Breaking Up Play

09/02/2022

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BREAKING UP PLAY

When it comes to play, it is important to be able to bring your dog away from others at varying intervals to allow them to calm down and de-escalate before things become too intense. Adolescent dogs often want to engage in high arousal play and will take more risks during interaction with others. This can lead to undesirable interactions becoming a habit and depending on the dogs involved could quickly turn into a dog fight if left to escalate. To prevent physical injury and damaging social experiences you will want to practice bringing your dog away from interacting for short periods before allowing them to return if they are engaging appropriately.

Make sure to prepare these 3 techniques before you need to use them.

The first option is to use a treat magnet to lure your dog away from interacting. Use something that your dog really likes. It is important to only use this technique if neither of the dogs have resource guarding issues. If they do struggle with other dogs around things which are important to them, choose a different method to separate play.

Another option is to recall your dog to you and reward them for coming. Be sure to practice your dog’s recall around other dogs on a lead or longline and make sure it is reliable before letting your dog off lead to play with others.

The third method is to hold your dog’s harness to interrupt play as the other dog moves away. Encourage your dog to relax with you for a while before restarting play. You may need to put your dog back on lead, or engage them in sniffing for treats on the ground to help them de-escalate.

If your dog hasn’t perfected these skills yet, restrict access to playmates until you have a reliable and safe way of intervening and breaking up play as needed.

Preparing by working on these options now, will help prevent your dog getting into trouble with another if play starts to get out of hand in the future.

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