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I agree with Amaryllis. My dogs both do this to some extent. I suffered a back injury, and walking the dogs is painful, so we are down to one walk a day instead of two. As a result, the dogs have excess energy, and "ask" us to play more often than they used to.

Dogs wanting to play is a good thing! I'm wondering about the OP's statement: "....perhaps he just wants to play. (Something my husband doesn't do.)"
Does your husband not WANT to play with the dog ever?

Anyway, when Harper wants extra play, he will give a funny bark or two or three, and growl. It's not an aggressive growl, it's his play/attention growl. If I CAN play with him right then, I do. If I am busy, I will look away from him, with my nose in the air (kind of snobby, snubbing him). I read in "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConnell that when you do that, a dog sees it as a dismissal of sorts, kind of like you're saying "Be gone! I don't have time for this!" It works for us!
 
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