Yoshi Training Diary - June 2006

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Sometime around here I finally started up with iMovie and iDVD and I regret taking so long to do it as I just love the results.  Made one from the tapes we made at Jill's in Patterson.  iDVD makes them look far more professional than they really are.

Fri Jun 30
Took him for a walk at lunch - this time took him through Lincoln Park and down Central and back via Gibbons.  a bit further and has stretches where he doesn't stop except for people wanting to pet him which is fine and good for him too.

Haven't heard back from Sharon yet as she's out of town.  Next Tues is the 4th so we don't have agility class then so next week I'll take him to obedience class just to give him something to do though on the long stays the little reactive brat is going to be on a (loose) tie down.

Thu Jun 29
No herding for a little while as there's a herding trial coming up and only attendees can go in the weeks leading up to it.

Wed Jun 28
Had agility class last night.  While he did ok agility wise he decided to go after Jake - a larger dog mostly white, and it took a while to break them up.  While he does tend to obsess on the dogs that more closely resemble sheep I think we've long overused that excuse.  Sharon got on his case big time.  Took his leash had another dog who had been barking at Yoshi walk by and when Yoshi would start to lunge Sharon would haul him back and yell at him (she did not hit him.)

Much as I don't trust my timing of corrections and other +P I'm beginning to thing that the little brat could really use it as after this he was fine.

From a post to Clicker Expo:

In the category of nothing is ever simple is it?

My corgi Yoshi is this weird combination of being fearful and having a
ton of herding instinct.

I've been working on building his confidence and he's doing fairly well
in his agility classes
and after going through a period of being afraid of sheep is now doing 
well with a patient herding instructor.  Now I'm facing the odd
consequences of building a corgi's confidence.  (As one might expect
from the littlest of the herding dogs, they can have quite the Napoleon
complex)  He can be quite the bully (if there's a weaker dog that he
doesn't know or like, he will try to lunge), and while things started
out being fear based, it doesn't appear to necessarily be so anymore and
I'm wondering how to approach it before I get vet bills or before I
allow him anywhere near competing in an agility trial as I don't want to
put other dogs or his agility career at risk.

Last night at agility class we were doing a lot of "Look there's a dog"
<treat> classical conditioning and we've been doing this for a while
now.  If we're above his threshhold distance to a dog I can ask for
behaviors incompatible with lunging.

But during a run in the smaller field where the dogs are closer, he
chased after a larger dog who was ignoring him (well who knows if there
were any subtle rude gestures between the two that I didn't catch).  The
instructor, who owns terriers, took his leash and spent some time (with
my blessing as I knew she wasn't going to hurt him - and it wasn't me
doing it) gave him quite the verbal dressing down and some well timed
leash corrections (buckle collar) every time he lunged.  Unlike Emma
Parson's Ben who was severely emotionally damaged by a trainer's very
severe and poorly timed +P, Yoshi was fine with this and responded
respectfully to this asserting of the rules.

So now I'm trying to figure out how to proceed?  He clearly needs
someone to tell him in no uncertain terms to "knock it off," but (a) how
do I tell when he's being fearful vs. just being a sh--head, and (b) I
don't fully trust my timing with +P (even mild +P).  I'm fine with +R
and -P and mild -R and I use a Gentle Leader so he gives himself mild +P.

He was well socialized by his breeder though half of his litter have
reactivity issues.  As a puppy, he was a classic middle of the pack dog
which means that he learned all of that annoying jockeying for position
in the pack behavior.  He is now an only dog though spends a lot of time
with other doggy friends.

What I think about is that dogs use well timed +P on each other from
time to time.  Is there a humane way to do this?  I have considered
getting a female corgi to be the house manager and boss (we lost our
about a year ago), but sometimes that makes his behavior worse as he is
then defending his queen.

Puzzled and still pondering this.

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi the talented but high maintenance corgi

One poster has already asked how I could be sure it's not still fear based.  I honestly don't know for sure, but he seems to do better when someone sets clear boundaries down, and the +P doesn't seem to phase him much and I know when he's acting afraid and this wasn't one of them.

As you might guess that list isn't very interested in +P, so I have no idea how this will work. 

The other option is to not work him in the small field which is above his distance tolerance and I've sent email to Sharon asking what she thought of that.

Also before that I have Ziji the doggy chiropractor, take a look at him for an evaluation.  She says he in good shape though for a dog as solid as he is she would have expected more buns of steel.  She's suggesting that he have more continuous exercise incorporated into his regime.  I think it's because I haven't been walking him as much because he gets exercise in other ways.  Guess we'll start doing it more now.  She also noticed that his right side seemed a little tight, so I should stretch him to the left.

Sun Jun 25
Got a nice note from Hazel, his obedience instructor, that they missed him in class so I've sent her email saying that he's doing agility and herding and that 3 things was a little much for me.  However, that said, it would probably be useful to take him back to class so that his last experience of class is not of chasing after Miranda (one of Hazel's St. Bernards).  So we may be busy Tues-Thur this week.  though this time on the long stay I'm going to tether him.  I need to bring a light carabiner to attach the leash to one of the eyebolts that they have screwed into the wall.  I only have real climbing carabiners which is way overkill so I'll need to see if I can find some grocery or drug store ones.

I've been having too much fun catching up on email and diary updates I really need to take him on a walk just to get us outside.

Sat Jun 24
We're back.  I've missed him!

Thu Jun 22
The lucky tyke got taken to herding class where he and his buddy Cooper did a super job and much video was taken.  I've seen the video and it's great to see him having such a good time even if it doesn't involve me.  In fact, in a way, it's a relief that it doesn't involve me.  Now I just need to make copies.

Tues Jun 20
Skipping Agility class

Jun 19-Jun 24
Ellen and Terri on vacation in the Mtns.  Yoshi is vacationing at Camp Cooper.

Fri Jun 16

More fun with herding last night, he's just nuts about it now that he's figured out that the sheep will move.  The issue will be more when they decide not to move, but I think that will be later.

Debbie is handling him while he gets used to things.  I must say that he's been so much work that it's been kind of a relief to have someone do the work though I will need to learn the skills eventually.  Though maybe during the nationals I'll have her run him, as it would be a shame to have him NQ for something I did wrong.

Tue Jun 13
Agility class.  He did ok but still funny about the small yard and the proximity to the other dogs.
He got away from me as I was putting him on leash after a run and he jumped a visiting small dog who was clearly uncomfortable being there.  That's no excuse and, mortified, I threw him in the crate in the truck.  While I had also forced him to the ground, going opinion was that he got off relatively easy.

When we sprung him he then did ok, though not brilliantly.

Fri Jun 9
Had his first herding lesson with Debbie Pollard last night.  Wow!  What a difference time and a good instructor makes.  Not that his other testers were at all bad, just that Debbie's ways with him seemed to really bring him out (and she had the experience of others to go by).

Post to frapfest and coltsrunkids:
He did it!  The sheep light bulb went on and on full power.

What a difference a patient instructor (Debbie Pollard) makes.

Debbie had been fully briefed on his bugaboos and fears. She took him
in there on a long line (I stayed on the outside of the ring and didn't
say anything) and they chased/herded the sheep together until he started
to do it himself.

It was amazing to watch and reviewing the tape I can see some subtle
things she did to help him succeed. Most consistently was that she
would make the sheep move and then give him credit for it ("good boy -
see what you did!"). Also these are very well dog broke and responsive
sheep, though even one of them was starting to give him the sheep
version of the hairy eyeball ("you noisy pipsqueak, I'll show you."),
but Debbie immediately intervened and nudged the sheep into moving and
not facing off.

Local folks really must come over and see the video tape. And Yoshi
specifically requests that his buddy Cooper join him for Thur night
lessons at Debbie's in Vacaville where corgis have a special invite
since the herding portion of the pembroke corgi national is being held
at Debbie's.

Ellen and Yoshi who may one day herd something less risky than big dogs,
and something more constructive than red dots and shadows.

[Insert success with continued agility training and doing well with weave poles.]

Go to:

Yoshi Training Diary - May 2006
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2006
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
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Sept 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jul 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jun 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Mar 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Feb 2005
Yoshi Training Diary - Jan  2005

Yoshi Training Diary - Dec 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Oct 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Sep 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Aug 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - July 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Jun 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - May 2004
Yoshi Training Diary - Apr 2004

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