Or, the little farm dog moves to the big city, learns how to play with toys, and completes her transformation to spinning, barking, tugging fool.

Well, actually, that's a lie. She didn't bark once. She also didn't need to be on lead at all. She stuck right by my heel until it was her turn, and then she was smokin'. It took some luring to get her over the jumps (she doesn't really see the point of jumping things unless there is no way around them) but once she realized she wasn't going to get the toy unless she went over a jump, she was offering jumps like there was no tomorrow.

Fly also paid no attention at all to the other dogs running and jumping, even when the seasoned dogs demonstrated a relay, with the requisite barking and general freaking out. She laid there like a furry little rock and didn't take her eyes off of me or the toy in my hand. Which is interesting, because all Solo has to do is sort of look like he wants to jump something, and Fly starts getting into position to stare at him and chase him all over the place. I guess Fly doesn't have "chase the other dogs" drive after all. She has Solo drive.I've been trying to teach Fly to tug for months, to no avail. She would never hold onto a toy if I was holding the other end maybe some sort of hyper-deference, I don't know. Then, if I could get her to bite on a toy that I was holding, she would immediately turn around and look at Solo, hoping he would start playing with the toy instead, so she could watch him play with it and do her little freak-out dance. She invariably prefers to do the freak-out dance while he plays, rather than play with the toy herself.

She will even go to the toy box, grab a toy, throw it at Solo, and then get into position to start the freak-out dance. But finally, I found a toy that Solo could give two craps about, a tugging frisbee from Doggone Good. Since he has no interest in it, Fly gave up on getting him to play with it, and started to enjoy it instead. I started clicking her for holding onto it if I was holding it. Suddenly, two days ago, Fly started tugging on it like she'd been tugging forever.

(It was supposed to be Solo's agility toy, but he prefers the Riot softie stick.) We felt very accomplished, being one of the only beginning flyball teams who already had the tugging thing down pat.
Maybe Fly will take to this more naturally than I thought.

Melanie Lee Chang > Form ever follows function. Departments of Anthropology and Biology >
University of Pennsylvania > Louis Sullivan (Email Removed) >
I've been trying to teach Fly to tug for months, to no avail. She would never hold onto a toy ... turn around and look at Solo, hoping he would start playing with the toy instead, so she could watch him

Wow. This sounds just like Boo. Very deferential also and doesn't believe it is acceptable to play tug with people. (It is Dee's favorite game.) Boo plays tug with Dee, but just won't do it with me. I have gotten a toy that I make a big fuss about, get Boo all jazzed about it, play with him and tease him with it for a few seconds and put it away. He has started to get very interested in it. I guess I'll pull out the clicker and see if it speeds things up.