Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's a miracle - my dog can tug!

Now, those of you that have dogs that are natural tuggers, you're probably asking, "What's the big deal?" Well, I have been working with Jackson off and on (usually 'off' because I have given up a number of times) to try to get an enthusiastic tug from him. Unlike a lot of dogs, he just never seemed to have any interest in tugging with me. I've tried all kinds of tugs - soft, hard, ropes, food-containing ones, etc. - with not much success..... until recently.

According to SG, and a lot of trainers, this is the foundation to building a relationship with your dog and building drive. (Heaven knows - we could use some drive : ) So, I've started working on the tugging again with him. I'm not sure what is different this time, but we seem to be having some success. We have a long ways to go to get to the point where he will tug with me in new settings with distractions and when I ask for it, but for now, we are building value with tugging in the house. We'll gradually try to move it outside where there are some distractions and then to the club, etc.

And for now, I am only asking for tugging when he is 'up,' like before we go out to train, or when it's time to eat. If anyone has any tips on how they have gotten a non-tugging dog to love tugging, please share. We can use any help we can get to keep this thing moving in the right direction.

Here's the proof : )


Jen said...

I'm a fan of the "put the toy in a drawer, bring it out and tease them but don't let them have it several times over a few days, then finally allow them to tug when they're super pumped about it" method. My dogs see how much fun I'm having without them and their motivation builds and builds; when I finally "let" them tug, they're usually very enthusiastic.

Kathie R said...

Thanks for the suggestion Jen. I'll try that. I am finding out that this tugging thing is exhausting! I am out of breathe after just a few minutes of tugging.

andrea said...

Brody is a eeennh tugger- he can usually take it or leave it and he certainly doesn't think it's a reward. He will do it to get a reward though ;)

for us being aware of what I was asking him to tug.. where I was asking him to tug it and why I was asking for the behaviour were important questions I had to have answered before the tug item came out...

Sally would tug anything I asked her to- no need for hard questions with her :)