August 2, 2018 – FDSA BH110

Homework for our Bogeydog class.

Inventory of Triggers

This is the tricky part for Sei. He will sometimes react at people or dogs that surprise him, but it isn’t consistant as to distance/time of day/location/type of person or dog/type of surprise. It seems to be more of the normal ‘adolescent herding dog’ variety that people keep telling me about. He definitely has overarousal/frustration issues if a dog is running or playing, but that is a separate thing. He is not generally fearful of people or dogs. He is often reserved on first meeting a person but once he has had a good sniff, he tries to climb inside their sinuses and be their new best friend. He sometimes startles at loud noises, but is not generally sound sensitive.

Mostly our issue seems to be stress in new environments and/or suburban environments. It is very subtle and I am really trying to learn how to read Sei. My biggest tip-off to stress is Sei’s inability to play, eat, or interact with me (discussed more below) in new places and certain familiar places. Instead of being his bright, engaged, and happy self, he is ‘flat’. He gets intensely interested in sniffing and often stares off into the distance at nothing that I am able to see. It looks like he is ‘distracted’, but through various approaches, it seems that distraction is less of an issue than avoidance. Perrin is extremely confident but easily distracted, and it just looks and feels different. He does better in grassy places than paved ones, quiet places than loud ones. I think being on leash/confined makes the issue worse. He does better on a longline than a leash (although it isn’t always an option). He is simply a completely different dog in my backyard, in the house, at the farm, or at the cottage (hereafter referred to as Sei’s happy places) than he is anywhere else.

He is much more able to take food, play, and engage when Perrin is with us than when he is on his own. This is logistically difficult as together they outweigh me.

Inventory of Reinforcers

  • Food (broad categories based on value, he is not picky about specific foods)
    • Kibble
    • Hotdogs/Cheese
    • Peanut Butter

Those fall off Sei’s radar in that order as discomfort increases. He will work for all of them in his happy places. I mainly use kibble at home because he can get too excited over the others depending on what we are working on. Kibble is never taken outside of the previously listed happy places. Hotdogs/cheese sometimes are, depending (~50% of the time they are not spit out), PB is the most reliable, but still not a given. Sei will often spit food out when outside of his happy places. Often when Sei does take food it seems that he doesn’t want it, but is taking it to make my hand go away. He is also not eager to work for the food, he may take it, but then immediately go back to whatever it was he was doing (staring, sniffing). If he does turn to look at me, it is a fleeting glance rather than a sustained offer of interaction.

  • Toys
    • Discs
    • Tugs
    • Balls
    • Chasing toys dragged on the ground (no tug, no retrieve), ie flirt pole

Sei is eager to play with and work for a variety of toys in his happy places. Everything from discs, balls, boring (ropes, flat leather) and interesting tugs (fur, squeaky). The strongest part of play for him is the chase part. As stress, exertion, or frustration accumulate, Sei loses the tug and retrieve parts quickly. He will chase something thrown a little bit longer. Chasing something dragged on the ground will be the last kind of play to be lost. Playing with toys does not hide anything with Sei. He has to be really comfortable to be able to play with toys, he will not channel stress into playing with things and will actively avoid toys when he is uncomfortable.

  • Personal Play
    • Wrestling/rolling around on the ground
    • Chasing me/run between my legs

Sei loves chase. Chase is likely tied with PB for the very last things he loses the ability to do as he gets more uncomfortable. We have never tried the ‘ground’ playing outside of his happy places. It is a new one to our repertoire.




Dog-est August – Training Log – August 1, 2018

Whoohoo! My tunnel came today!



Today Sei and I did a few different things. We did a bit of shaping practice, wraps, play, and explored the new tunnel! I am going to skip the video of the shaping practice, just because it is long and not terribly useful for me to review later. We didn’t work on shaping anything in particular, just practiced offering a variety of behaviours without frustration. It went pretty well!

The wraps are coming along. Nothing terribly notable here, other than the fact that there is a dead squirrel on the lawn behind where we are working. Sei is eagerly working for (and bringing back!) a boring old tennis ball, running past it several times on his way back. Sei thinks dead things are the best treat ever. This made a big impression on me regarding Sei’s inability to work with me in new places. It really cements my suspicion that it is based in concern/uncertainty in the environment rather than distraction. There is never a bigger distraction than a dead squirrel, and when we leave the house, I have WAY better things to offer than a single tennis ball. It was also really windy out, my tripod even blew over at one point!

I took some baseline videos of play, both in the house and outside, for our FDSA Bogeyman course. Sei does play with me when I am on the ground, which is a big step forwards! He used to only play with me if I were running/chasing. There are a few things I would like to refine for use in making Sei more comfortable in new places: 1. This sort of play doesn’t work well on leash, and 2. the biting!. I don’t mind some mouthing, but this is a little too much for me.

Finally, I introduced Sei to the tunnel. I didn’t really go out with a plan, I just wanted to see how Sei felt about it. The last time he saw a tunnel, he was terrified of it. Turns out he is fine with it now! I didn’t make the smartest training choices here because of my lack of a plan, but Sei isn’t scared of it, so we are on track to start with an organized approach tomorrow!


We didn’t work on TEAM today, rather doing some shaping and tunnels. I love shaping with Perrin. He is so enthusiastic. This is us working on two sessions of roll over:

Perrin also loves tunnels. Not so much straight ones (they are boring), but even they are better than no tunnels. He is happy to run tunnels just for the joy of it. I tried throwing a ball for him, but he thought that was stupid. Apparently my ‘tunnel bags’ double as water bowls.


Chance did great with the muzzle today! He was extremely enthusiastic about the whole thing! He was shoving his face into the muzzle so hard that I could barely keep his head where I needed it to manipulate the straps. I got the strap done up loosely today and Chance tolerated it extremely well. He was a bit obsessed with a tiny scrap of hot dog that I dropped on the ground, but that mostly kept him unconcerned about the muzzle on his face.


Today I tested out to see if Dex knew a down verbal. He doesn’t really, but someone has worked on some sort of hand signal with him before, because he knew that to some extent. So I started the beginnings of adding a verbal to it.

Training Log – July 24, 2018

It seems I have finally found the motivation to start working on some agility things with Sei. Yesterday he saw his first jump, and it was kind of fun. The problem is that where to start with agility is a huge analysis paralysis trap. What handling system? Handling or equipment introduction? Do I use the class I already have (Shape Up, some equipment, some handling), buy Silvia Trkman’s foundations DVD (equipment/skill focused), buy the FDSA handling intro course (handling focused)? Can I even self evaluate handling in a bronze level class, or would there be a huge benefit to waiting until I can do it at gold (probably)? Can I even justify purchasing something new when there are also equipment costs on the horizon. I only have jumps without wings at the moment, and most foundation agility programs need at least 1 tunnel and some wings. Wings are easily made from PVC, but tunnels and even homemade bags are more expensive.

Should I even be doing jumping? Sei is over a year (15 months), but under a year and a half. When I talked to the ortho vet about agility and jumping foundations last month, he cleared Sei for such activities given his fitness background, the program I had in mind, and that it is not something we train extensively everyday. X-rays were not taken though, so growth plate closure is not known. Is it really any different than the jumping he does in disc? It is probably safer because it is more controlled than disc (whether I should have been doing disc or not is whole ‘nother can of worms I have wrestled with). Does the fact I am doing something that is potentially worse justify doing something a little less risky? That is bad logic!

I decided to sidestep most of equipment and agility specific issues, and work on an FDSA course in my library called Jumping Gymnastics. It is a course focused on conditioning for jumping, and teaching the dog how to jump effectively and safely. All you need is 4 jumps, and some toy skills. Which I would like to think we have! It will be a nice, easy, skill based contrast to the work I will be doing following along with the Boogey-Dog course this semester. I want something that is just going to be fun and not feel like endless drilling with me screwing up, and Sei getting frustrated. Perrin’s love of jump grids have given me a +CER to them, and the course is set up with a focus on errorless learning so I thought it would be a good fit in that regard as well. Today we started with our baseline videos for the set point exercise.

The Set Up

Sei is currently somewhere between 20.75″-21″, so I used a jump height of 20″ as per the AAC rules.  I used one of my cavalettis as the stride regulator, and used distances of 4.5′, 5′, and 6′. We did 2 reps of each distance, for a total of 6 reps. Here is one of each, in real time and slow motion:


The 4.5′ and 5′ distances are too close for Sei. He is taking off much closer to the jump than he lands. The 6′ distance is better, but it is still a little unbalanced. The next time we work on this I will be curious to try a couple larger distances, or use the same distances and a 16″ jump, and see what happens. It is also clear that he is pulling from his front end rather than pushing from his rear. This is the sort of thing that the course is designed to help with through both conditioning and jumping exercises. I also wonder if I was standing a bit too close to the jump and affecting how he was landing (decelerating to prepare for the tug). I will stand farther away next time and see.

In terms of the skills department, I was so happy with our toy skills, hand touches and waits/breaks here! These have mostly been edited out of the video, but I felt good about them. I used hand touches to set him up behind the set point where he needed to be, he waited until I released him every time (although I didn’t push my luck on this part, I kept it at a level I figured he would be successful at, saying ‘tug’ while I was still in motion rather than stopping and waiting first), he drove straight over the jump to the toy (never going around or under the jump, where did he learn that? He saw his first jump yesterday! I certainly didn’t teach it!), outing the toy when asked, the whole bit! Whoohoo! I started out tugging, outing the toy, then taking Sei back to the set point to go again. I realized that the smarter thing to do would be to tug with Sei all the way back to the set point, then set him up. He liked that a lot better! (EDIT: Watching the slow motion video, he did actually break his stay once before his marker. I presented the toy a fraction of a second before giving my cue, and he broke on the toy presentation. I would have never seen that without the video replay).

In terms of smart training, I should consider stationing Sei between reps while I measure and change the set up. Either in a down if I think he can hold it (questionable) or give him a station. This would be a smart thing to work on now to set us up for success in future agility training.

Tomorrow is a long drive back to the farm, then we will be at the cottage for a few days. So we will likely not work on this specific exercise for a few days. Tomorrow I will do some fitness work focussing on the core and rear, and then the cottage days will be full of swimming, so that will be fun and fitness!



July 14th, 2018 Training Log

Today’s theme is: Lots of video, very little commentary. Go.

We also went for a walk, found Sei’s last geocache for his beginner title, some muzzle work, started on thrus for rally free, stationing work, and cuddled. Today was a bad day mentally, lots of wishing we could do things we can’t. So I tried to have some fun training lots of things we can. Didn’t work so well today.

April 3, 2018 – Training Log

Today was a busy day in dogland! Sei worked on tugging for our toy class, name game fun for our loose leash walking class, and his fitness routine for our case study. Perrin did his fitness routine for our case study, and came for a run with me. The entirety of our fitness videos are here, only so I have them stored in another place other than my hard drive in case of a catastrophe. The llw name game video is from yesterday, but we did the same thing 3x today.

April 1, 2018 – Training Log

I have skipped a lot of days of tracking so I won’t try and catch up, but rather carry on instead.

Today in addition to field walks and some casual fetch, I took Sei’s baseline toy videos for our toy class.

Unedited 2 Ball Game:

Unedited 2 Tug Game:

This one, I realized after taking the video that I am presenting the second tug at the wrong time. I am presenting it before he starts coming back, rather than marking with the presentation of the second tug after he has taken 1 step back in my direction. I will have to retake it tomorrow with proper mechanics before I submit it for feedback.


February 11, 2018 Training Log

For the past week, we have been working on Nosework. My husband is working with Perrin, and Sei and I are following along to provide any help that may be requested. We are all working through the beginner nosework class at FDSA.

We spent the early part of the week imprinting on the wintergreen oil, and have now gotten started putting a vented box with the scent in various parts of different rooms for them to find. Here is each dog’s first search:


Sei and I also worked on some homework for our herding foundations class. In this specific case, it was adding a hand signal to our existing down. He did really well for his first session, catching on to the hand signal after only 3 pairings with the verbal.

August 8th, 2017 Training Log

Things have been very busy lately, and I have been recording most of our work though our Fenzi homework. I figured I would make some notes for today before going off line again for a while (I am prepping to paint much of the house, thats going to be fun with two dogs!). I am also falling behind on the puppy genius homework with the two gold classes, and in life training. Gah. Got to catch up!

Perrin’s Heeling:

Fitness Trainer Homework:

Some of the videos are shared with Perrin’s heeling.

Sei’s Crucial Concepts Homework for the past few days:

I really, really hate luring. So that is what we are working on in this course right now. So far, we are struggling with tuck sits. I debated on whether or not to go down that rabbit hole, because tuck sits are a real challenge for Sei right now, and I don’t want to spend the entire rest of the course on them if we can’t get them worked out in the next few days (few things ever get worked out in a a matter of days). We will see how it goes. These are our progress so far, with my notes.

I struggle with luring quite a bit, and find it very frustrating. It seems to me like a strange thing to struggle with as much as I do because it should be intuitive. With my older dog, I shape pretty much everything and have so far followed this with Sei.

I find it difficult to make sure I am doing the right thing with the lure, observe what the dog is doing, adjust myself accordingly (which I often don’t know how to do, how my hand motion relates to the dog’s motion is not always obvious to me beyond the obvious ones like spins), see when criteria is met, AND get my markers and timing correct.

I took video of luring attempts of roll over, tuck sits and spins, all of which are completely new berhaviours for Sei. I made progress with the roll overs, and spins, but tuck sits were not as successful. The above video of tuck sits are a good example of the issues I tend to have when luring.

I had several problems here:

  • The biggest issue is that while I theoretically knew what to do with my hand, I did not know what I was doing in practice, nor how to modify it when what I was doing was not working and I was getting rock-back sits.
  • I wasn’t sure of the best way to handle the rock back sits. He tried something, and he is at the stage where I really want to reward the effort of trying, and for working with me. I defaulted to asking for a hand touch, rewarding that, then tossing a reset cookie. That went on for a couple reps and I felt like I was just patterning that sequence. Because I didn’t know how to fix the underlying issue, we called it quits so I could come up with a better action plan for later.
  • Because things are going poorly, I am frustrating/confusing my dog, and I don’t know how to fix the issues, I get flustered. Then my mechanics, marker words, and timing go out the window. Normally I wouldn’t continue to the point where I get flustered, but I usually start there with luring.


I just experimented with how the lure placement/path effects behaviour: Can he follow the lure instead of sitting and waiting for the cookie (a very reinforced behaviour)? What happens if I move my hand up/down/sideways when Sei is standing? Sitting? Down? Moving? That sort of thing. No markers, lots of cookies.

I definitely have an issues splitting and setting criteria with luring. I’m not sure why. I don’t have those problems when shaping. It is definitely going to take some practice for me to get the hang of the multi tasking for luring, and to find how it is easiest to see the dog’s motions when I am so up close. Especially with Sei being so much smaller than what I am used to working with.

Whoohoo! Unexpected tuck sits! I was intending to video footage for Baby Genius with the whipped cream, but I started getting repeated tuck sits. Bonus! No subtlety in the lure with that can, but it certainly made it easier to reward for a longer time in position.

I’ve been doing trials with different treats for the lure, and what I am using makes a big difference. I think it must be my mechanics that is doing it with each for it to be so consistent across different foods, but I’m not sure. Discrete bits of food (kibble, hot dogs, cheese) yielded poorer results than something lickable that I could smear on my hand, then open my fist to reward (PB, cream cheese, jam). This video highlights the difference.

After many attempts, here is where we eventually got to with the mixed treat method. PB for the lure, and kibble for the reset. My ‘get it’ marker needs to be cleaned up here for sure, I am moving my arm before I finish the marker. (Sorry about the background noise, my husband was wildly happy about whatever trick my older dog was doing with him upstairs, but this was by far the most suitable clip).


August 2nd, 2017 Training Log

Today we got a lot done! Sei got quite the day of brain work:

  • Handling Face: I wanted to associate Sei’s face being touched with good things, so I was pairing a face touch with a C/T. Then he started offering chin rests, so I did a bit of that.
  • Chin Rests: Literally Sei’s second session on this. The first was earlier in the morning when I was just making good associations with his face being touched and he offered me a chin rest. With duration. Very impressed with him.


  • Timing for CCC: I took more video for my crucial concepts course and got it edited. Nothing too interesting here.
  • Stacking: I worked a bit more on the stacking practice. It is a slow process, but I think we are slowly moving forward with it.
  • Two Ball Game: This is really not a very good example of the game, but it is better than we were doing a week ago!
  • More Play: We had an awesome play session in the evening! I found strategy that works to keep Sei bringing the ball to me rather than running off with it. When Sei picks up the ball and turns back around, I run the other way and keep moving until he drops the ball. Then I pick it up and start the game again. I’m pretty happy with what a change that made. I did eventually have to go get a tug to to save myself from puppy teeth between Sei dropping the ball and me throwing it again, but that worked fine too.
  • Focus in the face of popping corn: Sei found the popcorn popping in a glass pot on the stove very interesting. So I took the opportunity to work on some focus.
  • More stationing, hand targets, a curiosity exercise from the Baby Genius course we are taking, and a little bit of mat work.

July 21, 2017 Training Log

Working through Relationship Building Through Play continues! I am now on the lecture about toy play, specifically the section on how to effectively use a flirt pole to build/develop more interest in toys (not that Sei needs much of that, but I figure I start at the beginning and progress at his pace so that I don’t skip steps). The day started out with more flirt pole. Now that I know Sei loves it, I’m upping the criteria on the tugging/holding. He got one run first thing, but once he caught the fleece, he quickly let it go and it escaped! I videoed the later afternoon sessions to see how my technique is. The answer is: Not Good. In order to try to stop them from running in tight little circles, I try to change directions, but what happens is that then the fleece heads towards them, which isn’t good. I speed up just as they are about to catch it, which isn’t fair. Perrin gets distracted by Sei barking in the house when it’s Perrin’s turn, so that complicates things a bit too.

Perrin is still learning that it is the END of the pole that he needs to grab, rather than just stealing the entire thing out of my hands, or grabbing the string part. I think I may need to add a more interesting toy that the tiny scrap of fleece I have on it right now. What Perrin does not have an issue with, however, is the grabbing and the holding. I can’t play with the flirt pole the way he would like after he has ahold of the string because the flirt pole is not made to be gripped and tugged with. My grip is just not strong enough for that game!

I’m still trying to work my way through the FDSA Empowerment course I have in my library, but I find the content hard to work through with no guidance. I think this is one of those courses that would have been valuable to take at gold. I didn’t realize this when I was working through it with Perrin, because he is a pretty empowered guy all on his own (see the agility teeter. Perrin thinks that jumping on it to make that weird noise is the funnest game ever. He scares other dogs in the room. I couldn’t leave it out while I set up other equipment because he would run over and stand in the middle and make it drop, then pivot still on the teeter and make it slam the other way. Repeatedly) . With Sei, I get to watch the process. He isn’t fearful, but he thinks things through in a way that Perrin didn’t/doesn’t. Perrin runs in like a bull in a china shop, where as Sei thinks about whether he wants to cause destruction or not first (he usually settles on destruction!).

Sei and I went to the park for a little while this afternoon. We kept the walking to a minimum as it is pretty hot out, and his threshold for walking is not very high yet. We sat in the shade and watched the joggers with strollers and bicycles go by. We worked on some attention, which he did well at for a little bit. He met a couple of preteen girls, who greeted him nicely (which I was really happy about this, because given the language barrier, I can’t instruct people). He thinks people are awesome and tries to go up to everyone we pass. I am keeping an eye on this one, as I really really don’t want it to develop into leash frustration down the road. We will keep working on attention/focus on me for the time being in all sorts of different places. We tried to play a bit, but Sei wasn’t having any of it. He just wanted his garlic cream cheese. For cuteness, here are some pictures of Sei at the park (I am trying to re-learn how to use my SLR):

On the shaping front, we did some more hand touch work in the yard, some mat work and more name games. Apparently I say “Say What?” enough to Sei and reinforce what comes after it enough that he has decided that is his recall word. I figure I’m just going to steer into that skid!

It is going to be interesting to see how Perrin’s exercise requirements change when it cools down a bit. Right now, he basically plays with Sei in the back yard, works on some brain stuff, and sleeps the rest of the day. I tried to do a short walk around the neighbourhood with him yesterday to get out and see some of the new sights, but he was just lethargic and unhappy looking. He is happy to play with me, Sei and some toys in the backyard in the mornings and evenings, but that seems to be the extent of his exercise requirements at the moment.