Tug comes in handy for all sorts of activities. Help you take off socks or clothes. Opening doors to cabinets. Pulling you out of bed or out of a chair or wheelchair.
Puppies love to play tug. If you have a puppy that plays tug, encourage it.
To train tug teach your dog to “take it,” “hold it” and then to “drop it”. Take a toy and encourage your dog to take it in his mouth. As soon as he puts his muzzle close to it, praise and treat. If he’s reluctant to put it in his mouth, try something like a bully stick or a stuffed Kong. Also try a piece of crumpled paper. As soon as he takes it, heavy praise and a treat.
Now work on the duration of the hold. Give the object to the dog and let him take it. Wait to give the praise and the treat while he holds it. If he drops it, give it back and hold onto it while its in his mouth. Get some duration.
For drop it, give the object and they trade it for a treat. If it’s a valuable object, try and find something more valuable to the dog to exchange. Never take the object from him. This will teach him to resource guard and you don’t want to inadvertently do that.
Next step is to give the dog the object and gently shake it while he’s holding on to it. Tell him to “take it” and then do some back and forth motions with it in his mouth. This will be pleasing to the dog….like shaking prey. Do this and then say drop it and give a treat. Do this again and when he’s pulling say “tug” and continue until you say drop it. Dogs love this game.
Now you can add to the tug game. I use a toy tied onto handles to teach open.