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Hello I have a 16 week old yellow lab. He is a great dog and not aggressive. Pretty well trained for 16 wks. He likes to rough house with other dogs....wrestling and biting at each other...All friendly as there is no growling or barking or anything. The thing is...He always gets beat and ends up laying on his back under an adult dog. He doesn't seem to mind it, he just chills on his back until the other dog walks off. Should I allow rough housing or break it up? Is it bad for him to always get his butt kicked until he gets bigger or will he lose confidence.
 

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He's leaarrrnnninnggg Lol. Usually older dogs will teach puppies when it is and is not okay for them to do something. When he gets out of line, the older dog will discipline him.
He'll learn good doggy social skills from it. I would just keep a close eye on him while he's playing with larger dogs. No blood no foul, really. As long as the other dog doesn't get too serious about it.
 

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I tend to let things go as long as I think everyone's safe and nobody is getting stressed out.

It seems to me like sometimes a dog goes onto its back to keep the other dog more interested (the few times I've seen my dog on his back, he was playing with a puppy!), while other times it's more of a submissive "please don't kill me" thing. I'd say they're very different circumstances, so it's hard to say for sure without seeing what's happening.

When my dog's the one on top of the 4mo old rambunctious puppy, as is sometimes the case :), I like to call him off after a bit to give the puppy a chance to get up, to break my dog's focus for a sec, and to see if the puppy's still interested or scared and runs away.

Obviously, you want to err on the side of caution, especially if there is a big size difference.
 

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assuming you've had your other dogs awhile, you know their voices and body language. Listen or watch for when it starts to get too intense or too angry sounding... if you're a bit unsure of what exactly to "look" for, Patricia McConnell's book, For the Love of the Dog has some FANTASTIC descriptions and pictures of how dogs show emotion.

If everyone sounds safe, and there's no boo boo's, I say let them play. This sort of play is believed to be good for teaching pups how to manage frustration. Before you know it, he'll be on the top of the dog pile!
 

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I have an almost six month old lab, but I'm in almost the opposite situation. She is usually the one doing the pinning, lol. Her best friend is a three year old rottie who frequently rolls over for her.

That same rottie played really rough with an adult rhodesian when she was a puppy, and she's got minor lameness issues now because of it (at least, according to her vet). I just try to be careful that my girl isn't getting tossed around too much, because of the possibility of injuries.
 

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I have a 1 year old aussie mix who is very submissive with other (bigger) dogs. At the park, he pretty much rolls over on his back every time another dog even comes close to knocking him off his square LOL. He prefers chasing and playing with smaller breeds and puppies. It's more obvious now because he's recovering from hip surgery (literally unable to keep up with the big dogs), but even before the operation, he had this type of behavior. At first it concerned me, "What's wrong with my dog? Why is he such a dramatic wuss all the time?" :)

I think he's just overly-cautious and reserved by nature, unless he is with a person or dog he trusts. Example: I have another dog (about 25lbs bigger than him), and my aussie mix bites his face, steals his toys, and takes food from him all day long, knowing he's not going to hurt him.
 

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I think that lots of fighting helps a Lab to become more gentle. My dog had a playmate that he wrestled with once a week for a year when he was about a year. They were well matched for energy, so we never had to separate them. Otherwise, he is sweet and calm, like a plush toy, b/c he burned off excess energy.

Also, as long as you don't hear shrieks, don't be concerned if you see a little minor bloodshed, especially around his mouth. Labs are tough, and pups have sharp teeth, so they can do a little minor bloodshed without ill effects. As long as he's having fun, I think it is great.

BTW, one test we use to see if a victim is being bullied - Take the bully away... if the victim tries to follow... things are probably OK.
 
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