Yoshi Training Diary - April 2004
By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)
Feedback is welcome, but due to spam there is no mail link on
this page. Emails addressed to yoshi or ellen at this domain
(frap dot org) will reach me.
Fri April 30 (pm)
I need to go to bed for the trial tomorrow but the basic happenings were:
- The teenage twit is still testing boundaries by leaping on the bed (which of course gets him put in the crate)
- Using sibling rivalry turned out to be a great way to inspire more willingness to go in the crate
whether it be for eating dinner or just going in the crate just to be released and rewarded.
I had his dinner and he didn't want to go in his crate for
it. Ok fine. Hey Cali want to go in a crate? Cali
goes right in his crate and I reward her with a piece of his
kibble. He's looking a little incredulous. So I have Cali
go in his crate again and treat her (I may be getting the sequence of
happenings a little incorrect here.) Now he really wants in on
the action but Cali doesn't want to get out of his crate so I ask him
to go in her crate and he goes right in and I give him a piece of his
kibble. By this time Cali has exited his crate so I ask him to go
in the crate and he does so promptly. Good Boy. I give him
his dinner bowl and close the crate door.
- Took him for a walk but had Old Mother Hubbard's Training Bitz with me so his sits were great (variable reward schedule)
- Cali finally rolled him over his wanting a new toy she
had. He suddenly got a lot better behaved for a little
while. Fortunately we had just been discussing this on
Elizabeth's Coltsrunkids list so I had the presence of mind to tell
Terri to let Cali do this, and she got a lesson on how dog's correct
other dogs. (Mostly by "I'll kick your ass" threat than anything.)
- Cali rolled him again outside when he chomped her by
mistake. I now know what his version of "Sorry, I swear I won't
do it again! Sorry!
<grovel><grovel><grovel>" sounds like.
Fri April 30 (noon)
Wound up mostly digging holes but got some training in. To some extent,
I can train them together as they are not possessive of food
(extraordinary for corgis), but I was trying to get them both to nose
touch my foot switch and it was a little hard to manage. Also had them
both (unintentionally) on the teeter, which was an interesting dilemma
as I didn't want Cali to send Yoshi into orbit a la a Road Runner
cartoon, but I had Cali jump off so I could just send him over it.
Because I have several holes in the ground I've covered them up with
sturdy boards. Cool I have multiple tables! So we worked on
"table" with both dogs.
I'm going to a trial this weekend. Have to decide whether to bring Yoshi both days or just one of them.
Fri April 30 (am)
Planning. Well it's going to be hard not to continue to dig holes
in the ground instead of train, but I'm hoping to introduce the foot
switch (it clicks by itself.) And play some more crate games.
Boundary testing. Mr adolescent kept getting up on the bed.
I would push him off with the word "off." By the third time I got
tired of it and just put him in his crate and he settled down right
away. Word to the wise, life with a puppy is much easier with a
Thur April 29 (pm)
He's back to being distracted and not sitting at corners. So we
hang out at corners till he notices that we're not going anywhere and
sits. i need to bring treats with me on walks to reinforce sit
more. Same with the crate - need to reinforce it more. Dogs
do what works for dogs. I have to make his jobs worth doing and a
treat every so often helps that. The trick is for him to know
there's a reward in the waiting rather than luring. Though Cali
has been lured a lot and is great so it can't be all bad. Maybe a
compromise between the two is in order.
I'm digging up a large mysterious pipe in the backyard so there are
some holes in the backyard that I have to work around which is a
At work I noticed the foot switches that we never use may make great
contact clickers for dogs to either touch with a nose or foot.
I'll experiment with those some.
Thur April 29 (noon)
Didn't have as dramatic of success this time with the crate though
eventually he went in on his own. (Up to this point, I've just
been putting him in until I had this time to train him to go in
willingly.) He has some diarrhea from the dark chicken meat last
night at agility class so this time I'm just using carrots. Now
Cali dearly loves carrots so this is a bit harder. I was going to
give Cali a kong to distract her but thought I would keep her around
initially. I'm sitting on the bed with the carrots (cut up) and
the dogs are in front of me. (Yoshi is closest to the
crate.) I tap the kennel and he looks in that direction and then
turns his head back to refocus on the carrots that I have. I took
a chance and said "kennel," no response. Dern. He wanders
off so I tell Cali "crate" and she goes right in his crate so I reward
her with some if the carrot pieces. Yoshi is like "hey,
wait a minute!" (What I was hoping for) and came closer. Then I
released Cali, let her go over to her bed, and gave her a kong stuffed
with carrots which captured her attention. [It's really nice that
the dogs are getting along so well as you wouldn't want to try this
with dogs that didn't like each other.]
Now I've got Yoshi back near the crate and I've taken his [smaller]
kong and stuffed it with carrots. He wants this thing and is
really pushing at my hand, but I'm not reacting. After trying
lots of things he goes in his crate (or at least gets both front feet
in.). Good dog! I give his the kong and any extra carrot
pieces that were in my pocket, close the crate door and return to work.
I've been using "kennel" as that's what Elizabeth taught him, but it
sounds so similar to "tunnel" so I may change it to "crate."
Thur April 29 (am)
His recall needs some work as he didn't promptly come in this morning
when we went in. I tried just closing the door and leaving him
out there, but that didn't faze him too much (though he did keep
looking at the door.)
Still working on fine tuning "kennel." I took a chance this
morning and said "kennel." The first time was when I had his food
bowl in my hand and that worked, but the second time (as I was getting
ready to leave for work). I said "kennel" and had stuffed a kong
for him, he didn't budge and when I reached down for his collar he
started to go limp a la Berkeley Protestor. I decided that I
wasn't going to give in and lure him in with the kong, so I sat down on
the bed with the kong in my hand. I wanted it to be a reward for
going in the kennel not a lure, and this time I wanted to try waiting
it out, to see if he would go in on his own. I didn't have the
clicker with me, but the clicker is best for teaching new behaviors
when you're prepared to reinforce a lot. He knew this behavior
and I only had the one reinforcer (the kong) and I had to go to work
and didn't have 15 minutes to spend training right now.
So he proceeded to try staring at, sniffing, pushing, pawing, knawing
on the hand that held the kong closed. I didn't react. He
glanced at the crate then went back to obsessing on my hand, I got
tired of that and put my kong hand behind my back. He got a bit
closer to the crate, and I started to wonder if I had risen the
criteria too much. A minute has passed I think. He's nosing
at me. I tap the crate just a little. He looks at the crate
and then goes back to nosing at me. Then he puts his head in, but
no feet. 30 more seconds have gone by. Agonizing, but I decide
that's not enough I want at least a foot if not two, and I can tell
that he hasn't given up - the wheels are still turning in his
head. He's nosing at me again then looks at the crate and
then suddenly walks entirely in the crate! GOOD BOY! I
praise and pet him and give him the kong. It took about two
minutes I think. Slow, but I think he's learning something, which
is a lot better than luring.
Susan Garrett said that Pavlov also experiemented with luring and
discovered that the dogs didn't learn with it, like they did with the
Wed April 28 (noon)
Our dear boy is offering sit so much that it's basically become
variable reward all by itself as he'll offer sit when I'm not prepared
to reward him. What was funny was that we were working on the
teeter and he was sitting on that too! (The initial part of the
teeter, he didn't ride it down sitting - that would have been a
sight. He's still kinda cautious on the teeter so we're going to
go slow with it. Though he's happy to dash through the tunnel and
will go through the tire. I may go back to the really low setting
on the teeter but I'm going to leave it this way for now.
Cali is losing what weight she has (she's actually a touch
underweight). Mr Yoshi appears to be running her a little ragged
(he's leaner too.)
Wed April 29 (pm)
Went to class. During the warm up I got Yoshi to follow Cali through one of the lighter colored tunnels. Hooray.
Unfortunately, he barks when he's in the X-pen and we're on
course. Gail tried to scare him into shutting up but he barks
when he's scared so that wasn't very successful. If I could just
get someone to talk to him and treat him when he doesn't bark that
would be the best. He actually doesn't bark much. When he
hears something (alarm barking) and when he's afraid, and now when I'm
away on the course.
I'm going to have to keep a careful eye on him as he leapt (still in
the X-Pen), growled and barked at Gail which is highly out of
line. I was a ways off and was surprised at his reaction so I
didn't respond, but put him in the truck in his crate. I'm
noticing that he's freakier at night (though not just at night) so I
may wait till the long days of June before bringing him back to Power
Paws. And I'm going to read Ruff Love which ironically just came
in the mail. (And probably reread Surviving your Dog's
Tues April 27 (pm)
This is going to be a long entry. Had a lot of success so I'm thrilled.
Continued with our own version of a crate game. Got him going
looking at the crate and then rapidly got him to start putting his
front feet in. After that seemed pretty solid then I raised the
criteria to the back feet (after pushing the bowl further back in the
crate.) The back feet took a little while but pretty soon all of
him was in the crate each time. He would back out nearly every
time too (that's fine) though sometimes I did click/treat him for just
being all the way in the crate.
When he was reliably going all the way in the crate, I would click and
say "kennel" He seems to be getting it we'll do some more
tomorrow though it's power paws night so I may not have much time for
Then we moved on to tuning up his sit. What's been happening is
that the Y-man would sit reliably if there were no major distrations
around, but with any distration he would lose focus. (Because the
world is so very interesting when one is a puppy. So we got the
leash, the clicker, and some yummy chicken (can't use boring kibble
here) and walked out the door and stopped on the driveway. It
took a while but eventually he got tired of looking around and looked
up at me and sat. CLICK! Here have some chicken. You
could see his interest pickup immediately. (Note, I didn't say
"sit") We did this in the driveway for a few times and then took
off on our walk. I usually have him or both dogs sit at
corners. I added stopping midblock several times to see if he
would offer the sit. Yes, indeed. Click, Gimme
chicken. After a few times I started saying "sit" (since he
essentially knows sit when he's paying attention. I discovered on
that walk that I could time saying "sit" until he just starts the sit,
so it would reliably happen. Finally later in the walk, I started
saying sit before he started the sit, but he was sitting so reliably
and quickly that it was actually a little difficult to do so.
Next will be to switch to varible reward where I only give a reward every so often. This should be interesting.
Mon April 26 (pm)
go back to Turlock for Susan's 2x2 lecture. Now my brain is
really full, but I have a very clear picture of what the method
involves now. I read her article in Cleanrun and had a general
idea, but now it's really solid. I asked her what a good age to
start a puppy on it and she said around 10 months. I also showed
her my version of a 2x2 stand (out of a T-square) and she really liked
it, and thought it would work fine. Maybe adding an extra piece
of metal on the side that doesn't have one for stability and staking it.
I'm glad I went though now, of course, I want to attend her training camp in Ontario.
I had to go back to work so I missed her lecture on Crate Game's so I'm
hoping someone else attended. She's a very gifted trainer.
It's occurring to me that since there isn't much formal dog training
education in colleges, that things are very wide open with respect to
philosophy and qualifications. Experience is the major criteria
as opposed to a degree in something (though a Bachelor's in Animal
Behavior does seem to appear every so often.) I think that dog
training would be a good 2nd or retirement career, but it's hard to
know where to start (or more correctly where to continue - I've got a
She trains a lot with toy throwing with the weaves which is something I didn't know before. This is good to know.
I missed Susan Garrett's ideas on Crate Games, but wanted to do
something with one as I'm tired of carrying him or luring him to his
kennel. So I fed him half his dinner and got the clicker out and
left the kennel door open. When he was done with what I had given
him he was interested in what I had (the rest of his dinner). Now
the thing with clicker training (true clicker training rather than the
haphazard stuff I've been doing with it) is that you make a large time
investment at the beginning (which is really hard and takes a lot of
patience) and then when they get the idea, things proceed quite rapidly
(often dramatically rapidly).
So I sat on the bed (the mattress is on the floor - his crate is beside
it) with the clicker in one hand and his kibble in a cup that I could
cover with my hand if he was trying to get at. Of course he's a
corgi, so he was way intrigued with the kibble. So for a while he
tried to get it by chewing on my hand. Then he looked at me for a
while. The instant he looked in the direction of the crate I
clicked and put a piece of kibble in his bowl (which was in the crate
about halfway down.) After eating the kibble, he backed out of
the crate and looked at me with a "so what was that about?" look.
Chewed on my hand some, tried to chew on the clicker, looked at me some
more. Now I'm not saying anything at this point (in clicker
training you add the cue word after you get a repeatable action that
you're happy with - Let me tell you, not saying anything is hard for
the human, at least this human.) His gaze strays back to the
crate. Click! and I put another piece of kibble in his bowl. I
may have said "Good Boy" at this point - that's ok. I can see the
wheels start to turn in his head though he's very much drawn to my hand
since that's where the kibble is. But he's catching on.
We do this for about 6 times or more and he's catching on. Now
it's time to make things harder by raising the criteria. He has
to put his head and one foot in the kennel. This can be a
difficult stage. You want to raise the criteria just enough to
get it a bit closer to what you want (in this case, dog all the way in
the crate) but you don't want to frustrate them into shutting down and
giving up. He's not really looking at me much anymore but you can
tell he's a bit puzzled by not getting clicked for looking at the crate
(he was already volunteering looking in the crate or that would have
been the next logical step in the progression.) But then he puts
a foot in. CLICK! Good boy. Have some more
kibble. We go from this stage to two feet and then I stopped for
the evening and gave him the rest of his kibble.
Sun April 25 (pm)
So I went to Power Paws Camp today and by noon my brain was
full. Spent most of the time listening to Susan Garrett and some
to Elicia Calhoun. A little bit to Susan Salo and Nancy
Oullette and Jen Pinder. I didn't attend Greg Derrett's because I've
done a seminar with him (he's very good), and I train with Nancy Gyes
and Jim Basic, and I'm familiar with Rachael Sanders, Laura Manchester,
and Sharon Freilich since they live around here. It's a bit
bewildering. Lots of gurus all saying
slightly or very different things with a lot of conviction. It's
going to take me a while to digest it all. I learned that Susan
Garrett is going to be lecturing on her 2x2 weave pole technique on
Monday morning so I'm going to try to go if I can as it's a lot cheaper
to take 1/2 a day off and drive back to Turlock rather than fly
somewhere to attend.
Back to Yoshi. I tried to go back to shaping his interest in the
Riot Stick tug toy. Didn't really seem to work. As soon as
I got treats involved then the toy interest went away. Instead
went outside and just played with the frog. That was of course a
hit, and we were able to do tunnel, tire(ring) and an empty jump with
the frog as a reward. I still hold on to a leg and squeak it and
he squeaks the rest of it. Quite a chorus. Later on got him
to play tug with the Riot Stick, first with me and then with
Cali. He and Cali frapped for a while and he even dashed into the
tunnel a couple of times on his own. So for now, it's toys for
the tunnel, tire, and empty jumps, and click-and-treat for the contact
I still don't know what I want to do for his contacts.
Sat April 24 (am)
I'm supposed to be at Power Paws Camp auditing for the day, but was dragging too much so slept in instead and I'll go tomorrow.
Had a nice moment when all four of us were in the back yard. I sent
Cali in the tunnel and Yoshi did his run along outside, and then came
back and did the tunnel when I asked him too. He did it again
too. Then I switched ends to show Terri how he doesn't want to do the
other end as it's unfamiliar. Little champ went right in!
Good dog. As he and Cali were playing, he did the tunnel on his
own. I think I'll leave the tunnel out in the yard for a little
while despite the neighborhood cats peeing on it. Though I did take the X-Pen
down. Now the tunnel was straight this time so we'll have to see
over time if having it curved makes a difference or not.
Had an amusing moment this morning. Terri and I were both
sitting on the steps of the backyard and Yoshi came up and started to
chew on Terri. He basically looked at me and then went for
Terri. "Why doesn't he chew on you?" "Because you react
[ok, I said squeak] which makes it more fun. [some amused hmphing on
her part about "squeak" :] ... Be boring."
Despite the above, he's such a love. I'm waiting for the adolescent
shoe to drop, but am trying to just enjoy this state of grace for now.
Fri April 23 (pm)
Did something, but heck if I can remember. It was pretty low
key. Didn't even walk them as I'm suppose to be getting ready to
go for a day of Power Paws Camp (auditing), but I'm not feeling that
Need to work more on his attention. He'll "look" but only for a
short while. Some of this is because he's still a puppy.
Fri April 23 (noon)
Back to the tunnel. Curved the tunnel, brough out chicken in a
small throwable Rubbermaid container, put the x-pen only on one side of the tunnel
opening (well more like 2 of 3 sides) and sent Cali in. Yoshi ran
on the outside to meet her at the other end, but then came back to me
and went into the tunnel when I asked (I'm carrying the contain quite
openly.) As he emerged I threw the container and then went and
opened the containner and rewarded both dogs. Did this a few
times and then decided to try switching entrances without moving the
x-pen. Initial hesitation from him but he quickly joined in the
game when I sent Cali through. Did this a few times then switched
ends again. Repeated a few times (not many) and then
stopped. Somewhere in there I curved the tunnel the other way,
but that didn't seem to present any major issues. They really
like chicken and it's nicer to carry than roll over. I'll have to
test Cali's urine after some and see how much it makes her urine ph go
Played with the teeter a bit, but that doesn't work so well with 2
dogs, so I did some distance work with Cali. Go Tunnel, Out
Teeter. and then Go Tunnel, Out Over, Out Teeter (the second part
didn't work initially, but eventually did.) As soon as I got the
head turn I wanted coming out of the tunnel, we stopped.
Thur April 22 (pm)
Taking a break from the tunnel this evening and switched back to the
teeter. Finished cutting the shorter PVC risers for the lowered
teeter frame and installed them. The end of the teeter is now
less than a foot off the ground. Just enough to get some movement
and make a little noise. Got the Bil Jac and the clicker out. I
started off with having him step on the teeter, c/t, go a little
further, c/t. The teeter is now unfamiliar with its new position. He
would go halfway up it and then jump off and try to get at the treat
from the side (smart boy) but I would pick the treaat up (if I even had
one on it) before he got to it. Went back to step, c/t, step,
c/t, ... after about the thrid try, he was staying on it. I tend
not to make a big deal of him hopping off as some dogs then get the
impression that the teeter is a scary thing, but instead make it far
more in his interest to stay on the teeter as that's where the reward
is. I suppose this counts as "teaching an incompatible
behavoir. If he stays on the teeter, then he's not jumping off of
Tomorrow we'll go back to the tunnel (probably alternate between the
two for a little while). Still need to buy some more plywood for
the table, and get some more dirt for the yard.
Worked some more on "look." It appears that he's worried about
challenging my dominance as he won't hold the look for long. But
it's important as if he's not looking then he gets distracted and
doesn't sit or stay.
Thur April 22 (am)
up with an idea last night to try with the tunnel and it works
great. I put an X-Pen around one end of the tunnel (tunnel is
bent) and put him in the X-Pen. I had previously showed him a
tupperware container with some chicken in it got him excited about it
and put the container at the other end of the tunnel. He was
through that tunnel so fast. Good boy. Repeated about 4
times and then with the X-Pen open. No problem. I then
tried him going the other direction. No workie. Man he just
doesn't do the generalizing thing at all. Put the X-Pen around
the other end and repeated that about 3 or 4 times. Goes through
fine. Switch ends. Hestitates. Put the X-Pen on the
original end. Goes through no problem. Clearly we'll be
doing this for a while. Did some reps with the frog toy instead
of the chicken. Good with that as well. The frog has a
squeaky in each foot and a grunter in the middle. I can stand
with the toy in my hands squeaking the parts that I have and he can
squeak the other parts and tug also. Quite a chorus.
Wed April 21 (noon)
Bil Jac to the rescue again.
Decided to try the tunnel again. Took out Cali and Yoshi and some Bil Jac.
Sent Cali in the tunnel and just as she was exiting the other end, I
threw in some Bil Jac in Yoshi's site. When Cali returned to me I
had her sit and pay attention to me for a treat. All the while
Mr. Yoshi is finding the Bil Jac in the tunnel. Did this about 3
times. I think it being the middle of the day as opposed to dusk,
and that the tunnel had aired out some helped.
Have to figure out how to get him to take it with some
speed. Maybe 2 of us calling him through or a thrown tuperware
container with goodies in it.
Sit is about up to 65-70%. "Yoshi" and "Here" are better say 75% of the time.
Need to work on "look" and "down"
Need to fix the blasted table.
With the teeter on the ground he jumps over it when running
perpendicular to it. Guess the Broad Jump won't be much of an
issue (sure wasn't a problem with Cali.)
Wed April 21 (pm)
Did the grooming thing last night and he's already much better-less
struggling and mouthiness. Though still shedding up a
storm. He looks like he's lost weight, but it's actually fur he's
lost as I weighed him and he's 19 pounds and at the vet a while back he
was 18.5 or so. He's growing a lot too. Nose is getting
On our walk I notice that his sit if fine if he's paying
attention. So getting and holding his attention is going to be
the real challenge. Will work more on "look."
Tue April 20 (noon)
Lowered the teeter so it's barely off the ground. "Plank," he gets on the teeter board. Click and treat.
(Sometimes "here" to the teeter gets a treat.) "Contact"
he goes to yellow. Click and treat. (Sometimes "plank" in the
middle of the teeter (so he knows to stay on it) and c/t.) Maybe
make it so the teeter is at a level inbetween this level and the next
one. (i.e. shorter lengths of riser PVC.
"Here" and "sit" He's getting it. Though when things are
exciting like at the door he doesn't want to sit. Think I'll make
sitting at the door a common thing.
No longer thrilled about the tunnel. I notice that it smells like
tom cat pee so I'll have to find a way to clean it. He'll do it
if I throw treats in it and sometimes a toy, but even those he turned
off of pretty quickly. I sent Cali in to get the rest of the
treats so he'll get the idea.
Mon April 19 (pm)
A month in California and the Yosh is finally starting to shed that East Coast
undercoat that he definitely no longer needs. He got combed so much last night
that he thought he was being killed with this great toy that he couldn't have.
Grooming while defending one's fingers with a kong on one of the fingers is so
very silly. Jousting with ever strengthening corgi jaws while wielding a kong
and pinning the dog *and* trying to comb - it was all very over the top and good
thing Terri wasn't taking pictures. Good thing he's small and I'm fairly strong
, relatively impervious to "but I don't wanna!," and decent at finding
aikido-like ways of getting a dog to lie still enough to handle.
Sun April 18
He spent the day with Terri. There are particular
behaviors that he only does to her such as chewing on the pants
legs. She wears Levi's and he seems to very much enjoy those (I
don't wear jeans). He also likes how reactive she is and she's
learning how not to be. I keep saying to be boring as he just
loves the reaction he gets. Of course, when he playfully bit me
on the nose while learning "Greet" (jump up and put your paws on my
shoulders) she laughed and reminded me to be boring.
Sat April 17
Took him to the TRACS agility trial with us. I don't think
he slept a wink except in the truck. The environment is way
stimulating for him. Let them both run around some and he's
really fast! Though I then later spent an hour pulling burrs out of his fur.
Cali got her first Advance Gamble (I had moved her down to work on
it.) It all comes down to redirecting their focus with the "out"
command with "perpendicular pressure." We also got an insurance
Grand Prix Q (3rd place again) so we're definitely going to Scotsdale.
Fri April 16
Sit and here. (I think)
Thur April 15
Wed April 14 (am)
Did more sit lessons with Yoshi and Cali. What a nice
surprise, he's sitting every time now. I think the next step is
to move into the back yard, and then to a park field and then
eventually the street corner. He still wants to savor his carrot
and I'd rather not rush him so maybe he'll get Cheerio's and Cali will
Terri was marveling at how deliberately he eats his food (he eats his
meals in his crate). I assured her that it wouldn't last and he
would likely turn into the chow hound that most corgis are.
Finished Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot the Dog last night.
What a great book. I feel as I have a good understanding of the
principles behind reinforcement/clicker training. I'll have to
read more of her books. Yoshi's not as food driven so even though
I use clickers with him I think it will continue to work better with
Cali. But nevertheless it keeps the idea of if you don't want a
behavior, don't reinforce it, foremost in my mind. For example,
if I'm sitting down and he jumps up on me to be petted, I wait to pet
him till he's back on the ground.
Tues April 13 (am)
He's started boundary testing with Terri. Jumping
up on the bed, and Terri having to tell him "off" and push him off (the
bed's on the floor, so it's not a big deal to push him off.). The
bed and the sofa are places that Cali can go and he can't (to give her
a way to get away from him). This of course frustrates him and he
wants to follow her up. Sorry dude, not yet.
Tues April 13 (noon)
It's time for sit lessons (in the house this time). I was having
trouble deciding whether to use Cali as an example or not, but I had
them both in the kitchen so I decided to try it. Now this is
complicated by Cali having a bladder infection and hence needed low
protein treats, and also by Yoshi being a little slow in the carrot
chewing dept. Since we're just working on sitting and speed wasn't
really an issue, I decided to try carrots anyway, biting the baby
carrot into 3 pieces. One for Cali, one for Yoshi, and of course
one for me.
First started out easy. Dogs in front of me. "Sit" Cali
immediately has her butt on the floor. Yoshi follows a beat
later. Good dogs. Ok. Treat. Cali: Chew, chew,
gulp. Yoshi: Chew, chew, chew, chew, chew, chew, chew, swallow,
chew, chew, chew, chew, swallow. Oh this should be
interesting. Cali is letting him have his so that's
encouraging. Repeated a couple of times with them in front of
me. I notice that Yoshi speeded up in the carrot consuming
Now for the fun. Walked into the living room with a dog on each
side (this is all off leash). Every so often I would pause and
say "sit" If a dog sat, they got a treat. This means Cali
got a treat every time and Yoshi occasionally got a treat (the other
times he employed his "Oh, aren't I cute?" look). I think he
started to catch on to the discrepancy. We'll try it again this
Mon April 12
It's becoming clear that Yoshi doesn't know the word "sit" out of the
context of being in front of me with me looking at him. Dog's
don't do generalizing well at all. if I tell him "sit" at a
street corner with him standing beside me, he doesn't sit unless I
touch his rump.
He seems to really want the "stay" command. I'd rather not use it, but if it works better for him then ok fine.
Sat/Sun April 10-11
TRACS agility trial at Dixon. I took Yoshi there on Sat so he
could absorb the environment. He certainly looked like he was
having a good time. Wandered around with him some and he didn't
freak out at any dogs or anything (the canopies, the x-pen, the PA, the
Sunday Yoshi went with Terri to Easter dinner with her family while
Cali and I did more agility. Sat Cali and I qualified to go to
the Grand Prix in Scotsdale. Wah hoo.
Picked up the stuffed corgi for Mark (he loves it) and also a large Green Frog for Yoshi as an alternate to the Yellow Moose.
Fri April 9 (am)
Had to go to physical therapy at lunch (injured shoulder) so no
training for doggies though I decided to get some exercise climbing 12
floors of stairs. Worked on my mountaineering "rest step."
Packing for TRACS USDAA trial in Dixon.
Oh yeah, did some inadvertant training this morning when I got out the
Quik Shade canopy. it's in a black bag and Yoshi decided it was a
big black monster lying in wait in the kitchen. He growled at it
from the office. So instead of loading it up in the truck I just
left it on the kitchen floor and didn't make a big deal about it
(except for stepping over it to get to the frig.) Also had Cali
retrieve her kong from near it which seemed to reassure him. I've
taken to not saying a thing when he freaks out as I'm not convinced I
can keep the stress out of my voice.
Fri April 9 (pm)
Need to print the worker's schedule for TRACS - they put it in an Excel spreadsheet and I don't have easy access to Excel.
I probably need to get there by 7:30am and it takes just over an
hour to get there, so I'm going to get up at 5:30 and leave just before
6:30. (Hooray for books on CD) Need to double check who's getting iClick clickers as I still have some to deliver.
Have to remember to pick up the stuffed corgi that Liz Moe is
bringing up for me this weekend. (Cooper's Dad Mark is going in
for surgery next week and Cooper's not allowed to go.)
Blessedly the big black canopy monster was no longer a bit deal by noontime.
Thu April 8 (am)
Started insisting on "wait" for going out the crate, or door, (and
will do so for the X-pen also). This is familiar to him so didn't
take long for him to acquiesce.
Thu April 8 (noon)
the teeter for the mini A-frame. Took the side chains off and
spread it on the ground and then put 2 cinder blocks underneath the
center so it's not completely flat. Then got Yoshi, the clicker,
and the magic Bil Jac out. No problem (He likes to climb on
things). Even got the click and treat order right though it
doesn't seem to matter much to him right now. First tapped on the
board (and led him by the collar - which is now working) and when he
put his feet on, clicked and then treated - putting the treat on the
board. Took a step sideways which encouraged him to take another
step up the ramp. Click and treat. When we got all the way
to the end, I noticed that he seems to prefer to stand with all 4 feet
on the board rather than 2 on 2 off, so we'll go with that for now (I
kind of prefer that way anyway if we're going to be doing a
stop.) Did it one more time and then started adding the word
"climb" to the click and treat which is a familiar word since I say
that every time we go in and go up the 5 steps to the house. At
the end of the ramp, I said "contact." 2 more reps and called it
Thu April 8 (pm)
Wed April 7 (am)
is Power Paws class. Yoshi will go along with us and I'll try to
go early to let him look around. It should be less freaky for him
this time than last time as there will be more daylight.
Wed April 7 (pm)
Well he was less
freaky at Power Paw,s but still barky (no real surprise there). I
left him in the X-Pen for a while and as it got dark i put him in his
crate in the truck. He did escape once out of the X-pen and
charged around the field. Obviously need to work on "wait."
It's amazing that he can jump higher than the level of the X-pen (like
just over waist high).
Tue April 6 (am)
morning we were in the backyard and I noticed that Yoshi was doing the
teeter on his own - sniffing out the remaining Bil Jac on it. Now
normally you shouldn't let the dogs do such equipment by themselves,
but I decided that it was good for him to explore it on his own terms
to help him get past fearing it. Looks like he's well on his way
though he was a bit surprised when it bounced back after he got off of
I've noticed that if you take hold of his collar that he goes
immediately limp a la Berkeley Protester. This is not a problem
now as if I want to put him in his crate (or whatever) i just pick him
up. But when we're at a start line or I'm trying to guide him
through something during training it could be a real pain so I think
we'll work on this with a short tab attached to his collar and just
having him walk around me chasing cookies.
Maybe tonight it will be low key just work on guided sits and guiding
around with me holding his collar, and some tug and maybe one or two
Bil Jac teeters since that's becoming a favorite.
Gotta go by Petco and get some more kongs and Glycoflex. One of
our Kongs has disappeared and I suspect he's hiding them, but I'm not
Ordered a bigger Breakaway Collar for him as he's on the verge of
outgrowing this one. Elizabeth, if you're reading this I'm going
to send the outgrown one back with you.
Tue April 6 (pm)
Dropped $100 at
Petco - yeesh. 3 Kongs, 3 smoked bones, 2 toys, kong stuffing,
Nature's Miracle - they didn't have Glycoflex so I got another brand,
but it's not chewable so I'll try and get the Glyc at the vet's next
We often spend Tues evenings watching Soprano's DVDs with a friend so
didn't do too much training tonight, though did work in the living room
on leading him around by the collar and by the collar tab. I
notice that even if he lies down, I can get him back on his feet by
encouraging him with "let's go." Worked on sit and attention as
well. Cali's played the part of distraction by barking at the
closed living room door.
Mon April 5
(Planning) Back to basics - work on sit.
(pm) Letting a puppy volunteer things to be reinforced (like
sit) instead of guiding them into it and then praising them takes a lot
of patience and work. For a puppy I'm not sure if it's the best
approach. An adult is (usually) motivated to get the cookie
machine going. A puppy is fascinated by the new world around him
and doesn't necessarily care about food.
At first we just went out front on the driveway and I clicked him every
time he looked at me (rewarding for attention). I at first had
his dinner with me but it became clear that that just wasn't
interesting enough, so we went back inside and got some Natural
Balance. That seemed to hold his attention a bit better.
Then we went on a walk. I decided that I wanted to reward him for
sitting and looking at me when we stopped (at corners or
wherever). Well suburbia is a very interesting place for a puppy
so I found myself standing in place for quite a while sometimes before
he would lookup and sit. Eventually he did do it enough for me to
add in the "sit" cue word but I wouln't call it the most sucessful of
sessions. I'm torn between letting him absorb the world and then
ask for his attention or distract him from the world by asking for his
attention. Maybe I'll ask other's opinions on this.
Sun April 4
Mellow day. Did 3 teeters - this time getting my click and treat
timing right. He would take a step on the teeter, I would click
and then put the treat on the board. Will charge right through
the tire in pursuit of his toy though I still need to be standing right
near the tire so he doesn't go around it.
Will now run around with me doing the tire then the empty jump, then front crossing and doing the tire again.
Cali has discovered the Bil Jac residue on the teeter so is regularly
checking it now. We're now having teeter lick sessions. I
must have the cleanest teeter around.
On our walk (separately this time) I notice that I need to work more on
sits with distrations. At corners we now sit, but I have to push
slightly on his rear for him to do it and I'd rather not have to resort
Sat April 3 (am)
Going to the obedience match in Concord today so Yoshi can get some more exposure. Should be fun.
And it was. Yoshi met many corgis and played a lot with
Sheila's 4 month old Golden puppy (probably named Nicki). He also
played with Rosie. He's also paying attention to me when I
ask him to which is very encouraging.
Sat April 3 (pm)
Bath time. He only tried to leap out of the tub twice. He
has a ton of fur and he really hasn't started shedding it out
yet. He will though - I have complete faith in that.
Cut up the PVC and finished the low teeter stand.
Had Cali demo it and it seems ok. Yoshi was suddenly not so sure
(big surprise) as the teeter now moves as little more and makes some
The tug toy seemed to be encouraging him to leap off so I went and got the clicker and grabbed Bil Jac this time.
Went to the end of the teeter and held it down with my foot and clicked
him for any feet on the teeter. He would put his front feet on,
but not his back. So being the bad clicker trainer and not
feeling patient enough to wait him out (and knowing that the experience
wouldn't mess him up) I lifted up his back end and put in on the teeter
too and immediately clicked him repeatedly for that. He was
worried for a couple of milliseconds but then decided the Bil Jac was
worth the risk. I wasn't sure how to make "back chaining" work
past this point so we went to the front of the teeter and incrementally
clicked and treated him over it. He was a bit unsure at the
tipping point, but was willing to hang in there for the Bil Jac's
sake. Success! Played some tug and ran through the
tire. Went back to the teeter again. This time I just layed
down the Bil Jac on the teeter every step (since you don't want them
looking at you when they do the obstacle.) Success again.
Good dog. Time to quit.
Fri April 2 (pm)
(Planning) Maybe get the tunnel out and try combining running
through the tunnel and then the tire with the toy thrown as a
reward. That's probably too much so try just pieces of that.
Keep working on "stay" as he has a puppy's attention span on that
one. He'll sit or down quite nicely but only stays put for a few
seconds. But don't push it too much as he is just a puppy.
I remember the old debate of whether to teach stay or just emphasize
that sit or down means stay in place until released. I
favored that for Cali, but wound up teaching her the stay anyway, but I
like the idea of it so maybe I'll try it again.
I say the word "maybe" a lot - welcome to training!
Best laid plans can easily be tossed aside when things are turning out differently that one expects.
More with the coveted Yellow Moose (or whatever it is). Boy he loves that thing.
Cali is toy shredder extraordinare so I have to wait till I can work with him separately to use it.
I was initially working with him and the clicker hoping that I
could teach him to hand me the toy. When I realized I was shaping him
to ignore the toy and just look at me (oops), I dropped that entirely
and just played with him and that toy and also one that Patricia had
given him. Then we went outside and played with the moose and then
things got way fun. Not only would he run through the tire (on the
ground), but through an empty jump (bar on the ground) and then into
the tunnel (if I threw the toy inside it.) We then stopped for a
rousing game of tug and then did more. I didn't have any food with me
at all. Now I'm really sure I don't have a corgi - I have the world's
smallest Border Collie who just so happens to look like a Schipperke. ;)
Now I need to think about his training again. :)
(Worked on sit and front on our walk later)
Discovering one's inner Border Collie. Later tonight we played
tug in the house with one of the firehose tugs and he was just mad for
Fri April 2 (noon)
Elizabeth suggested having a lower value treat in the tug n treat and
reward with a higher value treat if he brings it. Will have to
Finally got out the Yellow Moose squeaky toy that Elizabeth had brought
with him. Man, oh man! He loves that thing (it has three
different types of squeakers in it.) He'll work for it, will
chase it, and will tug it. Elizabeth says he'll fetch it as well
with encouraagement, but I didn't see that yet. A dog (a corgi no
less) that will work for toys. What a different experience this
will be. Just for fun, started introducing Greg Derett's teaching
directions while tugging. (While playing tug with them spin them
around while saying left or right - or whatever words you're going to
use). Just doing "right" for now.
Got to the hardware store, now just need to put together the low teeter
stand. Will have to take photos of it and the mini tire frame too.
Thur April 1 (pm)
Did some basic obedience work on leash. He'll heel on both sides
and will sit beside me. Took off the leash and did some running
around with him - he liked that and would do it on either side.
Had him go to my hand when I stepped in front of him and did some loose
front crosses. Mainly he'll need confidence as we work. [use a toy here.]
Worked on "here." Will do a lot of this incidentally but it was good to set some time aside for it.
I have to decide what surface to use for the table - may just replace
the top entirely as the plywood on it now is just 1/4" and that's
really too thin.
Need to get more PVC to raise the teeter a little.
Thur April 1 (noon)
He'll do the tire/ring if I throw his tug n treat beyond it. I
notice that he likes to grab it and run over to the shade and lay down
and chew on it. I tried clicking and treating him for everytime
he either looked at me or picked it up as if to bring it to me (hoping
that he would figure out that it was far more productive to bring it to
me and have me open it, but he honestly seems quite content to just
chew on it. While he's as bright as Cali, he's not as calculating
it seems. Though he sure likes the treats (using either chicken
or Natural Balance lamb) and he's thrilled when I do open it.
Maybe he just doesn't have the chutzpah yet that assumes it's his right
to be treated. (I better enjoy that while that lasts).
Has absolutely no hesitation about plank and still stops at the
end. I was going to teach him running contacts, but if he's
stopping then I'll just go with that for now.
Intro'd the table (hup). No hesitation there either.
Some fronts too.
He will tug - though not strongly.
Need to repair the table as it is sagging.
Thur April 1 (am)
Cali and Yoshi were being cute playing and of course I didn't have a camera.
Put a 1 1/2" piece of PVC under the teeter plank, so it tilts just ever
so slightly. Doesn't phase Yoshi a bit. I notice that he
stops at the end - have to ask if he was trained for this.
I'm realizing that if I switch the teeter command to "plank," then
I'll need to switch the informal "go play" to something else.
Probably "go frap" or just "frap"
Still need to think of a table command. Since I use "over" for
jumps, maybe just "hup" will be fine and then I can still use it for
jump up on other things too. Though if I use "plank" and "ring" then maybe I don't need to change the name of the table.
So at lunch will work on:
Tire, Front, Plank
And maybe intro him to the Table, but without legs
I need to remember to teach him to stand to be measured. The more
he can relax his shoulders the better. Though his one year
measurement is a ways off.
Yoshi Training Diary - March 2004
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