Old dog teaches owner new tricks
How to stop a dog from playing keep away.
We have a 9 year old German Shepherd retired from Customs work due to health issues. The wonderful thing is that she is very good with the puppy. Even better, she does not play with him for long so the puppy has energy for training. The best part of all is that she has already been trained to search for things. She has been doing a wonderful job at being our guinea pig for some of our training with the puppy. When she does not respond to something during a training session, it is usually because we messed up!
Just recently she solved a problem with our puppy. Grom always likes to parade around after winning his toy playing keep away. Agitation training with him has helped much in getting him to run full speed at us when we have the toys, but he just doesn’t seem to understand that the play would continue if he would just bring the darn toy back. He wouldn’t even come back for the identical toy we would produce. No matter how much we jumped around and acted like idiots, the puppy would ignore us. My husband and I would even play tug with each other trying to get the puppy to come over. No go.
So how does an old dog teach its owner new tricks? Aaron got the idea from playing fetch with Heidi. When she returned with the ball, she wouldn’t drop it right away unless you asked her. Many times she would literally bonk her head into you with the retrieved ball in her mouth. If you try and take it out of her mouth, she would tug. Is she playing keep away? Couldn’t be that. Heidi hates playing keep away. She would immediately come back to you anyway if you let go of the tennis ball while she was tugging on it. AH HA! She brings the ball back to play tug with you!
The solution was a very specific game of two tugs or two balls.
Check out how my husband plays with the puppy now. Only after a few times with this new play, the dog no longer plays keep away! Belgian Malinois are very fast, so many times you might see the puppy get the toy before he was supposed to. The key is to play tug with the toy he has in his mouth when he comes back to you. You use the other toy to lure him near you. If he drops the one he has before he gets to you, simply throw the toy YOU have.