Wednesday, February 1, 2012

She chose TOY over FOOD?

We had a bit of a mind boggling occurrence last night. Since the dawn of man (okay, maybe just since Secret was a puppy), food has always been number one for her. It took me AGES to get her to show any interest whatsoever in toys -- and then even longer for toys to have enough value to be used in agility training. Even once that point was reached, though, I always had to be very careful that she didn't "see" me using treats with anyone else (Kaiser or Rascal), because then she would shut down and not want to play anymore.

I more or less have continued to follow this unspoken rule. I always work Secret before Kaiser, although there have been numerous instances where I have brought her out for a second go-round after putting his food away and she will still work for toys. I have never worked her with toys in the presence of food, though.

Everything is melting here at the moment (yay!), which means the yard is becoming a giant mess (boo!). Because of that, when I got home from the shelter last night I decided to go down to the basement for a training session. Figuring we would do more teeter slamming work (we raised the teeter again!) and perhaps a bit of table shaping, I just grabbed the bag of cheese (trial leftovers!) and went down to do some clicker work with Secret.

Her Woolie Dog tug was laying on the floor from the last time we were playing downstairs. I expected her to ignore it and start mugging me for cheese -- so imagine my surprise when she dove at her tuggy and wanted to play! While I was holding cheese!

I set the open bag of cheese on the floor and played with Secret for a bit. Then, because she has never in her entire life seen a broad jump and will soon be expected to successfully complete one in competition in a mere few weeks, I took three jumps and fashioned them into a makeshift sorta-broad jump. The bag-o-cheese was sitting on the floor right in her path to the jump and she completely ignored it for her toy. Go figure. What a breakthrough!

Now.... If only I could get her to play at a trial. Food is still #1 in that scenario, unfortunately. She will mouth at her leash a bit when I offer it to her, but then she drops it and says, "Where's my food?" Oh well, maybe some day!

On the subject of the broad jump, do you suppose it will bite me in the ass that she's never seen one before? Not really sure what to do about that. My boys have only seen them a handful of times in their life and have never really had an issue, so we'll see. There are uprights on both ends of the broad jump in USDAA, so IMO it's fairly obvious where she is supposed to go. I'm throwing a lot of new stuff at the baby dog at her first USDAA trial, though, so what is one more thing? Contacts with slats, higher a-frame, higher jumps, smaller tire, teeter, broad jump, chute, judge moving around all over the ring.... Good lord, if we get through the day without a meltdown I think that in itself will be huge. lol Hence why the baby dog is only running in three classes!

I wish the 18th would just hurry up and get here already. I am not a patient person.

Oh! Exciting news! I might be getting another foster puppy this weekend. :o) It's in the works, so we'll see!

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