Retrieve Party

Very wet Java

Very wet Java

You’re probably wondering what happened to my grand plan to become the center of my dog’s universe.

As usual. Life happened. Half of the things I planned to do didn’t get done. Most of them because I didn’t push through inconveniences to make them happen. Some of them because Life made them impossible at the time. But you know what? Some of the things did get done and they made a difference. Actually, I was surprised how big of a difference a half-assed effort can make.

Imperfect plan execution is better than no execution at all. That’s my catch-phrase for today and I’m sticking to it 🙂

The exercise that we made the biggest progress in was the one with which I had the most fun (interesting how that works, huh?)… throwing balls! At first it was pretty boring because I would have the doggies sit in my living room, throw a ball in the hallway, wait a little, then release one of them. We repeated this when out for a walk. They were so obviously bored by my 3m throws that it was pretty much the same to them whether they sat and ate cheese or got up to retrieve the ball. But then little by little as I started trusting them more I would throw longer throws and now the game became really fun. And because Java was sitting while Ruby was retrieving he was bringing the ball all the way to me. It’s a good start.

Considering I’m trying to teach Java not to steal Ruby’s ball I decided that it’s not really helpful that she is trying to steal every cone and stick that Ruby picks up on a walk (and he is of course actively teasing her with them). So we played this game: we find a gazillion pine cones, I kneel down and throw one by one in the air for the dogs to catch. BUT only the one whose name I say has the permission to jump up and catch it. The other one gets a cookie for waiting for their turn. There is no stay involved in this – they are free to move, as long as they don’t interfere with the dog catching. I know this type of thing comes naturally to many dogs, but mine really have to exercise their self-control for it 🙂

In addition I will now call Java off whenever she tries to steal whatever Ruby has picked up, even if I haven’t given it to him. Practice makes perfect and I would rather not have her practice that.

With this new understanding of the rules I was even able to play some free fetch by throwing a ball for Java in one direction and then for Ruby in the other and Java actually brought the ball back instead of running after Ruby’s ball. This is something that was virtually impossible two weeks ago. It isn’t really solid, so we’ll keep working on not stealing toys for a while, I think.

Onwards and upwards!

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