K9 Kamp Challenge #3: Tug With Me

Week three of K9 Kamp was incredibly intimidating. This blog is filled with ample evidence of Shiva’s tugging mania. After running around in circles, it is her favourite game. She’ll tug on anything – shoelaces, pillows, important documents, remote controls… If you hold something out to her and say the magic word, she’ll happily yank and yank and yank.

Shiva’s drive is so strong we actually couldn’t play tug with her at all for the first six months. It was far too over-stimulating for her crazy brain. Before we could trust her not to tug on our arms instead of the toy, we had to work with her on self-control. For us a solid release or “drop” cue is a vital part of the game. It doesn’t matter how excited she gets, or how intense the tugging, if we tell her to release the toy she’d better drop it right away or the game is over and we walk away. Of course, if she does drop it on cue, we throw a big party and she gets to continue tugging. You’d better believe she picked up on this pretty fast!

But I digress. On to my K9 Kamp update!

I will be honest. We haven’t quite finished this week’s challenge yet. By that I mean we haven’t done all 60 minutes. Mostly because I am a wimp and 60 minutes of tugging combined with lunges and push ups is probably more intense than any exercise I have done in the last few months. Okay, scratch that. It’s more intense than anything I have done in a decade. That doesn’t mean Shiva and I didn’t have fun, just that I have needed frequent breaks to drive to the emergency room.

I could have cheated by performing this challenge outside. Shiva has powerful tug drive but only in very specific circumstances. She refuses to tug in agility class, for example. She will rarely tug outside our house at all. It would have been a lot easier for me if I’d gone to the park as she probably would have provided very little resistance on the toy. But that’s not what K9 Kamp is about. So we have worked on this one inside, making sure there were no breakable objects nearby, of course.

Tugging while lunging was actually a lot easier than I expected. Shiva was more than happy to rip my arm off while I lowered myself to the floor. She is pretty good at retrieving the tug toy and so if I needed a breather, I would throw it across the room and stretch while she chased after it.

For the first time at Kamp I felt like the two of us were a team. Shiva was too thrilled to be tugging to care what I was doing. Too distracted to mock me for sweating and panting. Tugging with the maniac has always been one of my favourite work-outs. I am now inspired to take it to a new level. If I keep this up I may actually have visible shoulders one day! As far as this challenge goes, I don’t think I could have a better partner. Despite my initial dread, it turned out to be the best activity yet. Even better it’s something we can do inside all year long!

Check out the rest of the K9 Kamp Challenge updates at Kolchak and Kelly’s blogs. The next challenge will be posted tomorrow. Yay? My muscles are already aching.

15 thoughts on “K9 Kamp Challenge #3: Tug With Me

  1. Pingback: Little Dogs: Training Your Pint-Sized Companion | Dog Care Alert

  2. We have only completed five minutes of this week’s challenge. And I don’t think I can finish, the day after I kept wondering “What did I do to my back?” And then I remembered the tugging.

    Good for you for following through!


  3. That’s so cool you’re doing that–and so great you’ve found such a fun way to work out with Shiva. I was going to cancel my gym membership today, as I’m way too busy with all these dogs–but you’ve inspired me to keep up the exercise in what sound like way more gratifying ways.

    And I love your description of using tug as a training tool, and only when a dog is ready and with regular time-outs. I had to learn that one when I got Fozzie!


  4. Song doesn’t know how to play tug. She half heartedly will pull, but then is happy to let me have it, even before I’ve said leave.

    Love the expectant look on Shiva’s face.


  5. I’m not sure this one would have gone too well for me. None of our dogs are big tuggers, and I can’t imagine us being able to get sixty minutes in! Even Morgan only plays at it for a short bit before getting tired of it. Way to go for you!


  6. Tugging is absolutely Cali’s favorite game! I’m sure she would be happy if I incorporated my workout with her tug toy 🙂 I’m glad that you guys are having fun!


  7. I think mixing lunges with tugging is really inspired–where do Jodi and Peggy come up with these things?

    Of course, you need to make sure the activity is equally motivating for each training partner. Shiva’s getting her ya yas out by tugging. But you’re just doing lunges and having your arm torn out of its socket. How about if you put a cold beer and a plate of really good cheese a little past your reach? Would that make the lunges more fun?

    But you’d better make it beer in a can. And use a straw. Don’t want any breakables or spillables near Shiva the tugging queen.


  8. Woot woot! Sounds like you and Shiva had a great week (though I am disappointed that she didn’t find a way to snarf garbage this week!)I think it’s great that you and Shiva will keep it up ove the winter! Koly and I are going o keep at it too. This challenge was the most challenge (and most fun yet!)


  9. I think Pamela is on to something– beer as a motivator. You’ll get fit and fat simultaneously!

    I just walked half a block in cold wind and that’s it for me. Is there a wimp camp for the likes of me?


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