Rule #1: You start the game - take the toy from it's hiding place.
Rule #2: Holding the toy, ask for a sit. If your dog lunges or jumps up, say “too bad” and
turn away. Do this until your dog figures out what works.
Rule #3: Hold the toy towards your dog and invite him to tug. Use the same words
everytime like “tug it!”
Rule #4: Test your dog’s “drop it” command. Make sure that before your dog gets too
aroused, he can let it go. To start up the game again, repeat Rules #2 and 3.
To teach a “drop it” with an object exchange. Start with a lower-value item from your
dog’s perspective. Hold a smelly, yummy treat under your hungry dog's nose. When he
drops the toy, praise or use your reward marker and give the treat. Immediately return the
dropped toy with a "take it" command. After a few repetitions of this say "drop it" as your
dog is letting the toy or item fall from his mouth, in order to teach him the meaning of the
command. Do lots of repetitions over the next few days. Slowly progress to more valuable
items and you can fade out the food lure after your dog gets the game nd understands
the meaning of "Drop It."
Rule #5: If your dog’s teeth hit you at any point while tugging - yell “OUCH!!” and turn
away, taking the toy with you. Take a brief time-out - the length of which depends on how
bad the teeth transgression. Start up again with Rules #2 and 3.
Rule #6: Periodically stop the game and ask for a “drop it” and a “watch” for attention.
This reinforces that the game comes from you and is a reward for polite behavior. It gives
everyone a chance to catch their breath.
Rule #7: At the end of the tug session, put the toy away.