Reward Toys: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a reward toy?
- K9 police dogs and canine athletes are often rewarded with a game of tug. K9 handlers sometimes reward a dog with tug-of-war after the dog completes a certain number of searches, and in sports such as flyball, dogs will enjoy a brief tug game as a reward. - Reward toys are generally rubber balls or other rubber toys with a rope connected. They are designed to be small enough to fit into a cargo pocket so that it can be carried by working dog handlers like law enforcement and military K9 handlers. They are different from other types of tug toys because they are more compact so that they can be carried at all times.
Does playing Tug of War come naturally to dogs?
Many dogs love to play tug of war; it's a healthy display of their predatory nature. Tug of war provides great mental and physical exercise for your dog. It is also a wonderful way to reinforce the human-canine bond. ... As long as your dog is properly trained, you should have no qualms about playing this game together.
Are there benefits to playing tug-of-war with dogs?
Tug-of-war is an enjoyable game for the dog, and playing it strengthens the bond between the owner and dog. Tug games can build confidence and help the dog use up excess energy. Games such as tug-of-war provide mental and physical stimulation, and they can be used to teach a dog self-control.
Is tug-of-war a good idea for dogs that may already be aggressive or have resource guarding tendencies?
While tug-of-war is fun, and there can be many benefits related to tug games, as with anything else, there are some situations in which tug-of-war may not be the best activity for a dog. Dogs that have a history of aggression (toward animals or humans) can often take tug games too seriously. In those cases, there are better options for games. Dogs that are high-arousal dogs that can’t settle down and tend to become over stimulated are also not the best candidates for tug games.
How can dog owners play tug-of-war in a healthy, safe way?
There are several steps to initiating tug-of-war with your dog in a safe way. To begin, the tug game should be initiated by you, and throughout the game, keep in mind that you are in control. This means if the dog appears to be over stimulated, obsessed, or is overly aggressive about grabbing the toy, you should take charge and end the game. In tug-of-war, the dog should always be well trained and under control enough that he will follow your command to release the toy. Keep in mind that some dogs, when happily playing tug-of-war, will begin to play-growl. As long as the dog’s tail is wagging, and it is clear that he is playing, the game can continue. If you sense that the dog is so intense that he won’t release the toy, it’s time for a break.
Are there any types of toys you specifically recommend for games of tug? Any toys you would discourage dog owners from using?
Keep in mind that when playing tug-of-war you want to protect the dog’s mouth and teeth. This means you should not use anything hard or with sharp edges (such as a big stick) when playing tug. Toys for tug games should be soft. Sodapup offers an array of all rubber tug toys as well as rubber toys with ropes attached for tugging. These are good, safe options that won’t hurt your dog.
Should I let my dog “win” when we play tug of war?
One of the most important things to know about tug-of-war is to always let the dog win. Also, if you are playing tug with a puppy, keep in mind that his jaws are not fully matured, and he still has baby teeth. You should only do very gentle pulling if any at any; leave this up to the puppy and keep the game short.