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So I've had Sonic almost 4 months, and I thought the play thing would come along naturally, but nope. He still tugs enthusiastically for brief rare moments, and pounces on balls just as rarely. Most times, nope, no dice.

He ALWAYS will chase me with gusto if I run. I can get him worked up and turning on a dime, skidding on the pavement, by running like stink in the other direction, repeat, FUN, FUN, FUN! For him. He loves this game, but throw a ball, nope. Swing a tug toy behind me, nope, just chase.

Which would be just fine if I was an Olympic athlete, but I'm not. I can walk at a rapid pace for hours, but jogging, ugh. These little Sonic inspired sprints, it depends. Sometimes, nope, just cannot do it at all, other times, I can give him a few minutes of play time, then I'm winded and done. I really cannot engage or exercise him properly if I'm the only acceptable thing he will chase.

He's got prey drive, he's got energy, but I do not have the physically skills to keep him engaged. Any ideas on how to get him to put his energy into chasing something other than me (or squirrels, geese, muscrats, coyotes, cars, motorbikes, you get the picture--and no, he has no opportunity to actually chase these things, but he sure is interested).

Yes, I'm treat training (marking with voice/clicker)--currently working on targetting a tennis ball, but slow going; hoping that once he gets certain that a nose bump equals treat, I can progress from there.

Flirt pole did not work. It's like tug, sometimes fun, if he's in the mood.

He's missing a canine & two other teeth, not sure if that is part of the picture or not (teeth just not there, something happened long before I got him)
 

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I will make this short as others will give you good advice. If he is treat motivated, look for one of the treat tug toys. It has "pockets" in it that you can put treats in. Use some treat that will stink up the toy. Some people use fresh, raw meat. It works it's way through the fabric, so the whole toy becomes YUMMY. Then you are basically tugging with a treat. Be sure the toy is only used for training and put up where the dog can't get it when done. You don't want the dog ingesting the fabric.

You can find these toys at cleanrun.com. Also there was an article written six to 10 years ago by Nancy Gyes in the "Clean Run" magazine that gave steps to training a dog to tug. You can look in the Clean Run archives for it at cleanrun.com.
 
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Somewhere on the forum (was quite a while ago) @FailedSlacker shared a nice detailed way to build ball drive. Was geared toward flyball, but totally applicable to toy drive and tug in general.

Also experiment with different toys. Ditto that Cleanrun has some really nice options including fur tugs and tug/fetch toys that can be stuffed with food to build interest.
https://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=132

Cannot get too detailed atm, but def take a look at Denise Fenzi's book on play (#3 in her sports skills series). Covers building drive for toys, tug, fetch... But she also covers in detail personal and food play, both of which might include great options for you, while you go about building toy drive! Especially games utilizing tossed and high treats ( dog has to jump up to get them)and hand target games. Can implement immediately and get the chase into your games and training but definitely still be easy on you physically . She does have some info on her blog, and youtube (her channel as well as others) that may give you ideas and a starting point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like I have a weekend sewing project. 1 pair of old levis, velcro, a scrap of few if I can find one in my stash.
I think I had that clean-run article, may still have it. Will definitely look it up.
In the past, I tried to do this with Dynamo, as I spoiled her tug by not letting her win (bad advice, that) and I wanted to improve it. For her, it did not work. Food & tug did not go together for her. But she had more than enough drive when she was getting worked in agility, so it was a moot point.
With Sonic, it's not even about sport; I'm stiff and sore today, as I was being a good 'playmate' for him yesterday. I just cannot keep that up. Hopefully the food/tug toy combo will work. My back hurts... ow.
 

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@Artdog - Another option are toys with real fur. We have two bunny tug toys and the dogs go absolutely MAD for them.
 
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