OK, so not forever. :P
Donna loves tug. It’s probably hard-coded into her DNA.
She does it all on her on. Even more than she retrieves!
Dogs are predators and scavengers. They need an outlet for exercising their instincts. The predatory sequence is eye, stalk, chase, grab/shake, and beyond that kill, eat. The game of tug-of-war keeps the sequence at bay, trained properly, to grab/shake. It is a satisfying experience for the dog and can be a very good training tool. A healthy outlet for natural prey instincts is to understand that the key is to play the game with rules. – why dogs like to play tug of war
We have been told not to play tug with her before or at least to always make sure we win if we do.
The first video doesn’t show it but after some months, we found that it doesn’t really matter who wins. And honestly, I would have some issues with the dog’s intelligence if she were to persist to want to keep playing a game that she was bound to lose. I wouldn’t want to be the losing side all the time!
Give it up, human!
So now and then, we do let her win :P And interestingly enough, there was a couple of times where she would run willy nilly to her crate with her toy, before peeking at us to see if we follow. And when it looks like we’re ignoring her, she’ll bring the toy back. ;)
There are some things we do to make tug safe for dog and humans. That’s because even if Donna is not aggressive or protective over her toys (some dogs are, so tug may not be that great an idea just yet for them), there will be times when she gets too excited and accidentally nip or scratch the human.
1) Use a longer toy.
The longer it is the further your fingers can be from the dog’s teeth to prevent accidental nipping or biting. There will be times when Donna feels herself losing her grip on the toy and tries to adjust her grip on it to get a better hold of it. This is when she may accidentally bump her teeth to our fingers or hands.
This toy may be a little short.
2) Training that teeth and skin contact ends the game
When Donna gets excited, she may try to snap at the toy to get it, particularly if it dangles enticingly just within reach. That of course means danger for human fingers to some extent. Stop play when dog gets too rough so dog learns that she gets to play when she plays nicely
Another entirely too short toy when she grabs it by the middle. Watch out for those teeth!
3) Teach “drop it”
Particularly for Mr P’s case where tug becomes a rousing game, Donna can get over-excited. Being able to get the dog to drop the toy on cue means that we can go into time outs easier and let Donna regain calmness before she accidentally hurts us from being over enthusiastic in play.
Some dogs play growl when they are having fun at tug, but not Donna. She does however reserve the odd snort now and then. I don’t know for what but I imagine its to express disgust at the unfair advantage we have over her in the game :P
…(you) don’t want to lift the dog off the ground by the tug because it could hyper-extend their neck and possibly cause an injury. Try to mimic a dog when playing tug – they pull side to side or straight back. Their necks are built to have tremendous power from side to side, but not up and down. When dogs tug with other dogs you will never see one jerk or bounce the other up and down. – Should I play tug with my dog
– Why dogs like to play tug of war
– Should I play tug with my dog?
– To tug or not to tug
– Dog-training tip video – tugging with your dog
– Rules for Playing Tug with your Dog
– How police dogs work
– The right way to play tug with your dog