Tug is probably the most popular game used by professional and performance dog trainers because ‘tug’ is a high intensity game that tend to increase a dog’s ‘drive’.   The advantage of tug over retrieve is that the toy remains close to the trainer and the game is very dependent on you.  Tug is a game that can be enjoyed equally by dog and owner but unlike ‘retrieve’ should not be played by children unless they stick strictly to the ‘rules’ of the game.

Rules of ‘Tug’

o    You bring the toy out and invite your dog to play.

o    Your dog should wait for your cue to ‘take it’. No grabbing.

o    Game stops when you ask your dog to release the toy with a cue such as “give”. 

o    Tug side –to –side only to limit the chance of injury to neck or spine and use only the amount of force suitable for your dog.

o    Play stops – time out for several minutes – should teeth touch human skin even accidentally.


Tips to increase ‘Tug’ drive

o    Play for short periods of time only (no more than 30 seconds) without asking for a release and ‘settle’ behaviour. Play can then start again if you wish.

o    Stop before the dog had enough. Always leave him wanting more!

o    Let him win sometimes.

o    At the end of play the toy is put away out of reach. Reserve his favourite toy for tugging.