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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought my dog a Tug-A-Jug to keep him busy (in addition to his Kongs) when I leave. However, I can't get him very excited about it. I put some kibble and chicken bits inside and gave it to him. He sniffed it and walked off. I shook it to show him how treats come out, but he seemed less than enthused. This sounds silly, but how do I teach him how it works? I thought the chicken would be a high enough value treat to get his attention.

We've had a very tough week with his SA (I lost the blinds and the doorknob) and I'm really trying to think of ways to keep him distracted. This toy would be longer lasting than his kongs. I might try a buster cube too. But how do you introduce them to the dog?
 

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Is there a way to leave the toy open so that the treats fall out effortlessly? That would be my first step.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The back of the jug has to be screwed on tightly - they're supposed to pull the rope on the front and treats jiggle out. It isn't very hard to get things out - if the dog pushes it around that's usually enough. I tugged the rope and then got very excited about the treats that fell out but he didn't. Hmm.
 

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I had the same problem with Honey and a treat-dispensing ball. She didn't know what to do with it. Eventually I found that the way to get them interested is to make ANY interaction with the object rewarding.

If you clicker train, you can do this through shaping. You click and treat for him looking at it, then for him nosing it, then for him pushing it, then for him picking it up in his mouth...

Otherwise, you can do what I did. Freeze honey, peanut butter, yoghurt or mashed banana on the outside of the toy, or even on the rope. That way, any licking, chewing or sniffing of the toy is rewarding. Eventually he may get the hang of picking it up in his mouth or gnawing at the rope. Keep the treats loose at first so the rewards are easily accessible.

I found the thread I made about Honey and that ball:
http://www.dogforums.com/3-dog-training-forum/22404-how-teach-dog-how.html
 

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I had the same problem with Brutus. I put hot dogs in there, but he couldn't get it to pay off fast enough and he gave up. I fixed it by pulling the rope out (which you can do if you open up the end that screws on). I put the food in there then. Every time the dog moved the thing, it paid off in the food department. I did this for a day or two and then put the rope back in. Worked perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I still can't get him interested in this toy. I wouldn't mind except that it cost $20 and would be a great long-lasting toy if he could figure it out. I took the rope out and put peanut butter around the entrance to the jug. I also put a high value treat (chicken) inside. He'll sniff it, lick the peanut butter out, and walk away. I shake treats out and get really excited and praise him when he checks out the toy, but nothing. I should have just put some peanut butter on a $20 bill :)

I've thought about converting it to a kong-like toy - freezing some stuff inside and opening the bottom so he can get to it. I'm sort of concerned that it might not hold up to that much chewing though. Anyone have any experience with the longevity of the "tug a jug"?
 
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