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Old 04-20-2013, 11:48 PM
Laurelin's Avatar
Laurelin Laurelin is offline
I'm All Ears
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 30,963
Default Teaching Summer to use a treat dispensing toy

I love my derp dog.

Summer has no idea what to do with toys of any kind. I've gradually gotten her to bite and bat at tugs with her paws. And I've gotten her to follow the rip and tug toy but then she has no idea what to do with it so I have to open it for her.

Today I decided to try the easiest food dispensing ball for Summer's dinner. This is how it went.

First she got excited for dinner time. Then I put the ball in there instead of filling up her bowl. She sniffed around her bowl then looked at me. So I got in the play pen with her and sat down. Put the ball in front of her. Summer hid from the ball. So I tried a different approach. I held it out for her and asked her to touch it. She tentatively reached out and touched it. I poured out a kibble and gave i to her. I put the ball down and asked her to touch it. She did... just barely.

This goes on for a while. then she'd go sit behind me (what she does when she's nervous). Eventually she hit it hard enough to move the ball a bit. A kibble fell out. I kept having to ask her to interact with the toy until we were down to about 8 kibbles left. I think the lightbulb went off and she realized 'hey, I'M making the kibble fall out'. So she started rolling the ball with her nose. Yay!

I know this is probably not interesting to anyone other than me, but it makes me smile to see my little old dog starting to figure out things that I take for granted with Mia. I've been able to reward Summer with toys in agility some now. How awesome is that? She would HIDE from toys to begin with, they made her nervous. I am sure part of that was me (or much of it). I'd wave them around and act 'weird' and it stressed her. And now she's figuring out how to play, and truly enjoying it. And getting more and more confident by the day.

Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

this one is a good dog:

DSC_1431 by Summer_Papillon, on Flickr

Hank CA - (approx. 1 1/2 year old Spotty Dog)
Mia CGC - (6 1/2 year old Papillon)
Summer TG3 TIAD - (11 year old Papillon)
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