I just couldn't seem to motivate her and get her up to speed. Is the problem that she's a hard to motivate dog? I took a step back and assessed. The answer I have come up with is "no and yes". Kili is not hard (as in difficult), but she is hard (as in exhausting) to motivate. What it comes to is this. I cannot make a half assed attempt at engaging her. I have to give 110% every time. It is physically draining on me. If I am not struggling to catch my breath after a sequence then I didn't work hard enough and chances are I saw a pretty lousy performance on her part.
But break out a tug toy and tear off with it, yelling and hollering, and waving it around... then playing tug and keep away and I will get the results I want.
Here's a video from class this week showing the difference. At first I try to get her excited in a way that is less taxing on me. But she's having none of it and is not interested which leads to a very slow run where she barely breaks a trot. So I bring out a tug and give it 110%. We had a different problem after getting her revved up this way, where she thought we were still playing the same game and wanted to go for the toy. However, at least the enthusiasm was there, and once reminded that we were playing a different game she gave me a fast, enthusiastic performance. Note that when I go to do the second half of the sequence... I put her in the tunnel and for just a moment when she comes out I am not showing her 110% and she falls flat... slows down and disengages. So we try again. Note that even though I am standing still waiting for her to come out of the tunnel... my body language is showing her energy in my crouch with my arms poised as if I'm about to take off (which I am). The difference is noticeable.
What I need to always remember is that I need to be just as engaged and committed as I want her to be. If I'm not she sees it and responds in kind. I do need to try to find ways that engage her that are less exhausting for me though because that level of energy is not sustainable for very long.