GO!

Update on Rolo Playing with Me

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Rolo

1236640
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 12:16pm PST 
First I want to thank everyone for their suggestions and techniques. I have not tried all of them yet, but I have had success with a few and a few of my own. smile

Rolo was given a plain, soft box to tear up -- a diet Coke carton. He enjoyed this and went through a couple of them. laugh out loud

I always wait to play with Rolo until he seems bright-eyed, waggy, and excited, bouncing around a little. One interesting thing he does is open his mouth wider when he wants to play. thinking

We continued to interact with the tug. I bought a soft sqeakie since he is so soft-mouthed. I squeak it to get him excited and amped up. He will take it in his mouth, but drop it without squeaking it, so I squeak it above his head some more. Then I put it up and play one of two games with him.

The first is playing with the rope tug. I will zig zag the fringy ends across the floor and he will paw at them and grab at them with his mouth. I will also life it higher than his mouth and he will jump up a little and reach toward the knot end, which he likes to get in his mouth. A new game is "floss the teeth" in which I rub the tug bag and forth in his mouth at a moderate speed and he tries and sometimes succeeds in catching the knot end. He is now offering slight resistance in tug. I let him win about 75% of the time. He also likes to grab for the end of a tennis bone (the knob part).

Another game I found to play is to get him amped up with the squeaker toy, then grab his feet. Sometimes he wants all four grabbed, sometimes he just wants me to play patty-cake on the floor with his front feet. I was absolutely thrilled when he let out little playful growls -- he has never done that before.

Whenever he seems playful, we have a very short play session, perhaps just a minute, and I always leave him wanting more.

I have not tried using food to reward him for playing. He seems to be getting excited without it. I don't know what play circuit I have engaged in his brain, but Rolo seems happy about it, and so am I! big grin
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Rolo

1236640
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 1:16pm PST 
Ah, on reviewing the body language of play (I'm always concentrating on 'bad' body language, I suppose), I found that the wider, open mouth display is a sign of playfulness among canines. thinking

Edited by author Tue Jan 29, '13 1:26pm PST

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Squ'mey

too old to eat- any more KD
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 1:59pm PST 
cheer for Rolo. I'm glad you found some games he enjoys. Squ'mey is a big playful galoot, always up for fun & mischief. Keep going & see how far Rolo will come along. snoopy
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Jackson Tan

Lad about town
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 9:23pm PST 
Yay for Rolo! Glad he's having fun. Cartons are a big hit here too, such a fun toy for a dog.

As mine gets more and more into the game he just stands there his jaw flops open, it's so funny to see. laugh out loud It looks like he's grinning. I love it when their mouths go uber wide, lol!

Happy playing!
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Squ'mey

too old to eat- any more KD
 
 
Barked: Sat Feb 2, '13 9:03am PST 
wave Rolo! How's the playing coming along? I find this thread so interesting. I've never had a dog who didn't relish hearty play. I had never thought about teaching the skill. I assumed it was innate..like practice for hunting, herding, guarding, pulling...whatever the dog was originally bred for.
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Rolo

1236640
 
 
Barked: Sat Feb 2, '13 10:06am PST 
Hi all! wave Thanks for the support! It means a lot for me, this has been something strange for me, too, Squ'mey. My other dogs, all my life, and that makes 8, have all played with me naturally. Many have been actually nuts about it. I believe Rolo had very little human interaction before I rescued him.

I really can tell the boy wants to play from his body language, and we are coming along. We have about 3 play sessions a day, and he plays a little with other dogs in the park once a day. He has an excellent play bow! The squeaky really revs him up, lol. He is tugging very slightly harder now!

I am thinking of building a flirt pole when the weather is better, -- it's been running around 10 degrees now, a little cold to play a long time for me, not for him. One thing he really does like to do is run between two people. We have used this for recall training. He will go to one person, then "Come to mommy!" When he comes to mommy, he runs flat out, then slides into home base!

I found an interesting study going on: Dog and Human Play! At Horowitz's Dog Cognition Lab. You videotype your play with your dog and send it to them. I think this would be great to do with my dogs, esp. since we interact differently with each one. And once I get Rolo playing more, I may make a vid of him and me. smile

Perhaps they will be looking for the "play circuit" in the brain and what neurotransmitters it involves!
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