Author Topic: Tug "philosophy"  (Read 1858 times)

BoxerWB

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Tug "philosophy"
« on: May 30, 2012, 06:29:48 PM »
So I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but Delta is already in a puppy training class.  When I looked around locally, all the classes were either starting now or at the end of the summer.  I wanted to get her in early while she's still soaking things up like a sponge (and doesn't care if she guesses wrong!).   The class I'm in is a little more "pure positive" than I'd like, but I haven't yet found a middle of the road trainer or training center, so I'm just taking what I like and leaving the rest.

We've been working on tugging with our dogs, which I like because it was something I could never do with Xena.  Delta is a vicious little tugger and isn't inhibited about doing it in different places. Last night the trainer said something that caught me off guard a little - that tugging is not an option when you use it as a reward.  I'd forgotten my tug toy and was using one of hers, which Delta didn't seem all that interest in.  I was just going to switch back to using treats, but was told to keep working at making her interested in the toy so I can use it as a reward and if I offer it to play, she MUST play.  To me, that seems a little extreme.

So, for those of you who use tug or play as part of training, what is your philosophy?
Julia
Delta 03/12
Dash 07/06
Shady 07/05
In my heart: Xena 03/10/03 - 02/16/12

Bruins_Boxer

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Re: Tug "philosophy"
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 07:52:44 PM »
I used a tug as a reward for Titan , he absolutely went nuts for his tug . I never had him ever refuse to play so I'm not sure what I would have done if he didn't like to tug .
I think I would have encouraged him to play tug if he refused as it was the only form of reward that I used
 I never used treats as a training reward .
Missi
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Christina

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Re: Tug "philosophy"
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 10:16:51 PM »
I think I'm with you, Julia.  I understand that using it as a reward you want them to accept it, but they also have their favorite toys. Lucky gets set on toys, and you can't change his mind. I couldn't see using his big jolly ball on a rope in training as a reward.  I would also want my dog to accept praise and treats, whichever is appropriate for the situation.

Missi, would Titan accept any toy, or did he have a certain one?
Christina
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Rubidawg

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Re: Tug "philosophy"
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 10:49:50 PM »
I've actually heard this philosophy quite a bit. I guess the idea is that the tug is the ultimate reward for the dog. You use it at other times, it lessens the drive to want to tug as a reward and becomes more of a game, or they lose interest in it being a reward. It makes sense to me. There are some philosphies out there that don't allow toys.period. as they use it for training only. And if the dog wants to play, they must be in "training mode" in order to get the tug. Totally extreme to me! I've heard that it builds up the anticipation and desire to work. (seem fair?) It also helps with dogs not motivated with food....or even helps in not relying on food being a motivator. I think it's way extreme, but understand the philosophy behind it. Just not something I'd commit to.

Much like you only use certain treats for training, or only use the clicker for training purpose and nothing else. But, I do think there is a difference in there being a special tug toy for training purposes only and other tug toys for fun.

I could never get Grady to tug for classes, but could use it as a reward at home - only if he was in a real drivey-type mode. If he was amped up and tugging, I'd take the toy and get him to heal or do some recall fronts, so that he could tug on the toy he was really focussed on. It helped alot in correcting some poor fronts or sits and for keeping attention and head up during heal. But, I didn't use it much. We actually couldn't get him to tug at all for the 1st year or so. He had no interest, you'd start and he'd immediately let go. So I taught him to tug and got him to think it was fun and eventually used it as a reward occassionally- when I just wanted to do one thing real quick (like a quick heal from the living room to the bedroom) and didn't have food readily available.

I agree with you tho. You know what works best for you and for Delta. If you want her to be able to play at home, just have a special tug for training purposes only.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 10:53:53 PM by Rubidawg »
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RocketBoxer

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Re: Tug "philosophy"
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 08:35:58 AM »
Last night the trainer said something that caught me off guard a little - that tugging is not an option when you use it as a reward.  I'd forgotten my tug toy and was using one of hers, which Delta didn't seem all that interest in.  I was just going to switch back to using treats, but was told to keep working at making her interested in the toy so I can use it as a reward and if I offer it to play, she MUST play.  To me, that seems a little extreme.

It is a little extreme, but I do kinda see where she is coming from. Maybe especially in a puppy it is worthwhile putting in the effort to get them interested in tugging with any type of toy and it many different places?

Skye does not tug, but she does have a fave toy that she is nuts with. When I bring her out to train if she is not interested in doing stuff with me - or not interested in interacting with me and the toy - then I put her away and we dont't train. I cannot make her do anything or get in the mood - so I just say 'Too bad' and I put her in her crate and then hopefully bring out Trigger to work. It is the best way to deal with her.

Trigger is a play crazed dude and I dont have much issues with him wanting to tug or play with anything - but I did spend a lot of time when he was young playing with toys/tugging/retrieving. It was VERY important to me to have a dog who WANTED to play with me - and where I could use it as a reward, that I put a lot of effort into getting this behaviour - but he was a natural too. He likes me to be rough which him - so even if he were not interested in tugging - I can push him around a bit and get him worked up, and then he would start tugging.
Kerry
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Bruins_Boxer

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Re: Tug "philosophy"
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 08:36:04 AM »
Missi, would Titan accept any toy, or did he have a certain one?

I could get him to accept any rope or cloth toy easily , all I would have to do it roughhouse with him a bit and he would take it . I did have 1 rope tug that was used only for training though . He knew that when that one came out it was work time .
Missi
Edy - Bruin's Espresso by Stephlyn , CGC    5-2-2006
Remy - Bruin's One Step Closer    7-27-2010

Gone but never forgotten Mocha , Titan , Charlotte .

Rubidawg

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Re: Tug "philosophy"
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2012, 08:51:12 AM »
Trigger is a play crazed dude and I dont have much issues with him wanting to tug or play with anything - but I did spend a lot of time when he was young playing with toys/tugging/retrieving. It was VERY important to me to have a dog who WANTED to play with me - and where I could use it as a reward, that I put a lot of effort into getting this behaviour - but he was a natural too. He likes me to be rough which him - so even if he were not interested in tugging - I can push him around a bit and get him worked up, and then he would start tugging.

That's how Rubi is. I can grab a toy and suddenly, her eyes light up and she's ready to tug. We also worked with her alot with toys when she was a pup. Her favorite thing is for me to "kick" here (Bridget Carlson taught us that and it's Rubi's "go to" for getting amped up). LOL It's just a light tap on the sides and underneath her with my feet, like how dogs play fight with their paws, and while she's tugging, it gets her even more amped up. I can get her to do anything (well, within the limits she can) while doing that.

I tried rough housing with Grady. He'd shut down. He was a lover, not a fighter, lol. When he finally learned to tug, and tug HARD with me, he would eventually get amped up and was able to work with him by using that as a reward.
Dawn
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Christina

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Re: Tug "philosophy"
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2012, 08:05:53 PM »
I have tried playing tug or with toys with Star, but he will immediately drop the toy when I go for it. I can, however get him amped up by "knocking" him around. This seems to be his favorite game. A stranger would think he's trying to kill me, he gets really loud and mouthy, but he knows his limits.
Christina
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BoxerWB

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Re: Tug "philosophy"
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2012, 02:21:34 PM »
Well she's tugged everyone of *her* toys I've offered her in the last couple of days, so I think maybe I'll just work on making sure she'll tug her own toys in other locations.  I don't really think making her tug other dog's toys really needs to be a requirement.  Especially because she's food motivated so I can use either as a reward - I might occasionally forget to bring food or toys with me, but never BOTH!  :thumbsup:
Julia
Delta 03/12
Dash 07/06
Shady 07/05
In my heart: Xena 03/10/03 - 02/16/12