We were at a client in Suwanee about a week or two ago giving them a quick refresher on some dog obedience and canine behavior issues with his Vizsla named Henry.  We then turned our discussion to the dog toys we saw scattered around the floor and how they could impact the behavior of their dog.

Believe it or not, but toys can definitely impact your training experience…

We all love playing tug-of-war with our dogs. They pull and growl and we pull back and laugh. This is so much fun and it seems like we can play it for hours. Sometimes our dog will get the tug-of-war toy away from us and he will run around the room while we chase him.  Sometimes we end up with the tug-of-war toy and then normally make squealy, high pitched sounds, encouraging him to jump and grab the toy again.  Wow, this is just so much fun!

After this is all said and done, we often wonder why our dog loves to jump, bark, and nip at us and our guests at the most inappropriate time. What we forget is that our dog learns actions through consistent repetition.  If we are constantly playing a tug of war game with him where he is encouraged and even rewarded to jump, bark, and nip at us, we are training him to do these things.  So, what do you think he is going to do next?

Also, guess who normally ends up with the tug-of-war toy at the end of the game?  Our dog normally ends up with the toy and takes it of to his corner or into the other room. We are now off to other of our “human activities” like getting the door, sitting down at the computer, answering our cell phone, etc.  In our dog’s mind, he has “won the game” because they ended up with the toy.

So what does all this tell us?

Jumping, nipping, barking, and other “bad habits” are enforced by playing tug-of-war because we are constantly condoning such actions.

From our dog’s perspective, playing tug-of-war enforces that he is the leader and he can do whatever he wants. Why not? He is the leader and we have told him so.

We hope you will call Robin or myself at (770) 718-7704 if you have any questions about dog training or any aspect of your dog’s behavior.  We have a growing list of dog training articles at Best Dog Trainers Suwanee Georgia.  Locate all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Suwanee Georgia.