Dog Training World Forums General Dog Training Discussion Drive Balance How to deal with the restless spirit in aggressive dogs? Re: How to deal with the restless spirit in aggressive dogs?

  • Michael D’Abruzzo

    August 1, 2011 at 7:25 am

    When it comes to toys and restless spirit. You want to make sure you teach your dog two things in particular.

    1. The toys and rules of the game our yours

    2. Toys and the game are actually more fun when played by your rules

    When doing this always be prepared for success. Safety first. This means either having the dog on a leash/long line, wearing safety clothing (such as leather jacket/gloves), or have a second handler help out by controlling the leash.

    The easiest trick in the book is to always start out by having clones of all toys. If you have two balls you can always throw the one the dog doesn’t have. If you have two tugs you can make the second one more lively when the dog has control of the first. You must teach the dog that toys are more fun when you are involved.

    Watch this video of Chris at the shelter with a dog that is very possessive of toys (almost impossible to get from him without a plan). He is using two tugs and maintains the dog on a leash.


    The leash on the dog helps with two things. One, if you misjudge the dog and dog comes in to “correct” you, it is easier to fend the dog off. Second, when the dog has possession of the ball, tug, toy, etc.. you can keep the dog moving so he cant go to the ground with it and have total possession/destroy/etc..

    We start the game, both win and lose within the game, and then end the game. Just like playing tic-tac-toe, except you are the one that initially draws the game, controls the pencil, and then takes away the paper at the end. During the game we are all having fun.

    Do not take the toy out of your dogs mouth at this point. Drag the dog away with the leash when he goes to the floor with it and then give treats. (or trade for a treat when the dog “outs” if he will).

    You are not looking for total control at this point, only to teach the dog those two points mentioned at the beginning of the post.

    Here is another dog at the shelter that Chris worked down to one toy over time. The dog started off tacting like it was some kind of big competition between the two of them and then eventually lightened up and seemed to enjoy the game. Note that Chris always makes the dog do an obedience command before giving the toy back, even if the dog slips off of it. This discourages the jumping behavior when the dog is frustrated and encourages manners when wanting something BAD. Neither of these dogs are easy and are still at the shelter needing homes.