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Categories: Playing Tug With Your Dog

Q. I'm having a hard time switching from food to toy rewards, do you have any suggestions?
Cindy,

I'm having a hard time switching over from food to toy rewards. My dog will play tug with enthusiasm at the house, but when we are out she will show no interest if something else remotely interesting is around. I am trying to get away from carrying around food rewards and just keep a tug on me. It just seems like that will not be motivational enough for her. She likes the flirt pole but that's hard to take around. Do you have any suggestions on how I can increase her interest in toys or a way to get away from food rewards?

I know I made the mistake of not switching to a variable reinforcement schedule soon enough and am still dealing with the consequences from that. I'm trying to decrease the frequency of rewards. I'd like to get to the point where I don't always have to carry treats with me every time we go for a walk through the woods.

A. You can put a toy on a string so you can create some distance between you and the toy without the problem of carrying around a flirt pole. That's actually how I wean dogs off the flirt pole, I put the toy on a light leash or string so I can conceal it when I need to.
  
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$25 off Michael Ellis 3 Day Workshop and Raising Your Puppy with Michael Ellis, and $15 off The Foundation of Puppy Bitework with Michael Ellis, good through Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 11:59 PM CT