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Is this normal dog play???

SunGurl372
October 7th, 2005, 01:38 PM
At 10 months, Harley is obviously still full of puppy energy. Every weekend, I take her to my parent's house to play with their 6 year old male Bassett, Boo (I've gotta get some pictures of this!!!).

They go crazy....tearing across the yard like maniacs, rough-housing like mad. They are pretty vocal too, lots of growling and the like during the rough stuff, but no harm's ever been done and neither dog looks like they are getting truly aggressive. There is a LOT of tussling to see who's going to come out on top. Harley is always trying to stand over Boo, which she does pretty well for the most part, considering the difference in size!

The thing is, Harley never stops and she tries to do this with every dog she meets. She's played a few times with the 1 year old female dalmation owned by my parent's neighbors with no problems, but she's really just a puppy herself. I really want to take Harley to a dog park with my son, but I'm concerned she's going to antagonize some older dog with a lot less patience.

Do you think she's just too rambunctious for that right now and I should give her sometime to settle down? Also, she's real good about listening to me when I give commands, but get another dog around and its like she's deaf!

Prin
October 7th, 2005, 01:41 PM
Usually the older dogs will put her in her place long before she gets too excited. I would keep an eye on her, and be ready to pull her aside if anything happens. It shouldn't be a problem unless she is excitable AND dominant. If they say "Stop!" and she thinks she is above them, she will get into trouble.

StaceyB
October 7th, 2005, 01:56 PM
I will give you one example. There were two puppies, neighbours. Every night they would play. They were allowed to play really rough with each other and between the two of them everything was fine because they learned the behaviours together. When these puppies were put with other dogs to play they would get beat up because the other dogs couldn't handle their rough play.
Once they were taught what was exceptable and what was not by stopping the play when they were getting too rough or doing something that was unacceptable. It is not a good idea to just let them work it out. Your dog will end up getting in fights and may learn to hit first.

mastifflover
October 7th, 2005, 02:11 PM
Stacey I have to disagree with you on your point about letting them work it out. I find if you don't let them work it out it creates more aggression between the 2 dogs. Most of it is noise and yes you do have to really keep an eye on them but usually they will end up playing together that has been my experience. Also older dogs will put the puppy in his place. My dog plays with a 6 month old mastiff mix who must be only 50 pounds but she plays really hard and if she starts to get to be too much Buddy will pin her on the ground and all is good again. Buddy weighs 160 pounds but does not hurt her just lets her know enough.

SunGurl372
October 7th, 2005, 02:16 PM
Is it possible for her to be dog-dominant and people-submissive? She's a real wimp around me if she thinks I'm even the least bit mad. Drops to the ground and belly crawls over to me, then rolls over on my feet and just lays there until I tell her everything's okay.

Around Boo, she's a terror. Always trying to be the boss with him. If he gets really annoyed with her antics, his vocal manner changes a lot and she does back off. But typically, its just for a minute and she's back at it.

I don't let them play unsupervised, because Boo can get pretty cranky in the blink of an eye. Boo was originally raised by my sister before coming to live with my parents, and I don't think he had much (if any, honestly) socialization with other dogs. :sad: So I think he's learning himself how to behave around her (sort of goes to Stacey's two puppy theory).

So, I'd actually like Harley to get around other dogs who know the ropes and can teach her some proper doggie etiquette.

Lucky Rescue
October 7th, 2005, 02:22 PM
Is it possible for her to be dog-dominant and people-submissive?

Definitely! One has nothing to do with the other, and you've just described typical and proper pit bull temperament. My dog is dominant/intolerant with other dogs, but completely submissive to all people (and cats!) :p

As for your puppy, *many* older and wiser dogs will discipline him without hurting him. My last dog would do this with any ill mannered dog he met, but some will not be patient.

A dog park is too much of an uncontrolled environment with too many dogs for you be confident your pup won't be hurt or be made aggressive by the attack of another dog.

Prin
October 7th, 2005, 02:24 PM
It's very possible that in different conditions, your dog will vary in dominance. It's good that she's not dominant with you, because that would be a whole other bag of worms.

I agree with letting them work it out up to a point. If one dog is bullying, stop it all. If one dog is abnormally aggressive, stop it all. If one dog just simply doesn't take a hint, stop it all. If the two dogs are of nearly equal size, nearly equal agility and strength, equal dominance, nearly equal age, etc, stop it all. When one dog is much stronger or bigger or older than another, it usually resolves itself without any real fight. If they are too similar, they will duke it out until one or both is seriously hurt. When in doubt, separate them up. ;)

SunGurl372
October 7th, 2005, 02:35 PM
So, if we think the dog park is too much of an uncontrollable unknown, how do I test her around other dogs off-leash to know when she IS ready for the park?

The dal next door is the only dog I know much about in my folk's neighborhood. I can't knock on some stranger's door and say, "Hi, do you mind if I borrow your dog for a while so I can see if mine wants to beat yours up?" :rolleyes:

I personally live in an apartment complex with no yard to speak of, and I refuse to let her off-leash in anything but an enclosed area. Doubt she'd run, but I love her too much to test that particular theory.

So am I just stuck waiting it out until she's older? It's very important to me that she get around as many dogs as possible while she's young.

Puppyluv
October 7th, 2005, 02:59 PM
You could sign her up for puppy/obediance classes to increase socialization. I'm guessing that she doesn't get to spend a lot of time with other dogs outside of the weekends, and this would help. Also, while you're there you can practice her recall, so you won't have to worry about her not coming back.

StaceyB
October 7th, 2005, 03:08 PM
Puppies have lost their protective scent by the time they are 10 months old. They smell like any other adult dog. You can still teach your pup how to play without getting her into trouble when she is playing with other dogs.
Prin you have noted many of the circumstances that would be reason to separate the dogs.
Do you have friends that have dogs that yours may be able to play with?
Classes would be a very good idea.

SunGurl372
October 7th, 2005, 03:22 PM
Do you have friends that have dogs that yours may be able to play with? Classes would be a very good idea.

I had considered classes for her early on, but I had kind of discredited it as unneccessary considering her overall behavior. She's a quick learner, picks up new commands and tricks in the drop of a hat.

But, considering the issue I have with her play behavior and trying to get her attention back when she's with other dogs, basic obedience sounds like a really good idea.

I'm super busy during the week, so no, I don't spend a lot of time with other people outside of my immediate family.

I wish they had a service to arrange puppy play dates. You know, like an online singles website, only one to get dogs to meet? :thumbs up

LoNScamp
October 7th, 2005, 09:02 PM
It's very possible that in different conditions, your dog will vary in dominance. It's good that she's not dominant with you, because that would be a whole other bag of worms.

I agree with letting them work it out up to a point. If one dog is bullying, stop it all. If one dog is abnormally aggressive, stop it all. If one dog just simply doesn't take a hint, stop it all. If the two dogs are of nearly equal size, nearly equal agility and strength, equal dominance, nearly equal age, etc, stop it all. When one dog is much stronger or bigger or older than another, it usually resolves itself without any real fight. If they are too similar, they will duke it out until one or both is seriously hurt. When in doubt, separate them up. ;)

Great advice Prin.

Chiceh
October 9th, 2005, 08:44 AM
In response to the rough dog play. I have 2 Labs, 6 months apart in age, oldest one being 2. So they are relatively the same size. The younger Black Lab Chester is leaner and faster as in a growth spurt. They play all day, rough and not. If you are not used to seeing dogs play, they do play rough, body checking, tumbling and biting. I have taught them a command when things get too rough. I just say enough and put my hands out like "enough". Sometimes I have to say it twice, the second time so I get their attention. They do stop (for about a minute) but continue to play not so rough. You just have to keep an eye on them when they are playing. If it totally gets out of hand,they get a time out and have to lay down for awhile. When we go to the dog park, they love it. They don't seem to play as rough with new dogs unless the other dog starts it. They generally as just so excited to meet new dogs. As for the aggression, I treat them equal as not to bring it on. They are very dominant on their own but I haven't had any problems with other dogs. And they do meet many other dogs.
If you can teach a command to stop the rough play, I feel that works the best.
Chiceh :crazy: