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Tug toys are made to hang on to

Donna will hold on forever! from weliveinaflat on Vimeo.

OK, so not forever. :P

Donna loves tug. It’s probably hard-coded into her DNA.

I had to teach her to weave between my legs, sit on the weighing scale and touch her nose to my hand.

But tug?

She does it all on her on. Even more than she retrieves!

Dogs are predators and scavengers. They need an outlet for exercising their instincts. The predatory sequence is eye, stalk, chase, grab/shake, and beyond that kill, eat. The game of tug-of-war keeps the sequence at bay, trained properly, to grab/shake. It is a satisfying experience for the dog and can be a very good training tool. A healthy outlet for natural prey instincts is to understand that the key is to play the game with rules. – why dogs like to play tug of war

We have been told not to play tug with her before or at least to always make sure we win if we do.

The first video doesn’t show it but after some months, we found that it doesn’t really matter who wins. And honestly, I would have some issues with the dog’s intelligence if she were to persist to want to keep playing a game that she was bound to lose. I wouldn’t want to be the losing side all the time!

playing tugGive it up, human!

So now and then, we do let her win :P And interestingly enough, there was a couple of times where she would run willy nilly to her crate with her toy, before peeking at us to see if we follow. And when it looks like we’re ignoring her, she’ll bring the toy back. ;)

There are some things we do to make tug safe for dog and humans. That’s because even if Donna is not aggressive or protective over her toys (some dogs are, so tug may not be that great an idea just yet for them), there will be times when she gets too excited and accidentally nip or scratch the human.

1) Use a longer toy.
The longer it is the further your fingers can be from the dog’s teeth to prevent accidental nipping or biting. There will be times when Donna feels herself losing her grip on the toy and tries to adjust her grip on it to get a better hold of it. This is when she may accidentally bump her teeth to our fingers or hands.

playing tug
This toy may be a little short.

2) Training that teeth and skin contact ends the game
When Donna gets excited, she may try to snap at the toy to get it, particularly if it dangles enticingly just within reach. That of course means danger for human fingers to some extent. Stop play when dog gets too rough so dog learns that she gets to play when she plays nicely

playing tug
Another entirely too short toy when she grabs it by the middle. Watch out for those teeth!

3) Teach “drop it”
Particularly for Mr P’s case where tug becomes a rousing game, Donna can get over-excited. Being able to get the dog to drop the toy on cue means that we can go into time outs easier and let Donna regain calmness before she accidentally hurts us from being over enthusiastic in play.

Some dogs play growl when they are having fun at tug, but not Donna. She does however reserve the odd snort now and then. I don’t know for what but I imagine its to express disgust at the unfair advantage we have over her in the game :P

…(you) don’t want to lift the dog off the ground by the tug because it could hyper-extend their neck and possibly cause an injury. Try to mimic a dog when playing tug – they pull side to side or straight back. Their necks are built to have tremendous power from side to side, but not up and down. When dogs tug with other dogs you will never see one jerk or bounce the other up and down. – Should I play tug with my dog

– Why dogs like to play tug of war
Should I play tug with my dog?
To tug or not to tug
Dog-training tip video – tugging with your dog
– Rules for Playing Tug with your Dog
– How police dogs work
– The right way to play tug with your dog

My dog doesn’t see the point of leg weaves

Previously we were training targeting using nose to hand so that we can use it to learn other things like eventually walking on two legs and leg weaving. Not very practical skills but it’s fun :P

Training standing on two legs

Do I get extra if I get creative and touch my chin to your fingers instead, human?
Or my paws to fingers?
Ok fine, so you want nose to fingers only.

Training Leg Weaves

I don’t wanna do the leg weaves anymore, human, no matter how your are waving your finger to get me to target through your legs. So I’m just gonna flop on the floor in protest.

And if my bum happens to land on your foot, I don’t care. 
See, this is my I-don’t-care face.
But I still want the treat… ….. …. how about I trade you a rollover?
I rollover long time, human. *wriggle wriggle*
Shit, why do I think this is a waste of time? 
Because the human doesn’t exactly want to reinforce behaviours I don’t want to encourage, so I can’t treat if I ask you to do a leg weave and you decide to rollover instead :P

Anyway, I guess Donna’s doing this from a combination of factors, she gets too bored of the treats and she wants to get the treats by doing the easy stuff that she already knows.

So I changed the treats after that…

The results?

Here’s a video of Donna doing the looping around my left and right legs.

leg weave from weliveinaflat on Vimeo.

Here’s a video of me awkwardly taking steps forward while Donna loops around my legs.

leg weaving stepping forwards from weliveinaflat on Vimeo.

It’s not smooth and I probably still have a ways before I can fade away the hand cues. But at least she does leg weaves now!! :P

For steps on how to train leg weaves, check out this Youtube video!

My dog loves her butt rubs! But why? – Dog Behaviour Explained!

Donna loves a butt rub!! (Enhanced) from weliveinaflat on Vimeo.

The dog’s rump and why it needs scratching from humans?

Well technically, that area at the base of her tail is called the rump, I think. It’s funny how rubbing that spot causes her to wag furiously, and how the wagging stops when the rubbing stops. And also how she would draw circles in the air with her nose when she really enjoys getting her rump scratched.

But why does my dog look sort of blissed out sometimes when she gets a butt rub? According to this Elizabeth Tumbarello article, the area of the dog’s rump at the base of his/her tail is filled with sensitive nerve endings. In Donna’s case the sensation of scratching is pleasurable because of this. However, this is not universal to all dogs. Some dogs may not like it so approach strange dog rumps with care ;)

And why does Donna blatantly present her rear end to the human and demand to be scratched her on the rump?

Besides the simple fact that it feels good, Dr. Bonnie Beaver, professor of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University, explained on thebark.com that the rear is also ‘a very hard area for them to reach themselves… and how nice it is if someone will scratch that for you.’

Dog butt rub / scratch - itchy butt

Dog butts itch, human!

OK, so I get that Donna sometimes needs a hand. And when she doesn’t get it, she goes and rubs her side against the back of the sofa D: You can imagine the layers of hair she has left there – – Actually I lie. Even when we give her a hand, she still likes to go rub against the back of the sofa. Sigh.

How to tell if your dog wants a butt rub

Look at the video.

Step 1, Turn around and unceremoniously plant the rear end in the human’s face :P

Step 2, Turn head back and give human the look. You either demand it or you plead for it. In Donna’s case, she just takes it for granted that it’s gonna happen so she just stands there and waits.

Step 3, If you are satisfied with the human’s services, give her your toy as a reward.

Step 4, But remember to keep her focused on the task at hand. Humans get distracted by toys easily.

If the dog moves away or removes her rump from my hand, I would safely assume my services are no longer needed. ; ) Mission accomplished!

She could at least treat me to a coffee… :P

Does your dog like his/her butt scratched? What does he/she do to get your attention for that? 

Is your dog scratching too much to be normal?
If he/she is only scratching in 1-2 spots, it might be insect bites or hotspots. Here are some great itch-relief products on Amazon.com

1.     2.     3.
1. Earthbath Green Tea Leaf Three-In-One Deodorizing Spritz for Dogs, 8-Ounce
2. Earthbath All Natural Hot Spot and Itch Relief Deodorizing Spritz, 8-Ounce
3. Espree Aloe Vera Jelly for Pets


– The short tail of the rump scratch
What is the most sensitive part on your dog?
– Dogs and butt scratches – Boys vs Girls
– Why do dogs like to have the base of their tails scratched – the nest
– Why do dogs like to have the base of their tails scratched – ehow
– Why do dogs like to have the base of their tails scratched – daily puppy

Will you play with me?

This girl is dead serious playful.

Will you play with me? from weliveinaflat on Vimeo.

We didn’t train her to do this but perhaps because she knows she is not allowed in the bedroom, so she stepped into the room to deliver her toy as a play invitation before stepping back to sit “respectfully” outside the door.

I was quite amused when she did that. XD She doesn’t always do it of course. :P

What is this life if full of care…

– W.H.Davies

And so we did precisely that on a breezy, cloudy afternoon. Lame videos follow:

Just Donna observing a bird and enjoying the wind.

Donna absorbing the sights and sounds of everything around her. I think you can see her shift every time there is loud construction sound. Or am I just seeing things?

Have a great weekend! :)

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