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Best Dog Tug Toys for 2024

Updated: Apr 13

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You may well be asking yourself - what exactly is a dog tug toy? Surely all dogs toys are tug toys, well they pull them don't they ? So why are these toys any different?


Essentially tug toys are designed to be used with your dog and to be pulled in opposite directions without falling apart. Ideally they have a handle you can grip easily whilst your dog pulls the other end with their mouth.


But they offer a lot more than simply a tug-of-war game.


Tug toys are a great way to keep your dog active, offer an opportunity to strengthen your bond with them and as a high-value reward, can support you in achieving your elusive training goals - recall, leave and stay training.

Dog with a selection of dog tug toys

Tug toys come in all shapes and sizes so we tested a bunch of different styles and put them through their paces.


We can offer you notes on how our tester used them and which dogs they suit best, so all you need to do is decide which one you and your dog would prefer.

​Best Dog Tug Toy Overall : at a glance

If you're in a rush and simply want to know which we think is best, we recommend Tug-e-Nuff Sheepskin Bungee Chaser | View Tug-e-Nuff


Tug-e-Nuff


TABLE OF CONTENTS


Buying Guide for Tug Toys


Of course, the first thing to be said about tug toys is that they are interactive so need your presence and involvement. Tug toys aren't chew toys, so should not be left with your dog as they could destroy them.

If used correctly, tug toys can improve impulse control, encourage your dog to learn some boundaries and they really tire them out both physically and mentally. We'll provide hints and tips on how best to introduce tug toys and use them effectively at the end of this article.


All dog tug toys are built with durability in mind but there are a number of different designs to consider.


Size

Ideally, the tug toy you choose should have room for your hand, your dog’s mouth, and some space in between. So if you dog readjusts their grip, your hand will be well out of the way.


If you would like to use your tug toy when you're out and about, look for a pocket-sized toy. You can then reveal it at any point to encourage recall.


Handle

Ideally we'd recommend looking for a padded handle. It will ease the pressure on your hand.


Material

We'd suggest that you look for a tug toy with a little bit of 'give' in it. If you have a large dog or have suffered with any arm/ shoulder injuries then some flex is a big plus.


High Value Reward

Tug toys can make a great alternative to treats if they are considered high-value. You know your dog best, will they be excited by real fur, a ball or bright colours ?



If you're interested, here's a link to a great video by a Canine Expert at dog toy company KONG, explaining - How to Play Tug of War Safely


dog paw with tug toy


Our Top Picks for Tug Toys


1. Tug-e-Nuff Sheepskin Bungee Chaser


Tug-e-Nuff are a family run company launched way back in 2009. They have combined their considerable experience as professional dog trainers with creativity to develop a range of high quality, innovative tug toys.

Tug-e-Nuff Sheepskin Bungee Chaser - Dog Tug Toy

The first of their toys to feature in our review is the Sheepskin Bungee Chaser.


This toy is from a range of Chasers, so called because the long handle allows you trail it along the ground without bending down.


Trailing the toy erratically mimics prey so is incredibly enticing for your dog.


The toy measures over a metre long, so is ideal if you have an anxious dog, as they can play tug with you from a distance rather than up close which will help to build their confidence.


Headline features include the attractive bite material which is crafted from real sheepskin. The unique scent and texture of the sheepskin is extremely motivating for most dogs. It's worth noting that all the sheepskin is responsibly sourced and a by-product of the meat industry.


Tug-e-Nuff dog tug toy

The strong handle is padded for extra comfort and includes a bungee cord section. We love this design feature as it takes some of the strain away from your arm and your dog's neck during the tug game.

Available in four colour combinations with a choice of black or white sheepskin bite material. If you prefer, Tug-e-Nuff also offer rabbit fur or faux fur options.


Too big for your pocket, it's a tug toy designed to be used at home (great fun on a rainy day) or in the garden.

Our Verdict - The Sheepskin Bungee Chaser ticks all the boxes for a tug toy. It's incredibly durable so will stand the test of time, is suitable for more anxious dogs and was the most enticing of all the tug toys we tested.

Reasons to Buy

- Ideal for anxious dogs

- Super fluffy

- Padded handle

- Bungee section


Reasons to Avoid

- If you're not a fan of fur

- Too big for your pocket


Buying Options

Get 10% OFF theTug-e-Nuff range

Use discount code SMARTBARK at checkout




2. Tug-e-Nuff Pocket PowerBall Fauxtastic


If you have a ball crazy dog then the Pocket PowerBall Fauxtastic could be the perfect tug toy for you

The Tug-e-Nuff PowerBall Fauxtastic in orange and blue

Compact enough to slip into your pocket, it's ideal to use when out and about for improved recall.


Incredibly bright it features blue stripes which isn't by accident.


Studies suggest blue is one of the dominant colours in your dog's vision. This may well explain why your dog prefers blue toys over toys of different colours.


This design is shorter than the other toy styles, so the bungee shock absorber has been integrated within the padded handle.


Other headline features are the faux fur section and a super tough PowerBall.

Dog playing with Tug-e-nuff PowerBall tug toy

The Tug-e-Nuff PowerBall is uniquely designed with easy-grip grooves and a dual texture for interest.


We found in testing that Freddie continually grabbed at the faux fur section as opposed to the ball, which surprised us, as he loves a ball.


Measuring 31cm in length, it's available in 3 different colour combinations.


The Tug-e-Nuff range includes a collection of ball tug toys including some with longer handles and chasers with real or fake fur in addition to the ball.

Our Verdict - Ultimately, this tug toy was the only one we could hide in our pocket during testing. The excitement when we produced it mid-dog walk, was off the scale - we felt like magicians ! Definitely one for training at the park and for dogs that simply adore their balls !

Reasons to Buy

- Pocket sized

- Eye-catching

- Ball and faux fur bite area

- Padded bungee handle


Reasons to Avoid

- Anxious dogs may prefer a longer handle


Buying Options

Get 10% OFF theTug-e-Nuff range

Use discount code SMARTBARK at checkout

We think you might like....

Dog walking bags are a great idea. We've handpicked a selection of the best dog walking bags on the UK market suitable for a quick lap of the local park to a day adventuring off the beaten track. They all offer a lot more than a normal bag, including customised pockets for tug toys, balls, poo bags, treats, your phone, shoulder straps, waist straps and they can all deal with the British weather! Best Dog Walking Bags


3. Ruffwear Pacific Loop™ Toy


US dog brand Ruffwear is dedicated to offering performance dog gear and their range includes the Pacific Loop tug toy.

Dog with Pacific Loop tug toy from Ruffwear

With a slightly different aim, the Pacific Loop has been designed for games of tug and fetch.


Featuring two grab handles, one at either end and a large bite area in the centre, the Pacific Loop combines tug and fetch games.


The handles are crafted from nylon tubular webbing so very robust and the bite area is a combination of rope and foam.


The headline feature is the buoyant foam core that has been designed to float. So would make an ideal fetch and tug toy at the beach or if your dog loves to swim.


We feel that a combination fetch and tug toy may work well for you, if your dog doesn't have a tendency to chew.

Pacific Loop dog tug toy

Nevertheless, we felt that if you have a dog that loves to chew, by essentially using this tug toy as a fetch toy, it will probably result in some unwanted chewing which would reduce the toys life.


Measuring 52cm in length, it's easy to throw and there's plenty of space for tug play.


Be aware though that it is more expensive than the Tug-e-Nuff toys featured.

Our Verdict - It's a high quality, well made toy as you would expect from Ruffwear and is available in two colours - red and teal.

Reasons to Buy

- Durable

- Eye-catching

- Suitable for water play


Reasons to Avoid

- Expensive option


Buying Options



4. KONG Tug Dog Toy


Ultimately no dog toy article would be complete without a Kong dog toy. Probably the world's best known brand - Kong, offer their version of a tug dog toy simply called Tug.

Kong Dog Tug Toy

We bought and tested the Tug which is made from Kong's unique rubber used in their original treat dispensers.


Their rubber tug toy has a degree of flexibility and is designed to spring back into shape during games of tug.


A large, comfortable grip area at either end alongside plenty of space for your dogs jaws.


The truth is though, we found that the Kong Tug grip was not as comfortable as the Tug-e-Nuff toys we tested.


Definitely more demanding on our arms during play and offered considerably less shock absorption than the bungee.

Kong Tug toy in testing

The bungee element included in some of the Tug-e-Nuff toys makes a massive difference to the comfort of playing tug games with your dog.


Additionally, during testing we noticed that the Kong Tug didn't appear as inviting as the other tug toys tested.


Freddie needed more cajoling to start a tug game, but of course this will depend on your dog's temperament.


Kong Tug measures 32cm long and 11.5cm at its widest part.

Our Verdict - For most dog owners this dog tug toy is good value and should last considerably longer that most rope tug toys which tend to fray and fall apart.

Reasons to Buy

- Tough rubber

- Durable

- For dogs who prefer rubber toys


Reasons to Avoid

- Didn't appear as appealing as other tug toys


Buying Options

You might be interested in ... Best Puppy Chew Toys

Recently added a puppy to your family ? We take a look at some of the best puppy chew toys on the UK market to help save your hands, ankles and favourite shoes !


dog paw graphic


Our Verdict


While all our recommended tug toys could be described as heavy-duty, they won’t last long if used as a dedicated chew toy.


Our dog LOVES the Tug-e-Nuff range. The thoughtful design means they're fun to play and importantly whilst they are robust they are also more gentle on your arm and hand than the other tug toys we tested.


What's more the design team at Tug-e-Nuff have carefully considered colour combinations and materials when tailoring their toys to a whole range of dogs and their different temperaments.



We highly recommend Tug-e-Nuff toys if you're looking for durable, fun tug toys. You of course may have other ideas so please let us know if there are any other tug toys we should review.


If you're looking for a different kind of dog toy, why not check out our Best Dog Toys for 2024. We test and review the best puzzle, indestructible, plush and fetch toys on the UK market.

dog paw graphic


How to Use Tug Toys


As long as you have worked with your dog to understand the rules and watch your dog’s body language, tug is an excellent game to play!


🐾 Start slowly by choosing a time and a place with few distractions


🐾 Keep it positive and offer lots of praise when your dog grabs the bite area


🐾 Try to match your dog, and pull as much as they do, increasing the resistance as your dog becomes more confident


🐾 Remember that the tug toy belongs to you so you decide when to start and end the play


There are so many fun games you can play with tug toys.


Tug-e-Nuff offer Quick Start Guides along with training videos like this one on YouTube so you and your four-legged friend can make the most of your time playing together.



dog paw graphic


FAQ's


Are tug toys good for dogs ?


Tug games tap into your dog's natural drive so they're incredibly motivational. When used correctly tug toys are a great training tool which can help with impulse control, build confidence in anxious dogs and strengthen the bond between you and your dog.


Do tug toys promote aggression in dogs ?


No, playing tug will not make make your dog aggressive. According to a study conducted by the University of Bristol -

The majority of dogs do not seem to regard competitive games played with a human partner as "dominance" contests: rather, winning possession of objects during games appears to be simply rewarding.


Playing tug is an excellent way to mentally and physically exercise your dog, and you'll burn off some calories too.

dog paw graphic


Almost all our products are sent to us by the companies involved and nearly always as a result of our request. We only review the products we think are worth reviewing.


Thank you for reading our article and we hope you love dog tug toys as much as we do.



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