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I have read over and over not to play tug of war games with dogs because it encourages them to pit there mouths against us and might lead to aggression issue later. I didn't know this when raising my sheltie, but have to say i have never, ever had any issues of the sort with him. We still play :blush:eek:ccasionally. I can't decide if i should allow this play with Dixie, or not. She wants to do it. Anyone play TOW with their maltese? Any problems from doing so?
 

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I play tug of war with Massimo.
 

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We don't play tug of war with our dogs.
 

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I don't play tug with Angus. He's a fairly dominant dog by nature (just observing him with other dogs) so I'm cautious not to encourage more of the same. But, instead of tug, we play keep away. It's his favourite game and he can't get enough of it.

Iiii'mmmm gonna geeet yooo!

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I play tug of war with Lacey. She just loves it. She growls and shakes her head, but it is not threating. She is a very outgoing little dog but no behavior problems with her.
 

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When I went to puppy class with our pup, the instructor said that playing tug of war does not promote aggressive behavior. Valletta doesn't really seem to like tug of war. She does love to play fetch with just about any of her toys. She also loves the "find the hidden toy" game.
 

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we play tug of war. gruffi and the girls play it together all the time. he's really sweet---he'll let them win sometimes. and he doesnt take the toy away from them right away...he'll sometimes lay down and let them pull with all their might. LOL
 

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Originally posted by Fach@Jul 19 2005, 07:18 AM
I have read over and over not to play tug of war games with dogs because it encourages them to pit there mouths against us and might lead to aggression issue later. I didn't know this when raising my sheltie, but have to say i have never, ever had any issues of the sort with him. We still play :blush:eek:ccasionally.  I can't decide if i should allow this play with Dixie, or not. She wants to do it. Anyone play TOW with their maltese? Any problems from doing so?
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So far it sounds as if it's ok to play as long as you don't have a dominance issue from your pup.......
 

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We play tug a war too. My maltese don't have an ounce of aggression, so it's not an issue here. I had a trainer tell me once that as long as you always win, it's ok. But I don't always win, she steals the sock more often that not.

My golden retriever and maltese play too, and he will sometimes let Chloe win just so he can chase her. It's cute
 

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Our trainer told us that it's ok to play as long as the dog knows the "drop it" command and will always give the toy up to you without a fight and if the dog ever puts his mouth on your hand even by accident it means that the game is over.
 

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Bella makes me play tug of war. Whenever I through something she'll bring it back but won't drop it til we fight over it a bit. She growls and shakes but she has never in any way shown any kind of aggression. As long as she's a good girl we will play her games.
 

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I dont play like serious tug or war, with a rope toy and each of us pulling hard, but we play tug with some stuffed toys sometimes then once i get it I thow the toy. I stop if he seems to be getting to into it though.
 

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I've always heard that it is OK to play tug of war as long as you are the one who initiates the game and you always win. From what I've read... those two things are critical, especially with a Malt that is prone to be alpha.

Here is some info... it is sort of conflicting in that one part says it is OK and the rest says maybe not... who knows!!!

Q. Is it bad for a dog's teeth when you play tug-of-war?
A. Yes and no. I think most dogs enjoy this game because it resembles the process of catching prey in the wild. Although dogs are very domesticated, they still have an innate sense of hunting as a means of survival. Tugging on a rope feels to them very much like catching a squirrel or a rat. This is especially true for terriers, who are sometimes referred to as ratters; I have a patient who gets paid to visit a barn on weekends and eliminate any rats that may be in residence.

As far as the safety of your pet's teeth and gums, I must caution that your end of the rope should never be strong enough to yank out a tooth. I've seen pet owners displaying their dogs' jaw strength by hoisting them in the air while they hold tenaciously to a rope by their teeth. This is an accident waiting to happen. Important teeth can loosen, joints can separate, jaw bones can fracture and other body parts can be injured if he or she decides to let go in midair.

When playing tug-of-war with puppies one also needs to be careful to choose the appropriate rope. Many people just tie a knot in an old tube sock and use this to help a "teething" puppy deal with the pain of getting a new set of choppers. The puppy may then think that all socks are fair game, and you end up having to replace a lot of hosiery. You should also be careful not to use anything frayed as threads can be swallowed and might cause intestinal problems.

Many products exist on the market just for playing tug-of-war and some even claim to help clean teeth. These are available in most pet supply stores. I'm not convinced that they actually clean teeth, but I find they satisfy a dog's need to spar and if you use gentle traction, promising always to lose, they can be safe for your pup.

Also, many dogs will growl or make other unusual noises while participating in this game. If he or she becomes too agitated, it's probably a good idea to find some other game to play, as they may take the wrestling and hunting concept too far.

It should be noted that many animal behaviorists think that it's a bad idea to play tug-of-war with your dog as it encourages undesirable behavior. Trina Grubuagh, a professional obedience instructor and behaviorist in Kansas City, Kansas, says: "Tug-of-war is by nature a game of challenge in which the dog/puppy is put in the position of competing against his owner, who the dog/puppy knows as the 'pack leader.' This could result in your dog displaying dominant behavior, as well as conditioning the bad habit of challenging the owner, which could become an issue in other situations. The games, habits and behavior that the dog learns during the first year of his life follow him into adulthood unless modified with proper instruction. Animal shelters euthanize millions of animals every year, and dominant, aggressive behavior is the reason why 80% of the dogs are brought to shelters." Something to keep in mind when thinking of a game to play with your pup.

FYI
If your pup is in pain from losing baby teeth (this takes place from four to six months of age) try freezing the tug rope so the cold touch will numb their gums a bit.

Dr. Peter Kross, DVM, has had his own veterinary practice, the Rivergate Veterinary Clinic in New York City, since 1989. He lives in Manhattan with his three white boxers, Buchanan, Wilhelmina and Laila.
 

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As I posted earlier, Lacey loves to play tug of war. She knows the drop it command so that is not an issue with her. She also loves to play fetch. She will play fetch as long as you let her. When my husband gets tried of throwing it she comes to me.
 

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Peanut would never play TOW with me, he just automatically let me have the toy (which is good I guess). But the boys always do it. Their fav is using a sock
 

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We play tug of war with Alex. He loves to shake and growl. That's funny for him. We play that with him when we throw the toy and he brings it back. We let him have his fun for a few seconds and then tell him to drop it. He does and so we can throw it again and he can bring it back again. Sometimes we have enough of the play and tell him that's it, and sometimes he has enough. When he has enough he will not go and get the toy.
 

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OMG yes! heheheh! My little maltese Maggie (girl) thinks she is a boy and is so ferocious. She loves to play tuf of war....especially with socks and towels (she loves it when I play like I am a bullfighter and hold the towel up and she runs through it trying to attack it. Once she does she wants to play tug of war. I mean I am starting to call her little steroid puppy because NOTHING seems to faze her (when she falls back or slips). And, when she does attack her prey(toy) she will NOT let go. And, she always initiates playing and never, ever tires. She's fearless!
 

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Well we often play a little of tug with Scooby, but it is mainly because he is just so possessive of his toys that he tugs to get them off us. We like to make sure he wins on occasion and also we too must win sometimes, like teaching him to share. He is so funny about his toys, if we pick up one he will drop the one he has and come to take ours away. It has become a game we play with him like saying ok you have that one but this one is mine, and he instantly drops his and wants ours. We try to be fair with him and also we do insist that he share as well, but there is no malice in his game it is just a fun way to get him to play and exercise his personality. He growls profusely if we play tug, but never attempts to bite, it is all in the game. I think in a way it gives him some confidence in thinking he is the winner, but also he is good about losing too and takes it like a champ.
 

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Tyler likes tug but he is vicious towards visitors but I don't think it's because of TOW. Whenever we play fetch we play tug. But does anyone know how and can stop this aggresiveness?
 
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