Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2004
By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)
Feedback is welcome:
Fri Dec 31
I took him to the park to get him tired since we're having a party
tonight. It worked. He was very mellow for the evening even
after sleeping for much of the afternoon.
Tues Dec 28
Still raining here though it's starting to let up.
Mr Stir Crazy would not settle down and got crated last night, though
he still got me up in the middle of the night to pee. He really likes
Cali's larger crate (a Varikennel Deluxe Intermediate - 300 size, his
is a Medium - 200 size). Cali doesn't seem to mind since she prefers
her nice bed so I stuck him in there. It's pretty funny as it dwarfs
As promised, took him (the rain wuss wannabe) to the park in the rain and he did fine (though it wasn't
raining very hard.) Still too pushy with the big dogs but when a
female takes exception he backs right off. But he still bullys more
submissive dogs. I need to explain to him that things didn't turn out
so well for Napoleon.
And then later back at home we find that brave, brave Napoleon is
afraid of an exercise ball that I was using. He came up and took a Bil
Jac treat from me a couple of times (I was sitting on the ball), but
then he decided that that wasn't enough (even with Cali there getting
lots of goodies). So the ball is going to stay down on the floor, and
he will just have to get used to it. He got used to the exercise
machines so he'll probably eventually be ok with this as well. He
doesn't like the fact that it rolls around by itself. But he'll chase
and herd an 80 pound running dog - go figure.
There's a agility fun match in early Jan. and I should decide whether to bring
him to it. I think it would be good for him and I can get an idea on
what else he needs work on. When the rain lets up we're going back to
weave poles. I had put them away for a bit to give him a break and
work on jumping and tires but it's time to go back as he still needs the guides (though they're on the ground now).
Mon Dec 27
It's pouring here and he is still a rain wimp. Gotta work on that
- maybe a nice walk this afternoon or even now at lunchtime. (Neither happened.)
Sun Dec 26
I was working in the morning and the afternoon I was an usher at Kung
Pao Kosher Comedy (a great Jewish Comedy show) so no work for doggies
Sat Dec 25
Terri gave the dog's prezzie's (I'm not a xmas person). Cali
destroyed hers in about 5 minutes. Yoshi's is still intact and
when Cali seized it, Terri took it away. Clearly it's going to be
a present when Cali's not around.
Went to Terri's brothers and the doggies got lots of love and lots of
paper to shred. Cali and i did some tracking and she nabbed some
banana bread. Yoshi on the other hand was fine. (What a
Thur Dec 23
Did some brief training in the yard this evening. He's still a
little hesitant abut the weaves (almost like he's afraid I might step
on him which could be a valid fear), until I got out the Bil Jac that I
just got in. Then he was much more agreeable.
He's getting funny about the jumps - running around them more. I
tried moving them more in line with the table, but he still goes around
them. Now usually that means that he should be checked out
medically to make sure that something isn't hurting him. I
probably should have him checked out and have some x-rays taken but
given what a maniac he is at the dog park he's likely fine. I
will take him to the power paws field after the 26th and see how he
does on the big field. I will move the weave poles and the table
off to the side and just have the jumps and a tunnel out.
Tonight he was playing with Terri with the Tuffie Fish which remarkably
is still 2/3 intact. He'll still tug and chew which is a good
sign. I was getting concerned that I was so in the habit of
training with treats that he was losing his toy drive.
Wed Dec 22
This morning he didn't hear me when I said "ok" as I opened his crate
door and picked up his bowl (I put him in there to feed him so that Ms.
Cali doesn't stage a raid). I took the bowl into the kitchen and
did something else for about a minute and then glanced back into the
bedroom where his crate is. He was standing there still in the
crate looking expectant. I said "OK" and he charged out.
What an invertantly good boy.
He was also practicing his bounce jumps (and doing quite well at it)
while obsessing on a squirrel. It just so happened that the jumps
were in line with a direction that he wanted to go in. He must
have taken those jumps 5 times. It was nice because I could sit
on the landing steps and watch his form which is looking good.
Limbs no longer akimbo, and gathered nicely.
Given how wiped out he was last night it's suprising to see him so
energetic. Though it's still going to be a mellow day for him.
Tues Dec 21
Can't decide whether to keep on with the social lessons at the dog park or train in the backyard.
[afternoon] Took him to the park and now he's here at my feet at
work zonked. He's still showing spectacularly bad judgement about
racing up to certain dogs barking, but it doesn't seem to be lasting as
long. Seems a bit tired today as he's doing less racing around
though he certainly did plenty.
He might be ok out on a trail as he definitely keeps track of where I
am. If in the park I walk away he notices and comes along.
Though on occasion he will still run out of site though it seems to be
Think we'll do some dinnertime training.
Worked on weave poles and jumps and he was doing well, some table too
but he's forever doing that Table. The only thing is that he's
prone to pop up during the downs so I need to work on that.
He's very subdued so I think he's still tired. I'll lay off tomorrow and work with Cali instead.
Mon Dec 20
Gave him the day off and he didn't seem to mind it a bit.
Sun Dec 19
Took him back to the dog park and he ran himself silly. He's
completely exhausted. He seems to be getting some social clues
but it's going to take a while.
Sat Dec 18
So dealing with weave poles this week. I've been sometimes using
higher value treats for the weaves and I put the guides back on.
He seemed to still be intimidated by them so I lowered the height some
so they didn't loom over him and I removed the guides from the first
and last pole and just left those on the ground. Things are
improving. Also noticed something odd. He's much better
about weaving towards the table than away from it.
His jumping is looking good but I can't stand to the side of the jumps
yet and send him over. Think I'll build a jump circle and work on
that. This will require moving the poles some.
Oh yeah and I need to finish the chute too.
He's still doing well at the large dog park, with a big exception
could really be a problem. He has astoundingly bad judgement
sometime about what dogs to try to boss around. Twice now I've
had to stop him from playing rough with a pit bull terrier.
Fortunately both times the pit bull was really sweet, but both times
the play was getting a bit intense so I and the other owners
intervened. Yoshi just doesn't have a clue as to how powerful
those dogs are. What's interesting is that he won't challenge a
truely dominant dog, but he does try to boss around dogs that he
perceives as a lower rank than he is - never mind that that lower
ranking dog could snap his neck by accident unintentionally.
Napoleon needs a lesson and I hope it doesn't get him hurt.
Also took some photos of him racing around the dog park (they're on his main page). Man, he's fast. Hope it carries over to the agility ring (in a controled manner :).
Tues Dec 14
We're backsliding on the weaves. He's acing like he's never seen
them before. I'll need to back up and make it easier. I
think I'll put all the guides back on for a little while. He's
worse about it at night. Just looks blankly at me or runs to
something else. I can lure him through
Other things are great through. Had a working breakfast and he
was doing close, side, and very snappy and happy left and rights.
But he's not happy about the weaves at all. Need to figure out a
way to make them fun.
No barfing for several days now so I fear it was the bitz making him ill. (We've just been trainiing with his kibble.)
Mon Dec 13
Day off. Though he's starting to get weird about the weave poles.
Sun Dec 12
Went back to the dog park again and we had a great time. This
time Yoshi and I went to the big dog park and Terri and Cali went to
the small dog park. He found a Beagle named Sparkle to chase
around with as well as Jessie and also a Border Collie named Gus, but
it was he and Sparkle that really hit it off. He'd take off
running she'd catch up to him and he'd do the drop and roll and she'd
jump over him. Then after he was tuckered out, I put him on his
Gentle Leader and we went over to the small dog park for some mellow
social time (Peanut the JRT wasn't there). His recall was ok,
he'd at least come closer and he kept an eye on me. I think we'll
keep doing this as it seems to be helping.
He's zonked out in the sungler under the desk. [relief] Oh I just love a tired dog.
Sat Dec 11
I had a disturbing morning with Yoshi at the dog park followed by a very nice time at the same dog park later in the day.
He got into a fight at the Small Dog Park with a Jack Russell Terrier.
It wasn't clear who started it, but neither was giving in - no
injuries, just loud. Fortunately, I was able to snatch him up. They
were both pretty amped and the JRT came at him again while I was
holding Yoshi by the collar (which meant that he wasn't going to get
blamed entirely for it.) After a while, I let him go again but kept a
very close eye on him (I always watch him, but this time I made sure I
was very close by.) Not long after that he tried to start something
with an innocent beagle. I grabbed him again and went home (I'm sure
the park was relieved).
We were there no longer than the "Not My Job" portion of the NPR News quiz "Wait. Wait. Don't Tell Me"
I then dumped him back at home (at least he had the good sense to look
penitent), and then Cali and I went to our tracking lesson, which was
much fun, Cali is really in her element.
On the way back, I decided that I really needed to deal with the dog
park situation some, so when we got back I took Yoshi again to the park
but brought his gentle leader, his dinner in my pocket and a clicker.
Not only that, but we went to the Big Dog part of the park. Cathy was
there with his buddy Jessie. I carried him in and with some
trepidation, let him off. He rocketed off and I was sure some big dog
was going to decide he was a toy to pounce on. Well they may have, but
he was too fast to get caught and there was a good groups of dogs that
were not aggressive and didn't take offense at his herding them all
around, and I wasn't having to worry about him playing too hard with a
truly small dog (as opposed to a merely short, but otherwise quite
His recall was bad, but not entirely missing. I'd call him and he'd
start coming in my general direction but was having too good of a time
to stop for a treat (this will get his corgi card called into question
again.) He and Jessie raced around for quite a while. Him trying to
herd Jessie while Jessie was trying to chase a ball. Jessie was very
much the good sport.
He also didn't fence run probably because we were no where near the fence dividing the big and small dogs.
Periodically I would stop him and let him catch his breath and do a
little bit of attention exercises. This was only somewhat successful,
but I think it will improve with repetition. I will still need to find
a way to get him to play more gently with the little dogs. Maybe going
into that portion of the park with his gentle leader on and have him
greet some of the dogs.
And he has herding instinct in spades. Though for him to do real
herding and not sheep chasing would take some self control on his part
and I don't know how quickly that would happen for him. I've casually
checked into it and the upshot is that it's expensive and inconvenient
in this area and of course it is risky. It's a tough decision for me
as I really don't want him hurt (he's a small guy and one sheep kick
could end his life). Maybe ducks, but ducks aren't as fun for the dog
Wed Dec 8
Working dinner. His weave poles are doing well enough that I
completely got rid of the guides that were merely sitting on the
ground, and he was still ok. I think that he's starting to
understand what his job is.
I'll leave it set up this way for a little while then see if I can fade the guides.
In the meantime I need to build the chute whose base I found on the
side of the freeway. I have to decide whether to make or buy the
fabric. I have so many house projects going I may just buy it.
He's starting to resemble an agility dog. Yippee.
Maybe we'll be ready for some fun matches early next year.
He's been vomiting on occasion (latest was at 4am this morning) and
this is starting to concern us. Suspects are the raw wild onion
buibs, or the Old Mother Hubbard training bitz. We're watching
his pretty closely on the onions and limiting his access to them, and
for the duration, I'll just train him with his kibble (or maybe make
some chicken as I know that agrees with him). Last night I did
dog toenails and gave him some bitz as a reward, which may have caused
the 4am upchuck. I give out the bitz quite routinely, so he may
have gotten several during the day.
Tues Dec 7
It's pouring rain and he's still trying to be a rain whus. I
explained that he wasn't allowed to be a rain whus in this household and carried
him out. He coped fine after some head hanging. This is all
quite amusing since his coat is so thick that he's not really wet at
Continued to work on crate stays at meal time. I get food ready, tell
him "Go crate" and he charges in and gets a few kibble. I then tell
him stay and take a few paces back, wait a short while and then say
"OK!" and he charges out to get a reward. Then I say "Go crate" and he
charges back in. I keep this up until I need to go to work.
Mon Dec 6
He was still skipping some of the weave poles so I put two ends back (only one end of the guide attached to a pole) on
the ones where he seemed to be having trouble, and that seems to be
enough. With those on he'll reliable weave on either side, in
either direction. I have to be about 5 feet from him as he doen't
like to be crowded (totally opposite from Cali.)
So the poles and guides look like (obviously this needs a photo):
. . . . . .
His jumping is looking pretty good at 8 inches. I had the jumps
in a bounce jump formation then moved them to an arc. I'm
casually introducing the concept of "out" and also recalling after the
first jump, but before the second one.
Sun Dec 5
Working breakfast. Weaves, jumps, left, right, close, side, here
(his recall is getting quite good), sit, down, and start line stays
with recalls over the bounce jumps.
He's also getting better about not barking at dogs on walks when we're
out on a walk (I now walk him on a Gentle Leader) but it's been
something of a struggle. While I don't jerk on his head if he's
lunging, I let him pull against it - sort of a self imposed
correction. This buys me enough time to get him to pay attention
to me and do something like sit and look at me. Basically I want
him to look to me for direction instead of having a fear based
reaction. I know that Elizabeth had issues with him doing this
and after weeks of trying counter conditioning she finally gave him a
couple of firm corrections and that that was that. I find the Gentle
Leader gets my point across.
Worked more on bounce jumps. The 10ish inch tall jump is a bit
high for him so I think for now I'll stick to the 8" cavaletti. I
should make a coupld more of these. He has good form over the 8"
jump and somewhat sloppy over the 4" ABS pipe and seems to stuggle over
the 10" one.
Cali had her first official tracking lesson - oh what fun.
I'm sure she's thrilled to be asked to do what I've been telling her
not to for years.
Fri Dec 3
Brrr, it's cold. Did more weaves with the guides on the
ground. Sometimes he'll run over one, but then will start again
and be ok. When he does this I mostly just call him back and
don't bother with any "no reward" marker (e.g. "whoops" "wrong", "try
again" etc.) as it seems like overkill and could potentially be a
demotivator which is not something I want associated with weaves (or
any other equipment either.
Wed Dec 1
Asked Nancy about his sloppy jumping. She said first to do the
exercises that she presented in Agility in Motion (I subscribe and it's
a terrific value). In particular, bounce jumping and circle
jumping. We'll start with the bounce jumps.
Lowered the weave guides to the ground. Originally I was going to
gradually raise them (which is what Jim does) but then he starts
ducking under them. It occurred to me that since he's a small
dog, gradually lowering them to the ground might work better. Not
to mention that's what Nancy does anyway.
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Sept 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - July 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - June 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - M ay 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - April 2004
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