The trio after a bath and groom at my friend Sarah's. Mallei lost about 8kg of visual weight, I reckon. He looks SO much better- he's like a different dog. Loki is actually tired and Lu is.. being Lu.

The trio after a bath and groom at my friend Sarah’s. Mallei lost about 8kg of visual weight, I reckon. He looks SO much better- he’s like a different dog. Loki is actually tired and Lu is.. being Lu.


So I’ve been playing these food games with Lu for our Play Class with Polona. Basically the ideas have been 1) make food more exciting, and 2) make your dog give some energy before they get food. Eg. they have to put effort into getting food.

One of the exercises to promote this has been basically encouraging Lu to get to the food in my hand by any means – the complete opposite of ‘It’s Yer Choice” where they have to NOT get the food. It started off with rewarding her for snuffling and licking my hand – that was about all she wanted to give…. Now? She’s clawing and biting, barking at my hand, backing up in a drop and POUNCING my hand… her tail is wagging and she’s fully determined to get that food. The behaviours sound horrible! But….

Today we did a bit of strength and balance shaping – I haven’t done any in ages, bad me, and I noticed a definite change in her attitude. If anything, I’d say she was a lot more ‘alive’ and ‘present’ when training, and although she just wanted to stand up on me all the time (one of the tricks we’ve been working on for the class), everything had a lot more gusto and enthusiasm than I’d seen before.

Ok, it’s kind of hilarious when she’s literally trying to steal my dinner out of the bowl, or when she plucked the fork off the arm of the couch the other night, because it’s super naughty, and actually suggests she cares about something.

I have to be careful not to laugh too much at her when she’s being so naughty or she’ll learn to keep doing it for sure!


Yesterday at training she was FLYING. She did the weaves there after only a couple of goes of ‘not quite’ right – she can do them in different places, yeah! And she was back to doing her running DW like before – and this is the same place where she was super hesitant and weird on the up-ramp.

I found because she was happy and enthusiastic, that I was happy and relaxed and didn’t care about things, so when we didn’t do the little sequence right (totally my fault), it was EASY to actually be all like: “YAY GOOD JOB!” and mean it. I need to find a way to make Lu happy, so that I can be happy, and we can be happy and have fun. I’m hoping that her competition last weekend just gave her a taste of  doing it ‘for real’ and she’ll start to love it more and more.


9 thoughts on “attitude

  1. Wow what a change in Lumen! So I guess Polona’s class is helping 🙂
    I have started a tiny whippet agility group (read: two whippets!). We had our second class today and one of the ladies said about her whippet as he sat in front of her “he’s being too good”. It made my day! I didn’t think they could change their opinion about behaviors so quickly 🙂

    • Em says:

      I definitely think some of the things are helping. I feel like the toy play is pretty static and hasn’t changed much, and some of the things we were already doing, but definitely her attitude to toys has changed. I’ll be really interested to see what happens next in the class, re: transferring it to agility.

      It’s funny about ‘being too good’ isn’t it? Cos so many of the behaviours and things we do sort of squash that drive out of them in a way- I think about all the self control stuff I did with Lu and wonder how it affected her, like whether she’d be more crazy now if I hadn’t done as much or something,

      So cool about your whipgility! 😀

      • Very interesting that the attitude toward toys changed even though the toy play hasn’t. Please keep us posted 🙂

        Yes, sometimes too much ‘good’ can hurt. It’s hard to know with a young puppy as they are so different from one another and you’re just guessing what will their character be like when they grow up. I did have some reservations about doing too much self-control with Java when she was small, but they were mostly around static behaviors. She was very good at holding sit or down for an extended period of time and that’s why I never practiced it… I didn’t want to make her think that being static during training sessions gets rewarded since it was clearly an easy behavior for her and it’s not very useful in agility 😉 So now she sometimes breaks a sit-stay in agility and I find it so funny 🙂 I know I will need to put more value into being still, but I keep postponing it. I’m thinking she’s got time, she can get crazier than this… we can work on sit-stay when she gets too crazy 😉 It’s not that I let her run after breaking the startline or that we don’t practice sit stays at all of course. I’m just not putting in the massive amounts of value that would make it as desirable as running agility. I don’t know… perhaps I’ve got it all wrong and she will get used to breaking the startline because of this. We’ll see.

        I love the term whipgility! I might steal it 😉

      • Em says:

        Hmm, maybe I wrote my comment wrong: her attitude toward toys seems the same, even when I’m trying new things. Which is the frustrating part. But then I filmed again yesterday with a different toy (a ball like Silvia has) and THAT was much better. So possibly rope/soft/long toys aren’t good, where as this she can get a really good grip on.

        That’s too funny about Java’s stay- I think as long as it’s not rewarding (or more rewarding) to break it, then you shouldn’t have a problem. I think it’s more like what I see here where the dogs break the stay and the handler shrugs, gives up and keeps running. You’d surely have to go back and start the stay again even if it makes you disqualified (which it would here)
        Whipgility! Special agility times for cool whippets.

      • Yay, you might find a magic toy for Lu. Well, at least a little bit magic 🙂
        I do plan to fix it before we start competing, so hopefully there won’t be too many diqualifications due to this. But if she will need to wear the wrist support for months then she won’t be able to compete for quite a while and I don’t know when she will be able to train. Not that I am in a hurry to compete anyway. I actually have no desire to. I almost wrote a blog post about it today, but I thought three posts in two days would be a bit too much 😉

      • Em says:

        Ah, I know what I did. When I said: “Definitely her attitude to toys has changed” that should have read “food”. D’oh. 😉

    • Em says:

      Ahahaha, I can imagine that happens a bit?

      Loki was at school yesterday and he was super intense about wanting to go over to this girl who was standing with some friends and I thought: oh, no worries, must want to say hello… Next thing I know: “CHOMP!” and he’s bitten off half her roll and luckily didn’t take her fingers with it. Sigh. I’d been so careful making sure he didn’t go near any kids who were eating, I just didn’t see she even had anything.
      Looks like I have some work to do there. 😉

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