more thoughts on play

Tug!

I know, I always use the same picture but it’s a good one and it has to do with the post, so why not?

Since I was stuck at home being sick until this afternoon when I got to enjoy the sun with Penny and Badger and Lumen, I decided that I’d give obsessively looking for ways to increase motivation and play a rest and read the old sample issues of Clean Run.

Well, whaddya know, there were at least 3 articles on play and tugging. How convenient.

So I read them through and one stood out more than the others- and I can’t remember exactly who wrote it, but they made a point that I’d heard before but maybe this was explained better or something… and that is that you need your toy/tug to be prey (and I know, Silvia always says this but I suppose I got to the ‘drag it around really fast until caught’ stage but then didn’t know what to do from there) and that there are several stages of the chase/kill that you should go through in order to really make it fun for the dog. Those being:

see/smell the prey (works pretty well when I pull out a toy and draw in a long breath of anticipation)

track it, chase it

pounce on it, bite it

tear/kill/tug.

So in the past I’ve done a lot of track and chase, but gotten stuck there, and more recently I’ve done a lot of tear/kill/tug without the other stuff…

This afternoon I put it all together while we were doing some shaping and she was into the toy and she game. I also stopped making noise while tugging (one of the articles said that, too) and I’ve been making sure that I keep putting the toy away when she still wants to play.

I don’t think she’ll ever be super obsessed and run full-speed to a dead toy – I can get her to do it inside though so maybe outside is possible, I just have to actually train it outside, too.

Oh! I also learnt that if she lets go of the toy, it needs to escape – not be offered back to her mouth. I find sometimes this works (and she gets to chase) but sometimes it doesn’t work (she chases but doesn’t grab it again to tug – it’s easier for her to chase it, kind of grab it, then for me to offer it to her for a tug session right then).

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2 thoughts on “more thoughts on play

  1. If they don’t grab it then I lift it high above my head, jump around and play like that. If they start jumping up on me to get the toy, I lover it and have them chase and grab again (yes, this encourages them to jump up, but at least I know they really want it). If they still wouldn’t grab it I would tease them then put the toy away, the same way you’re doing it with hollee roller. So this would be the end of play session.

    • Em says:

      Yes this is a good plan- I need to make it more like the hollee-roller game. And I suppose if she still wouldn’t grab it I’d put both the toy and her away if I’m at the field. Then maybe play with Mal 😉

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