June 24, 2013

Puppy Tugging: Teaching the Release

In the video below, Sarah teaches her new border collie puppy Venture to release a tug toy. Trainers will often discourage people from teaching a release to puppies because they fear it may decrease drive. These trainers will advocate either taking the toy when the dog happens to drop it, or wrestling it from their mouths. Instead, follow these 3 steps below to increase your puppy’s tug drive by teaching a release.

Step 1: Immobilize the toy.

Step 2: Give your cue.

Step 3: Restart the game.

This method works because the puppy learns that releasing the tug will immediately lead to another great game of chase and tug! Remember, keep your puppy sessions very short. For more details, read our article on the same topic, with teenage and adult dogs.

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  • A little late to the party here, but I just found your page. I do both Agility and Disc with my dogs. In Disc teaching a drop on Cue is a HUGE skill to have, especially in freestyle. This is exactly the way we teach the drop on cue. Both my Aussie Bokeh and my young BC Tempest are tugging nuts and get all excited. Plus they have a drop on cure weather its in my hand or 20 feet out, they know out means drop the disc your gonna get a new one. Great video!

      • Doing both sports I see similarities in both training and “moves”. I actually have a spot in my freestyle routine with Bokeh that he actually does a rear cross on the flat as a setup for a new trick. I use the same cues and commands in disc that I do in agility and it has actually helped his rear crosses in both sports.

        Here is a short video of a demo we did in July at a dog show. We quickly go over tugging and using multiple toys to build drive and teach your dog to catch.

  • This method of getting a release works like a charm. I used it to teach my young puppy to release and he got the idea very quickly.

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