donaldson
"Dogs chew furniture because what else could it possibly be for?"
"Trainers think of the 4 F's when it comes to motivation.
Thu Sep 21
I woke up at 5:30am to a barfing doggy. I think it was an
upset tummy from yesterday's stress gobbling of kibble. It was
liquid kibble, no chuncks and nothing else. Likely the best that
could be hoped for as vomit goes. I had a clue last night that
something wasn't quite right as he wanted to chow down on grass and I
only let him have a little. I grow the grass from seed and I only
use compost as fertilizer so I know it wasn't some internal poisoning
from a commercial fertilizer. And the gardener only takes care of
the front lawn and I tell him not to use weed killer because I have a
dog. He also wanted to drink a ton of water and I only let him
have about 1/2-3/4 of a cup before telling him he'd had enough.
While I'll keep an eye on him I think he's ok and he seemed quite
enthusiastic about breakfast. I think if I see these symptoms
again I'll give him 1/2 a tums at night and see if that helps.
And with any luck, his stress level will go down and he won't be
gobbling the kibble as quickly. I'll also try to not let him have
a whole bunch at once too. (He's actually one of those rare dogs that
chews his food instead of gulps it.)
Herding tonight. Trish King suggested that I work on moving away
from the crate and then walking back to treat him. I did a little
of that at agility class will try more tonight.
Wed Sep 20
We may actually be getting somewhere though I hardly dare hope.
While he's been showing decided behavioral improvement in agility and
herding class when he sees unknow dogs while out on walks he still
This time we were in Lincoln Park where we often go to look for
dogs. I also bring along some of his dinner to use as
treats. This time when I saw the first dog the dog was about 100
yards away so I had a lot of time to get ready. This time
we went to a place on the grass about 100 feet (not yards) away from
the walkway the dog and person were on and sat down. I had a
handful of treats in my hand and I had my other hand in his
collar. I started "There's a dog" way in advance of when he could
actually see the dog (this probably didn't matter but thought I'd
mention it.) when the dog appeared I was holding his collar and
placed my treat hand right on top of his nose with the treats right in
front of his mouth. He was trying to lunge and bark, but the
treats went right in his mouth and that seemed to immediately change
his mind and gobbled the treats while watching the dog (I'm still
holding him by the collar and the arm of that hand is touching his
body.) As the dog passed by he started to relax and it may be my
immagination by I think I saw a light bulb go off above his head.
We then walked on and when we were outside of the park and walking back
along High Street to Santa Clara I saw another dog. I kneeled
down placing myself between him at the dog (I let him see the dog) and
held his collar and gave him kibble. He initially growled at the
dog, but them decided that the kibble was much better. Almost
immediately after that, we saw another dog (a big lab - which is
virtually a guarantee of a reaction from him) and did the same
thing. Unlike a lot of dogs, he definitely seems to find touch
reassuring. In this position he was able to sort of see the dog
on the other side of the street and eat kibble. After we crossed
Santa Clara he was happily looking at me for the rest of the kibble to
the point that he actually missed seeing the first dog we saw
again. (Either that or he saw the dog and ignored it, but I don't
think he's too that point yet.)
All in all a very good walk. He was wearing his harness but I
think it is too small for him (weird corgi body) and it rubs his
shoulders. I guess we should try the next size up though that's
almost guarenteed to be too large.
Tue Sep 19
Agility class. Again behaviorally he was great, and even Jake who
he has mugged before was there. Jake's owner Julie was being very
careful to initially stay in between the two of them which I was happy
for but they didn't seem to need it. Jake in particular wanted
nothing to do with Yoshi and Yoshi wasn't paying much attention to him
except to look at him and look back at me for a treat.
Agility-wise he generally did well though he would stop from
time to time and decide to sniff which usually means something is
stressing him. I can now do a 3 jump lead out with him staying
though sometimes I have to go back to reset him. I was able to do
a cross behind while throwing a tug and treat over the jump. His
weaves while good and reasonably speedy are not really independent of
me though I'm honestly not sure how much I care though if I anticipate
the next obstacle he will pop out at pole 10. Even so, I have to
keep in mind that he's still relatively new at this and with that in
mind he's doing great.
Sun Sep 17
An email I sent to Trish and Toni:
I'm rereading Culture Clash now that I have the 2nd edition and came
across a relevant section on page 89 in the Rehab of Aggressive Dogs
part that in a way seems to be the crux of the issue and I'm not sure
about the answer.
...your only task regarding the goings-on inside the dog's brain is to
answer to following question when confronted with an aggressive
dog: Is this dog upset? In other words, is this dog anxious,
worried, afraid or experiencing some unpleasant emotion or other?
In the case of most aggressive dogs, the answer is "yes," but there are
some cases - predation and bullying of other dogs for instance - where
the dog is not.
She then goes on to say if it's "yes" do classical conditioning first
(while she doesn't say do "bar open" it's likely what she means), if
"no" then "blast away" at operant conditioning - "manipulating
consequences to alter what the dog is doing."
In Yoshi's case, it seems to be both yes and no. Or more like:
was "yes," but now that bullying is working so well then "no" most of
the time. When he's outside not on his territory (like at the
Humane Society) the answer seems to be "no," but when he is on his own
property and a dog comes near he certainly seems to be more in the
"yes." category. Would you all agree or am I missing something?
He behavior is very much like what corgi packs do when the see a new
dog or person. Hurtle full speed up to the newcomer (human or
dog), screaming "STOP!" "Prepare to be sniffed." (A la: The CORG if you
He's such an odd duck, but I'm trying to keep the philosophy that he is
a fun challenge, and if we get ahold of this then he's going to be a
great agility dog.
Am working on the calming exercises in the house first. Later on
will have to find a very large park with long sightlines where we can
try it from a distance..
I finally found a reference once I used the right key words:
Oh an next time I'm bringing a video camera just in case we see any
other gems like him play bowing to a large stuffed Doberman toy. :)
Poor guy jammed a toenail from overly long nails (my bad), so
didn't want to walk much. I took him up and down the street with
the harness just to get him out and so see if there were any dogs
out. We saw two, one he barked at and one he out tried to lunge
at (from across the street). As soon as him hit the end of the
leash the harness made him flip rather dramatically which was amusing
and left me thankful that he didn't have a GL on. We'll have to
see how this plays out over time. He's still not fighting it
which is nice.
He's not really limping now, so I'm quite sure it was a toe jam.
Got some great fetch in in the wanning daylight. At the Bayteam
USDAA regional I bought 2 of every color a vendor had of medium size
tennis balls and not surprisingly I've have the most sucess with bright
orange. I can now throw it most of the way across the yard and
he'll run and get it and bring it back to my hand. Two or three
times he stopped early and got distracted. So one time I called
him back and mimed throwing it again (this worked) and another time I
waited till he looked back at me and mimed throwing it again (this
worked too.) another time I stood up and walked a pace in the
direction of the ball saying "Get It" This also worked. He
seems to be starting to enjoy the game though he really likes the
reward of his dinner for every retreive. If I stay consistent I
should have a fetching feind with any luck.
Success at the front window. He started barking at a dog and I
held onto him encouraging him to be quiet and just watch the dog.
I did get him to stop barking and instead he just made growly noises
which is fine. But we were able to just watch the dog across the
street (a Golden I believe) walk by. There is hope - this is the
2nd or 3rd time we've been able to do this. Afterwards I got him
to lie on the sofa while I massaged him and he was able to relax.
Sat Sep 16
Drum roll. Today is the day that he sees Trish King.
Toni has decided to join Terri and I which is really going to help
relaying information and observations.
It's after the meeting and it was so productive that it's going to be
tough to summarize. The really excellent thing is that between
Trish and Toni's efforts I don't think I'm going to have to pack him
off to Michigan (Brenda Aloff) or Wisconsin (Patricia McConnell) or
The meeting started out with us, Trish, a notetaker and an observer
(whose names I don't remember) and Yoshi of course. We spent some
time flushing out background information and what the issues were (his
lunging and bullying being primary.) Trish spent some time
handling him (and saying he was very cute :) and talked about how it
appeared that even though he has had a lot of training, he is very high
drive and could really use to learn how to relax. We talked about
her method of teaching the dog "Zen Downs"
where you hold the dog in position until they relax..
He also started to alarm bark at a cat toy on the shelf, and then the
funniest moment was when Trish pulled a large Doberman stuff toy out of
a crate. Yoshi initially hid behind Trish's leg and then
carefully came out to sniff noses with it. He then sniffed it's
rear and then came back to the front and gave a play bow. Not
getting a reaction he did it again (and we all regretted not
videotaping it, while we tried not to laugh). He then came back
around to the rear of the dog and Trish layed it on its side so Yoshi
could get a good sniff and figure out that it wasn't a dog. Trish
summed it up his thinking: "It's a toy, I'm so embarrassed."
She also decided that since he was still fighting with the Gentle
Leader even after using it for well over a year that she wanted to see
how he would do with a SENSI-ible harness (softouchconcepts.com) where
the leash is attached to the front. After fitting him in one he
didn't fight it at all. Trish describes it as a Gentle Leader for
the body, where you can pull on it without risk to their necks.
It's also ok to keep easy tension on it like you would do a horse
rein. If he lunges you just pull him in another direction and it
turns him around.
We then took him outside and thankfully he was a complete shit for a
while barking at every dog that came near (fortunately none of "the car
works perfectly at the mechanic's" scenario). We went into a
fenced area where we worked on using the harness and he telling me that
I was being too nice in a way and if I wanted to go in another
direction I should just go in that direction and not bother telling him
about it as unlike with the GL you can pull on it without hurting the
Trish had someone get Stryder her GSD that she's spent over a year and
a half teaching how to be calm. He's very good at it now.
He came in and immediately didn't pay attention to Yoshi but instead
started sniffing the ground a distance away (major Calming
Signals). Yoshi went racing up to him but stopped barking when he
got closer and then started giving him a serious sniff over which
Stryder nicely put up with. Then every thing was ok and we took
Yoshi off leash and he tried to get Stryder to play. Which wasn't
very successful, but let Yoshi burn some steam running in circles.
There was another dog on the fence on the other side that he
immediately tried to fence fight with. Trish showed me how she
places herself inbetween the dog and the fence to discourage the fence
agression. (A la this is my fence, you go over there.) I
haven't decided how much to worry about fencing as it's such a good
form of exercise but if I were going to allow him to do it I'd have to
have a lot more control of the game.
After the session in the small fenced area Yoshi seemed a lot more
relaxed, and Trish is leaning towards the thought that the bullying is
a fun game that he's discovered (rather than it still being fear based
- see the next day's entry and email for more on this.)
We then spent the rest of the time working on Abandoment Training where
you use the dogs propensity to want to be with you to compete with the
desire to lunge. The idea being that you have the dog on a long
line in addition to the regular leash. Trish was holding the long
line. The scenario is that you have another dog approach and when
Yoshi starts to react I would throw down the leash (maybe saying "leave
it" or "let's go") and take off running in the other direction and
optionally hiding (though calling him). With the long line Trish
keeps Yoshi from getting closer to the other dog but lets him run back
Now this is tricky to summarize as since I was hiding I wasn't
watching. We had some amusing false starts as the first
approaching dog was Andrea's Freddy her young poodle who Yoshi has met
(in Lori Drouin's class) and likes so he didn't react to him.
Then we tried Django (also a poodle). Still no reaction.
Then they brought out a slightly goofy yellow Lab, and of course Yoshi
reacted. (Subsequent dogs like a mixed breed shelter hound and
Trish's terrier also got reactions). When prompted I through down the
leash and ran off, but Yoshi didn't seem to feel very abandoned and
still wanted to get the Lab. Things got better when I hid for
other trial but Trish is thinking that maybe he gets attention too
easily (certainly possible) and maybe we should practice ignoring him
up to 50% of the time. Maybe just having him in the room but not
actively engaging him.
Terri observed to me later that when we're working on the computers or
watching TV he's not always getting attention. In fact, as I
write this he's dozing in a snuggler bed at my feet, and he's certainly
happy to go to bed by himself if we're not going to bed just yet.
So the plan is to:
- Continue the Conditioned Emotional Response training with Toni
- Do a lot of relaxation exercises with him (Zen Downs) first in
the house and then in low stim environments
- Ignore him some of the time so that him getting attention is
our choice and not his
- See her again in three weeks (Oct 14th, 9:30am) and we'll do
more Abandonment Training
It was a very good session and it was fun to see folks I already
knew from various classes. We attracted something of a crowd as
I'm sure whatever Trish is training is good for volunteers and interns
Fri Sep 15
Normally I would be taking him to Lori Drouin's class but I'm
just blitzed and we have a meeting with Trish King tomorrow morning so
we skipped it and I slept in.
Thu Sep 14
Herding Class. I decided that I did have the energy to
take him to class and was very happy that I did as he worked very well
both in and out of the ring. I was still raining treats on his
head and we even walked smoothly by Raven and at a different time
another dog without incident. It did help that both times the
other dogs were stationary.
Sat Sep 9 - Thu Sep 14
We get no work done as I have to attend a work class.
He gets to spend time with Cooper on Monday.
Thu Sep 7
Herding Class. He was a little distracted on his first run
but his second one he was focused and working well.
The in between time I had him in a crate and was raining treats on his
head every time he'd look at a dog and then look at me.
Tue Sep 5
Agility Class. He was kinda so so agility-wise (big case
of the sniffs which may have been stress), but behaviorally I'm seeing
quite a bit of improvement. i tried the "Wait" and then "Sit" for
when an unknown dog was around and he was much improved. Not
perfect but i can now see a way through this. He is also much
better about the look at the dog look at me routine.
The best part was that I had Karen play with her dog Rebel in the ring
while we were doing a run. When I released Yoshi he started to
dash right up to them but I said a very firm "Come" and he came right
to me (and got lots of treats for it. This is very
encouraging. We'll have to see how he does tomorrow at the
outside of the dog park.
Regarding agility still need to spend time working on a cross behind
when going over a jump. Underhand throwing of light colored
treats is one strategy.
Email response from Toni:
From what you're telling me and I suspected that's what we'd see when we
Mon Sep 4
went to the park. We have a case of leash frustration here. What we're
working on is exactly what is needed. We need to work with him under
threshold - before he goes nuts - until he knows the game well and can relax
even at close range to dogs. His reward will be getting to greet dogs
appropriately on leash.
Also, the Enough cue will be the one that teaches him to leave a dog alone.
Learning how to read other dogs' body language ourselves and cueing him at
the right time will teach him to read it as well. With some time he will
start self-regulating his play style according to the other dog's body
In addition, as he learns to remain calm, we can reward him with going into
the dog park and getting to play off leash.
See you later [Wed] at 6 pm at the dog park and we'll get started on it.
From an email to Toni his behavioral trainer.
I had Yoshi at the Bay Team Agility Trial for Sunday morning and while
he was initially a basket case he did start to settle down and really
settled down when I put him in his crate and rained treats on his head
every time a dog would walk by and he would look at them and look at me.
I'm wondering if part of his frustration is not being able to interact
with the dog. I'm trying to compare how he was when I was taking
the dog park and being generally loud and pushy but to a large extent
ok. I'm wondering if we can work up to walking him in the park so
can interact with the dogs.
The shame is that his passion is chasing a dog playing fetch and as
as the other dog doesn't mind then he gets great exercise. The
will be to get him to leave dogs that don't want to be harrassed alone.
So I'm wondering again if his bullying is misdirected herding behavior
and maybe I should treat him exactly like he's reacting to stock.
This would involve putting him on a Wait (or recalling him) and then
having him Sit or Down, until I tell him to do otherwise. Good
herding dogs are amazing that they can be in the middle of working the
sheep and then do a down stay when told to.
Maybe I should learn to be a herding handler (much as I'd rather not)
to be a better Yoshi handler. :)
Heck, I could even use herding commands at the dog park which sounds
like an excellent, albeit lofty goal.
Took him on a walk through Lincoln park and saw two or three dogs on
the way over. When I can get his attention he does ok at the look
at the dog or distraction look at me routine, though I do have to catch
him before he reacts. If I don't catch it in time and he reacts I
can turn him around and then he will interact with me.
On the way back I would tell him to wait at non-standard places and
have him sit. Once I had him down and with some hesitation he did
it - will need lots more work on this. I think the key is to put
him in mildly stimulating environments and then ask for sit or down.
When we got back I still had much of his kibble for his dinner in my
pocket so we spent time with him on the back of the sofa on a down and
eating kibble. I think it would be cool to teach him to down on the
sofa back when a dog walks by but that may be asking too much - we'll
Sun Sep 3
Took Yoshi to the morning of the Bay Team trial. He was as one
might expect something of a basket case the first few minutes (maybe
even an hour) but he started to settle down or go on overload
one. Spoke to Debbie O. about him and she was encouraged to hear
that he was going to see Trish King and that we were already working
with a behaviorist. We talked about how another dog could keep
him in line (Cali of course came up), or that a calming agent might
allow him to experience dogs without freaking out so he then has that
experience and maybe it will show him that he doesn't have to be a nut
case. But she was mostly encouraging the classical conditioning
approach that we've been working on of letting him see the dog and then
treating him. ("There's a dog" looks at the dog and then looks
back at me "Yes!" <treat>). I also covered his eyes a
couple of times which helped.
I set up his crate just outside Debbie A.'s canopy and we watched many
dogs parade by and he got many treats for looking at them and not
reacting. He may be slightly more relaxed in his crate than out
He even got to meet a couple of whitish Jack Russell Terriers and was
decently calm about it. He did react and bark at Chloe at Bichon
Fricshe, but saw her later and was able to tolerate her walking by a
couple of times.
At noon the cloud cover started to clear and he'd eaten so many treats
that I decided to talk him home.
I took half of his dinner and took him to the outside of the dog
park. That was too close so we walked around the perimeter of
lower Washington Park and saw some dogs from a distance and got to see
lots of chaos and get lots of kibble for tolerating it. Went back
to stand outside the little dog park and saw Donna and chatted for a
bit, during which a small black pug like dog drove up with his people
and he started to bark at that dog despite my covering his eyes.
Sat Sep 2
Bay Team USDAA Regional Trial. I worked the whole day as a full
time volunteer mostly scribing. Didn't bring Yoshi as he's too
much to handle and work at the same time. Now I have a $50
certificate burning a hole in my pocket and hopefully I'll have the
good sense to just give it to Sharon Freilich or Bay Team rather than
Met a couple of BC puppies and I was very pleased that both owners
complemented me on my puppy greeting style that I've been slowly
evolving. Basically I ask if I can say hello to the puppy and
kneel down to her level (they were both female this time though it's
worked for boys too) and I keep my arms at my sides (not reaching out
to the dog) and let the puppy approach. I shouldn't stare back at
the puppy but it doesn't seem to matter too much with bold inquistive
puppies. (For a fearful dog I kneel down, looking at the ground
and hold out a treat flat on my hand - something I only do for a dog I
know is not going to bite.) Once the puppy has initiated contact
I then start petting them on their sides (I just bend my arms at the
elbows) and then play it by ear as I've already been smothered with
The main thing is to get down to their level and don't hover over them
or come at them from above and let the puppy do the initiating of
Ironically it was Yoshi who gave me lots of practice at this and he
came to us as an older puppy.
Yoshi Training Diary -
Yoshi Training Diary - July
Yoshi Training Diary - June
Yoshi Training Diary - May
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr
Yoshi Training Diary - Mar
Yoshi Training Diary - Feb
Yoshi Training Diary - Jan
Training Diary - Dec 2005
Training Diary - Nov 2005
Training Diary - Oct 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Sept
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug
Training Diary - Jul 2005
Training Diary - Jun 2005
Training Diary - May 2005
Training Diary - Apr 2005
Training Diary - Mar 2005
Training Diary - Feb 2005
Training Diary - Jan 2005
Training Diary - Dec 2004
Training Diary - Nov 2004
Training Diary - Oct 2004
Training Diary - Sep 2004
Training Diary - Aug 2004
Training Diary - July 2004
Training Diary - Jun 2004
Training Diary - May 2004
Training Diary - Apr 2004
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