In detail

Tug of war and playing tug games with the dog properly


For your dog, tug games like tug of war are a wonderful opportunity to follow his instincts and let off steam. However, you and your four-legged friend must follow some rules of the game so that unwanted behavior or even accidents do not occur in the heat of the moment. With the right rules, tug of war is a great game for dogs and people - Shutterstock / dogboxstudio

It is important that you decide whether to play tug of war with your dog or not. In this way, tug games can also be a great reward for your four-legged friend. If you feel that the game is getting out of control, it is better to practice basic commands with your animal friend before trying again.

Which toy is suitable for tug of war?

Pulling toys for dogs should be sturdy, but also easy to grip and hold. In addition, a stable but not too hard material is recommended so that the dog's bite is not damaged in a wild game of tug of war. Toys made of soft dew or fleece are, for example, well suited or pulling toys made of rubber.

How to prepare your dog for tug games

A certain basic obedience and a good bond between humans and animals are a prerequisite for tug-of-war and other tugging games with your dog to be fun for everyone involved. Your four-legged friend should master the basic commands "sit" and "place" and be generally balanced and confident. If your dog is prone to hyperactivity or strong defense of resources, it is advisable to alleviate these behavioral problems with a dog trainer before you start tugging. Furthermore, tug of war for young dogs should be enjoyed with caution when changing teeth.

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Important rules of the game when tug of war

Your dog should let go of the tug on command and should only pick up on command. In the beginning, he will probably instinctively reach for the toy, so it makes sense to teach him to let go first on command. Possible signal words can be "Off", "Let go" or "Give here" - the main thing is that you only use this one command for the desired action and do not mix the terms. If you want your four-legged friend to let go of the rope, stop pulling yourself, but keep the toy in your hand. At the same time, take your dog gently by the collar without pressure. After a while, your animal friend notices that the game is not going on and lets go. At the same time, let go of his collar and start playing with him again.

After a few repetitions, your four-legged friend learns that he should let go of the toy when you touch his collar, but that the tug of war continues afterwards. Then say your command to let go while you take the collar in your hand so that your dog gradually makes the connection. Then the command is enough to separate it from the tug toy.

"Signal" or "barrel" are suitable as signal words for picking up the toy. However, the sound should differ from the other commands. At the beginning of this training session, your dog will learn to patiently follow your instructions and not just act on it. Let your pet take a quiet position with "sit" or "place" before you pull out the pulling toy.

Then say your command to pick up the toy and reward your dog with a round of tug of war. If he takes it in his mouth before you command, say the command to let go and hide the toy again. After about 30 seconds, try again. If your dog gets cocky while tugging and touches something other than the toy with its mouth, the tug of war ends immediately. This is how your four-legged friend realizes that it is worthwhile for him if he follows the rules of the game and follows you.