Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

I know this question has probably been asked before, but I have heard so many opinions both ways on this subject, I wanted to ask on this board.

Is playing tug w/a dog who is a pet, not a working dog, ok, or does it set you up for problems? I have an almost 9 month old male GSD pup, who I've had since he was 7 wks old. I use the NILIF philosophy with him. He knows who is boss - he must earn his treats, meals, etc. Occassionally he tries to test me, but I think that's normal 9 month old pup behavior, nothing to worry about, as far as I'm concernd. Is playing tug ok? I bought a tug toy for him months ago, and have not even opened the package. I was just playing with him with one of his toys, and realized I was basically playing tug (which a Holee Roller toy) . So I figured, if I always win, and dictate when we play, and when we stop, we probably wouldn't have any problems.

What do you think? Tug or not?

P.S. I forgot to mention I have 3 kids - 2, 4 and 6 yrs old, and they are not, and will not, be allowed to play tug with him for obvious reasons....and they know this. Plus, they are always supervised w/Kodee. If I can't supervise them, he's crated, or in a room w/me with the baby gate up. Just FYI.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 06:03 PM
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Re: Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

Sounds to me like you have things well in hand. I see no reason why you cant play tug with him. I do it with sarge all the time and as you say, he understands whos in charge and when the game ends. Maybe someone else will have a problem with it but I just dont see it.

Have fun!!!

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 06:24 PM
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Re: Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

I believe it was Jean Donaldson in her book <u>Culture Clash</u> who basically stated she has yet to see dogs in a 'dominance battle' while playing tug. Whether it's on a prey animal they're bringing down or a rope toy.

I think as long as the rules are clear that tug is a WONDERFUL bonding game to play with your dog. Ris and I play tug all the time. It's a great confidence booster too.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 07:33 PM
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Re: Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

Yes, playing tug is okay. You can also use it

I not only play tug with Kayla at home, I use short tug periods as awards and breaks (mixed up with food treats and praise) during training sessions in both obedience and agility. And I do let her "win" occasionally. Just let go of my end and let her romp for a moment or toss it ahead for her to run to and grab. She knows when I say "out" it's time to let go and get back to work or move on to something else.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 08:00 PM
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Re: Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Murphy-ElperroguapoI believe it was Jean Donaldson in her book <u>Culture Clash</u> who basically stated she has yet to see dogs in a 'dominance battle' while playing tug. Whether it's on a prey animal they're bringing down or a rope toy.

I think as long as the rules are clear that tug is a WONDERFUL bonding game to play with your dog. Ris and I play tug all the time. It's a great confidence booster too.
I was going to mention the same book. Even when I didn't like the book as a whole I agree with that part.

Just forget the part about not letting him to win... Where is the fun then?!! This is a team game, let him win and give him opportunity to seek you for more playing. The resource problems I've seen in dogs playing tug are all caused by the owner continuously frustrating the dog.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 08:56 PM
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Re: Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

I play tug with my dogs and *gasp* I let them play tug with each other! They actually have free access to all of their toys.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 09:11 PM
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Re: Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

I always played tug with my dogs and let them win sometimes. Haven't had many problems with them knowing who the boss is (Luther, to the day he died, took a knee to the chest every day for shoving me into door frames trying to get through first)

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 10:06 PM
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Re: Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

i have a 9 month old boy and we play tug. i don't use the NILIF. every now and then i'll give him a treat for nothing. if he brings me his ball to play i play. i'm not into that dominate the dog. i partner with my dogs right now he's laying at my feet. should i move him because he decided to lay close to me? when i get up from my desk i have to step over him. should i move him to show dominance? why do i need to make my dog do something when it's meal time? one time he pulled a towel off the line. instead of correcting him we played tug. he never pulled anything else off of the line. sometimes when we're playing fetch i'll play tug with his ball before asking him to drop. when i say "drop it" he does and i throw it and he brings it back, drops it. as far as who's the boss, well i bring him his food twice a day, i pay for the vet bills, i pay for his toys, i take him to the dog park (while he rides in the back of the wagon, i open and close doors for him, i paid for his education, i take him for walks in the woods so i think dogs that are taken care of probably like their place. playing tug, does it really matter if it's a pet or working dog. as far as me always winning tug, i don't. sometimes i let him have it. when i'm finished playing i just let go of the toy and say "no more" at which point he drops the tug and waits for me to pick it up and take it in the house or carry it back to the car. oh yeah, my dog is from a show line and everybody has Schutzhund III. mine won't, he's a pet that works in his on way. play tug and watch your fingers.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

I'm glad some of you mentioned that I should let him win. I had the impression that you shouldn't, which is part of the reason I hadn't played tug w/him before. I don't want to frustrate him, either. As far as NILIF, I maybe should have said NMILIF (Not Much in Life is Free). LOL! I do play w/him without making everything a "lesson", and I will feed him, whether he behaves that day or not - Just wanted to make the point that in most ways, I know he knows I'm the pack leader, but I don't beat him to death with it. I'm not going to shove my dog out of my way when I get up and he's at my feet I hope I didn't give that impression, DoggieDad.

Thanks all for the advice - I will be breaking out the tug toy tonight!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 10:29 PM
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Re: Worn-out subject - is playing tug ok?

There's subtle ways to show him you are the pack leader. Let him see you bring home the food and put it away. As a lesser pack member, he eats after you do. Treats can be had just because they're yummy and he's very cute! Try not to let him walk through the door first - my knee still hurts from enforcing that law of nature on a very dominant dog!

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