The Building Drive & Focus Series with Michael Ellis

The Power of
Playing Tug with Your Dog

By Ed Frawley

Read All About Ed Frawley

2 DVDs | 5 Hours, 25 Minutes

I have been around higher levels of dog training for a long long time and thought I knew a thing or two about how to play tug with your dog. When I started to go to Michael Ellis' seminars I found out there was an entirely different side to this work - a better side.

Since 1982 I have produced a lot of training DVDs, but hands down the ones I have done (and am doing) with Michael are the ones I am most proud of. These DVDs are going to make a dramatic difference on how people live with and train their dogs. They are changing the relationship people have with their dogs.

At 5 hours and 25 minutes, this is the first two DVD set I have ever produced. There was just so much great information that I wanted to get into this training DVD that I had to make it this long. I believe you will agree when you study it.

The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog



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This DVD on playing tug is the second video in the Building Drive and Focus Series with Michael Ellis. The first DVD, The Power of Training Dogs with Food, and this DVD, teach new trainers how to establish the foundation of Michael Ellis's training system on their dogs. Once that is accomplished, the principles of Michael’s system can be used to teach a dog any behavior or exercise.

Michael’s system is based on marker training or operant conditioning. If you are new to markers or new to Michael Ellis’ system of dog training I would recommend you view the free 1 hour streaming video of Michael lecturing on his philosophy of dog training in the streaming video section of our web site.

You should also review the free 87 page eBook I wrote titled “The Power of Training Dogs with Markers.” It is in the list of free eBooks on our web site.

Our DVD opens with Michael’s lecture on why and how to play tug with your dog. Michael then demonstrates technique with his dog Pi. Unlike other dog training DVDs most of the dogs I included were untrained dogs with handlers new to this system of training. I feel people learn more from watching others learn the work than by only watching the instructor work with his own dog.

For the tug to be used as an obedience reward with your dog, you must have 3 things.

1- The dog must tug with enthusiasm,
2- The dog must out when told to out,
3- The dog must bring the tug back after you release it.

This is the core goal of our training DVD. If dogs will not do these three things then handlers can not use a toy or a tug as a reward in training.


The DVD covers the following topics.

A 46 minute opening lecture from Michael on his theory on playing tug with your dog.

The size and type of tugs to use, avoiding equipment bias

The proper way to get a dog engaged in tug play

How to teach a second handler to be a solid POST for your dog or puppy

Learning the correct way to create misses to build the intensity in your dog

Learning the mechanics of how to play tug once the dog has targeted the toy

There is an extensive section on teaching people how to present the tug while you play.

We show 10 different presentations:

  1. The frontal catch
  2. The catch to the right
  3. The catch to the left
  4. The stationary rear catch to the right
  5. The stationary rear catch to the left
  6. The rear spin catch to the right
  7. The rear spin catch to the left
  8. The presentation from the Place Postion (when do is between your legs)
  9. The presentation with the right hand from the heel position
  10. The presentation for the left hand from the heel position.

We have a section on adding distraction to the training

There is a 1 hour and 28 minute segment on the correct way to introduce and teach the OUT to your dog. This is the most comprehensive explanation of training the OUT that I have ever seen. It could be a DVD in and of itself.

There are a number of different dogs used in the OUT segment each with their own issues. I including a dog that has (had) a serious out problem. Every trainer in every biting dog sport should view this work (including police K9 handlers).

We have a segment in the DVD on managing the drive of your dog. You will learn why Michael intentionally takes many dogs through the learning phase at lower levels of drive and then once the task is learned - raps up the level drive. Part of this segment explains and shows what to do with dogs that don't have enough prey drive to use a toy reward in obedience.

We have a section in the DVD on avoiding getting dog bit when you play tug with your dog. Quite often people find that their dogs are constantly biting their hands when they play tug. We will teach you how to avoid this problem.

We have a segment in the DVD where Michael talks about playing tug with puppies, what you can and cannot do. He explains what not to do when puppies are teething.

Ten years ago I produced a DVD that showed how to build drive with young dogs by using a ball on a string. I have since learned that there are much better ways to train dogs. The ball on a string work should be saved for adult dogs who are in advanced training (if it is used at all).

If your goal with your dog is to do competition obedience, agility work, or to get involved in one of the biting sports, playing tug the right way is an integral part for all those endeavors.

My tug DVD is not meant to be watched one time and stuck up on a shelf. It's impossible for anyone to watch this one time and absorb the information that's covered. Those who will get the most out of it will be people who study it by watching it again and again and again.

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