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Discussion Starter #1
Annie and I have been doing flyball intro training. I am not a huge fan, but Annie loves it. She does great. 4 jumps there, swimmers turn, ball grab, 4 jumps back.... and once and a while breaks from there into wild and crazy zoomies around the arena.

Recall has been very challenging with Annie. I do all the "right' things - awesome treats, never bad things, often touch and release, or throw a ball, walk away.... and it's still not great. On Annie's Hierarchy of Awesome, even raw meat or a bone are way, way down from "fun".

Recall for a balloften works, unless she already has one and is running with it, or zoomies are just too awesome.

I am thinking I need to build drive for fun with me, that's even BETTER than doing 4 laps of an arena at full speed. So I am thinking... tug. Annie isn't great at tug, she has a really soft mouth and drops it. But, until I did a bunch of ball drive exercises with her, she could have cared less about balls, too.

Anyone have any resources on how to make tug the world's grearest, most awesome game? I usually use her two favourite items (a sock and her ball) as a tug toy - is there anything better I should use?

Basically, I want to figure out how to make her even more wild for her tug than her ball.

(Oh, and any obvious shortfalls/bad ideas in this hairbrained cheme?)
 

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She like a flirt pole? I use a squishyface flirt pole which has a bungee rope as the cord and it makes an awesome tug toy. If she likes a flirt pole it's a great way to attach the chase to the tug.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nope. Flirt poles are confusing to her. I was so excited and made oNE and she was like. "Meh. You are weird, human. You play over there, I will go do more interesting things, like lie on the couch or sniff at the grass"
 

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Nope. Flirt poles are confusing to her. I was so excited and made oNE and she was like. "Meh. You are weird, human. You play over there, I will go do more interesting things, like lie on the couch or sniff at the grass"
Ah shame. There are tug toys that have balls attached. Something like that might be good.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Brainstorming... I am wondering if a ball is maybe the wrong choice... her current rug has a ball in a sock. But when we play with her ball, she releases it the moment I touch it, and her favourite game inside is a short range game where she drops the ball in my hand and I immediately toss it gently so she can catch it. Toss, catch, toss catch. She doesnt even move her feet. Sometimes I will tug a bit with it in her mouth,or walk with her mouthing it, and the moment I do more than tap it, she drops it.
 

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I wonder if something like this (if I could tie a rope to it) might work...
Misha has one of those. His is a long snake which is good for him because he prefers tugs with a bit of length.

 

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To be honest, she kinda sounds like a dream! Lol.

But we do know she loves squirrels, so that toy looks like a good option. I'm surprised she's not into flirt poles, though. Peggy's looks like a fluffy, squirmy wild animal.

What does she do if you run away from her? Does that engage her in a woo hoo! let's chase! way?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
PTP - did you miss the "let's run 4 laps of the arena" part of the story, lol? She was WILD tonight, and spent most of class yodeling and whining - when not on a breakaway tear.

Yes, she loves chasing me. You run away from the dog after they grab the ball in flyball so they catch you - which is one of the reasons the breakaway moments aren't more frequent. That, and she is back to being on a longline.

I should mention that she sometimes plays tug with Trixie, the 11 lb yorkie, and... Trixie often wins. Trixie loves fug, and will dangle the toy in front of Annie's nose. If Annie wins, she takes the toy, jumps on the couch, and chews it. Game over.
 

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Ok.... maniacally cackling. She would LOVE that.

My dad keeps threatening to shoot her a squirrel when we visit - all our past dogs were convinced squirrels fell from trees. So far, I have avoided him doing that. Wonder if he would shoot one, skin it, and tan it for me? No, probably not, and i am not touch in raw squirrel. There was a neighbour down the road when i was growing up that had a freezer full of squirrels he fed to their dog. Yuck.

Hmmm.... might be able to get a rabbit pelt locally.
 

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Ok.... maniacally cackling. She would LOVE that.

My dad keeps threatening to shoot her a squirrel when we visit - all our past dogs were convinced squirrels fell from trees. So far, I have avoided him doing that. Wonder if he would shoot one, skin it, and tan it for me? No, probably not, and i am not touch in raw squirrel. There was a neighbour down the road when i was growing up that had a freezer full of squirrels he fed to their dog. Yuck.

Hmmm.... might be able to get a rabbit pelt locally.
You can buy them off of etsy for sure. Even just pieces of hide/fur that could easily be incorporated into a tug.
 

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PTP - did you miss the "let's run 4 laps of the arena" part of the story, lol? She was WILD tonight, and spent most of class yodeling and whining - when not on a breakaway tear.
Ha! I was blinded by the dreamy "instantly dropping a ball when you touch it" part.

I'm really into Spirit Dog right now. Maybe there will be something helpful in here:


Or if you feel like doing a paid course:


I'm currently enrolled in a few.
 

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You can buy them off of etsy for sure. Even just pieces of hide/fur that could easily be incorporated into a tug.
Or those crazy rabbit ear treats!! Have you seen those? They're just....rabbit ears. Furry rabbit ears.

I feel like if Annie only got something like that for recall in high-distraction environments, she might reconsider.

Then again, it really does sound like she's having the time of her life out there. How does one compete with that?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
This is the dog that, if I want her to be done chewing a bone, rather than remove it from her (I could), I offer to take her on a walk. Fun is WAY higher value than food.

Sure there are advantages -resource guarding, though I take normal precautions isn't a huge worry ( i remember Peggy's challenges)- - but it makes some training (like squirrel ignoring and recall) really difficult.

(Yes, I have seen those, there is a local rabbit that sells them and feet. Shudder).
 

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I had the same issue with Zephyr not wanting to tug and dropping the toy. My trainer told me that with some dogs that have soft mouths you don't tug at all. Just hold onto the toy and let the dog tug as hard or as soft as she wants. That helped a lot. My other dogs wanted the give and take tug game where I pulled just as hard as they did, but Z doesn't want me to pull back at all, much prefers to do it himself. He also doesn't want to tug for a long time, just short bouts of tug. He likes the soft tugs, his favorite is a fleece snake.
 

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I would for the time being at least drop the flyball. Flyball encourages your dog to go way over their threshold of crazy all while disconnected to you (I also don't like it because of possibility of shoulder injuries). Tug is a very interactive bond building kind of activity that builds a deeper bond between handler and dog. It can take work to build drive for it. I also have a squishy face flirt pole and it is one of the few toys that Javelin really loves. He doesn't like balls and doesn't have a strong attraction to play with stuffed toys and such either. When I first started playing with the flirt pole we had to work at getting him to love it as he does now. During his first summer when he was just a few months old I built his attraction to being with me by going out in our yard and playing with him up close, petting him, doing little tricks and such. Once he was really into that play I would just get up and trot away with him at a pace where he could easily catch up to me at which time I made a big deal out of him getting to me. Repeat repeat repeat... Once that was strong then I would use the flirt pole to entice him to follow more energetically. Since I didn't want him jumping I just dragged it on the ground and periodically let him catch it before I gently picked it up and wiggled it a little. He shook it more and more vigorously. Then I could use it to teach impulse control by getting him to let go of it before starting again. I now have to hide the flirt pole from him unless I am willing to engage him with it. since he would just take it and drag it around on his own if he could. The flirt pole has translated to loving to tug on a braided tug toy (that I made with some novelty fleece and fuzzy fabric). I use that tug as a play break item during obedience training. It is very high value to him and it is a great stress releaser and tool for reconnecting with each other.

If you really want to build the flirt pole (which I love having) make sure you have the safety features that are part of the squishy face item (including the wrist strap). If the dog pulls it out of your hand it could hit the dog and hurt them or make them afraid of it. It could also hit you in the face depending on how much energy the dog is using. Making a tug braid is easy. Just get some end pieces of fabrics you would like and cut 2" wide strips to double the length you want the finished toy to be. Tie the three strips together near one end and braid like for a pony tail. When you get to the other end tie another knot and you have a tug toy. For multi dog households I would make one for each dog and keep track of who it belongs to. Lily would be horrified if I let Javelin play with her tug and the reverse is also true. Peeves prefers tugging with a large jolly ball with a handle (like for a horse).
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Reraven123- I will try that! Our previous dog liked to tug me across the floor (she weighed more than me) so maybe I am being too aggressive.

Lily cd re - I agree with you about flyball. Not my favourite sport. But this class was the prereq for the intro to agility class that I want to take next. Luckily it was our last class before switching, but it's still something I need to address. The local dog club still doesn't have obedience classes scheduled for the fall :(

Annie has a pretty good off leash recall on walks - we played a game as as puppy where if she got out of sight/stopped watching me, I would hide, then maken a huge fuss when she found me. We still play and she zooms back to me looking for me and is overjoyed to find me.I also will turn and go the other direction if she goes down a fork in a path, or whstever. All that goes out the window when she knows I can't escape/leave her. (Although she does come back, mid lap, to hang out next to me and try to convince me to come play too) So I am looking for a way to get her to focus on ME as the centre of all good things in the ring.

Trixie loves her flirt pole, she goes wild for a cat one with a feathered lure.

Looking at that flirt pole, I wonder if using a bungee for the string is a big help... Right now mine has a thin rope with braided fleece scraps on the end. Hmm...
 

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When I play tug with Noelle, I let her do the tugging. I also use squeaky toys for tugs and make sure to squeak away during the game. Then again, the day Noelle came home as a tiny puppy, our first activity together was tug, so I kind of set her up to think tug is amazing. Tug, trade for chicken, hide tug, wait for eye contact, tug reappears, omg this is amazing. Since we can't rewind time for Annie, I'm with Lily. Flyball is too much.

Does Annie like toys that squeak? Maybe you can use that as an attractant during practice when no other dogs are around. A squeaking tug toy might get her interest. Noelle is quite partial to unstuffed foxes.
 

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When I made my flirt pole for Lo, I used a horse whip as the handle (it has a wrist strap + bendy pole) and then I used shock cord as the rope so it had more spring.

She isn’t one to play tug - she sometimes once in a blue moon will play it with the small dog for a minute or so before letting the little one win and take the toy. And it’s more her laying down holding the toy when the little dog tugs and shakes before she lets the toy go lol.
As soon as my hands touch any soft/rope toys or balls, she drops it and waits. When she catches the toy on the flirt pole, she will lay down and drop it before going back into a sit position rather than tugging. My old dog was a big tug dog and would pull us across the floor and she loved that game over anything else. so I tried enticing Lo with treats on various toys, going gentle by moving the toy up/down/side to side, dragging behind me on rope but she just drops it as soon as my hand touches it.

I looked on Etsy and they have some dried squirrel tails which might make a fun tug toy lol or something like this? might help make the flirt pole more enticing
 
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