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Playing Tug With Your Dog
As any new puppy parent will tell you, little pups love to explore the world with their mouths. It’s never too early to begin teaching your puppy bite inhibition. This can easily be accomplished with a little game called Tug-of-War. Many people think that teaching games like tug-of-war encourages biting and mouthing, but when used appropriately, this game teaches your pup self control and deference skills.
All puppies need appropriate outlets for chewing. And, the tug game is a great way to teach your dog what is and is not an appropriate outlet for chewing. All you need to accomplish this is some time, some patience and your dog’s favorite Dog Toy. Here’s what you can do:
Tug Of War
Tug of War is an excellent game to teach your dog for the following reasons:
- Gives your dog an appropriate outlet for his “prey” drive, rather than playing tug with your pant leg.
- Teaches the dog to release a prized object when he is really revved up.
- Teaches bite inhibition because the game ends if the dog accidentally bites your hand.
- It’s great exercise!
Playing tug of war with your dog is fun – but of course, there are rules:
- Pick one Dog Toy to play tug with. We don’t want the dog to generalize Tug to all toys.
- Control access to the toy.
- Do not leave the toy lying around – you initiate the Tug game.
- The dog is not allowed to start tugging until you “cue” the game. Pick a word. I say “Tuggy!” Then present the toy and start playing.
- The dog MUST release the toy on command. Cue the release by putting a treat right by the dog’s nostrils and say “Give.”
- If the dog makes a mistake and bites you, screech “OUCH!” and take the toy away for 3-5 seconds. Act hurt and disgusted. Then re-present the toy and give your Tug cue. Your dog should play with more caution.
- After the release, do not allow your dog to re-take the toy without your Tug cue. When he releases, have him make eye contact before you tell him to re-take the toy.
After a great game of tug, feel free to reward your pet with some tasty Dog Treats to show that you are pleased with his behavior. Playing tug with your dog is a fantastic way to bond with your pet, and have some fun too. Now grab some fun Dog Toys, and head out to your favorite play area for some fun!
Related Dog Training Tips
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Puppies That Chew: Dealing With This Normal Behavior
Puppy Training 101: Five Basic Tips