Category Archives: 5th week

Fun adventures

Today was fun. I wanted to go somewhere because the sun was out and it was going to be warm.  I had been wanting to go up to the snopark for a few weeks before the snow melts and my pass expires. So today we started out at the snopark. There weren’t many people there. Gypsy was very good and had fun in the snow. She loves snow and had a good time, and seemed very relaxed. She caught a few snowballs too.

Gypsy catches a snowball - 4/22/12


After the snopark, we went to one of my favorite parks with a really nice lake. There were a lot of people there and a lot of dogs. Gypsy was so good. She didn’t bark or lunge or do anything inappropriate at all. A few times a dog looked at her and she looked back at me and she got cookies! I was very proud. We sat in the grass for a while and she was very relaxed. I didn’t see any signs of stress at all. She was rolling around, laying comfortably, ears were nice, no scanning the environment, etc. She was nice and calm. I gave her lots of rewards.

When we got home, she noticed one of the windows upstairs open. That got her barking for whatever crazy reason. I started to think about how to stop her barking with something else. I am hoping this doesn’t create a bad behavior chain, but when she barks, I do a loud SHHHH!! she looks at me and I give her a treat for being quiet. I hope she doesn’t bark just for the SHHH!  So far though it’s stopping her in mid-bark in the house and drawing her attention back to me when I give her a cookie for being quiet. I’ll see how it goes.

Today I am thankful for a beautiful day and fun with my dogs in the park.

Fun in the snow

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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in 5th week


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Reactive barking and growly dog

Today had some good and bad. First, the reactive barking was bad today. She was barking at every little noise upstairs, every little thing outside, and anytime a fly farted. I need to really figure out how to stop this. I tried putting her on her bed with the Manners Minder and rewarded for staying there, quiet. It didn’t work once the MM was gone and I couldn’t keep feeding her all day long. If I had her tethered to me, she would bark and then look at me, like to say “Mom I had to alert you to the noise but now I’m looking at your for my cookie.”  The only thing I didn’t do was put her in her crate. I tried to work through it. The crate while I really think and plan is the next step.

As far as good, we started our Growly Dog class today. There are only 3 dogs in class, which I’m a little disappointed in because it may not give us as much help as we need but I’m sure we’ll learn a lot. One dog is highly reactive and another is only selectively like Gypsy.  I told our teacher that I have to modify the class a little since I’m working on the Learn to Earn program. Growly Dog is based on BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training). Although it’s a great system and great program, even Dr. Yin told me that BAT won’t be enough for Gypsy. It doesn’t teach the leadership Gypsy needs. BAT instead teaches the dog an alternative behavior to feeling overwhelmed, generally by turning around and walking the other way. There are some great things about BAT but it’s not really what we need. So we’re modifying. We can still turn and walk away, but instead of BAT where the dog can stare at another dog until they decide to turn around, Gypsy can’t. As Dr. Yin said, if they’re looking at it, they’re thinking about it. So Gypsy has to treat it as the Look at That Game in CU, whereas if she sees a dog, she looks, but then looks back at me for guidance. When she does, she gets rewarded then we walk away.  In BAT the dog isn’t rewarded until after they are walking the other way. As I said there are some great things about BAT, but we are making a hybrid of it.

I took the dogs for a walk in the park tonight. Gypsy did really good with her walking. She did bark at one dog who was coming toward us, pulling on a tight leash with the owner telling it to “leave it” from quite a distance. Gypsy was the first to respond though, like she already knew there was “danger.” Offense is her best defense, which is what I’m working on changing. So she did bark at that dog, but we passed a few others with no reaction and she did stay focused on me. Overall successful.

Today I am thankful for the knowledge I have and the ability to clearly tell a trainer why I am making changes to the program for my dog and why I need to do it.


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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in 5th week


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More milestones!

One month ago today we officially started Learn to Earn after the seminar. A month ago today was a Monday right after our weekend with Dr. Yin’s workshop. We’ve made a lot of progress and have learned so much. Gypsy I think is feeling a little more confident and comfortable. She’s looking at me for guidance too. We’re not near our goals yet and she’s still reactive, but we’re definitely making progress! I can see it. I don’t always see it everyday but I know it’s there.

Tonight in agility class, I finally felt like an active member of the class instead of the remedial reactive student in the corner. Gypsy actually did all 10 obstacles tonight. The first try we did 5 and 5 and split it up. She did really well so we tried the whole course and she did great. It was a nice curvy course without any funky handling so it was a good one for her to do. She wore her Thundershirt which I think helps a little. At minimum, it slows her down a tad. So overall today was a really good day!!!

Allergies are wreaking havoc so I’m glad the weekend is almost here.

Today I am thankful for keeping on track for a full month and for all the progress we’ve made.

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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in 5th week


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One month ago today…

One month ago today, Gypsy was with me at Dr. Yin’s workshop for our working spot. Dr. Yin showed us how to start our L2E, the mechanics of reinforcement and did a little evaluation on Gypsy’s reactivity. It changed my life and how I think about my dog training and my responses to Gypsy. I am forever grateful.

Again, unfortunately today, was a bad allergy day. I got home late from work due to a co-worker’s good-bye party. I didn’t do much when I got home. Gypsy was in the ex-pen chewing on her rawhide. I think she really liked it. She also barked at imaginary noises and reflections in the windows. I rewarded her for staying quiet the best I could. The nice thing is when she barks, I can recall her off of it. It doesn’t stop her really, but it is nice that I can recall her successfully off whatever it is she is barking at as long as it is not a squirrel.

She is looking at me for leadership a lot more in the yard these days and sometimes in the house. Her sits to go outside (please) are a lot faster and more automatic.

Tomorrow we have agility class. I hope she does as well as she did last week.

Today (and everyday) I am thankful I went to Dr. Yin’s workshop and had an invaluable working spot with Gypsy.

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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in 5th week


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Trail walk happiness

Tonight we went back to the trail we were at on Sunday. It was supposed be a corgi walk but only one other corgi showed up. So it was a quiet walk. Gypsy did really well with her attention. She got her dinner as treats and she had a good walk.

I think the best part is right now. She’s laying on my arm, on the couch, sleeping. Yes, she’s done this before but she’s been quite the snuggle bug lately, at night and on the couch. I’ve been working so hard at building our relationship. I don’t want to just be a dependence for her. I want to be her best friend. Where is our relationship when the cookies go away? That’s what I’m working on. Right now, I can see our relationship. It sometimes gets upstaged by a noise or something, but right now we have a relationship and it’s wonderful!!!!

Week 5 is off to a decent start.

1 month ago today was the first of 2 days of Dr. Yin’s seminar. Celebrate!

Today I am thankful for Dr. Yin and a corgi sound asleep on my arm.

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in 5th week


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Training challenge: Hay fever!

Ugh, so today isn’t a great day. I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. My seasonal allergies are in full force, despite the allergy meds I take. Even so, I worked the best I could with Gypsy with the little energy I have. When we go outside for potty she is doing well looking at me. It may be because she’s hungry but I’ll take it. It is still rewarding her for behavior I want.

This evening I didn’t have a lot of energy. We worked in the yard on some relationship building games with me (attempting) to run and have her chase me, things like that. She loves those games. I just wish I had more energy to keep running.  We came inside and worked some leave its, some calming rewards (the landlords were noisy tonight) and some early shaping exercises I’m working to build on.

I’m doing some research on relationship-building too since I know that’s something I really need to work on and that will help a lot of our problems. L2E is all about building relationships too, so I know we’re off to a great start.

Short blog tonight as we start week 5.  Tomorrow is the corgi club walk on the same trail we did yesterday. It will be a great training op.

Today I am thankful for Allegra, Flonase and kleenex.

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in 5th week


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