Yoshi Training Diary - April 2006

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Wed Apr 26
He's getting very confident with his nerf ball.  He'll quite comfortably bap it around the floor and will happily move it out of the way to get treats underneath it even along an obstacle, and you can even roll it to him and he'll poke it (though not always back at you.)  Time to raise criteria.  Part of the way through his dinner I swapped it with a soccer ball.  It's heavier and different.  He's willing to touch it and poke at it but somewhat intimidated by the fact that it doesn't move much and when it does it's scarier.  He was willing to poke at it some and that's enough especially since we're going out of town soon and won't have a chance to work on it.  When I get back I'll start back over with the nerf ball.

Tue Apr 25
Agility class.  This is our first class in a while at Sharon's place and he was great!  I brought the two weave poles that had the shortened guides on them that we're using and put them at the 2nd and 11th pole position.  He blasted by the poles the first time, but then suddenly seemed to get it and roared (well fast hopped) though all 12 poles.  He seemed to be having a fun time with them, and it's the first time I've seen him get through 12 fast and with any help beyond the guides.  Wouldn't it be cool if he really started to like weaves.  I need to keep them fun.  I think I'll keep using the guides to help him with his accuracy while he develops speed and there's nothing that kills his speed and movation faster than to constantly correct and over manage him in the poles.

His contacts still look very good.  Sharon wants me to start using directionals.  I said he's familiar with them and I'd be happy to in situations where I can rehearse them as otherwise I get left and right mixed up sometimes.

Worked a bit on cross behind.  Sharon has you send them over with one arm and then throw a toy with the other arm in the direction they should be turning (so they understand to turn afterward.)  He was fine about doing this and had no hesitation about jumping away from me.

His stays were good which is encouraging.  I can now lead out two jumps and he's a little squirrely if there are other dogs around but otherwise fine.

Overran the table at the beginning of class (too fast, on and off and not able to stop) but stuck it later.  Didn't want to leave the table once on a stay (A sticky stay?)  After some encouragement and jumping up and down he finally came along, and he did a lot better once we had moved up into the larger field above.  (That was his first run and he was pretty uncertain.)

I think he's starting to have fun in class which is nice to see.  While he gets his endurance up I'm going to leave him mostly at 8" but will work in some 12" over time.

Too bad that I'm leaving on vacation soon and won't be able to train him for 2 weeks.  He's going to be at Cooper's so he'll be a happy camper

Mon Apr 24
Dogwalk.  Did pretty well.  Decided not to sweat too much about good treats and just brought his dinner along.  I've discovered a litle while back that if he sees a dog he wants to bark at if we retreat a ways off then it's  ok with him.  Saw only one this time  the retreat distance is about double the width of a street so encounters are best handled at intersections though you can always just turn around and go the other way.  I've gone back to just using the Gentle Leader as he can't back out of it like he can sometimes with the Gen Con leash.

Bowling for the rest of dinner.  He's really showing improvement here.  We can play a very SLOW soccer-like game where I push the ball with my foot and then he pushes it.  He's using his foot more to move the ball and that's fine with me so I click that as well.  Then I mae a channel for the ball and put treats under it.  After some initial hesitation he started poking it and then not long afterward he hit the ball hard enough to move it out of the way and get the kibble.  Hooray!  I know he's not all the way there (I'm holding of on signing him up for doggy AYSO), but he's well on his way, and is dealing with the ball with a lot more confidence.  I'll do another day or two at this level and then I have to decide what direction to go in.  Whether to switch to a real soccer ball and work with moving that around or work on moving around it..  I think the first one would be more fun ititially.

Sun Apr 23
Bowling for dinner.  He's getting more confident about pushing the ball around though had a minor amusing setback.  We were in the living room and the floor has a slight tilt.  He had just poked the ball and had turned around to get his piece of kibble when the ball rolled back into his butt which freaked him and he immediately jumped into my lap (I was sitting on the floor.)  Now while I'm thrilled that he thinks that my lap is safe, but (a) I'm trying not to laugh and (b) this is not exactly what I had in mind.  I sit there and don't touch him seeing if he'll get bored and go back to the bits of kibble that are still sitting on the floor (more of the not really a corgi).  He gives no indication that he wants to move this epoch (even with tossing a lure out - though he did leave long enough to snarf up an easy to get kibble but immediately came back to my lap, so after a minute or so I slid us closer to the ball.  Once we're closer to the ball he hops down and starts working again (I have no idea why suddenly it's ok - proximity?)  And he once again starts having good success moving the ball with his nose and occasionlly his paw ( I click that too).  I've started only clicking solid pokes now and not every one either and he's still willing to work (and it probably is now getting him to try harder.)

Got the weave poles out.  Using 10 poles this time.  Put the guides on the 2nd and 2nd to last one.  Did 2 separate sessions both using the Zuke's minis as rewards (he likes them a lot).  I've noticed that he's better if he's on my left which means we should concentrate more with him on my right, though I'll likely stick with doing the first set with him on my left so he has a better chance of success.  I'm sure the akwardness on the right is my doing as he's more hesitant particularly near the end.  He's also wanting to do them faster which is almost an argument for doing them with him on my left so he gets the feel of them while at speed.  He clearly likes doing them fast and he gets demotivated quickly if he has to stop to fix something or find out what I want.  I have been clicking him at arbitrary times in the poles, but I now think I want him to do them more as a unit.  With less of my interrupting.

Sat  Apr 22
More kitchen soccer.  He's getting more confident about it, but still very hesitant to push the ball when the treat goes right next to the ball.  Terri says "He's not much of a problem solver is he?"  I replied "Well that's why we're doing this - he doesn't have his litter to bail him out now."  Litters teach lots of skills, but self sufficiency is not one of them.

He's fine when the ball is in motion in the middle of the room, and is quite happy to poke at it then which is a change.  The issue is now more when it stops along the edge and a treat is lodged essentially underneath.  He will still poke at it which earns him another c/t, but he doesn't seem to be able to see yet that if he moves the ball out of the way he can get at the lodged treat.  After a while he wants to lay down and look cute and say "It's too hard, help me out."  and we've found that if we just encourage him verbally and/or with hand signals he is willing to keep playing.  He went back to it and when he was poking more solidly I clicked and picked the ball up as a jackpot so he could get the remaining treats that had rolled underneath it.

Working on recalls.  We were outside in the yard and a squirrel appeared.  Excellent.  He started to charge around and I went and stood near where I knew his path would take him.  When he got close I said "Yoshi, Here!" and he paused about 3 feet away. "YES, GOOD BOY! Here!"  He came the rest of the way.  I praised and petted him, and then said "OK! Get the squirrel!" and let him go back to chasing.  We did this about 4 or 5 times and he was great about it.  Once time I have increased the distance and he stopped looked at me and before I have a chance to say anything he turned to keep chasing.  I said "HEY!" and he turned right back to me and came.  "YES, GOOD BOY!"  Praise/Pet/Release.  When the squirrels appeared to be long gone and he was slowing down instead of calling him back to me I just said "Ok let's go" so that coming to me doesn't mean fun's over.

I'll need to start doing this at the dog park, but that will be even more exciting circumstances and I have to decide how to do that.  I think the spray collar will probably play a part.  Cathy has also loaned me her muzzle that I may want to try more as a safety thing for the little dogs in the park.

Heard back from Debbie Pollard a herding instructor and trainer.  She'll start taking new students in June she thinks and she's added Yoshi to the waiting list.  She says to contact her at the end of May to check.  I'm hoping he can do it on Friday since I usually can arrange for part of that day off.

[after dog park adventure]
Well, it was better with the muzzle but not good enough so we're going to have to go back to longer walks and private play parties.
The muzzle allowed for him to play with some dogs that things might have gotten out of hand with (it basically evened the score) but it didn't stop him from charging up to a newly arrived small dog and knocking him flat and then not getting off of him until I dragged him off.  He spent the rest of the time leashed on his gentle leader (he actually settled down then) and then we went on a walk around the outside of the park and he was fine until we got close to the entry way and then he started to get growly again.  I started c/t'ing him for looking at dogs and he settled down again.

If I could stand feeling guilty for not letting him run loose, the park would be an excellent on leash training environment.
I have been encouraged to bring him here really early (7am) as there are not many dogs here then.  That's a possibility though he clearly needs to get used to just going and not being allowed off leash.

One of the owners of the small dog that he bowled over (I had gone over to apologize) said Yoshi seemed really insecure and I think that describes him perfectly so most of him training should be towards addressing that insecurity.  Agility, Obedience, ball playing, fetching, getting more comfortable around feet.  All will hopefully help that.  The dog park might not actually.  I was hoping the little dog park would work for him but I don't think that I can keep bringing him unless it's to have him only on leash unless there are no truely small dogs there (sometimes in the rain.)

[dinner soccer]
More ball poking.  Moved into the living room as Terri was sawing in the back of the house so it was distracting him doing it in the kitchen.  I noticed something interesting.  When the ball goes against a barrier and the treat is partially lodged underneath the ball, he is willing to push the ball tenatively perpendicular to the barrier (until he feels it push back), but he doesn't get that if he would just push sideways then he would be able to get the treat.  I don't think he's necessarily being dense, but more he seems to have an aversion to having a barrier or wall beside him.  Once I put up another barrier that made it so he had to work alongside the barrier (took a while to convince him to try this), he was able to work through it.

I now see how kids that have emotional problems in school are mistakenly thought of as slow or stupid.  When he thinks he seems to do pretty well, but getting him to be uninhibited enough to experiment is a challenge.  Maybe I shoud try to figure out a non-scary version of 101 things to do with a box.  Although I think I'm going to hold off on it for now as he seems to like when he knows what is expected of him.

Fri Apr 21
Blocked off part of the kitchen with window screens so we have a bit of a soccer arena.  Now I'm going to toss the treats each time he pokes it just to get more motion of the ball.  It's working.  He's tentative about it, but willing to do it some.

Agility class tonight in the horse arena.  This time I walked him over to the horses to begin with to get a look at them.  Much better.  Funny moment was a couple of the horses noticed the clicking and treating and took a decided interest.  I apologized that I didn't have anything for an herbivore.  Either they've had some exposure to clicker training or they're just noticed the feeding.  In either case, they're just been conditioned to the clicker (sort of).  Yoshi was very good around them unlike when he saw them at night.

In class, his contacts were great.  His weave poles are much too rusty and we'll switch back to working on them instead of the teeter.
Had him try a few (four) jumps at 12" and while it took him more effort he seemed fine with it (and that was even jumping in soft dirt.)

Behaviorally he varied between being ok and being a complete twit.  And he charged at least one dog (no contact only because we both were able to pick up our dogs) who was walking nearby while he was on course.  Now granted they were walking in the ring and probably shouldn't of been, but that's still not ok.  So I still really have to get his focus on me in increasingly distracting situations.

Jumps, tunnels, contacts look good.  Start line has improved.  Weave poles and focus still need a lot of work.  Directionals simply need more ring time as it's been raining so much we haven't had much chance to work in a ring.

Thur Apr 20
[morning] Moved into the front bedroom and did poke the ball in there.

In the evening I was at a work gathering, but Terri did some work with him and the ball.  She took one of the small rugs and the game was push the ball off the rug anc get a click/treat.  She says he did it most of the time which is pretty good since he's never played that game before.

Wed Apr 19
Have to try upping the poking ante tonight.  Terri has suggested putting it on carpet to keep the ball from rolling far away.  Personally I kinda like that it rolls a lot, but I would have to go get it less if it only went a short distance.  Changing the room would be upping the criteria so would have to start with the CD again for just a few reps.  tonight I want to see the ball roll further when he pokes it and I want him to be willing to take a step or two to go poke it.  (Nearly there anyway).

Tues Apr 18
I'm going on a long training hike today (taking the day off), but I'll have some time to play with him and the nerf ball.   I think this time we'll start with poking the ball itself (but held stationary initially) but will have the CD nearby just in case he needs a hint.  Maybe poking for your breakfast and dinner.

Just did breakfast as I was too late for dinner.

Mon Apr 17
Did a little this morning with putting highly coveted toast under the ball and though he really, really wanted it he was not willing to move the ball.

Realized that this is what Bob Bailey would call "lumping" where you ask for too many behaviors too soon.  His saying is "Be a splitter and not a lumper."  So probably what needs to happen is to go back to poking at the CD.  When that's solid transfer it a handheld ball (maybe even with the CD on it), then the ball on the ground, but still held down, and only then to a freely moving ball (may even want to limit the ball's motion some.)

Did the above steps outside (in the sun - how nice to see/feel it again) up to ball held down on the ground with no problem at all.  Amazing the difference.  He was enthusiastic and knew what his job was.  I had a poking machine.  He was doing so well I had to make myself stop but managed to (so ended on a really good note and with him wanting more.  Tongiht I'll move the game inside and start over again to see if there are any issues with the environment before trying a free standing ball again.

Ironically Debrorah Jones PhD wrote an article on dealing with dog fearfulness for this month's CleanRun.  It's a bit brief, but helps to get the point across.

What a difference a day makes when you change to more doable goals.
Had two sessions with the CD, and the ball indoors.  Started out the first one the same way as at lunch.  CD poking first then CD on the ball, then just the ball.  By the end of the first indoor session he was willing to poke the ball and have it move some without it bothering him.  Once he looked ok with that I stopped and let him have the rest of his dinner (that was the first session.)

The second session was with some chopped up cheese.  Started with the CD on the ball then tried the CD on the soccer ball and he was willing to do that but was more interested in the nerf ball so we went back to that.  He was immediately happily poking away at it to the point that it would roll 5' across the floor and he didn't freak out about it either.  I even thought for a moment that he was going to walk over and poke it there, but he camed back with a nearby toy squirrel instead.

That will be next - poking the ball and letting it travel and then following it and poking it again.  This should be fun but we may not reach that point as quickly as things went today.  Alternatively I could have him poke it to me and I roll it back to him.  I haven't been too particular about where on the ball he pokes it since today I was happy for any poke.  I think I'm more enamored of him learning a soccer like game, so we'll probably do the former.  Remember the ultimate goal is to get him comfortable with getting stationary things to move.

Had Jesse over today and she really turned on to playing with the soccerball with me and then with Cathy and I.  She even went over around the sofa and brought it back to us.  Yoshi of course was more interested in Jesse, but it was after that that he seemed so comfortable getting the nerf ball to roll.  Hmmmm.

Cathy brought over Buddy's size 5 muzzle to try on him - it fits him fine though he was wondering why we were putting it on him (though he was very tolerant of it unlike the nylon fabric one that they had at the vets office.)

Sun Apr 16
It's raining and Cooper and Yoshi went to the Little Dog Park and had a blast racing around as they had the place to themselves.  One bigger dog was there to  provide fence running entertainment. We had a brief break in the action when a Pekenese showed up but he didn't stay long and then it was back to racing around as other big dogs were there.  I finally called Yoshi back to me and he seemed to thank me for stopping him as he was obviously very tired.  While chatting Mark and I invented the Compulsive Fence Running Society or the Foundation For Compulsive Fence Running. ("My name is Yoshi and I have been a compulsive fence runner all my life.")

He's sleeping at my feet now.

This morning we did more work with breakfast under the ball which did not thrill him at all though he is getting braver.  After the dog park I stopped at Walgreens and bought a couple of smaller balls to see if he would respond better.  One a light plastic kids Winnie the Pooh and Tigger ball about 8-10" in diameter and the other a nerf ball about 6" in diameter.  Started with Winnie the Pooh, but didn't get much further than with the large tennis ball.  Switched to the nerf ball and he was braver with the smaller ball, but not knocking it around - more just willing to get closer.  I put a little bit of cheese among the kibble (I have to be careful here as doing that too much just teaches him to wait for better stuff.)  And his interest and courage increased to the point that he was willing to get some of the kibble out (but not all of it and he didn't move the ball any more than indicentally.)  He lost interest and I tried waiting him out which worked for a little while.  Then I started clicking and treating him for getting closer and it was clearly time to stop so I waited till he was nudging the ball and I clicked and lifted up the ball to let him get the rest of the kibble.

This takes quite a bit of time as you can not be in a hurry as he would like nothing better than for you to make it easier for him (as this is clearly a lifelong habit) so I don't know how often I'll be able to do it.  Certainly tonight, and maybe some weekday nights, but not the weekday mornings.

Gently kicked Winnie the Pooh around the yard some which intrigued him but only if I did it gently.  I really have to resist the urge to haul off and really kick it (to the point that I kick the air some just to get it out of my system.  He really does have a "Please [don't] kick me" sign on his forehead sometimes.  And one has to resist screaming at him "What kind of corgi are you anyway?"  But that's the challenge of it.  I can see it now: I'm going to get a reputation for training the difficult corgi's.  There are worse things as avocations go, but what a heck of a lot of work sometimes.

Sat Apr 15
[sent to frapfest]
Enter: poor impulse control
(probably Yoshi's real issue)
into Google
What a wild collection of topics.
No real stand outs except for maybe the tribe.net one.

Since Yoshi really needs the exercise of racing around in the park I think I'm going to get him a basket muzzle and take him to the small dog park.  Yesterday's experiment of keeping him mainly on leash worked from a training perspective, but he doesn't necessarily get the exercise he should have (though he got enough yesterday) and the leash unsurprisingly makes his reactivity a little worse.  Besides the small dogs deserve to have Mr PIC muzzled, though I need to find a basket muzzle so he can pant unimpaired.

It's raining now.  Maybe we should go since all the small dog owners won't be there. ;)

I also googled for: dog ADHD
So Yoshi's not that bad compared to say:

Those dogs won't stay still or some won't allow themselves to be petted or cuddled and many are aggressive to people and bite more often.  If Yoshi hadn't had as much training as he has had then he may very well have turned out like these dogs.  So it's not like he needs to be put on Ritalin.  His issue is very specific: if something stimulates him (dog running, frightened dog displaying aggression) then he over reacts with more aggression than is justified for the situation.  What's interesting is how his knowing a dog changes the situation.  His buddy Cooper is not dominate over him and is a big marshmallow and they seem to bounce back and forth as to who has the power position and it's not an issue between them.  The issue seems more to be with dogs he doesn't know where he stands with.  It's like this is all a power display - a jockeying for social position of sorts.  It will be intersting to see if him wearing a basket muzzle will make him better or worse in this behavior.

The SAMe doesn't seem to be making much difference at the 90mg 2x a day so I'm going to give him both in the morning to see if that makes any difference.  In a month after the original blood test I'm going to have them do another blood test on him (using their usual lab since his thyroid seems to be fine, and the overnight shipping pretty much negated the cost savings of using Dodd's lab.) to see if his ALT levels have come down.

Today I grabbed the medium size tennis ball on a whim instead of the larger ball (should do that more some this weekend).  The stage we're at seems to be going backwards though I should keep in mind this was outside.  Right now outside all he will do is pick up the ball for a very short period of time before dropping it.  This time I made sure I was clicking when the ball was in his mouth.  As soon as I tried to make it harder he would watch the trees though it was easy to get him back on track by saying (gently).  "Yosh"  One time he spun and started barking at the tree and I waited a beat and called out in a very animated way "Yoshi! Here!"  He came right back and I jackpotted him with the Zuke's minis - peanut butter flavor (boy he liked that).  Recall is the thing that I need to reinforce the most.

In the continuing "play with your food" series.
Baguette tug is proving to be a lot of fun although messy as the crumbs tend to get everywhere.  What I've done is got a baguette, chopped it in half and let it go stale.  I now have half sitting near the back door and sometimes when he's prompt at coming or comes from a big distraction, we play with it.

Did some more fetch with the medium size tennis ball, but this time indoors.  He's so much better indoors where there are fewer distractions.  Still has a tendency to give up easy unless you ask him for something or make a motion.  For example I placed the ball down near us (I'm sitting on the floor).  The ball is not moving so it doesn't interest him, but if I wiggle my fingers on the floor towards it he immediately goes to get the ball.  Once we got going (wanted to start slow) I could then roll it across the floor and he'd go get it and drop it near my head (and I couldn't help but catch it a few times just to give him some success.  He's improving, but he's not quite yet placing it in my hand, but he certainly is getting it near enough for it to drop into my hand.  Once he gets better at this then I'll start making the hand a little harder to reach.

I've noticed that even if he tries to shutdown that he can easily be cajoled back to working (and yes this is with fairly short sessions and good treats.)  He reminds me of the kid who complains that something is too hard, but will do it anyway if encouraged.

He seems more subdued now with his 180mg of SAMe.  Still barky when we're out in the front room, but more than willing to be called off (that is different).

[I'm avoiding exercising more so I'll just train the dog instead]
Took him on a dogwalk to look for dogs and we found 4 of them (actually 7 but 3 were together).  He bristled at all of them but was willing to chill out and just look at them and get c/t'ed.  If I didn't start right away he wanted to charge up barking (I made sure they were always across the street.  The 3 silly terriers all started barking and I couldn't blame him for barking back but even then he chilled out quite soon.  The one he reacted to was one that I saw and was c/t'ing him and then I lost sight of them.  Thinking they had gone down the other street I looked away and Yoshi immediately started barking as they were simply behind a parked car, but even in that case I could get his attention back on me which wouldn't have been the case a few months ago.  Little bit by little bit.

I wanted to work with him some with the large ball in the house but our floor is slightly tilted so that ball wanted to roll on its own.  So I decided to get the soccer ball out which he has always been a little leery of.  I had his kibble with me and every time he would look at the ball I would click and toss a piece of kibble near the ball.  Because it was a scarier ball the exercise quickly became: will he go near the ball rather than working on walking around it.  It also was an excellent way to watch him struggle with his fears, and I came away with a better understanding of his issues.  For one thing he absolutely doesn't have any vestiges of ADHD as his attention on the ball and the treats was excellent, but he gets overwhelmed easily and wants to give up and I think he's always had a dog or a person to deal with the scary situation so he's never had to do so himself (so maybe another dog wouldn't help his confidence).  And for some reason, climbing up to high places doesn't count as scary, in fact, I think he feels safer being up high which is why he likes being held (I really should start thinking of him as a cat).

Back to the ball.  If a treat rolled near the ball he would very carefully approach it and if it was 3" or more away from the ball then he would eat it.  But there were 2 pieces of kibble right near the ball and I started deliberately aiming to get more kibble next to the ball.  Over time he worked up to being willing to get treats about 2" from the ball but there were the 2 that were still within an inch of it.  I was very carefully not saying anything to distract him and even stopped clicking as I wanted him to not be distracted.    Finally I decided to up the ante and went and got some string cheese.  He was thrilled to see it but decidedly unthrilled when I placed pieces of it right by the kibble.  He worked up the courage to get a couple of the pieces but the closest ones he wouldn't get.  He circled.  He layed down.  He tried to ignore it, but would eventually come back to it (hence no ADHD).  He started barking at something outside and I was able to call him back by just saying "Yoshi."  I moved closer to the ball and he moved closer.  i touched the ball and he came a little closer hoping that I was going to deal with the scary ball, but I wasn't going to give in.  Variations on the above continued for about half an hour when it became clear that he'd had enough and I stood up and he happily left the room and I picked up the ball and the treats.

I think I've found something that would help him a lot to work through.  I would like him to be willing to make the ball move.  This may be a fundamental issue for him, so we're going to have to do a lot of this.  He's obsessed with controlling motion but doesn't like to create it (probably a major reason that he bombs out of herding instinct tests.)  The exception seems to be squirrels, but who knows what he'd do if a squirrel tried to stand him down, and then there's also fence running where he's basically telling the other dog to RUN.  Actually come to think of it he often tells other dogs to RUN.  Cooper in particular as they both love the Chase Me game.

I can just see all the brave chowhounds wondering just what the heck the issue is.  I don't know if having another dog show him would actually help or hinder - besides his attention would just be on the other dog then.

Since he's bravest when he's on the bed I put the soccer ball on the bed.  Terri's going to be back from Redding tomorrow and I just know she's going to wonder why there's a soccer ball on the bed.  What you mean that's not normal?

Fri Apr 14
[lunch] Went to Big 5 and got another pump - one not likely to break and leak this time.  Ball is now pumped up.  Did a very similar session to yesterday where I'm clicking him for either nosing at the ball or walking around it.  I'm not entirely sure how to raise the criteria here.  I guess the first step would be to fade the luring but since I'm throwing the treats a little bit of luring is happening anyway.  I think waiting for a longer distance around the ball to be traveled (like 2 steps instead of one) would be a likely next step.

Spent time working on recalls and sends to the table.  Also remote down, sit, left, right and plank since the teeter is set up (will need to swap it out for the weavepoles.)  No squirrels to speak of so couldn't really work on recalls with distractions, though he'd check the trees out now and then and would go check it out and let me recall him and then release him to continue to check it out.

I really need to work on his dog park recall, but that's a pretty high level of distraction.  The rewards are really going to have to be high value like cheese, hamburger (ick), or veggie dog.  I haven't the heart to tell the local just opened hot dog place that while I don't like their veggie dogs, my dog loves them.  It looks like it might start raining again which would cut the dog park numbers down and I realize only now (now that were almost done with the rain) that it provides a golden training time at the park as not many dogs are out there.

I have to keep in mind that off leash time at the park is a priviledge that he should earn, and that if he doesn't immediately come on a recall then he should lose that opportunity for a short while (mild form of negative punishment (-P).  The trick is to catch him without it becoming a game but that hasn't been a problem for a long time.  If he tried to evade then he probably should be crated in the car.

I'm wondering if bringing in an ex-pen would be a faster way to do the timeouts.  Maybe with a towel to block his view so it doesn't become a game of fence fighting.  I could bring a crate out, but it's a guarantee that a dog would pee on it and the ex-pen is easier to wash off.

So to run through the scenario.  Take him to small dog park but still on leash and assess situation (carry in ex-pen if you're using it) have him wear the citronella collar and a gentle leader (he's been able to shake off the Gen-Con when he's really hyped.  Ask him for attention and some simple things like sit.  He's usually a basket case at this point so let him settle down some.  If other dogs come up and sniff him and he's acting under control then click and treat him with a bit of hot dog, or cheese or bread, so he knows that you've got the good stuff.  If he's settled then let him off and run around (not sure as to whether to leave the GL on or not.  If it's remotely safe to do so, then I'd leave it on as a reminder.  (not sure if there's a risk of it getting caught in the fence).

When the odds look good for him to obey, recall him and have a party and give him some hot dog.  If he doesn't respond, then calmly catch him and put him in the expen for a few minutes (or just leash him), and then try again when he's quieted down.  Keep the criteria firmly in your mind.  The goal is to be able to recall him out of even high stim situations like chasing a crying dog or being near a dog fight (probably will have to have him on leash for this initially.)  i have a feeling we're going to be spending more time on leash than off at the park for a little while.

Well that was very instuctive and bears repeating to see how things continue.

I got a veggie dog from The Dog Out. which he enjoyed, but probably not worth doing that often since it's a $3.50 hot dog, and then went and picked him up.  We went into the small dog park on leash.  Fortunately Truman the Peke was just leaving, Abby the pem whom he likes was there and a few other small dogs (it wasn't raining though it was getting windy and cold which helped reduce the numbers some.  Oliver was in the big dog park and racing up and down the fence so I chose to let him off and run for a bit.  He went up and back about 4 round trips before tiring.  Then started to look at the other small dogs in the park which is usually where things go awry.  I shooed him back to the fence and he went up and back once more and then I stopped him and gave him some hot dog and water. He initially didn't want to stop but soon gave in and came to me.

Now the work began.  Obviously he was uncomfortable on leash, but I felt a lot more in control so even though he was more reactive, lunging, and had 2-3 separate incidents of doggie disagreement that he most certainly had a hand in escalating, and one he outright started by charging and knocking down an obviously frightened small curly coated dog (I had briefly taken him off leash then - "Bummer dude no more off leash for you today.")  Another was a JRT who wasn't about to back down, and Abby and Yoshi were ready to rumble at one point (Abbey discovered that I had treats and suddenly I became disputed turf.  Intervening was usually quite easy as I would either pull him away or walk away with him.   The only difficult part was the JRT who wouldn't back off and I had to physically separate the two.

I want to see if he gets less reactive while on leash over time.  Even the time we were there when I backed off some and started working him on some obedience exercises he seemed to settle down and was willing to work some (it was about here that he decided that the hot dog was really good.

I did a lot of recalls when he was distracted by something else.  If he didn't respond I just pulled steadily on the GL and that got his attention back.  Feels like cheating, but it was like I needed a more direct way to get into his brain rather that verbal which he had tuned out momentarily.

He's currently passed out on the floor so he probably got enough exercise (physcially and mentally).

This is basically a form of Ruff Love.  Off leash time is something you earn with good behavior.  The norm even at the dog park now for him is on leash.

Funny moment was that a woman asked why Yoshi couldn't play and I was just about to explain when the tussle with the JRT happened.  After we finally got that sorted out, I finally replied "That's why."

Thur Apr 13
It's sunny!!!  Hooray!
[Lunchtime]  Took the large ball (still flatish as i haven't replaced the leaking pump yet) and set it outside this time.  I'm hoping to ultimately teach him to circle around the ball (I'm eventually going to call them "clock" and "counter" because I have little hope of remembering which way "come bye" and "away to me" are, and I won't have the advantage of an agility walk through to prememorize the directions.

Got the string cheese out since it shows up nicely on the ground.  Now the question was how to get started as while he volunteers behaviors his repetoir is kinda limited so he's likely just to poke at the ball, look at me, or just lie down.  So rather than babbling at him and confusing him, I decided to resort to good old fashion luring by throwing cheese bits near the ball (me stationary and not saying anything) just to give him the idea of moving around the ball.  He thought this was great fun and cheerfully hoovered up treats and didn't have any issue with being further away (a common velcro dog issue, but not for him.)

I decided to try cheating some as a way to fade the luring.  I'd throw a treat and he'd start moving towards it.  While he was moving i'd click and throw another treat.  While i wasn't initially very smooth about this eventually he seemed to sense a pattern (well a little).  At first I only wanted one direction, but then changed my mind (not supposed to change mid training session but oh well) and worked in in the other direction too.  I also changed my mind about whether to click him poking at the ball.  At first I didn't because I wanted him to be in motion, but while doing it if he poked at the ball I decided that I liked it and clicked him for that too.  If he looked at me, I carefully did not click him - i wanted his attention on the ball or the ground.

Went through one pkg of string cheese and stopped.  He may be getting some of the idea but will need to do this a lot more first.

What's fun is that he actually seemed interested in working.  He would occasionally look for squirrels, but fortunately there weren't any present.  I think I'm really starting to take him for what he is, and starting to work from there.  He may not have a lot of drive but he has some and I can work with that.  He may scare easily and not have a lot of confidence but we can build on that.  (A glimmer of maturity perhaps?  One can only hope.)

Went to the dog park.  Mostly fun, but him and a pit bull x puppy got too riled up and with some effort we broken them up.  Pattern is still the same: a not very dominate dog makes an aggressive gesture (barring teeth, snarling) and Yoshi over reacts and won't stop until he is forced to do so.  It's like he switches into an entirely different mode.  The "I am going to teach you a lesson by kicking the shit out of you" but it's not at all clear at what point he would stop and this is worrysome.  He doesn't have the modulation he needs sometimes which makes him a poor leader dog (and he doesn't have that sort of experience).  If a dog he respects makes a "back off" gesture then he's totally fine with it "Oh, ok, sorry."  He's the classic insecure middle-level pack dog and middle-level dogs frequently pick fights with each other leaving the alpha dog alone.

He's been taking the SAMe for over a week now and that doesn't seem to be making much of a difference though in class he's ok around the other dogs and that's different.

He needs to learn that part of respecting my leadership (which he does to a fault as I seem to scare him easily) is being a good doggie citizen and get along with other dogs, even rude ones, and I'm not sure how to teach him this.  He was generally better when Cali was around though he would "defend" any perceived threats to her with the same amount of over response.

I think we're really going to have to work on his normally good recall under high stimulation (like the dog park, or around squirrels), and I need to think how to make this work.  At the park he usually has a citronella collar on as a backup recall enforcer though I neglected to put it on him this time.

Wed Apr 12
Off while I went to hear an REI talk put on by Chris Carr of Shasta Mountain Guides.  Nice to see him without the usual mountain gear so i actually know what he looks like now.

Tues Apr 11
When I rejoined corgiherders, Oscar was giving fatherly advice to one of his sons, so Yoshi decided to ask Granddad for advice too:
Dear Granddad Oscar,

My owner (another Ellen) just rejoined this list so I thought I'd say
hello and ask your advice.
They call my litter the "Prozac Kids" for their pistol-like nature
(well, half of them) and while it's normal to blame the parents,
apparently you are the one who is being credited. (Hope that doesn't
offend you.)

Granddad, you seem to have turned this go get 'em personality into a
positive thing and I'm wondering how you did it. My person thinks that
if I learn to herd that I might develop some coping skills, but I find
sheep scary and ducks are only interesting if they're moving. (They
call me "Brave, Brave, Sir Robin" - but they laugh every time they say
that, so I don't get it.)

I do however have a thing for chasing and herding moving dogs, but there
doesn't seem to be a venue for that.

I am learning agility and am enjoying that (since the equipment is not
alive and is predictable).

Any advice would be welcome.

Yoshi CBC (my owner made that up too and I don't get that either)
Ellen Clary

So I'm trying to come up with a plan to use a clicker to teach him basics of herding ground work without the stock.

I'm thinking that if I set the large ball out on the floor (but not moving) that would be a good start.

 Walk Up (come closer slowly)
 Clock (go clockwise around the target/ball/stock)
 Counter (go around counter-clockwise)
 Touch (won't use much with stock but useful for other objects)
 Easy (go slower)

Put the large ball on the floor, stood on the other side and clicked him for approaching it (ok he was really approaching me but I would click before he passed the ball.  He caught on fairly quickly and started touching the ball with his nose which I clicked him for too.  Then for fun i started adding a down when he was right near the ball, and then quite soon after that added the "Walk Up" cue but it's probably a little soon for that.  I've deliberately left the ball slightly flat so it doesn't move around much.  Soon I'll put more air in it so it moves when he touches it.  We'll probably have to stay at that level for a while until he gets used to the motion.  If all else goes awry, I'll at least have a soccer dog.  With Cali I had a Cue called "Soccer" where she'd bob the ball around with her nose or chest - a very fun game and one we could play for quite a while.

Agility class tonight at a covered horse arena.
Didn't know that I'd need a GPS to find the place (it was pretty far out in Walnut Creek), and quite dark.
As a result we were late but got a couple of runs in.
He was better than I thought he'd be.  He was mostly fine with the dogs in the class (I think he liked the larger space of the arena but when he got closer to the horses he started barking.  I walked him near the stalls but didn't push the issue as I didn't want him scaring the horses.

While we didn't get a lot of running in I can tell that he still likes it and boy is he ever gonna be fast.

I'm torn about his weavepoles.  He's really started to speed up in them, but is getting a little sloppy about it.  Susan Garrett would say that accuracy comes before speed but i worry about inadvertantly teaching him to go through the poles slowly (and he appears to be enjoying himself in the poles and I don't want him to not like them).  I think I might set up six poles and put guides on the start and end and let him get used to how it feels to do them at speed.

Mon Apr 10
Last night I decided that we're going back to trying to learn to herd ducks as a way to get control of this misdirected herding instinct.  He was frightened of Joyce Shephard's grouchy senior ducks, but was intrigued with Jill Lockhart's younger flightier ducks to the point that she encouraged us to come back and do some real work with them (she didn't have her duck pen set up then).  I'll contact her and see what we can arrange.  This will have to wait till I get back from Alaska in early May, but after then would work assuming we can steer around the times in June when I'll be at Shasta and Whitney.  Patterson where Jill lives gets really hot so this will be in the early morning.

I'm not worried that ducks will hurt him like sheep can.  His first (well second) encounter with a sheep should not have been one with horns <sigh>.  And he's spent enough time around Mark and Jan's birds that I don't think he is likely to hurt them.

In the meantime, I'll have to find out how the basics are first taught, and will have to see what sort of positive reinforcement type training is available to see if some of the ground work will help him. (Learning to down in the presence of moving dogs?).  The problem is that most herding trainers want a dog to have a natural herding drive that they can then mold.  We'll have to see if I can find one that is willing to work with Mr. Maladjusted Child.  Personally I think it would be a fun experiment, but I don't know if someone with stock will agree.

Sun Apr 9
Cooper came over and they had fun running around in the yard and barking at squirrels.  I took some time to run a brief experiment.  I took out a large ball that I know Cooper likes and that Yoshi is afraid of..  Both dogs were now being calm and sacked out in the yard.  As soon as I tossed the ball into the yard Cooper was up and intrigued and chasing it some.  Yoshi was up and running and barking with intensity not at the ball, but at Cooper..  Once Cooper settled down so did Yoshi..  It was like flipping a switch.  As soon as Cooper would do something with intensity, Yoshi would be up on his feet barking and trying to control his motion.  As Patricia puts it - herding instinct gone very wrong.  Or so it seems.  What mysteries go on in his mind one has to wonder (or at least I do.)

Sat Apr 8
Day off while Ellen goes on a training hike.

Fri Apr 7
The cream cheese is definitely the ticket as he cheerfully swallowed his pill right down.  The 90mg dog version of SAMe (Denosyl by Nutramax - got it from Bullwrinkle http://www.bullwrinkle.com) just came in and they are smaller so this should get a lot easier (though I now have to give them twice a day.

The frapfest yesterday was much fun.  We started in the small dog park and I was concerned when Yoshi and a terrier chased a pit bull puppy who started to scream out of fear (which just makes things all the worse - this was similar to him chasing the Ridgeback puppy.)  Fortunately the puppy dove under some humans chairs and we were able to get a hold of all involved.  The puppy was fine and untouched and just frightened, but I was concerned that Yoshi didn't seem to be paying attention to his citronella collar.  We let the corgis play for a bit and then I noticed that Truman the Peke appeared, so not wanting any further incident, I said that I was moving to the large dog park, so several of us moved over (I didn't see any Rotts though I kept an eye out for them.)

There I did have some success with the citronella collar.  He would set out to chase a dog I didn't want him to chase.  I'd call him, he would stop and look at me and clearly mulling whether to come or not (bad sign).  If he chose then to keep chasing, he got sprayed.  It usually took about 3 sprays to get him to desist and come to me for which he was then rewarded with goodies.  (I'll have to bring something he adores next time, this time I just had the pretty good Zuke's treats with me.)  While I'm not fond of using even this mild of an adversive, he is starting to get that coming to me pays off much better.  Whether he associates the spray with me, and whether this is poisoning his cue to come closer (his name), remains to be seen.

In the mean time I had plenty of other corgi interest in the Zuke's treats.

Attending was Indy (Tom), Abby (Kitleigh), Spark (Bill and Diane), Yoshi (Ellen), Jesse (Cathy) and Mr. Giles (Patricia) for a little while (though didn't seem real interested in straying more than 2 feet away from Patricia's side.)

Thu Apr 6
Success with cream cheese.  He swallowed the tablet right down.  Now let's just hope it helps him.  We have a frapfest scheduled at the dog park at 5:30pm and I'm hoping there's not a ton of small dogs and that the corgis (and Mr Giles) have the run of the place.  He'll be wearing his citronella collar if there are any other dogs there.

So Kristine's new cardi has discovered that flying off the contact obstacles is way more exciting that doing a touch even though she's well versed in the touch.  She also noted that in her class was a completely manic Border Collie who had no start line stay, knocked every bar, but had his contacts rock solid.  Personally I think she's being too hard on herself and it does invite comparing the two:

Well I can tell you the theory of what might be going on though nothing 
Dogs do what works for dogs so they say. In other words, dogs do what's
most FUN or satisfying and what that is varies from dog to dog, breed to

Let's have some fun and use hyperbole and stereotypes to make a point.
A typical BC turns everything into a job. A typical Cardi turns
everything into comedy with extra points for creativity and extra, extra
points for befuddling the handler. Contact performance with stopping
and a touch is something with a very defined routine and is right up the
BC alley. If Trek's handler were as clear about jumping criteria when
teaching jumps as s/he is with contacts then Trek would likely jump just

So you need to find a way to make hitting the contacts more fun than
bailing on them (a tall order). If I were your trainer I might give
running contacts with a hoop a try. Also consider that bailing might be
an avoidance behavior since she knows the job.

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi

So I've been thinking...
What if you put bailing off a contact obstacle on cue?  I know that's heresy,
 but what if?  I mean if Kathy Sdao put her walrus' "I'm going to kill you now" bell gonging sound on cue (and was then able to get control over it) then why not?  You could even call it "Bail" or "Launch" or "Boing" to go along with "Contact" or "Touch"  No, I'm not offering to teach it to Yoshi as he hasn't thought of it yet (but he's so springy you know he will.)  We live in such perpetual fear of the missed contact and there must be a better way to cope with it.

That said I wonder if Loretta put Dazzle's spinning behavior on cue?  She's a BC but spins as much as a Sheltie.  Apparently no one had suggested putting it on cue and I'm thinking that would help (maybe).  Dazzle also knows Jim's run around the handler before taking the obstacle and I think she should use that more since Dazzle is so much faster, but I'm not her trainer so what do I know?  It's either that or learn to shout the commands/cues and don't move much.

Found that great cognitive psych reference:
In another post I mentioned I found an excellent reference on learning 
theory basics.

It's by Claude Gabriel Cech, a Cognitive Psychology professor at the
University of Louisiana.

Makes me want to take the class. Note: Chapter 5 The Nature of


Wed Apr 5
I got a SAMe tablet down him using peanut butter!  I have some cream cheese at work and will try that tomorrow.
I tried giving it to him manually but he's really fast at getting it off his tongue and onto his teeth before I can close his mouth.

It's sunny out.  Wheeee!  (It's been raining for days and days.)  I'm supposed to be working out at lunch, but maybe we'll go look for dogs instead.

You know I'm not so sure that making toy play as a condition of going outside is such a great idea.  Sometimes he wants to go out because he needs to pee and that's not exactly a good learning frame of mind...

So we went on that walk.  He's really good with people on the street and baby strollers and kids.  Dogs in the distance are ok, dogs close up still trigger him.  I now just watch him pretty much though I keep an eye out for others too.  When he looks forward with his body stiffened and his ears erect I click as it means he sees something and it just about to back.  This completely derails his brain and he starts to focus more on me which I also click.  This is similar to what Helix and I discuss below about what the handler reinforces changes over time based on what the dog is doing.  It's not a bad thing, it's just that we have to observe that the criteria changes on the fly.

Unfortunately he is still sensistive to dogs walking by within 40 feet or so.  I wonder what would happen if when we saw dogs approaching, if we turned the other way and walked parallel to them.  He's usually ok following dogs this way, but doesn't like it when they approach.  I wonder if we let them approach while we were retreating.

I also want to take some time to just sit in the front room and watch dogs walk by (feeding him goodies all the while.)

Been theorizing a lot on the clickerexpo list - now I just need to get better at putting it into practice!

Subject: Click to Calm
> I have been enjoying the click to calm discussion. I 
> have a highly reactive border collie. He has been taught to always
> check in with me if something is distracting him. When he looks at me
> I don't say anything I just click and treat for his attention. In
> class he will look around but stays mainly focused on me.

What you're doing is fine and works well with dogs that feel safe
staring at you (Border Collies being a typical example). It's an
effective way to avoid problems.

What's going on with the click (or just reinforcing) when the dog looks
at another dog is actually a form of Pavlovian classical conditioning or
in this case: counter conditioning. Instead of avoiding the problem you
are attempting to change what a dog associates with the sight of another
dog. Instead of them being fearful and barking and lunging you want
them to think "Oh cool there's a dog, where's my cookie?"

With classical conditioning you are associating a simulus (sight of a
dog - a "conditioned" stimulus) with another stimulus that you know the
dog already likes (food in many cases - an "unconditioned" stimulus.)
With counter conditioning (I don't know offhand who came up with the
term - will have to find out) you are trying to change what has already
been established with classical conditioning.

I've located some excellent references on this, but don't have them at
hand - will post them when I find them. Kathy Sdao (who makes learning
this stuff fun) also teaches seminars that cover this in detail.

Ellen Clary
non-professional theory junkie

Helix Fairweather wrote:
> I'd like to revisit this question again:
> Example #1: dog looks at distraction, handler clicks, dog turns back to
> handler for treat. AFter a few times of this, dog pays more attention to
> the handler.
> Many of us agreed this works. The only explanation mentioned was that
> being treated at the handler reinforced looking at/turning to the handler
> and that was more reinforcing than looking at the distraction.
> Example #2: (from a Learning Lab at Expo this past week), dog looks at
> target on the floor, handler clicks, dog turns back to handler for the
> treat. After a few times of this, dog looks at the target more and more
> and more.
> These two examples have exactly the same mechanics: dog looks at
> something, dog gets clicked for looking at it, treats are given in same
> place (at the handler) and yet have different results.
> Theory Junkies: Why the differing results?
> Helix Fairweather

Just to make a completely haphazard guess.

Is it possible that in dog #1's case the handler was so thrilled that
the dog was paying more attention to the handler that the dog that the
dog started to get reinforced for paying attention to the handler?
(Which is not a bad thing at all.) (Ok, probably not, as I think you
were the handler. :) It's like dog #1 hasn't quite figured out that
the looking at the other dog is what makes the click happen and in
typical chowhound fashion (I have corgis and I know all about food
obsession ;) is instead concentrating on the source of the reward rather
than the work itself.

Ellen Clary
amateur theory junkie

Helix responds:
I was the handler although this technique has worked for many other
people. I think this is a darned good possibility! In the case of my first
use of this with Joey (young Beardie), it worked so well that I totally
forgot about using it again! :)

I'm going to watch for a guinea pig to try this cold and see what
"additions" the handler makes once s/he realizes the dog is no longer
looking at the distraction, ie, see if I can identify the "flip point".


Should be interesting to see what she comes up with.
One more post that has me publically admitting my poor timing:

> Go carefully, it is very important to click while they are holding it 
> nicely, you get what you click - click mouthing and you will get more
> mouthing, click while holding and you get more holding. This is
> something where it is all too easy to click late.
Boy do I know that one - it's really tough to not click late and my dog 
is now very good at dropping things. ;)

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi the corgi

Well both good and not so good.  the not so good was that he broke his down stay to go charging up to Hazel's St Bernard Miranda who was just walking in the door and who he knows.  The funny thing about it was that for reasons I'm not quite clear on his ran into the wall I think because he was looking at her but hadn't really slowed down and hit the wall.  It's also possible that he decided to give her a wider berth that he originally planned once he remembered how large she was (She of course didn't care at all.)  I think I'm going to tether him to the wall now for the stays so I don't stress about it.  I think the simplest way to tether him is to take the tether and loop it through a leash attached to him and clip the tether back to the eyebolt that holds the tether.

The good was that before class Barbara had Archie on a stay outside and he broke it to go charging up to Yoshi.  I had Yoshi behind me and I caught Archie.  The cool thing is that neither dog made a peep.  Another good thing is that I had him watching the open class doing fast heeling while he was munching on a baguette and he was fine with all the motion.

Obedience-wise his about turns are wide but luring got them closer.    I tried using a clicker while heeling but he seemed to lag doing it - need more work on that obviously.

[in retrospect]
I think I'm going to ask Hazel if she or someone else could during the stays, arrange to come in with one of her Saints while I'm standing beside him and work up to some distance (with him tethered).

So I asked about it on clickerexpo:
I have a dog reactive corgi who is highly motion sensistive.  He can 
meet a dog and be fine with them, but if that same dog walks past my dog
wants to chase after them. if the dog stops, he's fine. (This actually
makes him a bad herding dog - he's been tested 4 times once even on
ducks - just not interested if the animal is stationary which is fine
since our focus is agility, but I was hoping to come up with a way of
managing his reactivity.)

I've had him in a competitive obedience class for months and he's
improved a lot with this and a lot of (a) click to calm and (b) counter
conditioning, but there's one thing that I'm not sure how to help him
on. It's helping him to trust me and stay calm when I'm not standing
right beside him (like on long stays where I'm across the ring). What
happens at the training club is that within the time of the class he
begins to feel protective of the space and what happens sometimes is
that a dog for the next class will walk in and he'll break the stay
(rare) and go charging up to the dog barking "halt!" (no contact).

I think what I'm going to do is tether him loosely (so he's less
disruptive) and stand near him gradually increasing the distance, but
I've already been doing that so I'm wondering if there's something else
I can do. I think one thing I'm going to try is stand near him and
treat him while the instructor (or someone else) walks in with a
non-reactive dog. The instructor has very mellow Saint Bernards which
are ideal for this.

Anything else?

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi the corgi

And Emma Parsons was nice enough to respond:

Hi Ellen,

I know when I was working with Ben, I concentrated on really cementing his stay behavior. I did this by , as you explained, staying close and gradually extending the distance. Concerning duration, he was able to stay for twice the amount of time needed to complete each exercise. I also proofed him with the following: dogs running past him, stays with his back to the dogs (hardest thing for him) a dog breaking his stay and wandering over him to him, etc...

The bottom line was: "You need to stay no matter what happens. You need to trust me and remain in position until I release you from the cue."

Hope this helps...

Tue Apr 4

[morning] So I've been making taking a toy in his mouth a contingent of opening the back door.  This is proving to be a challenge as he just wants to quit if things don't go quite the way he wants them too. He'll ring the bell to go out.  I'll walk to the back door and present the toy and when he takes the toy in his mouth I click and open the door.  This morning  he wanted nothing to do with the toy and would occasionally keep ringing the bell (and clearly thought I was being a bit thick or that I was talking/acting in martian).  Things that didn't work: waving it in his face. gentle wacking him with it, wiggling it on the ground (I'm sitting on the ground and standing up doesn't seem to work either).  He kept turning to slink/stalk off and I would call him back.  What did sort of work was when he was turning back around after I called him back was to drag the toy on the ground rapidly.  That got his attention and he started to grab it (almost like he needed a run at it.)  I clicked and opened the door.

He's most enthusiastic about play and tug when I'm laying down in bed.  Guess I'll just have to sleep with lots of dog toys around.  I usually have the interactive toys put away but in his case I think leaving them at the ready will work better.

I spent yesterday taking the SAM-e, so I feel comfortable giving it to him.  Now if I could just get him to agree. :)
Giving Cali pills was incredibly easy as she would just gulp things down.  Not him.  First started with cheese which he quickly ate, but expertly spit the pill out.  then rollover and he swallowed half (it's coated and supposed to be taken whole), then moved on to the peanut butter flavored cheesewhiz-like thing for stuffing kongs - did that a few times and maybe got a bit more down, and then lost patience and started manually placing it at the back of his tongue and holding his nose elevated.  Somewhere in there, he got the last of it swallowed, but I need to find an easier way.  Though these pills aren't large (they're only 200mg) I'll see if I can find smaller ones (maybe 90mg).

A post to perf corgis, coltsrun and frapfest:

Ok, so Yoshi is in perpetual danger of losing his corgi card. and one way is by not gulping his food.  He likes treats, but he's actually polite about taking them unlike Cali or even his buddy Cooper or just about every other corgi I know save for the frightened rescue this weekend and if you were stuck in the Oakland Animal Shelter you might not be yourself either.  (She's now in Rohnert Park).

This politeness works in my favor most of the time. Except of course for now.  An immunologist (Dr Jean Dodds) looking at his blood test results has suggested he take SAM-e to lower his slightly elevated liver ALT.  Given that SAM-e also works as an antidepressant, I'm all for it as it may help his reactivity.  (Dr. Dodds claims that elevated ALT could also cause reactivity, but I must admit to being dubious). 

There's just one gotcha.  The SAM-e tablets are enteric coated, designed so they pass through the stomach and don't dissolve right away.  For them to work as designed the need to be swallowed whole and not split or crushed.  Ha, ha, ha, ha.  Suddenly I had a cat who would cheerfully eat whatever I concealed the tablet in and spit the tablet out.  Cheese, rollover, peanut butter in a cheeze-whiz can. The latter sort of worked though he bit the tablet in half.  I finally got him to swallow the other half the old fashion way of putting it on the back of his tongue and holding his mouth shut (took 3 times).

I can't possibly be the first one to have to deal with this - am I going to have to start using a piller?
(Terri's suggesting putting him in a pillary. :)

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi the sort of corgi

Break in the rain so we went to the dogpark to let him run.  There weren't any small dogs there at all (the small dog folks intimidate easily by wet conditions, and most small dogs aren't real fond of standing water, so I didn't make him wear his spray collar at all and he merrily tore up and down the fence chasing along with Oliver.  I notice that Yosh is out of shape as he can't keep up with Oliver and he used to be able to do it.  So I need to find a way to make this dog park thing work as it keeps him in great shape.   My guess is the spray collar will be a useful Ace in the Hole in case he goes charging after a newly arrived small dog.  For a while I was convinced that he should only go to the big dog park, but one corgi was mauled by a Rottweiler during the weekend (weekends can be hazardous.) so I'm rethinking that commitment (especially since he likes to charge up to Rotts and I feel that he's just been lucky that one hasn't tried to eat him for lunch.)

Anyway he's crashed out at my feet which is oh so nice.  Maybe just commit to bringing him Tues, Thur (noon or after work) and maybe early a weekend morning (or not).

I'm still trying to come up with a clever way to get him to play with toys more.  Today I went and bought a baguette for him.  My plan is to let it get a little stale and then use it as a toy.  I cut it in half and we played a bit with part of it and he thought that was great, but he of course started getting hunks of it off and he's a little befuddled by my moving it around so we took a break.  But the action of play with toys is exactly the same as what we were doing so there's hope.  What I can't figure is that he used to play tug quite nicely and then stopped.  Elizabeth noticed this too and was impressed that I was able to get it back.  I wish I understood why he gives up on things, it may be a submissive thing ("Well if you really want it, then fine have it.") but it also extends to easily giving up on things when they get harder (though if you encourage him he'll come back to it.)  Just doesn't have the usual amount of corgi chutzpah.

I should try that toy I made for him that is a rope going through a rawhide bone.

Played with the rawhide bone rope toy and he enjoyed that.  I deliberately left the tug toy that I've been trying to get him to play with on the floor to let him get interested in it again.  A few minutes later Terri noticed that he was chewing on it and she initiate a rousing game of tug with him and when I took Terri's end of the toy he was happy to continue the tug game.  So there's hope.  I was kneeling on the floor and thus not standing over him and I wasn't moving around much but instead let him do the tugging while I pretty much just held it and encouraged him by saying "you get that thing"

Wendy Bruce is no longer doing Everything 4 Paws, but she says that Pet Club carries the Zuke's treats.

Already getting good answers to my query on performance corgis.  Some detailed manual pilling techniques and one excellent suggestion of tubbed cream cheese, and Bobbie was nice enough to tell me that there is a dog version of SAMe is called Denosyl (the other is called Marin) and a quick google told me that there indeed was a 90mg version.  I've ordered some from a company called Bullwrinkle (they're into bulldogs :) as KV Vet didn't have it.

Mon Apr 3
Played fetch in the kitchen some.  He really likes the Zeke's mini natural treats.  This package is peanut butter but I imaging most any of the will do.  He's getting better about getting the mini tennis ball back to my hand but if I move my hand too far to the side he just comes up to me and drops it on the floor so I'm not sure he's getting it.  He got it dead on a few times though so it may be occurring to him.

As it would happen the clickerexpo list is talking about this so I posted with our experience:
Here's something that our obedience trainer is having us try.  Teach her 
to drop it into your hand and then move your hand to a slightly
different position with the idea that if you make it harder for them to
find your hand you are teaching them to hold without them even knowing it.
(We do this with a tennis ball or a dumbell.)

This is taking us a while as my current corgi is not very confident (and
not nearly as bossy :) as my last one, so he doesn't have quite the same
"try anything" chutzpah. I also made things worse by trying to delay
the click for an instant and wound up C/Ting the drop, so in the spirit
of "you get what you click" he picks things up and immediately drops
them quite nicely. :)

He also has this hilarious superstitious behavior that is slowly going
away, but it's been fun to watch. When he hands the object back to me,
he holds a foot up. I should name it before he stops offering it, but I
don't want to confuse him.

Ellen Clary
and the earnest, but not very confident Yoshi the corgi
Took him on a search for dogs.  3 out of 4 encounters he did well on.  The fourth he started barking just as soon as he saw the dogs across the street (didn't even give me a chance to click his look - the other ones I had 1/2 a second to click his not reacting - if I had started clicking before he saw them it would have worked better but he isn't likely to get the association that was according to Pavlov).  The difference is that the other dogs were either stationary or moving away.

Cathy and Jessie are coming over tonight so that should be entertaining.

[afterward]  Well that was interesting.  They kept alternating as to who wanted to play and who didn't.  Usually it's Yoshi constantly bugging Jessie but around 9pm Jessie was bugging Yoshi and he really wasn't interested.  This also happened with Cooper last night.  Either Yoshi is growing up, not feeling well, or out of shape.

Sun Apr 2
Ir'a raining again (this is getting absurd), so I went and stole Cooper so they could play together.  I'm hoping to have Cooper reinforce Yoshi's tugging but Cooper who normally loves  tug is more distracted by the kitchen.  I went back to just clicking him for putting his mouth on it.  Once he got the idea he was very good at tug, though he needs to learn how to take small treats without chomping.  (Ouch.)
Yoshi watched us for a bit but didn't really seem to care what we were doing <sigh>.

Later on I had to finish up a workout on the elliptical which sent Cooper barking away (he probably has never seen one) which then got Yoshi barking.  As soon as I stopped the motion Cooper came right up so it wasn't the backpack I was wearing - it was the sound.  So I did some clicker work while working out and Cooper got over his apprehension very quickly.  Since I started to throw treats at him once I really got started I found out that he could catch and the last 3 that I threw to him never hit the ground.  Too bad Yoshi wasn't watching.

Yoshi and Cooper played for a while and then crashed, Yoshi in the front bedroom with Terri and Cooper on the sofa with me in the living room.  When I went to take Cooper back he actually didn't want to go out past the landing.  At first I thought it was the stairs but it really seemed to be more about the rain and the noisy gutter nearby.  Walked back in the house, let him say hello to Yoshi again and then we walked back out and this time after some hesitation, he went down the stairs.

Sat Apr 1
He's acting normally today fortunately.

He nearly got a foster sister today as there was a corgi at Oakland Animal Shelter that I went to spring but as we were walking out Wendy came by saying that she could foster her and maybe keep her so I was all too happy to let them.  So Yoshi got off easy - today.

Go to:

Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Feb 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Jan 2006

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2005
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Yoshi Training Diary - Jan  2005

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2004
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