“Tug” was originally printed in the first press run of the Ultimate Puppy Toolkit. For “Throw-Back” Thursdays, here are the original retro photos and the still current “How-To” for this most excellent of games. “Tug” is a wonderful way to relieve puppy tension and excess energy. It also has two great benefits for you – it will leave your pup tuckered out and happy and it is a good way to practice “Drop-It” and “Take it, Leave it”. Be sure to get the knack of “Drop-it” and “Take it, Leave it” before you try Tug.
Tug: The Benefits
Tug is a wonderful tension reliever for dogs, to them, when they play this game, they are ripping and tearing at their prey, a natural instinct. Some of us would rather not think about this aspect of a dog’s character, but the reality is, they are dogs and this is normal for them. We can not ignore this most basic need in a dog’s behavior.
- The desire to Tug will not go away. Instead, if left unaddressed, it is likely that the dog will find another less acceptable outlet for this behavior.
- Playing Tug will help reduce the chances of your dog grabbing at your clothing and ripping and shredding things that are off limits.
- You can easily play this game in the house on rainy days.
- This game gives you an indication of the amount of control that you have over your puppy. You should be able to go from a wild and vigorous game of Tug to complete control, which would be the dog dropping the tug toy and sitting. If you can’t, there are elements of the relationship between you and your dog which need examining.
- When played properly this game relieves stress in your dog. It’s very therapeutic.
Tug: the Rules
Tug is not a game we recommend a child play with the puppy.
If at any point during the game of tug the puppy does not follow the rules, the game is over. Put the toy away and ignore the puppy. This is crucial.
If you see the puppy start to wane at any point in the sequence, take the time to polish up his skills. For example his sit starts to get sloppy or his drop it gets slower, isolate the problem and work on that stage of the game until it is smooth again.
Jumping up to grab the toy, pulling at your skin or clothing, or clawing at your hands are all grounds to stop the game immediately.
Be sure you have mastered the “drop it” cue.
Here’s How to play Tug