How to Teach your dog how to play. Simple guidelines to help you on your way to a tugging fend!
- DON’T LOOM OVER YOUR DOG WHEN TUGGING: Bending over your dog can intimidate and squash the desire to play. For a small dog or puppy beginning sitting on the floor. If needed, tie a string or light rope to the toy so you don’t have to bend over. Stay at your dog’s level when trying to get him to engage in play.
- MAKE YOUR DOG WORK FOR THE TOY. Resist the urge to push the toy at your dog. Having to chase and work to get the toy is MUCH more exciting than offering and hoping your dog will take the toy. After all, how many times have you seen a squirrel run across the yard and jump into your dogs mouth?
- PERPETUAL MOVEMENT OF THE TOY WILL FRUSTRATE THE DOG: When playing, make the toy act like it was a live. Enough motion to tease your dog yet not so much the dog can’t successfully grab it. Once tugging, move the toy back and forth to engage the dog instead of up and down. This is more natural for your dog and less stress on their necks.
- REMEMBER THIS IS PLAY NOT WORK: Be light hearten and have fun, enjoy the journey. Be persistent, don’t give up too early in the early stages, it can take quite some time to get some dogs to engage. Always keep sessions very short.
- TUGGING IS A REWARD ONLY WHEN THE DOG CAN SEE THE VALUE: Keep your tug work and your training separate from each other initially. The dog must see the VALUE in playing BEFORE it will become a reward. Do not integrate tugging into your training too early.