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Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog to Tug

Difficulty: Easy (Teach Dog to Tug )

Here is a fun trick that both you and your dog will enjoy. Some breeds will naturally play tug with you, or with other dogs. Maybe your dog already knows how to play tug. But learning to tug on command (and alternatively giving on command) is good to know. This trick is used in movie production all the time, and is a staple for stunt dogs. They learn to tug a certain piece of cloth or rope, which can be affixed to actors (fido saves Billy by pulling him out of the way of a speeding train, etc.). The give command is also useful apart from the tug game itself. If your dog collects your things, such as socks or slippers, tell him to give instead of chasing him all over the house. But of course, playing tug is a great way to spend time with your dog and further builds the bond between human and dog.

Teaching Your Dog To Tug:

Step 1: Take a rope toy and offer it to the dog and say "take it." (Reward your dog with praise when he moves toward the rope toy.)

Step 2: When your dog takes it, gently shake and tug the rope toy to get the dog to hold and pull against the tugs.

Step 3: Click and Treat when your dog tugs back on the rope toy. Use "Tug" as your command. Keep repeating this until your dog will tug at it eagerly.

Teaching Your Dog To Give:

Step 1: With your dog pulling firmly on the rope, say "give" at the same time offering a treat. When he drops the rope toy, click and treat.

Step 2: Reinforce this trick by repeating four or five times per session. Pay special attention to the "give" command. This is important for your safety. Make sure that your dog will stop the game with the "give" command.

Step 3: Play tug several times a day. Each time you play the game make sure you use the commands saying "take it" when you your dog takes the rope and "give" when you want him to release the rope.


Caspian was very eager to tug on a new rope toy. Since he is a labradoodle, he gets very excited about playing, whether it's with a ball, frisbee, or toy, so he began tugging on the rope toy naturally. Even though it was natural for him to play tug, we still wanted to teach the commands so that he could tug multiple objects.


My dog is so uninterested in this trick. How will I get him to start tugging at the toy? It will help if the toy you use to teach this trick is one of your dog's favorite toys, a new toy, or one that you bring out only for this occasion. Your dog will be interested if you are excited, and play it with him like a game. You can also tease him with it a bit before you begin to get him excited.

Tip: "Use a special toy to teach this trick, and use it only while learning this trick and playing tug. This will keep your dog excited about this special toy, and you can use this instead of a food treat."
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