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  August 15, 2013
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Competitive Heeling - Reward Placement

Competitive Heeling - Reward Placement

This video illustrates reward delivery and presentation techniques used to encourage proper position and head position in competitive heeling work. It also takes a look at the use of different toys as well as techniques from transition from play/reward event back into heeling 'work.'

August 15, 2013   |   4 Minutes, 45 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A
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Question: I was doing the OUT command with the tug and my dog was chewing the tug. He wouldn't release and chewed on my hand so I grabbed the tug and smacked him on the head, now he shies away from the tug. What can I do?


I have received the 2 DVD from your site (train with food and play with tug). I just need some quick advice.

I was doing the "out" command with my dog, but he was chewing the tug toy. I narrowed and clamped closer to the muzzle, I said no. But he continue to chew, I was holding it really still.

Then, he start to chew on my knuckle (hand), I said no and he continue. This happened a few times and finally today (my hand got cut and bled), the chewing got so painful and I grabbed the tug and smacked it on his head (as he is disregarding my NO).

Now, he is shying away from the tug toy, what can I do now?


Cindy's Response:

I would go back to only using food. Based on what you describe in your email, I would have suggested you NOT play tug with this dog until he had been working with food for a longer period of time.

Depending on your dog, it may be that he will not want to play with you again. It was a serious mistake to make for a dog that is just learning the game. Think about it from his point of view, he doesn't understand what you expect and then you hit him over the head with something you want him to play with.

How old is this dog?

Cindy Rhodes

More Information:

Hi Cindy,

Great to hear from you. He is about 14 months old, a cross breed which I adopted when he was 3 months old. He has great food drive, but was thinking to move on to (playing tug) prey drive for obedience.

Cindy's Response:

Playing tug is a great motivator but it's possible (depending on your dog and how fast he recovers from handler mistakes) that by hitting your dog with the tug you have effectively made it a negative association for the dog. 

I would stay with food for a while and hopefully the dog will get over it with time. 

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Playing Tug with Your Dog.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

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Customer Comments

On Leerburg's What Would I Do if Attacked by a Dog Article

Just wanted to thank you again for the advice to start yelling when a strange dog (off leash) approached mine while we were walking last night. Knowing that my GSD does not like other dogs approaching him, I warned the owner not to allow his dog to approach mine. He slowly started walking towards his dog, which was only about 25 feet from me (and still approaching) and very quietly called him back. His dog ignored him and got within 10 feet of us. I put my dog in a down and started yelling as loud as I could. The dog turned around and ran off. Thanks again for the great advice. It saved a dangerous fight.

The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

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