About Tug and Give: "Get-it" "Give"

Tug can be such a common behavior (between dogs and people, and between dogs themselves) that we sometimes take for granted that all dogs love to tug.

In fact, many dogs will happily tug away in mindless games, but many don’t- and even more don’t understand how to work for a chance to play tug.

In addition, some dogs (especially keen ones) don’t necessarily value precision in their tugging. Most dogs instinctively try to grab as much of the tug toy as they can - which means they are aiming for the part closest to your fingers.

Because tug is such a valuable training aid, its worth spending some time teaching your dog how to tug (and stop tugging).

Tips for tugging:

-Tugging is a behavior at the end of the prey-drive sequence - try triggering the tug by triggering each step (eye, stalk, chase, pounce, grab, kill)

-Get the toy down low and move it around to enable the chase, pounce part of the game first

-Put the toy on a rope to take pressure off of your dog coming close in to tug and so you can really make the toy fun to chase and grab

-Tug with something that will pull apart (an old t-shirt) so your dog can feel like he is winning

-Let the toy slip out of your hands with the slightest tug and work up to more delay

-Put something tasty inside an old sock and let your dog have it IF they can tug it away (braunschweiger works well)

Tips for stopping the game:

-“Out” or “Give” or a similar command can be taught as a counter point to “Get It” which is permission to grab the toy.

-As always, do not name the behavior until you are sure you are going to get it - so don’t ask for a toy until you have a way to get your dog to let go.

-Option 1: trade your dog a treat for the toy, and when you know it works, pair the command with the moment before you present the treat and he opens his mouth

-Option 2: use dog body language to communicate the tugging game is over, put both hands on the toy and go still, look directly at your dog and use social pressure to communicate that it is now your toy - many dogs will let go instantly

-Option 3: Play lots of games as shown in the T2-2 video to build value for whatever you have and not what the dog already has so the dog would prefer to drop his toy for the chance to play with what you have.

-Reward the give with another game of tug so that giving up the toy is not the end of the game, but the start of another.