Tug Training Issue - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Tug Training Issue

So I just started marker training and it's going well. At the same time I'm also starting tug training with the same marker...yes...via Michael Ellis of course.

I thought we were making great progress over our first 3 sessions. He was releasing the toy more reliably and faster when I immobilize it. I was thinking about introducing the cue next time we went out to tug.

For some reason during the middle of our last session he was content to lightly nibble on the tug when I immobilized it. It's like I've nicely placed the tug on a pedestal for him to nibble on it as he sees fit. He won't actually remove his mouth from the tug. He's light enough on it that I could take it from him...but that's counter productive obviously.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:35 AM
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You want to build up desire for the tug fight part of the game itself first before you try to introduce outting. Make it fun and make the dog really want it before you start to introduce elements of control into the game. The reward for the dog outting is the return to the game. Well if hes content on nibbling and not wanting the tug game itself then the reward doesn't really mean much to him so he continues to pester the toy.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:46 AM
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it's only been 3 sessions, he's not clear and testing things out and figuring out what is acceptable and what is not. Sounds pretty normal to me. STick with it, make it clear, crystal clear. Make his mouth move completely off and away from the tug before anything happens. I've even taken small steps pushing the tug back into the dog to get them to pop off and back more forecfully. But that is further along in training.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:49 AM
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I would not want to reward the frontal/chewy bite either...try to get the dog to counter and tug more. Lift the dog by the collar to out, and game back on when out happens. Tease up the dog with the tug before you allow him to have it...then he'll really want to possess it. I wouldn't command the out at this stage either.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I figured this was all very normal.

I'll try and find some good stuff on building tug drive before I work on immobilizing again.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:54 AM
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Under the Ellis system the tug is just used as a reward you don't care about what kind of bite the dog is using or if it is chewy or not, you just want to focus on the dog loving the game itself and wanting that tug really badly. Don't bother caring about counters at that point either. You can get the dog to grip more and chew less just by ripping it out of his mouth when hes bringing that weak stuff. If he is done teething you should do this too just because the tug getting away builds drive for the tug. Your first sessions really need a person acting as a post with the dog on a harness if you aren't doing that already.

To set that up you would want to play some agitation line games with the tug, I'm sure you've seen it in the DVD. Don't skip the drive and desire building stages as those are critical. It is all about building desire for the tug. You would crate him a lot make him bored and then make sure the tug session was the absolute highlight of his day and the session should be less than 3 min long. To end the session you need to have someone pick him up by the harness till he drops it then go into steal it and tease him with it as the post drags him off. Focus on desire building and making it fun.

How the dog bites a tug or toy won't reflect on how he acts on a sleeve or bite pillow so don't worry about any of the countering or bite technique.

Last edited by Baillif; 11-15-2013 at 09:58 AM.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Admittedly I haven't purchased the DVD yet. I figured I could get started without it...obviously a mistake.

I can't really stomach the full list price of all the Leerburg DVDs I want/need. Was hoping to pick up a used copy here.

In the meantime I'll take some of your advice. Actually winning a round of tug definitely makes sense for building drive.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:59 AM
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Where in NC are you from?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 10:06 AM
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Another question I'd have is how old is the dog you're working with?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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3.5 years
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