To tug or not to tug - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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To tug or not to tug

So I'm researching for my GSD and I'm getting mixed signals. Some say tug is a great way to play and practice "leave it" others say it supports aggressive behavior and when he starts to win it gives him the impression he is now the dominate one
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 08:43 AM
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There are many threads here on that topic. Search this site for the word tug and you get many references and opinions.
My opinion is that it is a great way to play with your dog and to work off some of his energy. I don't believe that there are any negative results, only positive bonding with your dog. With any game, YOU determine when to start and stop the game.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by TrentL View Post
So I'm researching for my GSD and I'm getting mixed signals. Some say tug is a great way to play and practice "leave it" others say it supports aggressive behavior and when he starts to win it gives him the impression he is now the dominate one
Woolf and I have been with 2 trainers previously and now with a behaviorist/trainer. The trainers said not to tug, would increase his aggressiveness (he's DA), make him dominate. We followed that. The first session with the behaviorist, the homework was to play tug. So we did.

He isn't more aggressive, he isn't dominate now. Our relationship is much better, we PLAY instead of just train, have fun, he burns energy off, I get the sore shoulder . Meanwhile, oc training is mixed in without him even realizing it . It's used as reward during other parts of training.

I vote play tug keeping in mind his age and teeth.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 09:33 AM
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I've played tug with my dog since the day I got him. We use tugs for many things, including training. He's not aggressive with anyone in any way. My dog has always been slightly dominant with other males considering the fact that he's still intact, but he has never exhibited dominance towards people and has never been aggressive towards dogs. If I didn't use my tug or ball for training, then I guarantee you we wouldn't have gotten as far as we did. It'd be pretty boring for both of us.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry for not searching I'm on my phone reading one of the dog whisper's books. It was him who said no tug
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 10:18 AM
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Tug away, but make sure you have some rules.

Tugging with your dog, by itself, won't make your dog a dominant aggressive uncontrollable dog. Rather, you'll find here that many of us use it as a reward in training (we give a command, the dog complies, we give the dog a release command and he gets a nice game of tug, rinse and repeat). However, I always tell people it *could* lead to pushy behavior so there have to be rules. Our rules:

1. The dog must out when I tell him to (you'll find lots of threads here on teaching the "out")
2. The dog must be careful not to bite our hands, clothes, etc (simply say no, end the game or give a "time-out" from the game if he does and he'll quickly learn)
3. The dog cannot initiate a game of tug by himself (be careful because if you reward them initiating the game you can end up with a dog that sticks tug toys in your lap all day). Sometimes we let the dog believe he initiated the game but usually we start and end the game
4. (probably optional, but I would try to enforce it anyway) When the dog wins he should push the tug back into you to play more rather than take it and play keep away. The best way to do this is simply have a leash in your hand while you play so he can't just run off with it

In a nutshell, that's it, but I would probably look around these forums or watch any videos by Ivan Balabanov (canine training systems) or Michael Ellis (Leerburg) to get a better picture of what a game of tug should look like

Hope this helps
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 10:22 AM
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Oh yea, and be careful with tugging while their teething (just noticed this was in the puppy section)
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks I never planned on being super rough with the pup more wondering if the action was not suggested then I would curb the behavior early
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 02:19 AM
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when you tug you tug by pulling to the left and right NOT up and down! the dogs head should move left and right
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 02:30 AM
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Quick question, or I can start a thread if it's deemed hijacking:

Why does my pup (6 months old) always seem to want to grab the end of the rope floss tug or fox closest to my hand? I'm going to be getting him some rubber tugs with actual handles on them soon, now that he's done teething for the most part (no more teeth to lose and most all the way in) so that might help, but I was just curious.
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