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I have been taking Kermit to obedience. He is doing pretty well. My concern is that now the instructor is telling us to teach the "drop it" command (Kermit already does this SOMEwhat). Anyway, she is telling us that if our dog currently does NOT play tugowar, that we are to teach them to play Tugowar so that we can then teach them the drop it command. I always heard that tugowar is not recommended because it can damage the teeth and teach challenging. What do you think?
 

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Tugging is huge thing now. It used to be a no no becuse people thought it made dogs agressive (it does not) tugging nd dropping is good skill.

Agility and flyball people all prefer tugging s a reward and get hte best response from it with most dogs.

you can get a nice soft tug there will be no damage to the teeth
 

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I have made tug toys out of old lengths of cotton shirt fabric - get three pieces the same length and braid them together. You have to tie them really tight or the dog can unravell them!
 

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NeVar is right. The whole tug-o-war thing is really hot right now with the agility folks who use it to rev up their dog's drive. This is a perfect example in my mind how some dog trainers get stuck on one method and don't see how it might not translate to other dog owner lifestyles. Look at these videos of a trainer and owner building drive in their agility dogs. This works great for a dog that gets the "tug" at the end of a run, but I think a lot people don't want to have this sort of interaction with their dogs (I know that I would not approve of my dogs playing this way with a child):


Personally, as an Obedience person, I don't ever want my dog to "drop it" because this is a flunk in the Obedience ring. Rather I teach a "take it" and a "give" which in no way involves a tug. I think tugging has it's place, but you have to decide if it is right for you and your dog.
 

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We were also asked to teach "tugging" at our kennel club training class. The instructor seemed a little surprised when we told her that we don't do tugging with our (then 6 mos. old) pup. She asked how do you teach "drop it" then? It was kind of a mute point because he already knew "drop it" from going thru the "pick up anything off the street" stage as a younger pup. Having to retrieve an undesirable object from his mouth (such as a frog) a couple of times, did the trick. We primarily use "drop it" in these types of quick react circumstances and our boys learned the command easily.

As cbrand stated, we also use "give" the majority of the time, especially during fetch and retrieve sessions. We did not want our dogs to think that tugging when we put our hands on something he was holding,
was an option. We had the same concern regarding this type of play with children. We did also have to teach the children not to play this way with our spoos. Sometimes this is more challenging than teaching the dogs :).
 
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