Yoshi Training Diary - May 2004
By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)
Feedback is welcome, but due to spam there is no mail link on
this page. Emails addressed to yoshi or ellen at this domain
(frap dot org) will reach me.
Mon May 31
Holiday. Mostly relaxed, but did some agility related
things. The main thing being that I put the teeter at full height
and he didn't have any problem with it. Though the sound of it
banging after he got off of it startled him the first time, but didn't
stop him from wanting to do it again and get more Bil Jac. He was
so enthusiastic that I had him do all the equipment that I had out (2x2
weaves, tunnel, mini tire, chute, table) and he was really upbeat and
very good (even on the weaves which are set around a 25 degree offset
right now). Nice way to end a weekend and the month
Sun May 30
No Q's today for Cali and I. I took several chances on
sending her over jumps but then crossing behind. This caused one
refusal and another time she turned left when I wanted her to turn
right. We're going to work more on left and right in an agility
context, like over a jump turn left or right and then take another
Back to Yoshi. He went along an in general had a mavelous
time. Played with a Terv named Tenny and also Natalie's Sheltie
whose name I'm forgetting. One thing though is that he's x-pen
guarding particularly when I'm not there, so I'm going to have to set
him up so I can correct him. He was doing it when I was there but
quickly stopped when it became really clear to him that I didn't like
it. The alternative (or maybe a better choice) is to just crate
him, though it was hot that day.
When we got back, I worked him a little on the weaves and he seemed
more willing and interested in them. Cali is pretending that
she's never heard left or right even though she's heard them a
lot. It may very well be a context thing in that I haven't been
doing much left or right after a jump. This is a bit silly as
that's the time when I would use it the most. The reality is that
you could do agility without obstacle names if you had the
directionals. Left, Right, Go, Here would do it. Even Turn
(away), Go, Here would do it (though not elegantly).
Yoshi is now compulsively doing the chute. I'm out there asking
him to pee and he's obsessing on the chute. It totally
figures. I did make things a wee bit worse by going on the
outside of the fabric and shining my flashlight through it (making it
dart about in an interesting way.) But he'll do it even if
there's no light on it at all.
Sat May 29
Yoshi and Terri spent the day together while Cali and I went to the
TRACS trial (Double Q!). I'll take him tomorrow. Instead
Terri took him over to Cathy's and he and Jessie played and played and
Fri May 28
He's getting less intrigued by his ChuckIt and still would rather
obsess on squirrels (the live kind). I had narrowed the poles
some, but as soon as I got it to the point where he'd have to bend his
body a little, he started missing them so I need to take a step
back. The weave poles are probably the one obstacle where the dog
has to think the most (at least in training) so he may be feeling some
stress over it. However dogs have to think about the
teeter, and he enjoys that, but a teeter is a whole lot less esoteric
than a set of weaves. And no, I'm not going to try the laser
pointer with a set of weaves as when he's chasing the laser pointer
he's not thinking.
Thur May 27
Chute breakthrough! Ok, so maybe it's cheating, but I finally
got the laser pointer out and while standing (actually I was sitting on the table) in front of the chute
aimmed it in. He tore through that chute so fast and came back to do
it again and again and again. I don't know if he learned much, but
hopefully he's realized that he can go through chutes without anything
Wed May 26 (noon)
Got the washer ("3/8 fine" as the diameter of the "coarse" is too
wide) - poles are completely done. He runs through the 6 pole channel
fine and only misses a pole when he'd looking at me (I hide the toy
behind my back and sometimes don't do a good job of it. He
doesn't understand what he's doing so we'll stay at this level for a
while. His tug on the ChuckIt is still great though he'd rather
take it off somewheres and chew on it. (something I can use as a
reward.) What surprised me is that I can play fetch with Cali
with a tennis ball and train him with a toy at the same time. Not
ideal, but it works.
Class is tonight. He's not going but he will next week for his
first private lesson with Jim - should be interesting to see Yoshi in a
different setting. He's now see every piece of equipment except a
full size A-Frame so he's in good shape for it. I'll bring the
2x2 pole sets and his toy.
Wed May 26 [planning]
Need to get one more washer for the 3rd 2x2, and cut some PVC for
it. Then the work of training him really begins, though I think
this week we'll just be running through the uprights. I think I'm
going to experiment with having all 3 sets out in a channel, at first,
so he gets the idea of running in a channel solidified, then I may take
the 3rd one away and start closing the angle on poles 3 and 4.
I've found out that I can do all the planning I want, but when doing
the actual training, things change as I see what works and what doesn't.
Tues May 25 (pm)
Finished the 2x2s! Terri's idea of using a washer that would
just fit the inside of the PVC works great. Also, I couldn't find
more coupler nuts (basically really long nuts) that I had so instead
bought lots of standard nuts and stacked them. Works fine.
So I took two of the pole sets and set them out. I also got out
the ChuckIt which is a flexible square frisbee with rubber corners that
Susan Garrett said worked well for throwing after they've done the
poles. Yoshi has never seen this toy before and just went crazy
for it (cool). He ran through the poles fine though when I
started to tighten the angle a little he missed one, so I widened that
one up some. I think we'll work at this stage a little while.
Worked more with the chute. He's somewhat ambivalent about
his dinner, but was willing to eat it in the chute. But then I
got out the chicken. Oh my. He was quite willing to get in
the chute for a couple of pieces of chicken (one to get in and one for
going through.) Repeated that a couple more times and then stopped.
[later in the house]
Yoshi started alarm barking at the evil pillow that was standing up on
its side and looking threatening on the bed. He's only seen this
pillow every single day that he's been here. He only chilled out
when I tackled it and subdued it.
Tues May 25 (am)
Need to finish the 2x2 weave poles so I can continue his training
on them. Simply running between the one set is not challenging at
all. The plan is to put 2 sets out close together then separate
them (like channel weaves) then start tightening the angles some
(I'll need to got over my notes from Susan Garrett's 2x2 lecture at
Power Paws Camp and the Clean Run article.)
Mon May 24 (pm)
I had two incredibly good dogs today. Maybe it's just a
numbers thing. They're going to be good once in a while just for
variety's sake. I'm joking as Cali's generally a very good dog
and Yoshi is learning, but today was pretty exceptional. Maybe
it's the novelty of the table. They love jumping up on it and
would do side by side sit stays on it. I could even put them in a
sit and back off 10 feet wait 5 seconds and then release them.
Pretty cool for a puppy. I would also hang on to Yoshi and send
Cali out to do some distance work and when I told her to go to the
table I'd release him and he'd chase her onto the table. He'll
also do a down, but doesn't have as much practice at it so I need to
work more on it. Today I wasn't getting a blank look from him
when I asked for a sit.
This continued on our walk as well though there was often a delay and
you could see the wheels turning in his head. We'd come to a
corner. I'd say sit. Cali would sit and Yoshi would look at
something in the distance. I'd tell Cali she was a good girl and
start to give her a treat. By about this time Yoshi figures out
that if he wants a treat he should do what big sis is doing and
sits. Then he gets a goodie. Maybe this is luring, but I
don't care as it's working.
Also raised the teeter some to just over half height. While I was
doing the final tweaking he was already on it - clearly it's not an
issue. I think we'll leave it at this height for about a week,
then raise it to full height.
Got the hardware for the weaves, but haven't taken the time to drill
the holes yet. I found a washer size that fits the inner diameter
of 3/4" PVC which is very cool.
Still doing "here" incrementally as it seems to work best.
Walk to with in 10-15 feet and ask him to come and praise or treat like
crazy if he comes (most of the time). Then if it appears that
he'll do it again, then back off another 10-15 feet and do it again.
Sun May 23 (pm)
Spent the day finishing the basics of the table.
Hooray! It still needs to be painted, but it's quite useable as
it is and the dogs love it.
I was able to get both dogs on the table, have them sit or down and
then release. I released Yoshi to "get the squirrel" and it
worked great (much better than I thought it would) he would then honor
a recall and we would do it all over again. Did this about 3 or 4
times. Maybe it's just the novelty of the new table, but I'll
Later he was actually interested in his dinner so I took it out and
feed him in the chute. It's flattened considerably, so the
opening is much narrower and he doesn't like that so I pulled up the
fabric and then he was willing to eat. I'll have to think of a
solution for the out of roundness of it. For now, I took the
bottom that I cut off and stuff that back into it and stood it up on
its end (like it would be if it were still a trash can.)
Now I'll move on to finishing the 2nd and 3rd 2x2 weave pole
sets. I need to buy some more toggle bolts and coupling nuts and
washers. Terri had a great idea for getting the PVC to fit
tighter. Use extra washers that are just the inner diameter of
the PVC and hold them in place with extra nuts. I'll have to see if I can find such a critter.
Just noticed that there's a corgi racetrack where Yoshi runs around the yard. Too cute.
[Later] He had the time honored first experience of me
the appalling task of pulling cat poop from his mouth. Dog's have
little to no gag reflex (and love eating cat poop - sigh) so it's a bit
surprising what one can "retrieve" if necessary. Hopefully this
was effective and he won't do it a lot. (Well I can hope.)
Sun May 23 (am)
The squirrel obsession continues. Before the squirrel appeared I
tried feeding him in the chute, but he wasn't very interested in
food. Got the frog out and he was interested in that for a while
so I got him to go through the chute twice by putting the frog into the
chute and reaching around to get it on the other side. Then the
squirrel appeared and he was completely distracted by it no matter what
I did with the toy including getting Cali out and playing with the toy
with her or feeding her some of his food while he was looking.
Looks like I have to find a way to make squirrel obesseing a
reward. I took to sitting down in his path and calling him to me
(he was coming to me anyway since I was in his path) and then as a
reward releasing him to obsess on the squirrel. Unfortunately,
this means that I have to get control over his squirrel chasing and
that means a lot more of him being on leash outside. Bummer.
Sat May 22
Long day spent mostly working on the new table (cutting and sanding)
though Yoshi started out the day taking his breakfast in the
chute. After some hesitation he ate with the chute material
I haven't put it together yet, but I put the table top on the ground.
and worked with both dogs on getting on it and either sitting or doing
a down. No problem except he's slow on the down but that's ok for
now (a clicker might speed that up). He loves jumping up on
things so getting on the table may not be much of an issue at all.
We were dog sitting a friend's omega labrador who is as sweet as she
can be. Yoshi started coping an attitude around her which got him
crated twice. Both times it was Maddy going for a toy but doing
it in such a way that made it appear to be a treat, and he basically
tried to jump her while growling and barking. Maddy may have this
big kick me sign on her forehead but that's not acceptable.
Fortunately Maddy is back at her home.
He way obsessed on a squirrel this afternoon. Wouldn't even stop
to eat his dinner and I was sitting outside with it to work more on the
chute. Finally just carried him in and crated him so he could eat.
Yoshi does Kaboom! Every year the radio station KFOG puts on a
fireworks show as part of their listener appreciation party. They
do it off of one of the SF piers that is across the bay from
Alameda. I had been wanting to see how Yoshi would be around
fireworks, so we packed up the pooches and drove down to a part of the
shore where we could watch from the truck (note to locals: it was
Ballena Bay). He was great (So was Cali but we knew Cali would be
ok). I put some peppermint extract on his paws beforehand but I
really don't know what effect that had. Given that he's fine
around construction sounds like hammering. sawing and sanding, I guess
it's not much of a stretch to the booming of fireworks (plus he could
see them). It's funny that he's fine about these types of sounds
but let a dog bark in the distance (even his own on tape) and he tenses
immediately. I'm hoping that he loses some of this reactivity
with time and careful exposure. The squirrel obsession he'll
probably never lose though. <sigh>.
Fri May 21
Took the day off from work. Went to Economy Lumber and found a
plywood remnant that will work fine for the table top (a glorious
$2). Then off to Home Depot. Got a 20 Gal trash can which I
made into a makeshift chute. 2 T-Squares (to make more 2x2
weaves) and some PVC and some lattice for making jump or weave pole
Hacksawed off the bottom of the trashcan and clamped on that nylon cape
like fabric that I keep around for such weird purposes. I put a
stake in one side of the ground to brace it some (one of the handles
serving as the other). Not pretty, but probably enough to intro
him to the concept.
Showed Yoshi the trash can and he's happy to walk through it without
the fabric. Of course putting on the fabric caused some
hesitation so I went and got his dinner and threw some kibble into the
opening. He would go in far enough so I tossed some more in
further, Tossed some further still and smart boy pulled out of the
tunnel and went around to find it from the outside. Tossed in
some more kibble this time not as far. Ok. Tossed in some a
little further and while he was eating that I went around to the other
end and lifted the fabric and put his bowl down just inside the
fabric. He's interested but hesitant, then comes to eat out of
the bowl. Good boy. I pick up the bowl and encourage him to
come all the way through. Then we start the process over
again. Took a couple of trys to get him back up to as far as the
bowl. I let him finish it, and call recess.
Thur May 20
Faked a chute by clamping a towel onto part of one of the tunnel
openings. It only covers about half of the opening. He did
it once after Cali did it once or twice, but he then became convinced
that the tunnel wasn't open on that end and wouldn't go all the way
down. I then started sending them both "backwards" through the
tunnel and that worked well. He got the experience of ducking
through drapped fabric but then could see the tunnel was clear after
Doing basic sequences which he seems ok about. Still need to work
quite hard on his start line stay. Susan Garrett suggests using
the crate stay as a way of transferring to the start line stay.
Guess I'll need to get the travel crate out of the car to do that.
I'm taking Friday off so it will likely be a construction day of sorts.
Did I mention turning him into a Foghead? I've taken to leaving
the famous SF radio station KFOG on to block out the other
sounds. Wonder if he's calling in to ticket contests and the
like. What's even more funny is that on Sat. night he's going to
watch (from a distance - across the bay) the KFOG Kaboom Party which
includes a fireworks display as I want to see how he is around
them. I trained Cali to not be afraid of fireworks in similar
fashion by letting her watch them from afar. Yoshi is way more
reactive than Cali, so he may not do as well, but I need to know
now. Cali's going to go as a steadying influence. I'll go
to a place where we can watch from the truck if necessary.
Wed May 19
For several days now, I've been working on his recall by breaking it
into smaller steps. First a head turn, then a step, then a few
steps - sometimes with Cali sometimes not. It seems to be
helping. A recall into the house is taking about 3 iterations at
this point this sticking point being the part where he goes up the
stairs to go in the house. But today he desisted obsessing on a
virtual squirrel to come and sit and get a treat, so things are
Started 2x2 weaves today. He doesn't see what the challenge is as
he's been running inbetween jump standards ever since he got
here.. Guess this means I have to make that second and third set
of 2x2's this weekend (after fixing the poor table.)
Didn't go to Power Paws class today as I was exhausted and didn't trust myself driving down and back again.
Tues May 18
Raised the teeter to medium height and he didn't seem phased by it at
all. He's no longer looking for the red dot though was instead
completely obsessing on the squirrels instead.
Played a lot of tug with the frog and doing some tires and tunnels with
tug breaks inbetween (very similar to how Greg Derrett does.)
Play tug, then stop and say give, put the toy behind my back and have
him sit (not as easy to do as it is to type), then release and do a
tire and tunnel then throw the toy as a reward and run up and grab the
other end and start playing tug again. This is starting to get
Mon May 17
Elizabeth, Claire and Sterling took off this morning for
Fresno. Yoshi and I did some basic training in the yard but
nothing specific. He's ready for the teeter to go up a level in
I have created a monster. On a whim, I got out the laser
pointer. I have never seen him so manic. He would follow it
anywhere and when I would turn it off he would look frantically for
that red bug. I started in the house and then led him outside
with it. I got him to go though the tunnel and over the low
teeter three times all while I was standing on the landing out the
backdoor (i.e. way far away), but he was so obsessed he wasn't
listening. After the third teeter I gave him a treat, but he
would only take it if I led him to it with the pointer. When I
told him "good boy, recess" he wouldn't stop looking for it and
continued to do so for about 5-10 minutes before I just went and got
him. Sometimes he really does act like a border collie.
The Laser Pointer clearly has a lot of power and I'm not sure I want to
do more with it or not. One has to be careful not to point it at
their eyes, and it's more visible at night. It also may lose its
appeal very soon as Cali was entraced with the moving dot for only a
few times. He would also have to stop switching off his hearing.
But man, what a powerful training tool. It's more flexible than a
remote audible tool (rat) which needs pre-placement. Faster than
throwing a toy (though probably should work toy throwing into it as a
reward for getting to the red dot. The main bummer I can come up
with is that you're not getting a thinking dog (a la Susan Garrett),
you're getting an obsessed one. But if you have a dog that just
needs to barrel through something so they can have the experience and
then realize that they didn't die, then it might be worthwhile.
Sun May 16
Elizabeth, and her kids Claire and Sterling flew into Oakland on their
way to Elizabeth's parents in Fresno. This way we all could going
in one car up to Novato to see the Golden Gate Corgi Specialty.
It was very enjoyable and Yoshi loved to see them and Elizabeth
observed he was quite the diplomat in greeting them enthusiatically and
then coming back to me. I decided not to take him with us to the
specialty as he's still a bit freaky and barky in unusual circumstances
and I wanted to take Cali to see her breeder Bill (whom she adores) and
doing both and trying to socialize didn't sound very fun and I wanted
to have fun.
Elizabeth and I had a good time. Claire and Sterling slept in the
car as they hadn't had much sleep the night before. When we got
back, we all played with both dogs, had a scrumptous Mexican dinner
that Terri had put together, and later on I showed Elizabeth what Yoshi
had learned so far (teeter, tire, tunnel) and also how much he loved to
tug on his frog (which he did in fine form) and chase after it after
having done a tunnel or tire as a reward.
The performance corgis list is giving me some great ideas for a
chute. A couple of recommendations for asking a car wash if they
have any empty barrels that the soap comes in. Home Depot may
have such a critter too. Apparently it's also called a utility
Later this evening, we were all watching a movie and the dogs fell asleep head to head - awwww.
Sat May 15
Spent most of the day cleaning and then going out to a really nice
dinner with Terri for our 3 year anniversary, but did a few doggy
Made the cavalettis, didn't take long at all and since I'm lazy and
often don't bother to glue the PVC it's currently height adjustable
right now. I have them set about 2" off the ground so the dogs
just roar over them when playing in the yard.
Fri May 12
Bought PVC to make some cavalettis. Couldn't find a PVC joint
where one line branches 4 ways but decided to fake it with a tee and (I
think it's called) a 90 degree tee. Once nice thing is doing it
this way makes things more flexible heightwise. Obviously pictures
would help visualizing this..
Thur May 13 (am)
Racing around this morning being silly. Him and Cali still play
quite a bit and it's great to see Cali play again. He's really
good for her.
I'm trying to decide how I want to make the chute. I was going to
just hang some fabric over the existing tunnel but that's a little long
and shortening it is a bit of a pain to do on a regular basis so I may
just make one. Terri had the idea of just getting another kid's
tunnel and shortening that. That migh work but I'd have to stake
it since it really has no weight. I could also look for something
else like a 20" diameter trashcan (cut the bottom off) or pipe. I
know my 10" diameter (approx) cylindrical trash cans came from Bed and
Bath Superstore. wonder if they have larger ones - Arlene works there,
I'll ask her.
While at class I noticed that Nancy was working with her new pup over
cavalettis, so I think I'm going to build some out of PVC. It should be
really easy if i can find the right PVC joints. If not, I can
fake it with PVC T's but that's harder and not as elegant.
Wed May 12 (pm)
Class tonight - I think Yoshi is going to stay home with Terri.
Though he was better last week when he was attached to me - didn't seem
phased at all by the dark.
Well Terri says that they had an "interesting" time (worry when she
says that). When Cali and I first left he was whining big time
racing around the house and wouldn't settle down. They went on a
walk immediately and he was still active when they came back. She
got him chewing on a (de)stuffed toy and his kong and that helped but
she wound up putting him on a leash and they watched West Wing and he
Wed May 12 (noon)
Did more work on the basics. Sitting and staying and this time
added some distance. Cali was gracious enough to help as
well. Then we practiced running around the yard like fools.
My leg is feeling better though I'm going to have to be careful with it
in class tonight. He will also take the tunnel at speed and will
do tunnel and mini-jump at some speed. I think we're going to
have to spend the rest of the month working away from the obstacles
just doing sits, downs, stays and running along beside me on both sides
- oh and crosses too.
Then at the end of the month he will be 10 months old and we'll start
on weave poles. Somewhere in there we should also start working
on the chute but I have to figure out what I want to use for the
fabric. Maybe I'll just use some backpacking straps and strap a
small towel or rag to the opening of the tunnel for starters.
Wed May 12 (am)
So I've been trying to observe what distracts him and what worries him.
I've noticed that if he's on a leash or near me or Cali (less so) that
he's much calmer and less barky at things in his environment.
It's almost like he's wanting us to come and take a look at what he
sees (squirrel, bird, rat) or hears (dog barking, bird chirping, some
animal in the trees). I've tried just ignoring him and working
with Cali having her do sits downs etc for treats. Hasn't worked
yet though he does look at us every so often, but more in a "hey come
and look at this" way.
This morning he was obsessing on something in the trees and was
barking. I had Cali up on the landing doing small things for
goodies. He noticed and came towards us, but then spun around and
went back to barking. Out of sympathy for my neighbors, I called
his name and he actually came. (Good boy, treat.) I've
noticed that he'll often come to the base of the stairs, but usually
won't climb the 5 steps to the landing by the back door. So duing
this phase, I've just been carrying him up them (good thing he's
light), or I put a leash on him and then he's usually more willing to
Motion way intrigues him. Elizabeth noticed this right off.
Makes me a bit guilty that I'm not training him for herding as he'd be
great at it. I don't have sheep so I really don't see the point
of it for me. This is probably why it's so difficult to get his
attention when he's (not) sitting at a street corner. There's so
much motion to watch.
We're going to keep working on attention to me, but it's fascinating to
see him track something. Not nearly as intense as a Border
Collie, but still quite compelling. I find myself waving a hand
in front of his face saying "Hello, Earth calling. Hello? I
really did say 'sit.' Put thy butt on the ground or we'll never ever
leave this corner." I've finally taken to the old style pressure
on the butt routine to get him to sit sometimes. I'm trying to
avoid always luring with a treat though it's usually quite
effective. Sometimes we'll just hang out till he volunteers a sit
and then he gets rewarded. This happens when Cali the training
dog is along or not.
This isn't Cali's training diary, but this reminds me that I noticed
that when we were doing some gamble training that she really needed to
see the pushing motion of my hand. If I pushed too soon and then
just held my hand out then she didn't get it. The timing of this
when they're coming out of the tunnel is tough but doable. Jim
Basic stresses that one shouldn't pump ones arm as your arm retraction
can have the effect of pulling the dog off the obstacle, but if Cali
hasn't seen my original push then I need to do it again.
Tues May 11
Eek. I'm falling behind on keeping this up (which is why it's online).
We're still having recall issues but I'm deliberately not making a big
deal of it and just going and getting him and reinforcing the heck out
of good recalls. Though I'm not always out there with something
yummy so I frequently just go and get him. Hopefully this
adolescent phase will pass. As far as adolescence goes he's being
However his "crate" is great. He will charge right into there (of
course I'm bringing him his meal) but good news is still good news.
His "wait" when I open the crate door is also coming along just fine.
Susan Garrett and one of her trainers had the great idea of teaching
puppster startline stays by having them start out of a crate. I
think I'll do that once I have some distance with the "wait."
"Wait" may very well replace "stay" which is not how I use it with
Cali, but it's working out that way so I may just go with it.
He's also become leash and toy tugging fiend. I just love that
we're now teaching our dogs things that we were discouraged to some
years back. The difference is to control the game. You
start it, and you finish it.
I need to thank Elizabeth for teaching him "Drop It!" as he's tried to swallow a few rocks of late.
He doesn't hesitate at all with tunnels if I have a toy (and then throw
it as a reward), He's usually fine when I don't have a toy as
well (though this may change). And he's doing simple sequences
I usually avoid having them both on the teeter at the same time as it's
inviting disaster and doesn't teach them how it really pivots, but Cali
was on the teeter and Yoshi followed. When Cali got to the end,
Yoshi was at the pivot point. Worked out fine (whew) and he
seemed to enjoy the ride. Not something we'll make a habit of but
amusing all the same.
Fri May 7 (am)
He didn't want to come in this morning (squirrels are more
interesting). In Ruff Love, Susan Garrett says that I need to
control the reinforcers more by only having him out on a leash for a
while. While I usually have no problem being the hardass, I'm a
little hestitant to with this one as it's what he was used to doing
when at Elizabeth's. He would go out for a little while and then
come in and sit at her feet while she worked. In the morning the
trick of having Cali come with me and we go inside and just leave him
out there isn't really working as he's pretty content with that.
Though he does tend to stay in one place so, in the future, it may be
good for adding distance to stays.
Fri May 7 (noon)
Worked on sits and stays with him and Cali. The idea of staying
in the place until released is eluding him. He'll stay for about
30 seconds and then he wants to get up. I'm hoping to not have to
use the "stay" command but if it helps him then why not. Did more
work on "here" which of course works great when one has liver.
(He can smell it so even if I don't show it to him it's still somewhat
of a lure which is not optimal though I so much want him to have
success in this that it may not be such a bad thing.
Still happy to do tunnels and today I noticed that he'll charge through the tire on his own.
Thur May 6 (noon)
Mostly digging of the mystery pipe but some work on "here" and tire
paired with plank or tunnel. He's starting to get the idea of obstacle
Didn't want to go in his crate, but Cali was quite happy to go in and
get treats for it, so he rethought things after that and decided it was
a good thing.
Wed May 5 (pm)
Gwen ran Cali in class and they both did a great job. I had Yoshi
leashed to me the entire time and he also did great (not freaky and no
space invaders this time). He got a lot of practice on sitting in front
of me and paying attention. During a walk through I showed him a
full sized A-Frame (he was interested but didn't go up it - I plopped
him near the top of it so he could see what the view is like).
Also walked him over the dogwalk a couple of times - he really liked
Wed May 5 (noon)
Happy Cinco de Mayo. It is windy today and the boy is
freaky. He was barking at invisible squirrels, and he decided
that the artichoke plant complete with artichoke is an intruder that
requires alarm barking and growling. So I put my hand on an
artichoke to show him that it was ok. He sniffed it and seemed
all right with it. While he was barking at the invisible
squirrel, I worked Cali on some simple agility sequences complete with
treats, but he didn't seem to notice. After a while, I called his
name and got his attention and we did some simple sits which helped a
He does tunnels without hesitation now.
Gwen is going to run Cali in class so I'll bring him to see how skittish he is of the sheep at night with me around.
Tues May 4 (pm)
Cooked the liver in the microwave (3-4 minutes to cook, then 10+ min on
defrost to dry it some). It didn't stink up the kitchen nearly as
much as I thought it might.
When it had cooled enough, I gave them each a small piece as a reward. They were instantly intrigued.
So off we went to go visit the neighbor's lions [statues]. It's a
couple blocks off so they had plenty of chances to find out that I had
the liver with me. When we got up to the lions, Yoshi was a
little scared of them, but not excessively freaky. We were able
to get close enough for me to put a hand on one and also give Cali
treats for being near it. He was at the other end of the leash
being skittish, but not barking. He noticed that Cali was getting
all the treats so he edged closer. It didn't take long for
him to get within treat range so he would take a treat with one eye
keeping a careful eye on the lion. I put my hand on the lion and
encouraged him to sniff it (as that way he'll figure out that it's not
alive. Amusingly, he goes around to the statue's rear to sniff it
but he does sniff it, but backs away again (it might whirl and chomp
you know.) I encourage him to get closer (Cali is still getting
treats). He does and this time sniffs the side and the
front. He's catching on. I give him several rewards.
After a bit he starts to relax. We go say hi to the other lion
and then depart for the rest of our walk. Hooray.
That evening, Cathy comes over to join us watching a Soprano's
DVD. I want to keep track of Yoshi, so I put him on a
leash. He does fine though he's fascinated by Cathy. So he
was trying to chew on her. She got the run down of ignore him
until he desists, or gentle grab his nose (now that he has one.)
She was amused that he's essentially getting the Nothing in Life is
Free treatment (referring to him being on a leash) and yet he's
perfectly happy about it. He was also doing great at tug
(probably was sick of the leash).
Tues May 4 (am)
Rearranged agility equipment. Did some tunnels and teeters.
Cali is way lean and I'm pretty sure it's Yoshi's fault.
His recall is still not good - finds squirrels more interesting.
(Though his "crate" is still fine.)
Have to get brave and cook that liver I bought (yuck).
Mon May 3 (pm)
Of panpipes and treats. [more later - it was funny]
[Nearly forgot to write this part up.]
Turns out that Yoshi has been well exposed to recorded music (Elizabeth
has teenagers :), but when Terri started to play the mandolin he
started to bark and race around. Oh a training opportunity!
This should be nice and noisy. It was. We don't have any
inexpensive stringed instruments, so instead I went and got out one of
the panpipes that I have. Terri got out her penny whistle, but
that's so shrill that it makes me want to run around barking, so we
opted for the panpipe.
I got out some doggy treats and called Cali over. While Terri was
blowing on the panpipe, I fed Cali treats. She was quite content
to do this even with the panpipe sound and Yoshi racing around us in
circles barking. About the 2nd or 3rd circuit he noticed
that Cali was getting treats , so he would stop long enough to get one
and then resume racing around the sofa that we're sitting on. It
took a few repetitions of this amusement for him to notice that while
he was busy running around that Cali was getting more treats. You
could see the wheels turning ("Hey! wait she's getting more
goodies"). The number of circuits of the room decreased and the
amount of time that he would spend increased till finally he stayed
with us. Now I see that we need to make a habit of this.
Probably a good way to guilt us into playing more music.
Inside. Worked on group sits and stays. Pretty good once he
got the idea that he was supposed to stay in one place. I'm
really trying not to use the Stay command (except with Cali).
Some "down" too.
Mon May 3 (noon)
Did some short agility sequences with both dogs. Mainly tunnel, tire. Though also worked in tunnel, teeter.
Worked on here. Working well on leash. Now need to add some
distractions and also change the positions of the equipment. He
seems somewhat ambivalent about the training bitz (Cali scarfs them so
he is intrigued at least). Have to go get some chicken
breast. Went in his crate fine.
My soleus muscle is feeling better, but still tight.
[planning the next couple of weeks] I need to make the tunnel a bit
more scarey. Maybe darken it - though just moving it may be
enough for now. Eventually I should start hanging a towel over
the end to simulate a chute. Could also teach him to run through
a sheet a la toro, toro, toro.
Move the teeter somewhat out of the way so I can run up and back and
try and get more than a step away from each obstacle or at least try to
get away from having to call him through - maybe use guides or wings on
the sides of the tire?
Start (immediately, like tonight) working on more of a stay (away from
the equipment). Could even bring him to work and run up and down
At the end of this month, he'll be 10 months and I can start teaching him weaves. Should be entertaining.
Ace Dog Sports is putting on a 5 week clicker class which might be fun to do with him.
Mon May 3 (am)
i took him out on leash. Good thing I did as he was way
distracted by the squirrels. Having him struggle with the leash
kept him distracted from barking his fool head off.
Good thing the dogs get along as fumble fingers here dropped a bunch of
training bitz on the floor. Fortunately I still had Yoshi on a
leash, so I lead him away and worked on attention stuff while Cali
scored big time eating what treats hit the floor.
He promptly went into his crate.
Sun May 2 (pm)
Reading Susan Garrett's Ruff Love. I don't think I'll need to do
much of what she suggests, but it's great to get the concepts and if he
turns into teenage monster, I'll have a good idea of what to do.
He didn;'t have much hesitation at all about going in his crate for dinner.
Later though he didn't want to come in from being inside so will have to reinforce "here" more.
Sun May 2 (day)
Stayed home from the trial to rest my leg, so had more time with the
Yosh-dude. Turned his breakfast into a crate game which was
fun. Had his bowl full of his kibble. Went in the bedroom
with him and closed the doors as I figured I didn't need Cali's help
this time. Got the clicker and since we hadn't done this since
Friday I got the clicker and started with the lowered criteria of take
a step to the crate. He was about 10 feet from the crate with a
"oh do we have to" look on his face but eventually he did take a step
towards the crate. Click and I gave him a piece of his
kibble. Suddenly he seemed a bit more interested. Took
another step. C/T. And another. C/T. Then he stopped and just
looked at the crate (that used to be the criteria.) No
click. He takes a step, C/T. He's at the crate now and
trying to just look in it. No click. Almost with a sigh he
goes completely in the crate. Good Boy! I feed him a
handful of his kibble.
Now I'm wondering if I can get him to go in willingly again during the
same session instead of just giving him the whole bowl. I tell
him OK and he walks out of the crate and noses the bowl. I don't
give him any. He takes a step to the crate. C/T. Does
it again. C/T. Then walks right into the crate. I give him
several handfuls of his kibble. Then I release him (I've never
closed the door this whole time) and he comes out. Noses at the
bowl again and then walks into the crate. GOOD BOY! I give
him the bowl and the rest of what was in it.
Did some agility training in the yard, but not much as it was
hot. Set up the tunnel in a curve and asked him to go in it
(mainly as a test) and he didn't. Hey Cali wanna do a
tunnel. Sure. In she goes (Y. runs around it) and she gets
a treat (he doesn't). You can almost hear the "Hey, wait a
minute." I say tunnel again and this time he follows her right in
and they both get treats. We do this a few more times sometimes
with him in the lead. Each time they get a bit treat.
Got the mini tire out and placed it by the curved tunnel and tried
running the two in sequence. Cali does it and Yoshi runs around
the tire. Cali gets a treat. Repeated with same
results. The third time made it a little easier for him (called
him through it) and he got it. Both treated. Then did it
sucessfully two or three more times.
Swapped out the tire for an empy jump and a 4" ABS section of pipe on
the ground. Pretty much the same as the tire. Hesitant at
first them he sees what Cali is doing (and how she's getting the
reward) and then he does the same. We're done. Let the dogs
play for a while.
His undercoat is starting to get loose again finally so it's time for
some major grooming. This time there was so much fur, I took
photos and will post the results on a different page (go back to his main page and there will be a link there when it's done).
Terri is nice enough to walk Yoshi today again since my calf is still
sore. She brought bitz with her, but said that he was promptly
sitting at every corner without them. I explained about
occasionally reinforcing that wonderful sit with a treat.
A house a little ways away has some decorative lions that she said he
was afraid of. This is not surprising as Cali was initially
afraid of them too. What we'll do some day is go by there and get
close enough for me to put a hand on one so he can get close enough to
see that they're not alive. (At least that's what worked for
Cali.) I'll need to tease Elizabeth about not finding garden
lions in rural Virginia (I had asked if she could show him some.)
[later that evening]
His "here" is really iffy (especially when he's outside) - need to work
on that. Twice today I had to go get him and put him in his crate.
Sat May 1
Trial went well for Cali but I restrained a muscle in my leg and was
hobbling around. Cali got the Advanced Gamble but ran out of time
mostly due to my hobbling. (She was very good). Karey ran
her in Master's Snooker and Debbie ran her in Steeplechase. Both
did well with her. Yoshi stayed home and got walked by Terri
Yoshi Training Diary - April 2004
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