Dog Training Tips

To Tug or Not To Tug...

That is the question that trainers everywhere have an opinion on... so here is mine:

I’m a huge fan of playing tug with your dog, and in both regular pet homes or with working dogs the goal is pretty much the same: the dog must be taught to exhibit self-control (drive control). There are rules and the dog is set up for success when learning the rules. In my pet manners and obedience classes we teach tug as a way to bond and reward the dog. We take into consideration the dog rules of ownership, which are: if it’s in my mouth, under my chin or where I can reach it before you can – it’s mine! Then we use those inherent dog rules and the fun of playing tug as a reward to learn THE RULES OF TUG, which are 1) Sit to start the game, 2) take the rope when offered, 3) tug your little heart out (the first three steps are always the same), then we either get them to give up the rope or we let go first, and the game begins when they sit and drop the rope for us. We teach them that while playing tug they can be touched all over, and that it is a pleasant experience. The dog learns that they have many choices and making the right decision pays out big time.

My concern about trainers that say “no tug, ever” doesn’t allow the dog to learn rules and self-control and it also robs them of a pleasurable dog experience of pulling, tugging and tearing. AND tug is great exercise that can be done in a small area and indoors on those cold winter days (exercises the brain and the body!).

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