I am finding out that I can overcome any challenge while training Idgie, all I have to do is approach it with lateral thinking and excellent dog training.  Last week she decided there would be no tugging if there was food anywhere near us.  I decided I would have a tugging fiend who could get treated for some things and rewarded with tugging for others, all interchangeably in one session.  So after doing some body-awareness free shaping with cookies I offered her a tug toy and she refused it.  I prompty ushered her off to her crate and got Kelso out to run a sequence.  When I put Kelso up and got her out again I offered her the tug toy and she took it!  We had a fabulous game of tug before packing up and heading home for the day.  This way we ended the session on a tugging note, and it seems to have paid off, because tonight I got out a tug and a tunnel (something she has been shaped to run through, so she “expects” cookies in relation to it) and she willingly and thrillingly tugged with me in between racing through the tunnel.  I then had Kass (my training buddy) hold her for a restrained recall (something else she has been cookie-jackpotted for).  She raced to me, I offered her the toy, and she said, “what? no cookies? no thank you!” So once again I scooped her up and in the crate she went.  The next time I got her out the first thing we did was a restrained recall and she tugged for it!  I am also getting creative with my tug toys so that I can develop a hierarchy of tugs.  So far she will tug on a rope tug at home only, will tug on a leash almost anytime, and it takes a novel toy (and possibly a time out) when there’s food around.  I’ll write about other challenges soon, so far we’re tackling the tug “problem” with ease!

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