Dog Tugs Part 2

jute send out tug toy

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.

tug_bitesuit_3x12_two_handles

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…

three handle targeting wedge

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.

 

Dog Tugs Part 1

bite suit tug

We get a lot of questions about tugs… Which size is best? Which material is best? Should I get one handle or two? So I thought I would write a little about the most popular types of tugs we carry. However, before we start, it is important to note that tugs are not chew toys. A dog can destroy a tug in mere seconds if allowed to chew on it no matter what material it is made of. Tugs are intended to be interactive dog toys where you reward the dog with the tug, play a little “tug of war” and then have the dog release the tug or hold it calmly and firmly (but no chewing)…

Tugs come in many different shapes, sizes and materials but they are all generally designed for one purpose, to reward the dog. And which tug you choose largely depends on what you are doing. You can see all of the tugs we carry here: Tugs & Wedges

Let’s discuss the different materials first and then we’ll discuss the different shapes and sizes in another post…

Bite suit material, also referred to as French Linen, is a fabric blend that is very durable but still soft to the touch. Bite suit material is not just for making bite suits, it is the most popular dog tug material and it is also used to make sleeves, wedges and sleeve covers. It comes in different colors (black, blue, lime green) and holds up very well. They come in 1 handle, 2 handle and bungee handle versions.
bite suit tug

Yellow fire hose is a very tough, durable and strong material. Yellow fire hose tugs are great for hard biting dogs but it can be a little too tough for young dogs. One of the coolest things about yellow fire hose tugs is that they float making them great tugs for dock diving or just having fun at the pool or lake. They come in no handle, 1 handle, 2 handle and bungee handle versions.

yellow fire hose tug

Jole material is a very durable cotton material that comes in bright colors (like blue, lime green and pink). Jole is relatively new and similar to bite suit material but with a tighter weave making them a little more firm. They are excellent tugs and gaining in popularity. They come in 1 handle, or 2 handle versions.

jole pink tug

Jute is a natural fiber that is commonly used in making sleeve covers but has also been used to make tugs and wedges. There are different types of jute with the main difference being the weave pattern used to make the jute. A large, loose weave is used for making sleeve covers and bite wedges and a small tight weave is used for making tugs. The most popular jute tugs are the rolled jute tugs and the braided jute rope tugs. However, in general, jute tugs are not as colorful or as soft as bite suit tugs, they don’t float like fire hose tugs and are not as durable as jole tugs, so they are becoming less and less popular. They come in no handle, 1 handle and 2 handle versions.

jute tug

Synthetic fire hose tugs are made from white, indoor fire hose and are very strong but softer and narrower than the yellow fire hose tugs. The white fire hose material is smoother and less abrasive than the yellow fire hose material making them more suitable for any age or temperament of dog. They also float making them a popular tug for obedience training or just having fun. They come in no handle, 1 handle, 2 handle and bungee handle versions.
synthetic fire hose tug

Next time we’ll discuss the different shapes and sizes of tugs and what they are good for.