I am working on independence with my two boys! They both need more of it, but in different ways.
Split has drive coming out every pore of his body, however in certain conditions he feels compelled to watch me, ask for permission, need reassurance that he is doing the right thing. (Yes, I am sure I created that somewhere along the way.)
Tangle just needs the independence that comes with maturity.
This morning I figured I would use a toy (flying squirrel) at the end of a line of obstacles so they would drive to it. I am figuring piece of cake, they already know how to fetch. They "target" the toy. All three of my dogs go CRAZY for fetch. Up until this morning I would have said it is there most favorite thing on the planet.
Also, on the side, I have their breakfast. They are no strangers to working for their food.
I line up Split on the line of obstacles, put the toy at the end, he looks at the toy, I release him. He does the obstacles and POUNCES on the toy and then looks up at me. Won't bring back the toy, just keeps pouncing on it. Baffled by this, I step back and think about it.
Split is correct. I taught him as a young dog to target the toy. Run out, pounce on the mouse pad in that case, and I would throw him the food. All the elements of THAT game were present so that must be the game we were playing. He assessed the situation exactly how I would want him to.
My dogs never fail to help me remember to look at the world from someone else's eyes.