Tug of War: A Fun Way to Exercise and Train Your Dog

Plus, we help you find the right toy for your dog’s size and personality.

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There are many games you can play with your dogs. Anything from fetch all the way to puzzle solving will make their lives longer and filled with happiness. When mentioning dog games, it's impossible to leave out Tug of War. Find out more about how this game benefits you and your dog, what toys to use, how to make them last longer and what the game's rules are.

Tug of War is a common game played by all dog breeds. It involves a pull toy, usually a rope that dogs bite. As a responsible pet owner, you don't want your dog to bite just anything- it isn't safe to bite and chew through things that could hurt or poison your dog. Here at Hemptique, we have a solution for that!

Tug of War Dog Toy at Hemptique

At Hemptique, we designed a rope for Tug of War, specifically for dogs with safety in mind. It is made from hemp fiber which cannot hurt or poison your pet even if they swallow it. The highly enduring and long-lasting rope is made with 100% natural materials that won't harm nature because our main business goal is eco-friendliness and sustainability. Do the best for your best friend and choose ropes in different sizes and shapes. Remember, no matter what rope you choose, they are all dye and chemicals free, and they easily resist mold and bacteria. For more information about pet hemp products and how to order in bulk, call 760-602-4864. ext. 402 and 405, and our friendly staff will answer any of your questions.

Invoke Their Inner Nature: How to Play Tug of War Dog?

Our eco-friendly ropes for Tug of War make it easy to understand the game because of their unique design. One end of the rope is fit for your hand, and another end is meant for your dog to bite.
how to play tug of war with dog
The game is pretty easy and it's very exciting for your dog.

You must pull the rope towards you when the dog bites so your buddy can feel pressured to pull back. You can also move the rope left and right to make it more intense and add more fun to it. We do not recommend moving it up and down because it constantly puts your dog's neck in an uncomfortable position.

By playing the game, you are stimulating dog instinct. It represents your dog catching prey that struggles to get out of fierce jaws, so doing this exercise daily is good for mental stimulation and teeth strength.

The Golden Rules of Tug of War

The game itself is simple enough to know exactly what to do when you're with your furry friend. But there are some lines you shouldn't let cross. These are the rules you and your dog should practice:
  • The toy for the game is used only for that. When you're not playing the game, put it away somewhere your dog can't reach.
  • You are the only one who should decide when to play and how long.
  • You should be the one who always wins the game if your dog doesn't listen to "drop it." If your dog is a good boy/girl, you should let it win the game occasionally, not let the dog lose confidence and interest in it.
  • If teeth touch you or your clothes even for a second, finish the game early. That will make your dog careful next time you play.
  • Growling is fine until it becomes serious, especially if the "drop it" doesn't work. All you have to do when your dog is aggressively growling is to take away the toy and not play for a while. Repeating the calming process will teach it politeness.
  • Having multiple dogs allows them to play Tug of War by themselves (if they are on good terms), but never play the game with more than one dog if you want to be part of it.
  • Don't let children play the game – they are not strong enough to handle it.

Tug of War: Pros and Cons

There are some benefits and disadvantages when playing this game. Generally, it is good to play this simple game with your dog, but let's see how exactly it affects them.
  • Positive mental stimulation.
  • Honoring their instincts.
  • It strengthens their jaws and teeth and makes their gums healthier.
  • Trains important muscles, stretching them the right way.
  • When you can't go outside, it's a positive physical indoor exercise.
  • Game creates a strong bond between you and your dog. 
  • Boosts your dog's confidence.
  • Their teeth and gums can get hurt if played overaggressive.
  • They can become overstimulated.
  • You can get hurt by bites and scratches.
  • It can be dangerous for the elderly and children to play.

Is playing Tug of War With My Dog Bad?

It is not bad at all. If you follow the rules of the game correctly, it only strengthens the bond between you two. It benefits your dog's predatory instincts, which is healthy for mental stimulation.

How Long Should I Play With Dog?

You can play the game for as long as you like. You will feel it when it is enough for both of you. The sessions of the game should last anywhere between 10 and 15 seconds.

Should I Let Dog Win the Game?

If your dog listens to you when you say "sit" or "drop it,” you should reward them with victory occasionally. That makes them confident, and they will want to play again. However, if your dog’s behavior is bad, you mustn't teach that it has power over you. Demotivation by losing the game calms them down in that way.

Why Does My Dog Growl When Playing Tug of War?

It is in their nature. Playing the game Tug of War invokes their instincts of wild animal hunting and pulling apart the prey. Growling, in that case, is completely normal.

Does Tug of War Make Dogs Aggressive?

Growling can make you think your pet is aggressive, but that's usually untrue. Aggressive behavior is said to be impossible towards the owner because of their loyalty. Although, playing the game too much can cause overstimulation, leading to non-dangerous aggression if you suddenly stop the game they enjoy so much. It's somewhat like not fulfilling the wishes of children.

Should I Play Tug of War With Puppy?

There is no harm in playing Tug of War with puppies, but you should be more careful with them. They still have baby teeth, so you shouldn't pull too hard or play too much.
pros and cons of tug of war with dog

What is the Best Toy for Tug of War?

There is a huge variety of dog toys for this game. The best decision depends on the type of dog you're playing with – the size, the maneuverability, the personality and strength.

For example, if your dog is small, the choice should always be a smaller and softer toy. To avoid injuries while playing with bigger buddies, you should choose longer ropes to keep your distance.
Choose a toy that makes it easy to control the game and the dog while keeping safety in mind. You can find toys like ropes, rings, rubber bones, and stuffed toys.

A common Tug of War toy is rope. Ropes can be made to be soft or with hard materials. They can be in different sizes and are the easiest for you and your dog to hold.

We recommend hemp dog ropes by Hemptique because:

  • They are eco-friendly – hemp is biodegradable.

  • The toy is not poisonous, even when swallowed, because no chemicals were used in production.
  •  They are durable and strong – they last longer and are made to withstand fierce bites.
  • They are healthy for your dog since hemp contains fibers that represent a natural tooth washer.
  • The ends of the ropes differ, so it's designed to be easy to handle for both you and your pet.
  • They are antibacterial, antiallergenic, and they naturally resist mildew and mold.
  • They can be washed in the machine.

How to Make Dog Toys Last Longer?

The nature of certain breeds is destructive. They like shredding soft stuff like pillows and furniture and don't mind shredding their toys. Spending money on toys that will be in pieces in no time doesn't feel good.

Here are a few tips on how to make dog toys stay in one piece for a longer period:

  • Change toys when changing the game - have a toy for each game you're playing.
  • For one game, have several toys, and rotate them weekly to prolong their durability.
  • Train your dog to be gentler with their toys unless they are meant for destruction. Those toys are usually made to withstand more force.
  • Try to maintain interactivity. Play with your dog often and create a powerful bond that will make it less likely to be destructive.
  • Don't include toys all the time. You can choose a day for agility training to improve physical health of your dog without using any of the toys.