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  #11  
Old 08-20-2008, 05:51 PM
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I don't play tug, because in my experience, if I haven't, teaching the "drop" command is 100% easier, and it seems not even to occur to the dog that resisting the removal of something from its mouth is even an option.

Plus, I just don't enjoy it. Having my arm reamed on by a tugging 60+ lb dog is far from the top of my list as far as fun games with my dog.
If you want to do agility you might want to reconsider. A co-operative reward is one of the best ways to reward your dog. Tug is likely the 1# most effective reward for training agility. It keeps YOU as part of the reward. Many agility people work VERY hard to teach their dogs to tug. Just from my experience with my own dogs, those that tug for a reward are much easier to train than those who work for food or a thrown toy (a thrown toy removes you from the reward)
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Old 08-20-2008, 06:02 PM
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Playing tug with Auggie has never made "drop it" difficult. If I tell him drop it, he will drop it - even if it means an abrupt stop to a fun game of tug. He'll even do this for total strangers... some of my friends came over a few months ago and he fetched a toy for one of him, brought it back, and he likes to play a little game of tug before you throw it again. I told my friend to tell Auggie "drop it" and he did so... and Auggie instantly let go of the toy. (I was glowing, because I knew Auggie would listen to me, but I wasn't sure about somebody else!)

But I can understand not enjoying the wrestling aspect of it. Auggie is only 15 pounds, so it's different from over here!
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  #13  
Old 08-20-2008, 06:06 PM
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training tug can be done very badly. LOVE this clip If you see how her dogs play tug, there is no issue of drop it, grab it, or arm wrenching.
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Old 08-20-2008, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by youhavenoidea View Post
I don't play tug, because in my experience, if I haven't, teaching the "drop" command is 100% easier, and it seems not even to occur to the dog that resisting the removal of something from its mouth is even an option.

Plus, I just don't enjoy it. Having my arm reamed on by a tugging 60+ lb dog is far from the top of my list as far as fun games with my dog.
Tug can be great, but it does have to be played right. That's one reason I do disagree with that statement. Tug doesn't cause aggression, but it can lead to very undesirable behaviors that can themselves lead to aggression.

Taught and played correctly, tug is fun . . . at least, if you like to play tug yourself. With Sarama, I taught her "drop it" first. There are also set rules. She can not start a game by grabbing something from me, I have to offer it and ask her to play tug. Nor do I start a game by grabbing a toy she already has. If she's in the mood to play tug, she has to bring an appropriate toy to me. (its usually pretty clear what she wants). This prevents the snatching, which can be dangerous, and the refusing to give things up, which can also be dangerous. My not grabbing things she has and starting to tug prevents setting up a resource guarding scenerio. There are some very good guides to "how to play tug" out there, and ogs love it. But there do have to be rules, especially early on, and especially with new owners who don't necessarily realize that they may be teaching a bad habit.
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  #15  
Old 08-21-2008, 02:49 PM
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I have successfully worked with dogs to over come fear by exposing them to low levels of what freaks them out and rewarding like crazy.

my oft used example..
Lets say you are terrified of men in big black hats. And you are in a strange land where no one understands your language nor most of your gestures. This land has many men in big black hats (MIBB) they wander around. As a child you had a horrible experience with a MIBB and now have a real fear of them. Now if people passed you chocolates and money when a MIBB was hovering over you, would you still freak out. YES. (if the people around you whacked you and jerked you till you stopped freaking, you may learn to to freak but would still be terrified..but that is another example)

Lets say people took you out to where you could only see MIBB from a great distance. Every time you spotted one your friends smiled and passed you fifties. You might feel a little nervous but like the money so you start looking for MIBB cause they mean money!

Then the money only comes when you are a little closer to the MIBB etc etc.

That's how most of my foster dogs are trained-- like Archie, for example.
He used to become afraid and bark and carry on when he saw other dogs. After working with him for so long, he would purposely (And confidently) approach them, smell them, then turn to me for a reward.

I just choose not to reinforce insane fearful behavior, like screaming, barking, lunging, etc. It's slow, but it's worked for what dogs I've used this technique on thus far.

I liked that article, a lot. It touched on a lot of the issues I've had with dog behavior explanations I've disagreed with. I believe that dogs are bred so distantly from wolves, that they don't have the same social structure and social behaviors anymore. People (like Cesar followers) will always pair dog's behaviors with wolves, and what the "wolves would do in the wild".

Obviously during the evolution of the dog, they've become a lot less social with each other-- some breeds more so than others (Working breeds, for example.) And even if they aren't anti-social, we've taken away their ability to communicate clearly. Ridgebacks are always pilo-erect, Pugs always have a neonatal expression and can't express lip-lifting very well, Bulldogs can't make facial expressions very well, either. Huskies can't properly express tail movements. Labs can't express Ear 'signals' as easy as a German Shepherd, and so on.

If a wolf were as anti-social as some dogs are, he'd have one heck of a time surviving.
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Old 08-21-2008, 02:56 PM
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^Just to make myself clear; I do believe dogs have a strong social structure with each other and people, too. Dominating and submissive behaviors usually somewhat clear for people and dogs together. I just think some people read into their ancestral ties too much sometimes...
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:17 PM
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^Just to make myself clear; I do believe dogs have a strong social structure with each other and people, too. Dominating and submissive behaviors usually somewhat clear for people and dogs together. I just think some people read into their ancestral ties too much sometimes...
Worse, they are often wrong about how WOLVES behave
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  #18  
Old 08-21-2008, 03:31 PM
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Worse, they are often wrong about how WOLVES behave
Very true, but this swings both ways. Wolves aren't viciously fighting one another for dominance every minute, but they aren't sweet little bunnies who democratically vote on who should be pack leader either. I always have to laugh at statements like, "Wolves NEVER physically force other wolves to submit, submissive wolves only do that when they want to." O rly. Perhaps someone would like to tell that to Yellowstone's Wolf 40, the dominant female of the Druid pack, who would routinely attack the other females until they showed submission.
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:51 PM
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Very true, but this swings both ways. Wolves aren't viciously fighting one another for dominance every minute, but they aren't sweet little bunnies who democratically vote on who should be pack leader either. I always have to laugh at statements like, "Wolves NEVER physically force other wolves to submit, submissive wolves only do that when they want to." O rly. Perhaps someone would like to tell that to Yellowstone's Wolf 40, the dominant female of the Druid pack, who would routinely attack the other females until they showed submission.
That's the thinking behind that statement-- Cesar Milan (probably the biggest controversy on this issue) Pushes the dog right into submission; forces them to the ground and won't let them up. Wolves will attack and say "You BETTER do it, or you're in trouble!" And they eventually will give in, or they'll probably be severely injured or killed. She doesn't physically push them to the ground and hold them there.

I haven't seen this wolf, and I have no strong opinions on this topic (Thus I don't want to start a big argument), but I think that's what the big Cesar issue is. If the dog was truly dominant and thought it could overpower him, it would attack back. If the other wolf thought it had the upper hand, it probably wouldn't submit.
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:14 PM
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Yeah, the thing about the alpha roll is that the submissive wolf does it themselves . . . not, necessarily because they want to, of course, but because they've been bullied into it. Nonetheless, that very different from the other wolf throwing them to the ground and rolling them over.

I was also thinking of the greater fluidity of rank and role of females that recent studies have shown, which are entirely different from the male dominated/alpha/pack leader model that we used to have. What I found fascinating is that the "pack leader" and the "alpha" are not always the same animal. There is an alpha male and an alpha female, and one or the other can be the "leader" but not always. Sometimes the wolf that leads in the hunts is an entirely different animal. That's intriguing.
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