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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2008, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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stopped playing tug??

good moring all,
tuesday afternoon midnight and I were playing our afternoon game of tug when midnight accidently made contact with my hand. We have been doing this since the day after I adopted him..we were walking through the toy section at the petstore and he grabbed a booda rope and started thrashing it around so we bought it and have been playing tug ever since.

We have always had three primary rules and they are 1: keep your teeth on the rope, 2: drop it when I say so, and 3: I always win the last round before we stop.

anyway tuesday afternoon I went to switch my grip on the rope and midnights front teeth barely touched my hand. He was already going for a new grip on the rope when i moved my hand and he just barely got side of my hand by the pinkie. it wasn't a bite and he barely made contact...however it did hurt enough for me to say "ow!" loudly.

I did not give any correction other than the OW! because wasn't neccessary, it didn't really hurt me so I was ready to finish our tug game.

midnight freaked out and went all floppy, on the ground submissive posture right away. then he looked very ashamed and started sulking about, creeping up to me and rolling over on his back. he was obviously not happy that he had hurt me...I gave him a belly rub and some pets and tried to resume the tug, but he just wanted to lick my face and sit on my foot.

this was the first time he has ever accidentaly nipped me when playing tug in more than three years.

He got over it in a couple hours, but he has not shown interest in playing tug since then...which is very unusual for a dog who has a box of spare booda ropes. my friends often bring King midnght a rope toy as tribute when visiting from out of town.He used to love playing with his ropes.

He'll come outside but then when I go to waving the rope he looks apprehensive about playing with it. If I drop it he'll run to it and do his "pounce/bite/ shake to death" thing but as soon as I grip it he drops it and looks very

Any thoughts on how to re interest midnight in the rope? I like it because it allows us to get some quick exercise in between runs or if something has him super excited.

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"We can judge the heart of man by his treatment of animals"
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2008, 09:47 AM
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Re: stopped playing tug??

don't play tug for awhile. take the toy you play tug with, place it somewhere were your dog can see it but not get to it. then you play with the toy, talk to it, toss it in the air to yourself but don't give it to your dog. don't call your dog to you to do this. just do it in front of him or somewhere that he's going to see you playing with the toy. when you finish playing with the give yourself a treat, just kidding about the treat. when you finish playing with the toy return it to that place where he can see it but not get to it. my dog stopped retrieving his ball and his trainer told me about this method. i did it for a few days and it worked for me. before i started this practice i didn't ask my dog to retrieve anything for a few days. then i tried this method and he's been retrieving ever since. now anything i throw or hide he'll get.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2008, 10:27 AM
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Re: stopped playing tug??

Great answer doggiedad. That is what I recommend to people with disc as well. Although it seems like your dog is either a soft dog or has been overcorrected before with the rope also. I would try to make it as positive as possible, make sure you have a BIG rope toy instead of the rope toys that are appx. a foot long. It is an unfair ratio really when you think of how big his mouth is and that you are getting him excited to play.
Also all three of your rules can curb his desire for the toy if he doesn't have enough drive for it, therefore all it takes is a verbal correction and the toy is no longer worth it. I would let him win a little more when he decides to play again after following doggiedad's recommendation.
Does he react that way to corrections at other times?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2008, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: stopped playing tug??

thanks for the advice!

doggidad that is a great idea. I plan on starting today.

mtaussie you are correct in assuming that he is a very soft dog. He always has been. I have actually never given any corrections for the rope play other than a loud OW when he nipped.

we already use the long ropes generally at least two feet. his favorite is the longer model with the tow tugs on one end and handle loop on my end, but when the accident occurred we were using a two foot long single rope with a knot in the middle.

Generally he is a soft dog and most of the time a stern no is all I need to get to stop something, he never reacts that strongly to corrections. In fact thats really the first time I've seen him get so dejected from a correction.

"...I learned that for people who are called nomads they can actually get pretty angry." Sarah Silverman on Mongolians
"We can judge the heart of man by his treatment of animals"
Immanuel Kant
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2008, 02:03 PM
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Re: stopped playing tug??

my trainer told me about that method to get my dog to retreive his ball. he would retreive anything then one day he stopped. i threw his ball one day and he just looked at me. it was as if he never did it before. so i waited a few days, tried it and it worked. good luck.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2008, 02:21 PM
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Re: stopped playing tug??

My dog learn if she went for the hand I'd drop the tug............that took awhile to fix


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2008, 02:45 PM
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Re: stopped playing tug??

I used the same method as doggiedad to get Sydney to START playing with certain toys. She is very picky about what she will play with, so I'd buy myself toys lol, and play with them in front of her, act like i was having tons of fun, and put the toy away when i was done. This really helped get her into playing more and she even plays tug now with soft fleece tugs (she would NEVER play tug with me before).

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2008, 03:00 PM
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Re: stopped playing tug??

Quote:
Originally Posted By: midnight804thanks for the advice!

doggidad that is a great idea. I plan on starting today.

mtaussie you are correct in assuming that he is a very soft dog. He always has been. I have actually never given any corrections for the rope play other than a loud OW when he nipped.

we already use the long ropes generally at least two feet. his favorite is the longer model with the tow tugs on one end and handle loop on my end, but when the accident occurred we were using a two foot long single rope with a knot in the middle.

Generally he is a soft dog and most of the time a stern no is all I need to get to stop something, he never reacts that strongly to corrections. In fact thats really the first time I've seen him get so dejected from a correction.
So it sounds like you are doing a great job! He is just a soft dog that could use some confidence building, especially as he is maturing, which tug can be great for! But again, I would limit commands such as drop it and give, and let him win a little more.
Most importantly, I would ignore any super submissive behavior and reward him being confident and sitting to be petted, not on the ground belly up.
I would try to build confidence with other activities such as agility and disc (disc is may fav! ) and also taking a training class (if you haven't already.) I have seen the most progress when a dog gets involved in agility though.
I have a soft spot right now for timid little GSD's as I just baby sat a 5 month old named belle. She is the biggest sweetheart, but is a soft dog and her parents took her to a hard trainer. So she pees when you grab her collar and put the leash on or if you go to pet her sometimes. Luckily today is there last session with him, and now they are going to work with me on her training, I am really excited about that. For the days I had her she really started to come out of her shell and play. Anyway, sorry for the random story!

Good luck and I hope he plays tug again soon!

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