Why do Dogs like the Tug of War?

Some of the adorable games that dogs like to play are related to their undomesticated past. Dogs love chasing us when we run, which makes sense as in the wild they would have to chase their prey. Dogs also enjoy chewing squeaky toys the same way they would devour any small animal caught for dinner.

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But how is liking tug of war related to this? Continue reading to find out.

The truth is, it is very hard to know the exact reason behind a dog’s liking the tug of war. However, we do have some good guesses on why dogs like the tug of war so much.

According to most of the dog trainers and scientists, there are three primary explanations for why dogs enjoy the tug of war.

Reason 1: It’s a team game

According to this reason, dogs play tug in an effort to strengthen bonds. It is a fun game that two dogs can thoroughly enjoy.

Playing is a great way of building trust between the two parties and tug of war is an excellent game to play using different parts of the brain and muscles from wrestling to chase.

While this might not sound to be as fun and enjoyable, since most games and play in mammals arises with a function (chase games make the muscles strong and is a practice for the hunt), we can say that playing tug of war is justified. This is where the next two reasons come in.

Reason 2: It tries to mime predation

This reason says that tugging on a rope toy is like killing and shaking any imaginary prey. Since it is a functional game, this makes sense.

Your fluffy friend is only rehearsing his tearing, tugging and ripping skills when he catches hold of any dog toy. This makes the tug of war seem a bit darker now, doesn’t it?

This explanation is best suited for dogs that squeak, shake and then pull out the stuffing from dog toys. Tug is a team game, but this type of predation is clearly not.

Reason 3: It is the same as tearing up a carcass

This is one of our favorite explanations.

Some believe that the tug is actually based on tearing buts off a dead animal. Instead of killing or shaking a small mammal, tug of war can be explained by the inherent trait of pulling hard to detach flesh off a dead deer or elk. This could be done by pulling the meat from the bone or two dogs could help each other tear pieces of food.

Most of the dog trainers do not see tug as a competition. If the goal was winning (that is taking all the meat for oneself) then why would your dog come back for more tug when you drop the toy? Hence, it is just fun and games and not competition.

Regardless of whether your dog is trying to tear bits of food from the bone or trying to finish the hunt by killing and shaking his prey, tug of war is a fun way to engage in some quality time with your dog.

After setting some rules, tug is an excellent way of building bonds with your dog and working on his basic training.

So, if your dog comes to you with a rope toy or any dog toy, don’t shove him away. Instead, just have a quick game of tug of war which would not only make your fluffy friend happy but will burn some calories for you as well!

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