Behavior & Training
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Three Myths about Playing with Your Dog


For most dogs, tug has many benefits. It is interactive and requires cooperation between humans and dogs. It can give dogs exercise and help them stretch their bodies prior to other activities such as running or agility. Tug can effectively rev up an agility dog for maximum success on the course. It helps many dogs learn better mouth control in general.

With so many “Do nots” out there in the world of play, the most important may be this: “Do not spend so much time worrying about playing with your dog that you don’t have time to actually play with her.”



This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 60: Jun/Jul/Aug 2010

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

Photo: Nicole Collins

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Submitted by psvogt | February 25 2011 |

I adopted an extremely shy and fearful young dog. It took me almost a year to teach her how to play tug by letting her win every single time. Tug helped me build her confidence along with a variety of training classes. In the last year she has really become a confident, happy dog who enjoys playing a variety of games including tug. She no longer needs to win every time.;-)

Submitted by Anonymous | June 3 2012 |

Would love some tips on the appropriate way to play tug.

Should we always incorporate "drop it" and "take it" commands?

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