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All animals’ instincts are to forage for food and to look for a mate. We’ve pretty much eliminated those two important tasks, and some dogs are out of balance.
Instead of feeding your dog with a bowl, exercise that rascal and have some fun!
You can enrich your puppy or dog’s environment by providing foraging toys. Most dogs love the Tug a Jug!
Penny, the sweetest Pit Bull Terrier ever, pictured in this post, is hoping to find one in her Christmas stocking!
My dog, Bentley, loves the tug -a- jug. When I place dog kibble inside, he knocks it around a bit and gets most of the dog food. When I mix in a few tasty Paws Kickin Chicken treats, he gets downright excited. He’ll toss it much higher and farther for these Kickin Chicken treats! Click the Paws Gourmet Kickin Chicken Words below to get your Kickin Chicken from Sit Stay, one of my favorite online dog supply stores.
Tug is defined “to pull hard” by Webster’s online dictionary. People play tug with their dogs by pulling on an item the dog is holding in his or her mouth. To win at tug, you take the item away from your dog.
Many of my clients ask me, “Is it okay to play tug with my puppy?” Good question. I know why you ask.
Tug of war is one of those controversial topics. Some people believe it’s okay to play tug if the human always wins. Other state. “playing tug will increase unwanted aggressive behaviors”. These people tell others to avoid the game of tug with their dogs. I’m not sure why. I suspect these people promote concepts like alpha and dominance. The stronger animal is the boss and the weaker animal submits, right?
If you have visited a few pages on this site, you already know my thoughts on alpha.
Okay, here are my thoughts on playing tug with puppies and dogs. The simple answer is, ‘it depends”. Tug can be a wonderful teaching game and reward for some dogs. Tug can be a dangerous game with some dogs, without some guidelines to keep it safe and fun.
If your dog exhibits aggressive behaviors, directed at you, then tug is probably not a good game for you and your dog! Young children should not play tug with a puppy who does not know the rules. Play biting kids is a puppy’s favorite pastime. Please click this link about play biting and kids if you have children in the house.
Here are some ideas on teaching puppies and dogs about tug.
You do not want to play tug with your socks, especially when still attached to your feet. To prevent tug games with the wrong items, purchase 1 or 2 tug toys. Once your puppy knows the rules you can play tug with whatever you wish. Tug toys are made for tug and have easy grip handles. Longer rope toys with handles or knots make for good tugging! Keep the tug toys away from your dog, unless you are playing tug. That means the toys should not be in his or her toy box, for them to play with and chew. These toys only come out when you want to play tug!
Here’s one of the best, rope tug toys.
It’s normal for puppies and dogs to growl and snarl when playing tug. Look for other body posturing that indicate your puppy is playing, not fighting. If your puppy’s butt is in the air and his or her front legs are on the ground, that’s a play bow. Your puppy wants to play!
When your puppy “accidently” makes teeth on skin contact (and he or she will) the game should end. Tell your puppy something like , “oops, you blew it”, and then walk away. If possible, take the toy away. Wait a minute or so, until your puppy is less excited, and then resume play.
Teach your puppy a signal that ends the game. I use “Game Over, then ask for the Drop.
Use common sense about playing with your puppy. Puppies do not know how to play with humans. Avoid games that include rough play with your hands, tumbling or roughing up the puppy. This will send your puppy the wrong signals and increase play biting as well as other inappropriate play behaviors.
Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization
I have these dog goodies linked on this site so my clients can find the best items at the best prices! I mention many of these items during group and private dog training sessions.
You can get these toys at many stores. I SHOP at AMAZON and SIT STAY for the best deals from reliable sources. My 10 year old Australian terrier,Bentley, loves each of these items (well, except for the head collar). Each item has been “terrier tested” for durability!
Here, you can find foraging /food dispensing toys, gentle leader head collars, squirrel dude, fire hose dog toy, and other How’s Bentley approved dog supplies and equipment. Just click the image to shop at Amazon. I get a small percentage of whatever you buy, but I’m not making a living at .40 cents per $10. 🙂
Here’s the Fire Hose toy for the Fire Hose Game. The Fire Hose Game is a simple solution for friendly dogs that get excited and jump on visitors. The toy floats and is great for games of water fetch. Fire hose is tough! But, this is not a chew toy, your dog can dismantle it by attacking the seams. The unique texture of the fire hose makes this a hit with all puppies and dogs.
The tug a jug is a commercial version of water bottle toy. This thing is tough! Bentley will carry it in his mouth, jump up into a patio chair and drop the jug on the rock patio. I keep waiting for it to break, but no cracks yet! This is better for medium or large dogs. Bentley is about 20 lbs., and the toy is on the large size for him.
The Gentle Leader Head Collar offers the most control among head collars. It does take a bit of learning to use, and is not for all dogs or people. It will not fit dogs with flat faces. I refer to the Gentle Leader head collar as a nylon valium. It has a natural calming effect on some dogs. If you are fitting and using without a trainer’s help, CLICK the image to order from Sit Stay which includes a dvd video.
Not all harnesses are created equal. The Premier Sure Fit Harness is the best harness out there! You do not have to slide your dog’s leg through a loop or buckle it on the belly. Other brands are a nightmare to fit and the dog can slide out of the harness. In addition, many of the harnesses do not distribute the force of the leash to the dog’s body, as a good harness should. If you have a small dog, I recommend a small, Premier Sure Fit Harness. Sit Stay has a great price. CLICK the image to visit Sit Stay and shop for Premier Sure Fit Harness.
Say, regardless of the equipment you like, you’ll need a 6 foot, leather training leash to teach Basic Obedience COMMANDS.
Here’s a link to Amazon, who has the best price for a braided, 6 foot, 1/2″ leather leash.
The Busy Buddy Squirrel is one of my favorite hollow rubber foraging toys. I like this design; the opening has rubber fingers that keep the dog kibble from falling out. Your puppy will have to work for the food! The squirrel design is cute, but Bentley keeps running to my patio door when I ask him to find the squirrel. It’s one of our favorites!
Kong- Hmm. . . what can I say? Everyone should have 2 or 3 of these! The kong is an all time favorite and tough foraging toy for any dog or puppy. Amazon has excellent prices on these famous Kong toys. You an get a large kong for under $8. Order two or three and follow my frozen chicken broth recipe for crate training help. The kong provides excellent foraging and entertainment value. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, order the ultimate black kong!