Teaching Your Dog How to Safely Play Tug of War with You

playing with dog

Teaching Your Dog How to Safely Play Tug of War with You

Many dogs enjoy playing tug of war because it allows them to show off their predatory instincts in a healthy manner. Your dog’s mental and physical health will benefit greatly from playing tug of war. 

As a bonus, it’s an excellent method to strengthen the human-canine relationship. This is why this is regularly included in puppy training.

However, if you want to play safely, you must first ensure that you and your dog know the rules and restrictions. Using these guidelines prevents the game from going over the top. It’s excellent to play this game with your dog if they’ve been adequately taught.

Establish a Release Command

Establish a command to halt the game before you start playing tug of war with your dog. This can be a simple command such as “drop it.”  

Stopping the game is easier when you have this command set up. If things get out of hand, you should know that your dog will drop the toy. Before you start a game of tug of war, be sure your dog understands the release command.

Go for a Toy That Is Easy to Handle

Choose a dog toy made for tugging and not used for other sports like fetch. The toy should be long-lasting and durable. 

The finest tug toys are constructed of rubber or similar material with a comfortable grip that protects your hand from the dog’s mouth.

Choose a Spot Away from Distractions

Play in an open space with no distractions, clutter, or potentially dangerous things. Although playing tug of war outside is fun, it may also be done safely indoors, provided you have enough space. 

Ensure there’s enough area for both of you to move about and that nothing will get in the way if one of you backs up.

Initiate the Game and Set the Rules

To establish the tone for any tug of war game, you should be the one to start it. When you and your dog play tug of war, you create the rules, and you should be the one to decide.

Have Regular Breaks

Your dog may become restless when playing tug of war and starts snarling. This is expected, given that the game is based on predatory behavior. To avoid the game from spiraling out of control, keep your dog from becoming extremely eager or aggressive and take frequent breaks.

Check for Behavior Problems

Practice the release command regularly during the game to guarantee that your dog will always drop the tug toy without hesitation. Proofing other skills and behaviors you teach your dog is an excellent way to ensure that the training sticks.

If your dog bites two or three times, the tug of war activity should be called off for the day, even if it’s an accident. This is a gentle reminder to your dog to be extra cautious with their teeth. Because of the nature of the game, teeth may graze you from time to time, but once your dog learns the rules, it will be much more careful.


Playing tug of war is a great way to strengthen your bond with your dog. This is also a fun way to get some dog obedience training done.

If you have a dog that enjoys playing tug of war, it’s best to try to train them in the rules. If your dog isn’t well-versed in the game, it’s your job as a master to enforce the rules. You can ensure a fun time while playing with your dog with these tips.

Are you looking for the best dog training blogs to get more tips on training your dog? Dog Obedience Training offers helpful information on dog obedience training. Check out our other articles today!

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