Tugging With Food Distractions Part 2 – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Tugging With Food Distractions Part 2

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  • Randy says:

    I’m writing to ask if you have any other advice to offer, in addition to what Justine describes in this lesson. I’m working with a nearly nine-month-old sheltie, Jem, who has great tugging action and will do so with different toys. We also have an inconsistent retrieve that may be “good enough” for now. The problem that seems to be appear consistently is the puppy’s preference, sometimes, to work for food rather than a toy. I don’t have a good transition between food and toy within the same training session. Once food appears, Jem will chase after a toy, but if I toss the toy for her to fetch, she’ll run in the direction of the thrown toy then run past it and loop around looking (I presume) for a food reward. I’m not sure if this is related but sometimes her focus on training, which I try to keep fun and playful, wanes and she’ll run off to find a twig to chew. I call her to “come” but need to lure her back with food. However, we will have sessions on the same day when she’ll focus on a toy and not need. Bottom line: I’m trying hard not to lose the tugging and love for toys, which is super great indoors when we play in the house and quite good outside. So I don’t want to overuse food and use it as reinforcement primarily to learn a new skill that Shape Up Pup presents and uses food. I feel as if I’m at a critical point in this phase of training and want to be sure I stay on the right track.

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      I think it’s great to have both and be able to switch back and forth, and I will usually test this with my dogs. However, I’m with you, I’d rather have the tug and I don’t generally use food once I have tug established. So I don’t find it imperative to be able to switch back and forth if that weakens the tug. Most of our dogs are similar, they don’t tug as well with food present. The new Mal is the shining exception, he can switch back and forth with ease.

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