Playing Tug-Of-War Can Be Fun & Beneficial For Dogs

Tug-of-war has been played by people for thousands of years, but the natural stars of the game are…dogs.

It may come as no surprise as dogs are athletic and love to play.

The game is simple and typically involves a rope and two or more players. Some people take the game to the next level by participating in world tournaments that involve numerous rules and regulations. Dogs on the other hand are happy to grab a toy, stick, or the sock out of your hand for a battle of strength.

Photo: Pexels/Christoph Sixt

Tug, as it is referred to by dog trainers, is not only fun for dogs but can help build confidence, provide mental and physical stimulation, and be used as a training tool when played correctly.

Using the right toy and keeping the play sessions short is key to a good game of tug with your dog.

Owner and Lead Instructor at the Dog Sport University, Dianna L. Santos, explains to American Kennel Club the best way to approach the game. She says, “Strive for two to three tugs in a session (tug-trade-tug-win-tug-trade) and then cap it off by asking the dog to do a ‘thinking’ exercise. Give them a treat and then put the tug toy away.”

Photo: Pixabay

She suggested that dog owners use a long toy to avoid being accidentally grazed by your dog’s teeth and to play for about 15 seconds. You should also let your dog win, which shouldn’t be too hard.

“Allowing a dog to win means they can celebrate with their prize, but it also presents them with a wonderful opportunity: to choose to bring the toy back to you on their own,” Santos shared.

The game (no matter how you play it) is still enjoyed by people and dogs around the world and even has a day reserved to celebrate it. February 19 is officially known as Tug of War Day.

As if you needed another reason to play with your dog…

Tug isn’t the game of choice for all dogs but working breeds and terriers seem to really enjoy it. Be sure to share this with your dog-loving friends!

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