Rugby has proven true to his breed and is a picky eater. He has eaten this type of food plenty before and had no problems that I know of. I think that he knows I am more stubborn than him and should he refuse to eat, he will not eat at all. He will go a couple of weeks eating just fine, then he decides he doesn't want to play by these rules anymore. He gets lots of variety, from goat to beef to chicken to rabbit so he can't possible be bored with his diet. I can't quite figure out what it was that started this whole thing. I think I found a trick tonight though.
I set his food down, and he decided that he would rather sit with me on the coach than eat his food so I repeatedly put him on the floor and told him to go eat his dinner. Finally I went over and grabbed one of the rabbit chunks that was the bulk of his dinner tonight and told him to speak, then to down and to sit and finally to speak again. By offering it this way to him he became quite enthused about it and at his first opportunity stole it (I gave it to him lol) away to eat.
Maybe he feels like he needs to work for his food? Maybe he just likes the idea of it being a treat better than it being his dinner? Who knows. Right now he is happily crunching away on rabbit bones though, much to my delight! Now that I have opened the flood gates, he is going back to the bowl for the rest, so I don't have to make him work for ever single piece. Tomorrow I will try to make him work for the entire bowl instead of just a piece and see how far I get. Hmmm...
We have been consistently working on our open routine lately and he is getting better at it. This week though we have been focusing more on drills and silly repeating exercises to perfect his sloppy or weak spots.
The other day we were working on straighter fronts on the broad jump. Today we expanded on that and really nit-picked about straighter fronts on the retrieves and recalls and the broad jump still. I think he is starting to get it...when he sit crooked I say 'nope' and repeat the come command and now he is skipping the whole process and evaluating my legs before he sits down to begin with to make sure he is now on either side of my legs. I saw this improve lots on the drop on recall, specifically. Every single time he does the drop on recall, he ends up moving to his left a bit so when he is coming in for the second recall he is coming in off to my right side, and making him sit off that way each time. TODAY, however after addressing those fronts, he would come in and sit down and immediately move his butt to his right to make him straight again. By the end I could see him planning about 4 feet out from me, and he would start adjusting there and he was coming in much much straighter and not having to readjust once he got there at all.
We spent lots and lots and lots of time on the retrieve on the flat. His problem is that he goes out faster than he come back. Our first attempt was to use two dumbbells and while he was still on his way back with the first one, throw the second behind me and immediately send him for that one once he got there. The idea was that in anticipating getting the second dumbbell (and he loooves his dumbbells) he would come back faster. However, after two days of this he was thoroughly confused and instead of coming back faster when I through the second dumbbell, he was just standing there staring at me and then looking and the other dumbbell and then back at me like, "what the heck is going on???."
So we moved on. Next, I was sending him for the dumbbell and as soon as he had it in his mouth, running as fast as I could with Rugby in pursuit (he had his 6ft. leash on for this) until he broke into a gallop and then I stopped and took the dumbbell from him. While this way I was able to get him to run, it was only if I ran and there wasn't any real improvement or thinking on his part - he was just along for the ride. I declared the task impossible.
We explained our troubles to Margot and she sent us back out this time with a 15 ft line and new instructions. I was supposed to run away and stop when he broke into a gallop. If he stopped galloping when I stopped, then I just ran away some more and stopped again. We did this for the entire length of Margot's yard until he was running most of the way too me. This obviously was the most successful attempt, but we still need lots more of this to make the change something of a habit.
Finished off the night with a short walk around the loop in font of our house. It is wet outside and it was just starting to rain when we got back to the house. Got me thinking how Rugby is going to need a nice winter jacket in a month or so.