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Thread: playing tuf og war with your dog

  1. #1
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    Default playing tuf og war with your dog

    Hi I read somewhere that you should not play tug of war with your dog cause it teaches he/she to fight against you?! Im not sure if this is true or not so if someone can clarify that for me id appreciate thanks!

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    Some trainers believe that playing and letting the dog win, puts the dog in charge. My ex-trainer plays tug with his competition dogs, as a treat after competing, but he always makes sure that he's the one to walk away with the toy.

    One note of caution: Joly had his two bottom front teeth missing, well after adult teeth should be there. The vet said that they could be slow growing, but, more likely, the teeth (front ones have poor roots) had been dislodged while playing tug with Teddy. One tooth did appear, very very late, but the other never did, so it looks as though tugging was to blame.
    Barbara, Monty, Joly and Teddy.

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    Interesting how different trainers have such different thoughts on this topic. We took our Murphy to an animal behaviorist (who is known for her work with dog agression in the US) as he had resource guarding issues when we got him at 1 yr. old.

    She told us to always let him win in a game of tug or we would be training/reenforcing him to guard his treasures. We trained Take It and Give It as separate behaviors. When he did have something valued, he learned to give it up readily.
    Molly and Murphy (tri), Katie (ruby), Casey (B/T),Spike the wonder pup (tri), Suzie (tri) and Penny (blen)

  4. #4
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    Hi,
    Someone sent me this when my dog was just a little pup. It does have some information about "tug of war" and other games. Maybe you will find it helpful.
    http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/games.html
    BTW i play "tug of war" with Riley, but only on MY terms and it works out well.
    Laura (Momma to Riley, 3 yr. old male)

  5. #5
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    I didn't learn this from a trainer or anything, but from my own experience.

    Cody was very possessive over his toys and would growl at any of the dogs that look at him while he chewed away. I was becoming really frustrated that every time I would take the toy away and put it up, the dogs would be really sneaky and attempt to steal it, then guard it. My thought process was that they did not understand how to play together with the toy, or each other so I began to wrestle and play tug of war with all three of the boys at the same time.

    We got this great heavy duty lobster stuff toy that has huge claws, legs and a tail so everyone could hold on at the same time. Now in the evenings we all romp, run and play tug of war with the toy together, and I always decide when it is time to stop and put the toy up. Usually it is when the boys are collapsed on the floor from exhaustion, so it's not like mom is taking away the fun. Cody's gaurding issues have significantly decreased now and he plays much better with the my other boys. I think the pack dynamic changed when mom was instigating play time and had controll over the game.

    ~On another note, My vet said that it was important to play tug of war to help loosen puppy teeth. Tugging and chewing is a natural behavior for the dog and that is why a lot of pet store pups need teeth to be pulled because they don't do this for the first few months of their lives...
    I love my Wesley, Cody, Zoey & Stewie

  6. #6
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    I play tug of war with Tucker. I let him win after about one minute (possibly less) other times he is able on his own to tug the item from my grasp. He's quite cunning in that he constantly changes his mouth grip leaving me less material and loosening my grasp. He has never come close to biting me. I'm also very watchful of how much material there is between my hand and Tucker's mouth. It has not made him more aggressive towards me, and I am still able to get him to "drop it" with any of his toys that I want and he is playing with. Sometimes, that will happen after he runs off down the hall with the item, but he always brings it back to me.

    I have wondered now that he's an adult is there any risk of injuring his permanent teeth. I do not tug with all my might, but still I wonder is there such a thing as too much tugging?
    Mum to Tucker, born May 14, 2005

  7. #7
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    Here is the link for that toy we got. No joke it is HUGE (over a foot long) and is tough as nails. It isn't good for letting them sit and chew it, but for tug-of war it is ideal. Even little Zoey tries to get in the act by grabbing the little legs, but the boys are just to rough for her as yet.

    http://www.edogtoy.com/retail/index....roducts_id=347
    I love my Wesley, Cody, Zoey & Stewie

  8. #8
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    It's funny to me that this is such a contraversial topic!

    I have played tug of war with both of my dogs since I got them. When they are puppies I think it's a GREAT game to teach them not to touch you with their teeth. I have had Faith "bite" me two times with this game and when I said "AHH AHH" no biting! and stopped playing she completely stopped biting.. !

    I think it's an OK game as long you keep it under control.... Also it's important not to "shake" it back and forth beause puppies have very sensitive necks - if they shake it then that's their doing but us humans are strong! Also don't pull too hard because you can take out their teeth. I basically hold it and let Faith do whatever she wants with the toy - it's a lot of fun!
    Sara, mommy to Kosmo ~ 4 year blenheim boy and Faith 3 year b/t girl *rescue*

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    King loves tug of war...espically with his glove. But when we're done playing all I need to do is say "King drop it" he lets go sits down and waits for me to put the toy away...then we play something else, and he's never thought he was incharge
    Aaron, King and the rest of family
    living in NY

  10. #10
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    We play Tug of War with Murphy, sometimes he wins, sometimes we win, he also obeys the 'Leave' command during the game

    He growls and barks at me like crazy, but his tails is going like mad the whole time, he has never lunged for his toy or tried to bite us. I would not class this as aggressive, as we can end the game easily and the barking/growling stops immediately. He thinks he sounds dead tough, so who am I to tell him any different

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