Dog Behaviour & Training Myths Busted! Should you play tug-of-war with your dog?

Tug-of-war? Why you should play it with your dog.

Dogs love to play and most dogs love to play in a rough and physical way.

Dogs also love to use their mouths.  By showing them that they can use their mouths and satisfy their need to bite, pull and thrash around with their owners it helps the dog live a much more satisfied lifestyle.  It also helps the dogs spend energy and is a very bonding experience for the dog and owner.

Situations where it may not be advisable to play tug-of-war with your dog.

If your dog is a resource garter or displays any type of possessiveness or aggression to its family, it is not advisable to play tug as you will very likely create a bigger problem and potentially put yourself in harms way.

Of course, if the dog is physically incapable, or has health related issues that prevent it from playing tug this is also another instance where we need to be tuned into.

Frequently asked dog training question: will tug-of-war make my dog aggressive

Assuming that the dog has no behavioural issues and that you have a healthy relationship with your dog tug-of-war will definitely not create an aggressive dog.

If anything, it will teach the dog that there is a “time and place” rough and rowdy behaviour and that is when we initiate play with a toy.

Watch the video clip provided here and take a look at how my bulldog puppy hooligan crashes around like a madman while we were playing tug.

He’s well into it, pushing and pulling and growling and carrying on.

Pay special attention to what he does when I release :

  • He comes running right to me with it because he wants the game to continue. This tells us everything we need to know about what the motive of the dog is.
  • The dog is not trying to “possess” the toy.
  • He is not trying to drive me away from the toy.
  • He is not taking the toy and running away with it.
  • He is not anchoring himself over the toy and preparing for war war.
  • He is simply asking for me to continue the game that he loves and the toy is the tool we use to share a game toget.
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