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629 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

We have a one year old and a 3 month old. They eat together, play with toys, sleep together. When they play, they both chase and bite mouth to mouth and they bite ears. The older will chase the younger and grab her by the neck and shake her head. This looks scary but they do seem to be playing. The puppy will cry and then get away and then run right back to play some more.

It makes me nervous and I want to be sure that this is normal.

I would also like to know what I need to do if the play gets too rough. Do I separate? We use distraction.

Next question-

My co-worker also has a puppy and a 1 year old. Her dogs have been together for a month, her puppy is 5 months. This weekend she called to say that her older dog was attacking her puppy and that in the process she was bitten. She put the older dog in her crate for most of the day and then let her out and it happened again.

I am going to suggest that we find a trainer who can come in and help.

Is this something that she can overcome?

Thank you!

438 Posts
In response to your first question -
What you describe sounds like normal puppy play. You will KNOW if they are not playing!

Usually what to watch for if its play: Both dogs "swap over" between being the one that gets to be on top. Often the older dog will lie down and allow the pup to climb all over them.

Growling and yipping and so on is all normal and not necessarily a sign of a fight.

Often they will do a play bow, which is a signal to the other dog that "remember that whatever I do, I'm playing with you". Play bow is front legs out on the ground, bum in the air like this:

If you notice them doing any of the following, it may not be play:

Their bodies get stiff and tense, instead of "dancing" about and moving a lot.
They "stare" with a tense closed mouth.
They snarl with a still, tense body, maybe with some whites of the eyes showing.

Whether you should get involved when play gets rough is a difficult question.

My opinion:
You have the right to stop noisy and annoying play whenever you like. Both dogs must go lie down and get quiet.

It is more complicated if they are actually fighting. Then you will have to look at the bigger picture - what is causing the fighting to happen.

In the situation with your friend, I think your idea to get a trainer in is best.
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