Yoshi Training Diary - Jan 2005

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Mon Jan 31
So we're back to lots of toy play and with me mostly seated or lying down.  He thinks that's great fun.  I can't step on him then.

Since I know he likes to climb things I took a risk and set up the mini dogwalk that Cathy is loaning me.  I placed him on it and could feel him tense.  So I took him off of it and put Cali over it a few times.  Then he was interested and he went right over it without hesitation.

Just heard that we won the contact trainer that Bayteam was raffling off!  Cool, now if I can just get him to want to use it.

The trick will be to get him used to contact equipment and doing contacts without killing his drive to want to do them.  I've noticed that when I start to make demands on him regarding proper technique, he shuts down.  He didn't used to so it must be something I'm doing to make it less fun.

Sun Jan 30
I'm getting concerned about his sound sensistivity.  Things that didn't used to bother him now do.  He now doesn't like his tunnel (I hadn't tied it down so it moves and sometimes makes noise.  I threw in some treats and he went through it a few time but then stopped and wouldn't go in a all, even if I went in also (maybe even especially that I went in.)

Put the tunnel away and got some ramps out from a dog walk that Cathy is loaning me.  No problem there I braced then against the table and he went right up.  It seems to be mainly sound.  And yet he likes shredding envelopes that have windows made of crinkly plastic.  Guess it's different if he's making the sound.

Took him for a short run, he did ok though still barks at passing dogs though met a lab he liked.

After we got back I took his dinner out to the living room and he ate (hand fed one piece at a time) while I walked around him and picked my feet up (one at a time).  He was leary at first but then was ok.  So I upped the ante and took out the folded up tunnel.  He didn't like that at all and was across the room until I deliberately dropped a piece of kibble on the floor then he came nearer.  I'm sitting on the floor with my arm on the tunnel (which is now in the shape of a tire.)  He would come close enough to eat a piece of kibble and then would back off.  Over time he gradually got closer.

Then Terri came home and he relaxed considerably.  Ok now I'm taking this personally.  With Terri he would get closer to the tunnel (I'm still holding it.) and I would squeeze it with my hand to make a little noise (it's made of nylon so it rustles.)  And though he was leary of it he would get a lot closer with Terri feeding him to the point that he would stick his head through it to get a treat.  Didn't know I was such an ogre.

Wed Jan 26
Went as a tourist to Cali's agility class where he was less freaky but definitely an adolescent and got himself crated in the car twice.  The first time was when we were in the small field by the house fence and Nancy's small dog Toast came out.  This surprised Yoshi and he started barking a growling and wouldn't stop worrying about this strange loose dog who didn't have a person attached.

The second was more worrysome - we were in the big field and walking with Yoshi on a leash.  I was looking one direction trying not to step on Cali and Yoshi came right up to Jake.  Jake doesn't like dogs in his face and barked and lunged a bit.  Yoshi pounced on him instantly for about 1/2 a second and then bounced off and I grabbed him but he definitely wanted to jump back in.  While I've never seen him start anything I would rather he back off and he usually does with dominate females, but not necessarily with boys.  He really needs to be trounced but I don't know if that will help or hinder.  I'm hoping he grows up - right now he's a year and a half going on six or nine months.

Tues Jan 25
Obedience class!  He did pretty well.  Was having a difficult time understanding that this wasn't playtime. but after about 1/2 the class he settled down with Terri.  (I was across the room watching.)  This week they'll be working on sit, stay, some down, and some attention.

Mon Jan 24
Another easy day, just went for a walk with Cali.  He starts obedience class tomorrow.  He's really liking Cali's food to the point that he's refusing to eat his kibble.  He ate a little of it this morning and wouldn't touch it this evening.  It's 10pm and I just offered it to him again and I hear him eating some.

Sun Jan 23
Mellow day for him.  I went and climbed Mt. Diablo.
He still has good toy drive and he tugs well, played with him for a while with some of the intact toys (I have to hide those from Cali).  While he doesn't shred toys he loves to pull the stuffing out of one that already has a hole in it.

Sat Jan 22
Well he's gradually getting back to his usual obnoxious self, though he still has periods where he wants to withdraw, but he's willing to be convinced to be social if we're all sitting down to a movie (meaning he's willing to come out and sleep on one's lap on the sofa).

The great news is that he wanted to actually do something (besides real squirrel chasing) which he hasn't wanted to in a while.  I noticed yesterday that he was willing to play with his toy squirrel but didn't want anything to do with a jump that I then got out (ok fine we won't do that) - though the conspicuously placed tire doesn't seem to bother him and he'll hop through that one his own sometimes.  So this time I went for low stress and took him, squirrel, treats, and clicker into the living room (and took my shoes off as he really dislikes being near my shoes on my wood floor).  We played with squirrel for a while and then I tossed it a little ways and he fetched it (click/treat)!  We haven't worked with fetch in a while so it's really encouraging that he not only remembers how, but seems to enjoy it (Elizabeth says that he used to fetch for them, but I had to teach him when he got here - the Performance Corgis list is talking about how dogs generalize poorly and this is an example).  I tossed squirrel a little further and he brought it right back (c/t).  We did this about 10 times or less and stopped while he was still interested.  Did a little bit of heeling and sitting, but he was starting to get stressed so we stopped.

I've been using some of Cali's W/D canned food to give him his pills.  He likes that a lot.  To the point that he's really taking his time with his kibble, but he does eat it eventually (10-15 minutes. Yes, really.)  I've explained to him that it's a high quality kibble, and that he really shouldn't get hooked on the canned food but I don't think he's hearing me. ;)

I did wind up getting him some Natural Balance Lamb to use as treats and we'll see how this sits in his tummy.  He certainly likes it.

Thur Jan 20
Woke up to barfing puppy dog so he's going to the vet today at 2pm (guess he didn't cost me enough money this week.)  Wouldn't eat.  Wouldn't eat a bagel (remember that's Cali's favorite.)  Would eat some of Cali's W/D canned food.

[lunch] well he's still running around obessing on squirrels so he's not that ill.  He would eat some of his kibble

I need to get more Rollover (actually it's Natural Balance) so I don't overdo the Bil-Jac.  No come to think of it I'll just make some more chicken.

[back from vet]
Well the good news is that he doesn't have Giardia.  The bad news is that it might be Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  I'm hoping that it's just something he ate, or too much Bil-Jac. I sure hope it's not IBD as I'm really enjoying having a dog that I don't have to worry about their diet.  But we know that he's sensitive to too much cheese (Elizabeth's son Chip calls him Flatulo).  Anyway, he has some antibiotics (Metronidazole) that also have an anti-inflamatory effect too.  We'll do that for 7 days and see how he does.

Well I must admit that it's kinda nice having him be this subdued (but it won't last.)

Wed Jan 19
I'm supposed to be in agility class, but was too tired to drive safely.  Yoshi's bloodtests came back normal (liver a very small smidge high but not like last March where it was 143.) So we're back to just observing him for now.  If he doesn't improve then I'll have him tested for Giardia as he was drinking out of some puddles at the dog park and Morgan Territory.  Park Ctr has an in-house giardia test so they'll know quite soon.  Though it may have been too much Bil-Jac also.

Well in the when all else fails try the obvious.  I took Yoshi out in the back and played with a toy that looks very much like a squirrel.  He loved it.  It doesn't even squeak anymore, but neither do most of the squirrels that he obsesses over.  I even had him jump through the tire a couple of times chasing after it.  Quit after just a few minutes before he got bored.

Stools are looking more normal now (though still a touch soft.)

Tues Jan 16
He's going to the vet for a rabies shot so I had them run a blood panel as well.  He's still subdued, has soft stools, and he's not eating with the same gusto he usually does and I'm wondering if he's not feeling well.

Mon Jan 17
Took him for a walk and he did pretty well except for a barking fit over a small white dog across the street who was posturing a bit at him.  I put the gentle leader on him (after a lengthy "leave it" struggle (though I did manage to keep my voice calm) and the rest of the walk was uneventful.

Had Terri feed him some and walk around him.  She had slippers on and he didn't shrink away as she stepped.  When I took my shoes off I got similar results, so it appears to be the sound of the shoes on the wood floor that he reacts to.

He appears to be going through something of an introverted phase.  Twice this evening he left the living room where we were watching Bourne Supremacy and retired to Cali's crate.  The second time I went and got Yellow Moose (I keep it on a shelf so it stays intact and keeps it special).  He quite happily came out and played with it.  So I have no idea if I should be concerned or not.

Sun Jan 16
Took him running with me.  I was deliberately going slower (jog/walk) for my own training purposes, but he didn't seem to mind too much.  He's still weird about meeting dogs along the path so today I deliberately avoided dogs entirely and praised him for "leave it" - I use a relaxed voice which seems to help.  For the most part he did well, but there was a golden who he really wanted to tell off (the golden was barking at him as well.)  The effort that he puts into struggling with me when he wants to charge at a dog surprises me. though he didn't get away (I had him by the collar.)

Still doing the feed him and walk around him.  He's still concerned that I'm going to step on him, but he seems a little better about it.  He also likes physical reassurance I've noticed.  If I want him to understand that he needs to "stay" then having a hand on him for part of the time seems to help.

Sat Jan 15
Went to the park and I had a black man there say hello to him and Yoshi was fine, so it may have been the grocery bag, or it may have been that the guy was walking by our house.

In the afternoon, all of us went to Cali's tracking lesson.  Yoshi, who has had no training in tracking at all, started to track and even found some food drops that the dog on the track had missed.  Debi says that tracking helps alot with confidence.  Hmmmm, tracking is certainly easier to get to and easier to train at home than herding.  I deliberately hadn't taught him anything to do with sniffing since I was enjoying him not doing so (Cali being such a pain about it), but if he enjoys it, it might be good for him.  (Generally, safer too.)

The chute fabric arrived today so it's laid out in the living room for him to get used to it.  While he doesn't go out of his way to step on it, if I throw a treat on it he will step on it to get the treat.

Fri Jan 14
Went to the dog park at lunch where he got some ya-yas run out.
Before we went to the park, I took him to work so he got lots of exposure to folks.  He barks at Ann who is Chinese and very expressive.  But once she bends down and says hello then he's ok (It migh have been that she was carrying an evil jacket or that she walks in a furitive way).  The other day he barked at a black man who was walking by (he was carrying a grocery bag).  I don't know if race has to do with it, but I need to make sure he meets folks of every race I know.

I've decided to put Yoshi in a beginner obedience class.  The chaos will be good for him and Terri's agreed to handle him, so she'll get to learn something in the process too.  With all the training he's had between what Elizabeth and I have done he'll no doubt be the star pupil.  After talking with someone at the obedience training club that I took Cali to (Oakland Dog Training Club), we decided to put him in Beginner 1 as that's more chaotic. ;)

If it is truely boring for him (one can only hope) then we can always bump him up a level.

Thur Jan 13
Well he did ok in class.  To the point that I had him out and just tied to a stake with Cali with all the other dogs milling around.  I would take him with me on the walk throughs and he said hi to all the folks and he seemed to enjoy that.  Gail even picked him up and walked around with him and he seemed ok with that (I'll have to ask her about that.)

Cali did incredibly well and I will write more in her diary.  My plan was to start competing with Yoshi this year and let Terri compete with Cali.  It's clear that Yoshi needs a lot more time to grow up (like several months or even a year or so) so I'll probably see if Cali wants to compete in an organization that lets her run in the regular classes as an 8"er (NADAC, and CPE).

[Just sent this email to my classmates]
Well last night basically confirmed what I was beginning to suspect.  Cali not only still wants to do agility, she wants to do it fast and well - just not at 12".  Given that it's turning out that Yoshi needs a lot more time to grow up and build confidence, and Cali saying "Put me in coach!"  I think we're going to become CPE and NADAC competitors as we can compete in the regular classes at 8" (while still chasing that USDAA ADCH).  Oh and AKC?  We'll probably stop with AKC agility (Terri may do the Preferred classes with her), while still doing tracking and obedience where we can pick up a versatility title.

Wed Jan 12
So to continue on yesterday's thoughts.  I think I'll lay off the agility training for right now (except maybe tunnels and chutes, and the occasional jump.)  He's been introduced to everything so we can always return to it.  So it's more leash work though today I'm hoping to go running at lunch and I'll take him along.  Oh and he likes his table so much I guess I'll give that back, but no weaving for a while.

Gail had some good words of advice (with permission):
Don't make the mistake I did with Pic, of using your first dog as a guide for "good" behavior.  It just sets you up for disappointment and frustration.  You and I got lucky, getting first dogs that matured fast, are sufficiently tough that they take to training easily.  Pic matured MUCH more slowly and is what Nancy refers to as an "emotionally soft" dog: a dog with drive but that can't take pressure or conflict.
Keep your training sessions really short--no more than 5 minutes (really!)
Increase the rate of reward.  I found that the problem with Pic wasn't so much his lack of work ethic, which is what I thought for the first 2 years.  It was that he was easily discouraged if he didn't get things right.  Make Yoshi successful.  Make training fun.
Soft dogs will find all sorts of ways to distract themselves if they aren't having fun, so if you find he isn't working well, move your training to a less stimulating environment. 
Let him "win" occasionally.  For example, you are outside and he comes when you call.  Reward him by releasing him to chase a squirrel (or a llama, or whatever it is that you've been keeping from him).
Make sure Yoshi gets lots of off-leash exercise.  Pic has great difficulty working with me in training if he doesn't get 15 minutes a day of full-out running.

"Emotionally soft"  That's quite apt.

So perhaps I will take him to the park today at lunch as I have power paws tonight so maybe I should go easy on my running.

back from the park and he had a blast and appears to be learning some social skills.
2 dogs were barking at me (owners were intervening) and although Yoshi was very much in the thick of things he did not try to bark at or in other ways confront the dogs which showed good judgement on his part as they really could have done some damage.  Also in another case a female dog snapped at him for being too pushy and he backed right off.  Plus he had a blast running around with a female lab mix.

He's tired now and here at work as doing well.  He'll spend the evening with Terri as Jim doesn't have time to see him tonight since Nancy is at the AKC nationals in Florida.

Tues Jan 11
Had about 10 women over for a potluck book club meeting.  I kept Yoshi on a leash to keep an eye on him and to get him used to the relative chaos of several people talking at the same time.  He did fine though I notice that he really wanted to withdraw afterwards.  I let him for a little while and then did some nose touch exercises to earn his dinner.

Since I appear to be the bad cop and Terri's the good cop I decided to start teaching her how to do some basic obedience training first with Cali and then with Yoshi.  They did great.  We just did 5 minutes indoors of touch, close (walk on left side), sit and then touch, side, and sit for the right side.  He walks right beside her.  She was wearing slippers and I notice that he was better around me if I took my shoes off (we have wood floors so even running shoes make sounds).  Though this doesn't explain outdoors.  I then got Cali again and showed her how Cali would stay even with me stepping over her, whereas Yoshi will move out of the way if you walk within about 3 feet of him and that I'd like to work towards Yoshi allowing us to step over him.  (A trust exercise of sorts).

Mon Jan 10
Ok it's time for remedial leash training.  He's afraid to come near me and this is starting to bug me.  (It's like he's afraid I'm going to step on his foot.  So the rain gave up a reprieve and instead of going to the park I took him on a walk with the gentle leader.  We worked on walking beside me and sitting at corners and stitting beside me while looking ahead instead of having his butt pointed out.

Maybe I should take him to the novice obedience dropin at Oakland Dog Training Club though Laurie doesn't work there anymore, but I hear the other trainers are good.

I hope I'm not killing his drive to work.  He certainly likes to play with dogs and will tug for me or Terri and he loves to jump on the table or other contact obstacle (closer to the squirrels).  I'll give him a break from weavepoles.  Maybe just jumps tires and tunnel and table.  Arlene was telling me that beginning CPE level doesn't have weaves so that's quite tempting.  In the meantime, I took the table away as he was getting to the point of not wanting to leave it at all.

Sun Jan 9
Took him running (about 3/4 of a mile and then a good walk back), and he also played very nicely with an Old English Shepherd puppy named Maddy.

Thur Jan 6
Took him to my work so I could take him to the dog park at noon.  He was a bit of a freaky boy.  Said hi to Ann and then later when I had him running around in the hallways, he saw her in the hallway and started alarm barking.  Got him settled down and she again said hello to him.  Then we were walking out and he freaked again at a tree in the lobby.  So we then spent some quality time with the tree.  He got used to that and again said hello (nicely) to Ann.  Then we finally got off to the park.

[dogpark]  Lots of puppies for him to play rough with.  He nearly got him nose taken off by another dog but that dog was leashed (lucky for him).  I hope he learns social skills soon before he gets injured.  I think the social lessons he's leaning here are good, but I just have to be careful.  (And keep the credit card at hand. ;)

Wed Jan 5
Probably will be a light day for him as it's Cali's first agility class of the year.  Though I'll bring him along.  Hope we don't get rained out.  I'll see if Jim has time to take a look at his progress.

Jim was getting ready for a trial and didn't have time, but he said it was ok to use the small field even though it was mushy from the rain.  Got out six jumps and made a jump circle with one of them being a middle jump of three in a row:      |
      --         --
    |       |         |

He did pretty well though was easily distracted when Jim would walk by or a dog would bark or he decided that the trailer parked near was scary.  He can do a stay with a two jump lead out and will do a jump circle or run with me (albeit a distance from me) over the three jumps in a row.  A bit confused by a front cross but haven't been doing many of them with him so that's not surprising.

At class he enjoyed saying hello to folks and they were interested in that he hasn't kept his show puppy build (he's much more lean now), and in his burly thighs which contrast nicely to his small size.  He got into Flint's space and Flint promptly told him off, and while that excited him he stayed a respectful distance from Flint.  Though I won't be surprised if he provokes Flint again.

Tues Jan 4
Got a break in the rain so I took him to the dog park and then to work for the afternoon.  He's much less skittish when he's tired and at work is even playing with the jacket that he's leary of.  I new have it on the the ground to see if he'll lay on it (no) though he will eat treats off of it.

The most common comment I hear at the dog park right after "he's fast" is "he's not a small dog."  The big dog folks are amused by him which is nice given how nervous he makes some of the small dog owners.  Though today I took him in the park on leash and found a dog playing fetch and asked the owner if the dog would be ok with a manic corgi chasing them.  In this case it was an Aussie and the owner was saying: Please let him chase her - she'd love it (she did.)  I think I'll keep doing it this way as it's a great way to break the ice.

Did more weaves - looks ok.  He's less hesitant and seems to better understand how to do them.  He's doing them better now that I stand 5 feet away from him (way different than Cali).

However this makes "close" and "side" a challenge.  He'll do them, but seems afraid that I'll step on his paw.  I can now chain commands such as: close-left-side-right.  Though left and right always need a signal (which is fine).

His sit stays are getting good up to 15 feet or so.  He still seems to blank out on what "sit" means if the context is different.  Down is not as good but still improving.

Lower pitched voice seems to work better than high.

Mon Jan 3
I'm getting tired of his skittishness.  Which of course isn't helping.  He doesn't like one of my jackets either because of the rustling noise it makes.  I realized that I was trying to get him used to the dog food bag while I had that jacket one but that was proving to be too much.  So I took the jacket off and got some improvement.  Oh and did I mention the stuffed bear that he's afraid of too?  Maybe this is a third fear period?  Let it end soon please.

In the mean time I put 2 of the weave guides back on and he's weaving ok.  Not fast but not too bad.  He's still hesitant to start them but one he's going he's usually ok.

I'm still experimenting with the tone of my voice.  At first I was using a higher pitched voice, but he seems to do better with a lower pitch.  Will keep experimenting with it.

Sun Jan 2
Yoshi is afraid of his dog food bag.  I had left it on the table (it's usually in the pantry) and he started to alarm bark at it.  I took it down and put it on the floor and started putting kibbble out on the floor for him.  I could get him within a couple of feet, but no closer.  I was going to get a different container for the food but not anymore.  It's going to stay out.

Sat Jan 1
Happy New Year.  It's raining off and on, but I took doggies to the park any way.  It's difficult when I have two of them as I can't watch both as closely as I would like.  The big dog park was a mud puddle so I took them into the small dog park.  I asked the other folks there it if was ok since his can be a little much, but they indicated it was ok.  He would up getting the other dogs excited and a disagreement occurred and because I was down at the other end of the park with Cali, I didn't see exactly what transpired.  Later one of the people there said that it was probably him that got them all excited.  Maybe I should change his name to Destablizing Influence.  Anyway, those dogs left and he then proceeded to have a nice time with several other dogs both big and small.  In particular he had a nice fence running session with a big dog named Summer.

Go to:

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec  2004
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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