Switching to Two Balls

Yes, I know what the jokes are there.  Two balls or in Grom’s case, two tugs is a new way for him to play.  The goal of this little game is to get him to bring back his toy after he has “won” it rather than doing a big victory lap and playing keep away.

search dog in snow back end

This is what it looks like when tugging

First – tease the dog with the tug.  Don’t let him have it.  Nothing is valuable if it is easy to get!

Once you have him worked up into a frenzy, let him grab the toy.  Play a nice short game of tug.  When he gives a good pull, let the dog have the toy.  He is of course, going to run away with it and do the normal victory lap.

After a few seconds, produce an identical toy and wave it around.  Make a big deal about it.  Include a bunch of high pitched puppy noises and jump around like an idiot.  The dog is going to wonder if you have ants in your pants and will come over to investigate.  Here is where one of two things happens.

If he brings the toy in his mouth back with him, grab it and play tug with him again.

If he drops the toy while running back to you, tease him with the toy you have and throw it in the opposite direction whence he came.  Go get the toy he dropped.

Repeat this game until you are sure that he is at the absolute height of his excitement and fun.  When he comes back, clip his leash on him and continue tugging.  You don’t want the game to end once the leash goes on.  Otherwise he will run away as soon as he sees the leash.

Let the dog win his toy one last time and take him back to his crate.

So far this is working great for the little guy.  We do this little game in addition to agitation not in place of.

Here is a fantastic video on how to play two-balls tug properly with a tug. http://www.clickertraining.tv/product.html?item=FREE-28

One Response to “Switching to Two Balls”

  1. This is how I taught Lauren how to fetch properly. She’s still not great at it, being that she is a German Shepherd and not a retriever, but I can get a good half dozen returns from her. Nice tip, Jen. 🙂

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