Yoshi Training Diary - Nov 2004

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Sun Nov 28
Happy 16 month birthday to Yoshi and his littermates.

We are renting the Power Paws field at 11am today.  I need to think what I'm going to work on.  I think with Yoshi we're going to lower the A-Frame and spend time on that, then the full size teeter (with me softening the landing some by holding the board), and then every single tunnel to see what is still spooky, then the collapsed tunnel.  Then we'll do some short sequences and some 8" jumps.  then Cali and I will work on Gamblers.  I need to remember to bring the yellow mouse pad for targetting.

What a great session.  Mostly worked on a lowered (~4') A-Frame, 8" jumps, a couple of tunnels and a table.  Later did the dogwalk and the full size teeter.  He's a little hesitant about the tunnels but generally is ok.  I can't take it for granted that he'll go in, but I think that will improve with experience.  It was windy so I decided not to do the collapsed tunnel and since I have weaves with guides at home I didn't bother with them.  Tried the weaves once and it was clear that he didn't want to go near them.  He automatically stops on the A-Frame contact which given that I didn't teach him is a nice gift though I'm still hoping to have running contacts with him.  He didn't have any hesitation on the teeter though I was guiding it down save for one time.  One of the first times that I put him on it I was holding it up in the air and he jumped right off.  Oops.  Yet he's not wary of it in the least.  He can do basic sequences with out much problem though as with tunnels I can't take it for granted that he'll actually do the obstacle.  He likes the A-Frame a lot and I can tell that it's going to take effort to keep him from running up it.

His jumping is puppy sloppy, so it might be worthwhile to take a private with Susan Salo and learn about jump grids.

On the way home, found a barrel that someone had dumped by the side of the freeway.  Not often that public service and finding agility equipment match up, but it I realized that it would make a great chute base so I brought it home.

We worked on weaves when we got back.  Unlike Cali, he doesn't like to be crowded, so I'm experimenting with giving him a little more space which seems to be working as he's not popping out so much.

So the things that need work before he can be in a class are.
 - weaves
 - chute
 - tunnels curved tighter
 - start line stay
 - basic sequences
 - then start adding speed

Oh and his recall was great even though there were sheep and a llama in the next field.  Will recall away from sheep for Rollover.
  Good boy.

Cali did great on her gambling work.  Go seems to be a more effective word that Out, though both work, but I can say Go and use a hand motion to indicate the direction and that is working.  She pretty much knows Left and Right and definitely knows Table and Tunnel.

Sat Nov 27

Took him and Cali for a walk.  I fortunately put his Gentle Leader on.

He was just awful with the first set of dogs (2 labs) walking by across the street and not paying him much attention, but then he was terrific with 1 other dog who was being just as bad as he was, and then another and then 1 other set.  These are all from a distance.  It seems that once he understands what's expected of him then he's a lot better, and then I get a chance to make it even better by having him do something for a treat. 

When he was being a complete barky shit (really, he was) he kept fighting the Gentle Leader.  I stood my ground rather than just walking on and repeatedly, emphatically (i.e. not begging) told him that he needed to be quiet and that those dogs were no threat.  Eventually he started to relent likely because the dogs had walked on, but it appears that the impression stayed at least for the duration of the walk.

When another dog started having a similar tizzy fit that he did.  He didn't bark back, but instead ignored the dog.  I stopped long enough to have him sit and treat him and tell him what a good boy he was (the probably didn't endear me to the exasperated owner across the street whose position I was quite familiar with, but wasn't about to risk undoing any good work by going over there.

Yoshi then ignored another dog (good thing as it was a big German Shepherd), and then started to bark at two smaller dogs, but I was able to get and keep his attention (good boy).  Phew, there is hope.  I see now that I should have had him on the Gentle Leader at the Nationals where occasionally he would do some inappropriate lunging at other dogs.  At the nationals I had to resort to rolling him just to get him to listen to me.  In hindsight it seemed like the Gentle Leader was just as effective.  Though it's also possible that he knew I could escalate things if necessary.

Funny how very specific their hearing is.  I give Cali and Yoshi paper towel and toliet paper cardboard rolls to shred (very cheap dog toys that they love.)  Tonight I had an empty paper towel roll in the kitchen and neither dog was in the kitchen.  So for fun, I started tapping it on the counter thinking that I'd immediately get a dog in the kitchen with me.  Nope.  Tapped it on my hand.  No response.  Tapped it on my leg, the sink, and a few other places - nothing - do I even live with any dogs?  So I drop it on the floor, and as soon as it made that telltale something-dropped-on-the-floor sound, in sweeps Yoshi.  It's like that's the only sound of all the sounds that had meaning.

Fri Nov 26
Yoshi spent Thanksgiving with us up at Terri's mom's.  He did surprisingly well.  Not very barky and not freaky either. He had a couple of accidents on the carpet, but they were my fault for not paying attention.  He was pulling too much on a walk, so I put the Gentle Leader on him and I had an angel then.  His recall is still ok except for the dog park (see next paragraph.)  He was a major snuggler there and was in utter bliss passed out on his back a few times while I was on the floor petting him.

His charging up to dogs he doesn't know is still very much an issue and taking him to run the fence at the local dog park may be making it worse.  I stopped at Point Isabel Dog Park for a short while and he charged up barking to a large dog which annoyed the dog's owner more than anything, but he was very much a bad boy.  I put him on a leash, but later let him just drag the leash, but he then irked another dog who scared him some (probably needs this) so I hung on to the leash the rest of the time.  I need to find a dog who will set limits (even more so than Cali), but not injure him.  Oh yeah his recall was poor in that environment.  (Probably asking a whole lot right now).

Tues Nov 23

2 things.
1) I've been experimenting with how authoritative of a voice I use.  From sweet to nearly yelling.  At first I was thinking that nearly yelling was working better, but that proved to be only temporary.  Maybe varying it is the best solution.
2) He seems to need some definite limits set, and then after that he's ok.  Ever since the incident where he took great excepetion to Jesse (she had accidentally knocked Cali with the teeeter.  Cali growled at her but then stopped - he didn't.), he's been too dominate with her.  Growling in a fierce way.  When we pulled him off a couple of times and told him to lay off (and provided a time out), he then started playing much nicer with her.  This supports my theory that you don't have to accept behavior you don't like.  You can change it, it just may take a lot of effort.

His recall utterly sucked this morning and then was great at lunch and at dinner (we did a working dinner).

I moved the weavepoles further away from the table which helped some.  What really helped was continuous clicking and treating him at the entrance of the poles in the direction he's shakey on.  Then he did the poles in that direction a couple of times sucessfully.  Good boy.

Mon Nov 22
His recall is still pretty good in the backyard, in fact in comparison to what it was it's very good.  It seems like you work and work at something and don't feel you're getting anywhere and then you get a breakthrough.  I guess this is all a part of perseverance pays off.

I noticed which we were training in the backyard that he's having some issue with doing the weavepoles on my left but oddly enough, only in one direction.  I think it's the table that's the difference.  When weaving toards the table he often breaks out and goes to the table.  Since I'm not about to get on his case for liking the table (so many dogs hate it) I think I'll just move the poles further away from the table.

Sat Nov 20
Well I found a place where his recall is worse and make squirrels look easy.  It's the dog park.  When he gets into fence running with a dog on the other side he doesn't hear anything.  This is a shame as he gets great exercise racing up and down the fence (and man, he's fast) and we've discovered that it's more the game than trying to get at the dog on the other side as we tried putting him on the other side (the big dog side) and he promptly solicited fence running with one of the small dogs on the other side.  But I need to come up with some way of getting him to listen.  I've found that sounding more authoritative rather than nice seems to be more effective.  I think I'll build on the backyard recall since that's improving before worrying too much about the dog park recall.

Wed Nov 17
Yoshi's recall is really starting to improve.  We had a mini lesson with Jim at Power Paws and his recall was great.  What a relief.  Though there were no squirrels but it was at night with things that go baa in the night close by.  He was aware of them but didn't freak or get excessively distracted.  Maybe all this work on recall is worth it.  Just when thing look hopeless, they start to improve.

Jim really wants to see his stay improve.  I've been working so hard at making coming back to me fun that i haven't been working much on stay.  I think what I'll do is work on it first indoors with out the squirrel distraction.  I'd also been focusing on sit meaning sit and stay till I release you but he really does seem to do better when I add "stay."  It shouldn't matter but it seems to.  Cali is trained with stay and she has a great start line stay.  Even though Susan Garrett and Rachael think that sit should mean sit and stay (and I agree in theory), I'm more inclined to go with what works.

Tues Nov 8 - Mon Nov 15
Scottsdale.  It was a blast and Cali did reasonably well (reached the Semi-Finals and then she decided to go really slow - possibly because I overfed her in desperation to keep her from constantly sniffing).  The real win for us was a gamblers like class called Joker's Wild where she did 4 gambles.  Maybe that gambler's title is within reach.  In any case, except for gamblers and snooker, I'm moving her down to the 8 inch Performance class as she seems to enjoy that a lot more.

Yoshi did pretty well for such an overwhelming environment.  We found lots of dogs big and small for him to play with.  He did unfortunately want to lunge at some dogs so I had to correct him firmly a few times.  While that concerns me, he doesn't seem to be agressive, more prey drive and some protectiveness, and inapropriate ways to ask to play.  He's learning but still to some degree is the teenage twit.

Sat Nov 6
Preparing to leave for the USDAA Nationals.  We're driving to Needles on Tues and then on Wed will pick up the RV in Mesa and then on to Scottsdale.  Cali and I went to a practice down at Power Paws and she did really well.  Terri and Yoshi are coming too and my sister Anne is coming up from Tucson next weekend.  Should be fun.

I have to keep in mind that Yoshi seems to really prefer Bil Jac over other treats (with Rollover and Great Bait in there as well).  His recall is quite reliable if I'm using that as a reward.  His own kibble he also likes a lot.  The sample dog and cat food kibble I've been using he can take or leave.  He's getting to be a real love sponge which is so markedly different from the "what's in it for me?" Cali.  Though he's still wound pretty tight.  If a dog barks down the street the he wants to bark also, unless I catch him and get my hands on him then he seems to settle down some.  Calling him back and having him do something simple like sit works sometimes too.

Wed Nov 2
What a depressing U.S. election result.  I can't believe they re-elected such a dimwit.  The whole world hates us <sigh> (for example: http://www.lnreview.co.uk/news/004550.php).  Canada is looking better and better, but if we all were to leave then all there would be would be jerks with nukes and that's not a good thing.  Anyway, back to doggies who are blissfully unaware of such gyrations.  (Though it is strange to be a political football.  All I want to do is marry my partner, why is that so threatening?)

Yoshi's recall is still iffy and I need to find a way to improve it.  When i work on it with a clicker and treats he's great.  But I make the mistake of going out to get him sometimes without a reward.   And I'm not luring him by showing him the treat first.  Hmmmm.  I suppose I should have a truely delicious treat if he comes all the way back in rather than my just going down to the landing or even walking out into his path as I sometimes have to do.  Fortunately I don't chase him but sometimes I do place myself in his path though he's getting easier to catch so it's some improvement.

I've been walking him on a flexi, but he's afraid of the flexi so I live in terror of dropping it and having him run from it into the street.  I either need to change leashes or get him used to it dragging behind him.

I was going to do some more recall work with him but the lab just called and needs me to drop off an older MRI so they can compare it with yesterdays.  [later]  It just hailed on me.  The weather is warm this is so strange.  First we get midwestern politics forced on us and now we get their weather too.

Yoshi is supposed to have a mini lesson today with Jim, but I don't know if we're going to have class or not.  I suppose I could still go down anyway since I need to drop by REI to pick up an order.  Have to remember to introduce him to several of the other tunnels.  Maybe do the same xpen trick I did before of putting him at one end of the tunnel surrounded with an xpen.  In other words the only way out is through the tunnel and a delicious treat will be waiting.

Go to:
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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