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cecily
30th December 2006, 06:07 PM
Tandie has undergone a complete and utter personality change since Dougal came into the house... in many ways good (more playful and energetic) and in some ways slightly psychotic :badgrin:

She and Dougal have started rough playing... well she always initiates it. It started by sort of pretending to nip him and running off, getting him to follow but I feel she's going a bit OTT trying to be the alpha dog. If I feel play is getting a bit rough I make a loud noise and remove her for a few moments until she calms down. But she gets quite aggressive and growls and barks at him during play. I'm just wondering if this is all typical.

Anyway, I'm just wondering what point you lot think is too far. Obviously we'd never let it get near the point of her hurting him (and she doesn't try to, although she's snapped at him twice when a pigs ear was involved). The both also get plenty of time outs so I'm not worried about what to do in those situations, just what would be a good cut off point. She takes all his toys off him, she regularly pins him down belly up when playfighting ... is this all typical doggie behaviour? I'm interested in the psychology behind it all. Because this behaviour is so strange for her I'd love to know what she's thinking :)

Lisa_T
30th December 2006, 06:15 PM
Hear hear. We've had- and continue to have- similar issues with Holly. I always thought Holly was a gentle, timid soul... Amber's advent has made me reconsider, although, like you say, Amber has never actually been hurt by Holly. The worst it's ever been has been a sharp nip on the ear (followed by a yelp, naturally..).

I know you're supposed to let the older dog discipline the younger to some extent (and it works very well too..) but where the heck is the cutoff point? And if it's a case of the older dog disciplining the younger, I imagine it's right to leave them to it... ditto play, to a degree... but if it's resource guarding- step in then?!

Sorry, Cecily. You've raised an issue I've also been wondering about, but this has been no help as it's been more questions rather than answers!! :lol: :lol: I'll be interested in any responses since the situations have a number of similarities.

Karlin
30th December 2006, 06:20 PM
Sounds pretty normal to me. This is just play behaviour, not anything to do with an adult showing dominance to a puppy -- it is how puppies learn adult behaviour. Adults don;t show dominence per se with puppies -- there's no need, a puppy is tiny and not threatening of anything. It will be the puppy that may someday challenge as it reaches sexual maturity but this is unlikely to be an issue with a male and a female.

They probably don;t need time outs when playing unless one or the other seems to be really under pressure and unhappy from the other.

Resource guarding is a separate issue and needs to be treated as one and trained away from as it can be very dangerous. Just stealing toys from each other in play is normal.

Some dogs are growlers and barkers and others are not. Jaspar growls all the time when playing -- he is just a 'talker'. :) You get used pretty soon to telling the difference between a threatening growl and real growl and either should be *encouraged* not discouraged for reasons Tara has noted before.

It's good to learn to recognise some dog danger signals in body language; again Tara has posted on this and the www.diamondsintheruff.com site has some good primers. If Tandie is going into play bows when playing with Dougal you have little to be concerned about.

himindoors
30th December 2006, 06:23 PM
Twinkle and Daisy Boo go at it almost non stop some days. DB gets very yappy, mainly because Twinkle always has the upper hand. Twinkle can't see her with a toy. It doesn't matter how many toys are down she has to have the one Daisy Boo has. They've never actually hurt each other though and DB starts it just as often if not more often than Twinkle. It's actually quite funny seeing them stalking each other ready to pounce. We generally let them get on with it if there's not too much noise.

It sounds to me like you've got the right approach. Separation if it goes too far but letting them enjoy themselves.

Cathy Moon
30th December 2006, 06:38 PM
The best way to tell if they're playing too rough is to get a hold of the aggressor (bigger dog) and see if the little one wants to continue playing by approaching.

Also, if you're hearing more than one yelp here and there, it's probably too rough and time for a little time out period.

If either dog looks fearful or appears to be trying to get away from the other most of the time, they need a time out.

I'm smiling as I write this because I had never owned 2 dogs before India and Geordie, so I was always worried about what was playing and what was fighting. They are very vocal when they play, and they do play rough! :lol: But they are equally matched, so I don't worry at all now.

Every now and then, one dog will decide it's time to stop, and the other won't respect that. Or maybe one dog is grouchy, etc. If you hear the growling escalate to actual snarling, and alot of very fast barking and short fast movements, it's usually time for a time out.

Try to prevent any and all fights over pig ears and bully sticks by separating them to begin with. You need to be proactive in managing them so they never get into fights.

Cathy T
30th December 2006, 11:43 PM
The best way to tell if they're playing too rough is to get a hold of the aggressor (bigger dog) and see if the little one wants to continue playing by approaching.

That's exactly what Jake's puppy trainer told us. It was interesting to see it in play. Jake is the aggressor with Shelby. He'll chase her around the house growling (play growling) at her until she finally jumps up on the couch to signal time out. Or she'll go under the dining room table and it drives him batty...he won't go under to get her...just barks at her. I don't interfere when they play like this...it's fun to watch them chasing each other around the house.

moniechris
31st December 2006, 01:19 AM
Welsey and Cody play fight like a pack of wild beasts!! They are both really verbal and if I am ever on the phone while they are going at it, the people think I am running a dog fighting ring :lol: . They crack me up all day long because they will play fight for hours, then collapse, then play fight for house again. :roll: Cody is the instigator and Wesley is so patient and gentle that Cody usually gets his way, unless the rugrat goes to far and Wesley will let him know. I make sure never to reprimand Wesley because Cody needs to learn his limits and boundaries.

merlinsmum
31st December 2006, 04:37 PM
Welsey and Cody play fight like a pack of wild beasts!! They are both really verbal and if I am ever on the phone while they are going at it, the people think I am running a dog fighting ring :lol: . They crack me up all day long because they will play fight for hours, then collapse, then play fight for house again. :roll: Cody is the instigator and Wesley is so patient and gentle that Cody usually gets his way, unless the rugrat goes to far and Wesley will let him know. I make sure never to reprimand Wesley because Cody needs to learn his limits and boundaries.

Sounds just like my house! Oakley is usually the instigator but Merlin likes to tease Oakley and egg him on to play. Oakley is more vocal but they do make a racket. I just leave them to it. If one nips to hard they just stop for a minute then carry on! My OH was quite worried at first when they made so much noise but having been brought up in a multiple dog house it was very natural to me and hasn't half perked up Merlin. :D

Lisa_T
31st December 2006, 05:40 PM
Holly has developed a habit of watching for Amber to race in from the back, and then she pounces. Sometimes this leads to a playfighting bout. In fact we watched them go at it a short while ago. :lol: :lol:

Nisha
1st January 2007, 04:10 AM
well monty and milo do what you are describing quite often and i think its just normal play.,...they pounce on each other, monty growls and barks like a maniac, they chase each other, go up on two legs and fight like lions, tug at each others ears and sometimes drag each other around.....but its just playing..they never actually hurt each other...when they were younger and just say monty would nip milo on the ear a bit hard milo would let out a yelp and then they'd go back 2 being calm for like a couple of minutes and then start up like nutz again...
but i think its good, i mean it really tires them out and they sleep well throughout the night.

judy
1st January 2007, 06:27 AM
it sounds like just what tandy has needed, in her progress toward regaining her 'cavalier' lightheartedness.

When we get together with Belle, Zack and belle play like that nonstop the first day. Then, they are less intense after they wear each other out. It's great exercise. I think most pet dogs don't get the optimum amount of exercise because humans generally can't give them the kind of workout they get from interacting with other dogs, running and playing, sometimes for hours.

Psychologically, i can see that both Belle and Zack are very happy when they have each other to play with. Life is much less boring. That growling and barking they do while they're playing, to me it sounds like laughter, they always have a twinkle in their eyes. my thinking on it is, the more the better, because it lifts their spirits and gives their bodies a great work out.

Humans are known to get 'high' from exercise, i believe the theory is that it's caused by the release of endorphans, and some inpqtent treatment programs for people with bipolar and schizophrenic disorders nclude strenuous exercise (to patient tolerance) as a key part of the treatment.

Perhaps dogs get a similar psychological benefit from exercising, not to mention the mental boost from playful socializing that humans know well (otherwise known as partying).

Of course, exercise is the best way to avoid unhealthy weight gain.

With Belle and Zack, neither one seems to be trying to be dominant, that's not what it's about. If one overpowers the other, then they quickly give in or back off, to make sure the other one will continue the game. Over and over, i'll see each of them win a tug of war over a toy, only to lay the toy down in front of the other dog, obviously not wanting the toy but wanting the game. The toy is just the prop. And the game would not work if somebody "won."

I always feel good about Zack's needs being met when he has other dogs to play with. and i also find it very entertaining to watch. :D