Choosing a Tug Toy – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Choosing a Tug Toy

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  • says:

    Do you have any guidance for age and dog tug toys? My golden is at 8 months and does really well with a fleece tug but when I try to advance him to the bite suit style tugs, he seems to struggle with grip. I don’t want to fall into the trap of needing the special toy, but is there a jaw strength thing that develops over time?

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      Yes, I generally stay with fleece until they are older than a year, and I start with the bite suit materials that are softer rather than harder or slick. If the dog is a great tugger with good grip, it’s okay to advance to bite suit material.

      I think it has less to do with bite strength and more to do with understanding the game and their own capability.

  • Valerie Spadaccini says:

    tried to order some tugs from clean run and the promo code baddog was not valid

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      It looks like they have discontinued that code. I’ll see if they’re interested in creating a new one.

      • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

        I confirmed that it has expired (they don’t do “forever” codes) and they were not interested in renewing it as it didn’t get too many sales.

  • Gary Davydov says:

    Where do you buy the leashes that are good for tugging?

  • sfripps says:

    I have not gotten very far in this course yet, but am blown away by the content. I should have guessed there was a lot to learn about tug play & training and I am so glad that you have created to really important foundational course. My first agility dog was reactive and highly food motivated. She really was not interested in toys and it was really easy for me to both motivate her with food for agility as well as to manage her emotions. So toys/tugging was never on my mind. Then came my puppy, who LOVES toys. I knew nothing about toy mechanics, and I thought we were having fun. I had no idea I was frustrating him because he never won. Now I understand and our play is getting so much better. We have a way to go but wow, I am glad to have this time to work with him and be a better playmate. Leo loves toys that squeak. He’ll tug many types of toys, but put a squeaker in it and he’ll play for hours. Are there any more advanced tug toys with squeakers in it or should I be fading the squeaker as we prepare for trialing in the future?

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      If your dog loves the squeaker, keep using it, but transition to a variable schedule so the dog gets it sometimes but not all the time. Think of it as a “half fade”. This way you get the benefit of the drive it creates but in certain trial situations where you can’t use it (before the run) your dog can live without it, knowing it will be there after the run.

  • says:

    First of all, I must tell you that this tugging course is fantastic!!! Thank you so much!!! I have a dog who wouldn’t tug; she’s a Rough Collie, a breed bred for generations to be very gentle. She has started to tug!!!! Yes, she’s a sensitive tugger, but to me, the progress is amazing!! Last night I introduced the Holee Roller to her, and she really tugged – none of the continual re-gripping that she does with other toys. After she pulled me across the floor (I’m still sitting down for her at this stage), I let her have the toy. How long should I let her have it? Shouldn’t I be putting it away, and bringing it out only for tugging sessions?

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      I’m excited to hear about your progress! Many people used to think that giving your dog access to toys would hurt their drive or desire for it, and I think this is mostly not true (there are probably exceptions). We don’t let our dogs keep the furry toys and tennis balls and things that they will destroy. We have a dog that will even destroy a holee roller, so it depends. With your dog, I’d start with a 50/50 mix and see how she responds. Half the time, let her have the toy and do whatever with it for a few minutes (or longer, as long as she isn’t destroying it), and the other half, work on some re-bites and after a few of those, keep the toy and put it away.

  • Dee says:

    My dog loves her kong on a rope for tugging, but interestingly she tugs the rope. I hold onto the kong and the other end and she tugs between my hands. The kong (its floatable so heavy) can be tossed far and she loves the retrieve. Her tug is great when I begin with the toss (the chase) but she doesn’t get all that jazzed up to just bite without the toss. I had been doing this before I started this class. She doesn’t seem interested in other toys. Should I just keep using this for now and get the bite without the chase and then also try introducing new tog toys? My goal is to get her to tug in and entering the ring.

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      Since your goal is leash tugging into the ring, you should try introducing new toys as well as starting the game without a throw first, because you won’t be able to do that at a trial. HOWEVER the majority (80% plus) of your tugging in these first several sessions should be with the kong toy. I would review

      to learn how to get both hands on the sides of the kong rope toy (essentially ignoring the presence of the kong), and doing re-bites and such with that toy. The re-bites will be the key to unlocking her tugging without throwing the toy first. Then you can start to transfer this value to different tug toys that you present in the same way as your kong-tug, not by dragging on the ground, but more advanced like the two-handed presentation.

      The overall plan is to change how you interact with the toy she likes, and then sneakily swap in replacement toys from time to time, and then ultimately, for the majority of the time.

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