OK in the last post we described the different materials used to make dog tugs. Now we’ll discuss the many different shapes and sizes and what they are used for. Dog tugs can generally be separated into two categories… reward tugs and grip building tugs. There are also numerous size variations and handle combinations within each category. However the handles are not included in the tug dimensions. The dimensions given are the approximate size of the tug body. For example, a (3″ x 10″) bite suit tug is the same size no matter if it has one handle, two handle or a bungee handle.
Dog tugs used as reward are typically smaller so they are easy to carry and present to the dog. They come in no handle, one handle, two handle and bungee handle variations. And there is no right or wrong when choosing the handles. I tend to prefer one handle tugs, others tend to prefer two handle tugs because it is easier for them to grip and pull evenly when playing tug with their dog. Still others prefer the bungee handle tugs because their dog seems to get the most enjoyment pulling against the bungee. What is important is that you use the tug you are most comfortable with and that your dog enjoys.
The sizes used for reward tugs range from (3″ x 4″) all the way up to about (3″ x 16″), with the most popular being either (3″ x 8″), (3″ x 10″) or (3″ x 12″). You have to remember that the smaller a tug is, the easier it is to conceal and present but the closer your hand is to those 42 pearly whites. And the larger a tug is, the harder it is to conceal and present but your hand is further away from bite surface. So you have to find the right one for you, that is why we make so many different sizes.
We also get asked if they should get a stuffed tug (which most are) or a flat rolled tug and the answer is yes… as in get both and see which one you find easier to use and your dog enjoys more. My last dog loved the flat rolled leather tugs that have very little cushion which was great for me because they are very easy to carry. However my new dog definitely prefers the typical stuffed tugs and material doesn’t matter. It can be bite suit, fire hose, jole, or whatever, she wants it…
Now for the grip building tugs. These tugs tend to be larger, longer and pillow or wedge-shaped. Typical grip building tugs range from (3″ x 16″) and go all the way up to (8″ x 36″) which is a huge tug… The most popular sizes are (3″ x 24″), (4″ x 24″) and (5″ x 24″). How they are used is up to you but we often use these tugs when starting dogs in protection work. We usually post (aka back tie) the dog on a harness or collar, get them interested in the tug, get them barking and then present the tug for a grip. It’s a fun game that dogs love and it helps stimulate the dogs natural drives. The (8″ x 36″) tug is commonly used for starting young dogs to target the leg.
We also use three handle bite pillows and the three handle targeting wedges almost every training session. The three handle bite billow makes it very easy to present a front grip, do some pulling and because of the shape of the bite pillow it is very satisfying for the dog to hold. The three handle targeting wedge is excellent for catching the dog on a long bite, doing a little drive and working on outing and barking. And because it has three handles you can vary your hand position so it is comfortable no matter what you are doing. The shape of the three handle targeting wedge is the perfect precursor to a bite sleeve.