The Administrator from the Great White North, eh?
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern British Columbia
You're right, it isn't anything to worry about - just high drive excitement - good for you for getting your play/training/handling skills to get her from zero tugging to going nuts for the tug!
So now, the next step is to show her that letting you have the tug is part of the game. Also need to build her trust in the game, so that she does not equate = mom reaches for tug, I loose tug! Not sure exactly how you go about playing with her, but do lots and lots and lots of re-engaging with the tug. If it has a nice big handle on it, that should work.
Work in some obedience too, having to out the tug on command and IMMEDIATLY re-engaging the tug game as a reward for outing. Two tugs works really well for this. As soon as she drops the first one, whip out the second one and keep going.
To continue the tugging game without her feeling that the tug will be taken away, tug tug tug - let go - make a fuss over her winning the tug - let her prance around a bit with it. Call her over, and take a hold of the handle and tug tug tug - repeat until your arms fall off. When I was first working with Gryff and teaching him to trust me that the tug was not something he had to fight me for, I sometimes gave him "tug days" were not once would I ask him to give me the tug, but would engage in play with several time over the day. If I wanted him to release it, I would bring out another another tug and trade.
Now when we tug as a reward game and I let go, he immedietly brings the tug back and pushes it into my hand wanting me to re-engage, which I gladly do.
I also do quick-fire "out" games, where I hold the tug out-rebite-tug-tug-tug, out-rebite-tug-tug-tug. Be careful not to do too many outs in a session at first, some dogs will hesitate to rebite if they are outed to much.
I would bet that as your tug-reward games become more routine with more predictable rules from you, the growling will stop. Some dogs just get growly (vocal) in play, and not something that I would worry about correcting or changing.
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Keeta BH, OB1, TR1, AD
Rottweiler/Hairy Dog mix?? 2004-2015
Last edited by Castlemaid; 01-15-2011 at 05:12 PM.