Fetching is a very useful skill for all sorts of canine activities so, naturally, I have been teaching Da Vinci to “fetch”.  Among those activities, truffle hunting will certainly involve fetching…whether it’s bringing the truffle to me or as a fun game as his reward for the find.  No matter how it is used, fetching is important.  Callie plays this game tirelessly…Cash, well, he’s more of a foodie, but he will run with the other dogs while they chase a ball or toy.  Since Da Vinci came home, I’ve been working with him on bringing tossed objects back to me.  He’s been progressing nicely and figuring out that returning the object to me is a good thing that he often gets cookies for.  Until now, these were always exercises or I was taking advantage of a play moment to encourage what I wanted.  Last night, Da Vinci “ASKED” to play the game!!!!!!  He took off in the yard during a potty outing and came trotting back (very proud of himself) with the toy we have been using most recently.  He looked at me with the big purple ball dangling from his mouth as if to say “can we play that game?”  I grabbed a handful of cookies and off we went.  About a dozen perfect fetches followed.  I started being diligent about putting the game on cue and we stopped while he still wanted to play (that’s important).  Lots of praise for a well played game!  I blurted it out on Facebook and couldn’t wait to tell Josh.  Oh, what a proud moment!  But it gets even better :)!  Today, he did it again – TWICE!  Brought me the toy, asked to play and gleefully “fetched” the ball for me…confident that he knew what his job was and how to do it.  What a delightful surprise it was to see him figure out 1) what to do and 2) that this was a fun game to do with me.  I had a great time watching his little fuzzy puppy butt bounce across the yard after his toy and seeing the confidence on his face as he trotted back to me…knowing he was doing exactly what he was supposed to!

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