Ruthie, I am by far no expert in the sport (although I am completely addicted) but I have to agree with the comment about not working on the out with the tug on the field at this time, particularly if you are starting to feel frustrated over the conflict.
One thing I am a huge fan of is the concept of "the game" (although at this stage it may take some time for it to work). Not sure if you have heard of it before but essentially the jist of it is that the handler works with his or her dog on immediate reward (eg a rebite on the tug) the second
the dog releases it and then work up to longer pauses between the rebite reward. The concept it relatively simple (especially if your dog already knows what the "out" command means) - you make a game so to speak out of the playing with the tug, then you "lock up" (eg the prey is "dead and no more tug fighting with the dog) and then command out. You remain locked with the tug until the dog releases and then as soon as he or she does, the reward is an instant rebite then the game starts over again. Many dogs learn very very quickly this way in that as soon as they release the game continues. Of course, this also depends on how strong of a dog he or she is (eg if you aren't able to lock the tug enough and thereore the dog "wins" it from you when it should not have then obviously it is teaching the wrong thing to the dog).
Not sure if this explanation makes sense - maybe someone else can elaborate on it if my explanation is lacking
. It worked very well with my gal but I did start this from a very early age with her (and yes she is a high high drive gal who goes pretty mental for the tug when we are working with intensity). Not to say we don't still have some occasional conflict but as soon as this starts I begin playing the game with her much more to reinforce the outing behaviour. Personally, rather than avoiding the issue, I would work on it, but that is just me
I would work on the game in an environment away from the field (and away from anywhere where you may have had conflict in this context) and I would not introduce it on the field etc until the game was going well and the outs with the tug were pretty much right on 100%. I know the tug is not the same as a sleeve once protection gets underway but I do believe that some of the behaviour from working with a tug does carry over into protection work as well. So that said, I would say that beginning to work on it would be a positive thing to do. Is there someone at the club who is perhaps familiar with the concept of "the game" who could maybe help you out? If not, maybe there are some good examples on youtube (I haven't looked there to see if maybe there are any good ones or not).
MHO! Good luck and please let us know how things are going.