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  #11  
Old 03-08-2012, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by lizzybeth727 View Post
About tugging: 1.) I think way too much emphasis is put on tugging in many agility classes.
Agreed. I think that what is important is having a very high reward available for training. You obviously have that, so I wouldn't worry about tugging personally. Sure, it's something that could be developed, but I agree that is isn't necessary for all dogs.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:40 PM
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Thanks for all the ideas. It is good to know that you can get by without a tug if you need to. I'm starting to get ideas to build a tug though so hopefully I can get her into that. She loves to tug on Summer's tail.... (j/k)

I wish the tennis tail toys had a squeaky ball on it. That would otherwise be perfect. She knows the second she catches the wrong kind of ball or picks up the wrong kind of ball and will drop it and start looking for a 'good' ball instead. I wonder if I take away the kongs and just have a tennis tail or something of that sort if that would drive her to play with that instead. But I hate taking the kongs away because she loves it and it's such an easy high value reward we already have going for us.

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Originally Posted by BostonBanker View Post
Yeah! It sounds great. I think Mia will be such a super agility dog.

Have you seen the Tug-It training tug toys? They didn't work at all for Meg, but I'm thinking you could use them (or something like them) and put one of her little squeaker balls inside it. She could still see it and grab the ball part, but you'd have a handle to tug on. Gusto's go-to tug has a small tennis ball on the end of it, along with a sheepskin part (and a nice stretchy section). Maybe she'd go for that? It looks something like this:
http://agilityproshop2.com/page8/page10/page10.html
but with a tennis ball instead of a hockey ball.

Having said that - not all agility dogs tug, and it isn't the end of the world if they don't. It is a great tool to have, but plenty are successful without it.
Oh that's great! The one thing she will tug on is a sock if I put the kong squeaker inside the sock. I've been trying to think of a way to attach a rope or something to an x-small kong squeaker but maybe putting it inside a cloth would work. That way she could still bit through it and make it squeak. I really think she'd go for that.

I think I'm also going to buy a lunge whip or something similar to make a new flirtpole for her.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:44 PM
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Tug can be a wonderful thing, but there are a lot of dogs out there that are stressed because of someone wanting them to tug. Smart trainers KNOW that you use what motivates the dog and if it isn't tugging then don't do it or at least don't stress them out or shut the down for the sake of tugging.
One of my student's, her dog was shut down and hated agility........one of the reasons was they (the instructors at the first place she trained at) were insisting that the owner 'get him to tug'. She came here and I asked what is his motivator? A frisbee.........loves it. Told her to bring it, dog enters the agility ring, sees the agility equipment, hangs his head and gets a glazed look in his eyes. This was a happy go lucky young Border Collie until he saw that equipment.
I moved all the equipment to the side of the ring, told the owner to produce that frisbee, dog lights up. We used the frisbee to turn agility into a great game for him, we just changed it to a soft one so it didn't bounce far Guess what? He loves to tug now on anything And they have a high q rate and earned their first titles quickly when they were finally ready to compete.
So find a soft ball on a rope or anything that she'll play with, good luck.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:46 PM
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Kong makes a squeaky ball on a rope! I got one for Auggie because he is not a big tugger either. He will tug with a few toys now but the tuggy ball is by far his fave. Lemme find a link...

This one:
http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fu...9&ParentCat=30

I think both Petco and PetSmart carry them now.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:53 PM
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Oooh I wonder if she'd go for that? She definitely prefers the x-smalls since she's so tiny and that one is bigger. But I got Ada an x-large kong squeaker and Mia played with that too quite a bit and it was almost as big as she was. She would roll it then attack it and would even pick it up by the fuzz and drag it around. I swear they put crack in the middle of those toys.

You guys are making me feel better about the tugging. I don't want to stress her for sure because right now agility and training is one of her most favorite things ever and she LOVES it.

I think this trainer will be okay with not tugging if I need to. She said one of her BCs she uses food mostly with and the other she tugs with. I can tell she does prefer to get a dog to tug though. All the other dogs in the class tug.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:27 PM
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I find chasing to be more useful in agility than tugging. Tugging is good for drive building, engaging your dog and what not....if your dog is into it. But for actual agility training rewards, if I had to choose between tugging and chasing, I'd pick chasing. Whimsy tugs but pretty much every non-trial run I do with her ends with me winging a toy and her chasing it/getting it. When she brings it back to me and wants to tug, we tug. If she wasn't into tugging, the chase reward would be just as good and useful on it's own. I've worked with some dogs who were highly food driven but not into toys at all. Throwing a small Kong stuffed with favorite treats worked just as well for those dogs.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
But I got Ada an x-large kong squeaker and Mia played with that too quite a bit and it was almost as big as she was.
Totally OT - but how is Ada? Have you heard from her owners?
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:46 PM
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Totally OT - but how is Ada? Have you heard from her owners?
She's good. (Albeit fat, blegh) I ran into her owner at the mall this weekend, actually. They really like her and she fits in well.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Aleron View Post
I find chasing to be more useful in agility than tugging. Tugging is good for drive building, engaging your dog and what not....if your dog is into it. But for actual agility training rewards, if I had to choose between tugging and chasing, I'd pick chasing. Whimsy tugs but pretty much every non-trial run I do with her ends with me winging a toy and her chasing it/getting it. When she brings it back to me and wants to tug, we tug. If she wasn't into tugging, the chase reward would be just as good and useful on it's own. I've worked with some dogs who were highly food driven but not into toys at all. Throwing a small Kong stuffed with favorite treats worked just as well for those dogs.
That's great to hear! She loves chasing the ball and I've been using it a lot in our training sessions lately now that she can concentrate when the ball is around. Just getting the ball and being able to roll it around herself is a high value reward but throwing it is even moreso.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Panzerotti View Post
Agreed. I think that what is important is having a very high reward available for training. You obviously have that, so I wouldn't worry about tugging personally. Sure, it's something that could be developed, but I agree that is isn't necessary for all dogs.
This. Not tugging is not an end all. After having a dog that absolutely will not tug and now having a tugging fanatic, I can say it is a much more convenient reward but not a necessity.

Zuma wasn't a tugger when I got her, I ended up shaping the behavior. Grab the toy, click, here's a treat. Grab a little harder, click/treat. Tug, click/treat. Now she the tug is almost even with food as far as value of reward.

I was talking to one of my students that was starting her basenji in foundation classes and she was so discouraged that her dog wouldn't tug. She ended up putting so much pressure on him to tug that it became aversive to him. So now the teacher was pressuring her to tug and she was pressuring her dog, nobody was having fun. I told her ditch the dog, go back to using food rewards and now they are having a blast again. I also told her that if she wanted to continue to teach tug that she needs to do it low pressure without a "timeline" and make it fun!
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