Playing "tug o war" with your dog...good or bad? - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 04:13 PM
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And as your dog gets older, you'll be amazed how freaking strong he is!!!

By the time Ky was 7 months old she was definitely physically stronger than me! That's also why you need to teach drop it / out or something ... because you won't win !!!

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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 04:15 PM
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I know I've heard that playing tug O war can bring on an aggressive side of a dog so I'm just wondering peoples thoughts.
It's a bunch of hooey. I was told that as well. Hooey!




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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 04:17 PM
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I think the perception that tug "makes" a dog aggressive comes from the fact that we use tug-of-war to teach dogs to bite. First on a tug toy, then on a sleeve, then on a human.

However, it doesn't necessarily mean that tug-of-war will escalate into biting. Personally, I think it's a great way to engage dogs in play, and it can be used as an obedience reward.

It's especially useful in young puppies to teach them NOT to bite. Since they are little snapping turtles, plugging a tug toy into that mouth can teach them that biting a toy is much more rewarding than biting hands, it gives them an outlet for that energy, and makes for good bonding time.

If you do not plan to do bitework with your dog in the future, a good "out" command at a young age is essential, and tug play should be done on YOUR terms. You decide when it begins and ends, and you decide when the pup should "win" and when he needs to defer.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by runnershigh108 View Post
I know I've heard that playing tug O war can bring on an aggressive side of a dog so I'm just wondering peoples thoughts.

Recently I have been playing tug O war in the following circumstances:
-with a frisbee, prior to a frisbee playing session to get her fired up
-when she comes inside ("inside") command as a reward
-nose-work reward...after she finds the scent she gets a little tug session

She has been very high drive with this and loves a good tug session. I just hope I'm not teaching her any aggressive behavior that is going to back fire for me in the future. Any thoughts?
Doesn't look like a problem to me, with my dog

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryQTt2KXh-c
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Freestep View Post
I think the perception that tug "makes" a dog aggressive comes from the fact that we use tug-of-war to teach dogs to bite. First on a tug toy, then on a sleeve, then on a human.
Meh, depends on who you're training with. Bitework to me is bitework, it's not an escalating game of tug. My dogs both started on a normal intermediate sleeve (save for a session or two on an "oven mit" during teething to avoid blood all over the good equipment). You don't teach dogs to bite, they're either going to or they're not and if they do at least you can put some capping and obedience behind it!

ETA: People seem to think that playing tug gives their dog the upper hand but what I've actually seen a LOT more are owners being really confrontational (not intentionally) and overpowering their dog by their posture and body language during tug. I see this a lot at flyball, where we have a lot more dogs that tend to be softer or even skittish. To me the *point* of tug is to let my dog use his mouth and gain confidence with it. The dog's temperament will effect my posture when I'm playing tug. For example Nikon likes to play-fight and likes the confrontation and the fight so I tug with him up close in front of me, me leaning over, or actually have him in a head lock. My JRT likes to tug but isn't real sure about me yet so I tug with a longer toy (2 feet long) an often I'm on my knees and having her tug to my side. When she's tugging good I always "give" (not let go of the toy but let her pull me in).

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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 04:37 PM
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I think it totally depends on the dog. My now elderly GSD-mix-mutt, Peanut, had a mother who was aggressive. She snapped at my face even while I was sitting on her owner's couch not making eye contact. I knew she'd been an adult rescue and also knew that her owners were, um, undisciplined dog owners. Nonetheless, I took precautions with her pup, Peanut, and was very careful to make sure she understood who was the BIG dog in our relationship. No tug-o-war or other games where she got to challenge me. That worked out perfectly for that dog; she has been awesome for 13 years!

Jaeger, however, isn't a power-player type of dog. A game of tug is just a game for him, not a contest. He came into the house and happily conceded that I am the boss and either my partner or Peanut is 2nd-in-command. He's just a mellow dude.
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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 06:58 PM
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I've always played tug-of-war with the Hooligans who enjoyed it (the majority of them) without any problems. As others have mentioned, you make the rules and the dogs must follow them which isn't too difficult.

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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 07:19 PM
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Ive heard its ok as long as the dog doesn't touch your hand. when they touch your hand you must stop the game and let them know there is no touching your hand with their mouth and then start again.
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 10:45 PM
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my dog will play tug with anything. i've always played tug
and roughhoused with my dogs.
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 11:26 PM
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Stella loves a good game of tug. It is on my terms and she has to release the tug when i say so. Her favorite thing to tug is a jolly ball with a handle. Gets kind of tricky with both of us holding onto 1 handle! I usually wear leather gloves to protect my fingers! But she understands when I say "watch the fingers", and will release her grip. I wish they made a folly ball with 2 handles.
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