Week three of K9 Kamp was incredibly intimidating. This blog is filled with ample evidence of Shiva’s tugging mania. After running around in circles, it is her favourite game. She’ll tug on anything – shoelaces, pillows, important documents, remote controls… If you hold something out to her and say the magic word, she’ll happily yank and yank and yank.
Shiva’s drive is so strong we actually couldn’t play tug with her at all for the first six months. It was far too over-stimulating for her crazy brain. Before we could trust her not to tug on our arms instead of the toy, we had to work with her on self-control. For us a solid release or “drop” cue is a vital part of the game. It doesn’t matter how excited she gets, or how intense the tugging, if we tell her to release the toy she’d better drop it right away or the game is over and we walk away. Of course, if she does drop it on cue, we throw a big party and she gets to continue tugging. You’d better believe she picked up on this pretty fast!
But I digress. On to my K9 Kamp update!
I could have cheated by performing this challenge outside. Shiva has powerful tug drive but only in very specific circumstances. She refuses to tug in agility class, for example. She will rarely tug outside our house at all. It would have been a lot easier for me if I’d gone to the park as she probably would have provided very little resistance on the toy. But that’s not what K9 Kamp is about. So we have worked on this one inside, making sure there were no breakable objects nearby, of course.
Tugging while lunging was actually a lot easier than I expected. Shiva was more than happy to rip my arm off while I lowered myself to the floor. She is pretty good at retrieving the tug toy and so if I needed a breather, I would throw it across the room and stretch while she chased after it.
For the first time at Kamp I felt like the two of us were a team. Shiva was too thrilled to be tugging to care what I was doing. Too distracted to mock me for sweating and panting. Tugging with the maniac has always been one of my favourite work-outs. I am now inspired to take it to a new level. If I keep this up I may actually have visible shoulders one day! As far as this challenge goes, I don’t think I could have a better partner. Despite my initial dread, it turned out to be the best activity yet. Even better it’s something we can do inside all year long!