Is "Bite Inhibition Training" undermined by "Tug-of-War" games & pull-toy play? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Is "Bite Inhibition Training" undermined by "Tug-of-War" games & pull-toy play?

We are so excited - our puppy will be born later this month, and we will have him by the end of January. We don't want to make early training mistakes, and have been confused by the apparently conflicting advice regarding early "bite inhibition" training and play games.

"Dutch" will be a companion dog, working primarily in obedience and and social activities like playing, hiking, swimming, etc. While we are not interested in PPD or Shutzhund training, we do want him to be an alert watchdog, as opposed to our beloved old Lab, who loves all people, other dogs, cats, etc., and rarely alerts us to anything except an opportunity to play.

I know the GSD's enjoy the pull-toys and tug-of-war games, yet I read in Janet Wall's "How to Love Your Dog: The German Shepherd":

It's a good idea to play gentle games with your German Shepherd puppy. Don't play teasing games or tug-of-war games when they are young because, like all dogs, they can make your dog more aggressive.

As your dog gets larger, he won't know how to calm down if he is used to playing roughly
.

What should I do? I don't want to get sued or have my dog taken away because he bites someone, but I want him to enjoy the activities that are natural and safe for him and our family!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 07:21 AM
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First and foremost, accept that there will be training mistakes. Even the best trainers in the world have it happen. Nobody is perfect.

Secondly, while going through teething stage, don't play any tug at all.

Third, it doesn't undermine biting inhibition. There is a time where the pup will challenge you and everything it learned so far. Won't out anymore and run around like crazy. But that is a normal stage, they all go through it.

Also, tuggin will not make your dog bite somebody. That is a myth. It's all about obedience and control over the game.

This is my dog and me playing controled tug of war with a ball on a string

And this is my dog, with my pack and AbbyK9's dog chasing her husband.
According to all these authors she should have chased him down and attack because she regularly plays tug of war, even worse, she's been doing bitework.
THE SHEPHERD ATTACK! - YouTube

There are a lot of factors playing into everything. It's the dog, the handler, the training that come together and make the whole package.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 07:26 AM
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Tugging and bite play are great ways to redirect that puppy bite and not impair your bond with the dog by punishing him for using his major tool for exploring and manipulating his world!

So happy that Beau at 17 weeks now does not consider me his biting toy and tugs like a banshee. But Grim and Cyra both 8 and 9 still enjoy a good game of tug. I let everyone win but I control the toy and they always have to out it for me and I put it up when we are done.

I would toss that book both statements are sheer nonsense.

Nancy



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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 07:30 AM
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That woman is an idiot. Probably the nicest thing I can day about her. A long as you are tugging and playing with thing you want the puppy to play and tug with it is fine. That is part of bite inhibition-teaching what is and is not acceptable to play with

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 07:38 AM
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I am no where near an expert but can share what we are doing.

We are with a new trainer now for Woolf, polar opposite to the trainers we have had. One session, plus phone consult plus a book of a questionnaire I'm very impressed.

Ok back to the subject lol. Part of the homework assignment is to play tug. In the past, due to his issues, we had always been told the same thing, no tug play.

It's good interaction with him. Provides an energy outlet, training opportunities for sit, stay, release and whatever else you can work in while he is in active play. Plus it's just plain fun.

Michael Ellis: Tugging with puppies - YouTube

Michael Ellis Talks on Playing Tug with Young Puppies

Michael Ellis Engagement Training With His Dog Pi
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 07:47 AM
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the first time my dog played tug he was
between 3 months old and 5 months old.
the pup was in the yard with my GF while
she was hanging laundry. our pup pulled
a towel off the line. my GF picked up the towel
but our pup held on to his end. my GF started
playing tug with him. i thought she was emcouraging
him to pull more laundry off the line but he never
pulled anything else off the line. after that we played
tug with sticks and tug toys. i always let my dog win
when the game is over. strangers can play tug with
our dog. i've never had any aggression problems with him.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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What a well trained girl she is! It appears to me that the tugging is like a reward for her good behavior - is that true? It is so reassuring to see that video. Thank you!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 07:50 AM
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it's also a good indoor game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twyla View Post

It's good interaction with him. Provides an energy outlet, training opportunities for sit, stay, release and whatever else you can work in while he is in active play. Plus it's just plain fun.

Michael Ellis: Tugging with puppies - YouTube

Michael Ellis Talks on Playing Tug with Young Puppies

Michael Ellis Engagement Training With His Dog Pi
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beverly View Post
What a well trained girl she is! It appears to me that the tugging is like a reward for her good behavior - is that true? It is so reassuring to see that video. Thank you!
Yes, it is a reward for good behavior. With moderate to high drive dogs, the tug can and, most of the time, is one of the most powerful rewards out there.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 08:53 AM
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I'm not a proponent of book burning, but I think that book would be at the top of my list based on that excerpt alone .
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