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This is a magazine article by Steve Brooks, CPDT/KA Fido Friendly Magazine Spring 2015 Page 60, He yaps / She yaps Tug-Of-War http://www.zinio.com/reader.jsp?issue=416337167&o=ext PLAYING TUG-OF-WAR: DOGGIE DO’S & DON’TS By Steve Brooks, CPDT/KA Q: My Dog loves to play and get physical, but is engaging him in a game of tug-of-war safe? For most dogs, I recommend a good game of tug-of-war; for others, I would not. Only play if you feel safe with your dog and they are trained well. If you have any trepidation, or if the dog has aggressive tendencies towards people, do not play tug with that dog. • Use a rope or toy - long enough so they don’t miss and accidentally grab your fingers - or end the game. • Don’t let your dog grab the toy before you are ready. • Dogs should be trained to “release” on cue. Many dogs will drop the object if you ask them to “sit” and let the toy go limp; others exchange for a treat. • Avoid playing out-of-control tug games. • Never play Tug with a dog that gives you the “willies”. • Don’t jerk too hard or you can hurt their neck. • If your dog wins once in a while, don’t worry, it will not make them more dominant. Be careful when playing not to overdo it, as this can lead to injury. Tired pooches exhibit excessive panting, drooping tongue, staggered walking, and muscle tremors. Sometimes, they will lie down and not want to move. Pay attention to the signs and allow them to rest. Tug expends energy, builds a bond between you and your dog, and can be used for rewarding good behavior. Teaching a controlled game of tug on a walk can help redirect your dog from distractions and keep them focused on you! Steve Brooks is a world-renowned CPDT-KA, Canine Behavioral Expert, Family Paws Parent Education Licensed Presenter, and author of DOG BITES with STEVE BROOKS, (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, SteveBrooksK9U.com). The book shares training techniques and shows you how to safely share "bites" of food with your dog as rewards for good behavior.