Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Toy Drive

(According to our guesstimated birthday, Secret is three months old today!)

Currently, Secret thinks that toys are a super fun way to interact with Kaiser and to keep herself entertained when nobody else will play with her. Thus far, however, I have not been terribly successful at getting her to interact with ME with toys.

I have tried a few times to get her interested in a couple different types of frisbee outdoors -- but ultimately I think it's just too darn cold and the snow is crispy and hard. No fun at all! The most reaction I have gotten is for her to bounce after the fallen frisbee and paw at it a bit. Oh wait, she did pick it up a couple of times, but she has made no motion to retrieve as of yet.

Last night I thought maybe I'd try to train some sort of retrieve through clicker shaping. We didn't make it too far before she got terribly frustrated with me -- and the stupid new button clicker I ordered BROKE, so our game was interrupted while I went to grab the old clicker. The toy I was using was a stuffed pig that all of the dogs really love to play with. Secret has tossed it around several times, herself.

With the clicker, however, she was certain that she was supposed to touch the pig. She did progress to doing a nose touch to it, but never really grasped that I wished for her to pick it up (much less bring it to me). We had a limited amount of time, so I decided to instead move on to introducing "roll over" and "spin/turn." Silly me was putting a different cue on spinning in different directions, but do you think I'll remember which one is which? hahaha

We all packed up to head down to the dog center after an early dinner, because my agility class has now moved to Monday nights. Secret wasn't at all upset about heading back into her crate after spending the entire weekend there. She didn't make one peep during my class, and thankfully there were no accidents in the crate this week. :o)

When I was all done for the night, I decided to bring Secret into the arena for some play time and to let her get comfortable around the agility equipment. I pulled the bars off a couple of jumps and worked on getting her to go through the uprights. We also went and explored a tunnel for a little while, which she was more than happy to check out.

Granted it was 9 p.m., but I was a little bummed about the lack of enthusiasm that I was receiving from Secret during all of this. She happily followed me and went where I asked her to, but it was more or less at a walk or slow trot.

I decided to go grab a tuggy out of my agility bag and see what kind of interaction I would get from her then. Wow, I suddenly had a totally different dog! She was excited, running & chasing the tug -- she got into it more than she ever has at home with me. I briefly worked on her wait/recall using the tuggy, which we found more difficult/stimulating than when we were just using the boring kibble treats.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that a BC will end up being more toy-motivated in her training than food-motivated. We'll keep up the playing at home and hope that I can spark some more interest in the frisbee & balls. I do have to remind myself that Luke really had zero interest in fetching until he was at least 6 months, and now he's insane!

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