My Bearded Collie loves to tug. Before you engage in a real game of tug it's important to teach a few rules that go along with the game.

Most important teach a solid "drop" or "give". After that the rules of tug are as follows:

  • The toy belongs to you. It is kept in a drawer or other place where the dog cannot get it.

  • Play does not begin until you say so.  It's not a rule based on "power" or "dominance" but based on safety. You do not want your dog to engage in a game of tug with a child or other person  who happens to pick up the special tug toy.

  • The game begins when you give the signal and not before. It should be a signal that is used only for tug. In my case, I use the word "tug" to mean you may now grab it.

  • The dog must drop it on signal! This is something to be taught using Positive Reinforcement methods so that he learns it's good to give things up.In my case, the cue is "drop".

  • If at any point the dog's teeth touch skin - the game is over. Drop the toy and say "too bad' to end the game or put it away for a few minutes.

  • Tug is no fun when you play alone!