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Old 09-28-2006, 09:32 AM   #1
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Question Is it true that tug-o-war encourages aggressive behavior?

I just wanted to know if it's true that playing tug-a-war with your puppy when it's young encourages agressive behavior and will later grow to be a agressive dog. I adopted his sister a few days after and I notice they play fight alot and I usually leave it uncorrect as I think it's just puppy play but Moose likes to play Tug-A-War like his blanket and a friend told me that'll encourage agressive behavior and if he wants to play Tug-A-War let it be with his sister and not you. Is this true or false ?
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:37 AM   #2
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I personally don't put much stock in it as long as you make it clear that you're playing a game. Whenever our puppy got really going really crazily when playing any game, we would make her sit and walk her through some of her tricks. That immediately calmed her down and reminder her who was in control. Now that she's approaching two years old, we still play rough with her, but it never has shown outside of that session of playing.

Every dog is different, though, so if you do with rough with your dog be sure to keep a close eye on his behavior. If he can't separate play time from the rest of life, it would be a good time to remove any rough play from your routine.
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Old 09-28-2006, 11:58 AM   #3
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I agree that all dogs are different but in my experience we have always played it with our dogs, they absolutely adore it and not a single one has ever turned out to be aggressive.

I would suggest making sure that when you want the game to end though you have a good 'drop' command or something to distract the puppy so that you are in control and can always 'win' the game. I've heard that you should never let a dog 'win' tug-o-war (i.e. you let go first) but we've never stuck steadfastly to that rule and my dogs are fine.

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Old 09-28-2006, 07:11 PM   #4
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I think MegBonnie is exactly right. If you teach the game in conjunction with a solid 'give' or 'drop' command there is not any problem. Better not to only teach tug game and let them 'win' and keep the tug toy every time without a 'give' as then any time they run off with something you really want them to give you back they will think you are playing the tug game. If they understand 'give' you can mix up tug and fetch. Tug for a while, then ask puppy to 'give' you the toy. When he does, praise and throw the toy as his reward.

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Old 09-29-2006, 01:25 AM   #5
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Hmm ... sounds like a good idea. I think I'll just stop entirely with pulling back on any rag or rope he has in his mouth and not play tug-a-war. I don't wanna take the chances of him becoming aggressive. I think he does plenty of aggressive rough play with his sister Maggie. They always have wrestling matches.
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Old 09-29-2006, 04:46 PM   #6
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Smile It's okay if you have a purpose and your ground rules are set!

As long as you know what you're doing, tug-of-war is okay.

You might find this article helpful:

{ Link removed by Doberman's }

If you have an aggressive dog, chances are, tug-of-war will be the least of your problems. But the good rule of thumb is that you have the DROP command installed in your dog before you play. Then, dominance is no longer an issue.

Remember that although virtually every professional working dog trainer uses TOW as a tool to reward their dog, a professional working dog is a demanding animal to live with. You might not want to trigger those drives.

Last edited by Doberman's; 10-01-2006 at 09:14 AM.. Reason: Linking personal websites is not permitted.

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