Tug of war makes your dogs mean!

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by dogsarebetter, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

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    That's what my relatives believe.
    I play tug of war daily with my dogs. And I don't understand how it can make them mean! Any ideas? Has anyone ever heard of this?

    They heard Ruckus and Lynn growling and really putting on a show during tug of war and they said "See, you are making them mean!"
    I think this is just ignorance on their part, but I didnt know what to say back other than "No, its not"
    so what does, or doesnt tug of war make a dog mean?

    when we play tug, the game starts and stops when I say. We all take turns winning and losing. The dogs never bite my hand by accident, even though I do play with both dogs at the save time. I can take it away from them when I ask for it with no problem.
     
  2. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    well... Rosey loves tug of war. She's now almost 11... and not mean at all lol She's the biggest wimp ever, and wouldn't hurt a fly! Of course... if other say it makes a dog mean, they must be right? :p
     
  3. mom2dogs

    mom2dogs New Member

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    LOL, I would HATE to think what they would say if they ever saw Sofie playing tug-o-war, she gets downright crazy pulling/growling and she's good at it ;) But she knows the rules, I say no bite or stop and she drops the toy (or I let her win, and have her moment of glory) and that under no circumstances are her teeth to touch skin.

    I've heard it before, but I see nothing wrong with it once boundaries are set.
     
  4. Dogs6

    Dogs6 Plus One

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    I was actually going to post a thread on this because before I came here I was a CM fan and never played tug of war with the dogs and now it's our fav game. I don't see how it can make them mean at all in fact now the dogs are better trained beacuase tug is a reward for training
     
  5. babymomma

    babymomma Remembering Casey ♥

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    Oh god.. If thats true then Im screwed.. Thats keelys fav game and we play it ALL the time. She puts on a big show too..

    Id like to do Bitework with her. I could swing her around at the end of her pull rope and she wouldnt let gooo :p.
     
  6. mom2dogs

    mom2dogs New Member

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    Sofie can get bored with training, and there's nothing better to her than a good game of tug out of the blue to get her fired up again!

    LOL, so she will be a well trained mean dog? I'll take it! :p
     
  7. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    Especially when puppies are very young tug of war is a bad idea.

    We play a very gentle tug here on occasion.
     
  8. sammgirl

    sammgirl ACoops favorite

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    Hrmm...thanks for posting this question. We play tug of war with Abby, and she sounds like a devil with her growling! But, that's just playing for her. Fleur is also very growly when she plays, but I know the difference between play growl and mean growl.

    It's all in the other body language being displayed.

    I think that maybe tug of war would be bad for puppies because it could damage their bite, correct?
     
  9. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I disagree with this.

    It's a game. Dogs play it with each other all the time. It is thought by some behaviorists to be a cooperative "killing" game. (an off shoot from hunting as a group...but still....a GAME, as domestic dogs, even as adults, are neotenic animals. (juvenile forms of their counter parts due to things like delayed onset of adult hood, brain chemistry like that of a young animal, small, under developed morphological features etc, etc, etc)

    All games have rules and tug of war should be no exception. My rules are: No biting my hand, even by accident or else, game over. No jumping up to grab the tug toy uninvited or the game immediately ends. And the "give" command must have been well installed prior. (to teach, do the trade game...don't take things from a dog without trading up....at least, most of the time, as he's learning and even, once well installed, trade fairly often when you take something) Some people insist that they are the ones who initiate the game and end it. I, personally, don't care about that rule. If a dog comes and asks to play, just like if a friend asks me to "play," I don't necessarily decline. If I don't want to play, I don't. If I do, I do. I don't care if the dog gets bored and stops playing to go do something else. Also, I let the dog win most of the time. It is a good confidence builder. I encourage this game with dogs that have certain confidence issues. It has nothing to do with "dominance" as it is simply a game....as long as the rules are installed first. If your dog has resource guarding issues, that should be dealt with first, of course.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  10. kms1167

    kms1167 Member

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    We play tug of war with Harley all the time...its definitely his favorite game. He gets really into it growling but he is just playing...the game starts and stops whenever we say. I do think that you need to make sure your dog knows you are the one controlling the game so they understand that its just play.
     
  11. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    My dogs all play tug (with the exception of Kaiden, who doesn't play), either with each other (sometimes using each other lol) and I have noticed that the dogs who play with other dogs are the more 'social' of the dogs. Dekka does not play tug with other dogs, but Bounce will play with anyone. Dekka is the one with the reactivity issues, not Bounce.

    Any way its total bunk as Carrie pointed out, its a cooperative game between 'friends' not a competition.
     
  12. mom2dogs

    mom2dogs New Member

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    Depends on the bite, I do believe that you can shift teeth out of alignment (talking scissor bite here), if it is played frequently while young. I certainly wouldn't be dragging a puppy across the floor and from side to side while they are still young, like I do my 3 yo, but light games here and there I don't see a problem with. They probably just as hard if not harder with their littermates. I won't risk a bite shifting after hearing breeders explain that's why their puppies were "ruined" (whether there's truth to it or not), either, so that IS on the back of my mind.
     
  13. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    It can. You can play tug with a puppy, but you do have to be a little more careful. If a tooth gets pulled out prematurely by playing tug with them, the adult tooth can grow in incorrectly -- I've seen it happen. More common is that having a baby tooth snagged and pulled can hurt and can make them worried about playing.

    When I play tug with puppies, I'm very selective about materials I'll use so they're less likely to snag a tooth. I don't really pull, I hold and let the pup pull a little -- and I let them win. When I'm done playing, I trade them for treats to get the toy back.
     
  14. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    stevie was playing tug with his breeder before he ever came home :) i just was very very gentle and careful. he loves to tug (though only with people, not with other dogs) and that's what i wanted for agility and flyball.

    i overheard someone the other day telling a person with an insecure bc mix that they should never ever play tug with that dog (5 months and growly/uncomfortable about strangers touching him- clearly DOMINANT!!!). i had to roll my eyes. bleh.
     
  15. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    At 4 and 5 weeks i think it is a seriously bad idea. My ex did this with Spacey Casey getting him to play much too rough even tho I begged him not to. I will always believe it led to the behaviors that later ruined his life. My old boss was against it ..what they do with other puppies is different from how they should play with humans. I will stick with what i wrote. For young puppies gentleness should be the key in the introduction to playing with humans. Holding it and letting a young pup pull a bit and turning loose is one thing. Getting them to hold on and working them into an angry state is seriously bad news.
     
  16. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    That's just the kind of dog that would especially benefit from some confidence building games, such as tug. Oh yeah...."uncomfortable with strangers touching him equals "dominant." Bleh, is right!:eek:
     
  17. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Like I said...."rules."

    The bad behaviors were a result of faulty training...and not likely the simple and single reason of playing tug. When undesireable behavior is present, you can't jump to the conclusion that it is one single cause at fault. There can be a lot of other factors or a combination of things. If a dog has a temperament or an issue with possessions or going from play to prey, that is the human veering away from the rules or letting the game continue when the rules are broken.... and the game needs to stop. But the game in and of itself, I don't believe, is the culprit. When and if one of my dogs would get too wild, I'd stop playing immediately, put the toy away... and that removal of reinforcement...consitently, would extinguish that behavior.

    I have had many dogs in my life and have played tug with all of them....all that were into it. (my little girl Chi isn't particularly interested...not much anyhow) And not one developed one iota of a problem behavior. Not a single one. I've had GSDs, Labs, mixes, Doberman, Chi's and they all played by the rules and knew it was a game. I never had any resource guarding issues among my dogs either. Like I said, if there is that issue, it must be resolved first and it must be made known to the dog that this is a game and not a fight. But that's all in how it is handled. Rules. Rules. Rules.
     
  18. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    Playing tug can often make them more confident and secure. I've used tug games to get Nyx more comfortable with being touched -- she's very goosey and worried about having her hind end touched, but when she's focused on a tug toy, she'll allow it. It's the only thing that's sufficiently motivating for me to be able to touch her hind end. If she leaves her toy and spins around towards me, she loses her toy. She's now at a point where I can touch her back legs and then give her the tug.

    Tug games can teach gentleness...if the teeth touch human skin, the game ends...if the dog lunges/jumps to grab the tug, the game ends...if the dog doesn't release the tug when asked to, the game ends.

    Working any dog ~ young or old ~ into an "angry state" is never a good thing to do. That "angry state" is usually high levels of frustration. If a dog reaches that level of frustration, something is being done incorrectly. And that can happen whether playing tug or trying to get the dog to sit before putting down his food bowl or any number of other things.
     
  19. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Exactly.

    Tug is one of the games I use with insecure dogs I work with, including Toker, my son's dog who was severely abused as a puppy. She had all kinds of severe issues and was fearful and nervous. Looking at her now, you wouldn't know it. She intrinsically seems to have a rather bold, "dominant" personality. She has a tendancy to be rather pushy with some things. Tug of war really brought her out of her shell and she loves playing that game with me and with other dogs. It never escalates to anything but fun, play growly voices from her and me, LOL....and lots of play bows, waggy tail and then we go into keep away where she runs and I pretend I'm a monster, "I'm gonna get you." Then it's "give" and she must give me the toy and I might throw it or give it to her again for another round of tug.
     
  20. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I play tug with Mia all the time! My most well balanced dogs are also the ones that tug- Nard, Beau, and Mia are all big on tug with people and other dogs. Rose and Summer are not and they're the ones that are not as comfortable around other dogs.
     

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