I really can't figure out what she's thinking...
Playing in my parent's back yard... thoughts on this?

[Image: e5Qmm5.png]

Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
Maybe "I'm not especially interested in playing fetch the ball right now" Undecided

To me it looks like Ember just wants to play with you, no toys. She wants the chase and "cuddles" or "rough play" then fetching a toy and returning it to you.

At the beginning where she went off to sniff something Maya does it too. She has to check out the area to make sure it's "safe" before play.
How often has she been to you parents?
Does she usually play "fetch"

Why I ask is she looked like she wanted to investigate the environment
She looked like she doesn't get the game fetch or she is not motivated by it.
I loved how she swerved around the ball to,get behind it, you can't get past your herding instincts, lol

A couple of points
you keep "inviting" her to play with the ball is pressure, you know how she feels about that, lol
I would have a great time with the ball myself, rolling it, throwing it up in the air and catching it, and wait for her to ask to join in.

I think mayariver is right she wants to interact with you.

Interestingly you were inadvertently playing a game I use to evaluate what makes the dog tick.
Throw a toy, hold the dog back, release. Here comes the interesting bit.
If I also race with the dog , some will see this competitive race as motivational others like my May are apologetic and see it anything but motivational. "OMG I didn't know you wanted too, so,sorry, please take it" attitude. Ember definitely was a little apologetic, not motivated. This insight helps us know how to "work" our dog.

Watching owners and dogs interact, play and setting up games gives soooooo much information.
Ember likes being with you. Awesome?
I notice something and is quite typical with BCs
Her need to please you is sometimes in conflict to,what she really wants. This is causing stress. So I would "reward" her pleasing you and responding to your request by giving her what she wants. Here I would have rewarded her by letting her investigate her surroundings I might have joined in and pottered around myself but not asked anything of her. Does that make sense

Btw you two are doing amazing, it is journey I am enjoying
It's so funny how many times I watch these videos and see so many things I just don't seem capable of catching in the moment (right now anyway). I definitely see all of the above thoughts.

I think what I am struggling most with is seeing "I want to interact but not with that" vs "I want to interact" vs "Not right now" vs "I want to interact with that but not right now". For instance, this is the most bouncy she's been in the back yard, so initially I didn't pick up on the avoidance. I did have the mind to try a few different things though.

I am having trouble determining what games she does like. Chasing the ball does nothing for her, obviously, but maybe Catch ramped her up a bit? Or was it something else that ramped her up? And usually she defers big time and doesn't handle competition well, but me getting in early on and trying to take the ball resulted in at least one full fetch, but ended the game completely. Maybe like "yea okay fine I did it now let's do something else?" Competition is something I do not do often with her, so I experimented with it. I just couldn't read the results very well.

And in the moment, it looks like she enjoys it. Both the fetch and the catch. When she actually does it.

Oh and Frisbees are scary. Maybe they are too big.

We are also struggling with squirrel chasing so I'm trying to find that one thing that is an equivalent in her brain that I can control. I am still trying to work with the flirt pole but she just doesn't have much for chasing inanimate objects.

Requested background information:

She knows this yard well - we are here at least every other week, sometimes multiple times a week. Some days she just wants to lay in the sun, other days she tries to get me to chase her around, which I comply with.

When she runs towards the camera and to the left, that is a new behavior. There is a gate there that stays locked, and as far as I know she's never seen it open. I have no clue how she knows it's an exit, but those times in the video she headed in that direction she was waiting patiently at the gate looking at me. This started last week.

Moving away from the camera and to the right is another gate that she has seen opened many times and leads out to the driveway, so we have actually exited that way maybe once or twice. While she knows this, this is not her typical "let's leave" move. We almost always go through the house (so I can pick up things like my purse for instance), so her first request to leave is to go to the door on the porch, which she does not do in the video. So while I think she wants out of the yard, it is not a request to leave completely - I don't think.

The funny thing is that there is a third gate towards the camera and to the far right which is identical to the first gate mentioned - and she's been in and out of that one regularly, but does not go to it on this particular day.

Next time I will get more creative with no-toy play - that morning the grass was super dewy and soaking wet, and being in jeans I couldn't get down on the ground with her.

She has also engaged in at least 4 repetitions of catch in a row in this yard, but only once or twice. I am trying to nail down what made those times enjoyable vs almost every other try. Hence playing around with competition verses types of throws, etc. I am now thinking it is an arousal thing as I believe, before, I had self-played with her prior to picking up the ball, instead of starting with it.

That veer-away thing is something she also does regularly in self play, and to me it feels more like "I don't really know what to do" as opposed to "I don't want to" in that instance. This is because she will usually veer, stop, look at me, then dive at me or dart away.

Any ideas on when to switch from "teaching the game" to "you really just don't like this do you?"?

I also had 0 idea that I was calling her to me that much. Definitely pressure and something I should know better on! Also, wet grass - I didn't even think about maybe she didn't like the wet.
[Image: e5Qmm5.png]

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

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