View Full Version : Is this normal behaviour

Harvey's Mum
5th November 2007, 10:13 AM
Hi Everyone

This weekend we had Rudi's litter brother Barney over for a visit (11 weeks Old). They started to play fight and this went on for about half hour. Everything was fine, chasing each other around the garden and generally having fun. Then I think Rudi warned his brother that he had enough but Barney just kept on going and then Rudi just went into what I would call a proper fight with him. I had to pick him up.

Could this be a terrortorial thing or just putting him in his place. I must say I was a bit concerned, he has not behaved like this before. When I put him down again he moved away from Barney and the ears went down. Maybe Barney hurt him I don't know, but 10 mins later they were eating out of the same bowl and everything was fine again.

Rudi is the smallest of the litter by quite a bit, I don't know if this has anything to do with it. Maybe I am looking too much into it, a bit of reassurance would be most grateful.

Anna (Mum of Harvey & Rudi)

5th November 2007, 10:39 AM
It's normal. Adult dogs are the same -- the will growl, snarl, or snap at another dog that becomes rude or tiresome. For young puppies, it's a way of each learning polite behaviour. It's one reason it is so important to try and give puppies and older dogs lots of socialisation time with other dogs, but especially puppies. If they learn polite boundaries from other dogs, then it is one less task for you. The other issue of course is that only by interacting with other dogs do they learn to read other dogs' signals and discover that maybe they've pushed things too far.

Rudi was saying 'enough', maybe because he is smaller and tires more easily, but more because he'd had enough when his pal wanted to keep going, and he has no other way of saying 'go AWAY!'. In general I'd always keep an eye on such playtimes but not intervene unless it looks like a real fight -- a snarl or a snap is usually enough to settle things and if they aren't allowed to convey those messages they each do not learn (just like intervening with children all the time!). If their bodies go from being relaxed even if they are lunging and growling, to stiff and bristly, then separate and fast. You will learn from experience the difference between play fighting and real fighting even though initially they look similar sometimes!

You do gradually learn to watch your own and other dogs' body language -- very smart to learn as it enables you to see problems before they happen. A good site for is http://diamondsintheruff.com/behavior.html -- somegreat training info on every aspect of owning a dog. Have a look at the section called Dog Speak as there are lots of images there that can help us understand our dogs better.

Harvey's Mum
5th November 2007, 10:58 AM
Thanks Karlin. That website is brilliant, put it in to my favourites.

Bit of a relief reading your reply, not sure if I was going to have an aggressive dog on my hands.

Thanks again

Anna (Mum of Harvey & Rudi)