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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just having a hard time and need to vent. It's sort of a training issue but also not.

Misha is 13 months now. He has always been super playful and this has always manifested in a strong desire to play hard to get. It isn't that he has a real aversion to being touched, but it's like he takes any opportunity that I want to touch him and turns it into a "catch me if you can" scenario. It can be frustrating because I don't want to encourage it by chasing him. I had hoped he would grow out of it. Lately he is just doubling down on it. It hurts my feelings sometimes because I feel like he doesn't want to come to me. I watch other dogs that can't get enough of their owners and I feel like Misha doesn't care much for me.

He is also incredibly sensitive sometimes. A few days ago I was trying to teach him something he felt he couldn't do and he was very frustrated and gave me the cold shoulder for hours. And yesterday he got some horrible sticky burrs caught in his fur and hated me getting them out so much that he has been avoiding me since. I don't know if it's better to ignore him and let him come to me or to entice him with treats and play.

I think quarantine makes this hard. When I left every day he missed me so much. Now I'm here constantly I'm no longer a scarce resource.
 

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Your last couple of statements hit home to me. What would happen if you went out without him for a while and then took a walk together or did some training when you return, maybe that would put some balance back. Also (and I sure you know this already) make sure you don't show your frustration to Misha too much then he really will be confused and edgy. Hopefully he will grow out of this silliness.
 

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I had a while with Annie where I had to ignore her, as she decided I was a sure thing, and she didn't have to work for me.
I treated it like a game of fetch - always leave the dog wanting more. So i'd pet for a while, then stop, and wait for her to re-engage, and walk away before she was done. Over time, she went from only wanting one or two pets to wanting me to continuously pet her.

It honestly really helped our bond, and now I can use petting as a reward some times.
 

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Aw. First: Big hugs. Even when we mentally prepare for this stuff, it's still hard when adulthood remains stubbornly out of reach. My mini tested me hardest as she approached the age of 2. I've honestly blocked much of it out, because the memories are hard to mentally reconcile with how effortless communication eventually became.

I like the idea of maybe mixing up your schedule a bit, doing some things solo. You probably would enjoy some alone time, too.

I'd also double down on making myself interesting, going back to collar grab basics and rewarding mightily. I'd play lots of games of chase...but with me as the thing to be chased.

I bet if you were to view your relationship with Misha from the outside you'd see that he's paying attention even when you're not. He's probably quite aware of your movements, but feeling more relaxed these days, not watching for signs of you getting ready to leave because you have nowhere to go. Ahhhhh quarantine life.

Something I do with Peggy when she's in one of her moods: I step dramatically toward her and she goes into play mode, tucking her tail, ready to flee. I turn my back and step away, and there she is, right at my side. It's like she can't resist. I'll scamper away from her down the hall, as fast as I can, and she'll fall all over herself, trying to keep up. I stop abruptly and she stops abruptly. I ask for a sit. She plops down and I toss a treat. And then it's off we go again. Usually by this time I'm breathless with laughter.

We can play this game for ages, but even 30 seconds of it seems to reset her brain from flee to focus.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your last couple of staements hit home to me. What wuld happen if you wnet out without him for a while and then took a walk together or did some training when you return, maybe that would put some balance back. Also (and I sure you know this already) make sure you don't show your frustration to Misha too much then he really will be confused and edgy. Hopefully he will grow out of this silliness.
Thank you that's a great idea. I think it will help him to be lonely a bit more! I think you're right about him picking up on my frustrations. He is so in tune with me that I think when I feel bad about something it manifests in him acting even weirder.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had a while with Annie where I had to ignore her, as she decided I was a sure thing, and she didn't have to work for me.
I treated it like a game of fetch - always leave the dog wanting more. So i'd pet for a while, then stop, and wait for her to re-engage, and walk away before she was done. Over time, she went from only wanting one or two pets to wanting me to continuously pet her.

It honestly really helped our bond, and now I can use petting as a reward some times.
That sounds exactly like what Misha's been doing lately! I'd love if he liked to be pet as well. It's been a slow work in progress. He likes being scratched in certain spots, and sometimes having his belly rubbed. You're giving me hope that he may one day actually want pets lol.
 

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Before Galen learned how to climb stairs he got tired of me carrying him between floors. He resisted by ducking away when I went to lift him. I was just starting to introduce him to clicker training at the time. Therefore, I practiced was having him hold still while I set my hand under his chest. As soon as he allowed me to put my hand in the lift position I'd click and give him a treat. I didn't actually lift him or even hold onto him. I didn't want to poison the exercise, so the whole touch, click, release, treat cycle took about 2 seconds. I just wanted him to stop scooting away.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Aw. First: Big hugs. Even when we mentally prepare for this stuff, it's still hard when adulthood remains stubbornly out of reach. My mini tested me hardest as she approached the age of 2. I've honestly blocked much of it out, because the memories are hard to mentally reconcile with how effortless communication eventually became.

I like the idea of maybe mixing up your schedule a bit, doing some things solo. You probably would enjoy some alone time, too.

I'd also double down on making myself interesting, going back to collar grab basics and rewarding mightily. I'd play lots of games of chase...but with me as the thing to be chased.

I bet if you were to view your relationship with Misha from the outside you'd see that he's paying attention even when you're not. He's probably quite aware of your movements, but feeling more relaxed these days, not watching for signs of you getting ready to leave because you have nowhere to go. Ahhhhh quarantine life.

Something I do with Peggy when she's in one of her moods: I step dramatically toward her and she goes into play mode, tucking her tail, ready to flee. I turn my back and step away, and there she is, right at my side. It's like she can't resist. I'll scamper away from her down the hall, as fast as I can, and she'll fall all over herself, trying to keep up. I stop abruptly and she stops abruptly. I ask for a sit. She plops down and I toss a treat. And then it's off we go again. Usually by this time I'm breathless with laughter.

We can play this game for ages, but even 30 seconds of it seems to reset her brain from flee to focus.
Thank you so much. I feel much better after hearing from all of you. I think it's a great idea to refocus his energy on me by turning the tables and running from him. When he was younger he was so terrible about running under my feet that I was scared to do this with him, but I think he's much more foot cautious now and can probably handle it. It's good to remind myself that he's still a puppy. I can't wait for him to get to that more mature mindset.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Before Galen learned how to climb stairs he got tired of me carrying him between floors. He resisted by ducking away when I went to lift him. I was just starting to introduce him to clicker training at the time. Therefore, I practiced was having him hold still while I set my hand under his chest. As soon as he allowed me to put my hand in the lift position I'd click and give him a treat. I didn't actually lift him or even hold onto him. I didn't want to poison the exercise, so the whole touch, click, release, treat cycle took about 2 seconds. I just wanted him to stop scooting away.
That's a good point. I really should do more conditioning with these simple things. Lately Misha's started testing me so much and it would definitely help to break things down into more simple steps.
 

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Thank you so much. I feel much better after hearing from all of you. I think it's a great idea to refocus his energy on me by turning the tables and running from him. When he was younger he was so terrible about running under my feet that I was scared to do this with him, but I think he's much more foot cautious now and can probably handle it. It's good to remind myself that he's still a puppy. I can't wait for him to get to that more mature mindset.
I think erratic games of Chase Me! can actually help them to be more mindful of where your feet are landing. Anything that really challenges them to pay attention.

Okay, do you want to hear an awful adolescence story? Makes my gut ache just thinking about it.

When Gracie was around Misha's age, I really wanted to teach her to walk reliably off-leash. So I watched a local trainer's video where he demonstrated a technique you can do on-leash that teaches them to stay close: basically running back and forth, abruptly changing direction, while they have no choice but to follow you because they're tethered.

Well. This was still the era of leash pops, and what I didn't realize was that it wasn't just the running back and forth that was effective here, it was the sudden jerks on the leash if the dog didn't shadow the trainer step-for-step. Did I mention it was a big dog he was demonstrating with? Yeah.

Ugh.

So there I go, armed with my new knowledge, ready to train tiny, 10-lb Gracie in a park next to my place. She's on a leash. It's clipped to her collar. (Double ugh.) And off I go!

We did a short sprint....I changed direction....and Gracie helicoptered through the air.

I mean, literally.

Through. The. Air.

I'll cry now if I think about it too long. But that sweet little dog stuck to me like glue for the rest of her life.

So don't do what I did. Please don't anyone ever do what I did. 😭 But a version of this technique while OFF-LEASH could be fun for you guys.
 

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I'm just having a hard time and need to vent. It's sort of a training issue but also not.

Misha is 13 months now. He has always been super playful and this has always manifested in a strong desire to play hard to get. It isn't that he has a real aversion to being touched, but it's like he takes any opportunity that I want to touch him and turns it into a "catch me if you can" scenario. It can be frustrating because I don't want to encourage it by chasing him. I had hoped he would grow out of it. Lately he is just doubling down on it. It hurts my feelings sometimes because I feel like he doesn't want to come to me. I watch other dogs that can't get enough of their owners and I feel like Misha doesn't care much for me.

He is also incredibly sensitive sometimes. A few days ago I was trying to teach him something he felt he couldn't do and he was very frustrated and gave me the cold shoulder for hours. And yesterday he got some horrible sticky burrs caught in his fur and hated me getting them out so much that he has been avoiding me since. I don't know if it's better to ignore him and let him come to me or to entice him with treats and play.

I think quarantine makes this hard. When I left every day he missed me so much. Now I'm here constantly I'm no longer a scarce resource.
I'm sorry you're going through this with Misha (hugs). I second what fellow PF peeps have said. Sisko has gotten loose a few times and wanted to play (scared the crap out of me) so I tries running away from him and he ran right after me.

I totally understand trying to train a new trick and they get frustrated and give up very easily. I try to train Sisko new things, but we get stuck because he gives up after 3 or 4 times of trying something new and he doesn't do his best when doing it either. I'm not sure what to do about it still.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think erratic games of Chase Me! can actually help them to be more mindful of where your feet are landing. Anything that really challenges them to pay attention.

Okay, do you want to hear an awful adolescence story? Makes my gut ache just thinking about it.

When Gracie was around Misha's age, I really wanted to teach her to walk reliably off-leash. So I watched a local trainer's video where he demonstrated a technique you can do on-leash that teaches them to stay close: basically running back and forth, abruptly changing direction, while they have no choice but to follow you because they're tethered.

Well. This was still the era of leash pops, and what I didn't realize was that it wasn't just the running back and forth that was effective here, it was the sudden jerks on the leash if the dog didn't shadow the trainer step-for-step. Did I mention it was a big dog he was demonstrating with? Yeah.

Ugh.

So there I go, armed with my new knowledge, ready to train tiny, 10-lb Gracie in a park next to my place. She's on a leash. It's clipped to her collar. (Double ugh.) And off I go!

We did a short sprint....I changed direction....and Gracie helicoptered through the air.

I mean, literally.

Through. The. Air.

I'll cry now if I think about it too long. But that sweet little dog stuck to me like glue for the rest of her life.

So don't do what I did. Please don't anyone ever do what I did. 😭 But a version of this technique while OFF-LEASH could be fun for you guys.
Oh no poor Gracie! But yes you're right he does love to chase me! As soon as our favorite off leash area opens up again I can try the chase game again.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm sorry you're going through this with Misha (hugs). I second what fellow PF peeps have said. Sisko has gotten loose a few times and wanted to play (scared the crap out of me) so I tries running away from him and he ran right after me.

I totally understand trying to train a new trick and they get frustrated and give up very easily. I try to train Sisko new things, but we get stuck because he gives up after 3 or 4 times of trying something new and he doesn't do his best when doing it either. I'm not sure what to do about it still.
Thank you! Yes I felt very bad when I realized how very frustrated he actually was. I learned that what seemed like a little step for me seemed like a much bigger step for him, and he felt uncomfortable with it and it wasn't fun anymore. And there's no point in training things if I can't make it fun for him. I need to work harder to find that fine line between boring and too challenging!
 

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there's no point in training things if I can't make it fun for him. I need to work harder to find that fine line between boring and too challenging!
I feel the exact same way!! It seems like that fine line is VERY fine. Hope you find something that works!! Please let me know if you do.
 

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Just wanted to drop in to say that I have been using tips you guys have and it has been helping! I've been giving the bunny some time out in the yard with me which makes Misha very jealous that he's stuck inside. And I've been trying to implement more 'chase me' games when we play. And mixing things up a lot more when we play rather than keeping things in set routines. I'm also really looking at his reactions to things to see if he's truly enjoying interaction or simply tolerating it. I think it can be very easy to take liberties when he tolerates things because he is very subtle about any signs of enjoyment or displeasure. I got so used to him letting me pet him when he cuddles with me on the couch that I forgot he might prefer if I didn't. And I think he is happier now. I'm having fewer issues with him playing keep away because I'm incorporating play into more interactions to get him to want to follow me.
 

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Just wanted to drop in to say that I have been using tips you guys have and it has been helping! I've been giving the bunny some time out in the yard with me which makes Misha very jealous that he's stuck inside. And I've been trying to implement more 'chase me' games when we play. And mixing things up a lot more when we play rather than keeping things in set routines. I'm also really looking at his reactions to things to see if he's truly enjoying interaction or simply tolerating it. I think it can be very easy to take liberties when he tolerates things because he is very subtle about any signs of enjoyment or displeasure. I got so used to him letting me pet him when he cuddles with me on the couch that I forgot he might prefer if I didn't. And I think he is happier now. I'm having fewer issues with him playing keep away because I'm incorporating play into more interactions to get him to want to follow me.
Absolutely awesome! It sounds like both of you are having more fun:)

I had the strangest thing happen one time. I went to a 'silent retreat' for a week. My Spoo is my Service Dog. So I wore a shirt the first couple of days that said 'My dog is my service dog. Access required by law' so that I wouldn't have to explain anything. And then quit talking, even to my dog. We spent a lot of time in meditation, reading, walking silent paths, eating all together in total silence, journaling, etc., all totally calmly and relaxed without a sound. After a couple of hours my dog started watching absolutely everything I did extremely carefully.

All of us, people, and my Spoo found ways just through a small smile, or a gesture, or a nod to a salt shaker, etc. to communicate with each other in total silence. At the end of the week we gathered around and talked together in a debriefing. My Spoo leapt up excitedly and started racing around. It was absolutely adorable, and he became even a better service dog than he had been before. I can give him a hand motion or a nod from 30 feet away and he knows exactly what I want and does it. He also became so much more affectionate !

Enjoy your new more playful times together :)
 
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