Wow; almost four months old now! Lyra is losing her baby teeth and her soft, furry wool. I miss the wool. The baby teeth...not so much.
When I brought Lyra home, I focused on her tug and retrieve skills. Playing tug was easy since Lyra was born with talent in this area. Retrieve went through phases; sometimes she would consistently retrieve objects back to me, and other times she preferred to own them by herself.
When Lyra became fairly consistent about both retrieving random objects and bringing them back, I started working hard on teaching her to drive back to me - with the same intensity I expect to see going away from me. I've been delighted with her progress in this area, so much so that I had somewhat neglected her driving AWAY from me.
A little over a week ago, I started working harder on Lrya's drive away from me. You can see the first steps of that work in the post here:
Today I took stock of all of her play skills to date, and I taped this session:
1) I am very happy with her improvement in driving away and her opposition reflex. She is comfortable with my grabbing her ruff, and she looks where I throw food or toys. Next I'll try to get that degree of drive towards a target or a dumbbell.
2) I am very happy with her toy return. She comes back with speed, and she immediately jumps at my hands to get me to reingage. She enjoys hanging from the toy, so I reward her fast, upward returns by grabbing the toy and briefly taking her off the ground.
3) As a bonus, she now jumps at my hands and plays with me before we start training -whether or not I'm holding a toy. That is huge progress, and suggests I may start attempting to play without toys again. It's possible she's ready. Until now, play without toys led to my becoming the toy; that was a painful result. Now she can participate in a bit of personal play and a little work - even without a toy reward to focus on.
Nice session. I'm glad I taped it because I was super proud of her.