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  • Tug-of-War

    I am new to the dog training and have a 13wk old choco lab. that I plan to use mainly for a buddy but been doin some dummy work lately. I heard its not a good idea to play tug-of-war with the pooch if you're plannin on using it for birds. He always drops the dummy on command. I see him playing t-o-w with our other dog (a Schnauzer) quite a bit lately.

    Is it ok for them to play t-o-w when its just them?

    Thanks for the help!

  • #2
    With other dogs is ok. But definitely not with you. Use that drop command just like you've got started.
    One thing to keep in mind as your pup gets older. I've seen some dogs that play tug of war impulsively with other dogs. Doing so will wear down there teeth prematurely. Fractured and broken teeth can result as well. Some of these broken teeth can cause extreme discomfort to the dog depending on how much of the tooth root has been exposed.
    Just make sure the play is in moderation, but if they are wrestling around tugging each other around for quite some time you might want to break it up. Just to keep them from hurting each other.
    In a few weeks your pup will out grow the Schnauzer any way.
    Baron Rea


    • #3
      black and white

      WL is right as his method does minimize conflicts. I am more lax now than I used to be. Back in the days of competing and training 10 to 12 times per week, I never played the game.
      I myself make play time for the pup, and tug of war is one of the games we play. I do wait until they are a bit older and have some good retrieving time behind them. I never use items we throw for the dogs though. We never play tug of war with retrieved items.
      You just need to decide what you want to control, and how you'll do it. If you are inexperienced as indicated, then go with what WL said. Just don't get into the game, and you won't develop any problems.
      I tend to see more problems from people not receiving a retrieved item from the dog correctly. My philosophy is this. I want my retriever to deliver to my hand. They should come to me, hold still, I put my hand on the item, command "give" or "drop", and they move their head away. They release the bird, I do not take it. That way I never ever get into a tug of war. I have never had a dog stick on a bird while hunting, training, or in a field trial.
      There are methods to use to get that to happen. When they are little, I let them come back to me and hold the item. I do not take it away immediately. I hold them and praise them. My idea is that I do not want them to hesitate to return because I am taking their prize. Later, when they love to retrieve, they seem to get the idea that the faster they come back and release it, the quicker they get to go again.
      When I give the release command, I gently pinch their lower lip on a tooth behind the item they are holding. I apply just enough pressure that they open their mouth, and pull away from the item. My other hand, holding the item never moves.
      Hope that makes sense.


      • #4
        Makes perfect sense. Thanks for the input guys.

        I SOMETIMES have the problem of him dropping the dummy a bit too early as well. He likes to fetch, but he just brings it back and drops it.....not sure if this is bad or not.



        • #5
          He's 13 weeks old ...

          That is pretty young to be worried about holding. That he is coming back and dropping is not a problem in fact, encourage it, he's coming back. When he runs the other way because youíre making him hold and deliver then you have to start getting him to come to you regardless if he brings the bumper or not. It's all play right now. Controlled retrieve is way off. (I'm not using the term force fetch any more- there are too many definitions and methods).

          The problem with tug of war is that the dog will spring back to grab the item and likely bite your hand. He is not respecting your hand on the object. (I have the scars) It's a pain to get rid of that impulse to chase your hand and itís really dangerous for kids. Agility, fly ball and other trainers are offering tug of war as a reward for a good performance to wind their dogs up. I think it's nuts.

          You want to set a standard for his etiquette. Don't go too fast, get a reliable recall, and play with him maintaining your position as leader along with a lot of praise. Basic obedience with some retrieving play is all I do until they are about 6 months old. Monitor the play with the other dog and let them have separate time so he can focus on you. All fun and sustenance should come from you and being by you is the best place to be.


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