*Rules* of Play


I had to relax and let go of the *Rules*

I had to let him relax by letting go of the *Rules*

There is no doubt that playing with our dogs needs to be done with thought and consideration. For example play that is too rough can spill over into every day interactions causing biting, jumping and other behaviours that are undesirable to people.  There are many things to consider however arbitrary rules also need to be assessed carefully.  Each dog is different as is the relationship with their person.

Here is a list of the rules that are commonly found on the internet. It may be interesting to look at the pros and cons of each one in a later blog. Just to be clear, some of these *rules* have merit, but not all of the time or in all cases.

  • Always be the one to initiate play.
  • Make the dog release the toy and sit every 30 seconds.
  • Always mix in short training breaks.
  • You shouldn’t chase your dog.
  • You shouldn’t wrestle with your dog.
  • Don’t play tug because it causes dogs to become aggressive.
  • Dogs should never win because it causes them to become dominant.
  • Dogs should never keep the toy at the end of the game because it will cause them to become dominant or possessive over their things.
  • Dogs should only be allowed to win 47% of the time during the game.
  • Your dog should always win!
  • Tug of war can trigger dominance and aggression.


3 comments on “*Rules* of Play

  1. There are some really silly rules based in superstition, aren’t there? And who’s going to keep track of a win record of 47%?!?!?

    These are some really great topics, and I can’t wait to read your thoughts about them!

  2. I love it when they initiate the game. It is nice to be invited into their world. It is a real win/win experience…

    • Yes Robyn, I agree. A relationship that is worth having is always a two way street – why should it be different with our dogs!

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