Fetch & Tug Toys
Why You Should Play a Game of Tug With Your Dog
Old school trainers really did a great job at discouraging playing tug of war. It’s still one of the most commonly asked questions; “Won’t it make my dog aggressive?” No, it doesn’t make dogs aggressive. Nor will it make your dog see you as weak or less dominant if you let him win. If you let your dog a game it makes him enjoy the game even more, and it’s a great confidence builder for them.
Playing tug of war with your dog is a great way to mentally and physically exercise your dog. Minute for minute it’s the best way to help burn off some energy — for dog and owner alike.
You’ll still find the occasional trainer who still tells people not to play tug with their dog. They claim that playing tug with your dog leads to dominance and aggression issues. But that’s an old school myth. There has been no evidence found that suggests a link between tug and aggression. In fact the evidence we do have is that tug is a great confidence builder, and that it’s a fun way to keep our dogs exercised & entertained.
- Use a tug toy that is long enough to keep your dogs teeth away from your hands. The toy should also be flexible and durable.
- Keep the toy put away when you’re not using it. It’s a game that you initiate when you want to play.
- Teach your dog that he can only grab the toy when you give permission. Hold the toy up or off to the side; only begin the game one he sits. After he sits and waits you can encourage him to “take it.” If your dog hasn’t played tug before he might be reluctant. Let him grab onto it and gently move the tug from side to side encouraging him to pull.
- Don’t pull upwards; only tug from side to side. Pulling up on the tug can injure your dogs spine.
- As your dog gets more excited he might begin to growl; this is normal behavior. If you feel that your dog is getting too excited or intense take a break.
- If your dogs teeth come in contact with you the game should stop immediately. Say “ow” or let out a yelp and tell the dog to release the toy. Once your dog is calmly sitting down and waiting to begin again you can tell them to “take it” and start tugging again. If they let their teeth touch your hand again it’s OK to stop the game for the day. They’ll eventually learn to be extra careful when grabbing the tug.
- Do not let children play tug with your dog unless you’re supervising to watch out for signs of over excitement.