I was playing tug of war and tug games with the dog correctly.
For your dog, tug-of-war games like tug-of-war are an excellent opportunity to follow his instincts and let off steam. However, you and your four-legged friend must follow a few rules of the game to avoid undesirable behavior or even accidents in the heat of the moment.
It would help if you decided whether you want to play tug-of-war with your dog or not. In this way, tug-of-war games can also be an excellent reward for your four-legged friend. If you feel that the game is getting out of control, it is better to practice basic commands again with your animal friend before trying again.
Which toy is suitable for tug of war?
Tug toys for dogs should be sturdy but easy to grab and hold. In addition, sturdy but not too hard material is recommended so that the dog’s teeth are not damaged during a wild game of tug-of-war. Toys made of soft rope or fleece are well suited, for example, or tug toys made of rubber.
How to prepare your dog for tug of war games
Specific basic obedience and a good bond between man and animal are prerequisites for tug-of-war and other tug-of-war games with your dog to be fun for all involved. Your four-legged friend should know the basic commands “sit” and “down” and be generally balanced and self-confident. If your dog tends to be hyperactive or too intense resource-defense, it is advisable to alleviate these behavioral problems first with the help of a dog trainer before you start with tug-of-war games. Furthermore, tug-of-war should be used with caution for young dogs during teething.
Essential rules for tug of war
Your dog should release the tug toy on command and pick it up only on order. In the beginning, he will likely reach for the toy instinctively, so it makes sense to teach him to let go on command first. Possible signal words can be “off,” “let go,” or “give” – the main thing is that you use only this one command for the desired action and do not mix the terms. When you want your dog to let go of the rope, stop pulling it yourself, but keep the toy in your hand. At the same time, gently grasp your dog’s collar without pressure. After a while, your animal friend realizes that the game will not continue, and let’s go. At the exact moment, you also let go of his collar and play 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 will continue afterward. Then say your command to let go while you hold the collar so that your dog gradually makes the connection. Then the order is enough for him to separate from the tug toy.
Suitable signal words for picking up the toy are, for example, “take” or “barrel.” However, it should be different in sound from the other commands. At the beginning of this training session, your dog will learn to listen to your instruction patiently and not just act on it. So first, have your pet assume a relaxed position with “sit” or “down” before you bring out the tug 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 your order, say the power to let go and hide the toy again. Then, after about 30 seconds, start a new attempt. If your dog gets overconfident during tug-of-war and touches something other than the toy with his mouth, the tug-of-war ends immediately. This way, your four-legged friend understands that it’s worth it for him if he sticks to the rules of the game and follows your lead.