|Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M|
I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
|Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 12:15pm PST |
|Tug is an excellent training tool that couples play with good impulse control, and also is a great reinforcer!
That said, every now and then you come across a dog where it's nowhere you wanna go. If you find that dog....you know. So it's not as if you avoid tug to avoid a problem, but rather that you have in the back in your mind that very occasional exception.
I have worked just a few and owned one....one of my GSDs, Philo, who was withdrawn from Schutzhund training because it was totally weirding me out. He was a great tug player, but it was seriously amping his drive, spilling out from the training session itself. The first week I put him in front of a helper was the last.
Some dogs have a drive that it is not necessarily dormant....let's say "inactive." Not particularly practiced, so no particular yen to be employed. But given the chance to "taste" it, it goes a little haywire. Chester was like that with lasers. I stopped using them pretty promptly, but it definitely made him far more intense with everything, and in a slightly disturbing way.
With tug, you are getting into a level of the prey drive sequence. Dogs that are particularly intense there may get that taste and then start to seek it in their environment. It is not that they get dominant with you....it's easy to train on the tug, and I have yet to meet a dog who can't be trained to an awesomely precise release....but rather that the "catch" impulse gets awoken. Philo, my GSD who was pulled off tugs and everything else that had anything to do with a catch, was an EXTREMELY social dog, which in an irony is what was hinting to make him doubly dangerous. His wide social center gave him no reserve at all, no discrimination, so he did hold the potential to launch at a very innocent something just because he had "happy pants drive." Is just in a feel good zone, and now has that catch lust. So in example, whereas before he had moderate drive against kids on skateboards, as his prey drive was high, I had a lot of worry that if I ever was inattentive, if he got to chase one, now he would be apt to "catch" them hard with his mouth.
I am very, VERY happy at my wisdom of these concerns...his highly social nature making him somewhat indiscriminate paired with his catch lust. Years later, a foster got in a scuffle with one of my own pets...Chester, 'natch ....and once my Schnauzer came in to bark at them (that was Onion, my angel boy) to quit, it lit Philo, who started to bolt over like a bat out of hell. Although terrifically social and a best friend to all dogs, I feared what he'd do when he got there, so I held my arm out in a "halt!" command, and he nailed it. I screamed his name and he let go right away, but my arm was broken. I was very undone by the incident, but still thank the stars if my gut instinct was to have been affirmed, far better my arm than one of my dogs, let alone a child on his play toy.
None of this....none of it....was even on the charts until we got more into our tug training sessions and he was getting more and more bizarrely intense and thirsty. Not even the same dog....couldn't recognize him. And from that era after, I was super uncomfortable with what it incited, not simply on the tug, but in life generally. It wasn't that he wouldn't release....he was perfecto....it was that mental shift I saw.
He remained safe, save for that one incident, as a well trained dog I felt I couldn't trust off lead capriciously....those were always structured, never around kids. On lead or in a livingroom, etc., he was their best friend. A dog I would trust with anyone, anytime. He adored people, almost to a fault. But if a chase instinct were to have incited the catch response....don't even want to think about it.
So moral of the story....never say never. No reason to stop, but if your dog is weirding you out and you see it starting to translate in his more general life and intensity, you need to stop. Pronto. Remembering that this does link to the most dangerous part of the prey drive sequence.
Edited by author Mon Jan 7, '13 12:16pm PST
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