Dog Tug of War

Is Tug of War Bad for Dogs?

In recent years, you have probably heard that tug of war can lead to aggression in your canine buddy. The debate on ‘is tug of war bad for dogs” rages on. You’ll hear many people in the canine community claim that the game will cause your dog to turn mean and challenge you. With big dogs, it might make them think that they are the leader of the pack. However, is any of this true or is it safe to play tug of war with your dog? 

Tug of War and Aggression

If you enjoy playing tug of war with your pooch, then don’t despair because you can still have fun seeing who is stronger as you both try to win pulling the coveted toy. A tug of war game that is managed properly will not lead to aggression. However, you must watch for signs that your dog is taking the game too seriously. If Fido snaps at your hand, then it is time to immediately end the game. Clearly, the pooch does not understand the rules of the activity. 

Benefits of Tug of War

Tug of war is a favorite game not only for the dog but also for the owner. It strengthens the bond between canine and human. The dog will feel more confident and enjoy the energy needed to indulge in the exercise. Also, the game helps provide both mental and physical stimulation. Tug of war teaches the pooch self-control. Law enforcement dogs enjoy a game of tug of war and it is often used as a reward. The handler will indulge in the game after the dog has completed certain tasks. The brief game of tug of war is used as a pleasurable reward that is shared between the handler and the dog. 

Is Tug of War Good for All Dogs? 

There are certain dogs that should not play tug of war. If the canine has a history of aggression towards either humans or animals, then you should not indulge in the game. In such situations, the canine takes the game serious and it can quickly lead to problems. Also, pooches that are high arousal and do not easily settle down can become over-stimulated during the game and are not good candidates. 

How to Play Tug of War with Your Dog

You should always be the one to initiate the game. Also, stay in control. If you want to stop playing, then stop. If your pooch seems to be overstimulated, too serious, obsessed, or aggressive then it’s time to halt and end the game immediately. Your pooch should always be under control when playing and listen to your commands. You should never lose control over the dog. Please remember, canines will growl when happy so don’t be alarmed if this should happen. Usually, the dog’s tail will be wagging, and you can clearly tell that he is happy with the game and not angry. You can sense your dog’s moods and emotions. If your dog refuses to release the toy, then it is time to immediately stop playing.

Toy Considerations

Never use hard or sharp toys when playing tug of war. Your dog’s mouth is delicate so try to use soft toys that won’t cause any harm. Use a rope or a simple towel to enjoy the game together. Do not pull too hard. Always be gentle.

A fun game of tug of war should involve letting your dog win the game. Have fun with your pooch playing tug of war and don’t worry about it causing aggression. 

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