Puppy play-what is considered too rough? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy play-what is considered too rough?

Bama saw one of her canine friends today, a young Brussels griffon puppy about half her size. (Bama is only 6 lbs, and 10 1/2 months old).
This puppy looks like he is trying to box with Bama. He doesn't hump her, but will try and get on top from the side. Sometimes Bama will do the cute pawing at him as well. Even when she doesn't really seem to want to play like a little puppy, she is very tolerant of his antics. Usually their interactions last less than a minute I think.
Today there were two older (as in not puppies but not seniors) small dogs there, slightly bigger than her. They werent really into playing but were still cordial. I think her little friend was more feisty because of the impromptu puppy party.

Anyway he was doing his little boxing thing and I think he was getting a bit nippy. It's hard to tell since both have black fur and she has lots of fur on her head. But there was a tiny squeak at one point, not sure from whom, and then later there was a yelp from Bama. They were separated after that, it was time for us to head home anyway.

I'm feeling bad, like maybe I should have split them up sooner. I'm slightly worried she might become nervous around smaller dogs (at least she is smaller than most dogs she meets). I remained calm, didn't want to reinforce any fear in her. She seemed fine immediately after and the car ride home was perfectly normal.
But at the same time I feel it is good for her to have the occasional feisty play session with another puppy. That's how they learn bite inhibition-from playing with each other (and humans to) and discovering what is appropriate when interacting with other dogs.

I guess what I'm wondering is, and what point in rough puppy play do you step in and separate them?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 07:05 PM
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you're right it's all important to learn bite inhibition. Very important to let them alone for this. You only need to intervene if one is trying to escape and can't. I;ll be back with an article. http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/fighting

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 09:52 PM
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Agree with Dave - most dogs will 'get it' after a yelp or two, and it's important that you let them get it rather than forcing a separation (at least as long as a separation isn't necessary). Dogs instinctively pay attention to the yelp, and they generally learn pretty quickly how to limit their play based on their playmate's size and strength if left to their own devices.

When we brought Pepper home a little over a month ago, he weighed just over 2 lbs. Our older hav Cey is 2 years old and he weighs somewhere between 10 and 11 pounds, and he hadn't had much experience playing with dogs that much smaller than him (most dogs he meets are bigger, of course!). We supervised them closely at first of course, but despite the supervision Cey unintentionally sort of ran over Pepper twice while trying to play with him, causing Pepper to yelp. For the rest of that first night, Pepper was then deathly afraid of Cey and yelped like he was being killed if Cey acted like he wanted to play, even when Cey was a couple feet away. It took Cey some time to adjust, and rather than risk hurting Pepper again, Cey spent the next couple of days completely avoiding Pepper, even when Pepper wanted to play. Eventually, Cey started playing with Pepper again, but extremely gently and carefully. Now, they spend hours each day wrestling and playing, and Cey has adjusted his playing with Pepper's growing size and always jumps back if Pepper makes the slightest yelping sound.

So yea, given a yelp or yip or two I really wouldn't worry about it, especially if you were right there to help out if it did in fact get out of hand.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-06-2013, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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I feel much better now.

It's funny, there was a time a couple of months ago maybe where she met a little pomeranian puppy and it kept trying to climb on her and she seemed to be ignoring it and not interested in playing. Silly girl, that's how adult dogs look at her.
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