13 months ago, Epic was just a few weeks old, but we had started some training. My most prominent goal was that he should fly back to me anytime he had a toy in his mouth – ready for a new game of tug. I started his training with some short games already when he was five weeks old, and have kept training for the rest of his upbringing. I’ve had a plan for all play and I have never let him run off with a toy on his own. The result? Fantastic! He is extremely nice to train since tugging with me is the best thing he knows. He pushes toys on me to get me to tug a little more. He almost seems uninterested in toys when he has them on his own, they get value in the interaction with me. I’ve often felt that I’ve been very lucky – this thought through training probably just coincided with the perfect dog. The behavior does feel so natural for him, with no resistance at all.
But then I thought of Squid. Little Squid that was so tired and hard to engage in training during her first year and a half. I had such a hard time building value for tasks, to get speed and endurance. But I had two prominent goals that I focused on from the day she came home – no matter what, she should love circle work and nose touches. What do you think happened? She was really hard to train in everything except circle work and nose touches. She just loved those two behaviors and has always put all of her self in them, even though the rest of the training sometimes was slow. Was that also a coincidence? I’m starting to doubt it. What to you think?
If you want to know more about how I worked with getting Epic to love to tug with me and fly back to me as soon as he got a toy in his mouth, you can buy access to Lesson 1 of my Foundation Class. For just 200 SEK (approximately 20 euro or 30 USD) you get access to my text and video, combined with the videos and comments made by the participants and my answers to their questions.