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4 Myths About Playing Tug Debunked

What do dogs really love? Playing tug-of-war with their favorite human!

We see it every day at Tug-E-Nuff: playing tug builds a dog's confidence, and boosts bonding. And it helps teach dogs some essential skills and commands, while acting as a fun and rewarding interactive training tool.

Despite all of this, many dog owners still feel uncomfortable playing tug with their dogs, in part because there’s still so many misconceptions about doing just that.

Playing Tug Causes Aggression

This is one of the most common misconceptions, and it probably relates to the idea that  dogs bite down and pull on a tug toy with their mouths. While this is a built-in behavior for all dogs, some people can view this kind of play as aggressive. Nothing could be farther than the truth. Tugging is greatly rewarding, it’s the kind of play that helps dogs establish trust, and makes other training easier, too. 

Of course, it’s always a good idea to establish a few rules when it comes to any kind of play, including tugging. Start by setting up a few ground rules such as making sure you are the one who starts the game. Also, be sure to include a solid cue for dropping the tug. Both will help you make sure that a game of tug is fun and satisfying.

Playing Tug is Dangerous

Playing tug is anything but dangerous. It’s perfectly safe for both humans and their pups, as long as they use the best tug toys. 

Why play with the best? Because it’s vitally important to protect a dog’s mouth and teeth. So, never play with anything too sharp or hard like a stick. Soft but strong toys designed specifically for playing tug are always best.

All our toys are designed just that - playing tug. Our bungee toys all have a stretchy handle to prevent any injury to your shoulder or your dog’s neck. And our Chaser tugs can help you put some extra distance between our dog and you if you’re inexperienced at this kind of play. If your dog has a tendency to grab the handle of a tug toy, and you have any worries about your fingers getting caught, you can follow this advice, and follow these steps for playing tug safely and enjoyably.

Tug Encourages Dogs to Chase Other Animals

Some dog owners get understandably concerned that playing tug - especially with a tug toy made with real fur - can encourage their dog to chase other animals. In our experience though, and following the opinion of experts, playing tug actually serves as a way to overcome the instinct to chase other fluffy animals, giving dogs an extremely satisfying way to deal with their natural urge to chase.

Tugging Causes a Hard Mouth

The idea that tugging can cause a hard mouth in certain types of dogs is also a myth, widely considered to be both a dated and inaccurate idea. Weigh the research for yourself: dogs have much to gain from playing tug, and little to lose.

In short: playing tug of war is a great way to have fun and train your dog, too.

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