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Discussion Starter #1
So i have a 9 month old half working line GSD. he is wonderful.


he is OBSESSED with playing with the kong. he loves it so much. It is most prized activity in the whole wide world lol.

But I want to develop other methods of reward.

SO we have been playing tug, and he does like it, but its sort of 'uh...that game...okay yea ill play that cos there is no kong'.

and he enjoys it most of the time, but he gets bored after a while with it so I am shortening the tug sessions.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So i have a 9 month old half working line GSD. he is wonderful.

kong obessions
1) kong vs tug

he is OBSESSED with playing with the kong. he loves it so much. It is most prized activity in the whole wide world lol.

But I want to develop other methods of reward.

SO we have been playing tug, and he does like it, but its sort of 'uh...that game...okay yea ill play that cos there is no kong'.

and he enjoys it most of the time, but he gets bored after a while with it so I am shortening the tug sessions.

I would like it if he had the same amount of drive for tug as he does for kong.

if we are playing kong, he becomes so concentrated on it he wont even notice the tug. (he doesnt even care about the chickens either)

Should I completely withhold kong for a couple of weeks and just focus on short sessions of tug? or keep kong to a very minimal amount?

2) Kong; retrieve

the main issue that I have with kong play and my desire to widen his foundation, is the retrieve.

once he has the kong, the game is won and he has what he wants. 9/10 he comes back with the kong. but only 2/10 does he come straight back. the rest of the time he makes his move to come back but he will give the ground a smell, he will look about, he wont come back to me with much drive in his retrieve.

So he has a weak retrieve, but its strong enough for us to play and enjoy ourselves lots.

I have Michael Ellis' power of playing tug DVD.

So my remedy for my situations could be this...
1) play tug, in short and frequent sessions.
2) play with two kongs, make the game only about the retrieval and giving the first kong to me, which he is reward with the second kong.

keep both of these games separate (such as the morning session and night sessions).

I will have to be careful not to cheat myself, because the kong game we have develop is REALLY fun, mainly the engagement is amazing. he has just insane focus to work. but I have been unable to reproduce that concentration elsewhere and this is very important at his young age. a problem I have is that I get a little frustrated and I end up wanting to play kong with him rather than focus on his weaker games.
 

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Kong on a tug? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
this is actually today's mission to make one.

however, I don't want to create a bias in his tug play. so i have a couple of different tugs atm.
 

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Halo is obsessed with balls, and I needed a reward for her to run back to in flyball. She loved to tug, but if there was a ball around the tug disappeared. The only thing she'd drop the tennis ball for was an Orbee ball, which I initially used on a rope. But that was too short, and harder for her to target as I ran away from her. So I made a custom braided tug with Orbee balls on it. Problem solved!



 

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Some dogs prefer retrieves to tug play and it is likely how you are playing tug. If you want really solid ideas on how you should be playing you should get Ivan's possession games video on his trainperview.com website.

Ivan is really the master of tug/possession games over Michael. It isn't even close.
 

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I use a kong with a rope through it, and I normally use two. You can tug and retrieve with the kong on a rope. I also use a tug for training other behaviors, like detection work.
 

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There is definitely something wrong with how they are playing though. If a dog is enjoying an interaction it doesn't really matter what you choose to play with. Could be a stick, could be a tug, could be a kong, could be a plastic bottle. Something is wrong with their game.
 

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I disagree. If a dog won't play with you with *any* toy, then there is either something wrong with your interaction or the dog may just not not have previous experience with toys. Some rescue dogs don't know how to play because they've never had toys before. But all of our dogs have had very clear preferences when it comes to toys.
 

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Eh, my dogs have preferences in toys. Otherwise it is whatever I have.. (well, usually). Others have suggested what I use - Kong on a rope for one dog (three kongs on ropes) makes throwing and retrieving and tugging easier.
 

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I never said dogs couldn't have slight toy preferences. What I did say was those preferences would not be extreme if you knew how to play the way your dog wants to play, or if you knew how to teach a structured game. Dogs should be into the interaction not the toy so much and the imbalance you have is of your own creation albeit unintentional.
 

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I agree with Bailiff on this one - doesn't meant that some dogs don't have a preference of toys over another. If the dog does have a preference, that doesn't mean that there is something wrong with your relationship with the dog.

Gryff's favorite toy keeps changing. That's fine. He mostly wants to play with me, so even a five-pound dumbell weight can substitute for a toy in a pinch (as long as he doesn't drop it on my foot). But he is looking to interact with me mostly, the toy is secondary.

For the OP, I'd get a kong on a rope, develop some great games that you play with the kong on the rope only, and then see if it transitions to other type of tugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
okay this is all good stuff.

This morning we had a great tug game and he was eager to play.

And yes, Dante has certainly enjoyed the game more progressively as I have learned how to play this game.

I will check out Ivan's possession games. I've never heard of him. always keen to learn more.
 

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I agree with Bailiff on this one - doesn't meant that some dogs don't have a preference of toys over another. If the dog does have a preference, that doesn't mean that there is something wrong with your relationship with the dog.

Gryff's favorite toy keeps changing. That's fine. He mostly wants to play with me, so even a five-pound dumbell weight can substitute for a toy in a pinch (as long as he doesn't drop it on my foot). But he is looking to interact with me mostly, the toy is secondary.

For the OP, I'd get a kong on a rope, develop some great games that you play with the kong on the rope only, and then see if it transitions to other type of tugs.

alrighty! I'll do this. luckily I have a few kongs big and small to utilise.

:grin2:
 
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