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puppy tug o' war?

March 28th, 2005, 05:15 PM
my vet has discouraged the play of tug-o'-war w/ my 4 month old dobe, as he says this will lead to aggressive tendencies in an "already-bred-to-be" attack dog... are these concerns warranted? should i refrain from his natural desire to be on the opposing side of me, w/ rufus, his big, blue dog, as bait?

March 28th, 2005, 05:32 PM
The problem is if you let the dog win all the time. Whoever wins at tug-of-war is the alpha and if your dog wins more than you do, he may start asserting himself against you, and that assertion will be in the form of aggression. That's the only issue with tugging. If there is no doubt that he is not the alpha, you shouldn't have a problem-- but you have to be able to end the game with the rope in your hand without trouble.

March 28th, 2005, 05:34 PM
i have always played w/my shep..or labs w/a tug n play rope or toy..i just play tug and throw tho..i don't do the ..hmmm how to explain the jerking or shaking side to side thing..i never had any probs..So its more like tug..drop it thro play type of shep/rottie plays like this w/my Shih tzu(who is 11 weeks old) prob..un less Harley won't let go and Kassidy sorta carries him'm sure there are other opinions on here..or pro's n con's..Top.

March 28th, 2005, 05:37 PM
Everybody has their own opinios, but I love playing tug-o-war with my 3.5 year old pitbull, she enjoys it and I enjoy it, she also plays it with some of her dog buddies (unfortunately she always wins, as nobody likes to play it as much as she does, and they just let it go). ( Nakita is obsessed with it, she would grab any toy and would start poking you with her nose, telling you to grab it , so she could pull some, unfortunately, sometimes what she wants to pull is a tennis ball) I am not sure what to recommend, but I am not against it. It depends on the dog, if your dog is food or toy aggressive, is probably not one of the best games to play. I guess one of the essential things to teach a dog when playing a tug-o-war is probably to let go on the command, and let the dog understand that it is just a game ( so whenever you can see that your dog gets serious, or shows some agressions, stop playing and say "no"). That is all advice I can give, if anyone has anything to add, it would be helpful.

March 28th, 2005, 06:10 PM
so, i like the "pulling only" technique... i think it provides less opportunity for aggression. i will definitely enforce this. and while i may be a girl... he knows who his daddy is! there is zero confusion in the alpha department! our vet is a bit older; therefore, i think he is probably a little more conservative. i do exercise my right to remove nehemiah's food, water, toys, etc., while he is mid-meal or play. that's a good thing, right? provides clarity in the "i'm-the-boss-of-you" area...?

Lucky Rescue
March 28th, 2005, 06:13 PM
Everybody has their own opinios, but I love playing tug-o-war with my 3.5 year old pitbull
Yes, that's my pit bull's favorite game too, complete with terrible growling and major butt wiggling!:)

For the Dobie - often police dogs, bomb sniffing dogs etc are rewarded for correct behavior with a quick game of tug.

Agree that it's fine if you are able to end the game whenever you wish. I taught my dog the "Out" command, which means open your mouth and release whatever is in it!

Side note: Vets are medical doctors, and as wonderful as they may be treating your pet's health, they are NOT the right people to consult about training and behavior, unless they are also trainers.

March 28th, 2005, 06:21 PM
Side note: Vets are medical doctors, and as wonderful as they may be treating your pet's health, they are NOT the right people to consult about training and behavior, unless they are also trainers.
Right. Most know very little about animal behavior.

Dogs do not become aggressive because of some tug game, but it is important to teach them to let go. They become aggressive due to lack of socialization, lack of leadership, genetics and many other reasons.
I play tug with both my dogs and they love it. They shake and growl its scary, but know to drop it when I say so.

March 28th, 2005, 06:23 PM
I am a girl as well, and when I just got the baby I was 16 years old, so it was tough proving that I am able to care for a pitbull. I used to also remove food, bones, toys from her, but I would praise her, sometimes with treats, but mostly with kisses and hugs. and then would give her, her toys or food back. I also would pet her while she would be eating not for long to annoy her, but for 5-10 seconds, and let her eat. Sometimes I would feed her from hand, so she would know that, that is the hand that feeds her. And when you remove, something from him make sure you give it back, so he knows that he will get it back, because if he won't , then he will be more protective the next time you rtry to remove it from him.

March 28th, 2005, 06:26 PM
would love to see some pictures of your baby before he grows up.

March 28th, 2005, 06:46 PM
wow... you guys are awesome! i feel so relieved having this avenue of Q and A. i am thankful for the comments regarding the vet... at times, i feel a bit inadequate while visiting... they know he is my first and i take great caution w/ his development. they are always SAYING and not really LISTENING. perhaps now, i will cease the inquiries... save it for you!

funny thing, lucky: i was trying to decide upon a command for releasing the toy of choice... i swear i would just open my mouth and wait to see what i heard! needless to say, perhaps i can steal your oh-so-obvious word, "out..."

March 28th, 2005, 06:59 PM
I use "out" to get them out of a room and "drop it", "let go" or "give it" to get something away from the doggy...

March 28th, 2005, 07:00 PM
i swear i would just open my mouth and wait to see what i heard! needless to say, perhaps i can steal your oh-so-obvious word, "out..."
"Drop it" also seems to be a popular choice for releasing items in a dogs mouth. I actually like "out" better, but we already use that to tell our dog to leave a room. :rolleyes:

BTW...we also play tug with our dog...she can pull us off the couch if we aren't ready! :eek:

Lucky Rescue
March 28th, 2005, 07:02 PM
This is how I taught my dog "out". Get a great treat. When you want to end the game, abruptly stop tugging, but keep hold of the item. Freeze in place, and sternly say "OUT" while showing the dog the treat. He should drop what he has and when he does, you can praise and immediately give the treat.

Do not always end the game with the Out, or the dog may be reluctant to let go when he knows the fun will end. Sometimes after giving the Out, continue the game after he releases or give a treat, or start some sort of new game - throw a ball, etc...

This way, your dog will learn that OUT does not mean the fun is over!:)

Dobies are very smart and trainable and yours should catch on quickly.

Got any pics?? I love Dobies!!:)

March 29th, 2005, 06:46 AM
I agree,a game of tug of war is ok.And yes,You are the winner and also control when the game stops.BUT the only thing I want to say is just be careful when playing and their teeth.If playing a bit rough,you can actually break one or a few.This happened to a friends Rottie.

LR is right about the Police Dogs being rewarded this way.My GSD Tron is a retired Police Dog.He was rewarded with his favorite ball on a rope and a little game of tug of war.This was his reward I used when I did his training.

Any pics of your furbaby?........ :D

March 29th, 2005, 08:51 AM
i just use the word enough w/my shep/rottie for the end of any game..all my dogs liked tug..Kassidy's fav game is still ball..even in the house..he puts it on the desk (puter) and i can also take his food away and back, pat him while he's eating etc. Even ifin the puppy tries to get into his food while he's eating..i have to watch cause Kasidy wud just let him agree w/all of the above replies..teaching them when enough is enough is wat counts..some time i just say no more..mommy's tired..later..and he goes and lays down.

March 29th, 2005, 09:47 AM
Daisy's favourite game is to play tug-o-war. She also likes to do the "death shake" to try and get it from me. And I know it isn't an alpha thing, because if she does happen to get it, she runs back and tries to swing the rope into my hand. Her favourite toy is her 6 foot stick. She'll grab it in the middle while I use her for arm curls (or Daisy curls, as I call them). But we also always make sure to once in a while to tell her "give" to make sure she knows who's alpha. I've also had my parents tell me I shouldn't wrestle with her (which she loves) because dogs don't understand what is too rough. I don't believe this because if I yelp, she starts licking with her tail between her legs, and when I say, "chill!" she knows play time is over and calms down. Now if my wife could just find a "calm" word for me :D

March 29th, 2005, 12:24 PM
I play tug with all my dogs, including my Doberman!!! Jean Donaldson wrote about it in one of her books I think Culture Clash but she describes it perfectly. That whole crap about it making your dog aggressive is just that, crap! LOL There are ways to play.

Cactus Flower
March 29th, 2005, 01:56 PM
Hmm. Interesting thread!

I used to try to use tug to train my PitX (passed away a year ago) to "release". She loved playing tug, and whenever I'd say "release!", she'd let go.

That command didn't work when she had her jaws on another dog, though. Only the garden hose did!
(Sometimes people just don't listen when you tell them NOT to bring their dogs along with them when visiting me- they'd actually bring them right into our FENCED yard!)

I, too, would love to see a picture of your Dobie.

March 31st, 2005, 05:33 PM
I have to say that I agree with everyone about the powers of play. My family had a huge Rottweiler that loved a good game of tug-o-war. She was so big that she would pull everyone around the house. We owned a bar with a dance floor, and when the dog was at the bar, we would play tug-o-war on the dance floor. She would get so mad that she couldn't get any traction - and it was the only time you could win the game. The only problem we ever had because of tug-o-war was the destruction of stuffed toys! The tugging in no way ever caused any aggression in Koda - this Rott was the biggest sweetie you would ever want to meet, people from all over came into the bar just to see her (she would beg for money to buy her own jerky from the bartender). I also agree with the comments about being careful not to break their teeth - especially when tugging with puppies.

April 1st, 2005, 08:28 AM
I play Tug-o-war with my malamute and I make sure I always win.

Otherwise I hold the rope at ar height and get him to jump for it. When he does I instantly let go.

No unwanted aggression here.