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View Poll Results: Tug-of-War: To win or not to win?
I make sure I win most (or all) of the time. 28 25.93%
I prefer to let the dog win most (or all) of the time. 80 74.07%
Voters: 108. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-01-2010, 03:47 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Designer Doberman View Post
From what I have read and researched, your suppose to win most of the time to become dominant. It is good to let them win sometimes or else they would just get bored of it. I like what was said earlier about being the one who has full control over the game.
By having full control of the game, you are the dominant one, regardless of who wins. When you decide when to start, when to finish, and how the rules of the game work, it puts you in that position. Properly playing tug involves a little more than just putting a rope in your dogs mouth and pulling. That's why you should have some rules when you play, it keeps the boundaries in check. Always winning in tug to display your dominance is a fairly outdated philosophy, kinda like alpha rolls and other physically dominating routines designed to show your dog that you are boss. I always lose in tug, (by lose, I mean that the dog pulls the rope from my hand) and I can assure you that not once, ever, under any circumstances has that created some type of dominance struggle. If you dont' have a set of rules to play by, well, that's another story.
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:21 PM   #27 (permalink)
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It's not about winning. See, I think winning is a human concept with tug.

My dogs play with me and I swing them around etc and then they are rewarded for playing with me by getting to kill the tug toy for about 2 seconds before they run back saying "more Mummy, more!"
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:53 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I answered "I win" since we always practice at least one "Give" command when playing tug and she has to relinquish the toy or play is over, but she also gets to prance away with the tug toy at times too. (And "prance" is DEFINITELY what she does, lol!)

ETA: Haven't done as much tug with Guinness as we've been playing "fetch" in our playtimes instead. (He still hasn't figured out to WATCH the stick in the air so he waits for it to hit and then searches for it. I've been using the same stick repeatedly and rubbing it between my hands before I throw, so I think he's using his nose to find it mostly. It's cute! )
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:38 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Used to be I always win, now I don't care.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:43 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Designer Doberman View Post
From what I have read and researched, your suppose to win most of the time to become dominant. It is good to let them win sometimes or else they would just get bored of it. I like what was said earlier about being the one who has full control over the game.
You can let your dog win every single time and still be the boss. It's all about how you play the game and that you play it by YOUR rules. It can be a great time to teach a very reliable "out" in a fun and positive way. You don't have to concentrate on ripping the toy out of the dog's mouth in order to "win". In most cases that's how you create more drive for the toy and it's very bad practice if what you're actually trying to teach is for the dog to give you the object. Trading for food or a better toy is always a better idea and in that scenario that dog "wins" even more while learning and training in a happy upbeat manner. You may not be winning the tug, but you're winning by teaching your dog manners.

Sontera made some good points. Some dogs don't necessarily think they "won" if they got the tug from you, they're far more happy to keep tugging.

I think it's valid to say here that the idea to never let your dog win tug games or to not play them at all because that will create dominant and aggressive dogs is more along an old wives tale and is not very accurate.

In my world, the dog always "wins". He either gets the toy or I take it in which case it means something better is about to happen (even if there is some training in between).
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:03 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougncoriena View Post
I would prefer never to play tug of war with my dogs as I have 4 children and it is honestly not a very safe game to play with small children around and little fingers might accidently get in the way plus my dogs are too big and would always win and that cant be good if I were to play tug of war I would make sure to win some of the time to make sure the dog knows who is in charge.
It is much safer to teach your Doberman appropriate rules for when he can take and grasp objects with his mouth, than to try to prevent such a game from ever happening.

Use a professional to help you teach this, for safety and accuracy--but be sure your dog has taking an object "on cue," and also dropping the object and/or placing it gently into your hand.

As others have said, "winning" the tug has absolutely nothing to do with whether the dog "knows who is in charge."

The dog knows "who is in charge" because every single resource the dog wants--including interaction with the tug, goes thru the gateway--which is you. That is the foundation of all training--a dog who looks to you for direction and resources.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Designer Doberman View Post
From what I have read and researched, your suppose to win most of the time to become dominant. It is good to let them win sometimes or else they would just get bored of it. I like what was said earlier about being the one who has full control over the game.
Again, what Zucker and KevinK said.

I am a firm believer in freedom of speech and press, but I sort of wish we could hold a gigantic book burning and jump around the big ol' bonfire of all the old, inaccurate outdated stuff out there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zucker View Post
You can let your dog win every single time and still be the boss. It's all about how you play the game and that you play it by YOUR rules. It can be a great time to teach a very reliable "out" in a fun and positive way. You don't have to concentrate on ripping the toy out of the dog's mouth in order to "win". In most cases that's how you create more drive for the toy and it's very bad practice if what you're actually trying to teach is for the dog to give you the object. Trading for food or a better toy is always a better idea and in that scenario that dog "wins" even more while learning and training in a happy upbeat manner. You may not be winning the tug, but you're winning by teaching your dog manners.

Sontera made some good points. Some dogs don't necessarily think they "won" if they got the tug from you, they're far more happy to keep tugging.

I think it's valid to say here that the idea to never let your dog win tug games or to not play them at all because that will create dominant and aggressive dogs is more along an old wives tale and is not very accurate.

In my world, the dog always "wins". He either gets the toy or I take it in which case it means something better is about to happen (even if there is some training in between).
Good post.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:56 PM   #32 (permalink)
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heehee, throw on the wood, and light my fire!!!!!!!!!!!

I am proudly one of them....................... "old, inaccurate outdated stuff out there."

but i am learning new things everyday.

win, lose, i am confuuuused!

don't get me wrong, i appreciate a well behaved dog. most of all i appreciate the dog for being a dog.

use what works for you and your dog to become a bonded team,both happy in your chosen field/s, agility, conformation, couch potatoe, etc.!!!

Hugz to all Doberman, even the ones that 'misbehave'!
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:01 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I usually let her win when I'm tired of playing.
Although she's happy no matter who is winning really and that's all that matters to me.
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:37 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Tyson loves to play Tug. However, there is a difference when I play tug with him and when my fiance plays tug. Since he is stronger than her, he wins all the time but gets bored rather quickly. When I play with him, he doesn't win everytime because he will lose his grip and hes not as strong as me but it doesn't matter to him. He is just excited to be playing regardless. I think its more important to set rules like other people have stated; that way he always knows who is in charge. He will get aggressive with the tug and growl while trying to get it out of my control but once I give the command of give, drop, etc. the game is over and he immediately relaxes.
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:02 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Since it's been a while, Dakota still loves to tug, it's one of her faves, and I still let her win, every time. I almost use it as a workout, I will hold my arm in certain positions that make it more difficult for me to hold on, and it works my arms quite a bit.

In terms of vocalizations and whatnot, it really doesn't bother me at all when we are playing rough. It doesn't carry over into other things, and we get pretty intense at times, so I think it would be weird for her not to vocalize.
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Old 01-20-2012, 07:28 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Nexus loves to tug and she really wants that rope!! She will play tug with me, my husband, or Bella, or really anyone that will play with her. We let her "win" if she behaves, however, she has a habit of trying to assert her ownership of the rope by growling louder the harder you tug at it, if she reaches a certain point its game over. Then she pouts and throws the rope on your lap until you play with her again. With Bella she will keep inching up on the rope until she is right at her mouth, and give a huge growl and pull the rope away, thus winning it from her. Bella is such a laid back and more submissive pup that she most often lets Nexus take the rope.
Bella herself is not much of a tugger, she will sometimes bring the rope and give it to you but once you start tugging, she will pull back once or twice then let go and sit waiting for you to throw it. However, with Nexus, she will play tug all the time, maybe because she wants the toy, Im not sure.
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:09 AM   #37 (permalink)
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If he takes over my house and enslaves me I'll just think back to all the fun times we had playing tug together.
HAHAHA...this is PRICELESS!!!
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:33 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Nexus loves to tug and she really wants that rope!! She will play tug with me, my husband, or Bella, or really anyone that will play with her. We let her "win" if she behaves, however, she has a habit of trying to assert her ownership of the rope by growling louder the harder you tug at it, if she reaches a certain point its game over. Then she pouts and throws the rope on your lap until you play with her again. With Bella she will keep inching up on the rope until she is right at her mouth, and give a huge growl and pull the rope away, thus winning it from her. Bella is such a laid back and more submissive pup that she most often lets Nexus take the rope.
Bella herself is not much of a tugger, she will sometimes bring the rope and give it to you but once you start tugging, she will pull back once or twice then let go and sit waiting for you to throw it. However, with Nexus, she will play tug all the time, maybe because she wants the toy, Im not sure.
Are you sure she's not just vocalizing because you're playing a rough game?
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:14 AM   #39 (permalink)
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I usually let him win. When he gets too growly, I have him "give" the tug to me and the I give it back. He has always been gentle tugging with this method, but loves the game. He enjoys interacting with other dogs by playing tug.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:18 AM   #40 (permalink)
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I wasn't around when this thread was started, but I wanted to add that I think tug is a great way for kids to play. We use a long tug rope and the kids know to drop it if Roxy inches up too close to their hands.
What is funny is that when my four-year-old takes his turn, she will flop down and let him run around her, pulling as hard as he can while she noms on her end.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:31 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Jaina likes to turn her flirt pole into a game of tag. It's absolutely terrible for the pole, but I've found it to be a great opportunity for "drop it" and "give". So, I'd say that neither of us really win in the end - we just have fun
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:27 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Beaumont67 View Post
I also teach pups to bite me first...and spare the wife.
And show them that their biting has absolutely zero effect on hurting me, I am their super human in strength.
As a husband I do this with the new pup, so my wife does not have to go through the pain of getting bit hard.

With a pup, I slide 2 fingers behind the dogs back teeth molars, between their softer gum area, and let the dog have an initial hay-day clamping down on me as hard as possible for them.
I am just sitting there, calm & cool as a "cucumber"...just talking in a nice soft normal voice.
- the dog quickly things, WTF...this person has strength and leadership that I need to respect (he just proved it), moving forward...much like the qualities my dober mom had
- since I can't hurt this owners human hand, its not much fun any longer...pup thinks, just reminding me of my weakness
Early soft bite training and muzzle playing, at the youngest age works fast and when the dobe matures with a bite strength of 2000/sq. inch. - they never show it off with loved ones or ever realize the strength they grow into / instead remember the early biting, they could never conquer...and never will.

I also bate the dobe with the tip of my index finger (in fun), to get snapped at (over & over), and laugh my head off, when their mouth is snapping shut on thin air...again, pup just learned, this owner is fun and impossible to ever overtake.

I call my bite work "fight night" and often will do some while settling in the master bed together, for a few minutes.
Even my son's little YorkiePoo will soft bite my hand, when I wake up...I taught him these games to.
I also play lots of tug, and the dogs always wins...while they figure out, Dad let them win eventually (building drive, much eye focus in fun).
- so I do a multiple of play game, to teach acceptable & fun controlled mouthing / that is why I don't avoid, ignore &/or redirect
- I change the behavior in the real bite (when first displayed), and results are speedy and most effective, for the life of the dog
(obviously, easier to do the above, from day1 with a puppy...instead of after it gets big & strong)
With practice - Dogs can learn "you don't bite the hand that feeds them !!
^^^ Tug-of-War Play is also a critical part of my bite inhibition-teaching, producting acceptable control and learned drive/confidence.
- my dobes get it daily, from day1 into senior years, because its engaging, fun & bond building
- 100% of the time the dog wins / and they know I choose to let it happen

Michael Ellis: Tugging with puppies
Michael Ellis: Tugging with puppies - YouTube
Michael Ellis Talks on Playing Tug with Young Puppies
Michael Ellis Talks on Playing Tug with Young Puppies - YouTube
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Last edited by Beaumont67; 11-28-2012 at 11:54 PM..
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:50 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Just because they make noise does not been they are doing anything but playing. My dog has never wanted to play tug until I starting to play with a rope without her. She wanted to join in on the fun. She does not play a lot but she does make a lot of noise when she does. She wins every time mainly b/c I am trying to make it something she enjoys. I do not see a problem with tug as long as it is under your terms when you play and not the dogs. You are still in control of when and how long.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:25 PM   #44 (permalink)
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I have the strength of a kitten. Yeah, Jasmine usually wins. Sometimes she lets me win though lol
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:24 AM   #45 (permalink)
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I do about half and half. I usually end the game with puppy winning but during the game I make him release it several times...this does 2 things; Lets him know I am in control of this game & also lets him know just because he has to release the toy does not necessarily mean game over. We still have puppy teeth so I don't tug to hard ...that is why I started using the release command.
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:31 PM   #46 (permalink)
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I let Vale wins all the time ... And he's and alpha dog. I even praised him for snatching the toy out of my hands.

BUT it's only with his toy ... With that being said if he grab my shoes I told him to leave it and he does!

Is that wrong?


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Old 07-08-2013, 11:11 PM   #47 (permalink)
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I'd say I'm 50/50 with my dogs. Depends entirely on the current situation and the dog's mindset. As far as the teething thing, I worked on drive building when both my working dogs were teething (a dobe and a mal), and it actually made their drives skyrocket. I started when they were 7-8 weeks and by the time they started teething their drives were high enough that they worked through it and built a nice balanced defense drive. Also eased their transition onto harder sleeves and increased jaw pressure. Just my personal experiences- please don't try to do that if you don't know when you're using too much pressure or how to handle those drives.
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