Investing time and effort using dog tug toys could be an option in training our dogs, predominantly performance dogs. Tugs offer an amazing positive influence, especially with fearful dogs. They can be a great distraction tool, and can aid dogs to overcome fear or difficult situations.
When dogs are faced with frightening conditions, they will either freeze, fight or flight. To counteract this, a tug can be a useful means of overcoming negative thoughts while they engage in playing with a tug. By playing tug with your dog, you are predominantly arousing their positive senses and creating an optimistic mind and situation. Effectively, you are teaching your dog to listen, respond and help thim to enjoy his surroundings.
Getting to grips with dog tug toys
Dog tug toys come in all shapes and sizes; I would recommend tugs without handles. Dogs are naturally keen on grabbing tug handles; as a result, it’s probably wise to abstain from these types of tugs as you could become injured. You don’t necessarily need to buy a specially made tug from your local shop. Dogs enjoy most toys that will challenge them.
Firstly, dogs must always be invited to play tug of war and never let your dog take control. I will ask my dog to ‘COME’, but you can use any incitations to play tug.
You are the one who needs to remain in control; I don’t mean being authoritarian, it’s about exercising positive influences. Should you ask your dog to leave, drop, enough or whatever spurring word you want to use, then he must let go – period!
Should your dog accidentally grab human skin, the game must end immediately.
Now let’s play a game with those dog tug toys…
Grab the tug and wave it in his face or shuffle it on the floor to get his attention. Persuade him to play with the tug by giving him positive encouragement. The play session should take place for approximately ten to twenty seconds.
During this play time, you need to move the tug from side to side and up and down. The challenging part is to teach your dog to leave the tug alone – meaning drop when you’ve asked him. All dogs are different, only you know how to positively influence your dog to drop the tug. Like humans, we all have our quirks – good or bad!
Asking a dog to release the tug is like asking us women to hand over a bar of chocolate! How do we influence them to let go of something so yummy? Easy, treats are paramount in training, but they will need to be extra special and tasty for this game. Check out ‘Better dog training treats suggestions‘, treats are about using positive reinforcement, it is an easy form of training to encourage your dog listen to you.
When a dog is quickly presented with delicious treats, they should instantaneously drop the tug toy. For some dogs, treats and dog tug toys have a special connection; in other words, the game sessions can go on for hours.
However, for some dogs, usually the highly intelligent ones, the game will become boring quite quickly. If your dog becomes bored easily, it is better to stop the game and introduced it again at a later time, never try forcing an unenthusiastic dog.
Before resuming each tug of war session vary the time to restart the game. Each session should last between ten to twenty second increments.Begin by holding onto your dog’s collar before re-commencing. Eventually, your dog will understand the rules and there will come a time when you will never have to hold his collar.
When you’re ready you can give your dog permission to retake the tug and resume playing!
Training with dog tug toys requires accuracy for him to grasp the importance of the game. Effectively, your dog will never know he is being trained for anterior purposes. The ultimate goal is that this tug can be used when your dog is presented with fearful situations. Training to perfect this game at home in a peaceful environment will present amazing rewards in the future, especially if you bump into stressful environments.
If you feel uncomfortable with the game and this might be because its getting out of control, then it is better to stop playing. Simply, drop the toy and leave the room, give your dog some time out. It is up to you if you want to resume the game, but remember always watch your dogs body language.
Watchfully, keep an eye on a rigid body, stiff tail, hackles up, staring, snarling and growling. You wouldn’t engage in recreation with your friends with this kind of body language, it’s for this reason dog tug toys should always be played with honor and respect.