Should You Play Tug-of-War With Your Dog?

Dog owners may wonder whether playing tug-of-war with their dogs is okay. Some people hesitate after hearing the myth that this game causes dogs to be more aggressive, especially if they start playing it as a puppy. However, it’s a great way to bond with your pup as long as you know the correct way to control their behavior.

Use these tips from The Dan Gentile Dog Training Center, a trusted dog trainer in NJ, to get the most benefits from your next game.

Benefits of Playing Tug-of-War

Contrary to popular belief, there are many benefits to playing this classic game with your dog. It’s a fantastic bonding experience and an effective way for dogs to get excess energy out of their systems. When you play the right way, you’ll teach proper dog behavior, such as how to drop the toy.

How Tug-of-War Benefits Puppies

If you own a teething puppy, you may be beside yourself training them not to nip at you or chew on household items. Playing tug-of-war will help you establish boundaries and control as your dog’s teeth grow and mature. You’ll be able to bond and play together while also teaching your puppy good behaviors.

The Most Effective Ways To Play Tug-of-War

Now that we’ve answered whether you should play tug-of-war with your dog, let’s dive into the most effective methods to use during every game. These tips will help you train your dog so they learn some basic commands while boosting their confidence.

Only Play When You Initiate

Energetic dogs may constantly beg you to play their favorite game. However, if you’re too busy for playtime, don’t give in to their requests. Put the tug toy away and provide another distraction for them to burn off some energy.

Quit Playing If the Dog Shows Any Aggression

After you’ve started the game, your dog may nip you with their teeth. It might be an accident, but if it persists, they won’t see why it’s wrong. Stop the game and only resume after the dog calms down a bit.

Practice Drop Commands

Tug-of-war is a great game for dogs to learn how to drop their toys. To teach them this command, let go of the tug toy before you say “drop,” and then wait for them to release the rope. This will take practice, so remember to be patient!

Don’t Forget Safety

Forcefully playing tug-of-war can hurt your dog, so play with their safety in mind. Tug the toy from side to side instead of pulling your dog, and never pull the rope up so your dog hangs off the ground.

Let a Certified Dog Trainer Improve Your Dog’s Behavior

Now that you have an expert answer to whether you should play tug-of-war with your dog, help your pooch learn the right behaviors with professional training. The Dan Gentile Dog Training Center can get your dog to play with other dogs, learn basic commands, and much more. Call (732) 938-5040 to get started.