I don't know if there's a real term for this, but basically I want/need to work on Kenya's assertiveness training. I've had her for a year now and we got 8 new titles/certificates and will be taking a break from formal training and competition. I want to work on her confidence and maximize her drives. We go to a GSD club every other Friday and this past Friday a couple came to tell us about ring sport and look at our dogs. They said Kenya was a good prospect even though I told them she is sometimes shy and lacks confidence or holds herself back when she's with new people. They said it didn't really matter and that we should start small.
I have no plans to actually DO ring sport, but I want to try this angle for training. They said the first goals are to teach the dog to bark on command, so the dog can engage a helper, and also to get the dog to jump and bite something. I can get Kenya to jump and bite her toy, but we will still work on this since I'm not sure it's a full bite.
I need some tips on the barking. Kenya never barked, not even once, until we got our second dog. Now, she will bark when someone comes to the door IF my other dog barks. The ring sport people said to start marking the dog, but they said we have to try to mark before the bark happens. That's the hard part, because they bark when I come home from work (mostly out of excitement) and they are already barking when I get out of the car. We don't have people at our house very often, so I can't think of a consistent way to mark her barking while I'm already inside. I've tried getting her excited and barking at her, but she looks at me like I'm nuts and walks away. She will bark if someone approaches her aggressively and then does real quick movements, but that is more of a defense bark and I don't want to encourage reactivity.
The other thing I need help with is the tugging. Like I said, I can hold toys and tugs horizontally and she will jump and bite, but she always releases the toy. She will also chase and fetch toys, but she either never brings them back, or brings them and drops them at my feet before I can grab it. If I start to tug, she lets go. Her breeder suggested putting raw meat in a sock and that does work sometimes, but it's so messy and I don't have an infinite number of socks. I can get her to chase and pound on things if I drag them along the ground, but doing this makes me dizzy really fast and she doesn't tug it anyway, just pounces on it, bites, and lets go. I know she CAN tug because she plays tug of war with my other dog!! I have tried stuffies, ropes, a kong wubba, and one of the tugs that has real thick fabric and a handle on each end. I don't know where to start. I try to get it in her mouth and she turns away. I try to turn it into a prey object and she will chase it down, but not bite, fetch, or tug on it.
Also if you have any other tips or games to try, let me know. Basically I want to work on motivation, assertiveness, and confidence. I want to teach the dog that she has more control over our training, she doesn't have to just sit there and stare at me, waiting for a command. When we did our herding test and the ATTS temperament test, the only critiques were that our "umbilical cord" is too short - she looks to me for everything, which is great for obedience and that sort of thing but we don't always have to be so formal all the time.