Tug of War, which is tugging with a dog using a toy, is one of the most basic and fun games we can play. Yet, some authorities will give a list of reasons why dogs should not tug. We’re looking at those reasons, what dogs should not tug, and the five most common mistakes people make with tugging. For most dogs, not only is it okay to play tug, but it’s also critically important.
In the episode you'll hear:
- Why some dogs should not be tugging.
- How tugging can help you avoid behavior problems with a puppy.
- The reasons given about why dogs should not play tug.
- How sporting dogs with a soft mouth can enjoy tugging and still retrieve.
- The connection made between growling and a dog being dominant.
- How to help dogs who are resource guarding.
- What you need to know about arousal, redirection, and boundaries.
- How tugging improves your relationship with your dog.
- Why dogs need to let go of the toy when you ask.
- About my number one rule when playing tug.
- The emergency stop to use if a dog makes contact with skin or clothing.
- How tugging creates clear communication between you and your dog.
- Why the arousal state of a dog when tugging helps with distractions.
- The reasons to make safety a priority.
- How to play tug so that you and your dog can have fun.
- Learn How to Play ItsYerChoice
- Podcast Episode 46: Is Your Dog Trying to Dominate You and What You Can Do About It
- Podcast Episode 88: Barrier Frustration: Help for Fence Fighting, Leash Reactivity and Window Guarding
- Podcast Episode 18: 4 Puppy and Dog Training Games for Acquired Bite Inhibition
- Podcast Episode 66: Resource Guarding: Dog vs Dog Aggression
- Podcast Episode 82: Aggressive Puppy Biting Solved
- Podcast Episode 55: Pro Dog Trainer’s Guide to Toy Selection
- Watch this Episode of Shaped by Dog on YouTube
This is really helpful thank you. I’ve made the mistake of keeping tugging when pup made contact with my skin. She’s now 14 months (working cocker) and whilst she’s got better I’m confused about how I stop the game and how long I leave it before I start again? Do I remove the toy and walk away? Just not sure of the mechanics. Thanks!!
Love this! I’ve been tugging with my dog since she was a puppy, thanks to your guidance and training videos! The one thing that I’m struggling with is when she head shakes with the toy in her mouth. I have resorted to using really long toys so that she doesn’t accidentally injure me. Is there some technique I can do that will teach her to be a bit gentler with the head shake or to prevent her from doing it?
HI Susan, my dog get very excited when I play tug with him at agility. When I ask him to drop the toy he does it right away but he will jump on me to get the toy in my hand. I tried to ignore him but he gets even more hyper and just keep on jumping on me. Do you have any suggestions ?
Thank you very much!
Larriane, just out of interest. Where in the world are you? I live in uk and with the support of a charity DOG AID I have trained my dog to be a assistance dog. It took 2 yrs and alot of effort, in fact all my energy went to my Cwtch (mydog). I wish you well in your journey with Gigi. Susan’s podcast are brilliant and can only set you up for success.
Actually Susan I have the same problem as Pascale above. My girl is an English Springer Spaniel x German Short Haired Pointer. She takes after her mum the GSP quite delicate legs and slim but no matter what I have tried (I am first time dog owner) she always shakes her head violently makes me think she wants to kill the toy rather than play also if she has won the toy she likes to run away with it and start chewing so I have to try to hang on to it or get her to bring it back to me! Look forward to your reply. Thank you. I’ve only recently found your YouTube videos they are fantastic. I must admit your courses and especially these videos are so great. I am severely disabled and hoping to get Gigi trained up as my assistance dog so your training is perfect I wish you could bottle yourself though as I am not always the best person as my pain can take over and it comes out in my voice, tone, attitude etc but she does so much that she hasn’t been taught that I want her to learn in that style of training! We both love seeing your training with This Gigi likes black or black and white like her. 🍪
Super podcast! What do you advice to do when the dog shakes his head while tugging? Thanks!