Yeah, I just love playing with my dogs. It is fun, relaxing, exciting and it brings are closer together. But many times you only really get to see how beneficial playing really is if you and your dog weren't good at it to begin with. Let's play gave me the opportunity to play with many great teams and observe how the relationship, playfulness, focus and speed grow in the process.
Here are some written&video testimonials of people's personal experience with Let's play, written and filmed by some of the participants from previous generations.
If you were one of them and wish to write something, you are very welcomed to do so. You can use commenting on this page or send it to me via e-mail, so I can add it to the list.
Agne & Bosse
When I decided to join Let’s Play I had reached a sort of dead end in my trainings with Bosse. It had been all about the same boring food luring and rewarding from the hand and our training sessions still lacked the enthusiasm, excitement and drive. So Let’s Play was like a last desperate straw for me.
The twelve weeks weren’t exactly easy as we were definately pulled out of our comfort zone with the exercises. As strange as it sounds almost every concept and simple exercise was new to us. The hardest thing was to teach Bosse that it’s ok to be pushy and impolite and demanding when it comes to working with me. And when it finally happened and the nice and polite Bosse was gone, the fun times began.
Over the 12 weeks his attitude made a 180 degree turn. Before it was me who’d beg him to come and work with me, entertaining and clowning around to keep the spirits up. Different games and mind challenging shaping sessions left Bosse so addicted that now he would actually come barking at me to invite me to a training session. Let’s Play was a sure reminder of how true the two well-known sayings are: “Sky is the limit” and “Never say never”. My little sweet Bosse, who would never think of chasing balls as something fun, is now over the moon when he sees his tennis ball. It’s the same Bosse who would never work for anything but food, that lights up for a chance to kill his furry fleece toys. And it’s his drive and power to play and tug and run that seems to know no limits and continues to surprise me. Looking back I see how learning to play better with Bosse taught both me and him so much new about each other, things we both probably didn’t think were possible.
We both gained tons of trust each other and learned how to be more in tune. Instead of seeing him as a “tough cookie” to work with I see Bosse as the best teammate. All thanks to the fun dimension in our everyday life and trainings.
Jasna & Demi
I was always used to train my dogs, but never really play with them. I try to motivate with toys mine older Tibetan gangs, but while they did not show big interest in playing from the start, I just drop it and we always said, they are more food motivated. So we used food as reward. I have to admit that I envy owners with dogs, who were able to chase ball or tug. So mine idea was to get a TT who will play with me.
While I knew Demi’s mother and she was keen to chase balls and her father was imported direct from Tibet, where TTs still have some work to do, I was thinking that would be a good start. On top of that Demi as a pup was very keen to chase toys. So I took mine pup to a puppy school where main focus was to teach the dog how to behave proper. She was a good pup and behaved well. After that we start with agility lessons, which were for her more or less same obligation as a pup school. I wanted to reward her with a toy, but somewhere in between she just loose interest in toys and in agility. In the woods she was able to run fast and chase animals, but in cooperation with me it just did not work. It was NO fun at all. And that was AHA moment for me, I was putting all efforts into practising obstacles with her and almost 0 in playing. We actually never learn how to play and have fun together.
So when I saw Polona’s announcement about Let’s play class in FB, it was clear for me, what to do. I have to admit, it was hard not to do agility for a few months, but it was worth to do it. We learn so many new things and have real fun with it. Before I was never familiar about food games, which are great base for play development. Trying all different sort of toys and keep having fun. Till that course I never thought that the moment will come, when Demi will run after ball and bring it back to me, or that she will bark, jump on me or just run “circles of happiness” around me and pinch me in a knee, like real herding dog. It might sound strange to do all that stuff, but we really build bond between us in that class.
We are still practising agility and have more much more fun with it as before. But main change is that in a past mine main question was, what shall we train today, nowadays is which toy shall I take on a walk with Demi, what will we play, ball, Frisbee, chasing fox? And it is FUN real FUN. So A big thank to Polona!
Eva & Harpo
Our main problem is fear. He was scared of everything you can think of…cars, people, dogs, noises… He would just shut down and freeze not able to think or react. He never paid much attention to toys, mainly because he didn’t feel comfortable/secure enough to play with them but on the other hand, he is highly motivated by food so with a mixture of food and chasing games we got him to focus more and be able to perform in front of scary situations.
The most important thing we have learnt so far is that everything has to be a game and fun for him. When you are dealing with fear it is a very complicated issue which is difficult to fight with normal “tools” however, if the scary environments/situations are reversed through appropriated games in something fun you can contra conditioning that fear..”That important is, to play games and learnt which one is the best to play with each dog and how to do it properly”. This is what we got to learn with “Let’s play”. With games and playing I can create a “safe” environment for him through the routine practiced before in secure situations that he relates to, when he gets his anxiety attacks.
So, I don’t need to say more about how important it is for both of us playing and keep a nice and fun life when going out to the scary world. Although there is still loads of work ahead, his improvement is remarkable for the last six months and I have learnt a lot about how, where, when, and with what to play to make him happier which is my goal.
Steff & Fusion
"Before Let's Play, I had a very abstract idea of what good play was supposed to be like. I knew the basic rules of tugging, I half-heartedly threw cookies for my dog to catch and played ball. But Polona filled this concept with life. She not only offers a multitude of new game ideas, but somehow magically manages to really give you a feeling for your dog.
Instead of just following the rules while playing with my dog, I started to actually see his point of view. I understood what aspects he likes, which games made him feel strong and happy and crazy. My ability to read his body language increased drastically. Our relationship was taken to a whole new level based on trust, respect and joy. We play daily just for the sake of playing, for having fun and being friends. When we started the class my dog would refuse to tug with me, and now people tell me how happy he looks and what a great relationship we have.
All along the way Polona was there for us with continuous advice and encouragement. To top things off she is also one of the nicest instructors I have ever had, sharing the joy over little victories and lifting me up when I felt stuck. I hope to continue learning with her for a long time to come!"
You can find some more amazing graduation videos below!
Nika & Chupa
Emily & Loki
Emily & Lumen
Christin & Nanu
Uschi & Lilo