The game of Tug has an undeserved bad rap in some training circles, while others, most notably the Agility world, have fully embraced it as  an excellent activity to create focus and high arousal. Those two  extremes aside, its a great game just because its fun, many dogs adore  it, it’s the perfect play activity for human family members who might otherwise want to get in appropriately physical with the dog and its a  terrific energy-burner.

One of the most commonly-heard myths about playing Tug is that it makes  the dog dominant. Theres so much misinformation passed around about  hierarchy in dogs  this is just another log on the fire. If you  are concerned about what Tug might do to your relationship with  your dog, just remember that the definition of leader is the  one who controls the good stuff, and orchestrate your Tug-play  accordingly.

Im solidly in the pro-Tug camp. I strongly recommend setting rules for canine and human players of the game to protect against the possibility  of reinforcing unwanted behaviors, but with those in place, you and your  dog can Tug to your hearts content. The rules are general guidelines  for making Tug a positive training/relationship experience. The calmer  and better-behaved your dog is, the less necessary it is to follow them  strictly. The more rowdy and out of control your dog, the more closely you will want to adhere to them. By the way, don’t be alarmed by your  dog’s growls during tug  it’s all part of the game. As long as his  other behaviors are appropriate, let him growl his heart out!