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Discussion Starter #1
My 9-month-old Busa loves loves loves to play, and will play any game, like fetch, or a seek and find type game (find the treat under the group of boxes), puzzle games, find me, etc., and especially tug. He has his special rope that he brings to all members of the family for a tug. He also has a rope hanging from a high branch outside and he'll launch himself at it and tug with the tree.

Busa will play tug with everyone in the house, 12-year-old twin girls and my husband, but when he brings the rope to me he won't actually grasp the end and tug, but just mouth it and let it slip out, or he'll try to get the end that I'm holding. He seems to WANT to play tug with me but he won't actually grab it and pull.

This, of course, is not a real problem, or anything, but from a behavioral standpoint we are curious as to why he acts this way with me.
 

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Did he ever play tug with you?

Here's a few ideas why he may not tug.

Maybe you were trying to out him and he's confused

Or you could have yanked it out of his mouth and seem to rough for the dog at this time.

Or it may be that he respects you and doesn't want to play violently

He could have nipped you and you reacted with the yelp and now he thinks he'll hurt you.
 

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He probably sees you as the reigning Pack Alpha and is worried about challenging your position by "fighting" you for the tug. He will play with equals, but defers to you and is worried about making a social faux-pas by not letting you have the tug. As he gets older and more mature and more confident, I think he will be more comfortable playing with you.

For example, I got Gryffon at six months old, and he would not play tug with me either at first. His breeder said that at home and with others, he was a "tug-monster". He was a bit hesitant to play tug with my older mutt too at first. He is a dog with a high pack drive, new in the household, very careful to be respectful and not do anything that might be seen as a challenge to the social order of things.
I just let him be to settle in.

After a couple of weeks he was playing tug with my other dog, and another couple of weeks and he was playing tug with me for all he was worth!
 

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He probably sees you as the reigning Pack Alpha and is worried about challenging your position by "fighting" you for the tug. He will play with equals, but defers to you and is worried about making a social faux-pas by not letting you have the tug. As he gets older and more mature and more confident, I think he will be more comfortable playing with you.

Agree 100%!!!!! Also try not to look directly at him when your attempting to get him to tug. Don't pull to hard, also let him win, when he wins - praise him. Do a lot of play with the tug toy, "get it!...get it!" get him amped. Let him win. Don't look directly at him.

Then at some point you'll realize that you no longer have to do that. You can play just like everyone else does. It does take time, and sometimes you'll recognize that he's resorting back to the same behavior. Like after a hard training session. And then you back off again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We have that tug, though that's not the one Busa likes. Right now he wants to just chew on the training bite. I'm not sure how to train him to use that one properly.

I do wonder if he is being submissive to me - that is a very interesting thought! I tend to be the primary dog trainer in the house, though my husband is certainly a very alpha fellow. I am very no-nonsense when it comes to introducing a new dog into our family, and use a NILF method. We're pretty strict in general about dog behavior at our house (giant dogs MUST be well behaved, on our opinion) but I tend to be most responsible for making this happen.

I have played tug with Busa before and I'm sure I've never hurt him. You have to really settle in and balance your body properly when tugging with him, since he's now about 32" at the shoulder and 88 pounds.

I will try some of the suggestions and get him to understand that its okay to play with Mean Mama (lol) and that we can enjoy this game together. It seems to really help to wear him out, and we're ALWAYS looking for ways to do that.... ;)
 
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