We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: playing tug with your dog is really important.
It’s a team game that has mutual benefits. It’s a great medium for teaching all sorts of new skills and, because it’s so much fun, your dog will learn in an easier and more enjoyable way. It’s also a great way to improve your bond and add a bit of excitement to routine obedience training.
But while just the mention of tug sets tails wagging for some dogs, for others the prospect is about as exciting as the shipping forecast.
However, it doesn’t have to stay that way. There are things you can do to spark your dog’s interest in playing tug, and top of the list is choosing the right type of toy.
Why is the toy so important?
First up, there’s the practical side of things. The toy used for a game of tug must be something your dog can sink their teeth into. That means toys made from plastic or any other hard material are a no-no.
It’s not just about it being comfortable for your dog. A game of tug requires equal effort from both parties, so it’s vital that the toy you choose is comfortable for you too. Usually, this means opting for something that has enough length for you to hold on to without bending too low.
It’s also more enjoyable, and will help avoid shoulder injuries, if the toy has some ‘give’ in it (that’s why we created our Tug-E-Nuff range of bungee tug toys).
Remember, every dog is different
If you want to tempt your reluctant dog into a game of tug, you need to do more than pick up the nearest toy from a pet shop shelf and hope for the best.
Giving a bit of thought to their likes and dislikes will make all the difference.
Luckily, at Tug-E-Nuff Dog Gear, we’ve created a range of tug-friendly toys to cover all bases.
For instance, if your dog is motivated by food, try a Bungee Food Bag. You can tuck away a treat within the toy ready to give as a reward when the game is over.
If your dog loves a tennis ball, a toy with a simple but effective design like our Tennis Ball Bungee could be what’s needed to get them involved.
If you know your dog has a strong hunting instinct, check out our bungee tugs that are made with real fur (like this one, that has sheepskin and a rubber ball to help with grip).
If you have a smaller dog, you’ll need to look for a toy that’s designed for smaller mouths but still irresistible, like our Little Tuggers Crazy Thing (it cleverly mimics the movement of a bird – watch as your dog’s eyes light up!).
It’s not what you play, it’s how you play it
Once you’ve found the toy that’s right for your dog, the work isn’t over. To maintain their motivation, it’s important to give some thought to how you play tug. In our experience, letting your dog have a good sniff of the toy and then playfully moving it around on the floor before letting them get hold of it is a really effective starting point.
Most importantly though, have fun! If you’re enjoying yourself, the chances are your dog is too.
If you’d like to find out more about why playing with your dog is so essential, check out this post we wrote a little while ago.
And do let us know which tug toy is your dog’s favourite. We always appreciate it when our customers leave reviews!