Yoshi Training Diary - October 2005

By Ellen Clary
(reverse date order)

Feedback is welcome:

Mon Oct 31 Halloween
Play, A-Frame, Dogwalk at noon
In the evening. We get beseiged with trick or treaters, so he and I did a bunch of Click to Calm for bread pieces (his favorite), while Terri handed out candy.  (Sometimes Terri and I would trade).  He did very, very well.  Though I was concerned about him eating too much bread so I crated him for a while.

Sun Oct 30
Time change back to standard time which I really dislike.  Getting to the dog park if going to be a real challenge now.
Got Cathy's mini-dogwalk out leveled the ground so it's stable, and did use the mini-tire PVC frame as a hoop at the end.
He's fine about going over it and picking up his tug and treat.  Don't have the teeter out yet - will probably leave that till next week.

Cooper came over and they played exuberantly while I made dinner for everyone.

Fri Oct 28
Agility class today.  Sharon noticed how leggy he was.  Yes he is.  He may be short, but he's leggy too (and hence not under 10" - oh well).  He did very well today.  Wasn't terribly grumpy about the other dogs and his weaves were great.  Spent some time making the teeter make noise, but he's still hesitant about it.  And he's quite hesitant about the dogwalk.  Time to get Cathy's mini-dogwalk out and figure out how to really stabilize it.  I'll use the mini tire frame as a hoop for him to run through at the end instead of having him do his contact as he's worrying about that.  Think I'll get the teeter out too (with the table propping it up some - or just use the small stand) and put away the weavepoles.

He won't play with his tug n treat much in class, but will at least pick it up so I can open it and reward him for that.  It's also working well to run past the table and toss the tug n treat (behind me) onto the Table as he jumps on.  He's also doing really well with my being most anywhere and him weaving and tossing the toy to just in front of him while he's in the weaves.

Thur Oct 27

Wed Oct 26
Obedience class.  He did pretty well.  Some snarfing, but it appeared to be Quinn the GSD's turn to be grumpy, as he took exception to Jet one of Pam's Portuguese Water Dogs (who's intact). Yohsi growled at Jet then immediately wanted to meet him and there were fine from that point on.  Yoshi was fascinated by his intact male smell.  I'm beginning to realize that he won't ever be that into girl dogs. ;)

Hazel is now saying that she thinks his reactiveness is from fear from the fact that he never gallops on a recall.

Stand for exam is really good.  Heeling is ok.  He is back to picking up the dumbell and tossing it to / dropping it at me.  Recalls decent though easily distracted.  Sit and down was fine except fort the time I backed up and triped over Miranda, one of Hazel's St. Bernards,  Yoshi got up to see what was happening, but didn't growl or react otherwise.

Tues Oct 25
Dogpark.  The going in on leash continues to work well.

Mon Oct 24
[noon] Playtime!  Got out three toys and he was mildly interested in the octopus, but was soon distracted.  Clearly I'm not being interesting enough.  So I got out the tug and treat and raised my voice an octave (think "oh no, Mr. Bill" type voice) and started saying "you get that!" and moving it around jerkily.  That got his attention and he was having a good time tugging and trying to grab it.  After some good tugs I'd reward him with a treat from the tug n treat.

evening.  More play, this time on the sofa with the fuzzy on a rope some of things.  He ws more intrigued with the melted nylon attaching the two ends together but as long as he was interested i didn't care.

Sun Oct 23
(I had gone for a long hike)
Cooper came by for a play date, and they had a grand time knocking the stuffing out of each other.  Cooper's discovered that he can throw Yoshi to the ground if he gets him by the scruff of the neck and pulling.  I half jokingly told Mark that we can split the vet bills if he ever succeeds in putting holes in him (and vice versa).

Sat Oct 22
Some thoughts on his dog weirdness.  I now have the Aloof book and it's quite readable though I haven't done more than read sections.
One conclusion that I've been coming to even before looking at the book (though the book is helping solidify things in my head), is that he is strongly territorial.  He can be in a place for less than 20 minutes and he makes it "his" and then he starts alarm barking etc when he sees a new dog or sometimes human..  What confuses things is that he's also a big soft chicken.  Poor guy - how confusing is that?

It's like he spent 8 months as a soldier in an army (his pack).  If he (or any other soldier) sounded the alarm he/they immediately had strong backup.  Now he doesn't have that but he seems to have made himself a low ranking officier in a mythical army and still sounds the alarm (or charges at a dog) expecting a backup that never comes.  Though he's very responsive if I call him back to me (in the house - with a dog he's charged up to outside he doesn't listen very well at all).  Though he's vocalizing/whining when he's coming back as if he doesn't know what to do with all the energy.

So this is likely why Elizabeth's well timed correction worked.  It's not fear motivated even though he's a fearful dog.  I've now seen him territorial and fearful and his body position is quite different.  He winces when he hears loud noises.  When he's defending his "territory" his legs are stiff, and his ears are forward not back, and his head is up and not ducking like he does when he's scared.

I'm not convinced that more counter conditioning wouldn't work as it takes a long time.  Though I've had pretty good results in much less than the six weeks that Elizabeth worked with him on it.  Part of the solution may be to give him something else to do when he wants to react to a dog.

[after private agility lesson with Jim]
Yoshi did fairly well though was hesitant on all the contact equipment.  Jim was very happy at his targeting behavior with his mousepad and that I could send him to it with "Go Target"  He (like Sharon) thinks that we need to spend a lot more time playing with toys and working on our relationship.  Yoshi really likes Jim.  Jim claims it's because he's more exciting.  True but I think he still really likes Jim.  He also does better on the big Power Paws field though he's getting used to Sharon's smaller field.  And of course he was thrilled that there weren't any other dogs around.

His jumping, and stays, and tunnels were fine.  Needed a little encouragement to weave but after that he did them great, and even weaved for Jim (with no guides).  "Right" he can do on the word only. "Left" still needs a hand motion.

Yosh was obsessing on Jim's cat and I had Yoshi do a sit while looking at the cat.  He continued to vocalize and growl, but as long as he stayed sitting I didn't care.

When we got back Yoshi was very happy to continue to play virgorously with his tug n treat.  Which was very cool.  Jim thinks he shouldn't get anything out of the tug n treat unless he earns it with tugging.

I'm slowly realizing that Yoshi is going to be OK.  That my training him, didn't screw him up and may even have done him a world of good.  That's a huge relief.  It's a challenge when you don't have a dog from a young puppy.  Yeah, you get to skip all the puppy stuff, but you can make a huge difference in their development when you have them from 10 weeks old.  Coe used to call this "roll your own dog" lots of work, but really worth it and besides Yoshi has been just as much work.  While I wouldn't trade him for anything (ok most things - if Elizabeth offered me two million dollars I would seriously reconsider ;), I think I prefer raising them from 10 weeks (any younger they should still be with their litter learning important dog interaction skills.)

Went to the dog park where a tiny dog named Spooky was racing after him and pestering him.  Kinda fun to see another dog giving him what he usually gives.  He was puzzled and a little intimidated, but then would occasionally nip back.  They got into a tussle when I was offering Spooky the tug and treat (probably not the best of moves) and Yoshi came over and Spooky snapped at him and Yoshi took exception.  Spooky ran, Yoshi chased.  We started to intervene, but Connie the owner's other dog intervened for us and things were immediately fine.

When we first were getting out of the car he started to bark at some random smaller dog.  He was really being a pill, but I finally got him into a sit which seemed to help.  (It's like it gives him something else to do.)

Had a fine game of fence running with friendly big dog Oliver.  Yoshi and Connie worked out this tag team arrangement where one would chase Oliver for part of the fence and then the other would take over for the rest.  It was quite amazing to watch.

Came home and dug out the Octopus and the Mallard Duck toys and Yoshi, Terri and I had fun playing with them (with Yoshi :).

I was seriously considering being a Humane Society foster home, but I like controling Mr. Doggy's access to dogs.  Maybe if over time it's clear he's more attached to me, but until then I think we'll stay a single dog household.

Fri Oct 21
Agility class.  Much better. 
Got there early and played making noises with the teeter.  I would lever the teeter to a few inches off the ground and then use my foot to push it to the ground.  Just when it made a banging sound I click and treated him.  He was very visibly flinching at first but seemed to get used to it.  I then held the board again in the down position a few inches from the ground and encouraged him to put his feet (initially just the front) on it and again click when it hit the ground.  This paid off when Sharon propped up the other side of the Teeter with a Table and then we practiced having the dog jump on the board and riding it to the ground.  He was unfamiliar with the concept of just jumping on the board so we'll have to work on that at home (and in fact we did so and he was fine - I point to the board and say hup and he gets up on it).

Spent a fair bit of time on independent contact performance.  Doing weaves, tunnel, teeter, and jump with us just sending the dog.  The weaves was a bit advanced for each dog but I put his guides out on the 2nd and 3rd pole stood at the mid point of the weaves and was able to call him through tossing the toy after the third pole.  (Sharon often only has the dog just do a few poles - though occasionally has them do all of them to keep them doing all of them.)

Then we went up to the larger field to do some sequences.  This is where having a small yard is a drawback as he still isn't real familiar with the context of running with me and got the zoomies at least once.  Sharon is encouraging us to run together like in a park.  Personally I think over time he'll get used to it as he's already much better than he was.

Dog wise he was generally quite good but it helped that only dogs he likes were there this time.

Then I took him to work for the rest of the morning and kept him in his red soft crate which seemed to make him feel a little bit more comfortable.  Everything was fine until Robin brought in one of her Sammoyeds and I'm pretty sure he's never really met one.  This one is sick so we decided not to have them meet so all was fine until he spied her in Robin's closed door office.  He had a barking meltdown. I'd back way off and get him quieted down and watching me and no sooner did I give him a treat that he went right back to barking at that dog.  Exasperating.  I finally just took him away as he was being disruptive.

Went to the dog park at lunch just to have some good experiences and he enjoyed playing and fence running.  I was tempted to put him into the large dog park just to see if a big dog would put him in his place but thought better of it.

Thur Oct 20
Getting back to agility.  Which he seems to be appreciating with renewed vigor (guess there's no sheep).
He seems to do better with more direction.  On the A-Frame today I added the word "Go" when he reaches the top and he then did it with no hesitation.

Did 4 sets of weaves fine with no guides (did miss the entrance entirely a different time, ran by on the left side of the poles instead of hitting the entrance on the right side) so I put them away and then decided to work on 2 on / 2 off contacts for the dogwalk.  Now I don't have a dog walk, but I do have a Mini A-Frame that's the width of a dogwalk that I can lay flat, and I have the contact trainer.

I opted for the Mini A-Frame laid flat on the ground.  right now it's folded in half though I will fold it flat eventually.  I put his mousepad target at the end and put the yellow side up though will turn it over pretty soon (will post photos of this).  Got him to get on the board and I said "target" and he went right to the end in a perfect 2 on / 2 off position.  Told him ok and pointed him towards the board again and told him "climb" he jumped right up on the board and headed to the end where I said "target" and once again got the 2 on / 2 off.  Wow.  Good dog.  We quit then, but he was clearly wanting to do more.

So I took him inside and played pick up the tug and treat and hand it to me.  Then after 2 of those, 1 of pick up the dumbell and hand it to me.  He sort of seemed to get it.  Did about 3 sets and quit.

Wed Oct 19
Obedience class.  Much good stuff and still some dog-dog oddities.
His Stand for Exam is way improved and we really haven't been working on it.  I put him in a stand, stepped away a couple of paces and Hazel was able to slowly walk up to him and place her hand on his back and walk away and I was able to walk up to him and he didn't move the whole time.  I'm still not walking behind him but will work up to that.

Recall is fine, his sit in front of me is a little crooked, but ok.
Stays were great - laid down once on a long sit but immediately corrected himself when I started to approach.
Heeling is way off and we'll have to work on it - esp. figure 8 heeling though if I walk in a very small circle he does fine (though that makes me way dizzy.)

Dog to dog.  He met Chilli a Duck Toller who he really liked.  Met Hazel's St Bernards with me clicking a lot.  Met Milo the other St. Bernard again and did fine until Milo moved (he's really big).  Did ok with little harmless Muffy from a distance, but when she came in to the building he started to growl (he's such a weirdo about her).  Growled and barked at the open level Rottweiler that came in.  This dog even though well trained would have him for lunch if possible so they haven't met.  Spent some time working around one of the German Shepherd's (and they around us) just sitting near and not paying attention to them.  Both dogs did really well. 

Hazel, the instructor, thinks Yoshi's really tough and not soft.  I'm not convinced.  The reason is that it seems that I've effectively trained him not to be interested in the dumbell, even after he initially showed interest.  I'm wondering if he's not clear on the fact that I want him to pick up the dumbell and hold it.  He would pick it up and hand it to me but when I tried making him hold it longer he lost interest.  Need to figure out why.  It's like he needs me to show him what I want instead of volunteering the behavior.

[later that evening]
put peanut butter on the dumbell and let him lick it off.  Then placed the dumbell in his mouth and held his mouth while still letting him lick some.  It might work - hard to say.  Be much easier if he'd just volunteer the behavior, but he's not Cali I have to keep in mind.

Mon Oct 17
More news to make Sunday's adventures all the more amusing.
Oscar just got his herding championship so he's now a Dual herding/conformation Champion.
Only the second pembroke to do so if I understand correctly. Well
that's fantastic except that OSCAR IS YOSHI'S GRANDFATHER!! And Yoshi is
AFRAID OF SHEEP! (And leary of ducks.)

[His brothers herd, his father herds, his mom may herd, and now his Granddaddy is a herding champion?!]
Sigh. What will we tell the family? ;)
(fingers crossed for agility)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [ColtsrunKids] Re: Oscar
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005 09:42:54 -0700
From: Ellen Clary <ellen@frap.org>

A.J. Listman wrote:
--- In ColtsrunKids@yahoogroups.com, corgicat@a... wrote:
<>>>In a message dated 10/17/2005 11:34:13 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
>>ellen@f... writes:
>>How is Oscar related to the Prozac kids?
>>I am pretty sure that Nash (Coltsrun Trijinks) is mom to the Prozac
>>kids, and Nash is sired by Oscar.

>Bonnie's memory is correct.
I was hoping for Uncle - oh no - GRANDDADDY!

Great, I have the non-herding, black sheep (sorry about the pun), Kennedy. ;)
(Who'd just rather get drunk and chase squirrels and dogs :)

Sun Oct 16
Ducks today in the afternoon.
For the A-Frame I put his mouse pad foot target out about 6 ' from the end and did the A-Frame three times.  The first and third times he did fine the second time he stopped on the top to squirrel gaze and didn't get a click (I didn't even let him get as far as the mouse pad.)  He may have understood, but only time will tell.  Sharon isn't really thrilled with the mouse pad being out for the A-Frame, but it seems to work.

Checked in on weaves and still ok there.  Guides are still on the ground - maybe I'll take one away or more likely add speed.

Went inside and worked more on the dumbell and the clicker.  I don't think we're getting anywhere with it really  He'll mouth it and stop - he doesn't even pick it up a little and drop it much at all now, which he was doing and which I had been clicking for.  But when I try to raise the criteria to him holding it longer he loses interest and gets distracted by the environment.  While I have him inside for this he can still hear dogs barking in the distance.  As an experiment, I tried holding it in his mouth and clicking (since sometimes he's better when he knows what's expected of him), but he really wasn't thrilled with that at all.  So this session was sort of a zero sum game.

We went back to playing with the tug and treat which he seems to like better.  Maybe I'm more relaxed around it than the dumbell.  I toss it and he brings it back and I click him if he hangs on to it for a count of two.  This is another game that I'm not sure how to progress on.  I want him to hold it until I tell him to give it to me.

[post ducks]
[To Linda Dylan the herding fiend's mom - ]
You chose well in selecting Dylan over Yoshi as I just got back having him tested on ducks (and sheep again) and he could not possibly care any less about them, to the point that Joyce wouldn't even let me pay her for the time. Now if a dog is out there working them, he loves it. So his squirrel obsession is likely prey drive. And he's just really into dogs. Oh and we love him anyway especially as he just saved me a ton of money. Cathy and Jessie went along and it was a very good thing as Jessie kicked sheep butt.

-- Ellen Clary
and Cali (2/27/96-4/24/05) MX MXJ SAM AAD RM JM NGC PHC CGC (1/2 MACH)
and Yoshi The [Non-herding] Young [Agility & Obedience] Apprentice

He's now completely zonked out in my lap and is snoring.  I think the environment stressed him (because for all his bravado, he really is a sensitive flower.[note he slept for hours!])  I'm beginning to think that if he doesn't know exactly what's expected of him then he shuts down.  Things that he's really good at are his mouse pad and left and right.  Those are clear and fun things to do.  More openended things like when I'm trying to shape his behavior with a clicker he seems to have some trouble with though is willing to try for a short while.  But I notice that he really doesn't like it when I raise criteria.  It's like I've changed the rules and he gives up, instead of trying harder like Cali would.

Sat Oct 15
He is starting to hesitate on the A-Frame which has me a little concerned.  He waits for me to run up and toss a treat.  Hmmm.
Maybe I should lower it or start tossing toys.

I'm still trying to figure out if his barking/lunging is fear based or not.  I and my obedience instructor are beginning to think that it's more territorialness as he doesn't seem very fearful at all.  I'm wondering if his months of being in a large vocal corgi pack is the main motivator here.  The problem is that I don't have an easy way to tell him that a dog is not a threat.  One way to accomplish it would be for me to meet the dog, but that's a little hard when Yoshi's lunging and barking.  Click to Calm helps but I don't know if it will solve the problem.  Hazel (obedience instructor) is concerned that I'm just distracting him and that he needs to learn to choose not to react but I'm thinking that this might be a good initial step.

I walked him 2.5 miles to work to pick up my truck.  The first time I did this a while back he was dragging, but today he was ok (it was cooler today too).  What's notable is how well he's doing around other dogs.  I'd see a dog being walked a ways away, and say excitedly look there's a dog Click (treat).  He's hasn't seen the dog yet, so is a little puzzled, but I repeat the whole routine, and then he sees the dogs and starts to growl and I pull back some on the leash and he then drops the whole growling thing and looks right at me expectantly.  Good dog (c/t).  We do it a few more times and move on.  The same thing happens with another dog, (both of these dogs are across the street a ways off).  Then as we're walking down the street two dogs start to bark at him from their front porch (we're across the stree.)  Excellent.  Before he has a chance to react (ok he growled a little) I clicked.  We c/t a few times and then walked past them with him not paying any attention to them (they were still barking, but less so).  A few more instances of this occurred and he was fine.  Then as we're coming to a corner an imposing Pit Bull starts growling and barking behind a fence right beside us.  Yoshi barks back and I somehow get his attention and click him.  He stops engaging with the Pit Bull completely and focuses on me and we do a few more c/t's.  I have my back to the Pit Bull and the Pit Bull (who can see us) has calmed down too which I find completely fascinating.  It's like I'm teaching Yoshi calming signals.  I wonder if I can spin this all into a "Do not engage" command. :)

We'll have to see if we have the Funky Chicken tonight or tomorrow with the hold an item lessons.

Oh and tomorrow is a duck herding lesson for him.

Fri Oct 14
Continued to work on the A-Frame and weaves.  Seems fine.  Bonnie mentioned that leaving the A-Frame lowered seemed to really help her corgi girl Allie to do great running contacts, so I think I won't raise it any higher.  Right now it's about 4 1/2 feet tall.  I think I'll switch the equipment around some.  Leave the A-Frame, but maybe take the weaves out and put in the teeter or contact trainer (so work on the Bang Game or dog walk targetting with his mousepad).  Maybe put in a jump somewhere.

Revisited his holding of objects.  This time I used an empty, but nice smelling tug and treat.  Now when we were last doing this I had would up with Yoshi picking up the object and sort of flinging it at me.  Amusing, but this isn't exactly what I want.  So now the goal was to click if he held the object in his mouth for a count of 3 (about 2-3 seconds).  Now since he isn't terribly driven, I'm not particularly picky about what his head is doing as long as he is holding the object.  So now he's doing this head bob sort of motion while he holds it. Great, now I have a corgi who appears to be doing a part of the Funky Chicken dance - the freestyle folks will love it.  (So this is training?  Who knew.)

Thur Oct 13
Raised the A-Frame about 1/2 a foot.  Still fine.

He can now do right and left with me just doing a slight shoulder motion and the word.  I think I'm going to start working it into the agilty obstacles now.

Wed Oct12
From a post I sent to Performance Corgis:
Libby wrote:
>I have a friend with a golden that is sound sensitive, and to a certain
>extent so is my Motts. It's a big deal in the golden world, but is it
>such a big deal in the corgi world? And how does one desensitize a dog
>to certain sounds? Any good ideas I can pass along to my friend?
>Thanks! Libby
My corgi is sound sensitive.  Desensitization works great using a clicker.
I finally put it all together in my head while reading Click to Calm -
Healing the Aggressive Dog. You're learning how to replace one behavior
with another, and get good associations with what was bad associations.

The gist of Click to Calm is reward for anything that is not aggressive
behavior. In Yoshi's case, I click him for anything that's not a bark,
growl, or a lunge. I'm lucky in that Yoshi is small and not truly
aggressive, just afraid, so there are good opportunities to click, but
Karen Pryor pointed out to Emma Parsons that even an actively aggressive
dog has to breath so you click for that (no kidding).

With respect to sound:
Make a small, slightly scary noise, and _before_ the dog even has a
chance to react (yes, you have to be fast - this is an advantage of the
iClick as it's easier to use), click and treat. Go slow with this. It
turns hard, tiring training into fun (though it's still draining since
you're working so hard on getting the timing right).

Think it won't work? Just try it. I was surprised. We're not quite
there yet, but I can see the progress.

For agility dogs this is useful with respect to the teeter. Click and
treat for the sound of the teeter (whether it's your dog or another dog
using it.)

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi - The Young Apprentice
[noon] A little more work with weaves and the A-Frame.  He's starting to anticipate a treat thrown at the A-Frame which could be an issue.  Right and left.  He's great at right and only so-so on left.

Obedience class tonight.  We'll see how he is around the dogs he's met, and will keep doing Click to Calm.

There's no agility class this Friday, but I'm taking him to a duck herding lesson on Sunday with Joyce Shephard which should be fun and educational.  I expect that Joyce is going to talk me out of herding more because of my ambivalence than his desire.  I do want the knowledge which I'll have to find a way to explain to her, since her point is that you really have to want to do herding otherwise why would you do it?  I do have a streak of wanting to do things just for the sake of knowing how to do them.  It's very empowering and it really helps me to demystify things.

So I posted this to PerformanceCorgis to get other's wisdom:
Ok I realize that I probably should post this to corgiherders, but I 
only lurk there.

As expected, Yoshi didn't really care to interact too much with the
sheep at the Golden Gate Pembroke Corgi club's instinct test when he was
inside the pen with them. Also as expected, he was nuts when outside
the pen (we've decided that he's an armchair herder - the ultimate
herding fan.)

A different herding instructor had suggested that we put him on ducks as
he showed interest in them when he was at her place, so I'm going to
take him back to Joyce Shephard's (where the instinct test was held) to
see how he is with ducks.

2 questions:

Joyce saids that duck herding is a lot harder than sheep because they
can get quite recalcitrant and they are also inheritly more delicate.
For those of you who know, is that your experience?

She also is likely to talk me out of trying to go further with this.
Her point is if you don't own livestock, then why would you do it? I'm
going to ask her more about this as she must have plenty of students who
don't have their own stock. I think her point is that herding is
challenging enough that you really, really have to want to do it and
unlike agility, I really don't have the resources to pursue it
seriously. I can't have sheep and while I could have six ducks it would
likely be a royal pain. So how many of you all herd and don't have your
own stock?

Yoshi is so keyed to motion that if it's something that's fundamental to
his happiness, I want him to do it, but he seems quite happy to herd
dogs at the dog park and obsess on squirrels, but one doesn't want to
disappoint grandma the breeder, who would love to see him herd (though
has been great about not guilting me about it. ;) Fortunately, about a
month ago he started to give me signs that he was beginning to think
that agility seemed like a pretty cool game, so he's back in class and
the students who remember him from before are surprised that he's the
same dog.

Ellen Clary
and Yoshi the herding fan


[after class]
If I'm on top of things I can keep him from reacting.  If I'm not he still reacts.  Hazel is wondering if he's being territorial instead of afraid.  That may be true but she tried some more traditional "knock that off" sort of stuff (not really corrections just a restraint) that he seemed to resist though eventually he gave in.  Later on when I went back to Click to Calm methods he seemed to settle some.  He did a great sit and down during the stays - longer than Cali has ever did.  I stay near him though.  It helped that no one came in then.

Hazel's point is that he needs to learn to tolerate the presence of other dogs.  I'm hoping he will learn to associate good things with the presence of other dogs.

Tues Oct 11
The swelling in my arm is going down thanks to the Keflex.  Once again penicillin saves a life.  It's amazing to me to think that this infection could have killed me or made me lose an arm if we didn't have antibiotics.

Did some A-Frames and weaves.  A couple of days ago I had gotten the shortened guides back out and put them on the ground perpendicular to the weave poles.  All his confusion disappeared as soon as I did that so I think I'll leave them on for a while.  I tried to do Sharon's method of treating them while they're in the poles, I can do it when he's coming towards me but I mess him up when I try to treat him when he's on the opposite side of the poles.  I suppose I could get it right with work but, honestly, he does best when I leave him alone in the poles and treat him after he exits.  One change I'm making is that when I treat him I make sure he's looking forward.

Took Yoshi to the dog park and he raced around some with Tugboat the Schipperkee who he knows (Tug nearly got run over by him as he stood in Yoshi's way as Yoshi was racing down the fence), and a Bichon Frisee, and a little with a Pug, Cairn Terrier, and a Boston.  Also did some fence running with a couple of the big dogs.  He's here right now at work sleeping at my feet and is very mellow unlike other times he's been here and jumping at every sound.

We were in Jennie's office and he flinched at one of her desk drawer closing so we opened and shut the drawer and clicked and treated each time it made a sound.  Only took a few times for him to stop reacting.

I'll have to do that next time we're near a teeter. (Bang, Click, Treat).

Mon Oct 10
Off to the Dr for some antibiotics for the infected yellow jacket sting.  I think all the dust from the sheep pen didn't help and once again I was in the odd posisition of having to explain to a doctor why I was standing in and beside a sheep pen.  That's 2 for 2 now and it was even a different doctor (my GP instead of my neurologist).  Though this time I wasn't butted by any horns (small favors).

Sun Oct 9
It's the Golden Gate Corgi herding instinct test!  Cooper and Yoshi went (Rosie has already passed so wasn't with us).
It was held at Joyce Shephards in Rohnert Park (near Santa Rosa).  Joyce has been herding for years (Kelpies) and did Cali's instinct test many years ago.  The setup was quite nice, as it was a smallish round pen which meant that there weren't any corners for the sheep to get in to make a stand.

As expected, Cooper and Yoshi showed interest, but Cooper didn't know what to do with the sheep and Yoshi wanted them on the other side of the fence or at least on the other side of Joyce and I.  Also, as expected, as soon as Yoshi got safely on the other side of the fence he commenced barking like crazy.  So no surprises, but the boys appeared to have a nice time and left the herding to several other very accomplished doggies.

I had Yoshi spend time near the sheep with them on the other side of the fence.  When the sheep weren't moving, Yoshi appeared to alternatively want to befriend them or be afraid of them.  One time one of them looked at him and stamped and Yoshi was very quickly behind me.

Me thinks his herding is going to be limited to ducks and dogs.  Others were noticing how interested he was in them, so he clearly has instinct as dogs that have no instinct have absolutely no interest.  So with work I could get him to work sheep, but I don't think I have the kind of dedication that it would take (getting him confident in agility has taken and will continue to take a lot of work) and he's starting to appear to enjoy agility and, unlike sheep, I can have agility equipment in my backyard.  At least I know that I'm not denying him something essential to his happiness.  And he will get to herd ducks, who do not look at him and say "Make my day" like the sheep do.

Sat Oct 8
Went to Jim W's in the Santa Cruz mountains to pick up an A-Frame that he's loaning me.
As an added bonus, I was stung by a yellow jacket - fortunately I'm not allergic though it did later get infected.

Tried Yoshi on the A-Frame (set at its lowest height which is about 4 feet) and once he figured out what it was for he was all over it.  Espectially since I roll Bil Jac treats down it.

Fri Oct 7
[after class] I am exhausted and drained, but in a really good way and had very good success with Click to Calm.  The feeling is of successfully completing a hard midterm exam.  Where you're jittery, strung out, fried, but relieved that things worked out.

Got to class deliberately early.  Sharon's private lesson was a woman with 3 Standard Poodles which is fantastic since he has barked a lot at Std. Poodles.  Oh and a bonus, one is white and woofing at him.  We start off where he can't see them just hear them and the clicking and treating begins.  Then we move to where he can see them and starts to bark (and the white one starts to bark back.) so we back way off to the other side of the lower yard.  Sharon invites us to come up and keep working up there and I tell her that this is as close as we can get right now.  We continue to click and treat for anything that's not a bark, growl or a lunge, and he realizes that this is a pretty cool game,  I also feel silly for clicking him so much but I've heard and read repeatedly that this is a common feeling.  As he settles we move a little closer and keep up with the c/t'ing.  (And repeat, and repeat).  We actually get up to the dogs (I don't have him meet them yet) and we are able to walk on past to the open area above the upper field.  And he doesn't lose it!

While their lesson proceeds, he and I play with the tug and treat.  Right now I click him for holding it in his mouth for longer than a second.  When he would look up as if to bark (but hadn't yet barked or growled) I clicked him, which immediately distracted him.  Never would I have thought we'd get anywhere with such a method, but we clearly are.  The trick will be so see how this does over time, but for him it's likely to work as once he's met a dog, he's usually fine (relatively so).

We were low on treats even before class began since he had so many before. (Hope he doesn't get ill). Good thing I had some Bil Jac in the truck.  Also good that his treats are mostly Natural Balance which is actually a semi-moist dog food.

Class itself went well too, though he (and others) went ballistic when some new dogs showed up (2 Tibetian Terriers).  When that happens I back off and pull him back and distract him so I can click him.  This seems to short cut his anxiety.  Emma Parsons mentioned that this was possible.  It's like the click has a calming effect (hence the name.)  He met one of the dogs (who's very sweet) and while still leery of him, is no longer reacting to him.

In class we worked on a serpentine which he aced.  Then Serpentine to Table.  Sharon wants me to be able to run past the Table and still have him take it and stop so we'll have to work on that.  Weave poles - put him on leash for it and he was fine with them.

Then we moved to the larger upper field that has the contact equipment (dogwalk and A-frame - teeter is in the lower field).
Initially he was hesitant on the top of the dogwalk as something was on there that smelled good, and then I got him on the lower part and he didn't stop on his target (just hit it with his foot).  Sent him back up the lower half and called him back and he got it.  Later on he did it without a problem (I even had Sharon turn the mousepad over as she was concerned about the yellow color.)

More weavepoles this time I didn't have him on leash and he tried to make them on the first pass but skipped a couple (he really doesn't have the skill to do them at speed yet.) Brought him back and he did them fine off leash.  Sharon's on my case for being too slow with the treats and not treating him in the poles so I now have some in my hand that I can use immediately.  She also emphasizes treating when the dog is on both sides of the poles - meaning when they're on the side that's closest to you and the side that's further away.

Had some hesitation about rear crosses so we'll have to work on those and of course the A-Frame that he's never really worked on.  We're borrowing an A-Frame tomorrow for a while so we'll have a chance to work on that a lot.  Did the chute and the tunnel no problem. Hooray.

She didn't have time to go over the Bang Game.  I believe it's where you reward them for making the teeter or tilting board make noise by wacking it on the ground.  For sound sensistive Yoshi this is going to take some effort, but likely well worth it.  If I understand the game correctly (I'll check with Sharon first) I can probably click right when the board bangs down.

What a morning.  Now to work where I can get some rest. :)

Thur Oct 6
Dogpark and Jessie.  He played a lot with a large Yorkshire Terrier and seemed to enjoy it.

Wed Oct 5

Success!  We went to his Novice competition obedience class and he was very polite to the Open dogs that he had been growling at.  He was a little reactive to a German Shepherd in our class that he had never seen before, and when the Open dogs started to move in their heeling warmup exercise.  But he greeted both Muffy (little fluffy white/grey dog) and Annie (Golden) and Oscar (very sweet KC Cavalier Spaniel) very politely and didn't growl at all.  To the point that Oliver's owner asked which corgi was the one that didn't like dogs (thinking that it was maybe Rosie who was there also).  I pointed at Yoshi (whom she was petting at the time) and she was impressed.

When he started getting growly we would start doing Click to Calm and that seemed to help a lot.

I don't know whether it's been all the dog park work (the socialization or all the exercise), or Click to Calm, or growing up little by little, or a combination, but we'll continue all of it.

And we'll see if this has any carryover into the agility class.

Forgot to mention that in class we also did a little bit of Choose to Heel which is where you walk around and treat the dog when they come into position.  One thing that caused some confusion was that he will heel on either side of me so when I went in the other direction he was on my right which confused Hazel the instructor, but he was ok with.  (We then turned around so that he could work on the left.)

Tues Oct 4
Still more dogpark work.

Mon Oct 3
From an email I send to friends:
Since you're all so kind to be gathered in my mailbox right now I may as
well share.

Gail and Deborah will be amused that Yoshi who had no aggression issues
is trying to develop them, now that he is our only dog.  They are mostly
fear based, but he is quite the Napoleonic Bully meaning that he zeros
in on the wussiest dog around to bark and growl at (my theory being
that, like a bully, he picks on dogs that he knows won't kick his ass -
girls who give him the hairy eyeball he steers way clear of.).

We are diligently working on it and since he isn't really tough enough 
to endure the hard corrections that Flint needed (and one's timing has
to be so dead on with them), I'm doing a mixture of Click to Calm (going
to a seminar on it in January), time on the Gentle Leader, leashed time
at the small dog park (with off leash as a reward) since he's at his
worst around small fluffy white dogs (who are in his mind evil
incarnant.) and other things.

This all makes me miss Cali all the more as she was very good at keeping
him in line.  I don't think I really have time for an older corgi queen
right now and I don't want to short Yoshi, but it may do him a world of

I think only now I'm really starting to put together that he's been getting steadily worse since Cali passed away.  He's always been a little weird around certain dogs but now it's almost like he feels responsible for the whole household or something and he's not handling it well.  His breeder Elizabeth was wondering if he'd thrive as an only dog (even though he's so good at subsuming himself in a pack) and while he's benefiting from the attention it's almost like it's too much pressure for him.  Maybe I should look for an adult (i.e. slightly older but not too elderly) gentle corgi queen.  Rebecca said that Christine was looking for a performance home for one of her females, and it wasn't the right time for me and also that dog is the same age as Yoshi which would mean having two senior dogs at the same time.  Then also Elizabeth says that I have a puppy coming since I gave her some money to help with expenses when Tom was so ill.  But she's so busy working on getting her house ready for a Vermont winter that I'm sure there are no puppies in the works and I'm not sure I have time enough for a puppy.

Of course this brings up that I'm not sure I have the money for a second dog - particularly one to compete with.

Put his yellow mousepad target out and he instantly stood on it (c/t).  Did a few reps and then put it at the end of the dog walk side of the contact trainer.  No problem.  Sharon of course asks what happens when the pad isn't there, but I think with enough reinforcement of the body position (and maybe changing the name from "target" to "contact") I think it will work.  He's got this skill,  so why not use it?  I think the order should be: "climb" the dogwalk and "target" at the end.  Then when that's pretty solid, change the name to "contact" (by use of Mo's New term-Old term method, hence "contact-target" for a bit).  Then take the target away and see if the behavior holds.

So to review the goals of the dogwalk.  I usually am running along beside dogster, but the real goal is that the dog know how to perform the dogwalk independent of me.  I point him at the dogwalk, say "climb" and he races to the contact position with me saying (in theory optionally) "contact" as he goes into a 2 on / 2 off position.  The reason I'm doing 2 on / 2 off with him is that he's going to be so fast that there's no way I'll be able to catch him if he's doing running contacts (it was hard enough to keep up with Sammy and his running contacts and I think Yoshi will be faster.)

[after work]
The dog park worked so well yesterday that I think we're going to do it again tonight.  Same routine. Go into the small dog park leashed, and only let him off when he starts to behave.

Sun Oct 2
So I've been pondering a lot about this thing with little white fluffy dogs.
I'm starting to wonder if it's more like he goes after dog that have the word "wuss" stamp on their forehead which makes them an easy mark.  In other words maybe he's a Napoleonic Bully if you will.  If that's the case then more corrections/limit setting should be in order, though honestly it doesn't have to be an either/or thing.

So I decided to work on this explicitly and took him to the small dog park, but I kept him on leash for a good part of it and only occasionally let him off as a reward.  There were 4 fluffy white small dogs which was perfect.  I had him meet each one of them with him on leash, and then let him spend time with them off leash.

When we go in he's first on leash, but when he settles down and is being polite to the other dogs, I then let him off leash to run the fence and bark at the big dogs.  Nothing gets him more exhausted than this and he's safer with a fence in between him and the big dogs so it's easier on me.  I'll have to try this before obedience class and see what the effect is.

At the park when I was just about to leave two pekenese dogs were nosing each other right beside him and one reacted to the other (growl and half snap).  Yoshi amazingly didn't react at all!

Go to:

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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