Monday, September 14, 2015

Dog Play: TUG!!

Monday and Vito playing tug with a broken tire toy :)
While there is still that myth going around that playing tug with your dog will cause 'dominance' issues, most people have realized tug is really just a great game that gives your dog a substantial energy outlet. I play tug with my dogs every day in various forms and contexts :). My dogs also play tug with each other. This used to happen much more frequently than it does now, but it still happens on occasion. My dogs are all getting old :(.

When dogs play tug, it's not about 'dominance' or even who wins, it's simply about the act of tugging itself. Most dogs love to grab onto something and pull...and keep on pulling :). There will also usually be loud play growling involved.

Bourbon, Vito and a foster dog playing tug.
As you can tell from the photos, when dogs play tug with each other their faces end up pretty close to each other. They can be inadvertently placed oppositely in 'stare down' positions. That can be dangerous if you have a 'socially awkward' dog, so I always monitor tug games closely. Polite dogs use their subtle body language to let the other dogs know they aren't a threat, usually by avoiding direct eye contact and slightly turning their head away. So you do want to watch your dogs play tug to ensure they don't begin to misunderstand each others' messages while playing.

Rookie says "won't someone play tug with me?"

Do your dogs play tug with eachother? What is their favorite toy to play tug with?

This is the third post in a series of posts on Play. Please check back next week for Dog Play: Dog Parks, Good or Bad?!?

Previous Posts:
Dog Play: The Chase Is On
Dog Play: Bitey-Face

Snoopy's Dog Blog


  1. Mr. N likes to play tug with Sage with sticks. He usually wins though.

    1. My dogs love to play with sticks too. Sometimes I wonder why I spend money on fancy toys when I can get sticks for free ;)

  2. What's interesting is dogs play tug differently when they play with each other and when they play with their people.
    --Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

    1. Very true! My dogs are much more 'intense' and energetic about tug when they play with me versus when they play with each other. Probably because there is less chance of a misunderstanding with me :)