Should You Play Tug With Bull Breeds?

16th March 2020
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16th March 2020 adamwil

Should You Play Tug With Bull Breeds?

Today we had this super handsome lad – Lenny the Staffordshire Bull Terrier – in for some training with us. His owners wanted some help with his excessive leash pulling, seemingly random bouts of reactivity and just generally not paying attention while out on walks.
We got to work on his leash pulling first and foremost as this is was his most problematic behaviour (typical Staffy) and he quickly picked up how rewarding walking in a nice heel position could be. Once Lenny understood what we wanted from him we proofed this with some of our stooge dogs and he did amazingly.
After speaking with his owners the cause of his reactivity became clear, it was simply being caused by an expectation of trouble and subsequent tightness and pulling on the leash upon greeting other dogs. We went through how to let social dogs greet naturally and to not anticipate trouble.
Part of getting our dogs to value their owners and increase engagement with them often comes down to how fun we make ourselves. Staffy’s are explosive and excitable dogs who love nothing more than 1-1 time with their owners, especially if we can play a game that’s suited to them, like tug.
Lenny’s owner had been strongly advised by another trainer not to play tug or allow him to bite things due to his BREED and how it will make him aggressive or likely to attack. I hear this all of the time with bull breed owners and there’s absolutely no truth to it. Quite the contrary; using tug with a Staffy is a good way to enrich them physically and mentally, build engagement and provide an outlet to be able to teach impulse control and bite inhibition.
After we introduced Lenny to the flirt pole and tug we finished off with some loose leash walking to ensure he was able to walk nicely even after being ramped up with some play, and boy he didn’t disappoint! Lenny’s owners have already put a ton of time into him and it really shows as he’s an amazing example of his breed.
Well done guys, super awesome work!
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