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Categories: Playing Tug With Your Dog , Puppy Bite Work

Q. My 9 month old Doberman commits to biting the sleeve well during bite work but doesn't want to grip the tug and hold it when playing with me. Any tips you could share would be great.
Hi Cindy,

I recently watched the Michael Ellis video Playing Tug and Foundation of puppy bite work. Great videos for someone that is not a formal dog trainer. He answers most of your questions w/out me asking.

I'm working a 9 month old Doberman for my fiance and am having a challenge having her gripping the tug and holding it. It feels as though she is not committing to holding it during play w/me. She holds the puppy sleeve great during bite work but won't commit to holding on to the tug w/me.

I have had some great sessions with her back tied w/a bungee and it is working great with her. Should I be putting so much attention on her lack of holding the tug during play? Even when I pull it back she doesn't fully commit to holding it.

Any tips you can share would be great. I'm used to having mals with that maligator grip and the dobe is confusing me lol.

Thanks in advance

A. Hi,

Sometimes dogs feel too much spacial pressure from the handler when playing tug, especially with a smaller tug as opposed to a bite pillow or sleeve.

I'd make sure I was not giving her any frontal pressure, turn away from her and maybe attach a line to the tug and as soon as she bites it, let some of the line out and keep gentle tension.

I wouldn't obsess about this too much, but be aware of it and don't get stuck on trying to fix this if she's doing well on the puppy sleeve. You don't want to damage her confidence.

I had a SchH 3 female Doberman I trained from a puppy and she would not play tug with me at all, ever. :) All dogs are different. This particular dog was a very successful competition dog and I actually scored a perfect 100 twice in protection in Schutzhund trials. She was a great biting dog as long as she was not biting anything I was holding. 

Playing tug with the handler is only a part of the whole training process and not all dogs are comfortable with it. 

I hope this makes sense.
Cindy Rhodes
  
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