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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 11-30-2010, 04:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Tug-of-War: To win or not to win?

If you play tug-of war with your dog, do you feel it's important to be the winner, or do you prefer to let them win the day? Tell me why. If you don't play tug-of-war at all, let me know the reason. Thanks!
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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wasn't sure about the wording on #2, but to preserve my elbow and shoulder ligaments, I usually let him win. And yeah, just another thing he knows he can beat me at.
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dobes23 View Post
If you play tug-of war with your dog, do you feel it's important to be the winner, or do you prefer to let them win the day? Tell me why. If you don't play tug-of-war at all, let me know the reason. Thanks!
I think a lot of it depends on the dog, if they are already an avid tugger, you are trying to build drive and what sports you might be doing.

With my Dobe, I never thought about it. She came programmed to tug. I thought her breeder 'taught her' but she didn't. She just loves to tug period. It doesn't matter who wins. As a puppy I probably let her win but I always say ok out of habit before releasing. As an adult, if we are at agility training, I admit her retrieve SUCKS and 99% of the time I just have her drop it now. So I win. Otherwise, I have to work the retrieve. ALso if I have her drop it, I have it and I also have her riveted attention and can use the adrenline rush for speed on the next drill.

Now with my soft Vizslas, they do a lot of winning at first. A lot of prancing around with the toy. But I need to build more drive with them. Mine haven't come programmed to tug like my Dobe has.
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When I play any kind of games with my pup, I always want her to feel like she wins... So when we play tug, she wins all the time. My girls small, and while she's very strong for her size, I would have zero problem winning at any time I choose. But letting her win keeps her motivated to play, so that's what I do. But, we also have very strict rules when we play tug, everything is on my terms, but in a nice way, if that makes sense.

When she seems like she likes to do something, I'll try to either let her win, if it's a game, or make it easy for her to win, like if we're playing Find It. But all of our games have rules that need to be followed or the game ends.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I do schutzhund. Puppies win tug ALL the time.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I really don't think about it. I guess quite often Finn "wins" just because the phone rings or I get bored or have other things to do. So far he hasn't attempted to take over the house and turn me into his humble minion.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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your pup is 3 months old - be careful with tug until s/he finishes teething. If you hurt the pup, s/he may lose interest in biting and it's a nightmare to convince them otherwise. You still can play tug while they teething but don't pull untill you see blood. Be gentle. Other than that - pup wins all the time here
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dobermasha View Post
your pup is 3 months old - be careful with tug until s/he finishes teething. If you hurt the pup, s/he may lose interest in biting and it's a nightmare to convince them otherwise. You still can play tug while they teething but don't pull untill you see blood. Be gentle. Other than that - pup wins all the time here
good point. puppy Quincy tugged with a rope toy. it got real bloody during teething time. He used it as a chew toy - found a couple of teeth in it. But never tugged any teeth out.
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think some common sense comes in to play... You probably don't want to be spinning your 10 week old dobe in circles lol.

I have found that some people think you always have to win so that you can be the ruler of your dog, but I've found that to just not be true. By having a set of rules that need to be followed, things are on your terms, which keeps you in control. Having your dog win is a huge confidence boost, and it will motivate dogs with a lesser drive to keep playing. I've also read that letting a dog win will make the dog think it can take things out of your hands anytime it wants, and will make your dog aggressive... Again, by having the rules, you don't have any of those problems.
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It depends on the dog.
If your dog is submissive and you want to build his/her confidence I would let a dog win.
If a dog wants to be ALPHA I would show him my dominance.

OUT command is important in any scenario. Dog should obey your commands all the time.

Agree with Dobermasha. Be careful with a puppy. It should be very soft play.
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Both. I think it's a great way to build a dog's confidence when you let them win. I really don't think he thinks he is dominant over me because he wins sometimes.
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Bella always wins at Tug. I think I remember being given that advice from someone I admire on DT. May have been Bella's breeder or some other Shutzhund person.

I try to keep it fun for her, as tug is a good indoor game to play when it's raining outside.
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I am raising a Schutzhund puppy so we play tug often and he always wins. When he was teething I was super careful not to play rough. His gums never bled.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Sometimes Cassius loses his grip a bit, or didn't have a good bite in the first place, and those times, I don't really win; he loses. But whenever he has a solid grip, I hold it for a while, and when he gives a really good tug he wins it.

He always feels like he wins, and the more "death shakes" he gives the toy, the more I know he feels like a winner.

I heard the same advice from some schutzhund trainer.

If he takes over my house and enslaves me I'll just think back to all the fun times we had playing tug together.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Kyrah usually wins she is way stronger than me but occasionlly she looses her grip. But when I say drop it or out she does so. She also never bites me but there are times when her teeth hit my hands! OUCH! Last week when we were playing my whole forearm was in her mouth when she turned for it and my heart dropped at the same time. What a good girl even in the excitement she did not bite down and was after the tug again. Whew!
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I let Ripley win pretty much all the time. The only time he doesn't win is if he accidentally loses his grip. I feel that as long as you have control enough to be able to tell the dog to release when you say, it's more fun for the dog to win. I hate when I see people playing tug with their dogs and the dog never wins... how boring for the dog. I love watching Ripley light up when he wins. He's so proud of himself, and you can tell he's having a great time! Tug is his favourite game. But as soon as I give him the word, he releases it and stops. :-)
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Seven and Jessie don't really like playing tug, but when they were younger, I let them win.

With Avril, when we first started playing when she was a puppy, I let her win. Now that she's older, I TRY to win, usually she does though.
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:01 AM   #18 (permalink)
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It's both for us, although nearly always we let rufus win. What we do every now and again though is an 'out' or 'sit' and find this really reinforces our control even when he's excited...We also like to check we really are in control of course We are also strong with the 'finish'
I remember reading some study somewhere with a group of advanced trainers and dogs all of whom were highly driven types. They found that a regular 10 mins a day of tuggy where the dog wins every time, really cut down on the dog aggression within the group. Seems to satisfy some deep seated needs somehow.
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:04 AM   #19 (permalink)
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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.

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Old 12-01-2010, 10:56 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Win or not win....I don't think it's all that important....I do want to be the one who decides when we play...and when to end the game.

p
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:02 AM   #21 (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.
Actually, it is a very safe game if you teach your dog some rules when you play. When we use her tug rope, my girl is allowed to bite between the 1st and 2nd knot, and that's it. There's 4 knots. She has never once come anywhere near my fingers. She knows that if she goes above that 2nd knot, game over. So, she doesn't do it.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:55 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I think it depends on the definition of "win".

In bite work there are two ways to reward the dog on the bite... one is to let them "satiate" on the bite, which mean having the bite object in their mouth gripped tight - some dogs just love the feeling of the object in their mouth. The other is the "fight" - the actual game of tug.

You also let the dog win in the broadest sense of releasing the object to the dog.

It depends on how your dog views "winning".

With my dogs, depending on what and why we are training a certain thing will depend on how they are rewarded. Letting the dog satiate can be very calming for some dogs, however not all dogs enjoy just holding an object. Most dogs enjoy the fight, however the fight can amp a dog up to a point where he isn't thinking, and we need a thinking dog during training.

I would say I pretty much never allow a dog/puppy to have the bite object freely. They are always on leash, or the object is on a leash, always under my control. I will give them space from me, but not free space.

For the most part I want the dog to enjoy and be actively engaged in the game with me, but there are cases when the dog will not win. It depends what we are working on and what kind of dog I am working with.

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Old 12-01-2010, 03:18 PM   #23 (permalink)
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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.

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Win or not win....I don't think it's all that important....I do want to be the one who decides when we play...and when to end the game.

p
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:31 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Mine get to win most of the time as it's much easier on the back!
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:36 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Stormy tugs a 100 foot, 2inch diameter fire hose full of water and me, sometimes i have to drop the hose turn off the water, throw him in the house and fill the water containers without his 'help'.

what was the question................
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