Yes! Play tug with your dog, just implement some rules.
We say that playing with your dog is a very natural thing that is great for both you and your dog!
- It’s great exercise!
- It’s a bonding activity– playing tug with your dog is interactive and what could be better than having fun with your dog?
- It’s easy for you to do! You don’t even have to move that much, but boy does your dog get a work out! Just keep hold of the toy so that there is some tension and let your dog do all the work.
We love to play tug with our dogs, but here are some rules we play by and suggest you do to!
- Keep a special tug toy that isn’t out all the time. Preferably a longer toy (like a rope) that has enough room for both of you to hold on to it with some room to spare;
- Teach a “drop it” cue. Once the dog learns this cue, if you say it, he has to let go or play stops (don’t know how – we can help you!);
- Teach a "take" cue. This will help your dog understand that the game of "tug" happens only when you have the special tug toy and you invite your dog to play, saying "take";
- If he gets too rough, play stops;
- If his teeth touch your skin, play stops.
Special tip: Be careful not to shake the toy side-to-side too much – that can actually hurt your dog’s neck. Your dog will do it on his own, and they generally self-regulate enough to not injure themselves. So let them go at it!
Oh, and growling is okay! Some dogs will make noise when they play tug and it’s just part of the game. If you see signs that your dog is guarding the tug toy or if the growling is sustained, stop playing and contact a professional dog trainer!
- Ellen Carson and Bryony Aviles