Tug of war can be one of the most enjoyable games you can play with your pup. Most dogs like to shake things in their mouths and use their teeth to play tug. Many dog trainers feel that playing tug helps to keep your pup both physically and mentally stimulated. It can also help reduce the amount of negative behavior you have to deal with.
The good news is that most dogs seem to instinctively know how to play tug, and it won't take much in the way of training to get your pup playing a rousing round of tug with you. But there are those dogs who will need more than just a little training to learn to play the game the right way.
This is one of the best games to teach your pup, and typically involves using a length of rope with knots tied in it, or any one of dozens of special tug toys you can buy in any pet store. Tug also lets your dog get in plenty of good healthy exercise. It makes your dog think about what he is doing and work at it rather than just letting excitement overrule the game. As with most new tricks you want to teach your dog, he should have already mastered the four basic commands, 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'down'.
Keep in mind that if your dog tends to be a bit on the "mouthy" side, you can always use a longer tug toy until your pup masters this particular skill. This might help you to avoid being accidentally nipped while you are playing. Try to make sure that any tug toy you choose is nice and soft, making it easier for your dog to wrap his mouth around and hang on to.
You can teach almost any age dog to play tug-of-rope, but you should wait until your pup is around 1 year old so that his teeth are set in his gums and his bones have had time to become strong. Of course, there are a few things you might find come in handy during the training process, including:
Beyond these items, the only other things you need are plenty of time and patience. It will also help if you have a nice quiet place to work. Remember, you are trying to train your dog to play a new game, be patient. If your dog is like most, he will pick this one up quite quickly and before long he will be bringing you a tug toy and begging you to play with him.