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
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.
- 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
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
Tues Nov 23
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
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
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
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
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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