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Hi All,

My Aussie is 5 months old and i started to see an increase in his "intensity" to play with other dogs... here is some things I noticed:

  • 1 He has always been very friendly.. shy at first (still now) but after 5-10 minutes he starts to get a lot more confident.
  • 2 He does not like dogs that are vocal and/or kind of rude
  • 3 He sticks to one dog and keeps playing with him during the whole socialization time, if other dogs want to join he prefers not to play and wait until his buddy is alone.
  • 4 He was not used to be vocal and he still is not pretty much all day, except during games , and specially during games with other dogs
  • 5 His play is becoming more "intense" to the point of being annoying to the owner of other dogs. It is not aggressive, but it is like if he wants his buddy to play only with him, even if the buddy is tired or if he/she wants to play with others.

I know we need to bring him to interact with more dogs and we are planning on that.. but is this change and behavior normal? how can we control it better?

Thanks
 

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Well, it doesn't sound as if he's being totally rude. It kind of sounds like he's a bit picky on who he likes to play with. That's not necessarily bad. And, some dogs play rougher than others. Also, because he's a bit shy, that could explain why he's not really into group play.

Does this happen at a dog park? A training class?

If I were you, I'd try to set up some play dates with different dogs, not just his favorite buddy. If this is at a dog park, try going at a different time, so different dogs are there. And, if you notice the other owner getting annoyed because he's playing too rough, I would remove your dog, and try to occupy him in playing a game with you.
 

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A lot of dogs are selective about playmates or they become selective with maturity. Play style has a lot to do with that.

I follow my own "three's a crowd" rule at work. It prevents the shy dogs from getting overwhelmed(or at least it helps) and decreases the arousal level of the play(or at least it helps).

I would practice interrupting him during play. Walk between him and his buddy clapping and entice them to follow you. Most dogs know how to regulate their own play but some(mine included don't). He is still a puppy so he can learn to interrupt play rather than escalating. You also might be missing the little signals dogs use. He might stop and hold a bow, bow repeatedly, stop and sniff the ground, shake it off, yawn, etc.

If he isn't doing anything, you do need to step in. I often body block the overexcited dog into a sit. They hold sit count to 3 or something and give him a peppy release such as "Okay!" or "Go play".
 
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