Should I Play Tug of War With My Staffy? [Safe Play Guide]

Other than being a fun way to burn off some extra energy, tug of war has a lot going for it, and most Staffies enjoy playing it.

A game of tug of war can strengthen the link between a Staffy and its owner, and between two dogs! A game of tug of war is a favourite pastime for Staffies, and they love nothing more than playing games with their human family.

When you are doing something that you and your Staffy enjoy, it will strengthen your relationship. 

NOTE: This page may contain affiliate links, which means Staffy Dog may receive a small commission for anything purchase via these links, at no cost to you. This keeps our tails wagging.

The game promotes solid interpersonal relationships and provides a wealth of reinforcement opportunities.

How Do You Entertain a Staffy?

Playing for the sake of playing is vital for a dog’s well-being, but you may also use play as a beneficial training tool.

Agility trainers know this very well, and they frequently carry a bag full of tug toys to keep their dogs fully interested; trainers might even use tug-leashes.

While Staffies are having fun, you have the opportunity to work on their obedience training. You might think this is a bit of a downer for the dog, but it enhances the experience in reality. 

It’s astonishing how much more mentally stimulating it is to include a layer of challenge and supervision in your Staffy’s play. To top it off, it gives a Staffy a chance for more human interaction, something they can’t get enough of. 

What Is Tug of War?

Two teams compete against each other, where each team pulls on the opposite end of a rope to bring the rope a certain distance in one direction, despite the rival team’s efforts to stop them. If you substitute one team with your Staffy and the other team with you or another dog, in a nutshell, that’s tug of war.

Is It Bad to Play Tug of War With Your Dog? 

Most Staffies can play tug of war without any issues; however, there are some occasions when you should avoid the game.

  • Your Staffy has already displayed aggression related to dominance against people. Playing tug of war with these Staffies is dangerous since it can exacerbate current difficulties. Taking part in the game could put the person at risk of being bitten. Consult with your veterinarian or a behavioural expert if your dog has displayed aggressiveness toward you or another person.
  • Beware of dental problems. Tug of war isn’t a bright idea if your Staffy’s teeth are loose or they have sore gums. In addition, take care not to tug too hard in any case because it can damage your dog’s teeth.
  • Avoid playing this game with puppies. You should avoid this game because pups’ teeth, mouths, and jaws are still developing. Excessive tugging may lead to difficulties with the jaws or the bite.
  • Joint and other bone issues. Tug of war isn’t a good idea for a Staffy with arthritis because it might aggravate the condition and make it worse. It is also possible that dogs with a history of intervertebral disc problems may be particularly vulnerable to injury during pulling activities.

Does Tug of War Cause Aggression in Dogs?

If your Staffy is already aggressive, playing tug of war can exacerbate those tendencies.

Before you begin, establish the rules of the game with your Staffy:

  1. You Choose When To Play. Don’t play tug-of-war with your dog if they bring their favourite toy and drop it in your lap or on your feet. Picking up the toy and starting to play signals to your dog that they command the situation. This action reinforces your dog’s belief that aggressive/dominant behaviour results in their desired outcome.
  2. No Touching. You end the game if your Staffy’s mouth contacts any part of your body, including your hand, arm, leg, or even your clothing. Initially, it’s probably an accident, but it could become more severe if you don’t stop undesirable behaviour early and often.
  3. Teach Drop It. The sooner you can teach your Staffy the command  “drop it,” the better. Tell your Staffy to “drop it” during your first few tug of war games and wait for him to let go of the toy. Keep your hold on the toy but let your arm go limp if they refuse (most dogs are pretty reluctant to stop playing). Wait until the dog drops the toy while you act as though the game is over. Wait until your Staffy let’s go entirely before starting the game again. As a last resort, you can either walk away or remove the toy from their possession for the day if they’re being very stubborn.

Why Does My Dog Shake His Head When Playing Tug of War?

Most specialists feel this is a behavioural instinct passed down from dogs’ ancestors, the wolves. In the wild, that’s how animals catch their prey. They’d take the creature in their mouth and shake it violently from side to side until it died.

Staffy playing tug of war and shaking his head

Should I Let My Dog Win Tug of War?

When you let your dog “win” a game of tug, you’re not allowing them to dominate you. Instead, you’re cultivating a strong connection and demonstrating to your Staffy that playing games with you are a pleasurable experience. 

Best Staffy Tug of War Toys

We highly recommend these two tug of war toys for your Staffy:

Opopark 2 Pieces Dog Bite Tug Toy
  • ♔ Premium Material: Our dog tug toy with double stitching is made of the highest quality jute material to ensure that your dog will never tear it when having fun. Biting surface is super tough yet soft for canine's teeth, to keep both of you absolutely safe
  • ♔ Perfect Size: This 12x3.2 inches tug toy for dogs features 2 soft yet strong handles giving you more hand placement options and a secure comfort grip. The handles are made of the highest quality nylon material to prevent your hands from rope burns and cuts
  • ♔ Interactive Dog Toy: Designed for interactive and supervised play, suitable for indoor and outdoor play. It’s designed for tug of war, fetch, interactive play, IPO, police, k9 schutzhund training, prey drive building, agility, ring sport, spring pole workout and more
  • ♔ Not a Chew Toy: Our jute tug is built safe and tough but no toy is indestructible. Don’t allow your canine friend bite the handles and never let him play with the toy alone! However, it withstands the daily tugging what makes it perfect for big puppies and medium to large breeds, such as German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Pitbull, etc
  • ♔ Risk Free: Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance. If our product doesn’t satisfy your needs, we most certainly will honor a 30-day money-back guarantee. Any question, feel free to contact us and we will reach you at the soonest and make you satisfied

KONG – Tug – Durable Stretchy Rubber, Tug of War Dog Toy

KONG - Tug - Durable Stretchy Rubber, Tug of War Dog Toy
  • Natural KONG Rubber Stretches and recoils for long-lasting fun
  • Ideal for interactive games of tag
  • Comfortable grips make grabbing easy for you and your dog
  • Made in the USA

What Games Do Staffies Like to Play?

Staffies have a lot of muscle, so playing tug of war, chasing a ball, or fetching a heavy toy will give them plenty of exercise. 

What Do Staffies Like to Play With?

Staffies love to play with a whole range of toys, from toys that the dog needs to catch, such as frisbees, tug of war toys, and several chew toys.  However, you need to bear in mind that Staffies are powerful chewers, so choosing toys that don’t fall to pieces immediately they get their teeth into them is incredibly important. For more information on the best toys for Staffies, check out this article.

 

Brad Davenport

Brad has spent his entire life surrounded by dogs and has owned all sorts of breeds, including Dachshunds, Great Danes, French Bulldogs and he currently has a little Hasanese called Biscuit. Brad is an experienced dog writer who is obsessed by canine health, care and psychology and has completed several courses on dog care and training.

Top 3 Products for Staffies

Indestructible dog toy
KONG - Jumbler Ball - Interactive Fetch Dog Toy with Tennis Ball (Assorted Colours) - For Medium/Large Dogs
See your dog at night
Light Up Dog Collar Rechargeable PcEoTllar USB Flashing Dog Collar Waterproof Adjustable Dog LED Light Super Bright Dual Optical Fiber Glowing Collar 3 Flashing Modes Small Medium Large Dogs Green, M
Healthy toy for big chewers
Nylabone Extreme Tough Dog Chew Toy Monster Chicken Thigh, Cleans Teeth, Chicken Flavour, XXL, for Dogs Over 23 kg
KONG Jumbler Ball
Light Up Dog Collar
Nylabone Extreme Chew (Chicken Flavour)
Indestructible dog toy
KONG - Jumbler Ball - Interactive Fetch Dog Toy with Tennis Ball (Assorted Colours) - For Medium/Large Dogs
KONG Jumbler Ball
See your dog at night
Light Up Dog Collar Rechargeable PcEoTllar USB Flashing Dog Collar Waterproof Adjustable Dog LED Light Super Bright Dual Optical Fiber Glowing Collar 3 Flashing Modes Small Medium Large Dogs Green, M
Light Up Dog Collar
Healthy toy for big chewers
Nylabone Extreme Tough Dog Chew Toy Monster Chicken Thigh, Cleans Teeth, Chicken Flavour, XXL, for Dogs Over 23 kg
Nylabone Extreme Chew (Chicken Flavour)






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