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Lesson 12: Play troubleshooting

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  • Sheepskin Bungee Ring

    £19.95

    Description Easy to hold, perfectly sized for pockets and durable enough for tenacious tuggers – the Sheepskin Bungee Ring is a win/win for both ...

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‘My dog isn’t interested in play - what can I do?’

It’s totally normal for some dogs to lack play drive and to need to ‘learn’ to play. This can be for various reasons - some dogs lack confidence, some dogs missed out on littermate play as a puppy so they aren’t sure how to play as an adult, sometimes the toy just isn’t motivating enough (although we like to think that doesn’t happen with Tug-E-Nuff toys!). 

If your dog lacks interest in play, don’t worry - there are lots of things you can do to help! Your own approach to play is really important. So be playful. Be silly. Be enthusiastic. Set an example and your dog is more likely to follow suit. 

The right toys also make a massive difference. At Tug-E-Nuff, all our toys are created based on decades of experience so that they maximise motivation. Still, just presenting your dog with a new toy and expecting them to know what to do isn’t always enough. 

Use your new toy to tap into your dog’s innate play drive - my top tip for this is to move the toy like prey (fast, slow, fast). It’s also worth experimenting with different toys. Our sheepskin and rabbit skin range have a powerful smell and texture that is often enough to tempt even the most reluctant dogs into play. Our food-based toys, like the Bungee Food Bag, are also a tried-and-tested way to get foodie dogs to enjoy play. 

‘My dog likes to grab the handle of my toy’

Handle-grabbing is really common. This is when a dog grabs on to the handle of a toy rather than the bite area. Now, our handles are made with durable webbing and many have two strands of bungee cord sewn in by hand for extra durability and stretch. However, it’s still best to discourage any handle-grabbing. 

So how do you do this? We recommend interrupting play when your dog grabs the handle - you can use a ‘leave it’ command, and then reset the game. It can help if you gather up the handle so it’s out of sight and present your dog with the bite area. Once they grab the bite area, play can start and you can unravel the handle gradually (see the video for a handy demo!). 

The Sheepskin Bungee Ring can be a really great toy to have in your toolkit if your dog is a handle grabber. That’s because it has a rounded handle that’s hard to grab, and a nice, prominent bite area. 

‘My dog gets way too over-excited during play’

There are dogs that get way too overexcited and overstimulated by play - which can be troublesome. If you have a dog that tends to get over aroused during play, there are a few things you can try. Scatter feeding at the end of a game can be a simple way to bring arousal levels down. 

We also recommend breaking up play with commands (this can be as simple as asking for a sit or a wait before re-engaging in play. This is a good way to gauge your dog’s responsiveness and to spot the early signs of overarousal (whichistypically not being able to listen or follow commands!).

And the final thing to mention is to think about the type of toy being used. For dogs that get over aroused, real fur can be too exciting. We recommend trying a toy from our faux fur range, such as the Bright Fauxtastic

  • Bright Fauxtastic

    £17.95

    Description Your search for a durable tug toy that will stand the test of time is over… Our Bright Fauxtastic tuggy has landed!  This strong, ent...

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  • Sheepskin Chaser Tug

    £17.95

    Description This real-fur chaser toy is great for introducing motivational chasing and tug games to puppies, or for encouraging interaction with...

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