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 him.

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 today.

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 nice contrast.)

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 happening less.

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 that 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 solid dog.)

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 as sheep.

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 all.

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.

Dec 4
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.

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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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