Tug of War is Bad, Right?

tug of war

Pretty much every dog owner has heard this statement, “playing tug of war with your dog will make him/her aggressive!” While I am not quite sure where this came from or who made it up, I do know that this is absolutely not true! In fact, you can use your dog’s drive to play and tug as a training tool. This is one form of force-free training that does NOT involve treats. (Some dogs may learn more quickly if treats are used, but they are not necessary.) There are different ways to teach drop it, but this is a simple one that I have done with my dog.

Dogs love to tug when there is someone else tugging on the other side of the rope. The toy becomes much less interesting when the person stops pulling. I took advantage of this. Below is the video demonstrating what I did.

Simply put, I would stop tugging the toy when I wanted to my dog to drop it. Once he dropped the toy,  I would initiate playing in an even more enthusiastic manner and that would be his reward. He soon learned that if he let go, the game would get more intense and fun afterwards. Before using this method to teach “drop it”, you must know your dog and have a relationship with your dog. All dogs are different and play at different intensities. In general, it is safe to play until there is growling involved, at that point the dog has been too highly aroused and should take a break. Remember, it should always be the human in control of the game!

Check out this article: “Tug, A Great Game with a Bad Reputation”