Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I continue to be frustrated with my lack of ability to really tap into any sort of drive or enthusiasm with Secret. Early on, I appeased myself by saying that neither of my boys developed much interest in playing games like fetch until they were six months old or so. Six months came and went with Secret; she is now days away from eight months and still I struggle.
Last night I had two tunnels set in a straight line. Easy stuff, more or less just to play with. I had the Wubba, since this has typically proven to be a "fun" toy for Secret (and is only available during play time with me). I believe she chased after it with a measurable degree of enthusiasm twice. She may have chased after it in a "ho-hum" manner a couple more times, then was completely disinterested.
She displayed quite a bit of what would typically be called stress sniffing behavior from the beginning. What frustrated me the most, however, was that the sniffing behavior continued even when I switched to rewarding her with treats. She just had zero interest in interacting with me last night. Even when I ran around and tried to get her to chase me, she generally chose to sniff around in the grass instead.
I got pretty much no interest from her whatsoever until we got near the dog walk and she offered her 2-on/2-off behavior. Then it was a light came on in her eyes and she beamed. I grabbed the clicker and we worked on the dog walk, including going up & over with a stop on the end. She did fantastic. She was happy. We went back to do a tunnel and she was bored. I put a hoop in front of the dog walk and she was happy. ARGH.
I tied her up to the deck while I worked the boys and again got the, "OMG, I'm so deathly bored" expression out of her. When they were done, I thought I'd give her another shot at the tunnels to see if she had gained any sort of excitement whatsoever from watching the boys. She did the straight line of hoop, tunnel, hoop, tunnel, hoop, but she just loped through it without any real enthusiasm. But still, I ended there because she did it.
You'd think, "Oh, maybe she's just tired?" But no, she goes completely bonkers running around with Kaiser when they are done working. Her entire world of play seems to revolve around Kaiser and I often wonder if that is the issue. With me she is so SERIOUS and Kaiser is her playmate.
I have always "poo-poo'd" the Ruff Love program, but I am giving it serious thought now. I just find it very frustrating that Secret has almost no interest in playing with me and I am unsure of how to bring it out in her.
I want agility to be a game and fun play time for her, but I'm wondering if I would have more success turning into a clicker session with her. She gets so serious and unplayful when the clicker comes out, though -- She's all about work, work, work when it is around -- Maybe she'd be happier if agility were a job, not a game? It just seems wrong.
If this post sounds cranky, I would say it's likely due to the fact that I have gotten very little sleep the last couple of nights. I am trying to get Secret to settle and stay in bed with the bedroom door open, as it's been getting stuffy in there with three dogs as the weather gets warmer. This seems to be far too much of a distraction for her and she's been very active throughout the nights. Last night I gave up and closed the door after she jumped off the first time. She jumped off again an hour later, so I gave up and put the dogs outside. While they were outside, I moved her crate into the bedroom. Of course, she then zonked out like a light the rest of the night (even with the door open).
The crate WILL be used if we have any further restless nights. Constantly changing position, pushing me out of the bed by pressing against me every time I move away (it's hot!), and tail thumping will not be allowed in bed.