puppy play too rough?
This is kind of long, sorry!!
I have an almost 7 month old Basset Hound and she loves going to the dog park and she loves to play rough and wrestle around with other dogs. She gets really into it and gets pretty rough but she mainly plays with bigger dogs and they like it so it isnít really a problem with them. The thing is that there are several owners who donít let their puppy play like that and so my puppy goes and is wrestling with them and their puppy is playing right back but they keep stopping them from playing like itís a bad thing. And then a lot of the time they make it seem like Iím a bad dog owner or that my dog is bad because she plays like that.
She doesnít ever get mad and growl and she never whimpers or anything Ė itís purely play for her. And she isnít an aggressive dog outside of the playing Ė she has never acted aggressive toward any other dog or person, she is a very sweet dog and loves anything that moves basically.
So, is letting my puppy play like that bad?
My boyfriend has gotten to the point that he doesnít want to go to the dog park again because he is tired of her playing and then having to keep stopping her just because the owner doesnít like it even when the other dog doesnít mind it and is playing right back.
When she was smaller we took her to the dog park and when dogs would play rough with her she would get a little intimidated but we would just let them keep going if she wasnít whimpering or anything because we didnít want her to end up being scared of dogs if we just kept taking her away from the situation. We knew the other dogs werenít being mean but just wanted to play with her. This is probably why she likes to play so rough now I guess.
Are we in the wrong for letting her play this rough? Or do the owners need to lighten up?
Also, she doesnít listen the best while at the dog park (especially when she is playing) so does anyone have any suggestions in the best way to get her to stop playing? Sometimes she does play with dogs that donít want to play that way and it can be difficult to get her to do something else. We are enrolled in an obedience class that starts in April so hopefully that will give us some insight but any suggestions in the meantime would be great.
Re: puppy play too rough?
I think you should try to look at it from the other dog owners' perspective. You never know when "rough" play can get out of control. There could be a number of things that could trigger rough play turning into something dangerous....like hearing a noise that spooks one of the playing dogs, or another dog joining in.....whatever. Things can turn from play to dangerous so quickly!
Also, those other dog owners don't know your dog, and don't know if things are going to get ugly. AND, they may not be able to recognize rough play vs. aggression. They are just watching out for their dogs' best interest.
There have been plenty of posts where someone's dog got too aggressive at the dog park and things got ugly. So, I think people might be taking the "better safe than sorry" stance.
My suggestion would be to watch the other owners, too. If they seem uncomfortable then get your dog to gear back, or move to another area. OR, make friends with some other dog owners who you know don't mind the way your dog plays, and plan play dates with them (go to the dog park together!)
As far as getting your dog to listen.....if your dog is trained to sit or stay or lie down I would recommend using those commands in conjunction with time at the dog park. For instance, when you first get there, go through some of the commands, and give treats if your dog is able to concentrate on you instead of trying to go play.
Several times during your dog park adventure, get your dog by you and run through the command/treat thing. Just a few minutes each time.
If doing this at the dog park doesn't work because of the distractions you could try it on a smaller scale at home. Have a friend bring their dog by and try to keep your dog's attention with the commands. Or, do the same thing when you're on a walk. Anytime your dog can be distracted is a good time to try this.
Basically you're training your dog that when you give a command he should do it, and give his attention to you, no matter what else is going on. Use lots of treats! And, praise! And, just a few minutes each time, at first!
Re: puppy play too rough?
Doxie..this is great advice.
I too want to say that if the other owners are uncomfortable (regardless of their dog enjoying the play) that it is respectful of their feelings to go find another playmate. It's unfortunate a lot of people don't get it and some go the other way and leave their dogs to be played with TOO roughly and it is a fine balance, but keeping peace between the dog owners is just as important as it is between the dogs.
As for the getting the dog to pay attention while playing...that is college level training in a kindergarten level pup. Working on a recall under lesser distractions and then working up gradually to harder distractions is key here..setting the pup up to succeed. I like to recommend you go get the pup, leash her, move away and get a sit and then reward her with a goodie (if food is allowed at the park) AND THEN releasing the pup to go play again with a hearty "go play!). Not only do you get a more attentive dog but you also get one that learns that coming to or going with you does not necessarily mean the end of playtime.
Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale
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