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Appropriate Dog-to-Dog Play vs. Rough Play: Learning the Basics through Hamilton Dog Training Classes

May 20, 2019

Hamilton dog training experts recommend dog exercises, including play, to keep your canine friend mentally and physically fit. Keep in mind, however, that playtime needs to be a pleasant experience for everyone.

 

 

Rough, Consensual Play vs. Rough, Nonconsensual Play

 

When dogs get in the zone for fun, things often get a little rough. What looks like a fight to the death to people could just be two happy dogs having a mutually great time.

 

Most dogs use their teeth, paws, and bodies without holding back, growling and biting at their playmates. Body slams, tackling, nipping, and forcing another to the ground are also common behaviors during play. Animal behavior researchers aptly refer to this type of play as “play fighting” as it involves behavior typical in real fights. 

 

How to Tell If Play is Fun and Consensual

 

You know dogs are having mutual, good-natured fun when:

 

  • Their movements are inhibited, big, and clumsy 

  • They frequently engage in “role reversals,” taking turns at “winning” and “losing” during play

  • They engage in “self-handicapping,” wherein they tone down the force and excitement of their play to avoid overwhelming their playmate
     

These are the sorts of play behavior taught and encouraged in dog training near Leesburg, VA.

 

How to Tell If Play is No Longer Consensual

 

What tips the scale from “fun rough” to “too rough” during playtime is the response. If one of the dogs involved has expressed his disinterest in the game but the other insists, then it is no longer consensual.

 

How to Tell If a Dog Doesn’t Want to Play Anymore

 

When one of the dogs playing is no longer having fun, he will give off cues to indicate his stance. The signs include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Ignoring his playmate

  • Jumping on his human

  • Hiding behind his human

  • Moving away or cowering whenever the other dog draws near

  • Snapping or responding aggressively to his playmate’s advances
     

Leesburg dog training classes underline the importance of recognizing these signs just as much as they highlight the significance of always monitoring dog-to-dog play, keeping play times short using time-out breaks to calm the dogs and keep things from escalating.

 

How to Tell If a Dog is Playing too Rough

 

If a dog insists on playing despite the other dog’s clear disinterest, then the dogs should be separated. You can also determine if a dog takes playtime too far by the way he behaves. Here are a few signs:

 

  • Stiff body

  • Pinned ears

  • Curled lip or closed mouth

  • Quick, calculated movements

  • No bouncing around during playtime

  • Keeps roughly tackling or pinning his playmate to the ground
     

If your dog exhibits any of these signs, then your dogs may not be a good candidate for dog-to-dog play.

Enroll your pooch now in Hearts in Harmony’s Hamilton dog training classes and learn how to recognize appropriate dog-to-dog play. Call us at 540-454-4098 today!

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