Saturday, May 1, 2010

To Tug or Not To Tug, That is the Question

There are many theories about the game of tug with dogs.  Some say never to do this with your dog and others believe that it is no problem at all. 

I believe that playing tug is a great game with your dog as long as its done correctly. 

It's important that in each session of play that you ask your dog to drop the toy and other times allow him to take it from your hand.  It's important that he only take the toy with your permission.  You can say something like "ok" or "yes" before you actually release the toy.  A good rule of thumb is to ask your dog to "drop it" about 8 out of 10 times and about 2 of out of 10 times you give your dog the permission to "take it".

Playing tug can be safe play if done correctly so that no one gets hurt, including your dog!

1. Try not to jerk the toy back and forth in rough motions, fluid tugging is best.
2. You NEED to teach your dog to "drop it" before allowing tug play to happen.  It will save injury to you and your dog.
3. Everytime before you release the toy, you should say "ok".
4. Please NEVER lift your dog up off the ground when he is holding the toy in his mouth by holding onto the other side of the toy.  This can cause serious injury if they are unprepared for the lift and fall clumsily to the ground. 

Tug of war is one of the dogs most favourite games, and if done safely, can become a good stress reliever and fun for both of you.

One final note.  Please use caution when children are present.  Unless children have been trained in how to work with dogs, please don't allow them to play tug without proper instruction.

Play it safe and teach the commands before commencing tug.

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