Is Teasing Really THAT Bad?? A Lesson on Building Excitement
I’m sure that this will be another very controversial article; although ha ha I am never sure when controversy will arise, but let me say that I believe in teasing.
Let’s break down teasing a little bit so I can help you to understand a little bit from a dog point of view.
Typically when I say the word “tease” when referring to dogs, my mind conjures up a small child perched outside a chain link fence barking and running back and forth and enraging the dog within… this is the BAD kind of teasing. And really there is no good that can come from this kind of horrific behavior (make sure your kids are good with dogs)
Actually GOOD teasing can only be done effectively by family, friends (adults for the most case) and other trainers that have good intentions and know how to effectively play this game.
Usually when someone calls you a “tease” they are calling you a flirt, and flirting isn’t so bad.
Teasing can have multiple meanings. In human interactions teasing usually comes in two different forms; playful and hurtful.
Obviously we are promoting the “playful” variety here!
Teasing (as long as there is a guarantee of payout) is fun and can lead to excitement.
Teasing also builds drive. The more teasing that goes on, the more the person/dog usually wants whatever it is in question.
And, getting what you want all of the time is not very exciting; you may feel entitled but you certainly don’t feel excited about it or much less like you have “EARNED” something.
Remember your first real paycheck?
Remember how great it felt to EARN something (even though most of our paychecks didn’t equate to much).
It was so very exciting to spend it on something that you had wanted!
This is how your dog feels when he works for something.
Why I Tease
I tease my dogs with toys to build drive and excitement for toys.
Eventually this drive or excitement for the toy will help me to compete at a higher level and it will keep my dog from wanting to chase people or animals or pay attention to other things and keep him focused on me.
Often people tell me, that their dog doesn’t like toys or treats enough for them to ignore everything else that is going on around them.
But that is because “on their own” toys are not exciting enough to ignore most other things in their environment… unless…
YOU TEASE THEM
Teasing them builds their drive and excitement for the toy.
I don’t just throw a ball, I dangle and whip and keep that ball away from my dogs for a few moments.
I tie it to a pole and whip it around in front of them (called a flirt pole).
For older dogs or painful dogs you don’t need to encourage this kind of jumping, running around trying to grab the toy is enough!
The inability to be immediately rewarded by grabbing the object makes it WAY exciting!
They want the ball/toy/tug even more!!
I Even Use a Tie Out
I often even use a tie out to make the frustration, and then eventual reward even greater. I never leave my dog on a tie out and for more on that and how it creates an aggressive dog click here.
If my dog is in a certain space and I know they can’t get past it, it makes my ability to tease them easier for me.
Otherwise my dogs get so excited by the dangling and the whipping and the game of keep away that they begin flying around me with teeth out; which is good for drive building but it puts my skin at risk.
I have a few scars I could show you from playing this game with super high drive dogs!
A tie out makes things safer for my body and can help facilitate me teaching my dogs to bark and then be quiet (for more on that click here).
Make It Fair
You can’t tease and not reward!
You can make it longer and longer in duration for the required behavior.
This is a short term type of training.
Whereas I make my dogs work for longer and longer periods of time before they are rewarded; I don’t tease them for very long (unless I need some short term drive building to spruce up their excitement).
If you use it correctly, this can be a great way to train!
This is why a ball is more exciting to my dogs than any deer, dog, squirrel, child, or anything else going on in their environment… because I play this game! and they LOVE it!!!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.