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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is what I do. I normally train with treats but I'm looking to have a dog train with toy too.

What I've been doing is building value in the tug but I've been doing this after formal training with food. Will this cause me problems in the future? Or should I have tug training at a different time and not have it so closely coupled with our routine training

My intention is to have him complete behaviour chains and then after play as a reward. Obviously. Lol
 

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sancho loves playing with a rope toy.:D
actually we never really taught him to, we just played with him. let him chase, tug on it and and have a friendly fight over it (he loves playing with loads of body contact).
It conditioned him that the toy means playing with me...
do you really need food for him to love playing with you?
 

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Tug is a fun game and can be a super reward! If I understand your post correctly, you're using food to build value for the tug toy? That can work, but it kind of depends on the dog (and your goals, and all the usual things training depends on!). Using the game itself to build reinforcement is also often possible, and can sometimes work better (depending on the dog, etc.).

A post I really like about building a tug game: Reactive Champion: Denise Fenzi Seminar: Be the Bunny

Denise Fenzi, the trainer that blog post references, also has her own blog: Denise Fenzi | a professional dog trainer specializing in relationship-building in competitive dog sport teams. She has written a number of posts about building interest in tug, and actually a whole book about motivation (Dog Sports Skills, Book Two: Motivation).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No sorry that's not what I meant.

I've been doing trick/obedience training with the treats and then once our session has ended I give myself a moment and a water break for Raider if he needs it.

I then proceed with Sue Garrett tugger ebook tips/tricks to build tug drive. The tug is up outta sight and mind until I start acting loopy and running around to build up to get it. Then I get it and keep it outta reach for a bit. I've just started letting him play with me the other day and he is super tug-happy. 1-3 mins of play (depending on how much we seem to be into it). I always put it back with him wanting more.

Is it okay that I'm doing this in this order and so close together? Or should I put more time in between sessions. I've experimented and I can get a fantastic "sit pretty" out of him when we are in tug training sessions. A sit pretty that is almost picture perfect. ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A post I really like about building a tug game: Reactive Champion: Denise Fenzi Seminar: Be the Bunny

Denise Fenzi, the trainer that blog post references, also has her own blog: Denise Fenzi | a professional dog trainer specializing in relationship-building in competitive dog sport teams. She has written a number of posts about building interest in tug, and actually a whole book about motivation (Dog Sports Skills, Book Two: Motivation).

I JUST stumbled on Denise looking for ways to fix our sit into a tuck sit. And holy cow!! It's ridiculous the results I have. She's definitely one I'm gonna devour her writing!
 

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Oh! Susan's ebook is terrific, so I will stop offering how-to-tug tips :p

What you're doing is fine to start, especially if it's giving you the results you're looking for (always the first thing to ask!). Sounds like you are building good value for the tug toy and game, which is definitely the place to start. In fact, I would start by playing tug in whatever context makes it the most fun possible for your dog.

If you always play a game in a certain way, or as part of a certain routine, your dog will probably come to have certain expectations. So it can be good to vary your routines to prevent issues from surprising you...that includes incorporating training in many different parts of your life (not just isolating it into formal sessions) and incorporating tug into many different parts of your routine (as he starts to enjoy tug, anyway), which you might already do but might also want to consciously remind yourself to do more. After all, for tug to be effective as reinforcement down the road, it will have to have high value in a wide variety of contexts. If tug is something you only play during a specific, predictable part of the day, you may find that the value does not generalize into different situations...that is, it is possible that your dog is not going to respond the same way if you whip out the tug during the middle of a training session, because he's never played that game in that context (and because he will probably be expecting food).

So as his interest in tugging grows, I would try to incorporate tug into different times of the day, different environments, and different parts of your routine. I would put my emphasis on making tug as much fun as possible, and not worry too much yet about whether he can also exercise terrific self-control during a tug game. Building drive is about building value and enthusiasm, at least at first, which means encouraging him to be genuinely crazy for tug...then, when he thinks tug is the most amazing thing ever, you can use it just like you have used food: as a reward for precision, control, and outstanding performance. Well, that's the theory anyway...whatever you're doing, remember to have FUN!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you thank you!! That might of been what had happened when I first got him--he had an idea what our idea of "tug" was and it bored him. And then after reading Denise "be the bunny" tip it all clicked in place. We had an awesome tug session after my daughter's bedtime.

Today, not after a formal training session we had the best game of tug outside in the backyard. He won (and legit too) and knew it and ran away and bounced into an exuberant play bow. Haha.
 

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This is what I do. I normally train with treats but I'm looking to have a dog train with toy too.

What I've been doing is building value in the tug but I've been doing this after formal training with food. Will this cause me problems in the future? Or should I have tug training at a different time and not have it so closely coupled with our routine training

My intention is to have him complete behaviour chains and then after play as a reward. Obviously. Lol
I have never heard of a dog being trained to tug, as this is instinctive and fun. What kind of dog do you have.
 
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