Tuesday, April 26, 2011

K & Mattie have a Misha May play / train date #2

Kabul, who is not quite one year old, likes to engage with other dogs in addition to playing with a ball or toy. Mattie, 9 years old, likes focusing on retrieving, with little or not interest in engaging with other dogs.

Since the goal of the play date was to provide an opportunity for them to be themselves and feel safe together, I didn't have any agenda that they would need to play together or like doing the same thing. They created quite a bit of trust today in allowing each other to be who they are with no pressure or expectations.

When K takes the ball Mattie is interested in, she waits for an opportunity to get it back rather than choose a different ball. K is quite confident and skillful in his relationships with dogs. Mattie isn't very confident, and wants to avoid confrontation, so she is patient. At one point, I intervene to let K know that ultimately the ball is mine, and I am going to continue to play with Mattie.

This difference in play styles was later accommodated by throwing two different balls, one for each dog. K played for a short time, interacting with me and then entertained himself in other ways. Mattie continued to retrieve her favorite ball as long as I could throw.

In this situation, throwing one ball for them to compete over could be disastrous. K would either get the ball first or take it from Mattie, hoping for interactive play. Or Mattie would give it up to him, losing her confidence. Neither dog would be getting what they most enjoy. Needless stress and tension would be created.

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