The Do's and Don'ts of Tugging

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by adojrts, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    As most of us know training a dog to tug is a great reinforcer when training new behaviours.
    The old myth that tugging turns a dog aggressive has long since to be defunked.
    BUT..........there are rules to tugging.
    The most important rule is also teaching the dog to release, THE FIRST TIME YOU ASK.
    That the dog isn't allowed to grab the toy or tug without permission.
    That the dog isn't allowed to jump around like crazy trying to get that tug.
    That the dog be careful of our fingers and flesh.
    Tugging is also training your dog SELF CONTROL.
    And that we don't whip our dogs around causing neck damage.
    And when we are tugging with our dogs that they have our undivided attention, that we are not chatting or being oblivious to how our tugging is effecting the other dogs around us.

    I know somebody, they taught their dogs to tug for dog sports, but it was absolutely ridiculous the efforts that they went to, trying to get their dogs to release!
    The dogs on many occasions made mistakes and ended up nailing the owner.
    This person had been warned many times about their violent tugging with their dog/s and by many people. Instructed that they needed to train the dogs a release, but they didn't listen.
    This person was badly bit recently, during training, the dog flew through the air, grab their upper arm and DIDN'T let go. Needless to say the damage was pretty good, they didn't dare go to the hospital for fear of the dog being put down or reported.

    Some people just have to learn the hard way................and its a good example of someone not fully understanding or learning how to do something correctly and thinking that their training is 'Good Enough'.
     
  2. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    I let my dogs win on the tug all the time. If they bite it good and hard and show desire to take it from me by pulling and not giving up, I let them win. When they bring it back, that's when I make them out it and start the game over.

    Letting the dog win the tug is fine as long as you are the one who starts and stops the game. I don't start playing if they bring it to me. They have to do something first- out the tug so I'm in sole possession of it, and then do a sit or something simple, then we'll play. When we're done, I get them to out it when they bring it back, and then I'll put the tug away. If I'm using it for an obedience reward, I still let them win, then have them give it back to me and it goes back into my pocket.

    I don't see why a dog would be put down for an accidental bite on the owner. One of our decoys nearly had a finger amputated recently. He was in the hospital, they asked how it happened, and he told them. They didn't report it to anyone. He knew the risk of taking the field to catch the dog. Just like if you got your teeth smashed in playing hockey- you knew the risk before you went out there, so there's no liability for anyone else.
     
  3. a.baker

    a.baker New Member

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    You know what I find; some people think they know so much about dogs and they won't listen to you when you ask them nicely please do this or don't do that. I think its a pride thing.

    And you know when your training your dog and you have specifics, because every dog is not train with the same command, and people don't listen to you it makes the training hard.

    Like my puppy who is super hyper and jumping on you and only 5 mths old so he has a lot to learn , "please don't give him attention when he jumps on you". The other people say "oh thats o.k. I like dogs. Your a good boy"....... Argh!!!

    While I want to socialize him I don't want my puppy to do this, argh, some don't listen.
     
  4. Use a leash and food to control your puppy and prevent his jumping on people.

    I teach puppies very early....SIT TO VISIT. This is an informal command meant to get the pup's butt on the ground so he can enjoy being petted on by whoever wants to visit with him.

    I use the food to lure the pup into a sit, and with very young puppies just learning, I also often gently help the puppy to sit with my hands, and I will then hold the collar gently to help them learn to stay in place.

    People also hear me say "SIT for a VISIT", and know that I am expecting the puppy to sit.

    So I take maybe a bit more of a proactive role in how my puppy behaves with visitors. I don't put the onus on the person who is visiting with the puppy, I just control the situation so my puppy has really no other choice except to sit, (while I help if necessary), and he still gets his nice visit with the friendly person.

    I also teach my dogs to LIE DOWN in the presence of any toddler. It is surprising how fast they learn this one too. :D

    DAN< we play tug the same way you do. My dogs get to win frequently, but I control the game.
     
  5. assortedagility

    assortedagility New Member

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    Not to mention, tug at THEIR level. Don't be yanking the dog's head and neck around from up above. YOU, the human, get down to their level and mimic tugging the way your dog would tug with another dog.
     
  6. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    I would like to add, if you are working with a dog who has toy guarding issues, tug is not a good game to play. This may be obvious to some, but I learned this the hard way. I was working with a previous FOHA dog who had toy guarding issues. I was teaching him to release a plush toy on command, and he was doing well, and somehow we found ourselves in a game of tug. He would NOT release the toy, so I had to let go and let him win. This put us back a bit in training.

    Sometimes when Daisy and I are playing tug with the Frisbee I lift her off the ground...is this bad? Its only for a few seconds. Its kinda similar to an APBT hanging off a spring pole. I never whip Daisy around or anything, just hold her up.
     
  7. vomdominus

    vomdominus Prey Drive's a BITCH!

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    I pull my boy off the ground all the time when we play tug, but he's 90 pounds of wound spring steel for muscles, so I know it's not hurting him. But then again, this is the same dog that will attack a tree and grab a branch eight feet up and hang on and do his damnedest to pull it out of the tree.

    I don't know how Daisy's built, but if she's a mature, strong dog it shouldn't be an issue.
     
  8. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    I pull my GSD off the ground. I'll even swing him around in a circle. The Dane, I can't pull her off the ground lol. The alleged JRT will hang on and let you pull him off the ground too.

    Oohh Red, Victoria Stillwell would yell at you for EVER using your hands to put your dog into a position! She told someone on that new dog show that's on the same thing! :)
     
  9. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    LMAO, when Stillwell kept saying 'ack', to the woman that got voted off (god she was annoying lol) it was too funny. Talk about getting a taste of her own medicine :rofl1:
     
  10. LOL!!

    I should clarify I guess, I only do this with puppies less than 12-14 WEEKS of age. At this age it is often helpful for the PUPPY if it is gently held in position so that it learns not to get up when people approach for a visit.

    I agree that the majority of the time it is counterproductive to physically position a dog. I much prefer luring or capturing.

    :)
     
  11. Suzzie

    Suzzie Aging Canine Advocate

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    Why? So people can criticize that too?
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    i'm not sure why anyone thinks they would be put down.

    Murphy accidentally bit my SO when he was breaking up a particularly nasty do-or-die fight between her and Blossom when we first moved in together... She latched onto his arm and he picked her up off the ground. You could see in her eyes when she realized what she had done and she was the sorriest critter I ever did see. I took my SO to the hospital right away, because he was torn up and bleeding pretty good, and we told them she did it accidentally and it was his fault for getting between them.

    Nothing ever came of it. She's happily snoozing by my feet right now, and that was about 4 years ago. He was pretty wary of her for a while, but I think that was the last big dog fight at our house....

    It's actually stupid to NOT go to the hospital when something like that happens - even with the antibiotics they gave him, it still got infected and he needed something even stronger than that.
     
  12. vomdominus

    vomdominus Prey Drive's a BITCH!

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    I've gotten bit once on accident too, ironically enough while playing tug. I was in my side yard playing with a long rope bone, and he was jumping through the air to catch it which is a favorite of both of us. However, someone drove by and said hello to me, distracting me for a split second and I didn't watch the dog, who accidentally grabbed my arm instead of the rope because I moved my arm. He latched down and did some damage, but when he realized what he did, he let go and had a graceless crash landing.

    When I went to the hospital, they told me that by law they had to report it, and out of fear I got up off of the operating table and told them nuts with this I'm leaving (well, a little more colorfully). They told me they still had my info and would report it anyway. lol

    Turns out when they called the law on it, they explaind to the police what I told them and nothing came of it. The law said that if I didn't feel it was an isssue then they didn't feel it was an issue.
     
  13. I have had a finger or thumbnail (OUCH!!) in the way more than once.
     
  14. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Daisy chomped my hand once 5 years ago when she was still 1 year old. She went for the Frisbee but got my hand instead. Ouches...didn't break the skin though. She is much more careful now.
     
  15. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    The point is how to tug, not accidental bites.
    Btw we also live in BSL here, so there is concern, whether its a concern with other people or not doesn't matter.
    And the post wasn't directed at people who know how to train tugging but for those who don't.
     
  16. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    I said that because adojrts wrote
     
  17. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    I've had some bad bruises and scratches from not watching what I was doing while playing with Buster. Ofcourse it all levels out like the time I went to kick a tennis ball across the yard just as Buster decided to rush in and grab it, one very sore foot and one very sore mouth.
     

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