Tug-of-war is a very famous game in dogs, and if I am not wrong, you have already played this game with your Labrador. You have heard numerous things about tug-of-war, as it can lead to aggression in dogs, including your Labrador. If you are confused and not decide whether you should play tug-of-war games with your dog or not, then you are not alone. It is a debatable question. According to wshs-dg, the Tug of war can be good or bad depending on how you play with your Labrador. Some experts also claim that it can be great exercise for your Labrador, and it is also a wonderful bonding time for a dog and a human.

Tug of war games is beneficial in many ways if played properly with your Labrador dogs like it provides considerable exercise, preventing stress-related behaviors. Apart from this, there are some cons: if the owner doesn’t teach the rules of games, it causes aggression, dominance, and sometimes your dog may snap the owner’s hand.

In this blog, we will find the pros and cons of tug war games, also help you to decide whether you should play these games with your dog or not.

Pros of Tug of war:

pros tug
  • It is a great way to bond with your Labrador.
  • It is an excellent game where your dog taps into its natural instincts to chew and wrestle.
  • It teaches your Labrador about rules and boundaries.
  • It can be the most enjoyable game for your Labrador.
  • The Tug of war strengthens the bond between the owner and dog.
  • It can provide many exercises for your dog.
  • It is both physically and mentally tiring for your dog, which is a good thing.
  • It gives the best opportunity to gives your dog an outlet for energy even when you can’t go outdoors.
  • With the help of this game, your Labrador learns to trust their owners and also help to learn to work comfortably with them.
  • It can prevent the chances of boredom or stress-related negative behaviors.
  • It is a great way to leave your Labrador happy and exhausted.
  • Tug of war allows a chance for rough-housing, with ground rules set and observed.
  • It helps your dog to learn and obey your commands, even under extremely stimulating conditions.
  • It can increase confidence in a timid dog.
  • It is one of the easiest ways to reinforce obedience basics and helps increase your dog’s impulse control.
  • It creates a valuable distraction when working on learning other behaviors.
  • It can help your dog satisfy its natural instincts.
  • There’s no evidence that Tug of war can cause aggression problems in dogs.
  • Many websites talk about the benefits of flossing tug toys. Some tug toys are specially designed to help floss your dog’s teeth. But there are no specific studies that I have read or seen.
  • Tug of war can be used as favorable reinforcement during training sessions.
  • You can use this game as a reward during training or even use the game itself as a way to train your dog in new things. You can learn more from here.

Cons of Tug of war:

cons tug

Unlike many pros of tug-of-war games, these games may hurt you and your Labrador if not appropriately managed. Also, before playing these games, you need to read out below crucial cons that can help you prevent future accident.

  • It can cause aggression and dominance in dogs if not appropriately managed.
  • If dog owners do not effectively set boundaries and teach the dog the game’s rules, the dog may snap at the owner’s hand while playing.
  • Dogs that have a history of aggression towards animals or humans can often take tug games too seriously.
  • Dogs that are high-arousal dogs that can’t settle down and tend to become overstimulated.
  • According to Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others, in some cases, playing Tug of war with your puppy can accidentally reinforce aggressive behaviors.
  • According to The New York Times reports, Tug of war can encourage inappropriate obsessive behaviors, making him a hard-to-control adult. Dr. John stump of Purdue University also warns that puppies who play tug-of-war games end up learning that it’s OK to bite objects and people in the home.
  • It can cause injury if your dog has lost or painful teeth or gums.
  • It can cause jaw or bite problems among puppies because their teeth, mouths, and jaws are still growing and changing.

Suggestion for you: 11 toys you should avoid for your Labrador retriever:

How can I choose the toy for the Tug of war game toy for your Labrador?

choose tug toys

Keep in mind that when playing tug-of-war, you need to protect your Labrador’s mouth and teeth. You should not use anything hard or with sharp edges, such as a big stick, when playing Tug of war. At the time of play, do not leave ropes with your dog unattended. You should also stop using a rope toy if your dog begins pulling threads during this game. Plenty of dogs have undergone surgery to remove strands of rope from their stomach intestines. Follow the below tips to find a safe toy of tug-of-war, which helps keep your Labrador safe.

  • According to AKC, toys for tug-of-war should be soft, such as a piece of towel tied in a knot, a piece of rope that is pliable and soft.
  • Ropes should be soft enough that your Labrador can get a good hold without cracking their teeth but should be durable enough to withstand several games of tug-of-war.
  • It would be best to replace ropes when getting too dirty since ropes can harbor dirt and bacteria.
  • According to Pets.webmd, a tug toy should be made of fleece or soft rope that’s one to three feet long.
  • Look for a long enough toy that your dog won’t accidentally grab your hand with their teeth when they are readjusting their grip.
  • Choose a toy that’s comfortable for both you and your dog to hold. The soft and flexible material works best for dogs and humans.

Recommend toys according to AKC,

West Paw Bumi Tough Dog Chew Toy:

west paws

Westpaw Bumi are soft handle toys which is enough to protect your dog’s teeth. It also durable enough to withstand some good tugs.

Aditya Kashyap Mishra

Aditya Kashyap Mishra, blogger, and co-founder of dogstree.com. I love to research and write different things. I don't know much about dogs but always curious to know about them. At last, I love singing the most.

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