Not only is it a bonding experience, it is also a wonderful way to keep them physically and mentally healthy. A good game of Tug of War will keep their minds and bodies stimulated!
In order to take advantage of the many benefits of the game, it's important to set boundaries. Setting boundaries within the game will allow you to use tugging as a training technique! Here are some tips on how to safely play Tug of War while teaching your dog:
Introducing Tug of War
First, pick a toy
and a large area that provides you with plenty of space. Picking a toy is the first and crucial step. This will keep you, your dog and his toys safe. Not all toys are made with tugging in mind and may tear or break putting you or your dog in danger.
Once you've selected a toy, shake it while encouraging your dog to get it! After playing for a bit, let them win. Letting them win the first few games will help them build their confidence and they'll be excited to play again in the future.
Taking Breaks And Ending The Game
It is necessary to know what boundaries to set to keep this game safe for all! Taking a break or ending the game can teach and enforce good behavior. While playing Tug of War, your dog might get excited and playfully growl. This is okay, but it is vital to keep your dog from becoming overly excited or aggressive. Taking breaks is an easy way to keep the game from getting out of control. To take a break, stop tugging and tell your dog to "drop it" or "release". Take a minute or longer, if needed, to go through basic commands like sit and lay down. Once your dog seems more relaxed, the game may resume! If your dog continues bad behavior, it's time to end the game. If your dog's teeth ever touch your hand, it is also time to end the game. The best way to end the game if this happens is to yelp, say your release command, take the toy and walk away for at least 30 seconds. This will help them learn that teeth on human skin makes the fun end. This will show in all areas, not just in Tug of War.
When You Shouldn't Play Tug of War
If your dog tends to be aggressive, has fragile teeth, or neck/shoulder/back issues then Tug of War isn't the best way to play! Even if your dog loves tug of war, your safety comes first.