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Discussion Starter #1
My puppy loves to play tug. She'll bring her toys to me and lay them in my lap to initiate tug. Her trainer discouraged this. I don't understand why this is a negative activity. She doesn't get aggressive or nasty during it. Thoughts?
 

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Never heard of someone saying it was a negative thing. Dogs love it and its a good activity, as long as they're doing it with their toys.
 

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Some trainers that still believe in the dominance/alpha theory (highly debunked, by the way) believe that if you play tug, you ALWAYS have to win or the puppy will think they are dominant over you. Very false. As long as your pup is playing nice, tug away!!!! Have fun :)
 

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All of my dogs play tug, and none have had any bad behaviors result from it.

My terrier would growl like a crazy dog and we played tug until he was around 15 years old and arthritis was catching up with him.

Zody, the dog I have now, also loves to play tug and he's another one that play growls sounding cute (he's only 10 lbs) but I suspect he thinks he sounds ferocious LOL.

My terrier would occasionally win on his own, he was very strong for his size and I didn't always keep a good enough grip on the toy. Zody is way to small to win so I sometimes let him win. I think it keeps a dog's interest in the game to be able to win, and have never bought into it being a way for a dog to try and take over my house.

I keep control of the game and never allow the dog to get out of control. I will randomly stop and give a command for the dog to do to get the game to continue. I also view it as good chance to practice the drop cue.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
She gave me a work book and its in there. She didn't tell me this. Had she, I would've asked her directly.

My girl is a Lab/Mastiff mix. Sometimes she wins and sometimes I let her. But either way she immediately puts it back in my lap - so I don't think she cares or even realizes she "won". When I win, she sits and I throw it. Seems harmless.
 

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She gave me a work book and its in there. She didn't tell me this. Had she, I would've asked her directly.

My girl is a Lab/Mastiff mix. Sometimes she wins and sometimes I let her. But either way she immediately puts it back in my lap - so I don't think she cares or even realizes she "won". When I win, she sits and I throw it. Seems harmless.
I let my pup win all the time, it's good for them to gain confidence! Don't set a pup up for failure. :)
 

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Well, as with all things, beware of universally acclaimed "truths." Dogs are individuals, driven by breed, experience, and unique temperament traits. Saying that tug is bad in all cases (or good for that matter) is guaranteed to be bunk. If your dog plays nice, tug can be a wonderful game to both release stress and reward your dog.

In my [unique] case, I have a pup that can get overly rambunctious. We play tug, but well managed. This doesn't mean I have to win. In fact, I will often lose on purpose (mainly because I love to watch her run while flinging the tug toy about!). She usually gets bored and brings it back for more tug play.

Beyond that, I do set boundaries:

1) At the end of the game, I collect the toy and put it away. It's special, it's not to be torn apart, and it's mine. We bring it out when we're going to have a good time and/or as a reward.

2) During the game, we tug for a good while (30-60 sec), and then we have a drop-it, leave-it short interval, followed by "tug!" The tug doesn't commence until I signal for it. And it stops when I signal it. (I had to train her to do this with treats, but I no longer need treats for reinforcement.)

In this way, I get the best of both worlds, a good round of play, and a check on aggressive or out of control behavior. Best of all, she loves it. But that's her. This wouldn't necessarily work for all dogs.
 
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