German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
856 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It seems that generally the desire to play tug is strongly associated with a dog being high drive. A dog who wants to play a strong game of tug, specifically with its handler, is often viewed as desirable for sport work. Or at least that’s the way it comes across at my current club. Every dog is rewarded with the tug after a certain age. But it also seems that high drive dogs have an almost innate love for the dog that is evident from a very young age.

Do young, intro level IPO sport dogs need to have a high prey drive to the point where they ignore any environment and focus solely on a rag running amuck or a tug their handler has? I guess what I’m trying to ask is if it’s possible to have a dog labelled as moderate to high drive, yet have an apparently low tug drive, do well in the sport of IPO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,920 Posts
I've seen dogs have their desire to play tug destroyed by a handler who broke the unspoken rules of the game. They still loved biting a decoy though.

There are other issues that can be at work. Generally speaking if you have a really nice working dog it isn't hard to get em sold on the game but it isn't a guarantee.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
856 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I've seen dogs have their desire to play tug destroyed by a handler who broke the unspoken rules of the game. They still loved biting a decoy though.

There are other issues that can be at work. Generally speaking if you have a really nice working dog it isn't hard to get em sold on the game but it isn't a guarantee.
In what way would a handler end up ruining a game of tug? And what other issues would be factored into a lack of tug drive with a handler? Would it be sensitivity, insecurity, etc.? It seems like there's a lot of value placed on a dog's desire to tug with their handler when it comes to the sport. I found it interesting when someone visited our club and brought up that all of the handlers at our location reward with it, though they didn't go into detail with what their club does.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
I have always thought of tug as a game all dogs love just my perception. While some of my dogs love for tug came naturally I think a fair amount of it is he and I learning to play and have fun together. My pup is just about 10 months, I do not do any sport, and this is my first dog, we are just now getting to the point where out in the world he is starting to ignore distractions if invited to play. Currently I cannot compete with other dogs and a running cat. Sorry I know that does not at all answer your questions.

I've seen dogs have their desire to play tug destroyed by a handler who broke the unspoken rules of the game.
I would be very interested if you cared to elaborate. This is my first pup and if I can improve his enjoyment of the game or prevent common error, I would love to hear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,649 Posts
Dogs that have a higher defense drive, especially as puppies, will often not show a lot of prey drive. You can develop it with playing. Go to Leerburg.com and watch their free videos about playing tug with your dog. Micheal Ellis has a great video on it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cliffson1 and Femfa

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
My older male is pretty high drive but wants nothing to do with the tug. He will however, run through flames for his ball. He will only tug with me if I have a ball on a string. And that is only because he wishes to possess the ball. If I break out a tug toy he will snub it every time.
I should add that as a young pup he would play tug a lot with ropes and other toys. But at around 4 months old I threw him a ball and he never went back to playing tug. So had I nourished or encouraged it a little more he may have developed a love for it. But, as I have heard. train with what comes natural to your dog. It's a lot easier that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,920 Posts
There are a crap ton of ways tug can go wrong.

Just not being fun is a major one. The owner could do that in a lot of ways but just off the top of my head the major sins are.

1. The out being taught too soon and badly creates conflict.
2. Conflict between the handler and dog makes the dog not want to try to pull something out of the handlers hands
3. The owner not being fun because they don't reward effort on the part of the dog
4. The owner overpowering the dog and the dog doesn't think it can win so why bother trying
5. Owner being afraid to let the dog win because they don't want to give up control of the toy
6. A possessive dog not being allowed to possess
7. The owner wants to play a certain way but the dog wants to play another and it is not jiving
8. Too many rules being made before the dog is sold on the game itself


Tug itself is just a reward to help keep a dog in drive and in the game of things while being occasionally hassled over sport work. People tend to get overly fixated on the game itself instead of just using any similar reward as a means to an end. You can achieve the same stuff with Frisbee retrieves or a ball or something like that.

For a good video on the subject Ivan Balabanov's Possession Games on trainperview is a better authority on it than anything Michael Ellis has done. He has done the best job of showing a balance between beating the dog at the game frustrating the dog at the game and making sure the dog wins to build it. At a certain point a good dog becomes unbeatable unless you cheat though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
None of my GSD or Boxers were tug crazy. Much preferring a ball. However in protection training at a young age the GSDs got to carry first a burlap tug then light puppy sleeve and eventually the full hard sleeves and cylinder sleeves as reward for good work. The big GSD didn't do much body suit or hidden bite surfaces untill he was SCH lll. This became advanced training and demo work with the LEOs that I later worked with. Reward was essentially able to be delayed untill a puppy sleeve could be just tossed for reward. I think he became so intense on the work that a successful capture and bite was his reward. Exterior rewards weren't really necessary. Just verbal praise was enough.

I rarely played tug of war with them then let them have the tug. Not that that they wouldn't play tug but it got so violent so quickly that the purpose was lost. All of them would chase sticks and boards and retrieve them endlessly.

Almost all obedience training was a ball reward and or treats. Many times just a soothing verbal praise and pets was enough. They knew when they had done well.

Tracking rewards were self rewarding. At the end of very long and difficult tracks I would give praise and throw a ball a few times. I also had a heavy rope tug that I would toss and let them carry it as far as they wanted. Often maybe a minute then they were done with it.

I've seen other dogs just go crazy for a tug after good exercises. I think it was a relief from pressure. Especially after doing many failed exercises.

My current Aussie is from stock dog breeding. She is extremely high drive. She loves her retrieve toys and we " play with toys" every night in the living room. On my days off its 3-4 times a day plus up to 12 miles of walking. She has a big rope tug but it's for retrieving. Occasionally I do " pull rope" with her but she just gives a few yanks then let's go. There are few things she will carry around. Mostly dead animals or stolen counter surfing items.

Tugs are good reward tools but not mandatory. Depends on the dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
Thanks Baillif. I grew up hearing don't play tug with a dog and if you ever do never let them win, I still have people tell me that now. Glad I didn't listen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,920 Posts
Yeah people have this idea in their heads about dominance and it is horse crap.

If you look at any strong well socialized dogs they will allow less confident/dominant dogs to win at least 30% of the time and usually more if they want to keep the game going. Hardly anybody enjoys being stomped in a game 100% of the time. You shouldn't win all the time even if you can. That doesn't just go for dogs that goes for life in general.

To make a dog really like tug you have to beat them or attempt to beat them hard enough to keep it interesting but let them win when they are showing good effort. At some point if you use tugs without handles the dog will start beating you on his own if hes that kind of dog.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top