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Do you tug?

Discussion in 'Sheltie Training' started by SheltieChe, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. SheltieChe

    SheltieChe Forums Sage

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    I have to say it is not first choice behavior with a sheltie, seems like they are much more food motivated from get go or at least that is what I have observed with mine. I have made all kinds of mistakes teaching my dogs to play and tug but we are slowly up and going in right direction, I have honest to goodness tugging sessions and chase games, they fast becoming our favorites. I also like it because I have struggled to keep my boys at healthy weight due to all that training we do. Che now at healthy weight but more struggles with Leo as he is small so there is only so much food that can be spared for training/ they practically get to lick their bowls as meals, everything else goes into training/
    http://susangarrettdogagility.com/2012/04/improve-your-dog-training-by-playing-like-a-dog/
    so do you tug? and why or why not? and if you do what toy you had best success with?
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  2. k9kreationz

    k9kreationz Premium Member

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    Interesting. Most dogs I see tugging, pull like Swagger in the video. Crazy dog trying to rip it from the owner. Or, I see them yanking it back to the point where I wonder how many people have had dislocated shoulders. I rarely see a dog tug like Feature did....passively. Especially not at agility trials.

    For myself, Miko's always liked a game of tug, then fetch. He has always been more toy motivated. Tossing a ball was good enough for him. Granted, he loved food, but he eats it so slowly, I'm sure he forgets why he was rewarded in the first place. lol.

    As for Koji, the only real time he likes playing with a toy is to chase it down and pounce. So if it's not moving in an erratic way, he's only semi interested. He is more of a gentle tugger like Feature, however, that's only when he wants to play. He'll never do it in agility, around agility, or for agility. Trust me, I've tried everything.

    Yup, Koji is 100% food motivated. Even food in a bait bag isn't fun. I also hate throwing treats on the ground because I have seen so many dogs sniffing the ground for food. And if I throw it once, Koji then learns, "if I do xyz, there is food over here on the ground somewhere". sometimes, they're just too smart. LOL.

    I think with any agility dog I have, I will always teach tugging if possible. Using a tug is so great when training. Especially for distance. But I guess it's the dog's decision as to what motivates them the most.
     
  3. SheltieChe

    SheltieChe Forums Sage

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    Rachel Sanders has DVD "Making reinforcement fun"
    http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?Product_ID=1701&fuseaction=product.display
    I have found few good ideas and pretty similar message to SG about not push it in dog's face, shake too much etc
    It took me about 6-8 months of conscious effort but we have now tug at agility. Susan says it is about stress dogs will have outside of home at agility or dog park etc. So one just needs create stress and failures in the house so dog knows "I do it no matter what". You can create your own stress in the house by tugging near food dish etc.
    Here is the good toy I am considering trying, had heard good comments about it, might be good for you chase/pounce boy.
    http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=1645&ParentCat=74
     
  4. k9kreationz

    k9kreationz Premium Member

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    Good info.

    I think for us, we're beyond tugging. By that, I mean we've been doing agility for so long w/o it, that there would be no purpose for it. His main reinforcement was and always will be food. Trying to train a tug reinforcement will never be as a high value as food.

    Maybe with my next dog I'll put more effort into training a tug.

    (I'm actually quite happy we don't tug. After this weekend, I now have 3 injured joints in my arms. I went in with a sprained wrist and tennis elbow - different arms. Now I have two sore elbows and one sore wrist. Not sure I could handle more sore arms, hehehe).
     
  5. Aearoniel

    Aearoniel Forums Regular

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    I don't tug with my girls, Callie has her moments and Indi once in a blue moon will have a go. It took me 2years to get Indi to play with any toy let alone tug so it may well be next on our list of things to do.

    With Pip I am consciously trying to get him more motivated by toys and am following SG's method of making an irresistible toy. His bungee fleece tug is in the drawer and I play with it 3 times a day, he is all for it and goes all out trying to join in.
     
  6. Justicemom

    Justicemom Premium Member

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    Justice- no he will do it for small bursts but it has never been his thing. It all about the fetch game for him. Oh and tell him he is a good boy and he will hand you the moon. :smile2: He lives for petting and social interaction.

    Ember-sort of, she does a weak little pull on her leash, didn't do it until she was like 5 yrs old. I have found it can be a good stress relief for her while we are waiting. But it does nothing to motivate her just keeps her mind else where. Food is what Ember lives for. But don't go by Ember because if you try to train any other dog like her, you would fail big time. I call it do it the normal way or do it Ember's way.:lol:

    Diva- yes, but food trumps it, so does attention and just the thrill of doing something. Good girl and high fives go a long way with Diva.

    Birch- yes. He loves to tug Loves it, it pulls him out of his funks and nerves so much more than food or anything else. He also really likes food and fetching and playing in general. As he has gotten older tug is not the end all be all for him but he still responses to it anytime I bring it out.

    I tend to think and this is just my option that often time tugging is pushed as the most important thing in teaching your dog something and motivating them but the real issue is building a relationship with your dog. Spend time with them, interact with them, playing with them. Even if it is just running around acting crazy. Dogs know when you are being sincere and when you are pushing too hard and faking it.
     
  7. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

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    My two are very different. Lexi just tugged the day we brought her home, I think. I think she can get over the top very easily, so I make tugging a fun interactive game with an element of control. We do tugging, give, take, back up, wait, catch, sit, down, take, fetch all at the same time. I made sure to teach her to tug by using her back legs to pull rather than her front/neck. That's the main reason we do so much tugging while she backs up. She rocks back and powers from the rear and it's good for strengthening.

    I've also found that tugging ends up really centering her before an agility run. But, once we get into the building and right up close to the ring (which we only do right before her turn) she doesn't want to tug anymore. She wants to run, end of story. After a run, she wants her cookies, and then we go out and tug and fetch some more.

    This sounds JUST like Lexi.


    Bentley, on the other hand, doesn't get it. I sort of taught him to tug just to see if I could, but it's not for him so I don't have him do it. I think it confuses him and he doesn't find it rewarding. I find it better to build drive just by pushing him around--he doesn't need the tug.

    Just to illustrate the difference between them--if Lexi "wins" a game of tug, she kills her toy. Bentley just looks confused and immediately drops it! :razz:

    Here's a short video that I made (not a great representation, but you get the idea) of them both tugging:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST3ZW5bkwTM&feature=youtu.be
     
  8. Justicemom

    Justicemom Premium Member

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    Lexi does sound like Diva. Once she thinks she is going to run agility, she thinks of nothing else. Tugging pales in compairsion

    Birch OTOH is tugging on my shoes laces as I type. I think both shoes are untied now. He has done that since he was 4 weeks old, I think. He loves it.
     
  9. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

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    Favorite toy

    I forgot to post my favorite toy.

    http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=2759

    That is my absolute favorite tugging toy. I will buy them over and over (though I still have the first one that I bought). It's a bungee so it has some give which is nice, but it's also really easy to throw and see for fetching. That's critical because Lexi loves the fetching part.

    Lexi doesn't really like fleece tugs (darn, because I can make them cheap) and I can't throw them. She also likes her Kong Wubba, but it frays really quickly.
     
  10. romeosangiovese

    romeosangiovese Forums Enthusiast

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    Previously, I could get Juliet to tug indoors but not out. Romeo I couldn't get to tug at all (for longer than a split second at least!) They are both just so incredibly food motivated!

    I've been working at this for some time now and I've found great success with these little mesh bags that you stuff food in. I started using this as home first, then took it out. It transfers the value of the food to the tugging and I can get both of them to tug pretty hard using these outdoors. They hang on to it real tight - I can even lift them off the ground! :lol:

    Concurrently, at home, I've also tried to get more tugging by tying a pig's ear to a rabbit tug toy. This is more for Romeo really. He goes nuts over this! And he doesn't just try to grab the ear, he'll tug on the toy and when he really gets into the tugging, I let him win and take the ear for a bit of a chew, then I get it back, and start again. I'm making the ear part smaller and smaller now.
    eartug.jpg
    I also tried getting them to tug on a normal toy before meals. Tugging is like the work they had to do to get paid with their breakfast. Lol!

    With Romeo, I had to let him win alot to gain his confidence. I also pushed him (and also Juliet) around to rev them up while tugging. That helped alot too. I've bought a gazillion tug toys to see what would work and now that I've got the tugging behaviour I'm weaning them off the food stuffable tug toys.

    All that is helping both of them develop a good tug. Romeo will tug on JULIET'S agility leash (to her horror (and mine)! :eek2:) to get my attention/be rewarded with food even with dogs running around. It took some time (a year) but it's worth the trouble. :biggrin2:
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012

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