Tango loves to work! Loves, loves loves to do stuff! (I've said that before, I know. But let me continue.) And he loves to work for cheese! See Pam - I'm paying attention! String cheese cut into griffie-size pieces. Cheese is brought out of the refrigerator for training sessions, classes and our weekly lesson with Dee.
But from the day I got him, Tango hadn't wanted to tug. As most dog agility people will tell you, tugging is a great way to focus your dog and get him excited about working. So I've been working at it. I didn't want to overdo it, because that's the best way to turn him off. I tried to find a toy that he wanted to keep in his mouth, but at first he just let it go when I tried to share the toy with him. Then he'd let me hold the toy as well. Then he like to actually tug on it. But not in class, of course.
I tried a Tug-it (a mesh thingie that holds pieces of food with velcro at the top and a handle), but Tango didn't understand why he couldn't get the cheese that was inside it by licking it and got frustrated. But he like tugging on it empty. So we ran with that. But it didn't always keep Tango's interest in class.
But during Wednesday's lesson, Dee suggested that I try putting cheese into the Tug-it again. Eureka! Tango became a tugging fool! And during last night's agility class, the cheese-filled Tug-it kept Tango's interest over the other dogs walking by (mostly). Persistence and patience pay! But now I have to wash the Tug-it.