I admit it. My friend yelled out “Lisa, why are you hitting your dog?”… during a game of tug with Gina. I wasn’t punishing my beloved dog; I was rewarding her and building her drive.
Tugging is not a game of war. It is a game of play and is a way to bond with your dog. It’s commonly used to increase drive and focus before agility runs. Tugging is also a great training tool during high distraction environments, an opportunity to reinforce “that’s enough” (meaning “game over, release the toy”), and it’s helped Gina tremendously with dog distraction. Tugging has been a way of teaching her that the best things in life happen in reinforcement zone with me, not with the stranger dog running by. Slapping her on the side while tugging is something she absolutely loves. It’s s a form of play, similar to the body slamming that dogs do with each other when running and playing.
I am a huge believer in science based positive reinforcement dog training. I don’t support dominance based dog training, and hitting as a means of punishment is never appropriate. It never works, unless you want your dog to be fearful of your hand, newspaper, or whatever you are hitting them with.
In case you ever see me slapping Gina, you’ll see how much fun she is having and how a slap on her side just increases her focus on the tug toy. Time to get out the tug toy and go play…
Delivering Calm, Four Paws at a Time!
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