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Thread: Teaching a Dog to Play Tug of War..

  1. #1
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    Default Teaching a Dog to Play Tug of War..

    How do you teach a dog/pup to play tug of war?

  2. #2
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    An RSPCA trainer explained this to me once, but it never worked with my old dog.

    First you're supposed to just get them interested in the toy. You do that by playing with it yourself and making it appear very special. So you throw it up in the air and catch and act all excited. And kind of act a bit secretively, trying to hide the toy from the dog's view, etc. Once she starts showing an interest, you can start rewarding her for touching it. Then reward her for grabbing it. And so on until you can start giving it a little tug.

    This may work faster if you already use clicker training or similar.

  3. #3
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    If your dog likes food, you can get a special tug called a "tuggit" that you can put food into... and that helps a lot.

    Tug-It Advanced with Bungee

    Note - they don't last forever but should last long enough for dog to get the idea about what tug is for.

  4. #4

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    I have been told not to encourage tug of war as it can start bad behaviours. like when they have something (like a shoe) and you do not want them to have it as they think it is a game they start to play.
    Also encourages bad behaviour especially if the dog will be near children, the child has a toy and the dog wants it or vise versa and again the god thinks it's a game.

    I think fetch works a lot better teaching to drop the toy and in reward you throw it again.

    But hey thats just my thoughts

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    That's why you need to teach the dog to let go too, SH. No different from teaching the dog to let go of the ball when you play fetch really.

    Tug of war is a great game to play with a dog as it can somewhat satisfy their hunting instinct. My 6yo plays tug of war with our dog and they both love it. Never had any issues with her trying to play tug of war with anything apart from her rope toy.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandyharley View Post
    I have been told not to encourage tug of war as it can start bad behaviours. like when they have something (like a shoe) and you do not want them to have it as they think it is a game they start to play.
    Also encourages bad behaviour especially if the dog will be near children, the child has a toy and the dog wants it or vise versa and again the god thinks it's a game.

    I think fetch works a lot better teaching to drop the toy and in reward you throw it again.

    But hey thats just my thoughts

    If you have a dog with decent prey drive it will do those things anyway, without an outlet for it's drive.

    Playing tug of war properly means you teach the dog self control, so those things don't happen, and you also give the dog an outlet for it's drive so it's not going to seek drive satisfaction elsewhere (like the kid's toys).

  7. #7
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    With tug, we also have "give" for let go. With most everything else we have "thank you" ie spit what is in your mouth out, and you get much yummier treat here...

    It's very handy when Frosty nicks other dogs toys.

    Half the fun of tug is the give-geddit game.

    Ie you wait till dog sits, you say yes, and wave the tug and say "geddit" and you tug for a bit, 10 seconds is enough, 3 minutes all at once is going to hurt you and probably your dog with sore muscles for a few days after.

    So tug for 10 seconds, stop tugging and just hold and say "give". With my dog if she doesn't give, I tell her "oops", or psst at her, if she still doesn't give (doesn't happen anymore), I prise the toy out of her mouth by gently pushing her lip against her tooth until she spits it out. And I say "yes".

    And then I wait for the sit again...

  8. #8
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    Some dogs just dont like to play tug of war so you may not be able to teach it.

    arney will not play tug of war with me and OH, but he will play it with our daughter - because he thinks he can win I think LOL.

    Pippi will play tug of war with anyone and god shes a tenacious little thing. Sometimes she even wins - usually when I get bored of playing.

    In regards to what someone posted up there about bad habits....load of rubbish. My dogs know the difference between soemthing they are allowed to chew/play tug of war with and something they are not. They will drop anything when you tell them to...unless youve really got pippi into a frenzy with tug and then she might ignore you the first time LOL

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    Tug of war is a game of tease. You build the dogs prey drive, gradually. Tease the dog with the tug. You can buy one of those expensive toys as suggested, alternatively, get an old pair of tights, smear them with vegemite tie to a rope and off ya go.

    Try to keep the bunch of tights (pantyhose) 'just' out of reach of the dog, really tease him. Get really excited as he 'nearly' catches it. Eventually let him 'catch' the prey and prance around with his prize, coz they look so cute doing it, or killing it first, then prance around, either is good. he'll be keener on next session.

  10. #10
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    Look up training in drive video's on youtube for a quick demo.

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