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Squeetie 05-01-2014 04:27 PM

Only wants to CHEW on tug
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I have already read a few threads regarding building tug drive, but my question is a bit different than the topics I've found so far. Red seems to be pretty prey-driven, from my inexperienced eye - LOVES his flirt pole, chases birds, squirrels, bugs (eww), etc. Therefore, I figured tug would be easy to teach him and possibly be a great reward alternative.

Red will tug with me for a little bit (have fuzzy tug, rope tug, and rope ball tug), but not very enthusiastically no matter how silly I act or how excited I try to get him, and always uses his paws to try and get over the top of the tug and pull it to the ground to destroy/chew on it. He loses interest if he doesn't win, but when he does win all he wants is to chew on the tug, not reengage in our game.

I suppose putting it that way, it's probably an issue of engagement... I've watched the engagement videos that are always posted and acted like a goofball to try and keep his interest, but I suppose I must be doing something wrong or not understanding the information correctly! :hammer: Hah. (Note: we do not have a problem with engagement during our training sessions, just while trying to play, it seems.)

Anyway, thanks in advance for any responses I may get, and please enjoy a couple pics of Red-Dog for inspiration.

MaggieRoseLee 05-01-2014 04:46 PM

Just use the flirt pole and tugging with it when he catches the toy. Soon as he lays and starts to chew, get him to 'out' and then chase/tug again....

They can LEARN to tug and play, and many dogs have to learn. So if you've got a good start with the flirt pole keep using it.

onyx'girl 05-01-2014 04:55 PM

Tease him up with it....don't even let him catch it which will build drive. Once he does get it, keep tension on the tug, and don't allow him to lay down or chew it. The lack of tension is what is allowing him to chew it.
After he does win and you keep that tension(keep him on a line) run him in a circle so he can parade around with his prize, if you keep him moving, he won't chew/hold firm instead. Then lift him by his collar for the out(keeps the dog in higher drive) and start the game again.

Squeetie 05-01-2014 05:07 PM

Thanks, MRL! I'll keep using the flirt pole for now, I'm really just hoping it will soon transfer to a hand-held tug for my own convenience. :rolleyes: Hehehe. We're working on "out" and he's getting better each time, so I'll keep it up and keep my fingers crossed we can tug "for real" someday! Thanks again!!

Thanks onyx'girl, as well! I do my best to keep it tight - can be a bit hard to keep hold when he's using those beefy legs to try and get it. At that point, I usually try to lift up so he can't use his legs to "take down" his prize. Hopefully this is the right way to go about it... His grip isn't super great yet and he has trouble hanging on, so "losing" the tug like that sometimes helps him stay interested, it seems. I love the idea of a long line to keep him moving! I suppose I'll keep the sessions super short and not let him get hold of it for a bit to maybe build his drive, as well.

Do you guys have any suggestions on what tug to use? He likes the furry bungee one best, I'm guessing because he used to chase/catch furry things in his former street dog life. :laugh:

onyx'girl 05-01-2014 05:16 PM

I'd rather use a two handle tug or a ball on a string. The control for the handler is easier and the plushy toys aren't very strong in comparison. The harder the dog has to try to hold it, the stronger the grip will be and the need to possess it.
Gappay Synthetic 2 handle tug 5x25cm
This dice ball is a favorite:
Gappay DICE Ball on String
as is the chuckit tug:

Squeetie 05-01-2014 05:21 PM

I was thinking about a 2-hander or a ball on a rope, and I suppose I'll pick one or both up. Thank you so much for the links! Good point about the hardness of the object and the grip - I feel like a goof for not realizing that! You guys are the best!! :)

David Taggart 05-01-2014 05:50 PM

Toys represent prey. Chewing on a toy - means killing a prey. A wolf, or a fox does chewing otions with his jaws to "finish" a mouse or a bird, so does your dog when catches his toy. Your trouble is that nothing comes after, he doesn't know what else to do with it, that's why he continues to chew. Or - he doesn't want to compete with you.
A decoy is a big and dangerous bull, who doesn't want to allow the dog to rip meat off his bones so easily. But, the dog happens to be stronger and always wins, getting his piece of meat (that is the sleeve, decoy sheds it for him as a reward). Some people look at the prey work (bite work) as it is a combat between two beasts - man and dog - want to be in posession of prey object (sleeve). I wouldn't say anything about defence here, because it introduced in training after the main interest was ignited. In all of this one thing should be important to you - the dog wants to deprive someone from something and that someone doesn't want to give it away.
Start teasing your dog, running away from him with the toy, hang it on a tree, throw it and fetch it yourself, continue to run, don't make it easy to grab for him. He would enjoy more to be in posession of it. Then, you need another person in order to break already established chain of actions, i.e. fetching and chewing. You and your dog should be on one end, and that person on the other. Have your dog on lead, throw the toy, and ask that person to fetch the toy befor your dog gets it, tease him and play tug, but not for long and not really tugging, just holding to it. With the next throw let your dog fetch the toy, and that person to try removing it from him by holding and pulling gently. The next time he or she shold pull the toy with one hand and stroke your dog with the second as a distraction, your dog should hold. Try to be inactive yourself, as your dog is on the lead, during this game of three, except introducing a new command to hold the prey toy. As for the command, it should sound intriguing, you can simply choose some hissing sounds for it "Sh-shoosh-sh-sh!" or some abstract hissing word of your choice. Play this game of three with a ball-on-rope and train outing with immediate reengagement.

David Winners 05-01-2014 06:07 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Check out Michael Ellis tug videos on YouTube.

I strongly recommend his video The Power of Playing Tug.

Lilie 05-01-2014 06:12 PM

You might try a little experiment. When tugging with your pup, don't look directly at him, nor stand directly over him. Sometimes a pup might read your body langauge to mean that you are serious in wanting the toy back. Your pup just reads too much into it. Try putting a toy on a rope and dragging it behind you.

onyx'girl 05-01-2014 06:14 PM

That is one reason why flirtpoles are so effective, it keeps distance from the handler and dog so the dog won't feel inhibited.

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