Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Puppy play-fighting- how do you know if it's too much?

R&Rpuppies
September 28th, 2010, 11:38 AM
Hello, I just became the owner of two shih tzu puppies a boy and a girl, 8 weeks old. They play and romp around a lot, but sometimes it seems like it gets really aggressive, with growling and yelping. Yesterday, I even saw some blood on one of their stuffed toys after a session. Should I be intervening? I have been, but it doesn't seem to help. I have also read that this is normal? I am worried they are going to be biters, if anyone has advice, I'd love to hear it.
Thanks!

Floppy Dog
September 28th, 2010, 02:14 PM
Congrats on the new additions to your family. I would recommend you get a copy of Brenda Allof's (check spelling, I'm not at home) book "Canine Body Language". It's heavy on pictures and a great guide to the distinction between play and not play. Having said that, play is a form of learning hunting skills for dogs (goes back to the original "wolf" genes from 15,000 years ago) so the difference between play and attack is not very great. One of the best ways to tell the difference is to see if the roll of "prey" and "preditor" change during a play session. If they take turns chasing and being chased or pouncing and being pounced, it's almost always play. If one dog is consistently the "preditor" and does all or by far the most chasing and pouncing, then it's more likely to be agression.

As for blood on the toys, are your dogs teething yet? If so, it could be from a lost tooth. Also, have they been vet checked? Could there be a tooth or gum issue you don't know about?

Jumajum
September 29th, 2010, 01:50 PM
Congratulations on your new puppies! They're likely just playing. You do want them to play and nip and wrestle. They will teach each other how far they can nip.
If one yelps in pain does the other back off? They're teaching each other bite inhibition.

I have 14 week puppies and we have at least 8 puppy fights a day :rolleyes:.
I usually ignore it and let them fight it out. There will be this tornado of puppy rolling through the house for 10 minutes and then I turn around and one is napping right on top of the other.:sleepy:

They have to figure out their heirarchy and if you step in, it'll just delay that process. Once they figure it out, then you'll know who is the higher dog and it'll help with things later.

cassiek
September 29th, 2010, 03:53 PM
Hello, I just became the owner of two shih tzu puppies a boy and a girl, 8 weeks old. They play and romp around a lot, but sometimes it seems like it gets really aggressive, with growling and yelping. Yesterday, I even saw some blood on one of their stuffed toys after a session. Should I be intervening? I have been, but it doesn't seem to help. I have also read that this is normal? I am worried they are going to be biters, if anyone has advice, I'd love to hear it.
Thanks!

Hey R&Rpuppies,

I wouldn't be too concerned. My "pairs" in my home who like to play together can become what seems like very aggressive at times... growling, nipping, yelping when they are playing. Most of the time I leave them and they are fine, they appear to be having fun and no one is being hurt. Once in awhile if it seems to be getting a little out of control I don't hesistate to give a sharp "Hey". Other times, I will halt the play time and have them do a few commands (sit, stay, etc.) until they seem to have calmed down.

The blood could have just been an accidental nip. I know sometimes the Boxers get playing and because they "box" when they play-fight they end up with scratches on each other's chests that sometimes look very red and can bleed a little bit. I wouldn't be too concerned as long as neitheir dog is getting hurt.

R&Rpuppies
September 29th, 2010, 08:19 PM
Thanks all, I feel better. Yes, they take turns being the initiator. I've noticed one will be asleep and the other will pounce, and then the next one will do it. If one yelps really loud, they seem to stop.
They have been vet checked, vaccinated, pest controlled - all that. They are very healthy, so I think any blood is probably just an accident - their teeth are like little razors.
Thanks again! It's nice to hear that other people have pairs too, I am reading all this stuff about how "bad" it is, but I have found it really good so far, they are both little cuddlers!

Floppy Dog
September 30th, 2010, 12:57 PM
It's nice to hear that other people have pairs too, I am reading all this stuff about how "bad" it is, but I have found it really good so far, they are both little cuddlers!

Not only do many of us have "pairs" (my pair being a dog and cat, but don't tell them they are different species!:crazy:) some of the members have quite sizable packs! I wish you many happy years with your pair:thumbs up