Learning the concept of Fetch...
Now that Ember is showing some very mild (and slightly random) interest in toys, I'm trying to build that interest slowly and surely. There are many days where she walks off or turns away when I reach for something near her or hand her something she hasn't had in a while. That's okay, I drop it and move on back to whatever I was doing.

But then there are days where she truly shows interest and WANTS to interact. You can see it in her face. She gets bouncy (I know, right?! MY DOG BOUNCY!), may even play bows, tries to snatch things away from me. And the more I get to play with her, the more I get to see that she really, truly, doesn't understand HOW to play. It's both so sad and so sweet at the same time.

For starters, if I give something a toss, she will chase it full throttle, snatch it up - and then divert to the couch with it. She curls up, holds it tight (or may even let it drop to the floor), and looks at me with this very bewildered expression, panting and wide eyed.

For while, I have taken this to mean she didn't enjoy it. And I stopped. Wouldn't reach for the toy, didn't try again, didn't try anything new. Just up and left the room, or went back to work, or ask with a reach of hand if I may pet her and if she says yes, we cuddle.

But she always looks somewhat disappointed. She lays her head down and lets out this really long sigh. Sometimes she just stares at the toy, and sometimes she half heartedly tries to follow me around in my duties, just to leave and go back to her couch.

I didn't want to overwhelm her, so I let days go between trying again. And slowly, I braved up. I tried reaching for the toy a second time, looking for those same tell-tale signs of disinterest, worry, or pressure. And at first I got them, so I stopped and moved on with other things.

But then, late last week, her ears perked forward when I reached. I took it as an invitation and repeated the tug game with a quick toss, then I left. Didn't give her the chance to end the session. I got that same confused look - she would have left if I had tried a third time, and that's okay.

But the very next time I tried to play a few days later, I was tossing her lambchop around. I tossed it away, giggling as she clattered off with all four paws moving at different speeds (she's as coordinated as I am, poor girl), and went to get up.

And that's when it happened. She turned back to me and brought me Lambchop without going to the couch first. I praised her, rubbed her ears, and gave the toy a slight tug. She got this slightly wide-eyed look (that same confused one), for just a second, then gave me a good tug back. I let her win and ended play myself.

The next day, I was working on my laptop, and looked up when she jumped up on the couch. She had been in my room a good part of the day. And there she was, Green Dino in her mouth, looking at me curiously. She dropped Dino and pawed at me, and so I gave her a quick tug game and a toss away. Happy with that, she fetched her Dino and went back to my room.

Well, today, I got even braver. And this is the result...

DISCLAIMER: camera fell a few times, sorry.
Time: 1:57

[Image: e5Qmm5.png]

Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
That's fantastic, it's full steam ahead for this girl now, she seems to be progressing in leaps and bounds. I am so happy for you, I know how you longed to be able to play with her. You have done an amazing job !
I think I blinked. Where did that fearful dog go? Tongue Every time I see another one of your videos she gets even more happy and confident. Keep it up! Snoopy
Now that we are on THIS end of the fearful dog, I feel the same way, LB - like I blinked! But oh man this has been so long in coming. Anytime I tried to call her name before, she'd immediately drop whatever was in her mouth and tuck tail like I was scolding her. I have trained myself to not call her to me when she is playing. Today I broke that habit and got a response!

Trifan, yes! Yes yes yes. And I still have to be so careful not to pressure her. It's so hard for me to not jump on this so hard and be like "YAY YOU'RE PLAYING YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO ALL THE GAMES NOW". Because that is totally my personality lol. But I have learned so much and it is helping.
[Image: e5Qmm5.png]

Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014

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