Inappropriate play

09/02/2022

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INAPPROPRIATE PLAY

During adolescence things are changing physically, chemically and emotionally for your dog. They are rapidly becoming bigger and stronger and often don’t realise the impact this has. Play that was tolerated by other dogs when they were a puppy becomes socially inappropriate and may lead to altercations occurring.

Teenage dogs will often take risks and become quickly aroused and overstimulated. You might notice things going from 0-100 very quickly and dogs struggling to naturally break themselves away from activities to calm down.

If left to continue in this way dogs can become overly forceful in their play which might scare the other dog or lead to a fight if one accidentally hurts the other by being too rough. This can cause physical injury and be emotionally damaging for the dogs involved.

It’s important to choose your dog’s playmates wisely. Always supervise and be ready to intervene as needed.

Inappropriate interaction varies depending on the dogs involved and their individual play styles. Some of the key things to watch for include one dog pinning the other, where there is no space between their bodies and the dog underneath cannot get up or move away if they want to. They might put their paws up on another dog’s back, start to bite their neck or mount them.

You might also see relentless chasing without breaks or a lack of role switching, where dogs take it in turn to chase and be chased. Intervene and create space between the dogs.

Always look for changes in speed and intensity and call your dog away if you notice things getting too rough.

Spending time carefully supporting your dog in their interactions and proactively calling things off if you see things heading in the wrong direction, can help prevent negative experiences and the long lasting effects of play gone wrong.

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