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Tug O’War – A GREAT Game to Play With Your Dog!

Tug is a great game to play with your dog as long as you follow the rules.  This is also a very important game because it teaches your dog that you are in control of them and their mouth!  It also teaches them that they can have some “rough play” with you as long as you initiate it and are in complete control of it.  It is not recommended to have other rough play with your dog outside of Tug, as it may cause unwanted aggressiveness. Whilst feeding your dog a balanced dog food diet is key ahead of play time, games provide a great bonding experience between you and your pet.

Image Source: Pixabay

Here are the rules:

1-Have a Special Tug Toy

  • This toy is only for TUG AND NOTHING ELSE!
  • Keep it out of reach of your dog so that you are in complete control of the toy and only get it when you want to play TUG.
  • The toy should be long enough for you to use one hand at each end of the toy – this gives your dog a clear line of sight as to where she is supposed to bite.


  • You decide when you play, not your dog!
  • The toy should not be within your dog’s reach unless you are about to play.


  • Stop the game when you are finished or when it is necessary (ex. The dog put teeth on your skin, etc.).
  • Put the toy back in it’s special spot so that your dog cannot get it on his own.


  • If your dog’s teeth touch your skin (even if it is minor) the game is OVER.
  • This teaches your dog that it is not okay to bite you or anyone else – EVER, no matter how excited or riled up they become.
  • Set boundaries of where the dog is allowed to bite, mark it off with tape to help your dog understand by feeling the difference between the tug toy and the marker.


  • This is the most important rule!
  • You must always win this game to keep your dog submissive to you as the leader.
  • If you let your dog win they will think that you are no longer Alpha, or can be challenged as Alpha.
  • This helps teach your dog that you are in control of their most dangerous and important asset – their teeth.

By playing Tug O’War and following the above rules you will help burn some of your dog’s energy, get out some of that natural dog aggression, teach your dog that you are in control, and most importantly – HAVE FUN!
Take care and stay safe!

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