Thanks for sharing the videos. What toy were you using? Was it all one toy, long furry rope with stuffed animal at end, or was it something you rigged up? Your instructor said something like, "Not all dogs like to tug, but they'll chase." That's Shama, much more interested in chasing things that move than she is in hanging on to something I'm tugging. I have a hard time motivating Shama with anything other than treats. Did Kodi have his hair tied back? I coudn't tell . . .
That particular toy is one from Denise Fenzi. It's a piece of real rabbit fur on the end of a long, nylon handle. But I have others I'ce made myself. It doesn't matter as long as it's something your dog likes and you can control. For instance, you shouldn't use a ball unless you are POSITIVE your dog will bring it back to you EVERY time.
My guys aren't big tuggers either. But they do love the chase! I think Esther was pointing that out because there are a couple of new people in our class with softish Shelties. We also have a Terv and 3 retrievers, who have a VERY strong tug. I think she wanted the new people to understand that this play style was fine too... It's all about what YOUR dog enjoys!
Toy play and personal play is definitely something that needs to be developed... But it is SO worthwhile! It's easy to turn into a walking Pez dispenser... and we can't take food into the ring. Even in those venues where you CAN have food in the ring, like CDSP and WCRL, you can only use the food at the end of an exercise. How long does it take dogs to figure that out? NOT long!!!
Toy play can be a bridge between food and personal play, and the end goal is personal play. You ALWAYS have that with you in the ring!
When you are starting to use play rather than food, especially with an adult dog initially trained just on cookies, some dogs think, "What did I do wrong? I'm not getting any cookies?!?!" You need to go into a play session with NO cookies on your body, and the determination that ALL you are going to use is play. Then you work to find what your dog likes, do one TINY bit of "work" (maybe JUST a set-up) then play again and be done for that session. For a lot of very food motivated dogs, the minute food comes out, that's ALL they want to work for. Kodi has worked for food AND play for a long time now, and Panda has done it from the very beginning. So both are pretty good switching back and forth. But under stress, they will both work much more easily for food than play. We keep working on building those "play" muscles!
And yes, my dogs' hair is ALWAYS tied back when they work. Even at home, if we're having a "lazy day"and haven't groomed, and I want to train something, I'll quickly pull their hair back in a terry band.