Defusing tactics

Elsa offering her ball to play.

Elsa ADORES her friend Yogi.  He is a gorgeous, young and friendly guy; who at a year and a half is still learning the ropes.  When the two get together there is great fun to be had.  First comes the greeting which is like a tornado of gold.  He is a darker shade of gold than Elsa but it is often hard to tell legs and bodies apart when they are playing.

They typically have a game of chase around the table where Yogi's Mom and I sit and watch.  Yogi chases Elsa then Elsa chases Yogi.  Elsa is always up for retrieving; even in between games with Yogi, she is the never ending retriever.  He loves nothing more than obtaining her retrieving item and strutting around the yard with Elsa following.  It is a confidence building moment for him when he finally gets the item away from Elsa; even when she gives it to him.  A definite ego booster for the young man.  

Then, once or twice during the visit Yogi is triggered into a zoom.  It is usually started by some rough housing and it begins.  He takes off down the grass strip in the back; his body hunched over and as low as he can get and still run at the same time.  His zoom triggers Elsa into a serious chase and she waits at the entrance to the grass strip to grab him as he zooms out.  

Emotions flare as the game continues; Yogi zooming and Elsa catching him on the fly by.  Elsa's play growling gets louder and Yogi zooms faster and faster.  Things get a fast and intense, then it's over.  It stops as immediately as it started.  Yogi has learned how to end the game, simply and quickly.  He stops at the shoot,where Elsa is waiting and smells the flowers.  Game over. 

If you have ever witnessed a zoom; they are intense and fast.  They can trigger chase drive from other dogs which is what happens to Elsa.  It is all a game but it gets very heightened.  I would typically step in and stop it before it gets too crazy but Yogi is amazingly talented at doing it himself.  He uses calming signals and they work to perfection.  

It is like watching a raging fire and then poof, it's out.  Both dogs head to the water bowl for a quick drink.  Normal play returns and all is back to normal.  I first witnessed Yogi do this around a year of age.  He was still a bit intimidated by Elsa and her ferocious pursuit was no doubt a little overwhelming.  He jammed on his brakes as her growling and catching got a little scary to him.  The game was over instantly and Yogi learned a great lesson.  

Defusing is a great technique for many different things.  Yogi's flower smelling was a clear sign that he was done with the game.  Elsa got it immediately and they moved on.  Love it.