Category Archives: first week

Revalation that’s not really a revelation

I was making a list earlier this week of all of Gypsy’s distractions. It is a side project, not for this program. And then I realized today after looking at the list (and after a week of soaking in all this new information) that 90% of her distractions are fears/anxieties. I think the exceptions are squirrels, cats and flies. Everything else, anxiety. The neighbors upstairs: check. Neighbors she occasionally sees in their windows behind us: check. Other noises: check.  Crowds of people: check. Dogs in her classes: check.

If it’s not a fear distraction, it’s generally not a distraction at all. She’s an all or nothing kind of girl I guess.  She doesn’t react to all of these, but she’s covered in body language indicating it in her ears, her eyes, body posture, and movement. Quite a revelation that will help me help her.

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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in first week


Successes and failures

Today was fun and the day went fast!! We did a lot of sit to say please a lot in the house and yard. She’s starting to get it but we’re still working on it becoming a habit. Most of the problem is she will sit, but won’t stay in sit. So I am working on longing that duration before releasing her. I think being consistent with the release word will help, as she will learn to remain seated until told otherwise.

We also had a fun round of crate games in the yard. I put the crate in a different spot than yesterday.

And in the afternoon we went to the park. It was a nice day and the park was busy. There were a lot of people and dogs. I like the park because the path is paved, 3 miles long and there’s a lot of grassy areas around it to step off to the side.  We didn’t have any problems with any of the other dogs there. She was really good.  The bad part is that we tried to work our automatic sits and also our moving sits and it didn’t work well. She was glued to the smells of the ground. She didn’t focus on me much at all. There were a number of times she looked back at me, I stopped, she sat and she got huge rewards, and she was into that for maybe another minute as we walked and stopped, walked and stopped, but then she went back to her distractions. The sniffing could have been a displacement behavior for stress too since it was quite crowded.  We stopped a few times and sat in the grass for relaxation massages which she loved.  Over the course of the 3 mile walk, which took nearly 2 hours (usually we walk it in 45 minutes), it was much better toward the end than at the beginning. It was just too much stimulus for today. We’ll have to find another park with long enough paved trails to walk and practice. Poor Apollo did great getting treats as well and being very confused to why we kept stopping. 🙂

We did a few more sits for please in the evening.

And this concludes the last of week 1.

Sits for please going well in house. Need to work on duration.
Sits for please going outside same. Need to work on duration.
Moving and reverse sits great inside and in yard. Next week taking to front yard and street (quiet cul-de-sac)
Auto sit and eye contact has increased since we started and she’s definitely learning.
I have to keep remembering to stay consistent.
I have to keep a close eye on my mechanics: treat quickly and not to bend over.

Today I am grateful for another rainless day and a nice walk in the park with my dogs who I love so much.

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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in first week


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Thank goodness for Saturdays

We got a lot of sessions in today and had fun! First for breakfast we did our quick sits. I worked both in the house and in the yard. She was pretty focused, yet still watching my feet/legs moving backwards. She doesn’t do that when we go forward.

We also worked some crate games in the yard with one of our fabric crates I thought it was going to be a problem because it doesn’t have a closing door where the criteria is straight forward but she did great. I was able to open the top zipper and treat her from above. I even went behind the crate and called her and sent her back in. She was funny trying to get in from the back and side before she realized the door was on the other side. It was cute. A+ for effort!

We also played a good game of stick and fetch with one of her toys in the yard. She was zooming around like a puppy!!

We continued our sit for please all day long. I still have to get used to some things, like when she wants up on the bed our couch. She’s never had to ask permission for that but does now. It counts; it’s included.

I also spent this afternoon watching and reading more from Sophia’s website and videos. I am getting a good grasp on all of this.

I also finished our POA which is posted.

And finally we went for an evening stroll. It is very hard to practice our moves with Apollo, my poor sweet boy. I tied him to my belt loop but it was still hard. So we just walked for now. As Sophia’s FAQ’s say, if the dog isn’t too far into training you can walk as you normally do. But I think soon I may have to walk them separately around the neighborhood instead of together at the park for a while.  After our walk, I tied Apollo to a tree and did some quick sits with Gypsy. She was little distracted by some bikes, which she has some fears of, but overall it wasn’t too bad for our first time “on the road.”

Thank goodness tomorrow is another weekend day to practice!

Today I am thankful for the sunny and warm (by Seattle standards) so we could play in the yard.

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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in first week


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Leader in the dance

This is the basis for all we are doing and is very much what Gypsy needs. She needs to know how to follow the dance and I need to learn how to lead. I’ve always had 2 left feet.

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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in first week


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L2E and Control Unleashed

Today we started Control Unleashed, a class offered by one of our local training facilities. I signed up for it weeks ago, before I knew about L2E. There are a lot of parallel methods between the two so I think it will only help us. I asked Dr. Yin about it at the seminar and how it relates to L2E. She said to just be careful with the Look At That Game and either don’t do it or make it a head whip instead of a glance. The less she looks at other dogs, the better, because as she said, “if they’re looking at it, they’re thinking about it.” This is not a novel concept but it really hit me hard and it’s now engrained into every session I’m working.

So our CU class tonight was great and we were able to actually do some of our L2E exercises of reverse sits, side sits and sit for please with crates (and actually like Crate Games too).

The great thing about my instructor is that she completely is ok if I need to modify something. She gets it and understands and just wants us to be successful. This weekend I’m going to send her an outline of what we’re doing and see what she wants to add or change, etc. She’s a certified dog trainer, has 2 reactive dogs of her own, and also teaches our agility class so I have a lot of respect for what she says.

This morning we worked more sit for please and sits in the house. I think she completely understands the reverse sits game. She’s still looking at my feet a lot so I’ll continue it in the house, but I think we’ll start taking this outside in the yard and maybe in the front yard soon to work new environments.

I have to keep a close eye on my treat and kibble ration. It’s getting difficult with all the rewarding to keep it from going over board.

Today was a good day.

I’m going to start ending this blog like Susan Garrett does — with something she’s thankful for.

Today I am thankful for my work who let me work from home, stop working at 3pm so I could make the 3:45 CU class.

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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in first week


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Day 4 notes: more focus and agility class

First of all, I’m going to lose track of the day count very soon so I’m just going to stop now. The date of the post is right there so I’m sure you’ll be able to follow along just fine. 🙂

This morning’s breakfast consisted of more rapid sits and say please sits. She’s starting to pick it up. We have some problems at the door a little, but I just closed it like in crate games and she offered me a sit.  It took a few tries for me to walk through the door with her still waiting but we got it and she got a large reward. Since I have 2 doors to the outside it was a little long of a process, but hey, we’re only on day 4.

We did some great rapid fire sits outside in the yard and she had really good focus. Again she watched my legs and feet before looking up but her eyes were still not on the ground nor looking around. I didn’t treat her unless she was looking at me with focus. Overall today’s sessions are improvements!

We also had agility class tonight. Sophia said in the seminar that for L2E it is best not to expose the dog into high-arousal situations. Her class does bring her arousal up a little but it’s definitely below threshold. It’s a small class, indoors, all the other dogs (3 tonight) are in crates and with some room to work. Our first turn on the little course we worked pretty much on Sophia’s rapid sits in all directions, backwards, sideways and forward on left. When I moved fast, she was really with me and focusing and paying attention. She wanted to smell the floor if I moved slow and stopped to talk to our trainer. Overall though, it was MUCH better than the first session we had on the stage in the hall where the seminar took place.  Our second turn we did some very short sequences with lots of rewards. Her focus was great. She did glance at the other dogs a few times but then focused back on me. High rewards and very proud! Baby steps….

So I talked to my trainer a little about what we’re doing. She also teaches Control Unleashed which we start tomorrow for the next 6 weeks.  I explained as much as I could without taking too much class time. I’ll email her the rest. The great thing about her is she is completely supportive of what we’re doing and will help in any way. I just need to explain clearly what our criteria is and that the key to success IS the clear and consistent criteria.

We also practiced a little “go to place” game today which is like crate games but on a bed. I’m working on having her hold a stay. We’ll need this for Control Unleashed class.

Off to bed. Good training day…

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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in first week


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Day 3 – leash-free session and crate games

This morning we worked on our fast sits both in reverse and in heel. I decided to try it without the leash this morning. She did much better following me. I think the tug on the leash kind of scares her or she resists. I do want to go back to that after our Buddy System leash arrives. I also noticed she doesn’t always look at me at first, but does closer to the time I stop. I was looking at her to see what she was looking at, whether it was a distraction, or food on the ground or something else. She’s looking straight ahead but not up. I really think she’s watching my feet or legs to see what I’m going to do. Being a corgi and being as short as she is, I think she’s really watching my body. I would like for her to look up at me and I can make kissy sounds to make her do so, but I’d be afraid that the kissy sounds will end up being a cue or a trigger, and that’s not what I want. I want to shape this without any extra moves. I just want her to follow my body language unless I need to call her away from a distraction as Sophia demonstrated in the seminar. But looking at my legs instead of my face I think will evolve as we do more sessions. For now, I’m not going to stress over it. We’ll keep playing.

This evening, we did a round of Susan Garrett’s crate games. We’ve done this a lot in the past but honestly it’s been a while since we worked on it for more than a few reps. I also took it back to stage 2-3 practicing putting on her leash and shaping the sit stronger in the crate. Crate Games teaches self-control and impulse control as well, plus it also helps shape the automatic sit, so it goes well with Sophia’s program. Gypsy loves crate games so the more fun we can have while working these behaviors the better. When I get around to posting my POA, you’ll see Crate Games listed.

Apollo had agility class tonight so he got to spend some special time with me. I feel bad for him since I’ve been doing so much with Gypsy. He really enjoyed his class tonight.

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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in first week


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