How to build tug drive? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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How to build tug drive?

Can anyone direct me to some good videos or explain some general ways to build drive in toys? I'm pretty good at expanding drive once a dog has a little, and Frag has GREAT ball drive, but I'm looking to build his drive with a tug for agility. He won't go for a ball on a rope (because he doesn't like tug) and balls are easy to misplace on the course and hard to hold.

So I just want to know how to get him real interested in the tug to make it rewarding. Bailey LOVES tug, and I wish Frag had that kind of enthusiasm.

Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 03:29 PM
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I did some drilling around and there isn't much out there that I could find. I've never really had an issue with this in any of my dogs (sort of with Gunnar, but only with certain toys. He doesn't want to waste time tugging, he wants you to throw it again so he can go get it)

Try this as a start.

Tug Drive | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Randy! I will watch it as soon as I get home! (I'm at work right now...)

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 03:57 PM
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Here is a Michael Ellis video that addresses building and using tug drive. It's on the Leerburg website for 12.00...you could maybe look around and see if it's on youtube or the Michael Ellis website.

Leerburg On Demand | The Power of Playing Tug With Your Dog

Just a thought, you said he has ball drive...what about his prey drive? If he has even just a little prey drive, you could use a flirt pole to hone the prey drive and once he get's a "bite", let him win and have it. If he lets go, the game starts over. After he starts to "like" winning, you can start by giving the pole a tug once he bites and if he holds on, for even a second, let him win. Then repeat the game if he lets go. Build up to him tugging for longer and longer before he "wins". Then you can transition the flirt pole for fleecy type of puppy tug, then to the more traditional tugs once he starts to like it.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 04:53 PM
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I have used a flirt pole for reinforcement in prey driven dogs.

Or with my one treat driven but NOT prey driven dog. I bought the little tug toys that are treat holders. He would put the toy in his mouth more readily and it was easier to get him to bite down and play with it.

Like this


Or, have you tried a marker system? I taught the hold for Schutzhund by marking/rewarding when Madix would really clamp down on the dowel. What if you do the same for the tug? Slowly increase the increments of holding and pulling? I'm just throwing random thoughts out...
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 05:56 PM
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A tip: for some dogs, tug is too confrontational at first. Find ways of making it less so. For example, put the tug toy on a leash, and tug on that so there is some distance. Or, you can turn sideways. Both ways, you are not inadvertently pressuring the dog by leaning into them.

Also, make sure to let the dog win!!! I always read "never let the dog win" as the "rule" for playing tug. Nonsense! What is the point then? When I start playing with puppies that aren't born obsessed with biting and tugging, I am really over dramatic. I grunt when they pull on me and basically let them pull me over and pull the toy out of my hands. Then I clap and praise and they circle back for more.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 10:07 PM
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Danielle,

I do not understand exactly what you are doing with the ball if you and the dog are not actively playing with it. Do you just throw it and the dog gets it??
If this is the case then the dog simply does not understand how to play. When you play with the dog it is important that the play is WITH YOU. The ball or tug or whatever is just the means through which the dog plays WITH YOU.
You need to teach the dog how to play, then it will not matter so much what object is used (ball, tug, etc.)
I hope this makes scense to you, if not I will try to explain it further. It is a very important concept.


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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all of the ideas guys, I like a lot of them and will be working on them. Flirt pole sounds like a great idea, as does the clicker. I don't really think it's a lack of confidence thing and me being all up in his space, but I will try dragging it or pulling from the side with minimal eye contact and see how it goes too.

Zahn- usually it is somewhat engaging, but you are right, we can only engage so much with a tennis ball. The ball is his reward though, so throwing the ball for him is rewarding, however I want to be able to engage more with him, which is why I want to build drive in tug. What we're doing now is getting all wound up and excited with me sort of teasing with the ball, so that when I throw it for him (usually just bounce it off the ground) he's all amped up and it's more rewarding.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJEtzel View Post
Zahn- usually it is somewhat engaging, but you are right, we can only engage so much with a tennis ball. The ball is his reward though, so throwing the ball for him is rewarding, however I want to be able to engage more with him, which is why I want to build drive in tug. What we're doing now is getting all wound up and excited with me sort of teasing with the ball, so that when I throw it for him (usually just bounce it off the ground) he's all amped up and it's more rewarding.
Yes, throwing the ball can be rewarding to the dog, but this only involves the dog and the ball, you are not really in the picture. To me it is very important for the owner to be in the picture. To me it is very important that the if a ball is thrown the dog should bring it back to the handler for play; the ball, by itself, should be worthless. It is the play with the handler that should be important to the dog.
It is kind of interesting that this is brought up at now as I just recently (on Sunday) got a new bitch. The previous owner only played with her by "fetch" with two balls, so she did not really understand playing with the handler. I have had her 5 days now and already she has learned how to play with me. It does not take much effort on your part, as dogs naturally want to play with you, they just need to be shown how to do this. What you need to do is to stop concentrating so much on the object and concentrate on engaging your dog. He will recgonize this and engage you too.


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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 11:43 PM
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Danielle, I had to teach Jax to tug. She already eagerly brings the toys to me to throw but I had to play with a toy by 'teasing' her with it so she would grab it. Once she would grab it, I would tell her "tug". I always let her 'win' the toy that we're tugging on. she's building her enthusiasm to play tug with me and I'm going to have my trainer teach me how to build it more next session.

My goal is to be able to reward her with the tug instead of sending her away from me to get the frisbee/ball.
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