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Dog's Mouth Too "Soft" to Play Tug

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Rolo

1236640
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 12:07pm PST 
Rolo has an extremely soft mouth. He takes treats very gently, lets you put your hand in his mouth, etc. He loves to play with a rope, if you dangle it above him he gets very excited and jumps for it. However he only briefly puts it in his mouth and will not provide any but the tiniest resistance.

Rolo was rescued at about 2 1/2 years, and this is the only toy he has ever played with. Any hints on getting him to tug harder? I don't want him to develop a "hard mouth" as he is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever mix, but discernment.
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Kali

She's game for- anything that's- fun.
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 3:58pm PST 
Kali's like you describe. I am curious to see the suggestions thinking

Edited by author Mon Jan 7, '13 3:58pm PST

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Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 4:15pm PST 
Having a hard or soft mouth is usually more of a mentality (in my experience).

How the inclination develops can be due to a myriad of circumstances - breed being the main catalyst, early experiences with littermates, really early training, could even be the result of dental health issues that caused enough pain the dog never wanted to clamp down.


I'm pretty much in the camp that if the dog isn't inclined to enjoy tug, as many (most?) retrievers aren't, then find something else to do with him instead.


You could probably could poke and prod him enough through some sort of drive training to get him to perform the "task," but that's likely all he'll ever see it as. If you instead run with what he's naturally inclined to do he'll enjoy it much more smile
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Bosley

Will Work For- Food
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 4:19pm PST 
Sometimes you need to teach a dog how to play tug smile

http://www.clickerdogs.com/createamotivatingtoy.htm
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Rolo

1236640
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 5:20pm PST 
Trigger, the problem is that he doesn't seem naturally inclined to play with ANYTHING. No squeaky toys, no ball, no stick. Balls actually frightened him at first, as do noisy interactive toys. He doesn't want to play chase with me, but I can tell that he really wants to play. The knotted rope excites him so much that I was hoping to build a tug out of it, but maybe that is not to be.

His favorite thing to do by himself is to tear up paper, lol. He does play chase with the occasional dog who will play back --as well as wrassle and bite the feet (with a cattle dog). My dogs aren't very playful with him. He has excellent dog manners and a great play bow which he uses on dogs and on me.

He picked up a ball and dropped it for the first time yesterday. Then he picked it up again. So maybe he is getting over his fear of balls.smile
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 5:44pm PST 
He needs a breakthrough. Put some enticing, perhaps good n smelly, like a liverwurst ball or something, in a light cardboard box and let him try to tear it open. See if that sparks anything, and then you could place a ball, or better yet squeaky toy, inside. Under confident dogs can have trouble starting on tug, so your bar may be set too high. Try to get him to learn how to toy play first. The light cardboard box is a good place to start, although...remembering past experiences with another Dogster big laugh....I then would leave cardboard boxes with expensive items inside out of his reach wink
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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 7:39pm PST 
Sanka never cared for playing, and I usually just give him odds and ends to shred as he does like that.

Although, if I pester him enough, he will mouth a toy or maybe paw at it. But really play? Nope. Ever since he was a pup, all he wanted to do was destroy stuff. The flip flop terror!

Both of my dogs usually just get their kicks from outings...walks, hikes, car rides, etc.

Although, for some odd reason, they both LOVE this game. shrug Maybe try something weird and see if it takes.
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Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 8:18pm PST 
"Trigger, the problem is that he doesn't seem naturally inclined to play with ANYTHING. No squeaky toys, no ball, no stick. Balls actually frightened him at first, as do noisy interactive toys. He doesn't want to play chase with me, but I can tell that he really wants to play. The knotted rope excites him so much that I was hoping to build a tug out of it, but maybe that is not to be.

His favorite thing to do by himself is to tear up paper, lol. He does play chase with the occasional dog who will play back --as well as wrassle and bite the feet (with a cattle dog). My dogs aren't very playful with him. He has excellent dog manners and a great play bow which he uses on dogs and on me.

He picked up a ball and dropped it for the first time yesterday. Then he picked it up again. So maybe he is getting over his fear of balls"


I realize some people don't like to compare the two but I think dogs can be a lot like kids in the sense that what they find amusing can vary so soooo much.

A lot of kids you can make a doofy face at and a few goofy noises and have them in a fit of laughter on the floor in a heartbeat. Other kids you can leap through hoops of fire and they'll yawn in disgust.

Dogs are much the same way and that's really what makes them awesome. Some get their kicks on farms, others in the woods, the water, while "guarding" their families,while being mischevious, while being attached at the hip to you while still others would prefer to do nothing but sleep all day if they could. Some will indulge you for praise, others for treats, others for games, and still others are far more inclined to indulge themselves before they'd ever indulge you for anything in return.


Just because toys, or tug, seem like a great life enhancer to you doesn't necessarily mean your guy will ever share that opinion, so your challenge then becomes figuring out what HE perceives as a great quality of life activity. Not saying you shouldn't try to teach him toys can be wonderful, but don't get too caught up in limiting yourself to the tangible, or the conventional beliefs about what the tangible is.

A lot of time with rescues instincts can help overcome trauma. If he's a retriever take him back to that. If a tennis ball doesn't work right off the bat reinvent it. Scent it. Zip tie some feathers onto it. If that doesn't work alter the shape and move on to dummies in the form of bumpers, canvas, plastic, Dokkens or even real birds if you have access to them.

Play scent games (you can buy bottled) by dragging those dummies through your yard and then unleashing him to find where you hit it. Leave a jackpot of treats at the end of your trail.

Play hide and seek games with his dinner around your house.

Perhaps retrieving inanimate objects isn't his thing, see if he'll simply take to chasing *you* and reassure him with lots of treats if he lets himself go in the moment and actually does.



Try thinking outside the box as far as toys and games go and I do think you'll get a bit further into what might make him tick way to go
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Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '13 11:33am PST 
When the shelter sent me Rolo, they told me that he really liked a squeaky foot. But I have tried EVERY kind of squeaky with him, including a foot and shoe, soft and hard squeakies, and he won't bite down on them enough to make them squeak. He does get very excited when you squeak them, however.

They also told me that he would chase a ball that he could see (he is blind in his right eye). So far he hasn't.

Trigger, I would not think he would want to play if he didn't seem to have an inner desire to play. He gets excited by dangling the rope, gets excited when I first open the door for him to go out, his eyes seem to brighten, he opes his mouth wider, he bounces around as well as play bows to me. I think he actually wants to play, we just haven't figured it out yet, between the two of us.

Thanks for your suggestions, Tiller and Trigger.

As his confidence had grown -- he was exceptionally timid and noise shy at first, had obviously never been inside a house -- he can now go through narrow door openings which fazed him, hear pots banging etc, walk through all the rooms in the house, etc., I think he is ready to start engaging more.
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Rolo

1236640
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '13 11:57am PST 
Ooops, my older, bossier brother posted!

Well I'm redder!
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