Tugging Demonstration – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Tugging Demonstration

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  • Jeannette Molina says:

    When you release the toy, how does the dog know whether you want her to retrieve it back to you or it’s hers to party with? How do you differentiate the two to the dog?

  • JamminCosmo says:

    I really like the idea of rewarding the weight shift . Cosmo will occasionally surprise me with a brief tug & while I do verbally praise him I think releasing the toy will be even more reinforcing. Can you talk about eye contact between handler & dog while tugging? Is it a factor in the dog’s understanding & enjoyment of the game in your opinion?

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      Eye contact DURING tugging is not something I am paying attention to. In addition, it can feel challenging (or intimidating) to some dogs. I also expect that since it is their head that is doing the moving, it might be difficult to expect it from your dog.

      • JamminCosmo says:

        I think Cosmo is not super keen abut it; I have noticed a difference in his energy if I am not focused on maintaining eye contact. I don’t really care if he offers it or not during play. Once I get some videos to post you’ll see that generally his attention during training is on me. One of my goals for him is to lighten up & have more fun.

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      With some dogs you will need to avoid eye contact or they will not engage as strongly, or sometimes refuse to tug with you. I’m not sure if they find it intimidating, but I’m careful to look away in a very obvious way with softer tuggers, in addition to lowering myself to the ground and not towering over them.

  • fritz178@comcast.net says:

    My young dog is soft and it’s hard to get him to tug backwards. He’s the one that I have a hard time getting him to play tug. Any ideas?

  • PinPin says:

    Insightful and interesting video. I have a softish 1.5 year border collie that will tug with focus and ferocity at the beginning of any session, but will very quickly lose interest in the toy in the face of obstacles. He doesn’t find the toy rewarding once he starts to ‘work.’ I would like to be able to use the toy as reward for placement of behavior, such as threadles, directional cues, tighter turns etc. I’m using food as reward, but I can see that it’s not ideal. He has good drive and enthusiasm for agility and will bring the toy back, but only because I’ve asked. It’s clearly not rewarding for him. He really enjoys tugging away from the field or away from obstacles. I suspect sometimes he is stressed and other times over aroused. How do I make toys rewarding on the field? I love the bit with tugging and sneaking in the wrap, then more tugging. Can I incorporate this at this point?

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      Yes, you can and should start with a single obstacle or behavior, and really focus on the quality of your tugging. You should do this for your dog’s entire career. The quality of the game creates the drive for agility. If he refuses to work for the tug, you need to take him away from the field and move back until he can tug again, and then ask for simple behaviors, and tug as the reward for those behaviors. Then you can move back in toward the ring.

  • dadiehl says:

    My guess is i should incorporate this skill now while my dog Fudge is learning to tug. Do i HIDE toys in my pocket and present entry to field and start a little tug before drills? How do i build this FOCUS skill? Right now she is focused on my because i have treats and she is bouncing around ready to train once she hears the treat jar.

    “1. When Mir and I enter the field, she is 100% focused on me, not the environment. I don’t have to call her to me or use the toy as a lure. You can build this skill up gradually over several sessions and this routine will help you at your weekly training class and at agility trials.
    ….
    6. The session ends when I tug with Mir all the way back through the gate, at which point she is released and free to do whatever she would like. Defining a clear beginning and end to all of your training sessions will help your dog differentiate between work/play and free time.”

  • mnobles@bellsouth.net says:

    Would it be okay to say break, my release word, instead of get it?

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      Yes, just make sure it is clear to the dog what you mean. We often have confusion between Sarah and me with our tugging because we have different cues.

      For the release cue, I say “thank you” and then “get it” and without the “get it” the dog should not re-bite. This is for the finished product.

      For a dog still learning the game, I say “thank you” and mark the release with “yes” and immediately say “get it!” without any delay, knowing the dog is re-biting on “yes”. Eventually I drop out the “yes”.

      Is “break” your cue to take the toy, like “get it” or is “break” your cue to end a behavior like a sit or down, like I say “okay”. In those cases I say, “okay” then “get it” to take a toy or food.

      You need to know what each of your cues mean to avoid confusion. Let me know if this makes sense.


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