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6 Reasons You Should Play Tug-of-War with your Dog


Tug toys are a popular and effective way to provide dogs with both physical and mental stimulation. At the highest level of dog competitions toys are used as a powerful training tool. As pet owners, our goal is to keep our dogs in the best shape physically and keep them mentally stimulated. There is a myth that playing tug with your dog can make them aggressive. This has no basis in fact.


Here are some benefits of tug toys for dogs and why you should be incorporating them:

1. Training:

Everybody knows you can use treats for training but often time using tug toys, and toys in general is a more rewarding way to train for many dogs, especially high drive, high energy dogs. One benefit of using toys for training is it naturally builds in impulse control.

2. Promotes bonding:

Tug-of-war is known to be a fun and interactive game that encourages bonding between dogs and their owners. By playing with tug toys, you are physically interacting with each other while giving positive reinforcement, which leads to building a deeper connection with your dog. If you incorporate an element of chase into the game of tug it provides extra fun for the dog and thus deepens the bond further.

3. Physical exercise:

Playing with tug toys can provide dogs with a good workout, and we all know everyone needs a good workout to stay healthy! This can help keep dogs physically fit and prevent a variety of health problems that come with obesity. Remember to use care, and to be aware of how roughly you are playing tug, as you can hurt your dog if you're not careful.

4. Dental health:

Many might not know this but tug toys can actually help improve your dog's dental health. The reason being is because tug toys promote the natural act of chewing and gnawing. This can help remove plaque and tartar from a dog's teeth, reducing the risk of dental problems such as periodontal disease.

5. Mental stimulation:

Tug toys are great for mental stimulation! They provide a physical challenge, which helps them use their problem solving skills. This helps dogs become mentally stimulated and prevent boredom, which tends to lead to destructive behaviors. All activities that require mental stimulation tire the dog out even more. Mental stimulation is really important for the more cerebral breeds such as border collies, and huskies.

6. Promotes a sense of social belonging:

Playing tug-of-war with your dog promotes a sense of social belonging in several ways. In general, dogs tend to be very social creatures and engaging with someone in an activity helps them feel a sense of social belonging. Tug toys can also create an environment to facilitate interactions with other dogs, which can lead dogs to make bonds or strengthen their bond.


Here are three tug toys we recommend:

This is a durable, tug-of-war toy for dogs. The unique shape makes tug less tiring for the owner, and allows for it to be thrown. It is perfect for dogs in all stages of life.

This KONG toy helps dogs develop their strength, confidence, and impulse control. KONG products in general are great quality. It has a functional design with comfy handles, which provides a solid grip. The great thing about this toy is that if you are careful and supervising, you can encourage two pups to play tug with each other, which is an extra great way to get their energy out.

Here is a video of three pups playing tug safely with this toy at the Varro Pet Services facility!

We use this toy all the time at Varro Pet Services. It can be used as training tool, or as a tug toy that will incorporate an element of chase into the play, which is extra engaging for the dog as we mentioned above!

We hope you enjoyed learning about how beneficial tug-of-war is for you and for your dog.

Thanks for reading!

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