Thursday, July 8, 2010

To Tug Or Not To Tug

Tug of War is a popular game to play these days with dogs. My brother's dog Homer loves to play it and is relentless when it comes to giving up whatever he is tugging. On one hand, it's great exercise for a dog. It is perfectly normal when you hear a dog growling playing this game.

However, there is another side to this. Opponents of the game think that tug of war causes dogs to become more aggressive. A dog can wind up biting their owner if the game gets out of control. Any time a dog nips or bites, you must stop the game immediately.

Other times, a dog may get their teeth on something you don't want chewed. Sometimes Homer will wrap his teeth around a throw or towel and will want to play tug of war. Since he's a Beagle, swapping out a treat usually works well in this situation.

Tug Of War Tips

  • It's good to start out when the dog is a puppy. They haven't learned the rights and wrongs for bite inhibition so it's a good game to teach. Also, it's useful for them to learn the Drop It command.
  • Never chase the dog to get the toy back, grab another toy instead or offer an item of greater value.
  • If a dog has aggressive tendencies towards humans, it's advisable not to play Tug Of War.
  • Some dogs will have such a grip, you can lift them into the air. While this is amazing to see, depending on what the toy is, it can pull out or loosen a young dog's tooth.

Tug Toys

Here are some great tug toys to use with your dog and can be found at

Ruff Stuff - 2-Knot - Colored - Medium
Rope Toys
These are inexpensive and last quite a while. The only downside is that it may be difficult for a dog to differentiate a rope toy from a fabric you don't want chewed. However, this is more the exception rather than the rule. Bitter Apple is good to spray on things you don't want chewed.

KONG BraidZ Dog Toy, Small, Monkey
KONG BraidZ Dog Toy
This toy is made with strong fleece and is braided. There's very little stuffing and it is good for dogs who love to destroy their toys.

New PetSport USA Disco Tug Flying Disk Super-tough Nylon and Rope Design Great for Retrieving
PetSport USA Disco Tug Flying Disk
This is nice because a dog can not only tug on it but can play frisbee as well.

West Paw Bumi Dog Toy - Large (Colors Vary)
West Paw Design Bumi Dog Tug Toy
This is an eco-friendly dog toy that can be tugged, thrown and floats in water. It's a soft yet strong material that won't damage your dog's teeth. It's available through the West Paw Design website and various online retailers.

If you would like to learn more about tug of war Best Friends Pet Care has a great article here.

Let's Discuss!

Is Tug Of War a game you play with your dog? Do you think it's a good activity or a dangerous one?


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