So, before we get into training, you might be asking yourself: What is jute?
Does it have any benefits?
Is it worth the price?
Jute is a natural fibre like cotton. It just comes from a different plant! And, like cotton, it’s named for the source of the material.
It’s often spun into twine or woven into mats.
In this case, that weave is used to make tough and durable dog toys!
Is Jute the Ultimate Tug Toy Material?
Jute is a dense, coarse material. Combine that with weaving, and you’ve got a pretty solid toy for you and your pooch to play with.
It’s a very popular material for tug toys because of this.
The weave allows it to be pulled on and ripped at without tearing completely. This is definitely important during play or training for a lot of reasons.
A toy ripping while being tugged on can send you or your dog toppling over when it finally gives out. You don’t want anyone getting hurt!
The weave will also give those dogs with a strong grip something to really sink their teeth into, so that they don't lose their hold while playing.
You have to remember, tug toys normally come with a handle for you to hold onto, but your dog doesn’t have a hand or thumbs to grip with. They have to use their mouth.
The holes in the weave will act as their “handles” and allow for a no slip grip!
Of course, selecting toys is part preference too! It depends on what you and your dog like.
And, perhaps one of the most attractive features, jute does not become slippery when wet!
Leather toys might be fun to play with, but they don’t last very long without needing to be dried off. It’s all too easy for someone to lose their grip while playing with a leather tug.
Combine all this and what do you have?
You have a toy that is nearly perfect for those that are toy driven!
Toy drive isn’t just about the toy. It’s about the reward as a whole.
Dogs that have a high toy drive like to work for an experience rather than a reward, so finding a toy that makes for a great experience is really important.
Toys that are durable, long lasting, and most importantly - fun to play with! - will keep your dog coming back for more.
And, nothing is more upsetting than when your dog’s favourite toy is at the end of its life. That might have been the one toy they were really willing to work for.
With tough materials like jute, you can be sure that toy will be around and enticing for a long, long time!
The Benefits of Jute Tug Toys
It may seem pretty counterintuitive to give a hyper or reactive dog something to rile them up more, but jute toys are just the thing!
When used correctly, jute toys are exactly what your dog needs added into their training. There are many benefits over the other options.
Have you ever noticed how excited your dog gets over tug toys?
They really want that toy, don’t they? They want to play tug-o-war with you so badly! They might even become laser focused on you and the toy.
You can use this to your advantage!
It can be used as a reward without becoming a bribe like food does. Treats are a great motivator in the beginning, but they should be phased out at some point.
If a dog gets too excited, they may ignore the treats, because they aren’t high value.
A toy can be a much bigger motivator, because it actually gets your dog excited about their reward! What dog doesn’t love to play? And to play with their owner?
It’s better than something like a tennis ball or a frisbee. You don’t want to throw the item that is meant to be a reward. It takes their focus off you and it removes control of the situation from you.
That isn’t ideal, especially in a training situation. You want to be in charge at all times to make sure your dog is looking to you for cues and commands.
Not to mention that throwing something is going to potentially attract the attention of other dogs in the area!
With a jute toy, you stay in command.
The toy is held in your hand which helps keep your dog honed in on you and you also get to control when it is and when it isn’t playtime. You can simply pull the toy out as a reward and then put it away again afterwards.
This also means you can take it on walks and to the dog park, because it won’t attract outside attention!
The toy is close and that means your dog stays close!
How to Use a Jute Toy?
So… How do you get started?
If your dog already knows how to play tug-o-war, great! You’re part way there!
If not, you might need to take a step back and teach them how to play the game first. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but it is an important step!
Once your dog knows the basics of the game, they need to learn all of the rules.
Just like when you learn a new board game, sport, or skill, you start with the basics and build upon it until you understand all of the rules and how to play or perform properly.
Your dog needs to understand some basic commands for when it is and isn’t time to play as well as how to play the game properly.
It’s easy enough to hold out the tug toy and let your dog pull on it with you, but what exactly are the rules of this game?
They can’t just run up and snatch the toy out of your hand when they see it. They should know that they need to be ready to play. A command such as “tug” will let them know to grab the other end and start playing!
The same goes for the end of your game. They need to know when to stop playing! If they don’t know when it’s time to stop playing and calm down, well.. They’ll just keep wanting to play. This command can be something as simple as “drop it” or “okay.”
As long as your dog knows what the command means and it works, that’s what matters.
You know how to start and stop the game, but what about during playing?
Your dog should know that they are never supposed to pull the toy from your grip. That’s not how the game is played. If they get too wound up, you may need to stop and revise how you guys are playing.
Do they get too worked up and pull too hard?
Calmly end the game and give them a moment before you start up again. There’s no need to let them go on long enough that they’re that excited.
Remember, you can always resume your game after giving them a moment. It’s not a punishment, but a cue that your dog needs to settle down.
If you’re just at home and training or playing, it’s more appropriate to let your dog take the toy once you two are done playing. Or maybe you’ve just finished a heavy training session and taking the toy is their reward.
In this case, your dog should only take the jute toy when you give the command to do so. Something like “take it” will work just fine!
So, with all of this amazing information, what are you supposed to do?
Well, go out and try a jute toy for yourself and for your dog!
Is your dog nervous on a leash or distracted by every little thing? Does food not motivate them and you’re looking for an alternative?
Jute may be for your pooch!
Jute toys are easy to travel with, keep the focus on you, and most importantly help build the bond between you and your canine companion. Get yours now!