Why Do Dogs Tug?

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Why Do Dogs Tug?
Tug of war; it’s as classic as a game of fetch, as timeless as the sound of a squeaker. But why do dogs love it so much?

furry campbells@TheFurryCampbells via Instagram

The short answer is, we don’t know. There has not been enough research to definitively explain why dogs love to tug. Guess we could end the email right here, but that feels like a bit of a let down. Let’s go to the long answer.

The long answer is, we don’t know… but there are a few reasonable hypotheses in the canine science-verse.

1. It’s about competition.

Twiper and bugs@TwiperandBugs via Instagram

Some argue that tug of war is a pup’s way of proving that they’re the top of the pack. Dr. John Bradshaw, a leading dog expert, writes, “When the play-partner is a dog, possession seems to be most important – and indeed, it’s possible that competitive play is one way that dogs assess each others’ strength and character.”

2. It reminds them of their predatory roots.

Chug life@_Chug_Life via Instagram

According to Doghealth.com, dogs love to tug because it speaks to their animalistic instincts. They write, “Tug-of-war may be beloved by many dogs because it mimics grabbing and shaking prey.”

3. It’s their way of socializing.

Allih@Allih659 via Instagram

A 2014 University of Bristol study on the play behavior of adult dogs notes, “Dogs appear to use play as a means of establishing relationships with other dogs, and can also derive social information from observing play between third parties.” Many also attribute healthy human-dog relationship to the frequency of which they play games of tug together.

4. Um, well, it’s just fun.

Pupscout@_Pupscout via Instagram

It’s a game! And games are fun. Animal emotions expert Dr. Marc Bekoff says in Psychology Today, “When dogs of different sizes played tug-of-war we observed what ethologists call self-handicapping – if the game was to continue the larger dog had to restrain how hard she/he pulled on the rope.” In other words, the dogs like the game, and want the game to go on for as long as possible.

We may not know for certain the real reason behind a dog’s determination to tug, but we do know that our Tugimals are the coolest tug toys out there.

Jackson and Frye

They’re made with multiple grabbing spots, and filled with fluff and squeakers for a high-stakes tug experience.

Get your dog the best to indulge their tugging desire… wherever that desire may come from.

xoxo BarkShop

Sources: Science Direct Dog Health, and Psychology Today




This is a fun article on dogs and how they engage in ” tug of war” play.  Hope you enjoy!!!

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