Today I took Lyra for a training session away from home. Surprisingly, she was a bit spooked by the environment, so we ended up spending about ten minutes just walking around and adapting to the soccer field. I had an overwhelming desire to try feeding her; I had to hold myself back. Realistically, she's not interested in food under most circumstances, so why beg her to eat? She is interested in toys, however, and she is interested in me. So.....I overcame my food and object dependency, and decided to spend most of the session simply playing with her. Once she was relaxed playing with me, I incorporated toys.
For the first fifteen minutes I simply followed her around until she looked a bit bored. Then we played.
We had a wonderful time! She chased me up and down the field. When she came close, I gently pushed her away and to the sides, so that I could run off again. After about ten more minutes, I got out some toys and we incorporated those into our games. I'd give her a tug toy, play tug, let go, and run away. She chased me every time. When she caught me, I either grabbed the toy for a super quick game of tug, or pushed her away and ran off again. Here and there I'd run back over to the platform I had with me, and if she stepped on it I'd whip out a new toy to play with. It looks to me like she's starting to understand; hop on platform and toys appear. Chase mom and you'll have a great game. Retrieve objects back and get something new to play with. Come when called and any of a number of rewards could happen - from genuine praise to a cookie to a great toy.
I'm so glad I didnt' try to use food for her training today. This was so much more fun and interactive for both of us!