• Michael D’Abruzzo

    March 13, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Hey Jose!

    Usually this can be avoided by not allowing the dog to bite the handles ever, by doing as you have done (wrapping them up), or bending the tug into a “U” and pointing the arc at the dog. Dogs, however, can get obsessive over certain games so if he is obsessed with the handles then it is harder to re-target. The handles are easier for the dog to hold on to so they don’t have to work as hard to hold on.

    I would suggest cutting the handle off of one end (if it is double ended) and tie an old leash to the other end. You can back tie your dog with a harness or wide flat collar and tease him by whipping around the tug. Swing the tug into range where he can’t bite anything but the tug.

    You can also do this with the dog loose if you are good enough with the rope to prevent him from biting the handle. Or, have someone hold the dog on a leash.

    You can also start over with the game by using a skinnier tug that is easier to grip (if you are using a wide one now). If it is already a skinny one you can use one with the stuffing pulled out. Either way you can work your way back up to thicker tugs if protection training is your goal (not sure if it is).

    Basically, what you are doing is targeting. It is an important concept in protection training and how we get the dogs to predictably bite certain parts of the body. If a dog has no choice but to bite a certain target, he will eventually develop tunnel vision for that particular target.

    Take an arm pit bite. We target the dog on the center of the tug. Then we hold the tug so the center is near our armpit. Then, we attach the tug to a bite suit (over our arm pit). Then we remove the tug and make our arm pit the easiest thing to reach when the dog is back tied. Eventually the dog is very focused on that target and will leave the ground to reach it, even though a leg would be far easier to bite.