Mikolaj Synowiec
Mikolaj Synowiec

Iron Jaws

How to teach your dog to love tugging

course has started
1 April 2021


Level 1

Previous editions

February 2021

January 2021

And 17 more

Next editions


This course is very sentimental to me. My dog didn’t tug at all. He didn’t like to take things into his mouth, but I really wanted to play Frisbee, so we started learning how to tug. At that time, I knew very little, and our journey was full of frustration. That wasn’t a fun experience for any of us.

We were working hard, and after a year, we managed to bring tugging to the level where I can use it as reinforcement. Was it hard? Definitely… Would it be easier to do if I had known as much as I know now? It would!

So what is “Iron Jaws”? It’s a compendium of knowledge which I hope I have known when I started. I know that I am not the only one who struggled with this behavior. It’s harder than most people think and that’s why I wrote this course.

The goal is to teach you to tug and give you a clear view on what to do BUT “what” is not enough for me. With a little help of science I will show you why does it work. Tugging is not magic. It’s a behavior like a sit or lie down and shares the same principles of learning. It’s also one of the best ways for creating strong and happy relationship with your dog AND it’s so fun to do!

Lessons you can expect can be divided into three major categories:

  1. Basics of learning- We will introduce simple concepts like ABC’s, primary and secondary reinforcer, motivation and operationalising behaviors we want to teach. It will be our scientific core for understanding why we teach the way we do.
  2. Myths- common knowledge and misunderstandings about tugging. We will dig deep into why things happen and we will question what we know.
  3. Tugging- Pure practice and mechanics of the game. How to do it right. Meaning what to do to be safe and have a blast together.


If your dog doesn’t “like” to tug this course is for you!


  • course lasts 6 weeks
  • lectures
  • access to other Premium member's threads
  • video tutorials
  • certificate of attendance
  • 24 hours, 7 days per week access to course materials
  • access to Tromplo: students group on Facebook
  • access to materials after the course is finished
  • 4 points to spend on future purchases




  • course lasts 6 weeks
  • lectures
  • access to other Premium member's threads
  • video tutorials
  • certificate of attendance
  • 24 hours, 7 days per week access to course materials
  • access to Tromplo: students group on Facebook
  • access to materials after the course is finished
  • 15 points to spend on future purchases
  • 12 minutes videos per week
  • tutor's feedback
  • homework
  • unlimited contact with tutor


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Reviews for this course

Sheri Morrissey
2019-10-11 19:20:54


I really loved the course because I left with a few important pieces of information:

1) on the written homework I had much more trouble doing the ABC’s and correctly giving examples of the quadrant for punishment/reinforcement than I thought I would. I felt I had a great understanding of them already but found out that’s an area where I needed some work because i couldn't easily come up with examples. If I understood it as well as I thought I did it should’ve been easy!

2) I loved the very specific details you gave me. Two examples From several you’ve given me: when he faces me once I’ve released the toy that is the time to back up and not before when he’s looking away/still headshaking. The timing of when to release toy ie after 3 headshakes release the toy, etc. I think these kinds of details really helped improve our tug game and will continue to do so now I am now aware of what to watch for in his behaviors in the tug game and what to do in response.

3) I liked the demos you did for the one and 2 handed presentations for me. I will continue to work on them. This is the one big piece of tug I didn’t get smoothed out in class but I’m confident I will be able to. I tried to record a session this am but managed not to hit record or something! I’m now at the airport heading out to pick up my new puppy so I won’t have another chance to record a session in this class.

4) when I came into class I really didn’t understand why Pirate lost his grip on the toy so often when we played but I quickly learned several thing I was doing to make that very difficult for him: when I bend his neck not his whole body, when I add too much vertical height for the toy making Pirate’s gripping the toy much harder. When I back up quickly or too many big steps back esp when I’m also adding vertical toy movement.

5) there has been a decrease in the number of times Pi takes the toy to ground to chew. I now realize it is often when we’ve lost good behavioral momentum when that happens. I know to really look at the previous moments of tug to see what caused his willingness to play to decrease. I also need to remember to keep the sessions short enough so he doesn’t get too tired and also to make sure I don’t overstrain/overplay— if we’ve trialed for a weekend he really is a dog that needs a couple of days off.

Suggestions, etc:

—In the last lectures 10/7 I found to be a little less clear for some reason — just a harder read and understand the examples clearly BUT I finished each lecture still understanding the point being presented

—I would’ve liked to see additional video examples with some of the lectures or just other dog-handler teams showing a slight variation or their interpretation of each lecture (some lectures obviously didn’t need any videos but were just things to think about— I get that). I think the extra examples showing other teams would be cool— maybe from other teams who have previously taken this class if they were ok with their videos to be used. I’d be totally fine if you used any of mine— honored in fact!

It would’ve been fun to have some classmates in premium to watch as well but this really couldn’t be helped as you can’t control that part.

Well about to get boarded onto the plane so gotta wrap this up.

Thank you for a great class and I’m really glad I took it. I think this class is a pre-requisite to the Intro to Frisbee class I also took at the basic level. I’ll need tug for that sport and this class helps make sure that piece is in place so I can use it as reinforcement.