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Discussion Starter #1
I feel like an idiot asking for advice on this, but my dog...if she works hard for something she will not 'out' it for anything in the world! She needs to hold it for a while until the excitement wears off. But when I tell her to out, she needs to do it.

For example, at flyball practice, she gets very excited to play the game. When she does a 'hit it' on the box, she comes off the box and back to me to grab her tug.

Normally at home, just playing fetch or whatever, outing is no problem.

But when she's really in drive, when she worked hard for something, she won't out it.

She starts to offer other things instead, like sitting in heel position instead, but still holding her tug. I'll say "AUS!" more strongly, but she skooches over even closer to me to show me what a good girl she is, sitting so nicely in heel position, but still won't out her tug!

This is a problem because if she ever starts to compete in flyball, she has to line up to run another heat and has to out her tug. You can't spend 20 minutes waiting for your dog to out it's tug.

Any suggestions? Sometimes I can trade the tug for a treat, but when she's really in drive, she just won't out for anything!
 

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My trainer had me pinch Fiona's ear to out, if it was not immediate. It breaks the focus on the thing. Now I just have to move my hand towards her ear to remind her.


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I pick mine up underneath her shoulders so her front legs are dangling off the ground an inch or two, she always drops things after just a few seconds. I guess lifting by the harness works too, or sticking a treat literally on their nose so they have to grab it.

Someone told me that way its a voluntary drop, not you removing it from the mouth, so it keeps the toy's value *shrug* I dont know how true that is but it works for us :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tried picking her up and putting the treat right on her nose. At this point I think I have to be a bit more forceful about it.

It's almost heartbreaking, because she almost seems incapable of letting go (which I know is not true), she just offers anything she can think of to appease me, here eyes are pleading and her little ears go down like she is so sad that she's disappointing me, but she can't help it. lol

Ear pinching? Where do you pinch?
 

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I always taught it by trading, showing that giving up the treasured item means you get something even better in return

Sometimes with the flirt pole when Delgado is really in drive he will hold and kill the toy rather than drop it when told to out, when that does happen I make the toy "dead" and don't move it at all. He'll chew and shake it once or twice more then look to me to fix the problem and start the play again (nudging my leg, offering the toy in his mouth, etc.) , I'll remind him to out and only after it's back in my possession do I liven up the toy again and we play.

Both scenarios reward the dog only when you're in control.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
But what do you do if the tug is one of her favourite things?

I'm not trying to poo-poo any ideas here, and I appreciate any and all suggestions.

But I can literally leave her holding it on her own and just hold her by the collar (so she's not running around shaking it, getting more excited) and she still won't drop it.

I could maybe try another toy, she does like the ball on the rope, but I'm afraid she then won't out that either. Maybe if she didn't have to work so hard for it it might be easier though. I can give that a try.

This dog is nothing, if not strong willed.
 

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How handler sensitive is she? Does your displeasure at her not following the command really not outweigh her love for the tug? I know you mentioned she will offer other behaviours in an attemp to placate you

If not, I hate to say it but you might have to fight dirty. Have you tried cupping her lower jaw in one hand and pressing your thumb into her mouth just behind her front lower teeth under her tongue? Just enough to pinch slightly but not hurt or cause a major gag reflex. Her jaw should slacken and you can pull the tug out, then it's a mega party when it's back in your possession.

Keep practicing on teaching her patience in waiting for it, playing and then taking away for 30 seconds (ignoring any attempt to get it back) and only giving it back when she's quiet and waiting and gradually building up the time she has to wait to get it back.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's the thing, I've been told by schutzhund people that they think she's sensitive, and I do think she feels bad that she's not obeying me, but she just can't seem to give up the tug.

I think I have to get a bit tougher on her with this.

I'll try that idea with pinching under her tongue. I've held her nose and kind of pinched her lips against her teeth and just held it firmly until she's let go and told her "YES! Good aus!" and given her a treat but sometimes even that doesn't work. She'll even whine when I'm doing it but still not out her tug.

She is really, really determined to keep her prize.

I think on Thursday I'll bring her little ball on the rope and keep it in my pocket and I'll offer that for her tug and see if she will trade for that. Then hopefully she'll out the ball easier since it wasn't as hard won as the tug.
 

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Start practicing with the ball, where the teeth around the ball are not close together. The vet taught me a trick that goes like this: push down on the dog's tongue, and he will release anything immediately.
So when he holds the ball in his teeth, reach in, push down on the tongue with your thumb, and say "out."
Rinse, repeat.
That's how I taught Hans.
 

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Personally I like the quick pinch under the tongue because it's quick and effective, I don't like adding stress or pain any more then I have to to get my point across.

If she'll work for the ball and rope and it's less valuable I would work with that for sure, less stress on both of you while you can work on the issue at home
 

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Yes, have a good reliable out on the ball before you work with the tug.
That way you don't give her a chance to disobey the command.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, I'll try those things, thanks for the suggestions. I'll try it out on Thursday and let you all know how it goes. The problem with the ball is it's not a proper tug that she can really hit, if you know what I mean? But I'll try it and see how it goes.

I think she just has to learn that when she outs she gets to play again.
 

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I'd do it by practicing with a lower-value toy when the dog is not so intensely wound up. I'd do the first sessions in a fairly sterile training environment where nothing else interesting is going on (for Dog Mob, that would be our living room). "Out" is the cue to drop the toy; if the dog doesn't obey, the game is over (toy goes dead, no more tug) and I withdraw all attention. Very boring.

If the dog does Out, this is marked with a "yes!" and he's immediately rewarded with a fun! exciting! resumption of the game (but not too exciting because I don't want the dog to lose his mind and be unable to continue learning). In the beginning, I'll accept slower and semi-reluctant Outs; as the dog gets more experienced with the game, only very quick responses will be rewarded.

At the end of the session, I'll toss the toy away and let the dog play himself silly (by himself, without my involvement), so he "wins" the toy at the end and does not come to believe that giving the toy up causes it to go away forever. IME most dogs quickly lose interest in a tug that isn't actually being tugged, and after a few repetitions of this I don't have to throw the toy anymore; a treat is just as good as a session-ending reward.

Thresholds are important here: if I know the dog can play happily for 10 seconds but then gets too wound up, I'll stop at 5 seconds. If the dog can only tolerate 5 seconds without losing his mind, we'll stop at 2 seconds or use a less valuable toy.

Over time I would build it up to more exciting environments, longer sessions of Tug, and better toys. The goal is to teach the dog that he can think even when he's excited and that giving the toy up immediately gets conditioned as a desirable, happy-making response.
 

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On rereading, I note that you can get a good 'out' when at home.

Have you tried gradually escalating the dog's excitement level and training/reinforcing specifically for that behavior? If you can get it in one environment and not another, my inclination would be to view that as a proofing issue. Break it down into small increments, practice with steadily increasing difficulty, don't ask for more than the dog can give in a specific situation.

What happens if you tug and ask for an 'out' in the training field or facility when nothing else is going on and before anyone else has begun work?

What happens if you tug and ask for an 'out' on the sidelines during practice while other dogs are running but your own dog hasn't had a turn yet?

What happens if you set up partial practices at home, tug and reward your dog in a lower state of excitement as reward for a fake practice run, and then ask for an out?

I'd probably try to figure out your dog's current threshold level based on some of those things and others, and then work from there.
 

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As many pointed here in this Forum, you don't train "outing" in the field, you better train it in a less stressful environment. Though, I'm completely against teaching protection in a home environment. Why? First, you are teaching your dog bad habits. You are showing him it may happened any moment wherever you are, that he could be required to do this job - to bite and hold his grab gripped between his teeth. That is how it becomes a regular trouble, when the sleeve of a lonely passing girl or an old man becomes seductively attractive. You better do it in a set environment. I don't want to suggest buying the equipment, renting a piece of land and employing a professional decoy; but you can invite your friend for a walk in the forest with a prospective of playing a special game with your dog.
You can demand from your dog only if you are absolutely sure he understands the meaning of your command. He should know that "Out!" for releasing, "Phaugh!" for avoiding, "Drop!" for dropping the ball and "Give!" for giving into your hand are different commands. Make sure he knows all of them well before you demand. You can use as many different words for one and the same command (this way you may teach your dog several foreighn languages!), but you shouldn't give one and the same command for different things.
I always stuffed my dogs with new commands as many as I could place in their brains before they were 3 years old, then slowed down in training new. Previously learned commands help to grasp the new ones faster. You can involve some other commands to teach your dog patience. After "outing" recall your dog to sit next to you on your left. Do it repeatedly. He will understand there should be an indefinite pause between bites. The next step - ask him simply to sit right after "Out!". Say him "Good boy!" for sitting long enough and, send him to take the pad - it will be his treat for sitting long enough, because he will get what he wanted so badly.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Merciel, I think that is a big part of the problem is that it's hard for me to find an in between level of excitement for her between flyball practice and home. She has a low threshold. One thing I've noticed is she gets like that at home with her Jolly ball when I let her romp around the arena, so that might be my in between level that I can start to work with.

David, I've done a bit of schutzhund with her (not in the last couple of months though) but it's not protection I'm doing, but flyball. So I'm not working on protection at home at all, I'm not experienced enough to. When I was at schutz. last, the helper told me she takes it very seriously for a dog her age, so I guess I've been a bit worried about the protection if I can't get her thinking while she's doing it, she's only reacting.

She's not really being tugged with at practice. She's tug obsessed, so I literally leave it laying on the ground, she goes down, retrieves her ball off the box (if I pick up the tug, she'll spit the ball) and runs the ball back to her tug laying on the ground all on her own and brings it to me. I dont'even really tug it with her, just tell her what a good girl she is.

We are working her alone. Other dogs running blows her mind completely, so we're trying to keep her excitement level as low as possible.
 

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Please update us on this problem. I'm very interested in following how you find a solution. Thanks!
 

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Try offering a second tug by moving it in prey while she is tied out. Have a string on the tug she has in her mouth so you can quickly pull in away if she drops the original tug. You can also flank her quickly by grabbing her skin where her inner thigh meets her stomach area. Do it quickly and forcefully and she will drop the tog and look around to see what happened. Pull her away from the tug and praise her. Get her interested in the tug again and repeat. Once she gets the concept, she can fade out the flanking.
 
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