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runnershigh108 11-29-2012 09:21 AM

Playing "tug o war" with your dog...good or bad?
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?

onyx'girl 11-29-2012 09:26 AM

You are the one that controls the begins with you and ends with you. Tug is a great confidence builder, gets out a young dogs oral need for exercise and teaches some self control. The only warning I would heed would be:
NO tug during teething!

Two of my dogs won't play tug with me because I didn't do it early on, they let go and defer to me. They will tug with one another. I think tug is an important game for training & drive building.

ayoitzrimz 11-29-2012 09:27 AM

nope, tug is great for everything from engagement to focus, obedience, tracking, protection... its a great reward if the dog likes it (mine will take a tug over food most times, unless he's starving lol).

Just keep the rules clear:
1. start and end the game on your terms
2. no resource guarding from the dog
3. dog must respect your hands and clothing
4. Out means out...

And enjoy each other's company :)

ponyfarm 11-29-2012 09:40 AM

Its good..have fun!

Kyleigh 11-29-2012 09:42 AM

If you go in the search box and type in tug of war puppy you'll see lots of threads!

Here's one for you:

Liesje 11-29-2012 10:14 AM

Tug will not make a dog aggressive and is a great game for bonding, exercise, and even useful for training. I use tug during obedience, agility, flyball, and dock diving. If your dog already enjoys tug I would use it to your advantage!

huntergreen 11-29-2012 11:32 AM

i have been playing tug with gsd since i was a kid. i have never had any negative results from doing this.

TrickyShepherd 11-29-2012 11:46 AM

We play tug all the time. That's their reward, and they live for it! It's fun for everyone, tires them out, and it helps the dog/handler bond. I don't see any harm in it. Just remember to set the boundaries from the beginning and YOU run the show... not the dog. Personally, I enjoy a game of tug over using food drive. Easier, cheaper, and much more fun (IMO). If you use it correctly, you can get some snappy movements from them.

Marnie 11-29-2012 11:57 AM

A lot of professional trainers use tug as a reward. I used to but the dogs I have now aren't interested--they came to me too late in life to begin this behavior. The only thing I would say is many dogs work up the rope or towel so maybe children shouldn't do this because they may get accidentally bitten. I'm always so over cautious when kids play with the dogs.

pancake 11-30-2012 02:59 PM

Just asked this question a few weeks ago and the answer is .. good!
Get michael ellis' DVD on tug. A lot of it sport oriented and doesn't necessary apply to pet owners but there's a lot of overlap. If anything teaching the "out" or the "let go" as a puppy teache 1 very important thing to a dog. impulse control. Above any "command" or trick, impulse control and teaching a dog patience or calmness when it wants to get excited is something tug is good at.

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