Top 3 Reasons Why Dogs Growl During Tug of War

The sound of growling can be intimidating but it doesn’t always indicate a dog is about to become aggressive. Here are the most common reasons for dogs that growl when playing tug of war.

1. Harmless vocals during playtime

Dogs can be quite vocal while they play. Whether it’s to you or to another dog, growling could be perfectly normal during a tug of war match. You could even add to the fun by growling back at your dog. Take the growling as a sign of a happy and entertained dog!

2. It’s a sign of excitement

Your dog is trash-talking you and growling about how bad you are at tug of war. Just kidding. They are probably growling because they are excited about playing.

3. The dog is resource-guarding

In some cases, the growling might actually be a warning. This is most likely to happen with dogs that have serious resource-guarding habits. You might notice the same type of growl when you try to take other toys and treats away from the dog. Other signs associated with resource-guarding behaviors include a stiff body stance and a showing of the teeth. You should back off in this case.

Does tug of war make dogs more aggressive?

No, tug of war doesn’t encourage dogs to become more aggressive. You may, however, want to set a few ground rules to ensure your dog doesn’t pick up any bad habits while playing. For example, you should stop playing immediately if the dog’s mouth touches any part of your body. This is also a good opportunity to teach your dog the “drop it” command. This command can come in handy later on, especially when your dog is playing with other others in the dog park.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


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