Teaching the Tug

tatumtug Do you teach your dogs to tug? Or do you think that tugging can exacerbate aggressive behavior and dominance?

Personally, I don’t think tugging, with the right rules, makes a dog more aggressive or dominant. I want my dogs to tug because it’s a great fun game that gives the dogs an outlet for their predatory instincts. Of course tug should have rules… including a nice solid OUT for when you are done. Not that Chase has one of those. In fact, he has a rotten OUT and I have to often stick my fingers in his mouth to get him to drop the toy. Ah the fun of rescue dogs and their issues. 🙂

Tatum doesn’t really tug, so I got her a Tug-It from Clean Run. She is a goof because she will chomp on it with her rear teeth (it is mesh so the food leaks out) and then she’ll lick it with her tongue. But we are working on that tugging behavior.

I don’t know if she’ll ever really be a good tugger, or if I’ll be able to use tugging as a reinforcer in training. But that’s okay… food works for her in training too.  But tugging would be fun, so we are working on that. Maybe I need to time our progress with some Suunto watches and see if I can see how long it takes her to get food out of the Tug It!

What do you think of tugging with your dog?

5 thoughts on “Teaching the Tug”

  1. I love tugging!!! What do you think about letting the dog win vs never letting the dog win? I have heard you should never let them win but I let Dylan win sometimes. I love that he is tugging and I want him to enjoy it!!

    1. I think the dogs should win sometimes! It’s no fun if they don’t win, at least not for them. Well… maybe for Chase it is, ’cause he just likes to tug no matter if he wins or not. LOL. But I do let my dogs win occasionally!

  2. Tantum does the same thing as Sneek. Licks it!
    I let the dogs win mostly. I have to be careful with Miss Maddie – make sure she knows that I end the game, not her.
    She LOVES the tug. Wish I could put that part of her brain into Jake and Sneek

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  3. Tugging with dogs is always fun, sometimes I worry that they will hurt their teeth though, just like playing with cats and making sure you don’t hurt their paws/claws.

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  4. Ugh. Tried responding and it ate my post. Shannon has been dominant since a small puppy. She loves tug. When I’m not around, she fills in as pack leader. Kedric has been very submissive and sensitive since a small puppy. He does not like tug, will not tug, has zero insterest in tug. If I act like I’m going to touch a toy he has in his mouth, he drops it. He has no interest in a challenge. He’s extremely eager to please and keep the peace. So when Shannon does well, she gets to tug. It’s what she loves (and she grows like a mad woman while tugging, but has never been aggressive with me, ever). When Ked does well, I toss him a K9 Flyer or some other toy. Giving him a toy to chase and chew up is what he loves. It works for him, so it works for me. I have no real need to turn him onto tugging if it’s just not what he really likes.

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