Teaching Your Puppy to Tug




Playing tug with your puppy can provide a wonderful outlet for their natural desire to grab and pull. You can also use tug to exercise your puppy or as a reward instead of food when training.

Some puppies will happily play tug with any toy, but to start with choose something soft and inviting to chew. Fleece toys are a great choice. Make sure that the toy is long enough for your puppy to feel comfortable playing with and give them plenty of toy to get hold of. 1-3ft is recommended.

To start, get down to your puppy’s level and wiggle the toy around or drag it along the floor to spark your puppy’s interest. Pretend the toy is alive and it’s trying to escape your puppy.

Praise and encourage your puppy when they grab the middle part of the toy so they avoid catching your skin accidentally. If they grab the toy close to your hand, simply grab the other end of the toy to continue play.

Be gentle and let your puppy lead the session. Move with them when they tug so that they decide how hard to pull. This is important to prevent injury to their teeth and neck, and it also boosts confidence. Play for 10-20 seconds at a time and let your puppy win the toy often so that they enjoy playing and want to continue the game.

Any time your puppy grabs human skin or clothing—even by accident – the game comes to an end .

You can pair the phrase ‘tug’ or ‘get it’ with this game so that you can cue them to start tugging.

Playing tug is a great way to strengthen your relationship with your puppy.

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