Monday, April 1, 2013

To tug or not to tug...

I have had many people ask me if it's ok to play tug with their dogs, or will that make them feel aggressive or cause them to become more aggressive?  To answer that simply, no.  Dogs love to play tug with each other as well as with their human friends, in my experience I have found it to actually decrease a dog's aggressiveness in most cases.
 Take Conner here, he's a big puppy, but he is still intact and very interested in Roxy.  However when we get them playing tug, it seems that most of his hormone issues regarding her seem to diminish and he is more interested in playing than in other activities.  The same has held true with many other dogs who have had the same issues when we are in class.
 Dogs know that tug is a game, in fact that is why I try and make sure everyone who has a class with me knows that you never chase your dog or try to pull things out of their mouths, because they think it's a game.
 Unless your dog has other issues that are at work, like becoming overly aroused very easily, or tends to resource guard and considers his toy something to guard, or has had past negative experiences with tugging (as in abuse issues), then you should have no reason not to play tug with your dog.  Remember there are always exceptions to every rule, but as a rule of thumb, tug is a great way to play with your dog and bond better.  Let your dog win sometimes, and you can win sometimes, (don't worry about keeping count).  I always think it's best to watch your dog, if he is giving up to often, let him have it more often and chase him around while he is running with it, the dogs loves this! (Just make sure it's a toy you are playing chase with and not your best dress)

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