Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - September 2008

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

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Non-Dog Blog Table of Contents

Sun Sep 28
Cone head day 2.  He can now mostly maneuver around the house and yard and can even go up and down  the stairs smoothly.

I did give him a dropperful of Pet Calm and for the afternoon while we were at the SF MOMA Frida Khalo exhibit (which was great), we put him in the kitchen with a couple of pads to sleep on (since he can't fit in his crate or even a snuggler) and a bowl of water.  We ran longer so Jan was nice enough to come let them out to pee.

Trek is leery of him being a conehead and doesn't seem to understand the concept of payback for all the hazing of him she did when she was the conehead.  (See the: I'm just a crash test dummy photo).

I've been pondering UC Davis and while I'm quite open to taking him the dramatic success of the Pet Calm is making me thing that I should first have Creature Comfort (a holistic vet practice that he's been to before) have a crack at coming up with an herbal solution that will work well for him.  I need to look up what we were giving him for a while but I don't remember it having the dramatic effect.  I also need to read more about Valerian.   This article here says:

The mechanism of action of valerian in general, as a mild sedative in particular, remains unknown. Valerian extracts appear to have some affinity for the GABAA (benzodiazepine) receptor,[1][2] but this activity does not appear to be mediated by valerenic acid, but rather by the relatively high content of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) itself.

And I just discovered that the NIH tracks Valerian and has quite possibly the most over-the-top thorough web page on it here
It's going to take me days to go through it but one quote caught my eye:

Can valerian be harmful?
Few adverse events attributable to valerian have been reported for clinical study participants.

Sat Sep 27

The Day After.
What a week, I'll have to work back through this whole week to fill in the gaps.
Today we took Yoshi into the vet to have a look at the hole that Trek put in his leg.  They shaved it and had to cut the flesh back a little so it was fresh because it was  starting to heal open (not good).  They understood about the day delay as I had made the appt yesterday and had explained then why he wasn't coming in that day because we were getting married.  He now has staples in his leg and managed to open the wound while still in the lobby with me paying the bill.  I had glanced at it just as we were about ready to leave and saw that it looked strange and asked for a tech to come have a look.  The tech was amazed as it turned out that he had opened it.  They took him back in, restapled it and he was then sporting a temporary e-collar till we got home.
Good thing we had them put a collar on him as we tried the blowup donut collar and he could still reach his leg, so he is gets to keep the e-collar on for two weeks.  Ugh.  He can't get into his crate so I pulled out the crate and am putting just a mat down.  I think while we're at work he's going to have to be in an ex-pen in the kitchen as he's not currently coping as well as Captain Crash Trek did.  It's so sad, he runs into something and just stops.  He's learning to back up and try again but he's really not picking it up (a few hours later he started to cope better.)

I tried giving him just one dropperful of the Pet Calm and it took the edge off maybe a little, but he was still a drama-queen stress case at the vets.

I guess this means no herding for him for a couple of weeks.  Which means for 4 weeks as Trek has 2 agility trials after that.

I'm still pondering what the correct response is if he goes back to bullying her after the cone is off.  I need to come up with something that stops it immediately.  Things that fit that category are:
Things I know that won't work well are physical violence that induce pain to the dog.  I certainly have grabbed him roughly at times and sometimes squeezed his ear or muzzle and that just increases his agitation.  What you need is something that interrupts things immediately.  People who have hurt their dogs, sometimes get the aggressive dog turning on them.  Yoshi has never, ever been aggressive to a human (beyond barking at them) and I want it to stay that way.

I need to check if it's ok to use Pet Calm on a regular basis.

Park Centre (my vets) really want him to see the behaviorists at UC Davis and I think we'll do that, but it's $350 (plus a half day off work) and I've put so much money into him that I want to think about it first though I'll likely do it eventually.

Fri Sep 26
We got married today in the backyard.  There were 10 of us total.  The dogs did great, and Yoshi was a gentleman and I get to take some credit for it as it the middle of the night I remembered that we still had some Pet Calm which does a great job of mellowing him out.  Pet Calm has Valerian, Hops, Chamomile, Passion Flower and Skull Cap.  I gave him 2 dropperfuls which under normal circumstances makes him want to sleep, but in this higher stress environment he stayed awake.  In the morning we took photos of him in his tie and Trek with her flowers and ring bearer necklace.  Then before all the guests arrived he went into his crate and stayed there for the ceremony until we took him out again for group photos.

Right in the middle of the ceremony he started alarm barking and Jan went to check (our appointed manager with her husband Mark who was hanging on to Trek).  Soon after, the barking stopped and I didn't think anything about it until she later told us that a neighbor's CAT had walked in the house through the open back door.  This cat has never tried such a thing, and Jan got the cat out by judicious opening and closing of doors.  Phew.

Trek the ring bearer was the great unknown.  She normally has an excellent recall but when things are stressful she sometimes just melts in place or runs off a short distance to where she thinks it's safe.  She did great.  Mark walked her up to with in a few feet of us and I said "Trek here" and she immediately came to me.  I took the ribbon necklace which held the rings off her and handed her back to Mark.  What a pro.

This morning I woke up and saw some blood on his left leg that we hadn't seen before.  Turns out that Trek had taken quite a good chomp out of him when they had that agument on Wed that I wasn't there for.  Terri had pulled them apart and noticed that Trek was hanging on to his leg but we hadn't seen any blood till this morning.  When I called to make an appointment for tomorrow, when I explained the wound they were a little surprised that I didn't want to get him in today.  I said "Well you see, I'm getting married today."  "Oh! Well try to keep him from messing with it."  I kept putting neosporin on it.

Thu Sep 25
I'm getting married tomorrow so this week has been very busy (see the Non-Dog Blog for more detail).
The dogs have been coping sort of and we're doing as best we can to help them feel more comfortable.
Yoshi gets to greet people outside and then invite them in (he has very mixed emotions about this.)
He will spend the ceremony in a crate.  Trek has a minor but important role as ring bearer.

After we took this photo, cute as it was, we decided to turn the flowers into something that was more collar-like which has a much higher chance of succeeding.

So yesterday and today Yoshi pushed the non-combative Trek into a fight.  What a fool - don't pick fights with girls they finish them.  What's been happening is that he gets amped up about someone at the door and offsets his frustration onto her or he gets unhappy about her cutting him off when he wants access to one of us.  He starts snarling and screaming and pushes her down (though really makes no contact.)  This is until we get there and toss him (often pretty roughly) into his crate, which ends it.  She's been putting up with it but you just knew there was a limit to her patience with her somewhat miswired housemate.

Well Wed when I wasn't home, Terri called Trek over for her eye drops (this happens 4x/day), and Trek didn't come, not thinking anything was amiss,Terri called her again and it turned out that Yoshi was blocking the doorway.  Trek tried to get by Yoshi and he exploded.  Terri didn't see what happened, but when she got there she pulled Yoshi off of Trek, and in her haste to get him off of her and in his crate, she didn't notice until she picked him up that Trek had clamped firmly onto his leg.  She kept going thinking that Trek would release but she hung on and a tearing wound resulted.  This didn't look too bad till Friday (see the Friday entry.)

On Thur he again went off on her, but this time I saw the whole thing.  My sister Anne and her husband Russ were visiting which had his stress level up (though he was coping).  We were all standing in the living room perhaps getting ready to go somewhere when there was some activity outside and Yoshi alarm barked and started to the window.  I had called him back to me and he was most of the way back but Trek was in his way trying to get to me.  He snarled nastily and charged her, she dropped down, I grabbed him immediately by the scruff and held onto him instead of crating him as I wanted to watch more.  As I lifted him up, Trek bites his pants and pulls fur out but that's it.  He (even though he has what he wants) keeps screaming at her, with an impressive intensity and his heart rate is maxed out.  Then he suddenly chills out.  I forget what I did then probably crated him.  I have to ponder what to do about this.  In the meantime, I put the citronella spray out at both doors.

Sun Sep 21
Yoshi private lesson with Kienan.
He is able to tolerate dogs running a playing fetch at 100' which is way better than he used to be but any dog approaching he reacts to.
Kienan noticed that I use my body language a lot and that my body language is very pronounced.
She's wondering if we can reduce that.
The scheme is
At home
The idea is that the treat throwing allows his another oppertunity to get another reward since he has to take his attention off me.
When this is working start throwing the treats to the sides, and then even behind me.

Then change the setting and start over.

On walks if he sees a dog drop several treats on his head.

Fri Sep 19
Big doggy day.
Yoshi attends Lori's class.
I've been taking him to the Utility class as the dog's are more solid and there are fewer of them.  Last time I just had him eating cream cheese in a crate.  This time I had him participating in the initial heeling stuff.  He did terrific.  He was even fine around Steinway a large black Bouvier des Flanders who is non-reactive.  He does best when he has a job and he was happy to heel all around the space worried a bit about the door, but got through it. 

When we were outside waiting to go in he tried to react to an exiting medium size Terrier so I had to pull up on the Gentle Leader and say "Leave It" and we walked on.  He recovered quickly and did have any outbursts the rest of the time.  I was able to interrupt his staring with slight pressure on the GL and Leave It.

When the dogs started working on specific things that used all the space (articles, gloves) I took him out to the car and let him rest.  I needed to rest too as paying 100% attention to him for an hour is tough work (the classes are 1.5 hours).

I spoke with Lori about what our next step should be now that it seems he can hold it together in these situations.
We discussed controlled exposures to other dogs (which are not meetings but are at a semi close distance where someone like Terri holds Yoshi (maybe plays LAT) and other other dog's owner has their dog on a sit-stay and I walk over and greet the other dog.
I think I'm going to start taking him back to Wed night obedience class.  For recalls we'll start out a short distance (6') and work from there.  For the sits and downs we'll use the far corner and I'll have his back to the door initially (which will be hard for him as he worries about the door) and then part of the way through will turn him around. 

Lori empasized that even if he has a meltdown to keep him in the situation until I get him back which I can do pretty quickly (then we can leave if I think it's wise)  The idea is that having a meltdown doesn't get him out of the situation, being connected and working does.

Trek Agility Class.
She was pretty distracted by the treats on the ground.  I actually took the rare step of throwing a toy at her to get her attention off the ground.  It didn't hit her but instead hit thejump that was inbetween us making noise and that worked.

I'm entering her in the Haute Dawgs and CAT October agility trials.  It's not that I think she's going to qualify much (she still runs past obstacles sometimes and that's a refusal in USDAA and AKC), but it's the start of the 2009 season and I want her to take part.  I think I'm just sick of being on the sidelines.

She's driving better at jumps so I can rear cross.  Rachelle had me try waiting till she had mostly gone over the jump to throw the toy and this time to throw it to the side where you want her to turn instead of through the jump uprights.  This worked.  No spins.

Thu Sep 18
Back to working on Trek's screaming kids fear.

I took Trek back to Krusi park and there were soccer practices going in full swing.  I went through a whole bunch of steps.  We were parked by the practice.  In the truck with the door open, then door closed, then window up, then radio on, her in my arms, her not in my arms, me petting her belly, me just leaving her alone.  Her stress just kept increasing.  Stress panting, trying to find a safe place in the truck (though I wouldn't let her go back in the crate).  But still willing to eat.  I finally moved the truck further away and she got better (about 150-200' away.)  Then we started walking around and she clearly wanted nothing to do with it (the kids were being pretty loud.)  We walked around the block and stopped at a grassy area and she was semi ok, but we were a football field away at least.  Dismayed, I took her back to the truck and we went home.

Then on the drive back, it occurred to me that her response is exactly how she is around a dog fight.  She wants to get away.  I thought about what screaming kids sound like.  DUH! THEY SOUND LIKE A DOG FIGHT.  I felt like a total heel and apologized to Trek.  I don't think I really need to solve this problem though I do want her used to kids and used to other types of chaos that she's likely to come across while traveling and competing in agility.  I'm off tomorrow so maybe we'll check out the kids walking to school (maybe even walk with them or sort near them).  No, that's too much, we'll stick with meeting individual kids on walks.

Just as an experiment, I had her in my lap and I put on some You Tube videos of yelling kids (citations not included out of mercy).  Didn't phase her at all.  I had to work to stay relaxed.  Terri came in wondering what the heck was going on, and said it was making her stressed too even with seeing what it was about.  For both of our sakes I turned it off, and Trek kept dozing in my lap.

Wed Sep 17
On my way home from work I cruised by a couple of parks looking for passels of children that I could show to Trek.  There was a soccer practice going on at Krusi Field, so I went home and got her.  By the time we got there, that practice was over (a good thing, it turned out) but there was still some folks playing baseball and people wandering around and a father and son playing catch nearby.

First thing I notice is that she won't get out of the crate  It may have been something she heard or she's reading my mind, but after her not moving I decided to wait a little bit (so I'm not rewarding her for staying in the crate and then with no fanfare just toss down a treat about a foot in front of the crate.  She comes out looking apprehensive.  We cross the residental street to get to the park and she notices someone working on a car (making some noise) about 200' away.  She wants to drag me back to the truck.  I let her in a controlled manner.  She looks crestfallen that the truck isn't open.  I start to just slowly feed her.  She's stressed as she's chomping on me which from her is a sure sign of stress.  We watch the father and son for a little bit and then go across the street.  We sit on the bleachers and I fed her more.  Then we started to walk but a family was approaching and she was freaked out a bit so I walked her further away - 150' or so, and we were able to play LAT and just watch them as they walked.

When they had moved on I brought her back to a bench and she sat in my lap and ate treats and I rubbed her neck.  She's more relaxed, but still worried.  Her initial response was almost agoraphobic (fear of open spaces), but I think it was the noises that bothered her although I notice that the baseball game of mostly adults didn't seem to bother her that much though they were futher away.  I can see that we're going to make a habit of this.  She was able to concentrate enough to work on sits, fronts and watch.

It occurs to me that if she's comfortable in the car that maybe we should do something like Yoshi and I did where we watched scary things from the car and ate peanut butter.

Tue Sep 16
Yoshi walk.  Since the Clomicalm has such a short half life (less than 24 hours, sometimes even less that 12), it's already out of his system, so I'm watching his behavior pretty carefully.  Hard to tell, he seemed to be scanning more and possibly reacting faster, but I was also pushing him some by walking around the outside of the school (common dog walking area).  He saw a Dalmation sitting by his person across the street and back in a school yard and didn't react when I said "There's a dog." and he went right into LAT.  It helped that the dog wasn't moving.  I did get quite the mega over threshold reaction when the owner of what appeared to be a small PWDX was not only just across the street but headed briskly, directly for us even though Yoshi was starting to have a meltdown.  I quickly scooped him up and carried him football style out of the way (one hand in his collar, the other around his ribs with him tucked under my arm).  He was trying to struggle, but I would blow on his ears and he'd immediately stop and look at me, I'd say "good boy" then in a beat, he'd go back to struggling and whining about the approaching dog, and we'd repeat the whole thing till he settled down.  Evil person that I am I make him walk with the dog for a bit while I chatted with the owner.  If the dog was still he was fine.  If the dog moved he wanted to tackle the dog, which got him more collar holding and blowing (which is a great mild adversive that Trish King taught me that immediately breaks his focus and makes him reorient to me and earn a treat if he can maintain).  Later saw another dog from a distance that he didn't react to.

Since the school sidewalks are wide, we also worked a fair bit on heeling, watch, whiplash turns, fronts, by me, some downs.  He does better when he has a job though it doesn't keep him from reacting.

So I think we're not too bad off.  I decided not to test out he losing it around Trek (a behavior I'd like to so go completely away) even though Cathy was coming over tonight to watch The Wire with us.  For coming and going transitions, I kept him on leash.  In the spirit of tell me what to do, he really does better on leash.  In fact, all of the situations where he's lost it and chased (or even sometime bit) a dog (Terriers), has been when he's off leash.  Wish I understood why he has it out for Terriers.  Repeated exposure doesn't seem to help that much probably because most Terriers aren't very nice.

i was thinking about the structure of the next time I take him herding and I think what we'll do is some time in the round pen to let him blow off some steam and work on control with or without the long line since the pen is small and we do pretty well in it and can even work on directionals and stops/down there.
Then we can work on just being around sheep without losing his mind.
If that's too close we can go outside the pen and work up to it.

Lori's class is this Friday.  He's going to the utility class (1pm) and we're going to be playing the part of distraction.  He's far enough along that he likely doesn't have to be in a crate, but can instead work on heeling while the other dogs do utility exercises.  Have to remember to get more treats for that and Trek's class on Friday also.

Worked with Trek and the soccer ball.  She's getting pretty good at bopping it with her nose.

Mon Sep 15
I had to work late today so not much dog training.

I asked the corgiherders Yahoo Group what to do with Mr I-herd-at-110mph and got some excellent feedback (I showed them the videos that Diane took of us which really helped). I've archived off the whole discussion into a mailbox (and it's on the Yahoo groups archives too).  I summarized it right at the end:

So here is Yoshi and I's list of things to work on in herding.  Let me know if I've left something out.

 - stop running courses for a while and just work on basics
 - when herding, keep moving (in arcs) which keeps him busy and doing a job rather than him running in circles
 - find a way to get him be able to spend time around sheep while being calm (on leash to begin with)
   (opinions on how to do this vary widely - I have a list of things to try and some ideas of my own)
 - see if I can use Control Unleashed exercises to help him with the above.  Given that CU is all about
   breaking things down into small steps that the dog can handle, this could likely work very well -
   I'll ask the Control Unleashed Yahoo Group (CU_Dogs) if anyone has tried it with a working dog rather that
   just a dog they want to teach to not chase stock.
So thank you all very much and let me know if I've left anything out

Ellen Clary
and "I will learn to behave calmly around sheep" Yoshi and Agile Trek

Terrasita did add that her dogs spend a long time dragging a long line.  Yoshi did too and I should go back to that, but double its length and maybe wear gloves so I can gradually slow him down instead of having to step on it and worry about snapping his neck as he goes flying.

Sun Sep 14
I spent the who weekend working on the yard but something of note is that Yoshi's been lashing out at Trek in close exciting quarters such as the door (offsetting his excitment and frustration onto her).  He hasn't made contact (just makes the horrible sounding attack sounds and pins her down with his body), but I'm sick of it and peace in the household is paramount and I'm mega protective of sweet Trek.  I was told to watch out for any increase in agression with Clomicalm and it's funny that in most cases he has a longer fuse, but not in this case.  Since Clomicalm is intended as a short term medicine we're going to try taking him off of it to see what changes.


Worked on go to crate when the door knocks.  They now are wise to me knocking - even loudly, so I'll have to get Terri to stand outside and try it.

Sat Sep 13
Yoshi walk.  So if I see the dog and initiate LAT from a comfortable distance (3 house widths) things work (saw the lab down the street), but later a dog across the street just appeared and I din't see it ahead of time. He had a barking fit and wouldn't listen to YO-SHI (4x) until I had gotten him a house distance away and the dog had walked on.  So we're much further than we were (even had a dog in a car bark at us and he was ok), he still needs a fair bit of management.  Almost like he needs someone to tell him it's ok.

His in the house recalls away from a simuli in the window are really good (YO-SHI repeated), but I haven't pushed on that to see if there's an actual dog walking by (the worst for him) or if it's just a dog he hears.

Fri Sep 12
Trek Class.  The big news was that given her 18" breaking and entering jumping, I know that she is quite capable of jumping 12" part of the time and that making her think about her jumping may well help her jump form.  Tonight when we were doing small courses on the lower field (which is much smaller and is on grass), I had her jump 12."  Her form was much better and she didn't seem to be struggling though it clearly took her more effort (and she was a little slower though not much).  When we went up to the upper field (larger and on dirt) we went back to 8," and her speed came right back.

In the upper field Trek and I spent a lot of time working on the Teeter both during courses and afterward.  She's still hesitant about it but less so but if we try to do it at speed she'll jump off it on the ascending part before it tips.  If I stay with her and encourage her and sometimes lure with treats, she'll do it and during the time we were working on it got less and less hesitant.  I notice that it's still set to the slightly lowered height that I set it to last week which was nice.

Wed Sep 10
Dog Walks with unexpected results.
Yoshi had 3 different dog sitings.  One was two JRTs walking ahead of us and across the street.  We tried to catch up but never really did though got within LAT range.  The second one was a Dalmation at the school and we played LAT quite a bit from across the street. The dog came closer and he was able to tolerate that.  I was thrilled and we were headed home when a neighbor's Rott being walked by some of the kids in that family suddenly came into view across the street.  He started to react and I tightened the Gentle Leader, and then said his name in that emphatic way I was working on yesterday.  I had his immediate, full attention.  I was shocked but had the wherewithall to tell him "Here" to get him to come and sit in front of me.  Good Dog.

Trek on the other hand is telling me that she has some issues of her own to work through.  While she's fine with individual children, school has started up again and there were passels of very ampped playing children.  She was trying to drag me away.  Instead, to find out where her threshold is I made her cross the street to get closer and she was no happy at all - though would still eat - sort of.  Screaming children distance appears to be about 150' or more.  Guss out walks are going to go near the elementary school now.  I'll have to go back to the martingale and she was just about breaking my hand with the flexi when I shortened it.  I don't even know if she can have medium amounts of cream cheese - we'll have to see.

Made a very short video of Trek leaping over the 18" fence that surrounds the new lawn:

Some of the footage was lost because the tape I was using was not playing back correctly.

Tue Sep 9

From a CU_Dogs post
>I'm thinking more positively and creatively this morning. 

Sorry for hijacking your post into a tangent, but I also woke up this
morning and realized that I was tired of trying to train for a proper
door bell response. I took the doorbell out. ;)

Such a relief and I'll just work on door knocking which has a less
charged response.

Ellen Clary
and Corgis Yoshi and Trek
Alameda, CA

I have finally worked out a reliable method for calling Yoshi back from barking at the living room window (though I haven't tested it with a dog walking by.  This method I've been sort of using for  while now but only in the past few days have I realized that I needed to really commit to it rather than just acquiescing to it.  It was hard for me as it goes against what I've been taught.

It involves repeating the command, emphatically and in the she who will be obeyed voice.

bark, bark, bark, bark...
bark, bark
(sort of hears) bark, bark
bark, whine, whine, whine, starts to come
(This is a very pathetic crying whine, but it means that he's about to do what you ask, but he's telling you that it's really hard.)
he's coming now, but can easily get distracted at this moment - bit of A.D.D. or something - this is a mistake I kept making for months and he'd go right back to barking
(repeat every count of 2 or 3 until he gets to you.)

Good boy!  Let's get a goodie (or he gets a massage - which he likes)

The main point is this is not yoshiyoshiyoshiyoshi, it's YO-SHI (one and two and) YO-SHI...

He also was stressing some still about a dog barking from a distance (we were inside) and came to Terri, so I taught her about rubbing his neck and telling him to relax and continuing to massage his neck until he really did relax (which he can do these days as the combination of "relax" and the massage is truely a cue for him to relax - it's funny you can see it take over almost involuntarily - his eyes close and his head droops).  Within a few minutes he was stretched out on the floor with her.  It was fun to watch.

Also did some mat work, and go to crate work when the door knocks.  Worked with each dog separately.  Yoshi does better when I recall him like above, and then walk him to his crate.  Trek figures the game out pretty fast (goodies appear when you're in the crate) and won't even budge from her crate even when the door knocks.  Now it's time to add chaos - we'll have Terri go out and knock on the door.

Sun Sep 7
So Miss Thang has been jumping over the temporary fence that protects the new lawn.  I finally measured said fence.  18"!  And she can clear it with a one step run at it and I've seen her clear this exact pole where I took the picture.  She has really good form when she does it (jack rabbit like boing - it's pretty impressive) and it may actually be strengthening her back legs.  The grass is well enough established that I've started letting her in there under supervision so hopefully the allure will subside.

Walkies.  Yoshi's was very productive with 4 different dog sitings.  I'm beginning to wonder if he can handle or would ever prefer to do something while a dog walks by instead of sitting and eating, so I've been trying to work in heeling and "watch."  As expected, I got mixed results.  He still wants to posture at the dog(s), but I have hold of him by either the GL leash or a hand on his collar.  I say "watch" (as in watch me) and he looks at me, and then immediately looks back hard (not a LAT type of look), tensing to react.  I blow on him to get his attention (some times saying a neutral "no") (maybe say "watch" again) and reward him.  Once I've got him back I think tell him to LAT ("look") and we play that while the dog goes by.  A couple times we just turned around and parallel walked with the other dog until it started to feel creepy and then we'd break off and go somewhere else.  I think we would up walking up and down a section of Central Ave. three times.

While not perfect this is a whole lot better than he used to be, and it feels like a way to work past the plateau we'd hit.  Also, I did have him practice heeling on the walk, but not around other dogs as he seemed too distracted for that.

Trek's walk revealed that kids playing loudly with a bouncing beach ball terrifies her.  She was shaking trying to drag me away.  Once we were out of harm's way (her fears were not unfounded), we stopped and I fed her.  Even though she was shaking, and wasn't happy about not getting further away from the mayhem, she would eat.  We then moved on and in a block she was fine.

Fri Sep 5
Agility practice.  I started later as the terrier owners Carol and Vina wanted to rent the field at 6:15, so we started just after 7:15.

I think Trek heard me say that Yoshi is the most talented agility dog in the house and so today she made it clear that she wanted that to change.  Yoshi was distracted and a little freaky by the darkness and the night sounds so we only did a little agility and spent a fair bit of time just walking around the field on leash.  Him being spooky makes me uncomfortable when he's off leash as he has proven his bad judgment before.

Trek's jump sequencing is getting much better.  She will drive ahead more.  Her 12 pole weaves are way better (her on my left is perfect, her on my right is great and I only have to encourage her to stay in them on the 10th pole, and even though Sharon had the noisy, scary teeter out I lowered it and she was able to do it for the most part (though still would jump off the first time, for a few times.)

In October, there are the first two of the local(ish) 2009 USDAA qualifying season trials.  Trek isn't ready yet, but she's close and could be ready in a month so I'm going to enter her. (These are a Haute Dawgs and CAT trials).

[that night]
Trek wanted to do something so I took her into the living room got a nylon string guitar out that Terri leaves out and just started quietly playing it and occasionally throwing treats on the floor.  While she wasn't happy about it she keep coming back for goodies.  For a CU dog I wouldn't ever take such big steps but she'll likely be ok as she's not over threshold.  I think we'll just keep it at this level and do little 5 minute guitar sessions here and there.  I can play the guitar quieter than the piano (particularly a nylon stringed one) so that's a good level to work on.

Wed Sep 3
Dog walks.  Trek saw two kids.  Yoshi saw several dogs with mixed results.  We had deliberately walked over to the school where a lot of people walk their dogs.  Dogs walking away, dogs 1/2 a block away are ok.  I pushed it a bit by having him watch a large black lab approach and we had a major power struggle there.  He did finally chill out when it was clear that the lab was very much under control, but he was plainly not happy and reactive to a dog he's seen before and tolerated before.  Annoyed at him, I had him walk parallel to the dog for a while and he was ok with that.

Go to crate work when door knocks.  With Tues experience of him being so weird about visitors, I've changed my mind on the using mats instead of crates.  I worked each dog separately.  With Yoshi I could knock on something close to the crate and get him to go in the crate.  Further away, he would want to run to the door but would reorient to me when I said his name and then I could get him to go in his crate.  The doorbell was more intense but I could still get his attention.  I think he's wise to the fact that no one is at the door.

Trek was similar but would even stay in her crate (she volunteered this) when I knocked on something, though the doorbell was too much and she came bursting out but could be redirected back in.  Then we started to work on musical instruments again.

Post to CU_Dogs_SF on vibration sensitivity:

Fortunately since Trek is not a CU dog (though, like most dogs, benefits from the techniques of breaking challenges down into very small steps) her fears are not so entrenched and after an usually short period of time she decides the rewards offered are worth facing her fears.  She goes through the whole process of having something be scary and then start to reconsider her options once she realizes that treats are in the offing very quickly.  I've seen her go from finding something so scary she doesn't want to be anywhere near it, to the very next day being relatively fine with it.

Yesterday I couldn't touch the uke, in fact she looked nearly betrayed that I could make buzzing sounds with my mouth (a la "How could you?!")  Today I could make all the buzzing sounds I wanted as long as I rewarded her.  Then I got the uke again.  She was again leery so I left in on the sofa and when she would come look at it she got a treat.  I could even play a note or two on it if it was on the sofa, but on the floor was too much.  So I went and got a violin that has no strings (thus can't make any accidental noise) and set that down on the floor she was able to do nose touches with that. With a CU dog I would stop there, but I knew she is very resilient and every time I told her to Take A Break she wouldn't (which is a great way to gage how a session is going).

So I got the uke back out and put it on the floor.  She cautiously approached and you could see her grappling with her fear.  I didn't tell her to do anything.  She touched it.  Yes/treat.  She started bugging me for food so I told her to "touch" it and she did.  We did that a few more times, and I told her to Take A Break.  She laid down beside it and woofed at me wanting to start again.  I had her do a couple more touches.  Then I let her eat while I put a hand on the uke.  She stiffened, but card carrying Corgi she is, she stayed with the food.  I played a note on the uke and she kept eating.  Then we went to note/yes/eat, note/yes/eat, note/yes/eat, 2 notes/yes/jackpot and quit. 

She's not completely over it, but likely will be able to work through it.

What's funny is how she doesn't really generalize.  I will probably have to do this with every stringed instrument in the house (no harp fortunately, but a guitar, mandolin, uke, brac, and, what started this, piano - I don't play all those but it really doesn't matter as all you need to do is play notes on them for training purposes).

I stopped playing guitar due to an old hand injury that has since healed.  I should consider going back to it a little.

Tue Sep 2
Someone, who Yoshi has seen before, came by to see Terri and Yoshi was being a complete barky/growly twit.  Fortunately I had him on the sofa so I just held onto him and then covered him eyes.  He groused about that but settled down reluctantly.  Then he could look at the visitor and be relatively ok.

Mon Sep 1
I actually had to work today so today was just another workday, but we got some training in.

Walked both dogs.  By the way each dog gets walked a brisk mile separately (a good Corgi distance - they can go much further but this is what's manageable for me and still keeps them in shape) - I checked it with my GPS which I often use as an overpriced odometer (fear not, it was used as a real GPS yesterday when I was hiking out near Tahoe.) Trek's walk was uneventful, Yoshi saw two teeny dogs while we were crossing a street and wanted to do the usual bark/lunge/flail like a caught fish on the end of the Gentle Leader routine.  I got him across the street and we played a litle LATADFO (Look At That And Don't Freak Out) but it was brief.

[later] Did crate and mat work with both dogs in the Living Room.  I may be having more success with the mats now so I started having them on the mats and knocking on something wooden.  They both did well not reacting.  Then I did what I've been trying to teach all this time with the crate.  Knock on something and say "mat" and they go to their mats.  Each dog did very well at this, so I just left the mats down instead of taking them up.

Trek noise sensitivity.  I should have seen this coming, but I play recorded music all the time so I didn't realize that she has a lesser case of fear of stringed musical instruments that the Beardie who was at one of the CU Workshops has.  We were just finishing up mat work and I played the piano like I did on Yoshi's You Tube video.  She got off the mat looking stressed and tried to leave the room.  Surprised, I started treating her for just being around the piano, and then hitting a few notes.  Even that was too much.  So it became one note/one treat and even then she didn't want to come over and it got worse and worse.

Call me slow, but the minute I stopped and walked away from the piano she went over there to clean the crumbs off the floor.  You might think that she knew it was safe since I wasn't at the piano, and that was certainly part of it, but what she was telling me was that she needed a break.  I sat back down and told her to Take a Break.  She sniffed around further away and then came back to me.  I played one note and gave her a treat.  She wanted to leave, so I told her again to TAB.  Same routine.  Another round of that and she stopped leaving.  I was just about done anyway so we did 3 more note/treats and ended it there.

I've known about her noise sensitivity for a while, but while she struggles with it initially she usually works through it so I've been a bit lazy about it.  I guess I need to play the piano more.

Archive - Go to:

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Aug 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jul 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jun 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - May 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Apr 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Mar 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Feb 2008
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Jan 2008

Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Dec 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Nov 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Oct 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Sep 2007
Yoshi and Trek Training Diary - Aug 2007
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