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The benefits of a game of tug

Published on 25th December 2016

COMMON MYTH: “You should never play tug of war because this can make your dog aggressive”

Why tug of war is a great game for your best friend…

Tug of war is a great game to play with your best friend and will not create aggression if done correctly. Dogs should learn that it’s ok to grip the toy with their mouths, but not your hands. Any skin contact and the game stops and I redirect again to the toy. You can teach them the drop command when you’re ready to end the game. Simply reinforce this behaviour by making the tug toy become life and limpless and as soon as your dog stops or drops the toy start the game again!

Life and limpless = no fun
Movement = lots of fun!

Overtime you can introduce the command “drop” or “leave” just before the toy becomes lifeless. As your dog leaves it you can then continue the play session or trade up for a more exciting alternative. Using the game of tug as a reinforcer instead of food is actually very common among many dog sports competitors and trainers with working dogs because dogs find it incredibly motivating and enjoyable!

Thanks for listening
Helen Motteram, BSc (hons)
Helen@socialpawscheltenham.co.uk