Two different dogs--two different methods of building a team.
Mott and I will be spending quite a bit of time very close together over the next few days. He is VERY food focused and our time will be spent training with food. We will be working on tasks like lay under my feet, crawl under my legs, and other “get in my space and handout” ideas that unfold.
Training is about the process of building a relationship and teaching the pup to use their mind--not about an end result.
Well... the result being: trust & relationship--not a trick that will be repeated endlessly to exhaustion and become a “party trick.” I have no interest in my dogs knowing tricks for the sake of a trick.
Not all dogs enjoy touch the same way and I encourage people to truly look to see if it is something their pup likes--or pay attention to the type of touch your dog enjoys. Jolene likes quiet slow lazy pets, collar scratches, and tummy rubs. Rob likes bear hugs, Coal is a leaner and loves his head being stroked, Ace is more physical and likes more aggressive rubs. Touch is only a good motivator if you are actually doing something that has value to the dog. Pay attention.
A horse friend of mine once said, “Horses are like women. They don’t want to be slapped, but they like a good rub.” Dog are not so different. Patting on the head might be a mild annoyance to one and a flat out “correction” to another.
June is still not fond of touch--and that's just fine. But then I had to find some way to work with her to build a team. Food didn't work. Touch was not an option.
I needed to come up with some sort of game to engage June . She and I played "tug" --a lot. I have no other dog I've needed to bond with in this manner. It worked for June. I haven't played tug with her in 2 years but when she was young it was one way to get her to connect with me prior to sheep. Once her sheep training started there was never a question of team or partnership. She was 100% partner. And, chances are, whe would have been fine once we started working sheep, but would I?