Playing dog tug of war is a very fun and interactive game between you and your dog that strengthens your relationship!
Does Playing Tug Make Your Dog Aggressive?
In the old day playing tug with your dog was frowned upon because it was believed that playing tug with your dog would cause them to become aggressive.
That belief later evolved into ” you can play but you always have to win to show your dog’s whos boss”
But as we now know that both these claims are misconceptions and are false.
New science shows, that playing tug with your dog does not make your pup aggressive and you do not have to always win to be “boss”.
How Does Your Dog View Playing Tug as?
Playing tug is fun and rewarding for your dog and its obvious especially for dogs that just bring the toy right to your lap!
The way your dog views playing tug isn’t as aggression but more like an interactive collaboration between you and your dog where you both are attacking prey.
Dog Tug Of War Rules
Although playing tug with your dog is fun some rules must be taught.
there are 2 main rules that you must teach and enforce when playing tug.
- Let go when I say so
- Bring the toy back if I throw it.
These are 2 simple rules that you should teach your dog when playing tug of war.
You want to teach your dog to drop the tug so that it doesn’t become an endless game!
You also want to teach your dog to bring the tug back if you throw it, and show your dog that the game is fun if he brings the tug back.
the last thing you want your dog to do is play “keep away” so as a rule of thumb if your dog has the toy run away from your dog and your dog will chase you.
Remember Movement to your dog makes him move away from you, and moving away from your dog makes him move to you.
In the beginning, when your playing tug or throwing it you’re going to be doing a lot of running away to get your dog to bring the toy back.
If you run to your dog you’re just going to be teaching your dog to play keep away.
Playing Tug Of War 101
When playing tug of war with your dog its more of a give and take meaning if you always take the toy from your dog you will soon find that your dog won’t want to play anymore.
Think about it if you always lose at a game you probably wouldn’t want to play too!
So let your dog win and run away to have him bring the tug back and restart the game.
When playing tug you want to show your dog the toy in the same position a lot of the times, so that your pup learns to target the tug and not miss and get your hand by accident.
There are a variety of different types of tug toys with a variety of different material from jute and linen which are good to light tugger’s like puppies to fire hose and leather tugs for harder tugger’s
I recommend tugs that are a little long so that if you and your pup are beginners you have ample room on the tug.
Some toys I recommend are:
Everything is about balance how much fun you and your dog have is about keeping balance with the rules of tug and having fun!
Benefits of playing tug
Some benefits of playing tug of war with your dog are
- Building a stronger relationship
- Using play as another reward for behavior
- Teaching your dog how to listen in an excited state of mind
Building a stronger relationship
We already understand that playing tug with your dog is rewarding to your dog but it also takes your relationship to the next level.
Remember that your dog views tug a joint activity that you and your dog do together, you should have the same mindset.
Playing tug with your dog is a collaborative interaction between you and your dog where you both have fun and also allows you both the exercise!
Using Play as a Reward
Do you notice that your dog prefers to play over just getting treats?
If that the case then using play as a form of reward to your dog take your training up a notch.
Using play as a reward shows your dog that listening to you is fun and exciting!
Teaching your dog to listen in an excited state of mind.
One of the best benefits of playing with your dog is simply teaching your dog to listen to you in an excited state of mind.
It’s easy to get your dog to listen in a calm relaxed state of mind but in an aroused state its much harder
Using play as a reward will help start teaching your dog to listen to you in an excited state of mind which is beneficial whenever you need to give your dog direction and he is overly excited.
Playing tug can be fun for both you and your dog with numerous benefits from building a stronger relationship to getting your dog to listen in an excited state.
For those looking to begin playing tug remember to implement the ground rules for play!
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Should I let my dog win tug of war?
You should let your dog win in tug of war because its fun and rewarding for your dog. Think about it nobody likes playing a game they only lose in, the same goes for your dog so let your pup win a round or two!
Why do dogs love tug of war?
Dogs love tug of war because it taps into a dog’s natural prey drive, in the mind of your dog playing tug of war is like an interactive collaboration between you and your pup where you both are attacking “prey.”