It has been an interesting few days with a battle of the wills going on with Sunny's eating trends. I finally got it figured out though and so did she! Ends up I can only give her kibble for right now. No special treats like chicken or meat from my hand for training. If I do she won't eat her kibble - she holds out and just looks at me or barks at her bowl of kibble. Smart little stinker :-) So I backed off the food training and just worked on getting her to eat her food when I put it down. She also needs to be in a crate to eat good. Otherwise she wanders off and gets interested in something else. She did refuse a few meals. So for the next week or so I will stick with toy games and back off food training until I see that her food motivation is where it should be.
Sunny is back to tugging really strong after a couple days of backing off. She is playing with her slap sticks again... racing out to get the tossed stick and then racing back to me with it. Her focus for staying and playing with me is good again. There were a few days there where she wanted to run off and check out the other dogs at the fence. I got her going through a tire that is sitting on the ground for a click and treat and now a tossed toy reward - she thinks she is hot stuff :-) I have been playing some of the games from the Pup Start 101 DVD. She really likes it when I hold her back and then race her to the toy. So far she doesn't seem to want to hoard the toy and go off by herself with it. That makes toy training so much easier :-) She is a lot of fun to play with and has a lot of drive for her toys and to play with me. I keep sessions short and put her away while she is amped and wanting more. She comes out of her xpen wanting to play! Oh, I am just having so much fun with her!
UPDATE... about 10 days later and Sunny is much more interested in feeding time. She goes in her crate to eat, and cleans her bowl of kibble in a reasonable amount of time. She hasn't refused any meals and I can see that her motivation for food is definitely increasing. She is not refusing kibble from my hand anymore and I have started back with some food training - using only kibble. We are on the right track!