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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Toys and Training (Part 1 of 2)

Believe it or not, but toys can definitely impact your training experience...

We all love playing tug-of-war with our doggies. They pull and growl and we pull back and laugh. This can go on for a pretty long time. Sometimes they get the tug-of-war toy and run around the room while we chase them, trying to grab the other end. Sometimes we end up with the tug-of-war toy and then normally make high pitched sounds, encouraging them to jump and grab the toy again. Wow, isn't that a lot of fun!

Do you ever wonder why your dog jumps, barks, and nips at people? Our dogs learn through repetition. We are constantly playing a game with them that requires actions of biting, jumping, and barking. Oops!

Also, guess who normally ends up with the tug-of-war toy at the end of the game? Our doggie normally ends up with the toy and takes it of to his corner or into the other room. This is because we are now off to other of our "human activities" like answering the phone, getting the door, sitting down to the computer, etc. In our dog's mind, they have "won the game" because they ended up with the toy.

So what does all this tell us?
  1. From our dog's perspective, playing tug-of-war enforces that he is the leader and he can do whatever he wants. Why not? He is the leader and we have told him so.
  2. Jumping, nipping, barking, and other "bad habits" are enforced by playing tug-of-war because we are constantly condoning such actions.
Bottom line, do not play tug-of-war with your dog. It is fine if your dogs play tug-of-war between each other, just not with you.

For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

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