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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I have a dog who I recently adopted from the shelter, he has been playing fine with one of my other dogs but lately the playing has turned into what seems almost like aggression. The other dog doesn't really want to play much but occasionally she will, and when she tells him enough is enough he stops for the most part. Although the past few days he hasn't been stopping and it gets to the point where she roll over and he stands over her with his mouth around her neck. Luckily he doesn't bite her too hard and there hasn't been blood drawn, but he will chase her around in a non playful manner.
Normally when I notice he starts to get too rough I will distract him with a tennis ball and then play with them separately but sometimes he doesn't wanna play and will continue to go for her. Another reason I get afraid its too rough is he is around 70 pounds and stands at my waist, and he is continuing to get bigger since he was super thin when I adopted him and she is only around 45 pounds. She also had a partial tear in her cruciate ligament about a year and half ago so I worry she could hurt it again if he gets too rough.
Any help is greatly appreciated
 

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If you are concerned that he is becoming a bully, you might consider snapping on a leash, leading him to the side, and asking him to Sit for a few minutes... You could give him a tiny treat as a reward for Sitting. Later, you can say, "Play gentle," as he escalates, then snap on the leash, etc. Eventually, he may learn that "Play Gentle" means play will stop. Then, with consistency and practice, you may teach him that as long as he isn't a bully, you don't say Play Gentle... and don't stop the play.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you are concerned that he is becoming a bully, you might consider snapping on a leash, leading him to the side, and asking him to Sit for a few minutes... You could give him a tiny treat as a reward for Sitting. Later, you can say, "Play gentle," as he escalates, then snap on the leash, etc. Eventually, he may learn that "Play Gentle" means play will stop. Then, with consistency and practice, you may teach him that as long as he isn't a bully, you don't say Play Gentle... and don't stop the play.
Ok thank you I will try doing that. Today I also noticed that it only seems to be outside when it happens. The female initiated play inside and they stayed playing calmly for about 20 minutes. Later in the day while we were outside he became too excited and he ran into her and knocked her down then just stood over her, would I do the same thing for when he is becoming too crazy outside and reward them for playing calmly?
 

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Yes, but I don't think that you can easily reward them for playing gently.... but like barking, playing is self-rewarding. And, timing makes things easier:
1. 'Fido' is just beginning to make 'Princess' unhappy (or you are uncomfortable with the energy level).
2. You say, Fido (wait a half a second to see if you get his attention, but regardless, then say), Play Gently. You don't have to raise your voice. Wait another half second for him to tone it down...
3. If you get no change in the level of play (and Fido doesn't understand yet, so he may ignore you), then you get up and put the leash on him, leading him to the side, asking him to sit, and giving him a tiny treat for sitting.
4. At the same time watch Princess, she may be unhappy or may want a treat. Keep focus on Fido.
5. After Sitting for 15 - 30 seconds or if he calms down, then Fido can go back to play.
6. Repeat Steps 1 - 5, like a robot.
7. When you say Play Gently, Fido may continue to ignore you (he doesn't understand the words), but may calm down when you get up... It can be counter-intuitive, but continue the cycle anyway - snap on the leash and ask him to Sit, providing a treat, then releasing him as soon as he is calm. You don't want him to Play Gently when you stand up, you want him to listen to your words, then eventually play gently automatically. On the other hand, when he responds to Step 2, provide verbal praise and relax.
8. Initially, he may react as if he 'thinks' your cues are random directions. He calms down no cue, briefly, but then escalates. Feel free to start the sequence all over again (no, you're not really repeating the commands in this case) and it won't hurt to make him Sit when he's beginning to understand.
9. On the other hand, when he's making good progress, it also won't hurt to very briefly interrupt both of them, praise them and give both of them a tiny treat... to encourage Playing Gently. They may not know why, but sometimes a reward out of the blue can be very motivating.... Let us know what happens....
 

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Squash can get the same way with Maisy. I essentially do the above, but I have a "three strikes and you're out" rule... if I have to repeat my cue three times, then on the third time play ends completely and Squash goes to No Fun Land inside all by himself (or in the crate if we are already inside). It really has helped cut down on the rough play, and if he does get a bit wild I usually only have to give one verbal cue these days for him to tone it down.
 

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